Author's Note: This is what happens when a bending lesson leads to maybe more than just a lesson in bending water.
Sunshine streamed down through the trees and hit the lake causing diamond-like sparkles to scatter across the surface. The day was perfect, warm and breezy. Just right for a group of tired travelers to enjoy an afternoon picnic and a few hours of relaxation. And just right for waterbending lesson.
Sokka, after an argument with Toph over his prowess as a warrior, had taken refuge under a tree and had drifted into a nap. The teenager was clutching onto his boomerang, Momo curled up on his chest. The blind earthbender had walled herself up into a makeshift tent of rock, ignoring the group as she often did when one of them frustrated her.
'Good.' Katara thought. 'We'll be able to practice in peace.'
Katara stood into the water, the cool water lapping at the middle of her calves, the sun warming her shoulders. Her white two piece undergarment contrasted sharply with the darkness of her skin, a darkness that had been deepened from weeks out in the spring sunshine. She looked down briefly at her reflection, checking her stance as she practiced a more difficult waterbending form. Bright blue eyes reflected back approval of her bending position and she smiled.
'Yes.' She thought. 'This move is perfect to teach Aang today.'
It was difficult, involving timing and the appropriate amount of energy being used to direct the water, but it was a move that used bits and pieces of bending forms Aang had already mastered. She was proud of the progress he was making under her instruction and she was confident the airbender would master the element fully in a few more weeks.
Katara went through the motions once again, waiting for the young Avatar to finish gathering food for Appa before their lesson began. She felt herself becoming impatient, eager to teach the boy the new move, to show him something else he could do with the element. A thought the waterbender tried to keep housed deep within her mind suddenly pushed its way into the front.
'It's not teaching waterbending you like, it's teaching him.'
She tried to silence the thought and send it back to the deep recess of her mind, but it was useless. The thought was there. Katara had to acknowledge it. She had done battle with this thought before, telling herself that he was too young, he had a duty to the world, that he was her best friend. She had tried to convince herself that it was just from them being together day in and day out and it was due to all they had been through together. But convincing herself was becoming a losing battle.
She sighed softly, frowning at her reflection in the water. She did enjoy teaching waterbending, but as time had gone on she had begun to realize it wasn't the waterbending that made the lessons enjoyable, it was Aang.
Katara had first believed it was his excitement, his eagerness, and his naturally sunny disposition that made teaching him enjoyable. But it wasn't just that. It was a chance for them to be alone together, no Toph, no Sokka, just her and him and the water. It was the closeness as they practiced and the way being near him sent shivers down her spine. If Sokka knew…
'If Sokka knew I felt this way, he'd never let me teach Aang again.'
The girl turned and smiled. The young Avatar was eagerly running towards the lake, stripping off his tunic and attempting to kick off his shoes as he ran. The waterbender shook her head and tried to stifle a giggle as he tripped while trying to get a shoe off and went flying head first into the water.
The airbender came up sputtering and laughing. Katara couldn't help but giggle. He looked ridiculous.
'How a boy who controls the air with such grace can be such a klutz I'll never know.'
Aang stood up, wiping the water from his eyes and smiling. The boy's pale skin always had a sort of luminescent glow, whether it was an airbender trait or something special only to the Avatar Katara didn't know, but the sun hitting the water droplets as they clung to his skin only enhanced the effect. An effect that had the waterbender staring.
"Katara? Katara? Are you okay?"
The sound of her name brought her out of her thoughts.
"Huh…yeah. I'm fine."
"You were staring at me." He said, raising an eyebrow. The waterbender's eyes widened slightly in panic.
"No I wasn't. I…I was thinking about which waterbending form was best to teach you today." Katara managed to stammer out, hoping her lie was convincing. The boy shrugged his pale shoulders, dropping the issue much to her relief. "Now, I want to teach you a move that will bring everything you've learned so far together."
For the next few minutes she demonstrated each aspect of the bending form, explaining as she went about timing and energy. Aang watched and listened to her intently, memorizing each position of her arms, her legs, each flick of her wrist, and absorbing each word she said. The intensity and concentration being focused on her through his storm gray eyes unnerved her slightly.
"Now you try." The waterbender directed.
Aang moved through the positions of the bending form slowly, brows knitted together in concentration, making sure he was hitting every one correctly. Katara watched, evaluating each move of his limbs, each position of his body, scrutinizing everything.
"Like that?" He asked.
She nodded in approval. "Let's see what happens if we add the water."
Together the two benders moved in unison, streams of water flying around their bodies, one stream falling back into the lake before the other. Katara smiled. She knew Aang's timing was a little off. It was a problem he sometimes had when learning a new bending form and one that was often easily corrected.
"Oops." He grinned, blushing slightly at his failed attempt.
"Remember, it's always easier to do the moves without the water because you are just concentrating on you and not the element. Let me see you try it by yourself." Katara said.
Aang went through the motions once again, carefully guiding the water around him. The girl stood to one side watching, eyes picking up on airbender's stance, the way he held his arms, the subtle problems with his timing from one position to the next.
"That's almost right, but you need to move like this…" Katara positioned herself behind Aang, her fingers lightly holding onto his wrists, moving his arms in front his chest. The girl could feel his pulse speed up beneath her fingers; she could see a soft blush creep its way from the young Avatar's face to his ears and neck. She held his arms gently in her hands, guiding him through the stances of the move. Each motion was graceful and deliberate and if there had been music, their movements could have been mistaken for a dance.
"Did you feel the timing between the motions?" She asked, still behind him, still holding his wrists gently in her hands. Her index fingers absently traced the blue tattoos marking the flesh of his wrists.
The boy felt her breath, warm on the back of his neck. He swallowed heavily and nodded. "Yeah…"
"Good. Now let's see you…" She began.
"…but I think we need to go through it again just to be sure."
Katara's eyes widened. His meaning was clear. He was flirting with her. The girl's heart was pounding in her chest and she suddenly felt her face become very warm. This was definitely a side of Aang she had never seen, a very forward side of Aang.
"Sure…I…uh…" The waterbender tried desperately to speak. To say anything. 'We're having nice weather.' would suffice. But the nearness of him was clouding her mind, her thoughts jumbled and coming from all directions. If someone had told her a year ago that a nearly thirteen year old bald airbending monk would make her all tongue-tied and flushed, she would have laughed. But here she was, sputtering and stammering like an idiot.
"Hey Twinkle-toes! Time to learn some earthbending! So quit splashing around!"
Toph's voice snapped Katara out of her fog and she felt Aang pull slowly from her grasp. Never had she been more grateful for the sound of Toph's shrill, piercing voice. She was saved from appearing and sounding even more foolish than she already did. For now at least.
She saw the earthbender standing on the shore; the younger girl's hands were on her hips, her stance very much like that of a fire nation drill sergeant.
Katara watched Aang walk towards the blind earthbender. Suddenly, he stopped and turned slightly, a mischievous smile tugging at the corners of his mouth, gray eyes sparkling.
"We'll have to continue this lesson later. I get the feeling this is an important move."
The waterbender sank down into the lake, suddenly wishing the water was twenty degrees colder.
Yes, I think Katara and Aang have the potential for oodles of passion...LOL. Something about two benders moving in unison together.
Thanks to all of my reviewers and the people who favorited this story. I think Aang has the capacity to be a little flirty and evil and I wanted to show that without becoming too OOC. : )