A/N: I never thought I'd write something to a Disney song quite frankly, but I could NOT get this stupid idea out of my head so here it is! And just as a funny side note, this was supposed to be short and quick, and I was super proud at the 1.5k word mark, but as I've come to realize, I can't for the life of me write something that short so... yeah. Enjoy!
This was not fun, Aang decided, as the boat was pushed away from the lowered stone walkway and pushed into the lazy river that traced the upper ring of Ba Sing Se. It was dark out and only the twinkling lights strewn about the streets and bridges lit the water way, but it was enough to make him extremely self-conscious of the blush that had set fire to his cheeks listening to his friends.
"Let's just hope their boat doesn't start rocking"
"Hahaha, good one Toph—Hey wait, that's my little sister you're talking about! Wait, maybe we should've gone with them"
"Sokka calm down, we are getting in our own boat. Woah, woah, woah, and NO boomerang's okay?"
He internally groaned. Their voices began to fade, but there was no mistaking their words and they only served to further tangle the knot of nerves that sat like a lump in his chest, something that had quickly tied together after Suki's suggestion of a boat ride for the group of friends though she insisted that he and Katara have their own boat. He was surprised that the water bender didn't question the Kyoshi warrior's reasoning and pulled him into the boat before he could protest, but after Toph's smug remark, he couldn't even bring himself to look at her and kept his eyes looking anywhere else as he rowed them along. His feelings were no secret to his friends, he honestly couldn't keep it from Toph after she caught his heart rate spiking too many times for it to pass as a coincidence, and deep down he was thrilled at the chance to be alone with Katara since they arrived at the bustling festival, but how was he supposed to not be awkward after that?
"You know, when I was little my mother used to take me on boat rides all the time"
Her soft voice nearly startled him, and he finally pulled his gaze up to look at her. She had her elbow propped up on the edge of the boat, leaning against the side of it, and was cupping her cheek in the same hand as her other worked to bend some of the water off the side with a few twirling motions. A wistful smile spread across her lips as she kept her stare down toward the water. "It was kind of our little tradition to go for one every full moon, just the two of us, and it was during one of them that I figured out I could bend water—" A flash of pain flicked across her face at the memory "—the waves had gotten stronger before we could reach the shore and one of them nearly capsized our boat. Even though I was terrified, I still knew that somehow I was going to protect both of us, and I did, but instead of looking relieved all I saw was fear in her eyes. I didn't understand it until…"
There you see her
Sitting there across the way
He wanted to look away from her, seeing any kind of pain on her face was never fun for him, but he couldn't do it. He knew the words that she didn't say, and he knew the guilt she carried with them, but he also knew that for such a precious tradition between them, it shouldn't be tainted with more tears. "From what I've heard from you and Sokka, she sounded like an amazing woman," He said gently after a few heavy moments, encouraging her to redirect her attention, and once she glanced at him, he gave her a warm smile. "She would be proud to see how far you've come"
She don't got a lot to say
But there's something about her
To his relief, she mirrored his smile. "She really was and I loved her more than anyone… she used to go on about how I was the best water bender she'd ever known," She took on a more amusing tone with a warm chuckle to match, "and I could barely direct any water into a glass much less do anything impressive with it. Nothing like what I can do now" Hearing her laughter made his heart want to do summersaults in his chest and it did when she shot him a more affectionate look.
"Honestly if Sokka and I never found you that day in the iceberg, I don't really know where I would be now," The sincerity in her voice sent his heart for another erratic beat and suddenly he couldn't find his way out of her swirling blue eyes, ones that gazed back into his gray ones as if they were trying to tell him more than her words could, "I'm glad we did. Without you I wouldn't have had the opportunity to go to the North Pole and learn all that I did, plus…" She glanced away and tucked a strand of her hair behind her ear before looking back at him with a sweet smile, "You were the only one able to remind me of something that I had chosen to let go of when I lost my mother"
"What's that?" Taking in the way she looked at him was all it took before he was fighting the heat that was starting to burn on his cheeks, long having forgotten about rowing as they softly teetered with the waves of the river.
And you don't know why
But you're dying to try
Carefully shifting forward, she grabbed both of his hands into hers, the contact with her smooth skin causing bolts of electricity to run through his body, and he swallowed hard, becoming very aware of the close proximity she was to him.
"You reminded me that when it comes to loving someone entirely, it can be painful… but not allowing myself to is almost too painful and I'm really lucky to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard," Once again her voice was so soft it beckoned him closer and the light pink tint that glowed from her cheeks made his breath catch in his throat. She looked breathtaking. More electricity shot through his body when he felt her interlacing their fingers together as she spoke, "Aang, you've become my best friend, and I don't know what I would do without you"
You wanna kiss the girl
"Katara…" Her name rolled off his tongue like honey in a single breath and moving on its own accord, his body made way to close the gap between them without another thought, her gaze so alluring he wasn't even sure if this was actually happening or if he needed to slap himself awake from the all too perfect dream that his lips were about to…
"Oh come on Suki, please? Girls are just as capable as boys to row, so I don't get the problem!"
"Sokka it's more romantic this way… and cut that reverse psychology crap out, it's not working. Your little arms will be fine, it's not that long of a river"
"LITTLE? Have you seen these muscles I've been working on? Psh, I could row this thing straight to the Fire Nation before breaking a sweat and need I remind—"
Aang couldn't stop the low groan that escaped at the sound of their voices.
"Don't shush me Suki, this is very importa—"
"Sokka be quiet! I think that's Aang and Katara's boat ahead"
"Does important mean anything to you—wait, it is?... why is it just sitting there? Oooooh, maybe there is a little action happening after all—OW! What was that for?"
"Can you be any louder?!"
That was what echoed in Aang's mind after he felt the burn on his face reach the tips of his ears and down his neck after snapping his head around to see the tip of their boat coming into view. Heart still thumping erratically in his chest, he realized his hands felt cold again and quickly looked to see the water bender had since moved away from him at the exchange and was back to her former reclined posture at the other end of the boat, pointedly staring at anything but him though the annoyance he felt was written across her face. Leave it to Sokka's big mouth to ruin his moment, Aang begrudgingly thought while also giving himself a mental note to repay the water tribe warrior later for it. Still keeping his eyes on Katara, he was a bit disappointed to see that nothing about her seemed to validate that the heated moment had happened between them just then and tried to bite back the small bit of doubt that was building in the back of his mind. Maybe she got caught up in the moment and once she realized that he was leaning in to kiss her, she used the distraction to put distance between them so he would get the hint? If that was the case then it was going to be a longer boat ride than he thought.
The warmth that had steadily been building since before the vocal interruption began ebbing away, thankfully the blush along with it, as Aang began his steady strokes again with the ores, but the almost real sensation of touching her lips left behind a searing knot in his chest and it was hard to ignore it. They continued in an awkward silence for he didn't know how long before it began eating at him and he tried to relieve it.
"I thought they would get a little farther before snapping at each other" He willed his voice to come out casual sounding, and was shocked it did, but he couldn't contain the nervous chuckle that escaped right after. He didn't know exactly what to say, aside from the stinging question in his heart that he couldn't bring himself to ask her for fear that it would ruin their friendship, but the silence between them was too much.
Katara glanced over at him with a laugh, sending a warmth rippling through his chest at the melodious sound, and gave him an amused smirk. "Yeah. I think on top of being the complaining guy, and the plan making guy, he needs to add obnoxiously loud guy to the list too"
He loved to see her laugh, something that worked to ease any residual tenseness in his body as he joined her and watched as she placed her hands slightly behind her, turning her attention to the festivities that took place on the streets elevated on either side of them.
"I'm glad he found out this festival was happening tonight though. None of ours from back home could even compare to this, and it's really breathtaking. Especially all these lights they have everywhere. It's makes it feel like we are in some fairy tale world, doesn't it?"
Yes, you want her
Look at her, you know you do
"Yeah, really breathtaking… and beautiful"
He agreed with her, those same thoughts had run through his mind hours ago, but he wasn't referring to any of the elaborate decorations that had been put up around them as he watched the twinkling lights be reflected in her crystal blue eyes. Rather his eyes were kept on her, captivated by the way the soft glow caressed her features so lightly that she looked like a hazy dream to the way a light breeze played with some loose strands of her dark brown hair that managed to pool over her shoulders effortlessly, and the all too sensational way her reclined chin gave him the perfect view of her slender neck, leading a dangerous trail further than he was willing to let his gaze follow. His response came out quiet and breathy, but whether that caught her attention over the feeling of his eyes on her, he didn't care once she locked eyes with him. At first she looked curious, another smirk tugging at her mouth, but after a moment he could see something else take dominance and his body tensed, his gaze quickly being drawn to her lips taking in the way she nervously bit at her lower lip.
It's possible she wants you, too
There is one way to ask her
It don't take a word
Not a single word
Go on and kiss the girl
The only coherent thought that ran through his mind was if they were as soft and as supple as they looked, and immediately he was painfully reminded of how badly he wanted to find out, noticing how inviting they looked. His own mouth made way to move, either in anticipation of the collision with hers or to let out the frustrated groan that sat at the back of his throat for the continual space left between them, but risking a glance into her eyes, the echo of her words from earlier made him hesitate and so all that escaped between his lips was, "The lights. They're really something"
Sing with me now
My, oh, my
Look at the boy too shy
He ain't gonna kiss the girl
All he caught was the downcast look in her eyes before she turned away from him again and the next thing he knew she had a scowl on her face. "Yeah, they are" She angrily muttered, sending his thoughts for a loop.
Ain't that sad
Ain't it shame, too bad
You gonna miss the girl
Maybe he should just go for it. At this rate their boat ride was going to end badly, and he didn't know why. He wanted to kiss her, heavens knew he desperately wanted to, and it almost sounded like maybe she reciprocated his feelings but then… best friend. She still just saw him as a friend, didn't she? But he held back. That's what she wanted, right? So then why was she upset now? He tried to study her face, but it left him none the wiser as he sat there incredulously. Women were confusing, he could attest to that, but no one confused him as much as she did. She didn't fit any stereotype, no cookie cutter personality or mind, and she broke every rule in his book. Despite the grueling years he trained learning the way of the monks and embodying them, she managed to pull things out of him that he didn't even know was there anymore… thoughts… emotions… desires… and most of all, she reminded him that though he was the avatar with a monumental destiny, he was still human and susceptible to falling in love like everyone else.
The faint echo of voices from behind pushed the memory of Sokka and Suki's boat to the forefront of his mind and he started rowing their little boat along once more, an action he once again realized became stagnant after listening to her dreamy observations. Silence fell upon them, but not like the awkward one from before, no this was heavier and laden with more tension than anything else, and it made his chest feel tight. Minutes went by and her expression never seemed to change, if anything it became deeper set as she looked to be having an internal debate with herself which only seemed to fuel her more, and he started feeling a little worried that it might really have something to do with him. He didn't want to come right out assuming that he was the reason though.
Now's your moment
Floating in a blue lagoon
Boy you better do it soon
No time will be better
"Katara, are you okay?" His wary question felt safe enough, but just to be sure he followed up it with a motion to the streets, intentionally letting the ores loose from his grip. "Maybe we should just get off here if you aren't feeling well." She practically lived on the water and didn't get seasick like Toph so the offer seemed redundant, but he would be lying if he wasn't a little ready to end their ride a bit soon. It was getting hard to be so close to her and to continually dismiss the tension he felt between them. She didn't look at him right away and he could see the tinge of guilt on her face as it softened briefly.
"I'm fine, I'm just… frustrated"
"Are you sure? I don't want to—"
"Aang, let's just keep going, okay?" She snapped her head towards him and finally met his widened eyes with fierce ones. Quickly hers took on the size of his at the sudden outburst and her face fell, taking on more guilt now than her former anger. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to snap at you," She sighed and gave him a somewhat forced smile, "This is supposed to be fun, right? I guess maybe we should have all just done something together since Toph wouldn't set foot on one of these anyways"
She won't say a word
And she won't say a word
Until you kiss the girl
It seemed a thought came to mind as she grimaced. "It probably wouldn't have gotten past Sokka after Suki mentioned the idea anyhow" She stuck her tongue out in disgust "I can't believe how eager he is to make out with her in front of all these people. The river is low, but not that low"
If only she knew how eager he was. Not that it didn't cross his mind how many people could see them in the boat, and he had already awkwardly waved to some fan girls during the slow easement through the waters, but honestly he wouldn't care if they were seen. Though now at the mention of lip locking, he felt adrenaline start rushing through his body as his heartbeat picked up.
"Yeah… he's Sokka after all" He tried to play it off cool with a chuckle, but it came over noticeably shaky and he had to forcefully keep his hand down so he didn't slap it onto his arrow in embarrassment. What was his problem? Normally he was fine but the girl in front of him tugged at every piece of his heart since the moment he met her and this seemingly innocent boat ride was only making it that much more evident. Without risking the glance to her for fear his cheeks would really start to heat up, he quickly added, "I'm kinda glad Suki did though. It's a beautiful night and it's hard to appreciate it when your crowded by people…"
Don't be scared
You got the mood prepared
Go on and kiss the girl
He trailed off after deciding to look back at her and realized she was looking at him pensively, studying his face like she was searching for something. Staring at her as she eyed him only sent his heart racing faster and the tightness in his chest intensified along with the awareness that he wasn't getting enough oxygen through his nose. He parted his lips slightly, quick and shallow breaths pumping in and out as he tried to keep his eyes from wandering away from hers. If she saw him steal a glance then it would just make things more awkward and he wasn't sure he could take any more awkwardness after…
"I wasn't talking about the lights"
What? The words slipped out of his parted lips before he knew they were there and the sound of his own voice filling the air startled him. Would it be weird if he just swam the rest of the way or bended himself up to the slowly approaching bridge ahead of them? From the interested look she gave him, he was seriously debating both ideas in his mind as he swallowed hard. Now he had to follow it up with something and she was gazing at him so expectantly that if she even came much closer he feared he'd spill his guts right there on the wooden floor of their boat.
Don't stop now
"I meant earlier, when I said it was beautiful, I wasn't talking about the lights… or really anything to do with the festival" He could feel the heat creeping back up his neck, but the strange courage that filled him at that moment kept him from caring, and the way she looked at him with almost anticipation forced him to look away. Despite the words that flowed out of his mouth, his voice didn't register as his own as it filled the air and his thoughts were swimming in a pool of uncertainty.
Don't try to hide it how
You wanna kiss the girl
She didn't say anything, but he could still feel her eyes on him. He couldn't tell her how he felt, it could ruin their friendship and it was a miracle his lippy slip from earlier hadn't scared her off yet. They were good friends, best friends, and as much as he wanted to be more he couldn't imagine losing her altogether because he couldn't keep himself in check.
Listen to the song
The song say kiss the girl
But what if they hadn't been interrupted earlier? She was the one to close the distance between them and she didn't just hold his hands, she intertwined their fingers as well… that was new, wasn't it? Oh freak why was this so hard?!
"Aang…" Her voice snapped him out of his thoughts and back up to meet her gaze, his breath catching abruptly. They had been aimlessly floating along and were coming up to the main area again where the lights were brighter, the twinkling glow giving him a rough slap on the cheek to remind him just how beautiful she was under their soft radiance, and that's when it finally hit him. This moment was right, it was perfect, and it was just the two of them there. It was now or risk never after battling the fire lord.
Do what the music say
You wanna kiss the girl
"I was talking about you—" Using the adrenaline now coursing through his body faster than any lightning strike could, he shifted closer to her. "—your blue eyes make me feel as though I'm drowning sometimes in a tidal wave that I don't want to escape from, and every time I see your smile or hear your laugh, it sends my heart racing—" He shifted a bit more and was relieved to see she wasn't making any movement to stop him or back away, instead her wide eyes were locked onto him, "—I never knew how much I liked the smell of salt water until you hugged me that first time and —" He stopped just shy of their knees touching and paused to take a breath, the sudden onslaught of words being more than he thought was going to spill out and he felt a tinge of his nervousness come back. Glancing away, he saw the whites of her knuckles as she gripped the plank beneath her with an undoubtedly strong force, and his hand shot up to rub the back of his neck. "—I said what I did because as amazing as everything around us is, all I've been able to look at is you and you are beautiful, Katara. All this festival has done...all this time we've spent together... it's made me realize that more"
You've got to kiss the girl
She was silent at first, and he could feel his heart threatening to beat out of his chest in anticipation and dread, not wanting to entertain the doubt that still lingered that would her next words would tear his heart apart in rejection.
"Do you… mean that?" It was almost a whisper, but he caught the disbelief that laced her words.
Thanks to his close proximity, he could see the blush that radiated off her cheeks and he had to keep himself from toppling overboard in surprise. Did she really not see how perfect she was to him?
Why don't you kiss the girl
"Every breath… but you are so much more than just the pretty face I laid eyes on at the iceberg and all this time we've spent together has shown me that. You care so deeply that you're willing to lose yourself sometimes and it's never a question of what you'll get in return that makes you do it every time, it's just who you are. Strong-willed, independent, funny, and stronger than you've ever given yourself credit for... I-" Realizing the words were coming faster than he wanted, he forcefully shut his mouth and leaned back ever so slightly to gauge her reaction, reminded by the tautness that her hands were probably still griping the plank beneath her and he gently placed his on them. With a few light caresses, he coaxed them to relax, and a soft smile came to his lips. "-honestly it would take the rest of my life to put everything I see into words"
Without warning she turned her head away with a somewhat hesitant look and Aang could hear the thud as his heart hit his stomach.
"I'm not as perfect as you think I am Aang"
But she was. How could he convey that to her, to make her believe every word he uttered as sincerely as he could?
You gotta kiss the girl
With one swift motion, he gently grabbed her chin and willed her eyes to meet his, shifting his legs to get closer to her and placing his other hand beside her hip to keep himself stable as he leaned forward. It was nearly intoxicating the way she stared into his eyes and bit her bottom lip nervously as the blush across her cheeks darkened.
"You may not think you are," His voice low, but heavy with a warm resolve, "but I'd spend however many lifetimes I'd need convincing you if it meant one day you could see how perfect you truly are in my eyes"
Go on and kiss the girl
With one last look into her eyes, all hesitation was gone, and he finally closed the gap between them by capturing her mouth with his in a gentle, but sweet kiss. He could feel her whole body stiffen in response at first but could've let out a breath of relief once he felt her lips moving against his not a moment later, and to his surprise, more eagerly than he was expecting. A sigh of contentment squeezed it's way between them as she wrapped her arms around his neck, lending him the opportunity to snake his arm around her waist while still trying to keep his balance with the other, and the unmistakable knot that had resided in his chest bursted into a frenzy of fireworks at the sensation. They were, he concluded with delight as his tongue lightly swept across the lips he found as supple and soft as he thought. The action made her lips part enough for him to venture inside, eliciting a soft moan from her throat after doing so, but then his eyes flew open and it was over. As fast as he had swept in for the kiss, he was pulling away and both of their heavy breaths mingled with the other's as his wide eyes just stared back into hers. That was amazing, but scary when he realized after the sound that came from her that he wasn't stopping at an innocent kiss.
"I-I'm sorry, I don't know what just came over me and I-" His words came out in a panicked rush as he made way to move away from her, but she quickly silenced them by grabbing his face back to hers and stealing another kiss.
"Convince me now"
Her whisper against his lips was light and innocent, but he heard the desperate undertone in it and it sent his head spinning. Next thing he knew she was pulling him even closer with a force that nearly sent him crashing into her and it sent his abashed hesitation from moments ago taking a dive into the water around them before he caved into her and deepened the kiss with as much passion as she fueled into kissing him back. Any sense of the world happening nearby was gone in an instant and he couldn't even make out the music anymore above the pounding of his own heart as every inch of his body craved for more of the girl in his arms. He didn't care that people were probably looking at them by now, heck this was going to be the gossip for the next few weeks if he was lucky it ended there, but no matter how much he felt that no one else even existed at that point, he was painfully reminded of the boat that had found theirs when two very familiar voices rang out loud and clear.
"TOPH WAS RIGHT, I TOLD YOU WE SHOULD'VE GONE TOGETHER! LET GO OF ME SUKI, THAT'S NOT THE KIND OF ACTION I WAS TALKING ABOUT!"
"SOKKA SIT BACK DOWN AND SHUT UP ALREADY!"
All Aang remembered after that was water... lots of water.
A/N: Hopefully y'all liked it, I had a pretty fun time writing it but this isn't my comfort zone incorporating song lyrics and I had to re-write nearly half of it after giving them way more tension than the cheesy song called for haha. I tried but cheesy fluff is not my thing lol.
Anywho, let me know if you want to see more one-shots from me and if I should do Katara's POV of this scene! :)
[I don't own Avatar: The Last Airbender or it's characters and claim no ownership of the song. All rights reserved to the proper owners!]