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|More from PSUAvatar14||Hurt, comfort||PG (Violence early)||None yet|
26 July 2014
Building on the events of the previous chapter, Katara and Aang find out what really happened, resulting in a close talk.
The very same...
They tried to get up as they got hit on every part of their body. Blood fell from their faces and their arms quickly swelled up as their "guards" held them down, allowing the barrage of attacks to strike them, leaving them defenseless.
Neither of them could believe it - about to potentially meet their end at the hands of men and women they had nothing but good intentions for.
They didn't deserve an end like this.
They saved the world.
Isn't that was supposed to matter?
Wasn't that all for Aang?
And why were they also taking it out on Katara? What did she do?
It's all they could think of as their lives flashed before they eyes...
At that moment, the couple suddenly snapped awake from their sleep. Katara let out a slight yelp as she shot up from her bed, while Aang quickly grabbed his heart. Each felt sweat falling down their faces and grasped their hearts as they tried to catch their breath. They each breathed heavily, trying to make sense of what had happened as they turned to each other.
"Aang... are you a-a-all right?" Katara got out breathlessly.
After a couple of quick breaths, Aang finally managed to get out, "Y-y-yes, I am. How about...you, Katara?"
Her breathing slowed down and she got a deep inhale, stabilizing herself. "I'm okay, Aang. I'm okay..."
The couple continued to try and process what was going on, checking around the room to see that, fortunately, it was only them, their beds, the dresser sets, and a couple tables. Katara looked out the window and saw no villagers marching for their house, just a few trees and the grass to be found, somewhat lit up by the night. Aang turned to the door and did, however, see the two guards coming for their room. Instead of a look of vengeance, however, they were clearly concerned. They took earthbending stances in potential defense.
"Avatar Aang, Master Katara, is everything all right in here?" One of them asked. "We heard screaming."
Aang waved a dismissing hand. "Everything's fine. No one in here but us."
"Fair enough," the lead guard replied, "But do you mind if we just quickly look around? We'd rather not take any chances right now, especially with the testy villagers."
"That's fine," Katara replied.
As the guards went around the house, the two rose from their beds and made their way out of the bedroom, each of them not sure what to think - they appeared to have had a simultaneous terror in the night. Katara decided to head to the kitchen and grab her water skin. "Aang, would you like some water or something?"
"Sure," the Avatar answered with a nod.
The waterbender grabbed two small glasses from the cabinet and placed them on the wooden table next to the pouch of water. She raised her hands slowly and bent small amounts of the liquid from it and splashed it into the glasses. With her boyfriend now on the couch, she made her way over with the glasses and handed one to him before sitting down next to him. They each took a sip and placed them down on side tables next to the couch.
"That was the most realistic nightmare I've ever had," Aang said, holding his hand to his face briefly. "I don't think I've ever feared for our lives as I did right there."
Katara folded her arms across her chest and bent her head down. "I feared all the same. What happened in your nightmare, anyway?"
The young Avatar regathered his thoughts and flashed back to what he saw. "I remember seeing no guards around the house, instead hearing the rapid movement of people. Then I heard the villagers and guards yell at our door, threatening to break in and attack. I opened the door to reason with them...and then they charged in and attacked us both." He started to tremble as he reached the final scene of it. "I...I...I saw them knocking us down, beating us left and right. I tried to counter, tried to get up...b-b-but they had us pinned. M-my life flashed before my eyes..." he began to tear up. "...e-e-everything fading away from me...all our hopes and everything...and just trying to ap-apologize for all I had done...then I woke up."
Katara quickly reached forward and laid her hands on his shoulders, trying to calm him down. "Aang, Aang...it's all over, okay? You're all right. It was just a nightmare. You're here, safe and sound."
Aang just took a deep breath and raised his hands to hers, clutching them tightly. "I'm glad I am...I'm so very glad. That was so scary."
The young waterbender nodded, understanding the fright he felt. As she thought about her own fright, she played back the images in her head, closing her eyes. As she saw them remanifest before her, she saw some of the same things her boyfriend had described. No, it can't be... she thought to herself.
But there the images were.
She saw the lack of guards, the people marching to the house, the door being broken down...
And she yelped again, jumping back somewhat.
"Katara?" Aang called for her. "Is everything okay?"
She felt her heart beat faster, as if it were trying to jump right out of her body. Katara tried her best to catch her breath again, inhaling and exhaling deeply. She settled herself and said, "Spirits...Aang, wait. Did you say you saw the villagers breaking down the door...attacking us...your life before your eyes?"
Aang nodded. "That's what I saw, yes."
Katara took that answer in and gave another thought about those visions. She remembered growing frightened as the villagers bore down on her, striking her relentlessly, and seeing every moment appear before her just as Aang had described. She remembered everything slipping away.
"Aang...we had the same nightmare..."
The young Avatar looked at his girlfriend curiously, wondering how what she said could even be possible. "Wait...the same dream at the same time? I...how..."
"I wish I could say," the waterbender responded. "But yeah...I had the same thing. The beating, life flashing before my eyes, all my hope fading away as we were under attack. I just remember not knowing what to think as it all faded from us."
Aang laid his hands over hers again, clutching them tightly. "I can't believe it. The same thoughts at the same time, the same fears...the same loss."
The two had enough difficulty wrapping themselves around the nightmare itself; the fact that they had it simultaneously, down to the exact details, was just flat out unbelievable. What possibly could have prompted the same dream at the same time? Was it just what the two shared? Was it the factors surrounding them in this village?
As they continued to think, the guards made their way downstairs to the living room. "No threats to be found, the house looks secure. We'll head back out front now," the lead man said.
"Thank you," Aang said, bowing his head slightly in respect before the guards made their way back outside, surrounding it for their protection.
Aang and Katara turned back to look at one another, each of them looking worriedly at the other over their double nightmare. Unsure of what more to say about that specific one, they began to discuss something that had consistently burdened them.
"Katara..." the Avatar began, "if we're going to talk about nightmares...I may as well be honest and tell you."
The Water Tribe girl eyed him curiously. "What is it, Aang?"
He sighed and bowed his head again. "It's not the first time I've had a nightmare about losing you, or us being attacked." He ticked back up to look her directly in the eyes. "During the war, and now even after...I've had these scares every now and then. Fear of Fire Nation troops ambushing us, or otherwise angered citizens for whatever reason. Though this is the first time I've had a nightmare about Earth Kingdom villagers doing this." Aang sighed again before continuing, "I guess I just have a fear of losing you...or a fear of failing my mission...the world again...a fear of an incomplete life."
"Oh..." Katara murmured, moving closer to him and placing her hands on his shoulders again. "I see...but Aang, you shouldn't fear about an incomplete life. You saved the world..."
"But it's obvious I have a lot more to do," Aang responded. "Ending the war was the first step. There's still decolonization, rebuilding like we're trying here, and not to mention...well, us." He grew kind of sheepish at that.
"I think you're doing a great job," Katara assured him with a smile. "Things are moving along. Eventually, these villagers will calm their bitterness and realize we're only here to help things move forward, get them back on the right path. We can do this, together, just like we always have."
The young monk nodded. "I know we can...but beyond that, it's not the point." He dipped his head again, frowning. "Katara...I don't want to lose you, either...that's been another part of my nightmares. Someone takes you away, tries to harm you...tonight was just one of them."
Katara froze, tilting back a bit, her look beginning to sadden as she realized his fears...and even began to consider her own. Leaning back toward him and moving closer - borderline embracing him - she whispered, "that makes two of us fearful of loss."
Aang looked at her worriedly as she confessed this. "You...you also have had nightmares about losing me?"
"Yeah," she answered with a sigh. "And...I think even longer than you have had them. Really, ever since we met, and we first became good friends. At first, I think it was because of the consequences it would have for the world. Then...and especially after Ba Sing Se -" she buried her head for a moment, feeling tears beginning to sting her eyes, "- it became more personal. I myself did not want to lose you. I would have nightmares about Azula coming for you, or even some of what you're saying...rebellions, ambushes, now tonight...and I just can't..."
The Avatar did what the waterbender stopped short of doing and wrapped his arms around her, pulling him close to her. "Katara...it's okay. They're only nightmares...I'm here," he whispered.
Embracing him warmly but trembling a bit, she wanted to assure him the same. "So am I, Aang. Don't ever worry about me being taken from you...I'll always be here."
Aang nodded, he himself beginning to tear up and clutching her closer to him. "M-Maybe this is why we have these nightmares," he muttered. "We're just so close to each other...we fear the loss of the other."
"A fear of helplessness..." Katara added. "I've been there, Aang. It's not fun...and I think you're right. I love you so much, and losing you again would be..." she shuddered, not even wanting to entertain the thought.
"I love you every bit as much," Aang whispered into her ear. "I couldn't bear the idea of losing you either. You're my entire world." He brushed her hair lightly with his hand. "Maybe we just need to learn not to fear, but cherish what we have together. We can contend with problems if and when they arise."
Katara nodded. "Yeah, we can't fear. We are here together and there is no one threatening us, at least right now. Living a life of fear, no one has time to live it like that. Happy thoughts..."
"Right...living our lives paralyzed in fright, that's no way to go about it...and especially not for us," the monk noted. "Think of the positives..." he smiled warmly, seeing whose arms he was in and where his own were. "Like right now," he whispered again, holding the Water Tribe girl tightly.
"Yes, like now," Katara mused, resting on his shoulder and rubbing his back. She soon began to rock the two gently from left to right, humming softly as she relaxed in his arms.
Also feeling relaxed, Aang muttered, "I don't think we'll be having any more nightmares tonight, Katara."
Smiling brightly, Katara quietly said, "I agree. I think we'll be just fine...but if you have another, feel free to come to me, Aang. I'll always be here for you."
"I promise you the very same," her boyfriend offered. "I love you, Katara."
"I love you too, Aang," she replied.
And the two just continued to hug, freeing themselves from the nightmares.
Nightmares would probably always be in their lives, coming up every so often.
Maybe ones with loss as well.
But as long as they had each other, there were none of them to be had.
- Yep, got a quick little idea to merge this and "Midnight" into a warm Kataang moment.
For the collective works of the author, go here.