/Author Note: This fic came into being due to two things. The first is that, let's face it, Aang curling up with Katara for sleep is one of the most adorable things concievable. The second is that for an entire ten hour work shift, I had this story rattling around in my head and I knew it wouldn't leave until I wrote it./
Katara's eyes drifted open. The morning sunlight was drifting down from the treetops, providing the clearing with a warm illumination. The air was chilly, but it didn't matter much to her. She had fallen asleep with another body beside her, and he was still there, keeping her warm. She smiled as she wrapped her arms around him and pulled him closer. One hand raised to ruffle his hair, then was pulled back as she remembered that Aang didn't have any.
He was so small, she thought, and it wasn't all his age. While her own people at the poles tended to be bulky, to help survive in the cold, the Air Nomads were notorious for their lithe frames. Whereas it served the people of the Water Tribe to insulate against the cold, an Air Nomad was best off as light as possible, to make flight and climbing easier. Aang was so small that she dwarfed him, and she was no giant herself.
Aang moaned quietly, and she realized she had woken him. His eyes opened slightly and he quietly spoke her name. She shushed him gently.
"Go back to sleep, Aang." She said, and then kised him lightly on the forehead. His eyes closed once more, and he drifted off again. Katara carefully extricated herself from under him, and stood up. Aang pushed himself up higher, further into Appa's fur.
As Katara stretched, she surveyed the campsite. Appa's enormous bulk dominated the clearing, and Momo was sleeping on top of his head. She and Aang had fallen asleep leaning up against Appa, using his fur as a bed. A few meters to her left was the stone tent that marked Toph's sleeping place. Sokka's was quite a ways off. If it hadn't been for his snoring, she wouldn't have been able to pick it out at all. Her brother was not exactly cheerful about her and Aang, and had taken to sleeping far away from them as a form of protest...although never so far that he couldn't keep an eye on them. Katara almost laughed at that; Sokka was always the first asleep, and the last to wake. He'd probably have better luck asking Toph to watch them.
She turned once more to look at her young love. He was so many things. Boy, airbender, lover...Avatar. And tomorrow he must fight. The thought filled her with dread. Oh, he'd been fighting ever since she and Sokka found him drifting in that iceberg. Nearly every day, a new threat appeared or an old one resurfaced, and Aang had been forced to fight to save his life and those of his friends. But this was different. This was the strongest opponent Aang had ever faced, and in truth she was afraid. Aang was powerful, and he had the spirits of all previous Avatars behind him, but Katara wasn't sure that even that would be enough. The Fire Lord wielded so much power, and if they didn't defeat him before the comet arrived...
He seemed even smaller now, lying alone, curled into the fetal position over a blanket of thick bison fur. His small frame seemed an unlikely host for the Avatar's power, and he looked even less like the bearer of such a great responsibility. He was only twelve; he should be running and playing with his friends, not preparing to battle one of the most powerful firebenders the world had ever seen.
Katara sat down beside Aang once more. She did not touch him for fear of waking him, but simply watched him as he slept. He looked so peaceful that it was hard to imagine that in only a few hours he would be preparing for the fight of his life. All she could do was make sure she was with him when the battle started. She knew that she wouldn't be able to protect him from the dangers, but as long as she was by his side, she knew she would fear less.