She needed to stop. It was getting ridiculous, even borderline rude. But she couldn't. Her eyes kept coming back to him, drinking in the sight of him, tracing over his long, chiseled lines. Katara knew she should just go. Get up and walk away and find something productive to do, rather than sitting there pretending to sew up a hole in Sokka's spare shirt at the edge of the courtyard where Zuko was teaching Aang firebending.
She told herself she was supervising; that she had to stay because Zuko wasn't trustworthy and might hurt Aang. She told herself she needed to be there with her healing abilities in case things got out of hand and they burned each other.
But they were all lies. Katara was there for one reason and one reason only... Zuko had no shirt on, and he looked good enough to eat.
No matter how she dragged her eyes away, trying to focus on her stitches, or the firebending itself, her eyes just kept coming back to the raw masculinity of his delicious, toned form and it was all she could do to stay seated and pretend distraction. She wanted Aang to call it quits for the day. She wanted to spar with the shirtless prince herself and to somehow goad him into tackling her to the ground so that she might feel all those hard lines pressed intimately against her own tingling, humming body. She wanted to run her hands over his body... maybe her tongue... mmmm.
Katara hissed when a fireball sailed past her head and she squawked with indignation and surprise when she toppled right off the low wall where she'd been sitting as she dodged the flames, landing in an undignified heap.
"Ow," she complained.
"Sorry, Katara!" Aang yelled, still hurling fireballs to and fro.
Katara grumbled, realizing she'd stabbed her sewing needle into her hand as she fell.
"You alright?" That husky, familiar voice sounded way too close and Katara's head jerked up to see Zuko had run over and was standing before her in all his shirtless glory.
"Fine," she breathed, her stomach fluttering with butterflies while her eyes danced over his chiseled abs.
"There's a needle sticking out of your hand," he pointed out doubtfully before he bent down and slid his hands under her arms, lifting her to her feet with shocking ease.
"Um," she managed inarticulately.
Zuko frowned into her face before he reached over and plucked the sewing tool from her flesh.
"Maybe you should sew somewhere else," he suggested. "Aang's fast. I can't catch all of his fireballs anymore. You're not safe here."
Katara gulped, barely hearing him. She could smell him. He smelled like clean sweat, soap, and smoke, and her mouth practically watered. What was wrong with her?
Without thinking, Katara reached out and traced her fingertips over the defined lines of his abs, his skin hot under her fingers and making her tremble. Zuko froze and Katara's cheeks started to burn when she realized what she'd done. Her eyes jerked up to his face and she gulped audibly to see he was frowning in confusion before his expression suddenly cleared into one of knowing surprise.
Putting his hands on her shoulders, Zuko turned her body to face away from him.
"Go to the room at the top of the house. Take the stairs in the back of the Fire Lord's chamber," he instructed quietly and Katara shivered as he stepped up behind her, his powerful frame pressed against her back while he squeezed her shoulders lightly.
"I..." Katara stammered unintelligibly.
Zuko lowered his mouth to her ear, his warm breath ghosting over her neck and the sensitive shell of her ear.
"I'll meet you there," he whispered huskily before he gave her a little shove to send her on her way.
Katara felt like she was being blood-bent as she hurried in the direction he'd commanded, positively aching to have him join her.