Chapter 7

fandom: Avatar: the Last Airbender
POV: Aang
wordcount: ~649


It Wasn’t Just a Choice

The Eastern Temple sat before him, the bases of its three great pagodas shrouded in clouds. Aang stood for a while on the cliffside of the mountain facing the temple, as if studying it, though his eyes did not quite focus on the slanted rooftops or overgrown gardens.

Aunt Wu had once told him he could shape his own destiny like he had the clouds. If only life worked like that–at least, his life. No matter what he did, it seemed like he ended up walking in the grooves laid out for him, anyway. She had just told him that to make him feel better about not hearing what he wanted. Embarrassment rolled in his chest like an iron marble, cold and heavy. A hundred years ago, the monks planned to send him here, to the Eastern Temple, and he’d run away that night. When he’d come to meet and learn from Guru Pathik during the war, he ended up running from that, too. All the times he tried to subvert his destiny of learning to control a power he had never wanted to be saddled with, and he was back again.

Aang let out a lengthy exhale. How much time could have been saved if he hadn’t tried to force things? How much frustration could he have avoided if he’d listened, instead of just heard?

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