Amir recognizes that the kite fighting tournament is his one great chance to make Baba proud of him--and for Baba to forgive him for causing the death of Amir's mother. He hopes that Baba, who won the tournament himself when he was a boy, will finally see him as an equal. He spends a sleepless night worrying about the tournament; it is the beginning of the insomnia that will haunt him for decades to come. Interlaced within the plot of the tournament is the dream which Hassan had the same night. In it, Hassan dreams that he and Amir heroically swim into a lake supposedly inhabited by a sea monster; when the people on shore recognize that there is nothing to fear, they are hailed as heroes. It seems to foreshadow Amir's victory in the tournament.
But fate has a way of providing its own interpretation of the future. Although Amir wins the tournament, which will momentarily bring great pride to his father, he is faced with another decision that day. When he follows Hassan, who is faithfully retrieving the valuable last defeated kite, Amir stumbles upon Hassan being harrassed by Assef and his young gang. It is obvious that Hassan needs his friend's help, but Amir lacks the courage to come to his aid. Hassan's dream of becoming heroes is dashed when Assef rapes him while Amir watches silently. Hassan has fulfilled his part of the dream, claiming the beaten kite and refusing to give it up, but Amir does not follow him into the dangerous waters. It is the defining moment of the novel: Amir's guilt overwhelms him for decades; Hassan never smiles again; the two boys' relationship dissolves forever; and Baba never fully forgives his son for his weaknesses. Amir has had his chance, but fate dealt him a hand which he decided not to play.