As the sun retreated from the atmosphere, and quiet waves made their way to the shores of Ember Island, Sokka and Aang roamed the beach quietly, discussing the person they each loved the most in different ways.

“I still couldn’t believe she had said that,” Sokka broke a short silence. “I never thought Katara could be like that.” His head hung somewhat low, thinking back to how his sister told him that he didn’t love their mother like she did.

“It was a moment of weakness for her,” Aang replied. “I mean, the pain and rage was unbelievable. Sometimes, when we’re under that, we do things we just never would do under any circumstances.” He thought back to his times in the Avatar State when he nearly killed the Sandbender Tribes and nearly wiped out General Fong’s fortress among other things.

“Maybe if Katara had an Avatar State, I guess that was it then,” Sokka said.

From the beach house above, Katara watched as her two favorite boys walked along the shores, still having taken time to think about what happened.

Only one thought was in her head.

Make things right.

Noticing that her blind earthbending friend was off to her right, she told her, “Toph, tell Zuko I’ll be right back. I’ve got some apologizes to give.”

“Got it, Sugar Queen,” Toph replied. “But if I ‘see’ sappy hugs and whatnot, I’m blowing chunks.”

“Then you might want to get a bucket ready or at least head inside,” the waterbender retorted with a half-smile. “Because I really need this talk with them.”

As Katara left, Toph simply ‘watched’ while she detected the uneasiness and regret within her friend. She knew things were about to get emotional considering what had happened before Katara’s “field trip.”

The next time Sokka and Aang looked forward, they were now looking at the waterbender. A look of regret and anxiousness flooded her crystal blue eyes as she stared at them both, she herself ready for important talks with them as her hair was caught somewhat in the light breeze.

“Katara?” Aang said, his grey eyes gaining a look of worry.

“Hi guys,” was all she could say before taking a deep breath and focusing her attention on her brother. “Sokka…could we talk?”

The tribal warrior looked to his sister and replied simply, “Sure.” His matching blue eyes still spelled out somewhat of a hurt feeling as the two made their way to the rock wall of a shallow cliff that separated grass from sand.

“Aang, I’ll be back to talk with you in a minute,” Katara added, turning to the Avatar who still stood not too far from them.

“All right,” Aang replied. “I’ll leave you both alone for the moment, then. I’ll be waiting by the pier.”

Katara nodded to Aang to show she had gotten the message. As he walked away, she took a seat with her back to the wall, knees bent up and her arms around them. Sokka knelt down next to her, folding his legs into the same position their common friend usually took while meditating.

Katara looked at her brother with her look breaking. “Sokka…I can’t even begin to say how sorry I am for what I said to you the other day, about you not loving mom as much as I did. I…I can’t believe I said that…”

Sokka placed a comforting hand on her shoulder. “It’s all right, Katara. I have to admit, that was very hard to imagine coming from you. But, I know how much you loved mom and how hard it had to be to lose her. That pain is just…”

Tears pooled in the waterbender’s eyes. “Not a day goes by that I still don’t think about her.” She clutched the necklace that her mother used to own. “But still, having this opportunity to finally meet her killer, thinking about what he did…it filled me with so much anger and hatred…that I took it out on you and Aang. I almost let myself do something so hateful…that if I went through with it, I’d never be able to forgive myself.”

“I’m glad you didn’t do that,” the warrior replied. “Killing Yon Rha would have solved nothing; Aang was right there. It is tough when your loved ones get hurt, though - I mean, I was ready to throw Aang into a lake when he burned your hands.”

Katara nodded idly. She quietly thought Sokka overreacted to that, but now was not the time to bring it up.

“Anyway, can I tell you something?” Sokka continued the conversation.

“Sure,” Katara whispered, wiping the tears from her eyes.

“You were closer to mom than I was, I’ll admit that,” the older brother started. “But, for some reason, I just can’t remember her the way you do. I guess it was just because…well, you were always the motherly figure for me as well, Katara. Whenever I try to think about mom, all I see is you. You stepped up from all the way back when you were little, always helping to care for our family. You were our little mother, caring for things at home when Dad and I would go out on hunting trips, and definitely after he left the tribe. What I’m saying is, Katara…in addition to being my little sister, in some ways, you’ve also been mom.”

Though she had - for the moment unbeknownst to Sokka - heard this before, the younger sister couldn’t help but feel tears pool into her eyes again, some escaping down her cheeks. Here was her own brother admitting her to be a motherly figure. She couldn’t believe how hard she had been on him, when he couldn’t even remember Kya’s own face - because of Katara herself. She tried to speak, but all she could do instead was turn to embrace her brother.

Sokka returned the hug as his little sister collapsed into him. He held her close, all his sibling love pouring into her.

“All I will say again,” Katara spoke tearfully, “is that I am so sorry for everything. I still can’t believe everything. How I could have thought that you didn’t love her, when I was that mother all along.”

“I forgive you,” Sokka replied. “And you know I always will. You’re my little sister, and family always stands together. I love you, Katara.”

“I love you too, Sokka,” Katara replied. “You’re the best big brother I could have ever asked for.”

Sokka smiled as he felt glad to have his little sister back to her normal self, no longer feeling all the anger she contracted initially when getting the chance to face Yon Rha. “You too, are the best little sister in the world. Thanks for being here for me.”

“I should be thanking you for the same,” Katara replied.

The two then separated from their hug and stood up, Katara wiping away any stray tears from her eyes.

“Go on, go track down Aang,” Sokka said with an encouraging smile. “I’m sure, as always, he’ll be anxious to talk with you.”

“Right,” Katara answered. “I’ll see you later, Sokka.”

“Later, Katara,” Sokka replied.

The two flashed a quick smile at one another as Katara made her way toward the pier, ready to talk with Aang. Sokka watched as she walked away, just glad he had such a loving sister in his life.

“And I think you love someone else quite a bit too…” he whispered quietly. “If I’m right, you’re headed toward him right now…”

Nevertheless, no matter what happened, there they were.

Brother and sister.

Staying with each other through whatever came their way.

Prologue <----> Chapter two