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Written for choc_fic, for the prompt Avatar: The Last Airbender, Sokka & Katara: traditions - There are certain Water Tribe traditions they follow wherever they go.

Title: Grain by Grain by Grain
Author: voleuse
Fandom: Avatar: The Last Airbender
Characters: Sokka & Katara
Rating: G
Disclaimer: Not mine.
Summary: In life I paid relentlessly what the god of fire charged me.
Notes: Set during S2


Against Sokka's occasional protests, they stopped to rest at noontime. He grumbled as Aang lay tinder for the cooking fire, as Toph tossed each person their rations with uncanny accuracy.

"Hey!" Katara finally shouted, and water slashed against the back of his neck.

"Hey!" he protested. "That hurts."

Katara twisted her fingers in the air, and the droplets clung together again, danced through the air, back into her waterskin. "We should train before we eat," she said.

So while Toph yelled at Aang, Keep your feet in the dirt, twinkle-toes, Sokka raised his sword while Katara wielded water. Under the bright sun, they followed each other's forms, and light glinted off their blades.


As the sun set, Appa sank back through the forest's canopy, branches rustling against him as they descended. Toph gathered wood while Aang brushed out Appa's fur, and Sokka lugged the cooking pot over to Katara. She cooked the evening's stew, rice and root vegetables, while Sokka seared spears of meat in the flames.

When they were finished cooking, Aang happily ate his double-share of stew while the others stirred hunks of meat into their portions. "It's your turn to tell a story, Katara," Aang declared between mouthfuls.

Katara edged the cooking pot away from the fire, and as she scraped the last of the rice from her bowl, she began the story of the friendship of Penguin and Koalaotter, and how the first waterbender learned her craft.


Since they had fled the last town, Sokka had favored his left wrist more than usual. When she caught his wince for the third time, Katara extended her arm.

Sokka scowled. "It's not--"

"Don't be stubborn," she replied.

He sighed, then tugged back his wrist guard, exposing an angry welt. "It's just a burn."

Katara rolled her eyes, covered the wound with the shadow of her right hand. She muttered under her breath.

"Katara!" Sokka exclaimed. "What would Gran Gran say?"

She smiled, all sweetness, then concentrated. Her words melted into a low croon, the song for sick children all healers were taught.

"I'm not a baby," Sokka complained, but his shoulders relaxed.

He healed.


Gathering clouds blocked the moon from the sky. They huddled around the fire, but Katara shivered.

Sokka reached over, patted her shoulder. "Are you okay?"

"I'm fine." Her smile was a quick glint in the darkness. "It's hard to feel the ocean here, that's all."

With a grin, Sokka picked up a twig from the ground. He drew a wavy line in front of Katara, then another directly beneath it.

Katara snorted. "Very artistic, Sokka."

He didn't look at her. Instead, he marked a teardrop shape in between the lines.

She fell silent.

"Our ancestors bring us the seal. It guides us to the shore." Sokka handed the twig to Katara, and she took it from him.

Next to the teardrop, she drew another oblong. "Our ancestors bring us the penguin. It guides us to the sea."

Toph started to ask what they were doing, but Aang hushed her. And they passed the twig back and forth, scratching their histories into the dirt.


A/N: Title and summary adapted from Ana Ilce Gomez's Hourglass:
Measuring time is the work
of those who haven't loved.
I forgot the sand that was falling
grain by grain by grain.
That's how I accomplished love.
When my time comes I won't know
if it's my arrival
or my departure
only that in life I paid
relentlessly what the god of fire
charged me.

Originally posted to choc_fic.


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 18th, 2008 08:22 pm (UTC)
Oh that was freakin' beautiful. The shared familial and cultural history in the quiet moments, you captured it wonderfully. I love it.
Jul. 13th, 2008 05:34 am (UTC)
Oh, so lovely. I really love Katara & Sokka's relationship and you captured it quite beautifully here.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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