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Chapter Seven: Heaven
There is pain.
And then there is pain beyond pain.
He knows what pain is.
Pain is a sudden agony, a quick blow that leaves a throbbing ache, a drawn-out blow that leaves a throbbing ache nonetheless.
He does know what pain beyond pain is.
Pain beyond pain.
Pain so swift, so rapid, so fleeting, that it lasts only an instant.
It lasts an eternity.
The rippling of lighting.
He feels it spread through his body, a poison, a venom, that leaves everything broken and charred. He feels it overtake him, feels himself crumbling, feels every last microsecond of torture.
It is an instant.
It is eternity.
It drives him insane.
He cannot think.
There is only pain.
Pain worse than the forever in the iceberg.
Pain worse than the corpse of the monk.
Pain worse than the hand upon the scar.
But his enemy's.
It fluidly teases through him, this lightning, to his fingertips and back, looping, spiraling, twisting.
It gracefully takes towards his legs, to his toes and back, stretching, seeking, needing.
It knowingly finds the arch of his right foot, cuddles it, soothes it, worships it; then it grows tired of these games and rips through him, leaving him without energy.
Leaving him lifeless.
He is defeated.
He is falling.
He is dead.
He is lost.
He is in heaven.
He rests upon the softness, relishing it like a fallen warrior relishes the cot in the infirmary after the battle.
The battle is lost.
But he, at least, is safe.
Hands, so gentle and light, like ribbons of gossamer, flutter over him.
He does not see the ring of spinning light.
He simply knows it is there.
She controls it.
It is her soul.
The light enters him, enters the place where he was murdered, enters the place where his life was taken.
It is the lightning.
But it is not destructive.
It is the lightning.
But it is life.
The softness is not softness, he realizes.
It is her.
His soul was lifted from his body, but she brought it back.
She needs him.
And that is enough.
He is the boy in the iceberg.
He has been gone for a hundred years.
He is caught by her waiting arms.
He opens his eyes.
She leans over him in her fur-lined coat, the Artic breeze playing her hair loopies.
Like the sea.
Like the sky.
"Ka . . ." he begins, but the rest is gone.
He is safe.
She has found him again.
He wonders how long he was in the iceberg this time.
And why she has not changed.
She is here.
He sacrificed himself for her.
And she is here.
"Katara," he says, "I love you."
And he closes his eyes.
For he is in heaven.
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