Pairing/Characters: Sokka, Hakoda, former Sokka/Yue
Theme Set and #: Fire, 29: Bruise
Fandom: Avatar: The Last Airbender
Disclaimer: Wish it were mine...but it's not.
Notes: Spoilers through 3x01, The Awakening. Title blatantly stolen from "Mrs. Potter's Lullaby," by the Counting Crows.
The voyage is long and somehow manages to be boring and unbelievably tense at the same time, which Sokka thinks is just not fair. He's stuck with the midnight watch, which suits him just fine since he can't really sleep anyway. He's still not as much of a wreck as Katara, who is not only refusing to leave Aang's side but now also refusing to eat. Toph, at least, is a bastion of sanity, but it's been a week and even she's beginning to get nervous.
Of course, being Toph, the only way she's showing her nervousness is by punching Sokka. A lot.
Three hours after midnight and the air is surprisingly cold for the spring; it settles on Sokka's skin, a shallow chill. Sokka never expected to actually want a fire, not with all the associations it holds, but he's a hair's breadth from shivering and the head might just this once be worth it.
The moon is bright in the sky, only half-full and waxing.
"How are you holding up?"
Sokka looks up to see his dad. "I'm okay," he says. "Why?"
"I used to have the midnight watch sometimes, back when I was the youngest." Hakoda sits down next to Sokka with a groan. "Granted, I'm not as young as I used to be, but I remember it being – less than exciting."
Sokka shrugs. "Somebody has to do it."
Hakoda nods, and they sit in silence for a minute. Then he says, "We met Master Pakku a few months ago."
Sokka's expression flickers for a moment.
"He told us what happened at the North Pole," Hakoda adds, then, gently, "Do you want to talk about it?"
Sokka can still remember the feel of her lips on his, cold, like a whisper – too present for him to have imagined it, too insubstantial for him to be certain he didn't.
"Her name was Yue," he says quietly. "She died. She was so brave, and she died anyway. How is that fair?"
"It's not," says Hakoda. He puts a hand on Sokka's shoulder.
"She knew what she was doing," Sokka adds. The night air is cold, stinging his eyes and nose. "She knew exactly what she was doing and what would happen and she did it anyway. She saved all of us – she saved the world." He takes a breath, lets it out. "I should go check on Katara. I haven't seen her in a few hours, she could probably do with some air."
Hakoda hesitates, then nods. "Better you than me. I get the feeling she's angry with me."
"Katara's always angry," says Sokka, shrugging. "Or cranky. Or just annoyed."
"Yes, well." Hakoda stands up, groaning. "I'm getting old."
"No you're not," says Sokka automatically. "You were already old."
Hakoda grins, and leaves. Sokka listens to his steps, clanking on the metal of the deck, then pulls himself up too – Katara really does need a break.