A/N: Alright! So here's chapter 9! (Finally) Sorry that it took so long but I had a tiny writers block (if you can call, not having any idea of what to write, a writers block…) Heh this chap got longer than I expected and maybe a bit too sensitive, but so what, it's my story! XD But now here it is so enjoy and review.
Disclaimer: sigh No…I do not own Avatar: The Last Airbender. (Im seriously getting tired of that friggin' disclaimer!)
She crawled down the cliff as fast as she could while rain started to fall violently. She ran into the forest as well, trying to pursuit him, even though it seemed impossible because of his ability to run faster than the wind. She looked around in the forest. It was dark and she could hardly see. She went to the river again. He wasn't there. Then her eyes fell on a small cave. First when she saw the cave as shelter for the rain she noticed it was in fact pouring and that she was soaked from head to toe. She leaped over the shallow river and stopped near the entrance. The cave was dark. Very dark. There wasn't a single light and two metres inside the cave it was almost completely dark. Katara shivered at the thought of going in there even though she was soaked and cold. But a thought occurred to her. Aang could be there.
She then carefully took a few steps into the dark cave and brushed a bit of water off her sleeves. She saw a figure at the end of the cave. She couldn't figure what or who it was. Her curiosity won over her awareness and she walked further into the cave. When she was almost next to the figure she realised who it was. He was sitting in the back of the cave, hugging his legs to him with one arm. The other one was used to burry his face. Katara could hear his tearstained breaths. She furrowed her brows in concern as she moved next to him.
He briefly looked up. She couldn't clearly see his eyes only that he looked up. The darkness blurred her sight of him. He looked away again.
"Aang what's wrong?" she asked and sat down next to him. He moved away.
"Nothing, go away." he said and closed his eyes.
Katara hesitated a bit. "There is something wrong. I saw how you reacted when you remembered it all. Tell me what is wrong." she pleaded. She reached an arm out for him. But he just moved further away.
"I said there was nothing wrong!"
Katara pulled her hand away, as if what he said burned her hand. She frowned.
"Aang come on. Tell me. Tell me so I can help you."
"NO! I DON'T WANNA TALK ABOUT IT! JUST, GO AWAY. LEAVE ME ALONE!!" he yelled and pushed himself into the farthest corner of the cave, tears rolling down his cheeks.
Katara looked at him in shock and sadness. He had just yelled at her. It felt like he had stabbed her heart with a blunt, rusty knife. She mostly wanted to leave. Tell him that she didn't care. But she did. She did too much. Tears welled up on her eyes.
"Aang, you don't have to be like this. I can't leave you alone. I need to help you. Aang, I love you. You know that." she pleaded the boy in front of her. He suddenly moved closer with showing anger, fear and somehow sorrow in his face.
"NO! You can't love me! You won't." he shouted and retreated back in the corner of the cave.
"Why not?" she asked and moved a bit closer. His face was more visible and the faint light from the moon were reflected in the tears on his cheeks.
"You can't. Im a monster. You can't love a monster. You deserve better." he replied and looked away.
"But you're not a monster. You're Aang. A monster is evil and dangerous. And you're the exact opposite. You're kind and pleasant and loving. That's why I love you Aang. You would never hurt anyone."
"No it is exactly there you're wrong. I would, and I have. These hands..." He raised his hands and showed his palms to her. The burn mark was still faintly visible. "…has killed thousands of people. Even innocent people. With these hands I have killed more people than any battle could have managed. They have even tried to kill you. So yes, I am a monster!" he said loudly to her.
"But it was not you. It was Sey Jii. And he is dead now."
"Just another one to my collection!" he muttered. "But it doesn't matter. He was using my body. How should I be able to regain the worlds trust ever again? When all those people have seen me kill. Seen the pleasure in my eyes. How I was obsessed by killing. Seen how I enjoyed killing. No one can ever remove those memories!" he replied loudly and lowered his hands.
Katara didn't know what to say. Instead she moved closer to him. And he just moved farther away from her. Further into the corner, if that was even possible. He pressed himself against the corner. By that Katara stopped. It was like he was avoiding her. Afraid of her. Or maybe afraid for her. Maybe he was afraid of hurting her. Afraid to be possessed again. How could she blame him? After all he had been through? But she needed to help him. To comfort him.
"Aang, the world is adaptive. They will earn your trust eventually. It was not you who did it. It's not your fault." she comforted, but was cut off.
"Yes it is! I could have stopped it! If I really wanted to, I could!" he said in a desperate voice more tears welling up in his eyes.
Suddenly Katara lunged out for Aang and clung herself to him, wrapping her arms around his neck in a hard, desperate hug. First Aang tensed but then relaxed and hugged her back, only harder. He knitted his brows and closed his eyes tightly, trying to keep the tears behind his lids, but failed.
"IT'S NOT YOUR FAULT! Its not. I don't know what Sey Jii has done but it was not you. You could never do such things. Don't ever blame yourself again." she sobbed. Tears rolled down her cheeks as she spoke. She could feel him shake slightly
"I-I...I can't do it anymore. I can't. The duty of saving the world is heavy enough, but now… now I have to restore trust from the world too. It's- it's just too much." he said also sobbing. "The only… the only thing… that makes me able to handle this great responsibility… is you" he whispered and laid his head on her shoulder.
"I…I don't think I can live without you." she whispered back.
"Me neither." Aang replied and let go of her. He looked into her bright cerulean eyes. "I never got to thank you. To thank you for helping me. For saving my life. Twice. Thank you for saving my life every day." he said quietly and smiled. He wiped the tears away. "Thank you for saving me right now."
Katara smiled back, though a bit of confusion showed in her eyes. "Right now?"
"Yeah. If you haven't come here…I don't know what I would have done. The pressure was too heavy. I was not sure if I could live on, knowing that I have killed so many people. But you came. And helped me. You saved me, and for that I am thankful." he said and reached out to wipe the tears away from her eyes, with a smile on his face, at last. As he did Katara smiled, too. Though her mind were racing. "What would he have done? Oh no. Not that. Would he really do that? Is the pressure that heavy? How can I help him? If only I could take some of the weight on my own shoulders." The thoughts flew around in her mind and wouldn't stop, not even when Aang started to notice. He took her hand and waited for her to end her mind race. "He needs me. And I need him. Why did we ever doubt? When it was so oblivious the whole time. We have already confessed each others feelings, and yet we doubt. I love him. I love him so very much. And he loves me! He really does! Maybe I can't remove the weight on his shoulders, but I can be by his side and support him. Whenever he needs me. I'll be there. For ever. I promise, Aang." And then it was all puzzled and Kataras eyes shot wide open. So did Aangs. Especially when she did something unexpected.
She leaned in, closer and closer. She felt his breath. Still tearstained, but yet warm and comforting. She closed her eyes. And so did he, as he mimicked the motion and leaned closer, closing the space between them. As their lips collided the time stopped. No, it was not lust, not even pure passion. But it was as sweet as honey and as pure as water. And so filled with love that there will be found no example for it.
As they parted there were no words say, nothing to explain. But yet they tried.
"I…" Aang started. He seemed breathless. He was still grasping Kataras hand.
"I suppose you feel better now." Katara said trying to sound casual, but her voice was shaking in excitement.
"How couldn't I? In one day the most important thing in my young life has happened." he replied and stroke her cheek lightly.
"What, that you defeated Sey Jii?" Katara asked.
"Of course not, that's just a mere trifle. Telling you that I love you is the greatest achievement I will ever make." he answered with a wider smile than before, staring lovingly into her clear sapphire eyes, never breaking eye contact. Kataras smile grew wider too.
"Oh Aang!" she gasped and wrapped her arms around his neck once again. "How could I ever doubt it? Why didn't I notice how wonderful you are? Why didn't I realize that I was in love with you at the very first sight?" It was not really a question, but still, Aang answered it.
"Because sometimes love needs a hint. And sometimes the hint has to be extreme. I bet our hint couldn't get any more extreme." he replied with a small laugh. They broke the embrace and sat there for a while. Holding hands. Until a breeze flew inside the cave and gave them chills.
"I guess we should head back. Im pretty sure we both need some rest. What do you say?" Katara asked and brushed her hand down from his cheek and across his jaw line and paused on his chin.
"I say I got an idea first." Aang replied with a sly smile.
Katara tilted her head in wonder. "What is it?" she asked. Aang just raised an eyebrow, amused by the confused look on her face. She leaned closer to him and placed her mouth close to his ear. "Please, tell me, my sweet Aang." she said in a surprisingly seductive voice. As she retreated she purposely let her cheek brush over his. Right before her face left his she felt his cheek become hotter.
"I thought, since we have just confessed out feelings for each other and for a few minutes ago kissed each other, you wouldn't have to flirt with me to make me tell you what I had on mind." "Though I must admit I enjoyed it." "But since you insist…" Aang replied and then it was his turn to lean in. Since Katara was not expecting such an act from Aang she was taken aback and tensed, the soaring sensation of warmth and bliss rushing though her once again. As his lips brushed over her ear heat rose in her cheeks in a way it had never done before. Somehow, from the faint touch from his lips on her ear, she could tell her that he was smirking, giving back on what she just did, and enjoying it greatly. The heated breath of his didn't help her hide her blush either. But she couldn't help smiling herself.
"I'll be so kind to enlighten you." he said and before explaining his idea.
Sokka was snoring in his tent when a cracking noise was heard. He waited to hear if it came again. And to hear if Toph had woken up. She hadn't. Or maybe she was just ignoring it. Either way she did not exit her tent. Sokka decided to find out where the noise came from and slowly peeked his head out of the tent. It was dark and the stars were shining down at the young Water Tribe warrior. The moon was hidden behind the trees and didn't help him to find the source of the sound. He rubbed his eyes and adjusted his sight. Then his eyes caught a glimpse of a figure. Standing in front of the fire pit. As Sokkas sight adjusted the darkness he could make out the clothing. And he gasped.
"Sey Jii?!" he whispered.
And yes there was standing a young boy looking exactly like Aang in a cowl, the hood completely concealing the face. He lifted his hand slightly and out from his palm a small fire ball formed and began hovering over his open palm. The flame revealed a bit of his face. But still only the frowning mouth.
"Hello Sokka. Long time no see. Im looking for someone. A young boy, looks exactly like me. Could you tell me, where he is?" the boy asked and smirked.
That was the final straw for Sokka and he quickly got up and ran towards the young boy.
"Sey Jii, you evil madcap! You almost killed both Aang and Katara! Im going to kill you, you sick bastard!" he yelled and lunged towards the cowl wearing boy. Sokka jolted into him before he could jump out of the way and they both landed on the ground, Sokka on top. Then Sokka locked his hands around the boy's neck and tightened the grip. Until the boy began laughing. But it was not a sinister laugh. It was a childish laugh filled with amusement. Soon Katara walked out from behind a rock, laughing with her hands wrapped around her stomach.
"Sokka, it's me, Aang." the boy explained still laughing hard. "You should have seen the look on your face!" he said and laughed even harder, if possible. At this point Aang expected that Sokka would release him and stand up. But he didn't. Instead he tightened his grip around Aangs neck and shoke him violently.
"Grr Aang im going to kill you!" he yelled. Aang quickly pushed Sokka off and stepped away only to be chased by a, lets just say, pretty angry Sokka. "Come back here Airhead, so I can beat the crap outta you!"
As they ran in and out of the forest Sokka began wondering about what they had been doing.
"Wait, what were you doing out there? I noticed when Katara left and since then you have been gone for pretty long time." he asked, panting because of the big amount of energy he used, chasing Aang. "God, that danm airbender. Why do he has to be so fast?!"
Katara and Aang looked at each other and blushed for a moment. Then Aangs face changed from alarmed to cockily.
"Oh nothing special. I died, Katara saved me, we beat Sey Jii. Nothing major." he replied sheepishly, as if it didn't mean more than if he just dropped his staff on the ground, and laughed at Sokkas expression.
"You WHAT!?" he cried and began flailing his arms above his head. "You died?! When the hell did that happen? Who did it? How did Katara save you? How did you…" he yelled but was cut off by his sister.
"Sokka, relax. First, Aang is alive, and that's the most important, right. And second, we are back, safe and sound so no reason to freak out." Katara calmed her brother.
"Ok…But what about the cowl? How did he get that?" Sokka asked, questions still fighting to be the first to be asked.
"He borrowed mine." Katara replied her smile fathering a bit.
"And what about the firebending?" Sokka continued.
Aang raised his hand like earlier and a small fireball lit, hovering in his palm.
"Sokka, im the Avatar. I've always been able to firebend. I just denied. Katara helped me realize that I can't deny it forever." Aang answered with a smile.
Not wanting to annoy them any more, Sokka slowly turned. "Well im going back to my tent. Im pretty tired. You should get some rest too." he said and as he started to head back to his tent.
A thought suddenly occurred to Katara, and wanting to see his reaction of what she was going to do, she stopped him.
"Wait, Sokka. There's something I think you need to know." she said and waited for Sokka to turn around again.
"Yeah?" he asked and spun around.
Katara quickly braced herself and walked towards Aang. Once she was only some inches away from him she cupped his face in her hands and kissed him passionately on the lips. First Aang tensed, but then relaxed, closed his eyes and kissed lightly back. Until he realized that they were doing it in front of Sokka. He opened his eyes again and glanced at his friend. Sokka just stood, mouth agape, and stared at the younger kids, kissing. When they broke the kiss, Katara smiled at Aang lovingly and then looked expectantly at her brother. He still stood with his mouth agape, but then closed it and regained his composure. He began walking towards the pair. Aang raised his arms to protect his face from whatever Sokka would unleash on him. But instead of making Aang wish he had stayed in the iceberg, Sokka gave him a big bone breaking hug.
"Uh Sokka, why are you so happy? I thought you would freak you and yell something like "Keep your hands off my sister!" How come you're just…Hugging him?" Katara asked her brother still trying to puzzle his unexpected act.
"Because I have never seen you so happy since Aang died. And if have to let you go to Aang, just to see you smile, id be happy to." Sokka replied with a wide smile as he ended the hug, still with his hands on Aangs shoulders. "Just promise you will not use her or hurt her and protect her and love her and…"
"Sokka, I'd die for her. Is that enough?" Aang cut Sokka off. Sokka nodded with a big satisfied smile.
"I knew this would come soon anyway." he said and changed his gaze from Aang to Katara.
"What, you knew? And you found out of it all by your self?" Katara asked.
"Yeah pretty much." he answered proudly.
"Yeah right Snoozles. Like you would have known if I didn't feel their vibrations. Geez." A muffled contradiction came from the tent next to Sokkas.
Sokkas face became slightly crimson, as he looked from the tent to Katara and Aangs, raised eyebrows, as he produced an embarrassed smile.
"Oh yeh and a little help from Toph." he managed to explain.
"Much" Toph muttered under her breath and pouted, before she fell asleep again.
"Well im going to bed now and as I said, you should do so too. I guess it takes pretty much energy to die and then be resurrected again, Aang. And you too" he said and looked at Katara. "Im sure it's not actually relaxing to save a boy's life and defeat a crazy firebender, in one day, Katara. Goodnight" he finished and headed towards his tent.
"Oh and Sokka…" Katara started.
"And no more surprises tonight. Let me sleep in peace." he pointed at Aang. "But I still have a bone to pick with you." And then he entered his tent, laid down and fell asleep. A loud snoring assured them that he was in fact fast asleep.
Aang placed his hand under Kataras chin and looked warmly in her eyes.
"Sokka is right. Let's go to bed now." he said and placed a soft, lingering kiss on her lips before turning around and heading towards an empty spot next to Kataras tent. "Goodnight."
As Aang had turned around Katara couldn't keep the words from spilling out and she grabbed his thin wrist.
"Aang wait." He stopped and looked at her, questioning. "Would you…Could you… stay, with me? Tonight?" she asked her face suddenly turning slightly scarlet. "It's just that, after…" She bowed her head a bit, preparing for a rejection as if she expected him to yell "Hell no!" But he didn't. Instead he turned around entirely and took her hand and smiled. She looked up (A/N: Finally!) in his eyes, which were about an inch higher that hers. He had apparently grown pretty much since he died in the forest, almost four months ago.
"Of course. Besides, I don't feel like sleeping alone right now either." he replied with a smile. Katara smiled wider and released one of his hands.
"Then come on." she said, smiling brightly, and leaded him to her tent, where she crawled in, shortly followed by Aang. They lay down and closed their eyes. Then Aang wrapped a warm arm around Kataras waist and sighed into her neck, giving her chills down her spine. She placed her hand on top of his in acceptance of the protective embrace.
"Goodnight, Katara." he whispered, smiling.
"Goodnight, Aang. My dear Aang." she replied and smiled a smile similar to his as the sleepiness took over her.
And there they were. In love. Together. Forever.
And wasn't that how it was always meant to be?
A/N: Sooo…What do ya think? Buttons are made for pushing and this little one below is highly appreciated… This might be the last chapter of this story, but I won't set it to 'complete' yet, because I still have a few ideas... Tell me if you want me to continue.. And please give me some ideas, 'cause those I have are not enough for a whole chapter… If you don't want me to continue this story, but still want to read my stories (I'd like you to tell me anyway) I have already two more stories and two drabbles ready to production(im not saying they're done cause they are definitely not) But anyway, I hope you liked this new (and maybe last) chapter.. See ya…somewhere ;)