Hakoda watches for a moment while his son speaks to a man clad in ivory and indigo. It's not different to what many of the Lotus wear, nothing indicates his rank among his brethren nor obvious signs of his nationality. His skin is dark as men of the Northern Tribe and his eyes are dark, yet his hair is pulled into Fire Nation style. The man's face is serene and aged, wise and pleasant.
There's admiration in his son's eyes. Even from a distance away, Hakoda can see that.
Shining and bright, Sokka hovers eagerly with the man who might be Fire. The man smiles to the boy, a tried but delighted smile that relishes the story that Sokka babbles. The man's hand falls upon the boy's shoulder and squeezes tightly as they step away from the General, the Admiral, the King, and the Water Master. The step is easy and light and Sokka near bounces, showing moves with a figment of a sword. The man just adjusts the position that Sokka holds.
Like a father-warrior should do for his son. Like Hakoda should have done.
The man stops and looks at Sokka, and Sokka's face suddenly falls. Lips barely move. And the Fire Man smiles and suddenly hugs Sokka like a son. The boy pulls away with a smile of relief and...
This man has been teaching Hakoda's boy how to fight.
How to make weapons.
This man has been teaching Hakoda's son.
Sokka looks towards Hakoda then, and smiles before breaking away from the Swordsman.
The man that Sokka runs to looks so happy.
Despite what propaganda once said, Piandao has long found it easy to tell a Southern Water Tribe from a Northern if they display pride in their nation. The man is not tall and wears light blue clothing, the color of the sky, rather than the dark navy, the color of the sea. They wear jewelry, always, as indicators of rank. The man is handsome with hewn cheekbones and eyes exactly like Sokka's.
A chill of realization runs through Piandao's blood as his pupil reaches the man who must be his father. The man with sharp cheekbones smiles heartfelt smile and Sokka rushes into the man's arms and the man draws him tight.
Piandao's blood becomes warm again, leaving his stomach in knots. He watches the boy talk to his father and Piandao wonders what happened? Water Tribe boys learn from their fathers. There was a solid foundation when Sokka came to Piandao and knelt before him. There had been a father.
But the boy was nearly a man, and potential could have been wasted. What kind of sloppy father had been...
Then he notices the necklace around the father's neck. The symbol of the Chieftain of the Tribe.
He thought the boy's father was dead. But the jealous pain still knots in Piandao's stomach.