A/N: I know, no posts in a while. Uh... hmm... not very much to say here. This story was simply a purging of my need for some light, chatty Kataang.
Disclaimer: I own nothing.
After a hard day of practicing, working, and helping out with different problems among the nations, Aang sat in the room he shared with his friends on the gigantic Earth Kingdom ship. While Toph and Sokka ate everything that they could get their hands on down in the galley, he had chosen to stay up in the room to talk with Katara. Unfortunately, after just a few minutes she had dozed off and finally fallen asleep on his shoulder, and he had fallen asleep as well.
Aang's eyes snapped open, but he didn't move right away. The weight on his shoulder was uncomfortable to a certain degree, yes, but he didn't have the heart to move Katara's head off his shoulder. So instead, he rested his head gently on hers and sighed. Currently they were about two days away from the Fire Nation, where he had arranged a meeting with the Fire Lord. Word of trouble had been passed down to the small Earth Kingdom town where they had been living for the last five years since the downfall of Ozai. The news made him nervous; he grasped Katara's limp hand as gently as he could. She slept on
The eyes of the Avatar wondered around the room with a bored, tired sort of interest. A litter of telltale items lay scattered across the room: weapons, scrolls, food, clothes, and other things. To Aang, it was amusing that so many different things could all be linked together. The half-eaten pastry on the floor, for example, had played a crucial part in Sokka's acquirement of his new knife, which Toph had Bended into the wall during an argument. Even after all this time, the four of them still bickered and argued as much as ever.
A loud, sharp intake of breath told him that Katara had come back to the real world. He picked his head up off of hers and she sat upright. Rubbing her eyes, she looked around the room, and then at Aang as he stood up and made his way toward the balcony door.
"Aang?" she asked, her voice quiet and feeble.
When he didn't respond, she brushed her hair loopies away from her face and clambered to her tired feet. Meanwhile, Aang had opened the door and stepped outside onto the balcony, where the salty breeze was a welcome contrast to the stuffy room. On light feet, he strode to the bar of the balcony and peered over the edge. Down on a lower balcony sat Toph and Sokka, both of whom had a platter of various foods balanced on their stomachs as they chatted with nonchalance. A candle stood by each of their seats, bathing them in a yellow light through the dark.
A second pair of hands gripped the railing and Katara looked down at her brother and friend as well. "They never stop eating, do they?" Her voice, while kind and conversational, contained a level of concern that Aang knew was not for Toph and Sokka's diets.
"No," Aang answered in a monotone. "I guess not."
He could feel her eyes boring into the side of his face, and still he didn't look at her in return. His fingers tapped an unnamed rhythm on the railing bar.
"Aang, is everything alright?" she asked.
Nodding, Aang slowly replied, "I'm just… I don't know. Anxious, I guess."
"Do you wanna talk about it?" When he shrugged, Katara pressed, "You can always talk to me, Aang. You know that."
After a few moments, Aang took a step back and gripped the railing even tighter. His gray eyes turned to the moonless night sky, and he sighed. "It's hard to explain. I guess I've been thinking about the war and everything."
Still he did not look at Katara.
"I don't even know why I'm thinking about it," he continued. "It was five years ago."
"I still think about it, too," said Katara.
This time Aang turned to Katara with a surprised look on his face. All this time he had thought that he was the only one who still thought of the war. Even five years later he sometimes awoke in the middle of the night, drenched with sweat and tears, hearing the sounds of death all around him. The screams of women and children echoed in his ears even though they were five years passed. It had been, and still remained to this day, terrible.
"You do?" he asked.
Katara nodded and answered, "All the time. During the day, in my dreams – sometimes I think I'm going crazy."
Aang's jaw dropped. "Really?"
He'd never known. Sometimes he'd wondered if the memory of battle had affected anybody else, but he'd been afraid of asking. Now, thinking back, he wasn't all that sure why. Aang took a few steps backward, then moved forward again and leaned over the railing. What to say now?
"Well," he began, "then you should know what I'm feeling." He turned his head and looked at Katara with a frown. "Back then, I was worried about those last few days before the battle being the last days ever. And now, since it's over and stuff, I'm still… afraid." The last word sounded quiet and weak.
Before she replied, Katara let a silence engulf the pair of them. It was a silence that was broken only by a sudden laugh from Sokka in the deck below, and the constant revving of the ship's gigantic engines. The sounds were a comfort.
"Afraid of what, Aang?" she asked, stepping forward and stopping beside him. "The war is over."
This time, the brief look he shot her was slightly harsh. "The war is over, but I'm still the Avatar! There are probably hundreds of people that want me dead. How am I supposed to live my life with that in my head all the time? What if today is my last day?"
"Aang, stop it." Katara's voice was firm, yet still with a level of kindness to it. She placed a hand on his shoulder and he turned to look at her, a worry etched on his face that replaced the anger entirely. Katara took a deep breath and continued, "You can't think like that, or you'll never be able to live your life. If these days are our last, then so be it. There's nothing we can do but live today."
"Yeah, but –"
"Aang, listen to me." She reached over, took his shoulders, and gave them a gentle shake. "I know that you're under the pressure of the world, and I know that you're afraid, but you can't let it take over your life. We're engaged. If you can't support yourself, how can you support us together? You need to let it go."
Aang opened his mouth to protest, but slowly his expression faded, his mouth closed, and he hung his head. "You're right," he muttered. "I can't keep thinking like this. I – I'm just afraid. For the both of us."
She let go of his shoulders and he made to grasp the bar once again, but this time she took his hand in her own. Together Aang and Katara turned and stared out into the darkness of the starry ocean night.
"I know, Aang. So am I."
A/N: This was very short, but you probably don't realize how long it took me to write this. It was 100 percent forced, if that explains anything. T.T
I do like the last bit, though. Maybe someday I'll look back and really like this. I hope you all enjoyed it, at any rate.