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Chapter Four: Dark
"Look, I'm sorry—" he starts, and then his tongue lolls, and his mind is wiped like a chalkboard, and the words refuse to leave his mouth.
Her glare waterbends a spear of ice straight into his heart.
"You—you—you touched me!"
Somehow, her words take what is left of his heart and bite it, burn it, poison it, until all that is left is a dry, bitter husk.
Her hands are fluttering protectively on her silken white bikini top. A claw grasps his chin, wrenching his head up until his concerned eyes meet two discs of frost. "I'm sorry," he blubbers, feeling blood flood into his cheeks. "I'm sorry! I was panicking—I wasn't thinking—"
"No. You weren't thinking." Her voice is ice. "You never think! You're just like Jet! You think you can get away with whatever you want, and I won't notice because I'm a girl!" She turns away, wrapping the towel around her upper body. "And . . . and I trusted you . . ." she whispers.
He hesitantly reaches out a hand to put comfortingly on her shoulder, and she hits his wrist so roughly he cries out in pain. She is shivering, and the chilly wind blankets him in the same way her radiating hate does. "Katara, please, you have to understand." He can feel the tears, silver-clear, forming at the rim of his lower lids, wetting the corners of his eyes. "Please . . ."
She does not answer.
She despises him.
And he knows it.
"He was attacking us, all right?" The anger wells up in him, a brewing storm of fury, rage and ire; his arms fly out wildly. "I was just barely able to escape with my life! I nearly died! I managed to get out, and I hugged you because—because—" His vocal cords refuse to work, refuse to save him, refuse to let him let her the truth, and the wind burns him with its intense cold. "Point is, I didn't realize where I had put my hands until you told me. I wasn't even thinking about that. I just needed to . . . to . . . to hold you," he finishes lamely, one foot sliding in the sand, tracing patterns that are both ocean waves and currents of air. "You have to believe me, Katara. I would never, never, ever do that to you."
But she has already turned away. He knows. He has betrayed her trust, but he does not know why it is a betrayal.
It is like the Avatar State.
Which he cannot control.
The wind billows about him, transforming him into a glacier, an iceberg, full of darkness, frost, and death.
She has already walked away, leaving him to drop quietly to the sand, to wait as silent tears roll down his cheeks, to spend the night wishing he could turn back the clock.
To mourn, alone, in the dark.
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