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A Bird Could Love a Fish



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Playing the Melody

ABCLAF Logo This Kataang one-shot takes place in Lake Laogai.

Chapter Sixty-Six: Traps

We're all trapped, one way or another.

"So I found him, and he was caught in a trap. It was really sad . . . an armadillo wolf. Paw in the trap . . . he was trying to chew it off when I found him, and . . . you know . . ."

He lowers his gaze.

"Every life is precious . . . even the life of the tiniest spider fly caught in its own web," he whispers. "To see a creature of this earth treated like that . . . it broke my heart, Katara."

She nods and leans against the wooden door. "I understand, Aang."

He glances at her. "Do you understand? I . . . it killed me, to see a creature treated like that. And . . . I undid the trap. His paw was useless, though. The trap had severed it . . . I decided that I was going to amputate, to save the armadillo wolf's life, because if he were to go limping around like that, he'd die of infection."

His hands shake, and she rubs his shoulder comfortingly. "You did what you had to do, Aang. I know that you must feel guilty about . . . well . . . amputating its paw, but at least you saved its life."

"No." He shudders against her. "I didn't. I didn't amputate. I was too—I couldn't do it. I couldn't bring myself to hurt him like that. I just couldn't do it. And I know that he probably . . ." He can feel wetness on his cheeks, and he turns his face so that she can't see them, but he feels her hand on his cheek. With her sleeve, she wipes away the tears. "I know that he probably died, but I couldn't do it. I couldn't hurt him like that. And I didn't have healing powers. I couldn't even bring him back to the temple, since that would have been desecration of the holy site. And when he looked up at me, with those huge brown eyes . . . I . . . couldn't."

He pauses, and then he knows that his words have finished. He has nothing more to say, except words of fear.

Years pass.

Lifetimes pass.

Eternities pass.

"Aang . . . I'm so sorry that you had to go through all that," she finally whispers, and he feels her arms close around him, drawing him in.

He pulls away.

"Now it's the same thing, with Appa." A shiver runs through his body, and he quakes. "Katara . . . I could have done something. I know I could have. I could have stopped it.

"But I was trapped in the library."

She tries to hug him again, and again he pulls away; he doesn't want to be comforted. "Oh, Aang . . ."

"And now I'm trapped in this circle of self-loathing."

We're all trapped, one way or another.


This actually happened with me and a wolf on a camping trip. I never went camping again. Just saying.

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