Master and Student

"You're limping," was the first thing Piandao said when master and student reunited for the first time in two years.

Sokka stopped halfway through his please-take-me-on-as-your-student-again speech and squirmed under Piandao's piercing gaze.

"Uh... yeah. I broke my leg during the war and it didn't heal quite right."

He was honestly surprised that Piandao had noticed his limp, because it was really very slight, hardly noticeable unless he was especially tired. Although, really, he shouldn't have been surprised that those piercing grey eyes would catch these tiny details.

"I seem to recall you mentioning that your sister is a healer" Piandao said, and Sokka squirmed again.

"Yeah, well, she had a lot of people to take care of after the war. Zuko was in really bad shape... She didn't have time to heal me properly."

Piandao continued to regard him sternly, until Sokka admitted, in a rush, "And I walked on it before it healed completely... which didn't help."

Piandao sighed and shook his head, arms crossed.

"A swordsman's body is his weapon. The sword is merely an extension of the body. You need to take care of your weapon, Sokka."

Sokka nodded profusely, and decided that it was probably best not to mention that he was secretly proud of his limp. Finally, proof that he was a warrior, that he'd fought through a war and come out, not unscathed, but alive and stronger for his suffering. He would have preferred a nice, obvious scar (and he envied Zuko and Aang in that regard, although he was careful never to mention it to their faces, especially to Zuko) but he took what he could get.

"And where is your sword" Piandao asked, his frown deepening.

"Lost it," Sokka admitted, averting his eyes. "During the war."

His sword had never been found, but days after Sozin's Comet, he'd found his boomerang, in a jumbled pile of unclaimed weapons left on the battlefield.

He'd been ecstatic, but not entirely surprised. Boomerang always came back.

And although he decided it was also unwise to tell Piandao this, given the choice to retrieve only one of his weapons, Sokka would have chosen Boomerang over his Space Sword a thousand times over.

"What am I going to do with you" Piandao grumbled.

Sokka lifted his head and flashed his master a grin that quickly went from hesitant to eager.

"Train me" he suggested hopefully.

And Piandao smiled, because he'd known from the beginning that he could never refuse those bright blue eyes and that curious mind.