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|Under the Rain|
Chapter Thirty: Under the Rain
Softly, so softly, the rain pitter-patters outside.
His heart is gone. Torn out. Destroyed. It's as if a spirit has removed his beating, beating life and tossed it into a fire, watching it as it turns to ashes.
He can feel his eyes watering.
"That's awful, Aang . . ." Not even her voice, usually a melody of the angels, can comfort him, and its sound makes him only more furious, more enraged. "I don't know what to say."
The words bubble up in him, forcing their way through his stomach, up his throat, and into the air. His voice rips out hoarsely. "How could they do that to me!" It is not a question. It is a statement. They couldn't. They had no right. They had no . . . no right at all.
An angry kind of grief.
A furious kind.
The ire within him wells up, swelling like a river in a hurricane, threatening to burst its banks and destroy everything nearby. His vision flickers once, twice, and he knows what comes.
" They wanted to take away everything I knew and everyone I loved!" he screams, his words like hot knives, skewering his memories, slicing through them, chipping away until all that there was was the pounding pain and agony of losing his life.
He never wanted to be the Avatar.
He never wanted to be the Avatar!
The wrath hurtles forward and out of him. The agony shrieks through him, a bolt of lightning cast by a terrible foe, his entire body shuddering.
Who is he?
He is the Avatar.
And the Avatar is in pain.
The air around him moves faster, faster, faster, and he welcomes the relief of the black and the white and the nothing. When he fades and becomes it, the entity, the Avatar Spirit, he is no longer himself. He can forget who he is, as he already has.
There is nothing holding him to this world.
He accepts it.
Let me become the Avatar, he pleads, and let me forget again all this torture.
And then he hears her voice again, not a beautiful melody but a strident call of mayhem and chaos. He turns to look, and he sees her only in a splash of white.
"Hot cinders!" she cries, and he remembers why he fights.
This time, he has to win.
If he goes into the Avatar State now—
It burns him, it drowns him, it breaks him, it throws him. It destroys him. There is no escape. But he stands, and he fights, and his body is wracked with spasms.
It is not pain.
It is pain beyond pain.
A combination of every physical, emotional, or spiritual pain he has ever experienced.
Rolled up into one.
But he fights.
And, shivering, he slides to his knees, defeated, deflated, exhausted.
Inside, he has nearly killed himself, but at least she is all right.
Outside, he can hear the rain.
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