Ever since the cave, Katara couldn't stop watching Aang.
It wasn't the warm, affectionate look of a close friend, nor was it the proud and slightly protective gaze of a mentor. Those were looks she had given him in the past, her way of watching him. But this time, her gazes—her watching—was different.
For one thing, lately, her gazes had been lasting much longer then usual. There were times when she'd glance up, innocently just watching Aang play with Momo or practice, and the look suddenly took hold of her and held, until she had to force herself to look away. Whenever her hand brushed his, just the lightest graze, she jumped and blushed. And more often, she wondered what Aang really thought of her. And slowly, subtly, her watching shifted from that of a mentor and friend, to that of a girl who had known a guy for a long time and yet had just realized that he could be something more.
The thought didn't scare her as much as she knew it should have.
"Katara? Katara? Hello, Earth to Katara… KATARA!"
The Waterbender jumped, jerked out of her gaze at Aang's voice.
"WH-What? What'd I miss?" She blinked a few times. "Did something important happen?"
Aang gave her a strange look. "You were watching me again."
"Again, Katara. Like, the third time today."
Katara blushed hotly, reacting before she could think up a decent excuse. "I was not! I was… uh… I was… I was watching the river. Yeah. The river."
Aang gave her a baffled look before glancing over his shoulder at the river, a small silver line cut across the brown ground, sun sparkling and dancing across the glassy surface. He glanced back at her, then shrugged as though it was really none of his business whether she was watching him or the river behind him. Katara breathed a silent sigh of relief.
Katara, you've got to cut this out. Aang. Is. A FRIEND! Just a friend!
… But a very cute, male friend…
Katara clenched her teeth to keep from screaming in frustration. She wondered if Aang had voices in his head like the ones that currently were debating her feelings for the young Avatar. She risked another glance in his direction.
Stupid cave of two lovers. If they had never gotten trapped in there, she wouldn't feel so confused.
For God's sake, Katara! He's only twelve, you're only fourteen! He's the Avatar! You know, destined to save the world? You're just a Master training him! You're just a friend!
… And your point is…?
Katara continued watching Aang, knowing his suspicion would only rise if he looked up and caught her again, but she couldn't look away. Her emotions swirled within her like a storm waiting to break, and it was becoming too much for the Waterbender to bear. She knew she either had to act on her emotions or beat them back. She closed her eyes briefly.
C'mon, what's two years? What's your being a Master and his being the Avatar have to do with it?
I think you're scared.
I am not!
Yep. You're scared, because Aang is your best friend. It's not that he's younger or stronger then you. You're afraid of what will happen if your friendship with him changes.
Liar, liar, pants on fire…
You know what, I'm not even going to respond to that.
Just admit it. You're scared. Aang is your best friend. You're feelings are changing, but you're afraid to act on them, because you don't want to lose his friendship.
Will you just shut up and leave me alone!
Katara massaged her temples, wondering if she should consider consulting with a Healing Master for any brain damage. Voices in your head were not a sign of sound mental health.
She turned back to Aang, sighing wearily. She opened her mouth to speak, but no sound came out, and slowly she closed her mouth. She chewed on her lip, then shook her head.
She wouldn't tell Aang her feelings. Not yet. She was still to confused. Maybe someday soon, when she was more confident of what she felt, she would tell him. But not right now. For now, she would settle for simply watching the young Avatar, wondering of what might be. And maybe, one day, she would finally be able to figure out what she was feeling, and tell him.
But for now she would simply watch, and daydream.
I wrote this from personal experience. I began to like one of my best friends, but I kept quiet about it...
What do you think? Should I make a series on this?