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But we would be hollow. Empty rooms, shuttered and dank... without passion, we'd be truly dead.
Aang held Katara close as he watched the night sky pass them by.
The all too familiar moon above providing a calm, serene setting for the two. Katara, silently breathing in and out, lay on his chest as she slept, feeling as light as a feather.
His hand slowly lifted up from the ground as he gently placed his hand on her beautiful, long hair. His hand gently caressing her, careful as to not wake his perfect girl. Aang saw a star shoot over head and he relaxed his eyes, falling in to a deep slumber.
This was heaven.
This... was a nightmare.
Aang felt a sudden pull on his body and snapped his eyes open. The sky was red, raining blood, and all around him he could feel the heat of burning trees. Everything around him was burning and he looked down at Katara.
She was gone, replaced with bones that disintegrated to dust before his very eyes.
Aang blinked and it all changed again. He was standing, the burning and blood gone, replaced with nothing but darkness. Nothing around him, nothing in the distance.
He was truly alone.
Silence, until a cold voice began to echo around.
"She used to mention you all the time."
Azula's words reached deep inside Aang, a strike through his chest.
"She kept saying you'd come for her. But that didn't last long."
The pain upon hearing the words the first time had been too much.
"She soon realised just how much of a failure you are."
Tears now streamed down his face.
"She gave up long before I put her out of her..."
"No!" Aang's voiced echoed around him as he tried to drown out Azula's words.
His tears dropped in to the darkness below him. He closed his eyes and began to wish away his feelings once more.
But he couldn't hide here, not to himself.
"I've failed," Aang heard himself say, words coming out of his mouth before he even thought them. "Even with all my power... I couldn't stop Azula. I couldn't stop her from taking Katara..."
Suddenly a light appeared ahead of him, the light reflecting in his eyes as he opened them. As if drawn by the one beacon of hope, Aang rushed toward it, but he didn't seem to get any closer. The light only seemed to fade further and further away. "No... I need that light. I need my light." Again, the words flowed through him without forethought.
Suddenly he heard it. A voice. But not just any voice. Her voice.
"Katara? Katara, I failed... I failed the world before and I've failed again. I've failed you." This time, his words were his own. "I couldn't save the world. I couldn't save my world. Azula has won. I'm sorry, Katara."
Suddenly the light began to warp and change, becoming the form of an approaching Katara as he had last seen her. She was wearing her Water Tribe garb, as beautiful as he remembered. Her hair was loose and swaying as if there was a gentle breeze. Her hand reached up to touch his cheek.
Aang felt the warm touch he had longed to feel. The touch that he had been without for twelve long and painful days. His eyes began to well with tears as he reached up to grab her hand, never wanting to let go.
But he would have to, and the cold he had become so well acquainted with returned with the realisation.
"This... this isn't real. I know it's not. Azula... she... she told me what she did. I couldn't stop her. I was too late. I couldn't stop her from capturing you. I couldn't stop her from..." His voice trailed off as he looked away, dropping her hand in the process. I don't deserve to see her beautiful face.
"Do you really believe that?" Katara's hands reached up to cup his cheeks and turned him to face her. Katara moved her head closer and brought Aang in to a kiss.
Aang felt warm, warmer than he'd felt for days. The kiss washed away his fears and worries.
Katara pulled back, catching Aang by surprise.
Aang looked around to find himself standing outside the Jasmine Dragon, the same place they had stood five years ago.
Aang remembered the first time they were there. He remembered it like it was yesterday, he remembered the kiss. It had felt like an eternity had gone by. But back then, he knew that once they had turned to watch the sun set, he'd be spending the rest of his life with Katara. This time, he didn't want it to end. He wanted the kiss to last forever, to hold her close forever.
Aang returned his gaze to Katara as she spoke. "Do you understand now?"
"But if you're here... " Aang turned away as he spoke, and the sunset of Ba Sing Se faded away. Ba Sing Se began to dissolve around them, the darkness returning. "It's too late..."
Katara pulled him into a comforting embrace and held him close as she whispered in his ear. "Aang... you haven't lost me. I'm still waiting for you to come and find me."
Katara stood back as Aang opened his mouth to speak, his worst fear sitting at the back of his mind, threatening to surface.
But Katara cut him off. "It's not over yet, you know it's not. And don't worry..."
Katara's words echoed around Aang as she disappeared in front of his eyes, but Aang's expression had changed.
Tears streamed down his face and he closed his eyes as a smile spread across his lips. The darkness around him appeared to lift, a glow spreading from his body. An image of lightning flashed in his mind briefly.
Katara's final words filled his mind as his eyes opened to reveal the white within.
"Aang... I will always love you."
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