Xander groaned as he slowly came back to the world of the living and momentarily considered simply… not. Waking up in cold wet sky bison fur is not exactly Xander’s idea of a pleasant morning.
Grumbling a bit, Xander untangled himself before looking around and not seeing Aang , he started to worry.
“Will you go penguin sledding with me?”
And then the worry faded. Stumbling over the icy snow bank, Xander finally spotted his little brother just as a man with a spear started to poke him. In a rush, Xander took a stomping step forward and pushed.
The small collection of rocks and stones he kept in his pockets leapt toward the threat with deadly intent.
When they were halfway there, Aang casually batted the spear aside with a shrug and Xander realized that the threat was barely older than Aang himself. Jerking back into a horse stance, Xander pulled the rocks to a halt inches from the strange boy’s face.
“EEP!” The young male squeeked, before stumbling back in a panic.
Looking up, Xander was surprised to see Aang launch himself through the air towards him, smiling happily. Xander smiled too and waited for the last second to grab the small airbender in a headlock and start a noogie any bully from Sunnydale high would be proud of. “DOES THIS LOOK LIKE THE WESTERN WATER VILLAGE? WELL? DOES IT?” he shouted before letting the younger boy go. Aang, for his part danced back and quickly rubbed his bald scalp to lessen the pain before turning a glare on the older boy.
Any argument between the two was interrupted by the low rumbling of Appa behind him. In a flash, Aang’s entire mood changed and he rushed towards the massive air bison, scrambling like a monkey to reach his partner and flung himself onto the forehead of the massive beast, laughing in joy that Appa had made it through all right.
“What is that thing?” the unknown male said in shock as he stared at the Sky bison in an odd mixture of awe and hunger, Xander could almost see him picturing Appa on a spit over an open fire.
Smiling at the two, Aang cheerfully ignored the hungry look in the boy’s eyes as he responded, “This is Appa, my flying bison,” he answered proudly as the older boy snorted.
“Riiiight, and this is Katara, my flying sister” he answered snarkily.
Xander watched as his sister drew back a fist to respond in the universal sibling language when a soft sniffling drew his attention towards Appa. Taking full notice of the Sky bison, Xander knew from long experience what was coming next and reacted. Launching himself through the air, Xander tackled the closest teen to the ground and shielded her from the blast range and with an explosive sneeze, the ten ton Sky Bison shot several gallons of nasal mucus that hit the unfortunate male and covered him in the green goo that would do any Nickelodean show proud.
“Ewww! Aahh,” the slimed teen shuddered before attempting to wipe the mucus off in the snow.
Ignoring Aang’s response to the other teen’s reaction, Xander leveraged himself up and offered his hand to the shocked girl. “Sorry about that, experience has shown me that Appa can be a bit, energetic, when he sneezes.” Xander apologized and helped pull her to her feet before taking notice of the slimed one responding to Aang.
“Don't answer that! Did you see that crazy bolt of light? They were probably trying to signal the Fire Navy.” He said as he once more pointed his spear at Aang.
Once more reaching for his bending, Xander surprisingly enough found the world spinning away as the full effects of his ordeal finally made their displeasure known.
Hitting the snow, Xander vaguely heard Aang shouting at him before he drifted off.
Xander groaned as he sat back up and looked around, somehow the younger crowd had managed to get him up on Appa and the Sky Bison was currently swimming towards a small collection of water bender style huts under the direction of Katara as Aang snored on the large mammals head.
Groaning again as he sat up, Xander tried to ignore the intense exhaustion that permeated his body, “Where are we?”
“The Southern Water Tribe, my home.” Katara explained with a smile before waving at the awe struck villagers that were coming out to see them.
Waking Aang up was quickly done and everyone was introduced. After a moment of pleasantries, Xander stepped aside with the Elder as Aang started to show off with his glider staff.
Finding a nice, secluded area, Xander turned towards the Elder with a frown and asked,“Alright Gran-Gran, what are you trying to pull?” Xander’s tone challenged as the old woman simply stared at him. “Unlike Aang, I’ve been to the Southern Water Tribe, and it’s a hundred thousand strong. I’ve stood in the Temple of the Full Moon and watched as the last rays of sunlight threw colors into the sky for a thousand miles, I paced the Great Tide Walls, greater even than Ba Sing Sa and you want me to believe that in two seasons all of that has disappeared?” Xander let his paranoid rant drift off as Gran-Gran finally found her voice.
Shocked nearly beyong words, Gran-Gran leaned forward and searched the young man’s face for signs of deception. “Child I don’t know if you are lying, delusional or if I am just going mad, but our tribe was decimated in the first year of the war. From a hundred thousand we dropped to less than ninety-six hundred, most of our benders died in a desperate bid to protect the air nomad temples from the fire nation. Those that survived have been running from them ever since. Lord Sozin himself destroyed the Temple of the Full Moon and the wall simply faded away in the hundred years since.” Gran-Gran explained and was shocked at the pain and anguish that washed over the young man’s features. “Y-you actually were here, but that was over a century ago, during the time of the Avatar.”
Stepping back in shock, Xander worried. “A hundred years,” he whispered as he felt the familiar deep soul crushing despair hit him as his world was once again being ripped away. Taking a moment to center himself as Monk Gyatso taught him, Xander finally looked back at the young airbender as he slammed into the side of the small snow embankment that surrounded the majority of the village, “Don’t tell Aang, I’ll break it to him.”
Walking back towards them, Gran-Gran followed quickly and dragged Katara off. “All right. No more playing. Come on, Katara, you have chores.” That particular comment had the entire village desperately looking busy for several seconds before Gran-Gran and Katara had moved past.
Reaching out, Xander caught Aang’s tongue as it crept toward his staff on a dare from the younger kids, “Did Monk Gyatso teach you nothing? You are supposed to get others to try that,” Xander admonished as several of the smaller children laughed happily at the Airbender’s plight.
Pulling the tongue slightly, Xander slipped his foot behind Aang’s and let go. Jerking back from the sudden loss of pull, Aang tripped over Xander’s foot and quickly tumbled to the snow. As the kids laughed, Xander helped the younger boy to his feet with a smile and motioned towards a less occupied area of the village. “Come on Aang, we need to talk,”
Walking away, Xander was happily surprised that Sokka pulled the kids off for a meeting of some kind. Going over to an area that they couldn’t be overheard, Xander put a Hand on Aang’s shoulder and got serious. “Aang, we may have a problem,” Xander said as the perpetually happy kid looked up at him with a smile.
“I know, I’m sorry that we didn’t make it to the Western Water Village, but we got to meet Katara and Sokka and we can be back to the Temple in plenty of time, we may be a day later than we wanted, but Monk Gyatso will understand.” The younger boy said with his trademark good humor.
Sighing sadly, Xander leaned against the snow wall and slowly drooped to the ground. “I don’t think so Aang, something around here doesn’t add up. I think… I think we may have been frozen for longer than you think.”
Cocking his head to the side, Aang considered that before responding “How long? A couple days?”
“Try a few decades, these people have been fighting a war for a hundred years.” Xander explained as he saw that finally impact the younger boy’s mood.
“A hundred years… my room is going to be a mess.” Aang responded before getting a strange look on his face, “Oops, gotta go.” He shouted before taking off in a panicked run towards one of the igloos.
Sighing at his younger brother’s antics, Xander leveraged himself to his feet and headed towards the gathered children as Sokka marched in front of them imperiously. As he approached, Xander saw Sokka ask a question and get a response from every single one of the children that seemed to fray on his last nerve before the kids ran off.
“So you’re the designated warrior of the tribe,” Xander asked the scowling teen before giving him a friendly slap on the shoulder. “Come on, I know a thing or two about being the one without powers, let me show you how to fight a bender.”
That certainly got the younger man’s attention and after some consideration Sokka grabbed his spear and followed.
Drawing two circles, one at fifteen and the other at twenty feet from the center, “Alright, that is the preferred distance of the Firebenders. If you are facing one and you are within that area as Monk Gyatso says, ‘Somebody gonna get a hurtin.’ Surprisingly enough, that is also the preferred distance of Waterbenders. Airbenders prefer the contact to the ten foot range and Earthbenders prefer the twenty feet and beyond. Learn these distances by heart because if you’re within their preferred range you are in trouble, so change it as quickly as you can.” Xander watched as Sokka nodded in understanding.
“All right, now most benders focus their abilities through a form of martial arts, so even if you close with them they are still physically dangerous. Some prefer weapons to supplement their bending so you have to be prepared. Some benders can even attack with bending from their mouths, eyes or head gestures. When you engage one, take them out quickly,” Xander explained before taking a stance in the middle of the circle, “Alright, I’m an Earthbender, but you can still train. Attack!”
At his order, Sokka gripped his spear and charged with a strangled scream.
slapping the spear aside, Xander stepped forward and shoved the young man, sending him sprawling. “Don’t yell. You yell to demorilize and scare, but against a bender you’re just warning them that you’re coming. Silence is your friend. Also if you are going to use a spear, don’t get so close. Remember, these are soldiers you are going up against.”
Nodding, Sokka grabbed the spear and attacked again.
For the next hour, the two went back and forth, pounding the circles into a flat disk. Xander was surprised at how quickly the younger man picked it up and how much innate luck the young man seemed to possess, nearly as much as Aang.
At that thought, Xander realized that he hadn’t seen his younger brother in several hours and flinched as he realized something bad was likely to happen because of that fact.
As if on cue a flare shot up from the east and exploded in some sort of signal, “Aaw hell! Aang,” Xander muttered before glancing at the furious Sokka before shaking his head and moving back towards the village. The fallout from this would not be good.
(A/N) So, there is the first Episode, let me know what you think, and thanks for all the wonderful reviews.