Chapter information


Written by


Release date

29th March, 2014

Word count



Envy I, II
Wrath I
Lust I
Sloth I
Pride I

a carnal desire; psychological force producing intense want

Sometimes, you wonder why the blind see better than everyone else. You wonder why it has to be you to see everything.

It never used to be painful, see. It used to be easy and smooth, like flower petals brushing your face as they danced in the breeze. It used to be comforting, warm like the sun accompanied by the smell of wet earth. But then it turned harsh, the feeling of smoke in your nose and ash in your mouth.

Then, it turned painful.

Because it hurts. It hurts to see everyone; not because they don't meet your expectations. On the contrary, it hurts because they surpass them. And you see the good within people and how they've touched you, and you wonder if you've left the same mark on them. You lift your hand to your chest, perhaps in the attempts to poke your heart and ask it, 'what gives?', but it falls when he approaches.

Everything falls when they approach.

He doesn't understand why you don't like her, and to tell him is to announce a death wish. You shrug it off, but he pushes the issue. You're his best friend (and the title hurts just as much as explicit rejection), and he wants—nay, needs—you to get along with her. He wants you in his family, but he doesn't realise that it is a family made for two. There is no room for you. But you try. You try because you want him to be happy, even at your own expense. He's given you so much, so you might as well repay him with your silence.

So, you talk to her, get to know her. You can see why he loves her; she's smart, and brave, and noble—three things that you aren't. But as you get to know her, you also realise that it doesn't matter who she is, or what kind of person, because you know that you will always understand him better. You know because he once told you a story he had never told anyone else. You know, because he is always there to listen.

You know, because the only option for you is to give your heart, fully and completely. You have only one other thing to rely on, and that is the earth beneath your feet. She is broken, split between his world and hers; you never wanted your world. Let them keep it, so long as he shares a piece of his.

And he does share, and you think it's enough, but it isn't. You want it to be, with all your heart, but you know you're encroaching and he's just too nice to say it. You hear them fight sometimes, and you know it's about you. They never bring it up, but it doesn't matter because you know how they feel. He wants his best friend, and she wants her boyfriend.

In some ways, leaving will make it easier. You won't have that constant ache in your heart; the tight feeling that occurs when he squeezes it just a little too tight. The constant pressure of his presence will be alleviated, and you will be able to breath again.

And so, you leave. You pack your bags, though as much as you want, you can't vanish. You wait to say goodbye, and can't help the anger that burbles in your gut as her heartbeat increases. She is happy that you're going—do they know how much you don't want to? Does he?

Because, you had never had a home. You had a house, true, but not a home; with the help of another, you had to make it. It just wasn't supposed to be with him. It was incomplete, of course, because you only had half of what was needed, but you stayed there anyway in the hopes he would build the rest with you.

Oh, what vain hopes.

Because if home is where the heart is, you'll never find a home again. You know it. So, you refuse to try, instead only accepting the 'comfortable', and the 'needed'; never the 'wanted'.

You refuse to ask, 'what if it's both?'

You break your earlier promise. Your earlier self-affirmation. You disappear, vanish into the night. You hear rumours of him that only cause you to tunnel further and wonder, curled up in your precious earth, whether he thinks about you as much as you think about him. You keep an ear to the wind as it carries whispers of him around the world. You are grown now, and you have grown out of your puppy love (although you can't remember when) and your crush (but it was always so much more than that, wasn't it?). You are grown, and you are alone, and you kid yourself when you say that it's okay. That you're okay. Your teen years were kind to you, and you repay the universe by being kind to it.

So you travel to small towns in the Earth Kingdom, to try and help. You build structures to be schools and homes, and it doesn't escape you that you can create them for other people, but are unable to do so for yourself. You are there for a week, a day, a month. You are too good at disappearing, for an earthbender. Not good enough, for someone who wishes to escape their past.

Not when you stupidly open your door to history and let it step across the threshold.

Because, he was listening for you. He was keeping an eye out. And you know that even after all these years, he's still the most loyal, funniest, smartest boy you've ever met. And he's still killing you without meaning to.

You don't ask about Suki, and he doesn't mention her. He takes you to a bar, just like he used to, and you get absolutely smashed without meaning to because your best friend is back and you can't believe you ever had the strength to leave him. The years have left you weak to the effects of alcohol, you discover, as he has to half-drag, half-carry you home. The night is still young, and you are busting with energy. You keep talking, although most of it is just word-vomit.

As soon as you get inside, you push him against the wall. Your vision is blurry; you can only see where he is, and nothing else. You realise, somewhere at the back of your mind, that you probably look terrible, and you're swaying something fierce, but that doesn't matter because there's a smile on your face and a fire in your belly.

You still don't know what happened to Suki, but that isn't really important either. You know you shouldn't be kissing him—not here; not like this—but he doesn't stop you. He knows you're pissed, but you don't give him a chance to break away from you as you press your body up against his. You didn't have this advantage three years ago, but now you do, and you won't waste the chance.

You fall into the sheets, lying on top of him. His hands work their way under your shirt, the heat only a little colder than the one that burns in your gut.

You wake up the next day with badgermoles tunnelling in your head, the stench of sex on your skin, and shame in your heart.

You don't wait for him to wake up before you escape.

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