Disclaimer: I do not own the intellectual properties depicted herein. I do not own the characters portrayed. I make no claim to own any part of 'Avatar: The Last Airbender'. All intellectual properties depicted herein belong to the creators of 'Avatar: The Last Airbender.' and Nickelodeon.


There are many differing opinions on life.

Romantics see the world with rose colored glasses.

Pessimists say that life is long and filled with hardship.

The cynical state that life is short, depressing and soon it will all be over.

If there's only one thing I want in this life…it's to say "I'm sorry."


Beautiful World


The Soul Collector was the epitome of evil.

Darkness incarnate.

The source of all misery and woe.

Sounded something like mothers' would make up just to get their children to go to bed without any fuss.

The boogeyman.

The imaginary monster lurking in the shadows waiting to pounce the moment your eyes closed.

A child's mind, so vivid in its limitless imagination, would conjure up the very stuff of their nightmares.

Of course, it's all in one's imagination.

After all it's only a dream.

Right?


"So what we do first is: Take a firm grip, like so…and force the rib cage open. Gives it more space for the stuffing, see? 'Course you haveta dig out all the giblets and stuff."

"Sokka that's disgusting! Stop playing with your food…while it's still raw…and ALIVE!"

"Sokka, stop. Aang? Are you alright?"

"You don't look well, Avatar."

"Yeah, buddy. Kinda green around the gills there."

"Man up, Twinkles. It's just some meat."


For the Avatar, life was a nightmare.

One she wished she could wake up from.

A pinch, a shove, cold water…anything to wake up and leave this living Hell behind.

There are no tyrants. No despots. No war mongers.

The world was at peace.

So why was she the Avatar?

The world was at peace…because the world was dead.


"Seriously, how can you guys even eat…that?"

"Aang, we've been over this before. Meat is good. Meat is our friend. We mustn't ignore our friends."

"But it used to be alive."

"Well, duh Twinkles. I'm not eating a live swamp rat. You heard that Meathead? Next time make sure it's dead!"


The fires have gone cold. Chilled by vengeance.

The waters have stilled and blackened. Tainted by madness.

The earth is cracked and blighted. Scarred by an unfeeling hand.

The winds have stopped singing. Silenced by a broken heart.

Those living have become the dead while those that have long passed now wander, lost and aimless.


"Hey, Twinkles. What're you going to do after all this?"

"Hmm? What?"

"I said: What're you going to do after you've given the Fire Lord the ol'Avatar one-two punch?"

"I…dunno….Maybe…"

" 'Cause…I was thinking that…maybe I could stay with you for a little while…don't want to see my folks this soon…I mean if…"

"That'd be great. I was going to ask Katara too…hey maybe you could…you know…ask her for me? You being a girl and all…"


So she trained.

Despite having no guides, teachers or masters, she trained. She trained because there was nothing else to do but train. The living had long since abandoned any hope.

For what hope can there be in Hell?


"You selfish little monster!"

"Katara stop! You'll kill him!"

"Let go of me Sokka!"

"Aang! Avatar! Look at me!"

"But…Katara…I…"

"Nevermind Katara. Look at me Aang. Focus on me."

"Zu…Zuko?"

"Good. What happened to Toph?"

"You selfish brat! You let her die!"

"Katara please! Zuko, get Aang out of here…at least till Katara settles down."

"He just confessed, Sokka! He gave Toph to the Face Stealer! He killed her!"


So was that her goal?

To kill the Soul Collector.

Seemed logical at the time. Simple as well. Destroy the source of evil and life will be better. The sun would shine again. The waters would flow, clean and crystal clear. The earth would bring life back and the winds would finally sing again.

In her youthful mind, the Soul Collector was a hideous creature. A beast. Devoid of any and all emotion…nothing that would warrant it a second chance at mercy or redemption.

It was a monster.

And all monsters must die.


"Katara…please…I…"

"Get away from me."

"I…I did it for you."

"Get. Away."

"Katara…I love…"

"You don't know what love is!"

"I do! I love you! I saved you!"

"By sacrificing one of our…MY friends!? Is that supposed to make my swoon in adoration? Am I supposed to jump in your arms and kiss you?"

"Y...yes…But…"

"You didn't save me. Zuko and Sokka got me to a lake just in time. I barely managed to heal MYSELF but I did."

"I did it for you…"

"You did it for yourself!


Truthfully, she wasn't doing this for the world.

She wasn't sure what she was doing it for.

She wasn't lying to herself. She wasn't doing to save the world. Never had a single altruistic thought in her life.

Yet here she was.

Challenging the greatest evil the world had ever seen and born.

Maybe she wanted the challenge. The satisfaction of bringing down a powerful foe.

No. That wasn't it.


"Back again Avatar? Well, you can save your breath…or what passes for it here in the Spirit World. The earthbender is mine."

"Give Toph back."

"Why? So that you can win favor with the waterbender? I do believe she swore to kill you on sight if your paths should ever cross."

"Give Toph back."

"I grow tired of your constant mewling Avatar…if you are here to kill me, please get on with it. I'm the last Spirit left. You have already done away with the rest. I can still hear Yue's screams…"

"Give. Her. Back."

"No matter what you do. No matter how many lives you take, mortal or spirit, you will never have her, do you not realize that?"

"Then what use are you?"


She felt compelled to do this.

Perhaps it was the Avatar Spirit within her.

While all others had long given up hope and resigned themselves to eke out a wretched existence, she never could.

She was stubborn.

Always had been.

And now it was that same rigid stubbornness that was keeping her legs from turning into slime as the infamous Soul Collector lifted his hooded head. Two red eyes, glowing like hot coals, bore they're way straight through her.

As if he was staring right into her very soul.


"The Avatar is dead!"

"Avatar Aang is dead?"

"Who is dead?"

"He just disappeared from the face of the earth."

"The kid is gone?"

"Wouldn't be the first time the Avatar's abandoned the world."

"Lord Ozai has won!"

"Good riddance."


This was not the Soul Collector.

It couldn't be.

The Soul Collector she'd been brought up to believe as a vicious demon beast who slaughtered innocents to feed his bloodlust.

Not this…man.

What she had impaled to the floor of the Southern Air Temple was not the scourge of the living.

The great Soul Collector would definitely not be coughing up globs of black blood with his final breaths.

"No way it's this easy."

It was no epic battle. They traded blows but something in her knew that he was not putting in his all.

In the end, she got in a lucky hit. An ice spear, the first technique she invented in the absence of proper waterbending training, straight through the chest.

"….sss…yy…"

"You can talk?"

"S…Sorry."

Despite the dead grey flesh that made up his body, the Soul Collector was smiling. He turned to set his now dark grey eyes on her, a wrecked hand painfully reaching out.

Unable to stop herself she knelt by his side and held his cold clammy hand. She'd been with the dead before and she could tell that he'd been dead for quite a while.

So she was right.

The Soul Collector wasn't human.

Hadn't been for a long time.

"Why'd you make it easy for me?"

Not a question to ask at times like this…but then again…

"Sorry."

The Avatar jerked slightly as she felt his bloodied hand cup her cheek, her dark skin crawled at the cold wetness of his blood as his hand dropped limply.

Again she was baffled and confused by her emotions. She was the Avatar, she was a Water Tribe warrior, and she'd been trained to be fiery in battle and rock hard in heart and soul.

She'd defeated a great evil and saved the world.

The sun would shine once more.

The waters would flow again.

The earth offered its comforting strength.

The winds were finally singing.

So why were her blind green eyes crying?


If there's only one thing I want in this life…it's to say "I'm sorry."


The End.