(and I can't keep going without the rhythm of my heart)
A/N: The prompt is sort of a rewrite of a lyric from Toni Braxton's "Breathe Again." Because the way it's sung in the song…really doesn't make sense. But this way it does. :D
Since the kiss on the deck of the submarines, just before the eclipse battle, Aang cannot stop thinking about Katara.
It isn't normal. It can't be.
Surely this sort of obsession isn't a normal thing? The need to watch her every gesture, her slightest movement, to listen to every sound she makes—he's never heard of anyone feeling like this before. And his reactions to all those gestures and movements and sounds…that is the strangest part of all.
Because when Katara is near, Aang's pulse picks up just a little. When she scolds Sokka for something, he has to swallow hard and look away from her scowling lips. When she is focusing on her waterbending, eyes closed and face serene, his chest hurts in a not-really-painful way and he finds it hard to breathe.
Ha. That's sort of funny. The world's last airbender finds it hard to get air because his best friend suddenly dominates his mind.
It's not as though thinking about Katara is the odd part. After all, he has thought about her constantly since he awoke in her arms in the South Pole. But it seems that the frequency of his thoughts about her had intensified since he'd died in her arms.
When he kissed her, it was a spur-of-the-moment thing. After all, he has seen couples kiss (both before and after his sleep in the iceberg), and the action itself just seemed to fit with the moment. But the instant his lips pressed to hers, Aang's brain momentarily shut itself down, and he marveled at the warmth of her skin, the taste of her breath, the smell of her hair. And then the instant was over, and he had no idea what to do next. So he'd backed away and taken off into the air.
And since then, he cannot stop thinking about her.
The monks, Aang thinks in mild panic, never mentioned any of this in their lessons.
Nowhere in the scrolls and texts and wall paintings of Airbender history does it tell of why his stomach does odd little skip-jump-flips when Katara smiles at him, or why his knees tremble when she places a hand on his cheek or shoulder. It doesn't say why his dreams tend to include her in some way—walking beside him, having playful bending wars with him, doing mundane little things that seem to have no significance whatsoever but because they're done with Katara, are actually vital and necessary. There is no record of why the sight of Katara sleeping brings such a warm, liquid joy to Aang's heart.
Maybe he is ill. It is a completely viable explanation, he thinks with a frown. It would account for the irregularity of his heartbeat, the funny feelings in his stomach and in his knees, the shaking, the sudden bouts of clumsiness, the flushing in his cheeks—
Or maybe he is just stupid. Maybe he is making excuses because he was raised by monks, slept in an iceberg for a hundred years through most of a world war and woke up still twelve years old, and has no idea how to be in love with a girl. Not just a girl. With Katara.
Maybe it is because he is the Avatar and so cannot possibly be destined for her. If he is to be able to let go of earthly attachments, he can't love her. But he does, and that just starts the entire process over again.
His eyes follow her across the campsite as she strides to Toph's side and says something to the blind girl, who answers back absently, probably something sarcastic because Katara starts to laugh. Her laughter dazzles him, leaves him shaky and bewildered and a little afraid.
Maybe, he thinks with a sigh, I'm just crazy.
She turns to him and gives him a brief smile that wrinkles her nose just the slightest bit. He thinks even that little wrinkle is beautiful.
Yup. I'm crazy.
Because he thinks that Katara is the reason for everything. Just—everything. The sun shines, the wind blows, the sea rolls, the earth spins—all because of Katara. The minute he opened his eyes and saw her face the first time, history and destiny rewrote themselves around her. She's the center of his world, whether he understands that completely or not. And he doesn't, really, because how can one person be the axis for everything ever?
But then, that's what the Avatar is, he muses. The balance of the world rests on the Avatar, so it probably makes sense that the Avatar's balance depends on something else.
Aang's something just happens to be Katara.
A/N: To be honest, this is really how I feel about the Kataang pairing. Aang was raised by monks. Monks aren't exactly known for...sex ed, you know? So of course Aang wouldn't really know what to do about his feelings for Katara. He's so delightfully awkward and so uncertain about her...it only adds to the epicness of that pairing. I like reading stories where he just sweeps her off her feet, but really--where in the world would he have figured out how to do that? He's been locked away from the world for a century, and has been running/fighting for his life ever since. I don't think he's had a lot of experience with...the goings-on of men and women. Sure, he's got Sokka as an example, but...well...Sokka's not really that much of an example, seeing what happens to his girlfriends. . Plus, Sokka's--well. Gay. XD You gotta love him.