I... uh... I have no idea. I mean seriously. Don't even know where this came from. I guess I originally just wanted to try something in first person or... uh... something. Beh... I don't like it anymore.

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He was staring at me. I could feel it. That intense, heated gaze he had only just started to use in the past few weeks.

The invasion was tomorrow. The Day of Black Sun. Aang had gotten quieter as it approached, and he had taken to staring at me when he thought I wasn't paying attention.

He just didn't realize I was always paying attention to him.

Once the staring habit of his started, I began to notice that he was looking at me differently. There was something unfamiliar about it. Something strange and fierce, almost dark. Something that was very not Aang. Not the boy I had broken out of that iceberg.

But now the day was nearly upon us. The camp was unnaturally quiet. There were so many people, friends, that I hadn't seen in so long. I thought it would be like a reunion. It felt more like the surreal calm before the storm.

And still he just stared at me. I tried not to notice. I stared determinedly into the campfire, surrounded by the silent faces of my friends and family. Aang was the only one sitting away from the fire, leaning on Appa's leg. Just staring.

I glanced up at Sokka. He looked at me, then at Aang. I looked down for a moment. I wanted to go to him. I really did. But I knew what he would ask me. I knew what he wanted me to do. And it was the one thing I couldn't do for him.

"Katara," Toph said quietly. I glanced at her. She just jerked her head back in Aang's direction. I sighed and got to my feet. I turned around.

He just kept staring at me, that fierce gaze that I didn't recognize. I approached him slowly. He never moved, but his eyes followed me. Neither of us spoke. I just reached down and took his hand, pulling him to his feet. He stumbled a bit in his surprise and laid a hand on my waist to steady himself, bringing us within inches of each other. Neither of us even blushed, as we usually would have. I just laced my fingers through his and pulled him away from the camp.

I glanced back briefly. Every head was turned in our direction, watching us fade off into the dark forest. My father had gotten to his feet in a rush of fatherly protectiveness, but Sokka just shook his head at him. I pulled Aang a little closer to my side and we continued into the darkness.

We didn't speak at all until I thought we were a safe distance from camp. I stopped and turned, looking at him sadly.

"Aang…" I sighed. "Talk to me."

Aang looked away. I caught his chin in my hand and gently turned his head back in my direction.

"Please," I whispered, letting him go and laying my hand on his shoulder instead.

He looked at me again. That intense stare of his. I could practically see what he was thinking. I braced myself for the blow.

"I don't want you to be part of the invasion force tomorrow," he said quietly, his voice a great deal graver than it had ever been.

I sighed and looked down. "Aang, you can't ask me to…" I began, but he squeezed my hand and I stopped.

"Please, Katara," he continued, desperation creeping into his voice. "I don't want you to get hurt."

"This is my fight too, Aang," I replied steadily, refusing to look at him. "I'm sorry, but… this is one thing I can't do for you."

"You don't understand," Aang burst out, pulling away from me. I looked up at him in surprise. He looked angry, but not at me. "This is going to be a battle, Katara. I can't protect you while we're out there, and if you get hurt, I'll never forgive myself."

"Aang, you have to stop thinking like that," I said patiently, reaching up and touching his cheek, trying to keep his attention on me. "I'm just one person. You can't let your whole life be ruined if I don't make it."

"Yes, I can," Aang shot back stubbornly, grabbing my hand from his face. "You're not just one person to me, Katara. I love you."

I froze. I waited a few seconds to make sure I hadn't just hallucinated or fainted. No… don't get your hopes up, he couldn't possibly mean…

"I… I love you too," I replied lightly, forcing my voice to stay casual. "We all do. We're a family."

I was overtaken with a powerful urge to scream at that point.

"No, Katara, that's not what I meant," he sighed, voice quieting now that he realized what he had just done. He looked determinedly at his feet. "I love you. I… I am in… love… with you."

The urge to scream was replaced instantly with quite a different urge. And who was I to ignore my urges?

I kissed him.

It started out simply enough. It was one kiss, soft, sweet, lasting only a moment but more than just a brush of the lips. When I drew away, however, I realized I really didn't want to. So I kissed him again, not bothering to wait for him to react in some way.

It wasn't my fault he had such a wonderful mouth and that I happened to be rather fascinated.

He still hadn't responded after several seconds, so I placed a hand gently on either side of his face and pulled him closer, guiding him, coaxing him.

I had no idea what I was doing.

It just seemed natural.

Aang seemed to agree, considering he finally reacted. I felt his hands on my waist, very lightly at first. He wasn't sure what to do. I pulled him closer, trying to reassure him without breaking away from this kiss… this kiss we hadn't been expecting.

I finally felt the muscles in his face relax. His lips moved against mine, and I sighed. It occurred to me that this moment would be perfect. Would be… if there wasn't a strong possibility that one of us would be dead this time tomorrow.

I pulled away, glancing up at him cautiously. He looked dazed, and I smiled a little.

"I am so in love with you," I whispered. The first smile I'd seen on him in days made its way slowly to his face. I looked at my feet. "But… I can't do that for you. I have to help you fight the Fire Lord."

He stared at me. He tugged at my waist, bringing me closer. "Katara, I can't protect you if you come," he said quietly, sounding as if he was pleading.

"Well I can't protect you if I don't come," I replied simply. He stared at me again.

"Protect me?" he repeated blankly.

I laughed a little, looking down again. "Aang, I just kissed you. I told you I love you. I don't want you to die. And if I'm there, I'll be able to make sure," I whispered.

I glanced up at him after a long silence. He was still just staring.

"So is… that okay?" I finally asked. "We can protect each other."

He didn't reply.

He kissed me.