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ATLA: Entropic (Toph, Aang, Zuko, Katara)

Title: Entropic
Author: voleuse
Fandom: Avatar: The Last Airbender
Characters: Toph, Aang, Zuko, Katara
Rating: PG
Disclaimer: Not mine.
Summary: If only you could teach me survival without sustenance.
Notes: Set before 3.10, no spoilers



i. Burial

There are bones beneath the earth. Toph can feel them.

In the middle of the night, while the others sleep, her body slows, slows. She casts her mind down, past the stutter-thump of her companions' bodies, echoing in the dirt. Past the roots of machines, delving into the earth, miles away.

She sinks low, into stiff-sharp rock and malleable lava. Her heart taps into the earth's core, whispers together with it, becomes it.

If she but shrugged, she could rid her crust of these plaguing creatures. She could embrace them, devour them.

Toph turns in her sleep, and the pebbles around her tremble.


ii. Hurricane

If Aang could fly high enough, maybe he could find the others again. He could reach the steadfast and the lost, avenge those taken and tortured and killed when he wasn't with care.

When he closes his eyes, he can feel the surge of his blood, imagine the natural extension to smooth action, to consistent frenzy.

Instead of this endless quest, he could bring all he needed to his feet. He could rise above the attrition of war, open his arms, and sweep the board clean.

For once, instead of worrying or waffling about, he could give in.

He shies away from the idea, each time it occurs to him, but it never completely disappears.


iii. Inferno

Like everybody else who has ever met her, Zuko is afraid of his sister. (When she's bored, which is quite often, Azula likes to set things on fire. Wagons, trees. Small villages. Things nobody would really miss.) She is the quintessential fire bender, focused and immensely powerful. She is capable of cruelty, and has inflicted it upon Zuko throughout their lives.

What he fears most about her, however, is what he recognizes of himself. While he lacks her discipline, he has never lacked the power she has, that unerring instinct to channel pain into rage, to let it spill from his hands as evidence.

Bending is one of his first memories, and what he remembers most is the screaming, faint in the background when compared to the licks of flame surrounding him.

He remembers cloth singed against his body, and heat searing his skin. He remembers enjoying it, more than anything he's done since.

When he is angry, Zuko tamps the emotion as best he can, clenches his fists and lets people imagine forthcoming blows. If he's in control, they never recognize the embers sparking, trapped in his hands.

Zuko has never been good at control.


iv. Undertow

Sometimes, when the others are asleep, Katara slips out of her clothes and dives into the water, deep, deep down.

The sea sings to her, beats against her in a slow caress. It is void, and it is teeming. It is everywhere, and everything.

Katara sinks to the ocean's floor. When she opens her mind, she can almost grasp the enormity of it, the entirety of the world. She sends her mind to the edges of it, feels her self stretch, thin and brittle as ice.

The sea goes on forever, and the current whispers to her, tempts her.

She keeps sinking.


###

A/N: Summary adapted from Cecily Parks's Luna Moth. Link courtesy of breathe_poetry. Story concept taken from Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab's Dark Elements collection.

Comments

( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
spamdilemma
Dec. 27th, 2007 09:50 am (UTC)
Oh, I love the imagery and language -- and the elements theme really pulls everything together beautifully.
ltlj
Dec. 27th, 2007 09:44 pm (UTC)
Oh wow, I loved that.
fatema
Jul. 13th, 2008 05:17 am (UTC)
Oh, my! This was very, very lovely. I loved the imagery and the language. It felt centered, the feeling of bending so tangible. Very beautiful.
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )

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