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Monday, July 25, 2011

Liquid Words (Fic)

A Tikaani fic that is set in the original universe

Liquid Words

Fandom: Avatar:TLA

Rating: PG

Characters: Ocs (Tikaani and his family) Aang


Summary: What if Tikaani could bend? Would bending be his language?

AN: I was inspired by a bending/sign language fic (which is amazing) Tikaani is my semi-verbal autistic OC, he's normally a non-bender, but what if he could bend?


She had no idea what she was doing, it was honestly a irrational decision to adopt her sister's son. Tikaani was almost twenty months old, and screamed for most of the day. He slammed his head on the walls of his house. Would break things meaninglessly, spin in circles and when he was silent he would stare. For hours. Agna called him a monster, Tigtuk called him a failure. Hanai called him her nephew and instead of drowning him, she adopted the delayed but beautiful boy and hope with time and patience he will speak and speak well.


love, love is a verb

Maka was not ready to raise his nephew. He was nervous around the confusing young boy, who seem impossible to toilet train and feed and even hold. He didn't want to be held for some reason. That confused Maka. He loved cuddling with all of his children but only Tikaani would shriek and shove him away. Tikaani wouldn't even look him in the eye, but at the window or at the floor. It was starting to wear on Maka and Amana, Hanai's brother. They saw Tikaani, and saw only a shell of human being. Wordless, and hollow. Maka silently agreed, that Tigtuk should have drowned him. There was no hope for this one.

Then Tikaani at age three, spoke.

Not with verbal speech, but with an older, more liquid tongue. Tikaani had his hands waving about him one evening. Flapping incessantly as Hanai and her son, Rahmet made dinner. The eight year old turn his head to the sound of ice cracking. He heard his cousin laugh and jerked his head around to see his nephew bending crack into the ice walls.

“MAMA! Tikaani...is bending!” said an astonished Rahmet. Hanai dropped her uluu and ran to the toddler giggling in the corner. It never occurred to Hanai that Tikaani could be a bender like Rahmet, Amana and Maka. It seemed to be an uncommon trait in her family, Tigtuk wasn't a bender neither was Agna. Yet Tikaani inherited the words of ocean and moon, it was peculiar. Very peculiar.

“Whoa! Check out what Tikaani did mom! He made rings with his bending. That's so cool!” Rahmet said with a half-quirked grin. Hanai was busy giving Tikaani a toy to play with. Keeping those hands of his busy. She looked over her shoulder and saw what Tikaani bent. Rings. All interconnected. Like a strange chain. It was in neat tight rows, but Tikaani bent circular cracks, in strange patterns. It was bizarre and almost scary. She had to talk to Maka. She had no idea what this would mean for them. Tikaani couldn't talk, but he could bend, and bend in an odd way.


At age five Tikaani's bizarre language began to form with his bending. If he wanted to say “I want” he would try use bending to get it. Because of his lack of body awareness, his bending was lopsided and off. Maka helped him refine it and Amana encouraged him.

“Do you want the cookie Tikaani?” asked Maka as he sat in front of him. Hanai was holding him using a shallow dish of water as his resource. “Can you bend me 'yes'?” he prompted holding out the sweet rice biscuit. Tikaani moaned and tried to wriggle out. Maka prompted him again trying to remain patient, but after the third week of “supported bending” it was getting very clear that it wasn't working. Hanai was getting worried if Tikaani didn't learn to control his bending. It could end up destroying him...and them.

“C'mon Tikaani, bend 'yes' for me. Use that gift you have.” Maka coaxed. Tikaani tried to get free. Just as Maka was going to get up and tell Hanai to let him go. Tikaani screamed and used a tendril of water to whip the cookie out Maka's hand. “OW! Goddamn it!” he snapped as the cookie laid on the ice in half. Quickly Tikaani used another water tendril to grab the cookie halves and bring them to him. Not a second was spared as he ate his treat. Maka looked astounded, but amused. His nephew clearly said: “GIVE ME THE DAMN COOKIE!”


Excellent words, I can hear them now...

Tikaani was steadily improving. Constant intensive bending plus using bending as form of adaptive language was a unique solution to being non-verbal. Which was a reality that was starting to crash into the rest of the family. Elang, Hanai's eldest was almost non existent at home. He never told the other buffalo-yak riders about Tikaani, neither did Qannit, who spent most of her time with the other seamstresses. The siblings never spoke a word about their cousin, he became something like a family secret, and a family blessing.

Amana observed Tikaani as Hanai and Maka worked with their nephew. He was trying to communicate not bend. For verbal benders, bending was just a means to a complete a task or win a fight. It was a language that many benders spoke but not communicated with. When Tikaani bent it wasn't because he wanted to fight, or make the water move, but because he need to say something. Which is why his bending was different than children his age. He had trouble learning the simple “push-pull” that small toddlers could learn, but he could make water tendrils to point and grab things. He was more skilled with his hands, but his foot work was clearly haphazard. He needed refinement and formal schooling. Yet Hanai objected,

“He isn't ready for school.” said Hanai as Maka lifted Tikaani's hands and made him move in the right order to do a bending pose. It was facilitated bending, but it was teaching his muscles how to move. Amana watched as Maka made Tikaani do the poses over and over. He pulled away and Tikaani repeated the pose on his own.

“Niiiice work Tikaani!” Maka praised lifting water up and turning it into snow to sprinkle down on to Tikaani. The boy laughed and did the same thing, causing Amana's jaw to drop a bit. He couldn't make snow until he was almost 13, it took a lot of control, but he could do it easily. Tikaani toss the water back up again and made snow over and over.

“Ok now he is just parroting, but he obviously over joyed. Look, Tikaani needs a private tutor not a formal school. Pakku would just belittle him and not give him a chance. We need someone to teach him one on one, and we can do that.” she explained as the did the pose again. It was a step and sweeping motion to create waves. It was the push-pull but executed in a manner that made sense to Tikaani. If Amana would think on it, it was like telling Tikaani to do something but breaking the sentence down so he can process it better. The bending conversation could be explained like this: First you must do this, Then you can do this It was breaking the bending down into less complicated poses and then slowly stringing them together into a full 'sentence'. They did it slowly so Tikaani could understand. After he got the hang of it, he can tweak the sentence into any way he wants. So it would be more efficient, but he had to understand the formal “phrase” before he can make it “slang-y” After watching this for a while Amana could understand how Tikaani communicated and how Maka taught him how to bend. A conversation could be like this:

Maka would bend a wave to him, How are you today? Tikaani would redirect the wave back to him remember how to push the water back. I am good, then Maka would turn a circle lifting the wave of water into a fluid stream and send it to Tikaani That's nice to know, we might go fishing today would you like that? Maka would say, flowing the stream to Tikaani, sometimes Tikaani would drop it and would “repeat” a bending phrase over and over if he is confused, but today. I would like that uncle, just us? he responded by taking the stream of water and turning around with it before sending it back to him on the ice in a wave. Maka lifted it back up and turned into a fine snow to sprinkle down on Tikaani, a big grin was on his face. Maka just responded. Yeah...just us kiddo


At age seven, Tikaani was catching up, not developmentally...but as a bender. He still wasn't fully toilet trained, he couldn't be left alone, but he could use bending to trip up Maka in battle. Hanai smiled fondly as Tikaani could keep up and almost out bend Rahmet. It was starting to become apparent that Tikaani skill was vastly improving only because he was non-verbal if he was verbal, he probably wouldn't be so dependent on using bending to communicate and thus, would probably still be a beginner bender.

Yet, because of that need. Tikaani was using his bending to say everything he couldn't say. Words...that flow over Rahmet's head. Tikaani was far more fluent than Rahmet could ever be at his age.


There was very deep silence in Maka's house. Tikaani's bending skill at age ten was made fully clear when he had a severe meltdown. Maka nursed a black eye and Amana sat with a bandaged arm. Tikaani ran off again, and while trying to drag him back him he unleashed a volley of insults. Half words and babbling in the form of ice daggers and melting the ice underneath them. As he writhed and tantrumed on the ice. Maka had to keep his balance, his nephew's meltdown was causing massive gashes in the ice around them, threatening them all.

After finally getting him home, they sat in silence thinking what to do about Tikaani. His bending was incredible, but he was a risk to himself and to his family if he couldn't control his meltdowns. Hanai watched as Tikaani talked to himself, making rings in the ice again. His soothing babbling was keeping him from lashing out in anger. She had to ask.

“Why did he get so angry at you, normally when he runs off he comes back just fine?” the question lingered like a putrid odor. Then Maka spoke.

“Tikaani ran away not because he saw something or heard something...he ran because we told him his father wanted custody back.”


The custody battle between Tigtuk and Maka was long and bloody. The city elders tried to moderate the feud, but there was so much tense emotion that it was getting to the point that Arnook needed to make a choice for the family. Meanwhile Tikaani was training with Pakku who decided to tutor Tikaani in private.

Pakku heard rumors of the “idiot savant”, years ago when Rahmet bragged about his non-verbal cousin and his amazing bending skills. Pakku watched him a few times with Amana. He had to admit Tikaani had a lot of potential, more than that. Tikaani had a window into a world he was ill adapted for. Feeling strings of philanthropy, Pakku decided to play therapist and sifu for Tikaani who was caught in this bloody custody war.

Pakku was sparing with the almost eleven year old child. Tikaani was still delayed in some areas, but caught up in others. He was toilet trained, and could feed himself and clothe himself without help. But still needed to be supervised and his aggression was starting be more frequent. Yet he was reaching masterhood in a fast pace. Savant indeed.

Pakku swerved a wave of water at Tikaani as he repelled it back with shards of ice, eyes focused and in thought.

Who do you want to live with Tikaani? Hanai or Tigtuk? asked Pakku as he continue to send waves of water at the boy.

Hanai of course, she loves me, but honestly I'm just a tool for them all. The only reason they didn't kill me as a child was because I could bend. The only reason my father wants me back, is because I am just fucking weapon Tikaani reply was full of vitriol and pain, sending the waves back in massive surges of ice which Pakku could block easily his calming words trying to soothe Tikaani.

I know you feel used, but I think you should tell the elders who you want to live with. I know you can communicate that to them, but you must not let anger be your voice. The waves were smaller as they lifted Tikaani up on a pedestal. Tikaani responded by melting it and turning the ice into a globe to cover himself up. Sealing himself from Pakku.

They won't listen to me! They just see the idiot. The retard. They don't see the savant. They don't see the warrior. They will make the choice for me. As they always have done. I have words, they might not be in the simple mouth sounds that people prefer, but they are still my words Tikaani declared by turning the globe of ice into a massive wave of water then morph the ice into daggers to fall on Pakku. The elder swept all of them and sunk them into the icy arena.

“Yes. And what beautiful words you have. Purer and unfettered. Despite your disability Tikaani you do have a voice and I feel your frustration. Yet do not let the anger in your heart eat you. Let it go Tikaani, you speak clearly without rage.” warned Pakku approaching Tikaani and placing a gloved hand on his shoulder. Tikaani was still, there was nothing else to say. After a moment though he lifted his hand and pulled a globe of water and let it rest in his palm.

I will speak calmly


The custody war was finally over when Pakku told the elders that Tikaani should chose where to stay. The elders disagreed at first but then after discussion it was decided that Tikaani could communicate clearly enough to pick who he wants to live with. Tikaani made his choice by simply lifting a wave of water and blanketing Hanai and Maka with snow. Pakku smiled as Tikaani made his choice without the unbridled rage he normally had. Despite what the elders assume of Tikaani's competence, they agreed that the gestured was appropriate and made the declaration that Tikaani will remain the ward of Maka son of Barong. Tikaani walked home with peace in his heart, words still unfettered.


“You've gotta be kidding me! I can't fight this kid. He doesn't even look like...he's all the way there!” argued Katara as she stood akimbo to Tikaani who was playing with his favorite top. His long hair flowed over his shoulders and deep blue eyes were lost in the spinning of the top on the ice of the training arena. Aang watched him before getting up deciding that Tikaani would be an easy match.

“C'mon Katara, Pakku just wants us to help him. I'll spar him Sifu!” announced Aang getting up and approaching Tikaani.

“Very well Avatar, I am glad to see you're up for a challenge. I am disappointed that you were not Katara. I would think you would find our Tikaani more of a match than your other peers.” Pakku said simply getting to Tikaani's level and using a tendril of water to pull the top away gently. Time for a new game. Do you want to spar with Aang? Tikaani got up and looked at the top for a moment before rubbing his hands on his face and pulling his hair for a moment. Pakku let him stim watching him as Tikaani turned to face Aang. The airbender smiled at the twelve year old waterbender who hummed and flapped his hands. Tikaani bent a stream of water and sent it at Pakku, Ok. I will, he looks easy. Katara had her hands crossed and look at Aang with a raised eyebrow.

“Aang I don't think this is fair, Pakku is just setting you up! Do you really want to fight against him?” she complained as Aang got into a stance.

“Come on Katara how hard can he be? He isn't even looking at me!” Aang sent a wave of water at the Tikaani while his back was turn grinning thinking he would catch him off guard. He was shocked when Tikaani whirled around sending the wave back, swirling it around Aang. The Avatar tried redirect the surge back to Tikaani, but the boy had it under control. Pakku had a smug look on his face as Tikaani was introducing himself to Aang. Showing him who he was. Words completely lost on the Avatar. Tikaani pulled the water back before Aang had a chance to bend it away from him and he solidified it back into the arena. Aang just stood there perplexed as Tikaani went back to stimming again and making ice rings.

“Wow! He could bend just as good as you Katara, but what's wrong with him? He doesn't look like he even knows we exist.” Aang noted as Tikaani bent more rings. Pakku explained, as Tikaani babbled to himself.

“Tikaani is a waterbending savant. He has some sort of...mental delay as child. He can't talk like you and I but he can speak through his bending. He was introducing himself to you. Since you didn't reply he stopped the conversation and when back to talking to himself. Let this be a lesson to you both, do not assume anything about your opponent. Do not draw conclusions about them before the bout begins or you will lose. You will find that many of your opponents are not always what they seem.” Katara felt a bit humbled by this. Walking up slowly to Tikaani she melted the ice rings he was making and turned them into little ice towers.

I'm Katara. Do you want to spar? Tikaani looked up and sent a wave back to her. Yeah ok!

And then, the conversation started again.


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