So... when I saw THE HEADBAND, I kind of... let's be honest... I freaked out. The dance, guys. OH THE DANCE. I mean, at first I was just impressed by the way they managed to blend themes from 1984 and Footloose so well, but then the SWEET PWNAGE of the dance happened and I was like yesssss... Plus, as an added bonus, the class went all Spartacus at the end and I was like hah, I love pop culture.
However, I found a suspicious lack of what happened right after Aang and Katara's dance. So I filled it in. And that's what spawned this piece of literary whatever.
And by the way, there is a blatant shameless word-for-word reference to one of my favorite movies in here. If anyone finds it, I'll be both impressed and happy on the inside.
Disclaimer: I do not own Avatar
"Wow, they look pretty good together."
Katara wasn't sure why, but that entirely normal comment made her want to punch her brother.
"Eh, if that's what you like," she replied simply, trying and failing to sound casually as she looked away. But she couldn't help but glance back up at them again. Aang did look pretty comfortable with that Onji girl. They were just dancing side-by-side, but still… what did he even know about this girl anyway?
The rest of the students had finally begun to loosen up and dance, but Katara remained firmly in her seat, leaning her elbow on the table and looking anywhere but up at him.
"Alright, go with that. Everybody freestyle!"
She glanced up for just a moment. The whole crowd was dancing now. She sighed and looked back down. But suddenly, Aang was right in front of her, holding out his hand. She looked up at him in surprise. He just smiled at her. Her immediate reaction was to jump to her feet, but she stopped herself and looked down.
"I don't know Aang, uh… these shoes aren't really right for dancing and… I… I'm not sure that I know how to…" she began, nervously playing with her hair. She wasn't sure why she was trying to get out of dancing with him. After all, she had been hoping he would ask her all night.
"Take my hand," Aang said simply, smile never faltering.
She looked at him for a moment before a smile spread across her face. "Okay," she replied, placing her hand lightly in his. Her smile only grew as he pulled her onto the dance floor, leading her right into the thick of things.
The atmosphere began to get to her; it was infectious. She couldn't stop smiling as he leaned toward her and whispered in her ear.
"Let's show them what we can do."
She gave him the slightest of nods to show that she understood. They stood facing each other as if they were going to waterbend. They bowed.
The dance began.
They held out their arms toward each other, connecting at the wrist as they had seen firebenders do before dueling. They never broke eye contact as they circled quickly, neither turning their back on the other until they turned and switched wrists in the blink of an eye. Neither really knew what they were doing, but it seemed so natural, like a current was flowing between them.
A few of the other kids noticed, and the whisper passed through the cave. It only took seconds for all eyes to be on Aang and Katara. It took Katara a few more seconds to notice.
"Aang… everyone's watching," she said quietly, glancing around them. She wasn't sure whether she should be embarrassed. After all… what was so wrong with everyone seeing her and Aang?
"Don't worry about them," Aang responded simply. His eyebrows drew down and he smiled at her in a way Katara had never seen before. "It's just you and me right now."
She felt herself blush and gave him the same smile.
She stopped thinking.
Nothing was planned, nothing was concrete. She just listened the music and watched him, she felt the current flowing between them. It was only moments before nobody else existed. It was just her and Aang, sharing in this passionate form of self-expression. She had never danced like this before, and suddenly she had a new appreciation for the old Fire Nation, the one Aang remembered that had taught him to dance.
It wasn't just a dance anymore. They were acrobats, they were warriors, they were graceful and strong, and every eye was on them. Each was frequently grabbing onto the other's hand, leading them through another move. The temperature was rising between them, with the combination of all the candles and the cave and the typically warm air of the Fire Nation and this dance, this wonderful, powerful, hot-blooded dance.
They both spun, and suddenly they were face-to-face. It hadn't been planned; they hadn't expected it. Their eyes locked, and there was a moment. One single, clear, electric moment in which she saw exactly what he was thinking. It was the same thing running through her mind.
The last time we were this close, we were kissing in the Cave of Two Lovers. We should do it again.
They both smiled, making it clear that each understood the other, but they didn't kiss. They knew that this was not the time or the place. So no matter how strong the urge, no matter how powerful the connection, they would not kiss here, in the middle of all of these Fire Nation children they were trying to set free.
And as the dance continued, as the movements became faster and more in sync with each other, they shared several more of those charged glances, each one saying the same thing.
The gasps of awe from the crowd fell upon deaf ears as they flipped and spun together. Finally, Aang's hand found hers. He spun her away from him, then pulled her back and caught her in a dip. They both fell still, the noise of the crowd suddenly deafening compared to the surreal quiet they had just come from. They smiled at each other, both breathing hard and sweating.
Aang pulled her to her feet and they just stood there for a moment, taking deep breaths. The music changed, slowing down slightly but staying quick. The beat was easier to dance to for the other students, and they soon continued, leaving Aang and Katara to catch their breath.
"That was some dance, Aang," Katara finally said, still close enough to him that she didn't need to raise her voice above the din of dancing Fire Nation kids.
Aang grinned and blushed nervously, scratching the back of his head. "Well… I'm up for another if you are."
Katara just smiled in reply and took his hand in hers, pulling him back into the crowd. Her other hand ended up on his shoulder, his on her waist, and they started improvising a kind of quick-paced dance that involved a great deal of spinning and twisting, but still kept them close enough to talk.
"This is a lot like a dance they used to do here in the Fire Nation," Aang commented calmly as he spun Katara under his arm and pulled her back toward him.
"Really? What was it called?" she asked in reply, unable to keep a smile from her face. He spun around and flipped her over his back. She landed on her feet and spun back toward him as though it was the most natural thing in the world, drawing "oohs" and "aahs" from the surrounding students.
"I think it was called Hot Sauce Swing," Aang continued thoughtfully, choosing to keep her close this time instead of spinning her.
"Well… I like this dance," Katara said quietly, smiling at him. "It's exciting, but… it keeps us close."
Aang blushed, grinning at her. "Yeah… you know… I like this dance," he replied dreamily. "It's exciting, but it keeps us close."
Katara laughed a little. "That's what I just said."
Aang just kept grinning, pulling her a little closer. "We seem to be getting a little mixed up."
Katara's smile softened, and she couldn't seem to break eye contact with him. "Maybe it's the music," she murmured. They slowed to a stop, but they didn't move apart.
"Maybe it isn't only the music," Aang replied quietly.
Only then did Katara realize that there were just inches between the two of them. Her eyes widened and she jerked back on impulse. The next moment, however, she was cursing herself for doing so. They were about to kiss, what was she thinking?
"Oh, um…" Aang muttered, blushing in embarrassment and looking down. "Sorry, I didn't mean…"
"Aang, no, wait," Katara said hurriedly, moving back toward him. He looked up at her, and that electric glance shot between them again.
They both smiled and Katara blushed. Aang bowed and kissed her hand.
"Thank you for the dance," he said as he straightened back up.
"It was my pleasure," she replied with mock formality, smiling playfully. "Really."
Aang grinned at her and disappeared into the crowd. Katara made her way back over the Toph, who was smirking.
"What?" Katara asked, unable to muster enough suspiciousness to take the smile off her own face.
"Oh, nothing," Toph said airily. She raised her eyebrows a little. "Uh oh, don't look now, but Aang's dancing with that other girl again."
Katara glanced over calmly. Aang was doing the Ba Sing Sei ballroom dance with Onji again. She shrugged.
"Sure, if you can call that a dance," she replied without a trace of jealously. Toph laughed and Katara smiled. So what if he was dancing with that girl? It wasn't even close to the dance Katara had shared with Aang.
At no point did Aang almost kiss Onji, and that was enough for Katara.
Aang and Katara didn't get their kiss that night. They weren't alone at all for the rest of the party, and then they had to escape. But during that escape, as they sailed out into the cool night air on Appa's back, there was a moment. One single, clear, electric moment in which she saw exactly what he was thinking. The same thing was running through her mind.
Soon. Not now, but soon.
Katara blushed and glanced away. Her gaze settled on her brother. "We're safe, Sokka. You can take off the mustache now."
"Oh no I can't. It's permanently glued to my skin."
Toph turned in Aang's direction. "Way to go, Dancey-Pants. I think you really did help those kids," she said genuinely. "You taught them to be free."
"I dunno," Aang replied, ever the modest one. "It was just a dance party, that's all."
"Well, that was some dance party, Aang," Katara said, leaning toward him. Just because they couldn't kiss now, she wasn't going miss an opportunity like this. She kissed his cheek, and he blushed.
Sokka started clapping slowly, missing the exchange entirely. "Flame-ee-oh, sir. Flame-ee-oh."
Katara and Aang looked at each other again. They both smiled.
Maybe it isn't only the music…