It certainly has been awhile since I've written anything Avatar, hasn't it? I guess my AWS (Avatar Withdrawal Syndrome) was replaced temporarily by HPM. Harry Potter MADNESS. Yeah, I'm a first edition fan. Been reading them since I was eight. As in... a good year before the hype set in. Yeah that's right, posers, I win!
Anyway, it's really a very good thing they finally set a date for the third season premiere, because after finishing Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows I spent a good week thinking I had nothing left to live for. But now that there's a date and screens of the trailer and Aang has hair, AWS has returned and left me with the following. It's kinda weird and came out of... honestly, nowhere. But there it is. Enjoy.
Disclaimer: I do not own Avatar
When people describe the ones they love, the range of adjectives brought into use are generally on the lighter side. Sweet. Kind. Fun. Surprising. Beautiful.
Aang, however, was a little more realistic.
Aang was not a practical person. He was optimistic and hopeful. But when it came to Katara, practical and reasonable and realistic was all he could be.
So, in one word, how would Aang describe Katara?
Sure, in the beginning he was hopeful and optimistic as usual. But as he grew more mature over the course of their journey, he came to realize that dealing with Katara was like playing with fire.
And he still wasn't very good at firebending.
Katara was certainly sweet, kind, fun, surprising, and beautiful. But he knew that none of those words were good enough. They were just part of her charm. But all of her qualities combined to create something else entirely.
It would be five years before he realized exactly why, at the age of thirteen, he had decided she was so dangerous.
He had left her behind after the war. He knew she would be angry, as would Sokka and Toph, but they had their own lives to return to. He couldn't provide anything within the realm of stability, as his Avatar duties would constantly uproot them. He was a nomad. They were not. So he left his improvised family at the South Pole.
It was just as he had thought. He couldn't stay in one place for more than a few days. The only place he could even consider home was a small house in the upper ring of Ba Sing Se. It was much like the one he had stayed in with Sokka, Katara, and Toph during their first visit to the city. Another reason why he didn't go home very often.
All in all, his plan had succeeded. Five years, and he hadn't seen or heard anything of Sokka, Toph, or Katara. They were better off, he told himself each morning when he wearily woke himself. His life as the Avatar had become tiring and repetitive. So, as usual, everyone else got their happy endings, and he got his responsibility to the world.
The plan had come off without a hitch. Everything had gone as he had expected it would.
But he hadn't counted on her finding him.
For the Avatar, breaks in active duty were rare, especially in the years succeeding the worst war in the history of the world. But shortly after his eighteenth birthday, Aang found himself approaching the door of his lonely house in Ba Sing Se. He hadn't laid eyes upon this sight in nearly two months. Appa and Momo were getting a well-deserved rest at the royal stables, so Aang found himself quite alone and quite exhausted.
He pushed the door open and entered the familiarly empty living room.
Except it wasn't empty.
Aang stopped dead, staring at the young woman sitting on a cushion beside the low table in the center of the floor. She was casually sipping from a cup of steaming tea and acting as if she hadn't noticed he was there. His staff clattered to the floor and she finally glanced over, bright blue eyes settling upon the young Avatar with his mouth hanging open.
An easy smile came over her face. "Oh, hello, Aang."
He felt like he'd been punched in the stomach. Five years. He hadn't seen her in five years, and he came into his house to find her sitting there like she owned the place, and that was all she could think to say?
"K… Ka… Katara…" he stammered, his voice cracking over the word from lack of use.
"Oh, so you do recognize me? Good, I was worried you wouldn't," she continued calmly, turning back to her tea. "I've grown up a lot over the last five years."
As if she'd needed to point that out. She was gorgeous. But then, Aang thought vaguely, she'd always been prettier than other girls. But he hadn't remembered everything about her to be so achingly beautiful. She passed a hand lightly over the rim of her teacup, swirling the contents with a deft little bit of waterbending that seemed as natural to her as breathing. He felt as though his legs couldn't support him anymore, so he slumped to the floor in the doorway.
Five years ago, she would have been at his side in an instant, asking what was wrong. But she just glanced over at him again. Was it possible that her eyes had gotten bluer? Because her gaze had certainly gotten a great deal harder and cooler.
His heart started to beat rather frantically.
Four sentences, and he was on the floor, his brain in a fog.
This girl was dangerous.
She didn't look as though she was going to speak, so Aang took initiative. He tried to, anyway.
"You look… I haven't… it's… you're… I'm… how did you…?"
He fell silent when she looked at him. Really looked at him, instead of just tossing him a glance. Her piercing gaze travelled over him painfully slowly before she met his eyes. He felt the heat rising to his face.
"You didn't seriously think I'd just let you run off like that."
This statement didn't make any sense to Aang for a good thirty seconds. But when the realization came, his mouth fell open again.
"You… you've… you've been looking for me this whole time?" he croaked incredulously.
Katara shrugged, returning her attention to her tea. "Off and on," she said carelessly. Had her skin always glowed like that? "I've just been travelling, really. I'd change course every so often if I heard you were around." She took another sip of tea and licked her lips. His brain shuddered to a halt. "If I'd been trying to find you the whole time, it wouldn't have taken five years, trust me."
At that point, Aang thought very seriously of just passing out from exhaustion. When he had walked in the door, the exhaustion was limited to his physical self. Now, his brain was just as exhausted as the rest of him. If not more. Were his palms this sweaty when he walked in?
"Katara… what are you doing here?" he finally managed, rubbing his temples miserably.
"Like I said, I couldn't just let you disappear," she replied coolly. "I visited the Earth King, and he told me where to find you. I've been here for a couple of days."
Aang heaved an enormous sigh and fell backward onto the floor, staring at the ceiling. "I asked him to keep this place a secret," he muttered.
"Well clearly he didn't think you were trying to keep it a secret from me," Katara said calmly. Had her voice always seemed so musical?
He heard her get to her feet and tensed up slightly, thinking she was going to attack him. But when she swam into his line of sight, she didn't look angry. She looked, in fact, as she had since he had walked in. Beautiful and bored. He met her eyes, and for one wild moment he thought he saw the old Katara looking back at him. The fourteen-year-old Katara who cared about him more than his young mind could comprehend. And for that moment, it was five years ago. They were kids again. And he was hopelessly in love with her.
He was still hopelessly in love with her.
A cool hand was on his forehead before he could ponder this further.
"Weird…" he muttered.
"What?" she asked carelessly, her eyes sweeping over him in search of injuries. Even if she was mad at him, she couldn't stop her instincts.
"Your hands used to be really warm," he continued recklessly.
She stopped and returned her gaze to his. For the first time she didn't look calm. Rather, she looked completely devoid of any emotion as she searched his eyes. After a few silent moments she shrugged a little and took his hands, pulling him carefully to his feet.
"Come on, you need rest," she said quietly. There were her instincts again. She was driven to take care of him, even after five years of separation.
"Whoa whoa, hold it right there," he burst out, finally getting a proper hold of the situation and stopping in his tracks. She gave his hand an insistent tug, but they both knew it was no use. He was stronger than her. In some ways.
"I'm not just going to go to sleep right now. I mean… how do I even know you'll still be here when I wake up?" He knew instantly he'd made a mistake. She flared up immediately, stepping toward him slowly and reminding him forcibly of an angry panther.
"Well if you do wake up and I'm gone, you'll know exactly how I felt," she hissed, eyes flashing. He took a fearful step back, but at the same time he felt a sudden urge to grab her around the waist and kiss her. His face heated up again.
So incredibly dangerous.
She took a deep breath and looked away from him. "I didn't come here to yell at you," she said, sounding so naturally calm it was as though she hadn't just been hissing at him like some lethal wildcat. Some breathtakingly beautiful lethal wildcat. Aang took a shaky breath.
"I came here to be with you."
For the second time in so many minutes, Aang's brain shut down. She regarded him shrewdly.
"I'm not letting you leave without me again."
Aang let out a sigh of frustration. "Katara, don't do this," he said, forcing his voice to stay calm. "I had a reason for leaving you behind. All three of you."
"I know you did," she shot back instantly. "You wanted us to have normal lives. To settle down and start fresh."
"No, that's… oh wait, yeah that's right…" Aang muttered, not sure where to go from there.
"Sokka and Toph did. They're both happy with their lives. But I couldn't," she continued calmly. "I don't want to be the little wife of some waterbending warrior at the bottom of the world, I don't want to cook and clean and stay in a house all day raising the children of a man I don't love. And it wasn't fair of you to force that life on me. So I turned down every man that proposed to me. And I left."
Though he felt as though he'd been punched in the stomach again, only one bit of what she said really caught his attention. …a man I don't love.
"Are you in love with someone?" Aang asked quietly.
Katara rolled her eyes. "Of course I am. Why do you think I've been looking for you?"
Aang realized after several moments that his mouth was hanging open.
"You've been… because you… you're… but…"
"Aang, I want you," she said in frustration. "I want to be your wife. I want to bear your children."
"Ch... children?" Aang stammered, voice a great deal higher than usual.
Katara fixed him with a half-amused half-exasperated look. "You're the last airbender. You have to have children at some point, so it might as well be with someone you love."
"Hey… hold on," he said, rubbing his temples again and trying desperately to gain control of the situation. "Nobody ever said I was in love with you."
At this, Katara laughed. Not a bitter, spiteful, humorless laugh. But a real, honest, amused laugh that he recognized so well.
She drew closer to him again, this time reminding him nothing of a panther but making him feel rather jumpy all the same. All at once her hands were on his shoulders and she was on her toes, lips brushing his ear as she whispered.
"Nobody ever needed to say it."
And then she was kissing him, and his response was entirely instinctual, because he certainly hadn't been ready for it. But as her lips moved against his and his hands tightened compulsively on her waist, it occurred to him that he had been ready to kiss her. He just hadn't quite been expecting it at this particular moment. But he was definitely enjoying it.
At that point, the reason he had dubbed Katara to be so dangerous became extraordinarily apparent.
If she wanted something from him, he couldn't resist her.
And considering he was the most powerful human in the world, she could have just about anything she wanted.
He did, however, feel secure in the notion that she really didn't want much.
After a few minutes she noticed again how tired he was and pulled him into his bedroom. He made to lie down on the floor so she could have the bed, but she wouldn't let him.
"Sleep with me," she whispered.
His mind jumped to something he definitely wasn't ready for, and he was about to protest. But she could still read him, could still tell what he was thinking, and stopped him before he spoke.
"Just sleep," she assured him, smiling that dazzling smile of hers. "I don't want you disappearing in the middle of the night again."
His feeling of security increased when she lied down beside him and placed a warm hand upon his chest, so if he got up in the night she would feel it. No, he could tell she didn't want much at all. Just him.
But, he thought with a smile, that certainly didn't make her any less dangerous.