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ATLA: Hemlock and Pine (Suki)

For cidercupcakes, and for halfamoon: 14 Days Celebrating Women.

Title: Hemlock and Pine
Author: voleuse
Fandom: Avatar: The Last Airbender
Character: Suki
Rating: PG
Disclaimer: Not mine.
Summary: She is taking her ghosts for a walk through the woods.
Notes: Post-series.



Their idyll in Ba Sing Se ended soon enough. There were kingdoms to rule, tribes to bolster, and villages to rebuild from the ground up. On her last day in the city, Suki kissed Sokka, on his lips, in the center of each palm. "You could come with us," she suggested. "Train more, if you want."

She could see Chief Hakoda on the crest of the hill, and she knew Sokka's answer before he shook his head.

There were no tears when they parted, because she was a Kyoshi warrior, and she'd discovered the world was small.

*


She traveled back to Kyoshi Island on a Fire Nation barge, tracing the coastline like an inkbrush. She paced on the deck every day, feeling the unnatural gears grinding under her feet, grumbling sparks and smoke. The wind whipped against her face, and every night, she winced as she removed her paints, dabbing at chapped skin and wishing for home.

She wished for her mother's remedy, a tincture of ground leaves and tea, and then put thoughts of her mother from her mind. There was a years-old tear on the breast of her robes, mended carefully with matching thread. Every night she ran her fingers over the stitching, wondering what wound she would finally bear.

Her sleep was restive. Her dreams tumbled on the ocean, though she never sank.

*


Suki walked through the village like a stranger, staring at buildings that had sprung up in her absence. Beyond the edge of the village, she saw the graveyard, candles unlit in the light of day. She turned her back and strode away, clasping arms and exchanging news with old friends as she passed them.

No one felt they were on an island anymore.

When night fell, Suki settled on the porch of the training hall, the moonlight falling cool over her blankets. She counted supplies in her head, shifting clothing and weapons and food into neat blocks, until she could decipher what they needed.

There was a soft footstep, isolated and deliberate, and when Suki rolled onto her side, Ty Lee was beside her, legs crossed, her elbows on her knees.

"Is this where you sleep?" Ty Lee asked. "Don't you get cold?"

"I'm used to it." Suki shrugged, a strange wriggle against the floorboards. "We'll get more blankets."

Ty Lee spread her own blanket against the ground, slid into it like water. "Why don't you stay with your family?"

"Go to sleep." Suki closed her eyes. "We start training again in the morning."

Ty Lee pressed her palm against Suki's hand, squeezed for a brief second. "Good night," she said.

Suki hummed, and waited for sleep to come.


###

A/N: Title and summary adapted from Robin Chapman's Signs.

Linked on halfamoon.

Comments

( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
sugargroupie
Feb. 3rd, 2010 02:13 am (UTC)
Oh, Suki fic! This was lovely. I like how the end represents a new beginning of sorts (and Ty Lee! Love her too).
danahid
Feb. 3rd, 2010 03:26 am (UTC)
Lovely!
aithine
Feb. 3rd, 2010 08:28 pm (UTC)
That was lovely. Suki's such a great character--it's nice to see more of her. *g* I especially liked these bits:

There were no tears when they parted, because she was a Kyoshi warrior, and she'd discovered the world was small.

and:

She wished for her mother's remedy, a tincture of ground leaves and tea, and then put thoughts of her mother from her mind. There was a years-old tear on the breast of her robes, mended carefully with matching thread. Every night she ran her fingers over the stitching, wondering what wound she would finally bear.

Excellent.
rubynye
Feb. 6th, 2010 05:06 am (UTC)
This is exquisitely delineated in light and shadow, ink and black canvas. I'm really impressed.
cidercupcakes
Mar. 1st, 2010 02:51 pm (UTC)
Ahhhh I managed to miss this and that is terrible because it is lovely. The language is gorgeous (not that I would expect otherwise, from you; you always have such a wonderful, lyrical style), the imagery is great and oh Suki, and oh, thank you so much, I love it. *_____*
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )

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