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Chapter Thirty-Nine: Dreams
"We need you, Aang . . ."
She waves, her legs hooked around the neck of the great bat lemur, his wings spanning a larger length than even Appa's, except that the sky bison doesn't have any wings. He smiles, waving back. "I need you, too," he chirps happily, flicking the reins.
On his other hand, Sokka soars on an Airbender's glider. I wonder where he got that from. Must be mine. That's okay. He can use it.
Black clouds lurch ahead, a coming storm. "Be careful, guys!" he cries. "Guys?!"
He turns his head from side to side, looking for Sokka, looking for her.
But they . . .
The hurricane looms overhead, its dark belly swollen with rain and thunder. Something shimmers in the corner of his eye, and he glances upwards to see . . .
The monk's gaze is sad and melancholy. "Why did you disappear . . . ?"
He swallows. "I didn't mean to!" he protests defensively, but his earlier joy has all but been swept away like a furious gale sweeps away the gray remains of a once-merry flame. The monk only frowns.
He reaches out.
Don't leave me, he begs. Don't leave me—please—
But the monk has turned to ashes.
Ashes on the air.
Like ashes on the air.
"We need you, Aang." Monk Gyatso, still speaking from beyond the veil.
"We need you Aang . . ."
So many voices.
So many voices.
He is in the sea, and he is drowning—he is dying—he—no—please—spirits—
And lightning cleaves the air, illuminating the Fire Lord, death in all its fury—
"Huh? What's going on?" Sokka's voice. "Did we get captured again?"
It was a dream.
Just . . . a dream.
A bad one.
"It's nothing, I just had a bad dream. Go back to sleep." He curls himself into a ball. I don't want to talk about it. Sokka mumbles something else and falls silent.
"Are you all right, Aang?" The concern weighs down her voice like a stone upon an injured bird.
He takes a calming breath. "I'm okay."
"You seem to be having a lot of nightmares lately . . ." She pauses as if considering whether to gather him up in her arms or not. "You want to tell me about it?"
She'd understand . . . no. I can't burden her . . . she doesn't want to know about my nightmares. I know that much . . . but she would understand . . . I'll just smile. I can't ruin her day, too. I have nightmares. So what? I think they'll pass . . .
He blinks, curling himself up tighter. "I think I just need some rest," he murmurs, so soft he isn't sure if she can hear.
He can feel her, about to hug him.
But she doesn't.
And all he has are dreams.
I accidentally put this during "Bitter Work" initially, mostly because I was thinking about Chapter Forty. Anyway -
The original version of this chapter? The entire second half wasn't there, merely a continuation of the first. It was very vivid . . . but it wasn't right for the fanon. Vulmen thankfully managed to catch me before my repetition swam all over the place.
If you've ever had an insane dream, you should know that while you're in the dream, it doesn't feel insane. It feels perfectly normal . . . or maybe I'm the insane one. =P
"The hurricane looms overhead, its dark belly swollen with rain and thunder." -> I love this line! It's so . . . powerful. I can't believe I wrote it. That was over a month ago! D:
"Ashes on the air." -> Ashes and air is a common motif in my work. There's a reason "DAA" stands for "Daughter of Ashes and Air".
""We need you, Aang." Monk Gyatso, still speaking from beyond the veil." -> How dare I? Is that a Harry Potter reference? We all love you, Sirius.
"The concern weighs down her voice like a stone upon an injured bird." -> Uh . . . don't put stone on injured birds. O_o This and the wolf in the trap. My two great . . . uh . . . animal rescue failures.
"She'd understand . . . no. I can't burden her . . . she doesn't want to know about my nightmares. I know that much . . . but she would understand . . . I'll just smile. I can't ruin her day, too. I have nightmares. So what? I think they'll pass . . ." -> I used to have nightmares. My thoughts exactly.
"He can feel her, about to hug him.
"But she doesn't." -> I've always wondered why she didn't hug him. Really?
In general: Aang has nightmares . . . I can understand his pain. I really can. [hand over heart] So . . . much . . . aangst!
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