I BLAME ZENJAMIN.
Disclaimer: I do not own Avatar
Everything was going horribly wrong.
It had started out alright. Aang, Sokka, Katara, Toph, and Zuko put together a second ragtag band of warriors to invade the Fire Nation. So there the five of them were, after what felt like hours of fighting for their lives, right there in the throne room fighting Azula and Ozai.
Aang was going after Ozai, the rest of them were left with Azula. They were handling it rather well, Katara thought. Azula couldn't take all of them, especially after her cronies abandoned her.
But all of a sudden, she called in help. Dai Lee agents, the same trick she'd used in the first invasion. But there were more this time, and it caught them off guard.
It was Katara's fault, really, she thought. Katara's stupid fault that everything had gone so horribly wrong. She took a moment, just one second, to look over and see if Aang was okay. That second was all it took for a Dai Lee agent to break through her defense. Before she knew it she was on the floor and in much more pain than she was used to. Broken arm, several broken ribs. She couldn't breath, she couldn't think.
But Aang and Ozai were closer than she thought.
Aang saw. He saw it all. He saw her look at him, he saw the Dai Li agent attack, he saw her fall.
It was all Katara's fault.
The Avatar State was supposed to be gone. Aang had tried to access it again more than once before the second invasion, but it was all to no avail. It was done, locked.
But when she sat up, still in shock from going down so hard and so fast, slowly becoming aware of the tears on her cheeks that she didn't remember shedding, she looked at him again. But he wasn't looking back at her. Not Aang. The Avatar was gazing at her, eyes glowing white.
In minutes, mere minutes out of these hours they'd been fighting, it was over. He went after the Dai Li first, scattering them effortlessly, throwing them through walls and into the floor. Then it was Azula's turn. She was sent straight up through the ceiling. And finally, the Avatar was after the Fire Lord.
Ozai held out longer than the others by a lot. But he was still no match for Aang. Ozai was thrown the length of the room, straight through the far wall and into the floor of the next room. He didn't survive.
It was over.
But the Avatar didn't seem to think so. He stood in the center of the room, whipping up a frenzy of wind, eyes still white and furious. Sokka, Toph, and Zuko had taken cover at one end of the room. Zuko was the first to go, considering he had been on the receiving end of the Avatar State more than once.
But Katara wasn't going to take cover. No, she was the only one who could ever pull him out of this. She didn't know why or how, but that was how it had been since she'd found him.
So she got to her feet. Very slowly. Her arm was causing her a lot of pain, and she could hardly breath. But she had to. For him. She fought her way through the wind, holding her broken arm to her side to keep it from more damage.
"Aang!" she shouted as she finally reached him. He didn't respond. "Aang, stop! Aang, it's over, stop!"
Nothing. She gritted her teeth and reached out for him with her good arm, taking his hand and pulling him back to the ground. He didn't even look at her.
"Aang, please," she cried, not even embarrassed by the pleading in her voice. She moved around in front of him and placed her hands on his shoulders. "It's over, please."
She closed her eyes and wrapped her good arm around his neck, pulling him against her in a fierce hug. This had worked before, but for some reason, it wasn't working this time. Something had gone wrong with the Avatar State. He shouldn't have been able to reach it, and now he couldn't get out of it. She pulled him closer, eyes closed tightly against the overwhelming tears.
"Aang…" she whispered. What would happen if he never got out of the Avatar State, what if he just stayed like this? What would happen to him? What… would she do without him? She was crying now, truly crying for the first time in years.
The wind became stronger, the howling in her ears growing louder. She was out of ideas. She didn't know what else to do, how else to bring him back. She looked away from him for a moment, through the cyclone. She could see the others huddled against the back wall, watching. She took a deep breath and choked, broken ribs sending pain lancing through her torso. She gripped his shoulder for support and looked up at him again.
Blank eyes, glowing tattoos, face set into a look of fury.
All her fault.
She desperately thought back to their travels, trying to find something, anything that could stop this. Her mind came to a sudden halt. The Cave of Two Lovers. The first invasion. She gazed at him, eyes wide, breath coming in shorter and shorter gasps.
Her hand slid from his shoulder to the back of his neck. She looked down for a moment.
"Please let this work," she whispered to anyone who could be listening. "Please don't leave me…"
She tugged at the back of his neck, pulling him close. She took a breath.
And she kissed him. The howling of the wind seemed to become silent all around her. She closed her eyes. She wished she could be enjoying this. She wished this was more than a last resort. She wished it was anything but what it was.
She wanted him to want to kiss her.
But, she reminded herself as she moved her lips slowly and deliberately against his, this wasn't Aang she was kissing. This was the Avatar, great and terrible.
She wished it was Aang. That, more than anything else… she just wanted Aang.
All of a sudden, his hands were on her waist. The wind was dying down. His mouth was moving against hers. She jerked away from him in surprise. He was staring at her, wide-eyed and breathing hard.
"Aang," she gasped. Her good hand found the side of his face and she let out a laugh of relief. "It's you."
"It's me," he confirmed quietly, still in quite a bit of shock.
She stared at him for a moment that felt like an eternity. Then, she leaned forward, buried her face in his shoulder, and let out a sob.
"Katara?" he asked, startled. He slid his hands from her hips to her back.
"I love you," she cried into his shoulder, breath coming in irregular gasps. "I didn't know what I would do without you."
He wanted to hug her or something, but he didn't want to hurt her arm. She was approaching complete hysterics, however, so he rubbed her back and kissed the top of her head and started whispering.
"I love you…"
Over and over, he repeated it softly in her ear. It wasn't long before they were joined by Sokka, Toph, and Zuko, all wondering what had happened within the vortex. Aang just told them to find a healer for Katara as she continued crying into his shoulder.
The others reluctantly left Aang and Katara in the throne room. Katara's sobbing eventually quieted. When that was over, she proceeded to kiss Aang stupid. When Sokka arrived with the healer, he nearly passed out at the sight.
Katara sat on the floor next to Aang, both tired and worn but alive. While the healer worked on her arm and ribs, she looked over at him. He smiled at her, a reassuring hand on her back.
Suddenly, everything was going right.