drabble for [livejournal.com profile] manonlechat

Jan. 31st, 2010 02:42 am
jade_sabre: (avatar:  subtle kiss)
[personal profile] jade_sabre
This drabble is [livejournal.com profile] manonlechat's prize for donating $5 during the [livejournal.com profile] help_haiti Lightning Round.

She asked for something Avatar, Katara/Blue Spirit, maybe? And so here are 500 words. I hope you like them!

where shadow chases light

Aang read wind currents, and Toph felt the shifting of the earth, but Katara saw into shadow.

It came from growing up in a land of ice, where even a moonless night was lit by the sparkle of a thousand stars off a thousand snowflakes, where days passed without a setting sun. Sokka could do it too, of course, but then he preferred things to be black and white; he didn’t bother to squint in the delineating area, discerning minute shades of grey.

She assumed that was why he never mentioned the face, blue and white and touching the edges of the twinkling starlight. Aang looked to the sky, straining to see through the leaves of the trees shrouding them as they slept, and Toph never mentioned a pulse, and so after a few heart-pounding nights of confusion she accepted the shadow for what it was: a spirit, the familiar colors of home shaped into an expression frightening in its aloofness, a mouth swallowing darkness and eyes into which she could not see.

It crouched motionless in the shadows where the branches of trees met the trunks and watched them, and she crossed her arms under her head and watched it watching them. If it were really a spirit, Aang would be the best person to talk to it; if it were really a man, she thought it would have tried to kill them by now. It lingered as if it too had not yet made up its mind as to what it would be.

One night, the night before many a sleepless night to come, she waited until Toph and Sokka’s snores covered Aang’s sleepy whistles, until the edges of the mask blurred with creeping shadow, and then she sat up and said, “Are you trying to help us?”

She watched as the face turned, and with a start she realized she could see the body behind the face, inky and shifting against the solid bark of the tree, dappled in moonlight. “We’re doing all right,” she said. “I don’t know if there’s much else you could do.”

She wasn’t sure if she should say thank you to someone who might be alive, wasn’t sure if she should have spoken at all as the figure dropped, disappearing from sight. She waited a moment or two, then lay back down, settling into her sleeping bag, turning on her side, eyes wide open, holding her breath.

She watched as two black-clad feet slipped silently past her head, rolled onto her back even as they stopped and she lay looking up into the mask as the mask stared down at her. She exhaled unblinking and in that space it breathed in, trembling, and for a moment she thought she saw, among the shadows of its eyes, a glint of gold.

But no; it was merely starlight through the leaves, stirred by the whisper of someone’s passing. She closed her eyes and dreamt of shadowed waves beating against ice, and sunlight on snow.
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