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Chapter Thirty-Two: Night
He loves the night.
It's his favorite time of the day, which is silly.
Like the Waterbenders are stronger in the winter—and the night—and the Firebenders are stronger in the summer—and the day—the Airbenders are strongest in the autumn—and the afternoon. Not really. Unlike for Waterbenders, who depend on the phases of the moon, or Firebenders, who depend on the cloud cover, the afternoon isn't exactly a power bonanza for Airbenders, but he can definitely feel just a slight increase.
So why does he love the night?
Well . . .
His hands are sweaty as he grasps the rock he is carefully hiding behind. He knows that what he is doing is wrong, so very wrong, but he can't help himself.
He likes to watch her.
In the night, he knows, she sneaks off sometimes to practice her Waterbending. Especially now that Toph has joined the gang. It's almost as if she wants to prove she's better.
He's more concerned with her going through the forms.
Being in water lightens spirits, and she is no different. She stands there, likely preparing herself, in her bindings and nothing more. Then, ever so fluidly, she brings one hand up, and a stream of water follows it, not much, not yet, just a thin whip.
She calls it streaming the water.
He will always remember everything she says.
Taking a wider stance, she, slowly at first, moves through the various Waterbending forms. The water whip. The wave. The octopus form. Everything. Just . . . goes through it. As if she doesn't realize he's standing here, watching her.
Well . . . it's not bad, per se, he justifies to himself. I mean, there's really nothing to see. I'm just learning Waterbending by observing her . . . yes, that's it. I'm observing her.
She moves her leg in the water, and the wetness glistens in the starry moonlight.
A shaft of silver appears from the heavens, a break in the clouds that obscure the moon upon his one night. He flinches, surprised, as the beam of moonlight soars towards her, illuminating her with its glow.
He's not surprised.
Thanks, Yue, he mouths, though he wonders if it is indeed the Moon Spirit or whether it is simply a fluke. But he knows it's the former, because as she moves across the lake, ripples cascading, the shaft of silver moves with her.
Does this happen always?
Or just tonight?
His hands are so sweaty, he slips, and he nearly falls off the boulder. Airbending himself back up, he flashes a merry grin at whomever happens to be watching, and then he continues to look at her glide upon the mirror-like surface of the water.
She is so unearthly, a goddess of the moon and the water.
A goddess of the wind and the sea.
He smiles wryly.
He loves the darkness.
He loves the night.
He loves her.
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