Here's the final chapter. Thanks for all the reviews. I don't know if I really like the ending very much, but who knows, it might not be that bad. I kinda hate everything I write.
Disclaimer: Got no common sense, I got nobody left to believe in. Nor have I got any Avatar.
"It's starting to get dark," Sokka said, looking up at the sky. He could see the pale shadow of the full moon in the twilit sky. He glanced at Katara. She hadn't been able to stop moving all evening. She paced, she cleaned, she cooked, she did whatever she could to keep herself occupied.
"I think we have to go and spring Aang," Sokka continued, following Katara's progress around the campsite with his eyes. She finally stopped moving and looked over at him.
"Sounds good to me," Toph said, jumping to her feet. She grabbed her bag and leapt up into Appa's saddle. "Shall we?"
Sokka and Katara helped their father up and Sokka took the reins. "So what's the plan?" he asked.
"We create a diversion to give Aang a chance to escape," Katara said simply.
"That's just vague enough to work," Hakoda said with a grin
"Ready?" Hakoda whispered. They were all hidden in the trees, looking out at the main gate of the base. Everything was quiet. Sokka and Toph nodded. Katara took a deep breath. This was it. The full moon. She could feel heat all around her, smell every living thing in the area. And she wanted Aang out of that prison.
"The water barrels are still there," she said quietly. "And with my bending at its strongest, these guards don't stand a chance."
"Especially if both of us go after them at the same time," Toph said with a wicked grin. "They won't know what hit them. Let's do this!"
Sokka nodded. "Dad and I will wait back here with Appa. Once you get rid of the guards, we'll all go after the gate," he said quietly.
Toph and Katara nodded. Katara looked over at the earthbender. "Can you see everything okay?" she asked.
Toph kicked her heel against the ground a couple times. She nodded. "The ground's pretty solid here. I can see everything that's touching the dirt," she said, still grinning.
"Alright, time to go," Sokka said. The benders nodded again. Before Hakoda's surprised eyes, the girls both jumped forward. They moved around each other effortlessly. Every step one made was matched by the other as they skidded around in perilous circles, always just a few inches from being smashed to pieces by the other's element. All of the guards were on the ground before they had time to react.
"It looks like you do this a lot," Hakoda muttered as Katara checked the pulse of one of the guards. His eyes traveled to Toph, who was standing over another. He groaned and moved a little, so Toph gave him a swift kick. She nodded, satisfied, and walked back to the trees, followed by Katara.
"Yeah, we do," Sokka said with a grin. He turned back to the flying bison. "Okay, Appa, let's get Aang out of there." He pointed at the gate. Appa snorted and charged forward, ramming headlong into the gate. The walls shook. Several people shouted from within the complex.
"Quite a distraction," Sokka said with a grin. Toph and Hakoda smirked as well. Katara didn't smile. She lifted some water from the barrels and idly twisted it between her fingers, unable to stop moving. Appa rammed the gate again. It buckled inward. More shouting was heard.
"Get ready, Katara," Sokka said. "The firebenders will be waiting on the other side of the gate."
Katara nodded. She took her place beside Appa, drawing more and more water toward herself in preparation. Toph stood on Appa's other side and planted her feet firmly on the ground.
Appa rammed the gate one last time. The wall crumpled inward. Fire came blasting at Appa through the dust. Katara leapt into action. A wall of water was thrown before the bison, who promptly reared backwards. Steam erupted into the air where water met fire. Toph took advantage of the sudden lack of vision and moved forward. Katara waited, unflinching, in the steam. Appa was back near the trees, Sokka and Hakoda at his side. Katara started bouncing on the balls of her feet. Any second now...
"Okay, got 'em!" Toph shouted through the mist.
Katara pulled the steam toward herself in a few deft movements and condensed it back into water. She dropped it back into one of the barrels. Most of the water had been lost into the air. She looked around. The firebenders lay scattered over the ground in various states of unconsciousness. Toph was a machine.
Katara exhaled slowly. All that waterbending had helped ease her agitated senses. She sort of felt like an animal during the full moon. She was at the mercy of her most primal instincts. It was unnerving, but she was getting used to it. She didn't like it. But there was nothing to be done. Master Pakku had warned her that becoming a waterbending master would open her up to this. His exact words were "such power comes with a price." She had power indeed. She sighed again. And this was the price.
"So now we just wait here and fight off anyone who comes our way until Aang comes out," Sokka said. He sounded tired. Katara looked around. They all looked tired. Not her though. She was wide awake. She'd never felt more awake in her life. She tilted her head a little. She could hear something going on inside the base. Toph heard it too.
"Someone's earthbending in there," she muttered.
Katara shook her head a little. "But there's no earth in there for him to bend," she said. "The cells are all metal."
"Are the cells on the ground floor?" Toph asked quickly.
"Yes... well, some of them are. The one I was in."
"Then he's probably bringing earth up through the floor."
Katara sighed again and started pacing. "I'm just glad he's trying to get out," she muttered under her breath.
"Me too," Toph replied. She dropped into a sitting position on the ground.
"Don't get too comfortable," Sokka said, pulling out his boomerang. "More guards will come."
"Yeah yeah, quite worrying, Snoozles," Toph grumbled.
Katara kept pacing. What would she do when Aang got out? What would she say to him? She had to think of something. She tried, but she kept getting distracted. She just kept thinking about him, how much she wanted him to be beside her right now. Thinking of that familiar smell, and that wonderful heat he radiated, and the sound of his voice, which had dropped an octave or two in the past months. Those stormy eyes she could look straight into now that he had grown to her height, if not a little taller. His laugh, his smile, his spirit... She groaned, frustrated. She was hungry.
The sounds of fighting were drawing closer. Guards began spilling out of the gates. Katara snapped out of her reverie and started moving, followed quickly by Toph and Sokka. Appa did his fair share, swatting firebenders aside with his tail. Even Momo provided the occasional distraction in the form of clinging to the face of an unfortunate firebender every so often. Hakoda stayed on Appa's head at the reins, still in no condition to fight.
After a short while of fighting, Katara began to worry. She was fine, but how long could the others keep this up? And where in the world was Aang?
They finally took down the current wave of firebenders. There had been ten or fifteen of them, but it had felt like a lot more. Toph and Sokka both promptly sat down on the dry earth.
"Ugh, do we have to do all of our fighting at night? When normal people would be sleeping?" Toph growled.
"Aang..." Katara muttered nervously. "Where are you?"
Suddenly, a loud crash rent the air. Sokka and Toph jumped to their feet. The captain's voice rang out, shouting "Don't let him escape!" A few moments later, Aang came flying out through the gate, running at top speed. He skidded to a stop, nearly crashing head-on into Katara. Running completely on adrenaline, she grabbed his hand without a word and jumped up into Appa's saddle, pulling him up after her. Sokka and Toph climbed up beside them.
"Appa, yip yip!" Sokka shouted as soon as everyone was safely on board. They took off into the air, soaring over the heads of the firebenders that continued flooding out of the base. He scrambled up to Appa's head, taking the reins from his father and guiding the flying bison in the right direction.
Aang was lying spread-eagle in the middle of the saddle, panting. Toph was already trying to fall asleep near the back. Hakoda remained beside his son. Katara was sitting beside Aang, inhaling deeply to calm her racing heartbeat. She looked down at him, and he grinned at her in a pleased sort of way.
"Told you I'd be fine," he said.
He hit her like a tidal wave. His smell, his heat, his voice, his smile... he had her hooked.
"So... you're okay? You're not hurt or anything?" she said, very aware of the full moon suspended over her, driving her mad with longing.
"Yeah, I'm fine," he said simply, sitting up and looking at her carefully. "What about you?"
Katara stared at him. Her heart was going so fast, she was sure Toph would hear it thumping in her chest. "I... um..." she trailed off, transfixed. "Hungry..." she muttered.
"What?" Aang asked, not having heard that last word.
She bit her lip. She was fighting her instincts. They were screaming at her, and the moon was screaming with them. She finally moved toward him and wrapped her arms around his neck, pulling him against her in a fierce embrace. She felt him inhale sharply in surprise as she buried her face in his neck, trying to control her breathing.
"You scared me," she breathed, voice heavy with emotion.
She felt his arms wrap around her waist. He pressed his face into her hair and inhaled deeply, as though he was trying to drink her in. "You scared me too," he replied shakily. "Don't ever give yourself up for my sake again."
"You too," she whispered. After a few blissful moments in his embrace, she pulled back and looked straight at him. "Promise?"
Aang began breathing rather quickly, both excited and unnerved by how close she was. He just nodded slowly. "Promise."
It was finally too much for her to handle. She couldn't resist anymore. He was so close, and the moon was so bright and irritating, and she was so tired of waiting. So she did it. She closed her eyes and pressed her lips to his in a swift, fierce kiss. When she pulled back, she opened her eyes carefully, but she didn't look at him. She took a deep breath, trying to clear her brain of that incredible taste he left in her mouth.
"Aang, I think I love you," she breathed. She opened her mouth to keep speaking, but everything she had planned, every thing she had wanted to say fled her mind. She had wanted to tell him that she knew they were young, and that she knew he had a burden to bear, but she wanted to help him. She wanted him. But she couldn't remember how to talk. She had just told him she loved him. She looked up at him. He was staring at her. She waited silently. Finally, he smiled. He grinned. He positively beamed at her. He leaned in close, resting his forehead against hers.
"Would you mind if we kissed again? That first one was great," he said lightly.
Katara laughed, grinning right back. "No, I wouldn't mind," she replied quietly. Maybe the full moon wouldn't bother her as much anymore.
Sokka and Hakoda glanced back over their shoulders.
"Ugh, this is going to take some getting used to," Sokka muttered, though he smiled a little all the same.