Title: You Have Your Brother's Eyes
Fandom: Avatar: The Last Airbender
Summary: Yue notices that Katara has her brother's eyes.
Disclaimer: I do not own the characters or the universe they live in.
Katara scowled through her evening exercises. Aang and Sokka had only been gone for a day and already she was missing them. Not that she had any intention of admitting that to anyone. They, along with the young water benders and warriors of the Northern Water Tribe, were on a training exercise of some sort. Katara, being a girl, had not been welcome.
"Do not expect us to change all our customs for you, girl." Master Pakku had said when Katara had complained a bit too loudly to Aang during water bending practice the week before.
Katara had scowled but had to grudgingly agree, silently of course. Even in the South Pole, women were hardly ever allowed to join war parties.
Still, she would have been happier if Aang had decided to stay behind. Then she wouldn't have been left alone with the little kids and Master Pakku. As the only older student left, it gave Master Pakku plenty of opportunity to harp on her technique.
"'Katara, your stance is too wide. Katara, your stance is too narrow.' Make up you bloody mind already, you senile old fool." Katara grumbled to herself, far out of Pakku's range of hearing, of course.
Twice more Pakku corrected her stance, her arm movements and general appearance, before Katara was aware that she was being watched, by someone other than Master Pakku.
Master Pakku's classes often had an audience. Mostly it was young woman spying on the eligible young water benders and, more recently, others who were interested in seeing the Avatar for themselves. A few had even come to see the 'strange southern girl' but when it became clear that Katara wasn't going to start another dual with the water master, they became disinterested and left.
With Aang and the older students gone, most of the crowd had also disappeared, so Katara was surprised to find there was still an audience, a single woman. She scowled when the moon light revealed it was Princess Yue. What was she doing here, the tart?
Katara's inattention to her stance, and the lesson in general, was abruptly brought to her attention when the ice beneath her feet violently erupted and threw her into the air. The next thing she knew she was lying in a pile of snow, with Master Pakku standing over her, scowling down disapprovingly.
Katara struggled to sit up and spat out a wad of sticky blood into the snow. Master Pakku took no notice of the blood or Katara's pained expression. He simply dove straight into the lecture. She was a girl who wanted to be treated like a boy and Master Pakku made no exceptions for her.
"Water bending is not about the ability to move water alone. Anyone can move water, if they have a pail. The act of water bending takes concentration. You may be the brightest pupil I have had in a long time but you will amount to nothing if you can not pay attention for more than half a breath at a time!"
Then he stormed off angrily. The other students quickly dispersed; none of them wanted to risk sharing Master Pakku's wrath by offering help to "the girl". Katara got to her feet and spat another glob of red tinted salvia after them. What else could you expect from nine year olds?
Of course, by the time Katara got her senses back and remembered that it had been Yue watching the practice tonight, Katara was already halfway back to her room and the princess was long gone.
Yue was back the next day but Katara, not wanting to suffer a repeat of the evening before, put the princess firmly out of her mind, leaving wondering about exactly who Yue was watching and why to when she was not trying to create bolts of ice. But Katara could not stop herself from wondering on her own time.
What did Yue find so amusing about the young water benders to come back day after day. Katara had never made a habit of keeping track of who was in the audiences – at first she had given a few hopeful glances but when it appeared no handsome, young men were watching she had stopped – but Katara was relatively confident that Yue had never watched before. Perhaps she was watching a little brother or cousin, though, if that was the case, she never stayed afterward to greet them. Perhaps she was taking her look at the girl who was learning water bending, though that didn't explain why she came night after night. She was probably just bored, Katara decided, because Sokka was no longer around to play with.
Not that Katara harbored any resentment to Yue, it was just, well, rumor had it that she was engaged and Katara knew for a fact that her brother and Yue had been seeing a lot of each other. Though Sokka was tight lipped about his relationship to the ice princess, Katara knew it was more than just friendship and it wasn't all together appropriate, her brother courting an engaged woman. Katara scowled whenever her thoughts lead in that direction. The woman was practically married! Their affair would lead to nothing more than heart break and, possibly though hopefully not, Sokka's head on a pike.
Finally, it came to the point that Katara' wondering was tearing her apart and she couldn't stand it anymore. Master Pakku had barely finished dismissing the class and Katara was already running across the court yard. Yue saw her coming and made an attempt to run away, though she was hampered by her long, tight, restricting dress.
Katara caught up with Yue on one of the little bridges crossing one of the many canals of the ice city.
"Princess Yue!" Katara called out and the princess had far too good manners to ignore her and walk on. It wouldn't have done here any good anyways. Katara, not hampered by layers of petticoats could catch up at an easy run. Yue really had no choice but to wait for Katara to walk over.
"Interesting seeing you out and about this time of night," Katara said, trying to be polite. Easier to melt ice than smash it, as Gran-gran always said.
Yue offered a weak smile of a trapped animal, "It's nice to be out."
"Odd that you are…" Katara searched for the proper word, "Unescorted."
"No one knows I'm gone." Yue turned to make her escape, "They'll miss me soon. I should go."
Sorry, Gran-gran. But melting ice takes too long, Katara thought as she grabbed Yue by the arm, "You saw you watching. Why?"
Yue looked away, embarrassed. "You are interesting to watch."
Katara dropped Yue's arm but Yue didn't take off immediately.
"You have your brother's eyes."
Katara scowled. Though, she'd rather have as little in common with her thick headed brother, Yue's comment was a frequent one. "My mother's eyes. We both have our mother's eyes."
Yue touched Katara's face with her ungloved hand. Her skin was softer than anyone Katara had ever felt, a smoothness maintained through years of careful avoidance of work.
"You have such a pretty face. Please do not ruin it by scowling."
Katara couldn't help but smile at Yue's gentle praise and Yue couldn't seem to help smiling in return. Katara had a brief thought that perhaps Yue wasn't at all bad for Sokka, after all. Maybe Yue engagement would dissolve, maybe Sokka and Yue would get married and maybe Katara would find a sister in the girl standing in front of her.
What happened next, Katara wasn't quite sure. One moment, the two of them standing on the bridge, Yue's hand cupping Katara's cheek, smiling at each other. The next, Yue had leaned forward and their lips were touching. Katara's eyes flashed wide in surprise.
Katara, on instinct, drew out the water from her flask and pushed it into Yue, forcing the princess against the opposite bridge wall. The water dropped to the ground with a splash, quickly freezing into a patch of ice in the cold air.
Trying to regain herself, Katara stumbled backwards, "What do you think you're doing?"
Yue trembled where she crouched, her front wet. She was shivering. "I-I'm sorry. I thought- I mean, you're so, you know, with the water bending and the fighting, I thought you were-"
Yue ran off before she could say exactly what she thought Katara was but Katara had a pretty good idea anyways.