A Temporary Insanity

Aang suffers a bout of insanity and winds up engaged.

Aang was used to sleeping on the ground. He'd been accustomed to it for more than a few years after the war had ended, and had even had trouble sleeping in a real bed once he finally had a real bed to call his own. Twigs and rocks digging into his back didn't bother him all that much. He was familiar with the early-morning task of patting down his clothes to remove the mud and dirt that had accumulated during his nocturnal tossing and turning. He had acclimated himself to the bumps and bruises and abrasions that came from lying against trees, in-between roots, and under bushes.

Although, to be fair to his back – which he just knew was going to ache in the morning – he usually didn't have another body resting all its weight on his hips and chest. Not that he minded, of course. He'd spent the entire evening gazing forlornly at Katara (who looked enchanting in blue and white silk), feeling for all the world like some lovesick pup. When she'd pulled him out into the garden, away from all the prying eyes of their friends and acquaintances, he'd been more than happy to oblige her with the kiss she kept asking for – silently, as was her way with such things, by pressing against his side so that he could feel the curves of body.

Somehow, they'd ended up on the ground. Aang didn't remember how they'd gotten there, but he hadn't been worried: he'd found that, more often than not, his memory slipped when he kissed her for more than a few moments. They'd wound up in more than a few ridiculous situations because neither of them could really pay attention to anything else when the mood took them.

He took it as a good sign that they'd only been caught once.

He'd been a little alarmed when he'd glanced around to find they'd migrated into a small hollow in the bushes that ringed the garden, safely out of sight, but then Katara had dragged one of his hands up between her thighs (beneath layers of light, but all-too-confining silk) and the small remainder of his rational thought had fled.

More than one set of footsteps had passed them on the little, meandering path they had taken to get to this secluded corner of the garden. Always, Aang heard the interlopers before he saw them. He would lay a hand across Katara's open, gasping mouth, urging her to a silence broken only by the erratic thundering of their beating hearts. Both would still, and breathing would halt, but the hand below her waist never stopped working. She wanted to move, to writhe and moan and tell him how much she needed him without uttering a single word, but she kept her quiet and lay still as stone (even as her toes curled) as long as there were others in earshot.

As the last set of footsteps faded, she bit him. Her teeth dug sharply into his palm and the back of his hand, just short of breaking the skin. He yelped in pain, and when he pulled his hand away from her mouth, her own cry echoed his out into the quiet of the garden. She shivered beneath him, and kissed him slowly as the feelings that had raced through her limbs faded from complete euphoria to blissful contentment.

Katara was wrapping her arms around his neck to pull him into a tight embrace when they heard a very familiar, disgruntled voice exclaim, "What the hell was that?!"

Against his moral compunctions, Aang swore.

Then they were desperate to slow their pounding hearts and right their clothing. She pulled water from the damp soil, and they splashed their hands and faces with it before brushing the dirt off each other's backs and shoulders with hurried motions. Aang tried (in vain) to pin Katara's hair back into some semblance of its former glory, but failed miserably.

They tripped out of the bushes and made it back to the path just in time to watch Sokka stomp into sight around a curve in the high, thick hedge. Toph followed him at a much more sedate pace, waving her hello as Sokka sent them an accusing glare.

"Did either of you hear that yell?" he asked suspiciously, giving the gardens a sweeping glance. Katara, for the first time in her entire life, wished her brother were drunk. He appeared, currently, to be completely sober, as did Toph.

Beating back the mortification that threatened to overwhelm her, Katara answered smoothly, "I didn't hear anything," at the same time Aang asked, "What yell?"

"It sounded almost like someone was…" Sokka let that sentence trail off, and took a good look at his sister's face. "Why are you all red?"

Aang, and Katara (and even Toph, though she was out of Sokka's range of vision) shifted nervously.

"I asked Katara to marry me," Aang blurted, wrapping an arm around her shoulders and giving her a hard, campy squeeze. He thought he heard her coughing.

"You did?" Sokka asked, his tone rife with disbelief.

"Yeah," Aang reaffirmed, nodding. "I did. And she said yes."

"She did?" Sokka pressed, just loud enough to cover Katara's whispered exclamation of, "I did?"

Sokka glanced back and forth between the two of them, before shaking his head. He mumbled what sounded suspiciously like, "about time!" before striding off toward to noises still wafting out from the party.

"Nice save," Toph said, none too quietly, before shouting, "About time is right! What took you so long, Twinkle Toes?"

"Just…waiting for the right moment," Aang replied, glancing at Katara. She smiled softly back at him, and laid a hand at the back of his neck to pull him into a kiss.

When he wrapped his arms around her waist, Toph made a hasty retreat after Sokka, exclaiming all the while about how being blind was no good if they were all standing on earth, and would they please at least wait until she got back inside before jumping on eachother?

Laughing, Katara pushed away from Aang. She laced the fingers of her left hand with his right and asked, "Do you really wanna get married?"

Aang ducked his head to hide his blush, and replied, "I've been thinking about it…"

AN - Oh good Lord, what have I done?! I think I just... was that... did I write smut? I did. It was. Oh my...