No Way Out
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A Bird Could Love a Fish



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ABCLAF Logo This Kataang one-shot takes place in The Deserter.

Chapter Fifty-Nine: No Way Out

The little flame burns, and he smiles. This is so much better than just squatting and breathing and feeling the sun. "I did it!" he calls to her. He can feel the inferno just inside the ember, as if it will grow and consume him. The danger—the thrill—the excitement! "I made fire!"

"Aang." Her tone barely veils the warning, cautionary words shining through the fog in his mind. "That's great, but you should take it slow."

He glances at her, exasperated and annoyed, and he feels the ember in his hands grow and twist, becoming brighter and bigger. He stares into it, aware that the firelight must be reflected in his eyes.


Everywhere I turn, I hurt someone.


"Careful!" she warns, taking a step away, then another towards him.

I have to control it. I have to control it. The fire glows, and he inhales sharply, attempting to reduce the size of his fire, but he slips and almost falls in the river; steadying himself, he controls the blaze, bringing it down to a small flame again. "Now that's Firebending!"

He moves his arms fluidly, almost as if he were Waterbending, and the fire whips itself through the air, temporarily illuminating everything with a harsh reddish glow. He brings it closer, forming a sphere, and loops it around himself gleefully.

"Aang, you'll hurt yourself!"


But there's nothing I can say to change the things I've done.


He can hear the fear in her voice, but he pretends not to notice. "I wonder how that juggler did it." The sphere completes its circuit, and he brings his hands up and out, stretching it into a fiery hoop, stretching it to the breaking point, stretching it until it explodes with pent-up energy, releasing a shockwave of flame.

He hears her gasp in pain.


Of all the things I hide from you, I cannot hide the shame.


"Katara!" She has crumpled onto the dusty ground, her hands wrapped around her; she moans in pain. Every sound rips at his heart. "I'm so sorry!"

"Katara! What's wrong?" Her brother. Sokka's blue eyes are aflame. "What did you do?!"

He backs away, shaking his head, unable to believe it. "It was an accident! I was—Katara, I'm so—" He reaches out a hand, intent on rubbing her shoulder comfortingly, but Sokka tackles him, pushing him agonizingly into the grass.

"I told you we shouldn't mess around with this!" Each word slices at his soul, slices at his mind, slices at his heart. "Look what you did! You burned my sister!"


And I pray someone, something will come to take away the pain.


I burned her.

He reaches for her, but she is already gone, already a fleeting vision.

He lies there in the dirt, one hand curled about a clump of grass, his heart clenching.

I burned her.

I . . .

He lowers his gaze.

I'm a monster.


Here's what I promised you . . . the sequel to Standing Still.

Okay, so, you can see some song lyrics in there from a song called No Way Out, the song from Brother Bear, which is one of my favorite movies . . . ever.

"I cannot hide the shame." -> Fire chakra much?

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