Broken Pieces Repaired
"How's my favorite prisoner?" sneered Azula to Suki. Again.
She heard those words every time Azula visited Boiling Rock. And she visited far too often.
"Oh no! She's back! Please Sokka, find me!" thought Suki.
As the merciless beatings began again, Suki just kept concentrating to keep her sanity, "Why am I your punching bag? Your pin cushion? Why am I raw meat to be roasted? Stay away from me! You're always too close. Stay out of my space!"
There were things Azula did that Suki refused to admit happened. Things more horrible than any knife or beating sticks could do. Too close. Too personal. Torture that was beyond what any warrior living by normal codes of conduct should ever inflict on another. Azula, however, had no code of conduct.
"I know what you're thinking Suki! But he's not going to save you from me! I've seen him, and took care of that!" snarled Azula with a bitter laugh.
"Nooo!" screamed Suki.
"Sokka! Hold me!" Suki pleaded.
Sleeping right next to Suki, Sokka hugged and comforted her, "I have you Suki! It's alright now. You're safe."
Every night since her escape from Boiling Rock it was the same. Any time she'd nap or sleep, she had terrible nightmares from her ordeal. He held her tight from each nightmare. She shivered uncontrollably in fear. He rarely left her side - she was so mentally shaken. They were alone in their room. No one asked any questions about them being together. It was a matter of her psychological survival now.
"What was it this time, Suki?"
"The same thing, Sokka. Those terrible eyes, that upturned smirk, holding her horrible instruments. And the pain, Sokka! Pain as if I was still there!" she cried again.
He just held her like a child and rocked her in his arms, stroking her hair, still missing a few patches where Azula had yanked them out.
Sokka thought of the past few days, and knew how lucky he was to hold her again. Only a few days longer and it would have been too late.
He thought how soft, fresh, and clean she was now. Not long ago he held her just as lovingly, but then she was covered with the stench of filth and dirt, bloody, and burned as the Fire Nation's #1 prisoner. Suki had been the center of attention of the unspeakable depravity of Crown Princess Azula.
Suki seemed strong and brave during the prison break, and had fought brilliantly, capturing the Warden by herself, a feat that gained her total acceptance as a formidable warrior by Hakoda. But Suki was very damaged, running only on the adrenaline rush of escaping and the excitement of Sokka rescuing her.
The minute she stepped off that airship and the family reunion was over at the Western Air Temple, Suki collapsed. Sokka and Katara rushed to her immediately.
Katara wept as she healed Suki unceasingly for two days. This previously precision-honed warrior had many broken bones from beatings, and several dislocated joints and fingers. She had been cruelly whipped and scarred, burned in sensitive areas, and viciously lacerated. Slowly, Katara brought her back. Sokka never left her side.
Soon, Suki was confident enough to talk. Her admissions to Sokka were chilling, "Azula personally conducted most of my punishments or watched the jailers. They'd strip me, chain me, and ridicule me before the beatings. They never questioned me. They tortured me just because I was friends with the Avatar, and especially because Azula knew you loved me, Sokka. You're the 'Filthy Water Tribe Peasant's' brother!"
Sokka rose in anger at this knowledge, but Aang and Zuko both stayed his hand. They went to get some food for the girls. In that private moment, Katara stretched her healing hands over Suki's lower internal organs.
Suki asked, "Katara, you know what Azula did. Will I ever be able to have babies with Sokka?"
Katara smiled, and simply said, "You will now!"
As the boys filled the girls' bowls, "We'll get her, Sokka, I promise my sister will pay for doing this to your Suki," said Zuko as he looked Sokka directly in the eye.
That meant everything to Sokka, and he gripped Zuko's shoulder as only a real brother would.
Sokka interrupted their reflection, still nestled together, "It'll be OK now, Suki. We took you away from her and that terrible place!"
"But she's still there, Sokka! Every time I close my eyes, she's back. How will I ever sleep again? I can't stay awake forever, and I can't keep putting you through this every night!" fretted Suki.
"It'll go away in time, Suki. Remember what Aang told us. This nightmare seemed to be less intense." observed Sokka.
"Not to me it didn't! But you were right there for me as always!" she shuddered again, and he strengthened his grip to calm this broken warrior woman, now reduced to tears and fear.
She turned and looked at him, "Did you know Sokka, that you were there with me every day?"
"How, Suki? Until Zuko told us about Boiling Rock, you were completely lost to us." puzzled Sokka.
She snuggled closer to him, and caressed his face, "No silly, not in person, but in my mind! Without you, I would have never survived at all. Every day and night I filled my mind with our first real kiss, and how you protected me, even though it drove me crazy sometimes!"
Sokka mused, "Yeah, I guess I did overdo it. I was just worried to lose you, like I did..."
"Yue. Go ahead and say it Sokka. I know you loved her before me. I accept that."
Sokka quickly responded, "But she's gone, Suki. She's a spirit. You are the girl I love. Only you matter."
"I know, and thank the spirits I knew that before I got captured. I would surely be dead now without knowing how much you cared."
Sokka sighed, "But in the days ahead Suki, I can't guarantee I'll always be there. We may be apart in battle. We have to get you well, Suki. We need the warrior 'girl' I fell for back again!"
She smiled, "I'll try Sokka. Besides, I don't think I like this always-serious-Sokka I've got right now! I need the goofy warrior I fell for!
They laughed, and she said, "OK Mr. Problem Solver! Solve me!"
He thought only a moment, "Suki! I've got it!"
He stood and drew his space sword and pointed it at her!
"Whoa there big guy, if I wanted to be run through I would have stayed in prison! Plenty of weapons there to gut me!"
"No, girl, we are going to take down the Crown Princess!"
"But she's...ah...well...never mind. What do you have in mind, Sokka?"
Sokka yelled, "Toph! Get over here, right now!"
Toph sauntered over, "You two love birds need some advice? Get a room!"
"Stop it, Toph. I need real help! Can you sculpt rocks?" inquired Sokka.
"I need an image" and so he whispered to her.
"Got it!" Toph popped up a rock, and was obscured in a whirl of dust, with the sounds of rocks scraping and cracking.
As the dust settled, a perfect likeness of Azula stood before them in rock!
Sokka bowed and tipped his sword to Suki, "I yield the first thrust to the Captain of the Kyoshi Warriors!"
Suki was healthy, but still fearful from the effects of imprisonment, so Sokka led her through her stretches and breathing. She clutched her battle fan tightly.
She thought, "I am a Kyoshi Warrior! I can take you Azula!"
She launched an astonishing set of moves, leaving chips out of the statue's collarbone, neck, sides, and arm. Had it been the real Azula, she would be down and writhing.
But then Suki snapped.
Pent up anger from weeks of torture - mental and physical - tore at her now, unleashed by her pain and helplessness. She spun in an upsweeping motion. In a vicious upper cut, Suki sliced the statue from between its legs, straight up through the top of its head. The cleanly divided statue crashed to the ground in pieces.
The Gaang was dumbfounded. Even the space sword could not slice granite like that.
"It's over now, Azula. You don't own me anymore. No revenge. I'm not like you!"
Suki dropped her fan and clutched Sokka, sobbing in gratitude to him, "Oh Sokka, thank you! I love you! I'll be alright now!"
His sword clattered to the ground as he returned her hug.
She whispered, "I'm so tired Sokka, I need to sleep. Don't leave me now!"
Toph teased, "Where are you going now, guys?"
Sokka smirked as Toph's jaw dropped, "Well, you did tell us to go 'get a room'."
But despite the joke, they did just fall asleep together. And slept soundly until dawn.
Never again were there any nightmares. Only a warrior couple remained, united in their love and strength for each other.