I kind of like the implication that Aang went through this brief period of “Fuck the Fire Nation,” after finding out that his people had been massacred.
The show doesn’t focus too much on Aang’s grief in Book 1, but I feel like this meshes well with my headcanon about Aang being reminded of Kuzon while talking to Katara in “The Storm,” which ultimately leads to him reminiscing about him in “The Blue Spirit.”
I want to take you back to this day, February 17th, 2011. I, a mere child, was sitting in my AP Language and Composition class at 7:45 in the morning, and I had an idea.
That idea shifted a lot over the past six years. I consistently maintain that the only detail that has never changed is Liam’s birthday, year inclusive. Some things have changed more than others (the setting used to be a boarding school rather than the island nation that gives the series its name; Rowan didn’t have parents; Em wasn’t an O’Dea) but some things have been weirdly consistent (their Enlightenments; the eventual canon ships (but hey just because I know, you do you, ship whoever you want, just tell me because I’m dead curious)).
The most prominent consistency is the core group of characters - Callie, Kaya, Liam, and Sam. The four of them have been narrators since the beginning of draft one. (There were two other narrators in the first version, Stella-Maria d’Angelou and Cameron Johnson - both of whom you’ll notice no longer exist.)
A lot of things have happened in the past six years, both to the book and to me (I acquired an entire university degree?). I’ve re-written this book, from scratch, 17 times for a grand total of well over 1,700,000 words. But this is the first version I’ve shared with an audience. And in deference to that, although book two is not done yet, the prologue chapter is available below…
Three more days. That’s what Sven always told me. When you think you’re at the end of your rope, give it three more days. And then another three. Sometimes, you’ll find the rope is longer than you thought
In just a few minutes, I’d gone from
completely numb, to feeling the dull throb of sensation in my hands again. My
toes curled against the floor as his hands moved over my calves, making a light
friction to warm the skin. I wondered how he knew to do that. He always seemed
so lost, so forgotten… Now he’s taking care of me. When did he learn all that?
“You need a drink,” he said,
halfheartedly. “In more ways than one.”
I slid my eyes off to the side. I
almost wanted to do it. I would have, if he’d offered, but he didn’t. Maybe he
knew that, too. “Were you asleep?” I asked him quietly.
He paused in his motions for just a
moment. “I was. But it doesn’t matter.”
“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to wake
you. I didn’t know it was so late.”
“Where were you, Laney?”
“I don’t know,” I said honestly.
“Out, I guess.” He made a snorting noise, continuing to rub my leg and I bit my
lip. “I’m sorry.”
“Don’t apologize,” he said and I
reached out, touching my fingers to his cheek, guiding his face up to mine.
“I mean it,” I said. “Please accept
it. I need someone to accept it. I have to say sorry. I’ve done so much wrong.”
“You?” He asked.
“Yes,” I whispered. “I’m not
perfect, Klein. I never was.”
His eyes lowered, settling on my
lips, and I felt this heat rising in my chest. “Sorry to sow the seeds of
discord, but I have to disagree.”
“You’re wrong.” My voice was so low
now, that I could hardly hear it, but it seemed to be loud enough for him. Or
maybe it wasn’t. Maybe that’s why he was moving closer. “I’m really sorry. I
don’t know why I came here.”
His words were like a breath, almost
silent, moving. “Yes you do.”
I had lost hours. When I left the
penthouse, it was nearing eight. Now, I couldn’t be sure. The city streets had
emptied, the only tram still running was the main line, and the shops were long
I don’t know where they went; the
hours. I don’t know what I’d done in them. The only thing I remembered was the
moment I wound up there, when the metallic echoes of my knock brought me to my
senses. I was tired, my breath ragged, my body cold. I couldn’t feel my toes;
either from the temperature, or all the walking, I didn’t know. My throat was
raw and scratchy, and I couldn’t find the words to say when he opened the door.
“Laney?” He said, sounding shocked.
“What are you doing here, it’s 3AM?”
“Is it?” I whispered. I felt like
collapsing, but his hands were on my arms, pulling me inside, and for the first
time… in hours… I remembered warmth.
“You’re ice cold, what have you been
I shook my head. I didn’t know. I
didn’t have an answer to give him. “Everything hurts, Klein,” I muttered. He
took me in, and there was recognition there he’d never had before.
Is it because…?
“Come on,” he said. He pulled me
into the kitchen, turning on the dull lights above the cupboards. It made an
annoying hiss, and continued to buzz, low and monotonous. He took my scarf and
coat, hung them over the back of the folding kitchen chair, and guided me down.
I sat, my eyes locking on the unkempt wooden floorboards, with their loose
nails and barely-there strips of old, weathered paint. He took my heels off,
first the left, then the right, dropped them in a little pile under the table.
“You’ll be lucky if you don’t get pneumonia doing shit like this.”