A/N: I don't know where this came from really. Actually probably blame Sakunade XD
Disclaimer: Me no owney Avatar, so please no suey.
This time Toph had gone too far. Of all the antics she had pulled this had to rate somewhere in the top three. Aang was standing virtually naked (if it weren't for the not so long towel) in the middle of a steamy room while an equally naked Katara, who was probably ready to kill him.
You would possibly wonder how he got into this situation. It's quite simple really. The war had been over for the most part of three years, and yet the work never seemed to get easier. They were constantly travelling between nations settling disputes and never really resting. There was always something and most of the time it involved the Fire Nation and how nobody trusted them. If Aang could have a copper piece for every time he heard the words "I'm never going to work with those bastards again!" He'd probably have 3 gold coins.
So time passed slowly and things appeared to be slowing down. The Earth kingdom had started trading with the Fire Nation again after one hundred and four years; a new record. The Water tribes were beginning to see the Fire Nation in a different light and agreed to start negations again. The four friends decided that they deserved some sort of treat, and while settling a minor disagreement in a rich Earth Kingdom town, they found what seemed perfect.
It was a well known bath house, famous for it's hot springs and expensiveness (but they didn't know that at the time). Katara immediately thought that they should go and enjoy themselves there, and after bribing Toph they agreed that they could give themselves the luxury. Everything went pretty smoothly. The owner immediately recognized Aang and let them in with no charge even though Aang had wanted to pay him something. He dropped it when Sokka punched him discreetly in the ribs. Sokka and Aang separated from the two girls momentarily when they went to get changed into their very revealing towels, much to their dismay. When they emerged out of the changing rooms Aang wasn't prepared for what he was about to see. Katara and Toph were waiting for them just before the first bath and Aang's jaw fell wide open. A strong blush made its way quickly on to his face. Katara was standing on the warm and slightly wet tiles, arms folded timidly over her chest and looking more than a little embarrassed. In the brief moments when Aang had lost all self control his eyes roamed over her stunning figure, trying to take in every curve that was desperately obvious.
Toph had very easily noticed what was going on as the monk's pulse had shot through the roof and his body temperature began to rise steadily. She found it rather pathetic that they were still playing the flirting game and how neither one of them had the courage to step up and bring themselves to the mushy stage.
"Seeing as we've lost Aang for the moment," Upon hearing his name Aang snapped out of imagining what was behind that towel and tried to regain some dignity and normal thought. He turned his attention to Toph and pretended that everything was normal. Toph continued, "Even though you strongly disagree Sokka, girls and guys bathe separately. Katara and I are going to the hot springs and you guys can do whatever you want."
Aang closed his eyes and smiled trying not to make eye contact with Katara who, although unnoticed by him, was having a hard time controlling herself also.
"Sokka what are you doing?" The nineteen year old warrior was currently readjusting his towel to try and stop it being too low down on his torso. He didn't detect the amusement in Toph's voice.
"What does it look like to you?" The warrior turned his eyes to the short Earthbender. She smiled slightly before replying, "I really don't know why you are bothering, I can see everything that's under it."
Sokka and Aang's mouth simultaneously opened in shock and Katara head swung to look at Toph.
"And no, Katara, I'm not answering any questions you may have." Katara's hand flew up to argue with her but then she realized she had just fallen for the trick.
"Right well… we- we're going to go." The words chocked out of Sokka's mouth as he tried to figure out how to regain some dignity. Aang muttered some sort of agreement and turned to follow Sokka into the male-only hot springs.
"Have a good time Aang." The raised eyebrows and smirk should have indicated that Toph was up to something, but Aang was too occupied with trying to get out of the room to analyze Toph's choice of words.
Aang and Sokka had spent quite some time in the hot springs, most of the time they were silent, just enjoying the perfect waters, but occasionally they would talk about things regarding politics. Sokka was always proud to talk about how he would become chief of his tribe one day. Eventually they decided to change to a different part of the bath house. Aang wanted to go to the steam rooms, while Sokka wanted to cool down in the plunge pool. They agreed to part ways and meet back up with the girls in about an hour.
Unknown to Aang this is exactly what Katara and Toph had decided to do.
The bath house was a complicated place. In some aspects it was like a cave, tunnels carved exquisitely which were constantly humid and so quite hard to see. Aang did not have the best sense of direction and soon found himself getting terribly lost. Resting his head against a wall he tried to figure out which way he had came. The moment he closed his eyes images of Katara came flooding in, images which were in no way appropriate for a monk to be thinking but still they were…enjoyable.
"Having a good time?" Aang almost jumped three feet in the air when he heard Toph's unmistakeable voice.
He turned to see her walking out of an adjoining tunnel. "Looks to me as if you're lost." She was still wearing her towel but her hair was clearly damp.
Aang scratched his head and muttered a 'Yeh'.
"Well if you're looking for the steam rooms they're just over in the next corridor. I just came from them. Make sure when you go to them you choose the left hand tunnel. Wouldn't want you going into the women's section, would we?"
Aang tried to ignore the grin that was plastered on Toph's face.
He sighed and thanked Toph for pointing him in the right direction. Sure enough in the next corridor along he found the steam rooms. Aang immediately went down the left hand tunnel, not bothering to look at the sign.
The room he entered was quite hot. There was steam everywhere and the faint trickling of water. He gently shut the door behind him and proceeded to walk towards the sound of the water. He noticed the strange sound of rusty click that almost sounded like metal bending, but was too content to really pay that much attention to it. His foot came in contact with the edge of the water and he sighed happily.
"Is anyone there?" The moment in which Aang heard the calm but inquisitive voice of Katara his foot shot out of the water. He tried to retrace his steps back out of the door but he made an error and his back hit a pillar.
"Shit!" Aang's hand flew other his mouth and he prayed to the spirits that Katara hadn't heard him. But knowing his luck she had indeed heard his voice.
"Come out immediately, I know someone's in here." There was no way Aang was going to show himself; this would be the end of their friendship! Katara was a pretty forgiving person but how exactly do you explain walking into her room in the middle of bathing!
Actually, how do you explain it?
Aang felt so stupid now. Why did he listen to her? She deliberately told him the wrong directions and if that sound by the door was what he thought it was, she had just locked them in together.
Aang made his way behind a pillar that was near the edge of the room, maybe, just maybe, she would forget she ever heard something and go back to bathing. "That would be very nice." Aang thought with a grin.
"You do realize you're in a steamy room with a master Waterbender." Aang eyes shot up in realization. Katara could just bend the steam out of the way and see everything perfectly.
She'd find him immediately and then everything would be over.
Aang groaned lowly and wished the ground would swallow him up. Actually, he would do that, apart from the fact that the ground was carved elegantly and if he destroyed part of it then he would have to pay a massive fine.
Once again he closed his eyes and tried to figure out a way to get out of the room without Katara attempting to kill him.
As soon as her name entered his thoughts his mind decided to create some interesting images of them making advantage of the situation. It didn't help that the temperature in the room was significantly higher than any place in the bathhouse, it only helped Aang's deluded daydream to be more realistic. Aang tried to clear his thoughts and re-opened his eyes, he could just about pick up the sound of feet walking cautiously towards his position. No. He thought. Any second now she would know where he was! Maybe he could get down and beg for forgiveness… Actually probably best not to go on the floor.
Katara was sure she could see a forearm slightly visible behind a pillar. She breathed in deeply in a simple motion and created a water whip that barely missed his arm.
Aang shot out of his hiding place, "Katara it's me!"
"Sokka!?" She dropped he water whip instantaneously and tried to peer through the steam.
"No, it's me…A- Aang." The airbender could feel his heart thumping in his chest, any moment now he was going to die a very painful death.
"I…I got lost and then, that evil--Toph, she kind of…umm" Aang was too lost for words; his mind had gone completely blank. Katara slowly bended some of the steam out of the way, the vapor dispersed and they soon found themselves looking straight at each other.
"She, Toph, she… wow." For the second time today Aang's jaw fell open at Katara's beauty. Her silky hair was clearly wet and cascading down her back. Her skin had a faint layer of water that made it glow elusively. Katara's arms which were raised defensively dropped lifelessly to her side. Aang tried desperately hard to not look any further down than her neck in fear that he would lose what little control he had left. Katara too was looking not so innocently at Aang, all of his upper body exposed; showing very nicely his slender but muscular figure. She swallowed hard and tried to figure out how they got in this situation, but her eyes kept wandering dangerously.
They stood there for some moments just staring at each other, the steam in the room surrounding them creating an almost surreal atmosphere. Their eyes met slowly and a sort of bolt passed through each of them as they looked at each other. Aang's mind was screaming at him to do something, anything!
"Just walk up to her and kiss her!"
The little voice that often appeared in his head when in these kind of incredibly awkward situations started to yell at him again. Aang would quite often have these arguments with himself,. They were particularly common during Waterbending practices. "If you haven't noticed we're virtually naked!" Aang was never very good at arguing with himself. "Your point being…?"
Aang seemed to half agree with this voice and took half a step, before as usual normal reasoning came back.
"I…um, you..." Aang was just babbling now, the situation was too difficult for him to think straight what so ever. Though things got even more complicated when Katara took a step towards him, still looking straight at each other, neither one daring to break eye contact.
Aang's mind seemed to slow down and all he could think about was the beautiful figure walking incredibly slowly towards him. His hands start to tremble slightly and he then took a step closer towards her. Somewhere in the back of his mentality he was wondering if there was something in the steam making them do this crazy thing, but then he really looked at her and realized, it wasn't that crazy.
They were getting closer now; each could hear the other's shaky breath. Neither knew what the other was thinking, and neither had no idea what was really going on. Maybe it was just some vivid dream that would end any moment now.
They were drawing closer by the second now, Katara had to raise her head slightly to look into his eyes. They seemed to have clouded over with desire, as hers had.
Gently Aang's hands came to rest on her waist and they stopped trembling immediately. Katara sucked in a breath and wrapped her arms lightly around his torso. Once again they both swallowed and try to figure out what the other was thinking. There were so many things that they could have said at that moment, but each were completely silent.
Aang's lips parted slightly to try and say something but Katara took this as an indication and leaned forward faintly. Aang's eyes widened a little before he slowly began to close them and he too leant downwards towards Katara. The time it seemed to take for them to get close enough appeared to last an eternity. It felt as if everything was cruelly going in slow motion. Aang had spent years wondering what it would be like to kiss Katara again, and now it was actually happening! He wanted this so badly and yet he hardly knew what he was supposed to be doing; he was completely going on instinct.
He could feel her warm breath on his lips and he shuddered slightly in anticipation. Both closed their eyes in the last second and leaned in that extra inch. Ever so softly their mouths came together and a wave of energy passed through them. The kiss was everything they had imagined it would be, soft and yet full of passion. It was nothing like the one in the cave of Two Lovers. Instead of fearing for their lives, they were both relaxed in each others arms. Aang tightened his grip on Katara's waist slightly and she moved her head up to press more firmly against his lips. Katara shifted her hands from behind his back to run across his chest, slowly moving them to loop around his neck to intensify the kiss.
Aang had no idea how much time passed as their mouths moved softly against each other. He did become aware that their bodies were starting move temptingly closer and that his hands were starting to slide lower down her back. The trickling of water around them around them seemed to go fuzzy as if the only thing that mattered in the room was them. When they actually pressed against each other Aang's mind couldn't comprehend anything but the position they were in.
They broke away momentarily for breath, nor Aang or Katara opened their eyes just incase this was just a wonderful dream after all. After a moment Aang leaned in again and captured her lips in a more frantic kiss. Katara stumbled back slightly at the intensity and Aang's arms wrapped round her waist to catch her. Instead of just stopping Katara kept walking backwards until Aang had pushed her up against one of the warm walls of the room. Katara giggled slightly at their position and raised her head to gaze into his grey eyes. They looked at each other. Right now words weren't necessary because they knew what the other was thinking and how the other felt. Aang smiled again and dipped his head drawing Katara in for a slower but far more passionate kiss. One of his hands traveled up Katara's back to weave through her hair gently while the other pushed her body harder against his. The many barriers that were stopping them from what they had wanted to do for a long time were disappearing fast, even faster when Katara's hand ran sensually down Aang's chest, careful to feel every muscle that it traced.
Aang's breathing quickened and the hand that was now resting scandalously on her hip made its way down to her thigh. The flesh contact was enough to get her to moan and as she did Aang slipped his tongue into her mouth teasingly. Too distracted by the new wonderful sensation, Katara hardly noticed the tattooed hand that was beginning to slide under her towel and further up her thigh.
Though when Aang lightly grasped her bottom and a sort of bolt of electricity past through her, Katara definitely noticed what was going on; and she had no intention of stopping. She gripped Aang's hips and pushed them against her own, a low groan escaping out of his mouth at the contact. Aang's free hand mapped the outline of her body, desperately taking in every curve that was there. Katara could feel the slight bulge that had formed and moaned lightly, the heat between them increasing rapidly by the second.
Aang broke the fiery kiss to trail his lips down her neck, stopping momentarily to nip playfully at the sensitive skin. Katara moaned again and tried to find the top of Aang's towel to rip it off. She wanted so badly to feel her bare skin against his. Aang felt what Katara was doing and raised his head to crash their lips together again. Katara's nimble hands found the edge of the towel and started to undo it. Aang let out a shuddery breath in anticipation. Katara locked eyes with Aang and smiled, a playful fire dancing in her eyes; slowly and incredibly teasingly she started to slip the towel away never breaking eye contact. The towel was slowly sliding down his torso, Aang's breathing quickened and he leaned in again--
"Katara! Are you okay? Say something!"
Simultaneously the two benders heads turned to the sound of the panicked warrior's voice.
Aang groaned, "Oh spirits, you got to be kidding me."
Sokka was standing outside the door, desperately calling Katara's name.
The water bending master took a moment to compose her self before shouting back to her brother that she was perfectly fine and, "Why the hell are you interrupting me!"
The rest of the time at the bath house was a blur. Katara had opened the (now unlocked) door to assure her brother she was fine. Aang hid in the corner of the room, occasionally banging his head against the wall and trying to think what he had done to deserve this.
By the time Sokka had calmed down and explained why he had been worried -Toph's doing of course- it was time to leave. Katara and Sokka left the room and Aang slipped out moments later. Aang gave Sokka the partial silent treatment when they got changed back into their regular clothes again.
When they met up with the girls again, Aang spent most of the time glaring daggers at Toph while she explained to Sokka why she thought Katara had been hurt. Once Sokka had been convinced that it was all a misunderstanding and Toph was done speaking, Aang gently grabbed her by the collar and dragged her into a corridor near the exit.
"Please explain to me why you did that." It was one of those moments Aang was glad he didn't have the Avatar State, otherwise he was sure it would be active right about now.
"What, getting you and Katara alone in the same room together?" The cheeky grin that Toph wore indicated she knew exactly what she had done.
"No, not that. That was good, I'd thank you for that. However a small part of me wants to blast you into that wall for sending Sokka to stop us. Why did you do that?" Aang's eye was twitching slightly at the reminder; at the worst he could now have some dysfunction because of that interruption.
Toph sighed before continuing, "My plan was going perfectly. You and Katara were 'bonding' nicely. Unfortunately I had forgotten that there wasn't an off switch to what I wanted to stop seeing of what you guys were doing. You can probably figure out the rest."
Aang growled slightly ready to list many reasons why Toph was horribly in the wrong.
"Actually you should probably thank me. Knowing the horny teenagers that you guys are I was probably not going to be the only one that was going to be able to hear you."
Aang's mouth gaped open and Toph laughed loudly before rejoining Katara and Sokka who were thanking the owner hugely. Aang breathed in deeply and exhaled loudly before turning around and joining the others.
Once a couple of feet outside the bath house Sokka spoke up,
"I thought that was great."
Aang smiled, "Yeh, it was amazing." He cast a sidelong glance to Katara who was also looking at him sideways mischievously, "baths were pretty good too."