"You don't. Get it."
"Of course I get it. I write too, you know."
Sokka ground his teeth painfully in attempt to stay calm. His fingers choked the brush in his grasp as he glared at the blank paper on his desk. Tears of anger were gathering at the corners of his eyes. He loved his sister dearly. She was the living proof that he was beautiful. Sokka struggled daily with his self-image and confidence despite the easygoing and carefree façade he demonstrated. But seeing Katara's pure light after so long reminded him that they came from the same veins. Katara must have inherited most of the physical allure, so that means that he got the beautiful mind. Right?
But no matter how much he loved her, it wouldn't mask her blatant insensitivity.
"Don't you get tired of being the perfect one, Katara?" His grip on the brush was tight enough to break it. His sister had finally taken a break from her third tour of the four nations, healing as many people as she could in the span of one year. Now that she was back, Sokka was forced to stare all of his insecurities in the face.
"I'm no bender. I resented myself for it every time you flicked your wrist." Sokka looked around the room, his office.
"Up until a couple years ago, I used to spend every moment alone trying to bend water. I used to beg myself to believe that I was just a late bloomer, and that I'd be just as loveable as you if I could just. Bend." Sokka stood up then, turning to face his sister and letting his tears flow freely.
"But I couldn't, Katara. I can't." She was frozen to the couch in shock. It never crossed her mind how many times camping out with the Gaang that Sokka chose to sleep near water. Or how bloodshot his eyes were the mornings after. It wasn't oversleeping, it was straining every muscle trying to do what came so natural to her. She stood slowly and tried to approach him but he held out his hand in protest. He wasn't finished.
"I finally came to terms with myself when I met Piandao. I was absolute trash with the sword but he saw something in me that only dad has. And that was the eagerness to learn. I was desperate to learn something, anything. He helped me start to like myself again, Katara."
His sister had already shed some silent tears of her own, not even wiping them. She was captivated by Sokka's pain, so shocked that she never even noticed. At the tender age of twenty-two, he seemed to have it all. He represented the Southern Water Tribe in all international affairs and trained soldiers every now and then, not for an impending war, but simply because they came knocking on Sokka's hut in pure awe. This powerful, revered, loving chief was falling apart by the seams of his tunic. But-
Katara walked over and hugged Sokka tight, feeling him shudder as he nearly broke down on her.
"Sokka, why writing?"
His brows furrowed against her shoulder before he looked at her face in confusion, wiping his cheek with the back of his hand.
"Why was writing your trigger?"
He detached himself from his sister and regained his composure, sitting down on his desk chair and facing the wall. He refused to glance down at the blank paper; it had been mocking him for nearly two weeks. A deep breath filled his lungs and he held it for a bit before exhaling and clearing his throat.
"Writing is the only natural skill that I possess, Katara." His voice was a faint whisper but she heard him clear as day.
"Since you've been traveling, I've been writing for the children of the tribe. Every now and then I'd arrange a huge bonfire, just to read the stories that I write for all of them. Every child gets their own story. Last week was Naja, you know, Kahn and Nokosa's girl? She hugged me after. She thanked me for making her sound like a heroine. And do you know what I said to her?"
Katara shook her head.
"I told her that she was a heroine. She just didn't know it yet."
A small smile took residence on her lips and she reached for Sokka's shoulder, squeezing it gently. "That's really sweet."
"I've always been good with writing, Katara. I know there aren't many children here but if I can make them smile with my words then everything, the pain and all, is worth it. It's who I am, it's what I do. I make people smile."
"You're the chief..but that's not your identity, is it," she trailed off.
"No, Katara," Sokka picked up his brush once more and turned slightly to catch her eye. "This is my identity."
Katara nodded once more, kneeling down next to him and taking his hand. "Now I understand why this writer's block is so important to you. I'm sorry that I didn't notice everything before, Sokka."
Katara thought for a moment and pulled a chair up to the side of his desk, folding her arms and watching her brother patiently.
"Write something for me."
Sokka glanced at the inkstone, mumbling. "I can't."
"Look at me, Sokka."
After some time he hesitantly obeyed, finding her warm gaze in a haze of insecurity.
"I believe in you, Sokka. You're capable of many great things. And this block just needs a little inspiration. I don't care what it's about, or how eloquent it is. Just write, okay? And I'll be more than happy to listen to it whenever you finish."
Sokka gulped, tears were welling in his eyes again.
"You really believe in me?"
Katara's small smile was the only answer he needed. He returned one back and turned his attention to the blank paper. His hand unconsciously moved to the inkstone, dousing the brush in a light layer.
He released a huge breath that he didn't even know he was holding, joining his sister in a much-needed burst of laughter. A smile of his own lingered afterwards as he put his brush to paper for the first time in weeks.