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The Fickle Finger of Fate

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Anytime he was in a town for more than a few days Avatar Aang made sure to go to the local school and visit with the children. She started that trend when they were together. She told him that the kids would get a kick out of meeting the avatar and seeing that he was a real person, and she was right. Every time he stepped on a gym floor or an auditorium stage he thought about her, looked through the crowd for her even though he knew she wasn’t there. Those weren’t the schools she worked at, but this one was.

They’d had a month-long affair with a messy ending that ruined a friendship they’d started while they trained with Master Pakku as children. The argument was stupid, really, nothing that they couldn’t have worked through, but they were both so stubborn neither would talk to the other, and soon it was time for Aang to be on hi way to the next place. He thought often about calling her, but he let time slip away. After a month, he thought he had waited too long, but he’d give it a try.

He cared about her, and though he didn’t want to admit it to himself, he knew he loved her. Aang decided it was time to give her a call so they could talk things out. When she didn’t answer he left a message, but she didn’t call him back. Common sense told him to let it go, but his heart wouldn’t let him. It was then he decided to leave it up to fate.

If we cross paths again, it’s a sign. If I see her again, then we’re meant to be together.

After five years he’d given up on seeing her again. She was probably dating someone, or married. Raava knew he hadn’t been lonely all this time. His mind briefly jumped to the handsome jetsetter from the Fire Nation. Like him, she was in the past.

He walked across the gym floor, and scanned the crowd for her as he answered the children’s questions; he couldn’t help it. This was her home town, the school she’d just started at when they’d gone their separate ways almost six years ago.

He considered pretending to fall and bump his head so he’d have to go see the nurse, but he decided against it. She’d laugh at him…if she was even still there.

The teachers filed the children out and the administration came to speak to Aang. As he talked to the principal he considered asking about the nurse, but he didn’t. It was best that he leave it alone. He shouldn’t meddle with fate. It had been too long. Things had changed

Aang walked out of the gym, into the entry way and saw her standing there “Katara.” He breathed as if he thought he was seeing things “Hi.”

“Hi Aang.” She said quietly with a soft smile on her face “I heard you were here.” She slid her hand into her scrub pockets.

He brushed his feet across the floor “Yeah. I figured the last set of kids I talked to here were in middle school by now, so it would be good to show my face.”

“Makes sense.”  Her smile dropped, she seemed nervous “Um, I’m sorry I didn't call you back then.”

He held his head down “Yeah. I probably should have tried again.”

“If you have some time later, maybe we can go to the coffee shop and talk.”

The both turned when the heard the gym door open. A woman stuck her head out and smiled when she saw Aang “Oh good,I found you.” She laughed as she stepped out “Would you believe I got lost.”

Aang felt his cheeks get hot as she walked toward him. She stopped beside him and grabbed his hand with both of hers “You were great, I’m so glad I came.”

He looked a Katara, hoping she could understand the apology he was saying in his head, then he looked at the woman “Honey, this is Katara.” He turned and saw the split second Katara squinted her eyes at him “Katara this is Yee Li.”

Katara gave Yee Li a kind smile and a shallow bow “Hello.”

Yee Li bowed in return “Katara. The friend from training. It’s so great to meet you. Aang has told me so much about you.”

Katara looked at Aang and he considered borrowing into the ground “Oh really. I hope they were nice things.”

“Only that you’re the best water bender he’s ever seen. And you and your family are very nice.” She leaned closer to Aang “I told him that he should take some time and visit, but he’s so hard headed. I’m glad he ran into you.” She looked up at him “It’s fate.”

He let out a nervous chuckle “Yeah, fate.”

“We should all go out.” Yee Li chirped, she reached into her pocked and offered Katara her phone “Can I get your number so we can plan something.”

Katara reached for the phone reluctantly “Sure.” And added her number.

Things were getting really strange really fast and Aang didn’t know how to stop it

Yee Li took the phone back “Great. Can I give you mine?”

“Oh, yeah.” Katara handed her the phone.

Aang was happy for the sound of someone coming down the hall, someone to draw attention away from this uncomfortable situation.

“Mom! Guess what!”

Aang turned to see a little boy release the hand of the woman he was walking with and start running toward them.

“Walking feet” The woman called after him, but the boy didn’t stop.

He looked at Katara, who had a bright blush across her cheeks. She turned and looked at the boy.

“I saw the Avatar.” He said as he skidded to a halt and bumped into her leg. He looked at the people in front of him and his mouth dropped. He grabbed her hand and whispered “It’s him.”

Katara brushed her hand across the boy’s wild hair. She spoke sweetly “Sweetie, Miss Nutha said for you to walk. You have to follow directions so you don’t get hurt.”

The boy turned to his teacher who had reached the group “Sorry Miss Nutha.”

“It’s okay.” She said with a smile. She bowed politely at Aang and Yee Lin and they did so in return “Half of the kids forgot their coats, so my Helper-of-the-day and I came to get them.” She turned to the boy “Come on.”

The boy didn’t move. He was looking at the Avatar. Katara looked at Nutha and waved a hand “He can stay a minute.”

She smiled “Okay.” And went into the gym.

Aang looked at the boy, then at Katara and back. Katara had a protective hand on The child’s shoulder, but she was looking into Aang’s eyes like she was trying to read his mind. She didn’t look away as she spoke to the child “Sweetie, this is Avatar Aang and Miss Yee Li.” She finally looked down at the boy, brushing her hand through his hair again “Guy’s, this is my son,” she looked at Aang again, a hint of moisture dancing in her eyes “Bumi.”

Yee Li stooped down to the boy’s level “Hi. How old are you?”

“Five.” The boy said shyly.

“You’re so tall.” She said in her chipper tone.

Nutha came back with an arm full of coats. Katara looked down at Bumi “Sweetie, go help Miss Nutha. If you don’t do your job, she and Ms. Misu might not give you a new one next week.”

“Okay Mom.” He went over and took the two coats his teacher was handing him “Bye Mr. Avatar.”

Aang forced a smile “Bye buddy.”