|Little Fall of Rain
Author: Snows Of Yester-Year PM
The final battle has come, and Aang has not fared very well. As time rapidly runs out, Katara struggles with letting go...and coming to terms with what she feels in her heart. Kataang, oneshot, a bit depressing.Rated: Fiction T - English - Drama/Romance - Katara & Aang - Words: 2,609 - Reviews: 23 - Favs: 16 - Follows: 4 - Published: 06-29-07 - Status: Complete - id: 3626159
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
A/N: Member of the Boomeraang Squad: charleegirl, Jesus.Lives, Liselle129, Strix Moonwing, Avatarwolf, MormonMaiden, libowiekitty, Snows of Yester-Year, La Vixen de Amor, chocolatecoveredbananacheese, Aangy, and honorary member SnakeEyes16
First off, ALL OF YOU have to promise that you won't hunt me down and kill me when you finish this. It is not a happy-shiny fic. It is depressing. You may walk away from it in a slightly worse mood then when you sat down to it, despite the Kataang in it.
Yes, this is based off of the song from Les Miserables of the same title, although it's not a songfic because...the storyline didn't really fit the lyrics. Well, it did, but at the same time it didn't. I can't explain it. Besides, I didn't feel like a songfic right now.
As an explination (this is necessary because you might get confused), when it started raining, it was too light to accumulate, so Katara couldn't really do anything with it. Don't worry, it'll make sense when you get there.
Like pretty much every other dark thing I write, this may be depressing, but you can still find hope and good in it. Try as I may, I just can't seem to write something that has a totally bad ending. The ending for this is open to interpertation, but when I wrote it I had the more positive route in mind. And yes, this is a oneshot.
Disclaimer: I don't own Avatar: the Last Airbender or any related...stuff.
Sometimes in battle, the fickle tide will bring to you an unforeseen advantage – although people rarely complain when this is the case, so long as they are on the winning side. One moment, you could be entrapped in a wretched stalemate, a deadlock that seemed never to yield to victory. Neither side would be gaining an advantage or falling behind, and this sad state would only beget even more bloodshed. Then you would turn around and, suddenly, your side had gained an advantage – an unexpected weakness in the enemy's defenses, or perhaps some backup forces suddenly arriving.
Other times, however, the tide will deliver something much less welcome. Things would be going well. Victory would be within sight, and you and those around you would find some buried strength from this knowledge. It would always be at this point, unfortunately, that the enemy would find their second wind. It didn't even have to be something major; sometimes all the enemy needed to do was strike down a loved or revered leader, and things would just…fall apart.
The fighting, once the time had come to face the Fire Lord, was brutal. Katara had killed that day – they all had. Very quickly, Katara was forced to dehumanize the people she was striking down – men, she knew, who had families that would mourn their passing. She beat down the instinct to preserve life, just for a short while. If she didn't, she knew that more lives would be lost.
The battle was peaking in desperation, but also in triumph. They had infiltrated the palace and had found there way to the throne room, where the Fire Lord seemed to be waiting for them – a thoroughly disturbing concept, although the Avatar and his allies had more important things to focus on at the moment.
Aang threw himself into combat with the Fire Lord while the others kept guards and soldiers at bay. It was a grueling and intense fight, with Aang and the others being pushed to the limit. Toph, Katara, and Sokka struggled and fought, holding off the Firebenders while Aang faced the Fire Lord. Eventually, and by absolutely nothing short of a miracle, the three gained an advantage and beat the others back.
It was soon thereafter that a tremendous and terrifying roar, like a thunderclap, came emanating from the throne room. Katara – against her brother's protests, Toph's warnings and her own better judgment – hesitated for less then a second before rushing into the throne room.
Katara sprinted across the threshold and promptly tripped over a small pillar of stone. She crashed painfully to the floor, grimacing as her head cracked into yet another stone. Shakily, she pushed herself to her knees and lifted her head to see what was going on.
She wished she had just stayed on the floor.
The throne room was in absolute shambles. There was a gaping tear in the ceiling, where about half of it collapsed. The rubble from the ceiling was heaped on the floor, and above Katara could glimpse the stone-gray sky through the fracture. Katara focused her attention on the heap of rubble, and a terrifying thought occurred to her: there was no possibility of anyone getting caught under that and surviving.
Katara stumbled to her feet, heart racing and head spinning. She went to the left, scanning for her friend. A flash of tan, black and red caught her eye near the edge of the pile of rubble. She slowly made her way closer, suspicious of what it was. She didn't have to get too close to realize what it was. It was the Fire Lord. Dead. His head, she could see, had been smashed in by a rock so that he was almost beyond recognition. No longer caring about the tyrant's wretched fate, she turned her focus to locating the Avatar.
She stumbled back in the direction she had come from. Aang's name tore form her throat, a desperate plea that he was alright, that he had lived. She scanned the wreckage, but could see no sign of Aang. She cried out again, stumbling forward and sweeping the wreckage with her eyes in hopes that she could catch sight of the Avatar.
She froze, her heart pounding. No, she thought. He isn't dead. He can't be. No. No. We've won. He can't have died. Impossible. No. No way. He can't be dead. He can't be dead.
"He can't be!"
A painful silence filled the room, the echoes of Katara's cry quickly fading. Katara let out a small, choked sob, crumpling to the floor. In the quiet that reigned, however, she could have sworn that she heard a soft, nearly inaudible groan coming from her right.
Katara turned to the source of the sound, eyes brimming with tears. "A-Aang?"
Off to the side and half-hidden by the rubble was the battered Avatar. His clothes hung limply on his frame, burned and badly torn. Katara could catch a glimpse of red on his ruined clothes through the pallid dust from the collapsed ceiling that coated his form. Gasping out his name again, she pushed herself to her feet and stumbled over to his prone form. She collapsed next to him and scooped him up, holding him gently to her and tenderly brushing the dust from his face. At her touch, his eyes flickered open and focused on his face before he gave her a small smile and managed a single, whispered word:
Katara burst into tears, hugging him and murmuring comforts to him. Slowly, carefully, she lifted him and moved him into the minimal light where she could better see him and assess his wounds – one of which, a large burn over his stomach, could be fatal is she didn't act fast. She rested his head against the smooth surface of an otherwise craggy piece of rubble, lightly caressing his cheek with her hand as she drew it away. He turned his head a bit to the pile of rubble, whispering, "Is he…did I…"
"Hush, now," she murmured, reaching out and stroking his face. "Don't worry. You won."
Aang's eyes flickered shut as he relaxed visibly. "He attacked me," he sighed, his breath unnaturally shallow, "and I knew…I couldn't…I had to…take him out. I saw…the ceiling…it's made of rock…so I just…"
Katara shushed him gently, taking his hand. "You're okay now. You've won. He's gone." She turned to her water skin. "Don't speak, now, Aang. I'm going to help you, okay?" She uncorked the water skin and made a move to bend the water from the container.
But no water came out.
Katara gasped, and she could have sworn her heart stopped for a split second. No. No way. We didn't come this far for him just to–!
Aang opened his eyes again, looking up at her. "What's wrong?"
Katara felt her eyes fill with tears. She opened her mouth to speak, but no sound came out. She had been careful to conserve her water during the fighting – she had thought for sure that she had some left! She wasn't sure whether she should tell him the truth – that she had no water left and there was no hope for him – or simply remain silent. She looked at him, his face twisted into a mildly confused expression, and she felt the tears flow down her cheeks. "I…oh, Aang…"
"You're out of water, aren't you?" he whispered, some foreign element of acceptance lingering in his eyes. He didn't wait for an answer; he didn't even want one. He had already accepted his death.
Katara let out a pitiful moan, leaning down and hugging him. "Aang…Aang, I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm so sorry…I –"
"It's okay," Aang cut her off gently, echoing her earlier words. He shakily lifted his arm and rested his hand on her back, murmuring, "It's…not your fault. Please…Katara, please…don't…"
Katara pulled back and gazed into his eyes. His hand slowly made it's way to her face, gently brushing away her tears. "Please," he repeated softly, "don't cry. I don't feel anything. I promise…it doesn't hurt."
"Aang…" she whispered, tears running down her face.
"You're here," he smiled, resting his hand against her cheek. "That's…all that I need."
Katara moaned painfully, furious that he was dying…and she was helpless. "I would heal you," she said through her tears.
She leaned down and hugged him again, pressing her face against his shoulder. "I'm sorry, Aang…"
"Don't be," he whispered. "Just…stay here. With me."
"I will," she murmured. "I will. I promise."
A gentle, distant roll of thunder sounded above them, and Katara felt something hit her back. Rain.
"Rain," Aang gasped. He shut his eyes and let out a soft sigh. "I can feel it…one more time…"
Katara held him closer, a fresh wave of tears hitting her. He was slipping away; she could feel it. She wasn't ready for him to go yet. She still wanted to do so much with him. She wanted to stay with him, live with him, comfort him, wake each morning to his face and go to sleep each night next to him…
She wanted to love him.
She did love him.
She held him tighter as the light rain continued to fall, thoroughly irritated that it had taken his impending death for her to come to this realization. Why, why, why couldn't she have figured this out sooner?
She pushed herself up, looking down into his face. His eyes were open, but they were distant, and Katara got the impression that he could see something she couldn't. He was fading fast. "I'm here," she murmured.
His eyes flickered shut. "Stay…"
"I'll stay," she whispered. "I'm not going to go." Her hand reached up and traced his arrow. She had to tell him. She had to give him this one last thing to hold onto. Maybe it would ease…
"Aang," she said softly. His eyes cracked open and he looked up at her. "I need to tell you something. I should have told you this a long time ago, but…I don't know. I guess I was in denial. Or maybe I hadn't figured it out yet. But I know now, Aang. I'm…I'm just sorry it took me so long…"
He blinked silently at her, his eyes puzzled. "Katara?"
She leaned down a bit closer. The rain started falling harder, drumming gently against the stone floor. She looked him in the eye and swallowed, dredging up every ounce of courage she had to make this one final confession.
"I…love you…" she whispered, before closing the distance between them and capturing his lips with hers. The kiss was tender, little more then a gentle brush of the lips. She pulled back, and Aang opened his eyes, a small smile gracing his face, before whispering, "I love you, too…"
Katara smiled and kissed him again. This one lasted a bit longer then the last. Aang shakily lifted his hand and rested it against her hair, and Katara practically melted into him. She remained still, relishing these last moments with him and trying desperately to imprint his taste, his smell, the feel of his touch into her memory.
They separated, and Aang's smile, small and weak as it was, was the most beautiful thing Katara had ever seen.
Katara bit her lip as he slipped away, eyes drifting shut. He fell perfectly still, and the only sound was the fall of rain surrounding them. She buried her face into his shoulder and let out a broken cry, sobbing into what was left of his shirt and letting the rain soak her through.
She whipped her head up, stunned. Another peal of thunder sounded and the rain started to fall harder, pooling on the hard stone floor. Unbelievable.
Katara pushed herself to her feet, absolutely livid – with herself, with nature, with the spirits, with everything. She tilted her head up, looking into the rain. Another roll of thunder shook the land, and that was her breaking point.
"Are you kidding me?!" she screamed at the sky as the rain came down harder. "Why? Why?! So what, you had to wait until he was gone?! Nothing when he was okay – nothing! Just a little fall of rain! Why! Oh, Spirits…why…"
She crumpled to her knees and picked Aang up, clutching him to her and sobbing brokenly. In a fit of desperation, she cradled him and pressed her fingers against the place where his pulse should be – desperate for something, anything that would make everything okay again.
Katara gasped. She couldn't believe it. Perhaps it was just the result of an overactive imagination, or her grief and desperation for him to be okay, but Katara could have sworn that she felt the flutter of a pulse beneath her fingertips.
Katara acted quickly. She laid Aang back down, ripping his shirt open a bit more so she had better access to what she was sure was the wound that was killing him, if it hadn't already. Carefully, she gathered up some of the rainwater that was pooling steadily on the floor. She wrapped her hands in the water before looking down at Aang.
He didn't appear to be breathing. She was scared to check his pulse again for fear that it had changed for the worst. That wasn't going to stop her from trying.
Katara took a long, deep breath, and pressed the healing water against Aang's wound.