Summary: Kataang OneShot. "You aren't talking about that creepy blob down your backside, are you?" Suddenly she felt the need to strangle her brother.
Author's Note: Birthmarks have always been a point of fascination for me. I have one in the shape of Lebanon on the top of my left arm, near my shoulder. They're nifty little things and I couldn't resist but to write a fiction about them.
This is placed sometime in the near future. They do talk briefly about sex, so we'll say, for those purposes, that Aang is 16 and Katara is 18.
Enjoy, and please remember to review. I'm very fond of this oneshot.
It wasn't often that Aang and Katara had ample amounts of time to talk. Even when they did, they weren't alone. So conversation was easily found when they did sit alone together that evening, in a prestigious Earth Kingdom tea shop. They had forgotten how much they enjoyed each other's company, and made it a point to express this: the flirty glances, the toe nudges under the table, the hand gestures, the intricate body movement, and most of all, the smirks.
"It took a total of seven hours," Aang was explaining. She had asked him about his arrow tattoos, the tattoos she had often traced after a long day when they rested together on the campsite, in plain view of the rest of their companions.
"It was." He winced visibly, which made Katara grin at his expressiveness. "Anything that marks your body for good hurts like heck the first time around."
She shrugged and rolled the remaining tea around in her glass. "That's not true, Aang," she mused quietly. "Birthmarks are painless—most of the time."
Aang took a long, satisfying sip from the ceramic cup before him. "I guess I forgot about that." She loved how easily he agreed with her. "It might be because I don't have a birthmark. Monk Gyatso had one, behind his ear." Aang's eyes glazed over at the memory, lost in an age more than one hundred years ago. "It was shaped like a melting candle."
"I have one," she said, and flushed, because now he would ask her where it was, and she knew she couldn't tell him. She had only meant to pull him out of his thoughts. Sometimes she cursed her bad timing—the way words escaped her mind through her mouth without her willing them to.
"I didn't know that."
"How's your tea?"
"Fine. I didn't know you had a birthmark, Katara."
Her face had turned into a deep, bright shade. Although Aang didn't notice, she was avoiding eye contact with him. "Now you know, Aang. So…who gave you the arrow tattoos—the monks? Or the nuns?"
"Monks and nuns," he answered flatly. When she glanced at him, she saw it: the playful, lopsided smile he wore. "Are you changing the subject?"
Her hesitation answered for her. "What? No! No—of course not. What subject?"
"Where is the birthmark, Katara?" It came out more as a command than a question, and the smile was still there, prodding her.
Katara narrowed her eyes and bit her lip, thinking. Quick thinking would save her. A lie would be perfect.
But it was then a familiar voice boomed from behind Katara's chair, "You aren't talking about that creepy blob down your backside, are you?"
Katara felt the instantaneous need to strangle him with something thin and painful. Her whole body ran over with an undeniably hot rush that settled into shivers. She didn't even question his presence there—even if this was her alone time with the Avatar—even if Sokka should have known this.
Her shoulders bunched up toward her neck, and she didn't turn around to reply to him. She muttered darkly, "It isn't a blob; it has a shape," before glaring intensely on her tea cup as though it were her obnoxious brother.
Aang held back the urge to laugh—he had always found their bickering amusing.
"Leave us alone, Sokka," Katara finished, refused to turn around. "You must have something better to do."
Aang saw him shrug and leave to a distant table. They had been there this whole time, then. Just far away.
"He's such a disturbance," the girl murmured in a distressed ton, touching her forehead.
"It's okay," Aang replied, reaching for a piece of flatbread. "Sokka doesn't think before saying things."
"No, he doesn't."
"It'll be fine. You want some flatbread?"
Katara's gaze rested on the sustenance Aang was offering. She made a face. "I've lost my appetite," she admitted, holding a hand up in denial.
"What shape is your birthmark?"
"You said it wasn't," Aang stated, tearing the fluffy bread between his fingers. "I'm sure you know more about it than Sokka does. He hasn't seen it since you were a baby."
"Pass the flatbread?"
He did as he was told. "So what shape is it?"
"This place is great. They cook the bread on site—very classy. Nothing is pre-packaged."
"Katara!" He hadn't lost his patience—he just felt confused, and a little betrayed. His arrow tattoos were also a sensitive matter, and yet he had told her every detail he could remember from the procedure that had taken place so long ago. "What's so bad about the shape? Why won't you tell me?"
Katara dropped the bread into her plate and placed her hands in her lap. Her expression was waxy and fogged, unsure. But Aang could detect it: the temper, the embarrassment, the uncertainty. It was hard for her to open up, and this was apparent, because he could see the goose bumps along her bare arms, and the pink hue that refused to leave her face.
He had expected her to slap him—or to yell at him—but instead she sighed deeply, looking about their table, and leaned foreword. Aang followed her example.
"Don't tell anyone," she hissed, trying to calm herself.
"I mean it. Sokka thinks it's a blob, so if anyone finds out, I'll know it was you." There was an edge to her voice, a spark in her eyes. Even in her most hostile state, Aang thought Katara was beautiful.
"I promise you. I won't say anything."
She glanced around them again—briefly craned her neck back to cheek Sokka's position—still far away. She moved her lips close to his ear. Her breath was warm and smelled of tea. "It's in the shape of an arrow," she whispered slowly, clearly, so that only he could hear.
And when she moved away Aang saw that the blush had been passed to him. He blinked and rubbed his knee before mouthing, "an arrow?" across the table to Katara.
She nodded, and smirked, as if she had won some sort of quiet, secret game. Aang swallowed, and she smiled, because his infatuation with her was endearing, and very precious.
"You're the only one who knows now," she confided, picking up the bread with a new found certainty. The details weren't there; what kind of arrow, and how was it shaped? But she knew she had given him enough.
"You're sure it's an arrow?" The mere idea of this was sending shivers down the Avatar's spine. How sensual—how delicious—it was to know that, from birth, Katara was marked with an air nomad symbol! It filled him with desire and a temptation to undress her—just to see it. Just to know it was there. His arrow, on one of Katara's most private places, her backside.
"I am sure."
"How long has it looked that way?" The excitement made his voice shaky, but quiet and deep.
"Since I could look into the mirror and recognize shapes, I suppose," she answered, in the same low tone.
"And you're sure it's an arrow?" He hadn't meant for this to sound arousing, or challenging. It was just a question of certainty. Katara's eyes widened just a little in surprise. She crossed her arms over the table, and the smirk was back.
"If you don't believe me," she coaxed, "you'll have to see it one day for yourself. It'll give you something to look foreword to." She winked at him, offering this information. Just to Aang. Only Aang would be able to see it.
"Uh—" he mumbled, in an attempt to hide the lump rising in his throat.
They spoke of other things that evening, well into the night. But not a single topic came close to the sensation of the former: the birthmark.
Aang would try to curve the conversation in that direction, but Katara caught on. And then the grin would return to her, and she would tell him that, even though he was clever, she wasn't going to give him any more facts. He would have to see it. One day, in the future, he would have to see it.
Yet things changed between them. On the campsite they walked around each other with a newly found delicacy. Aang would sometimes tap on his wrist wordlessly—an indication of "what time is it?"—and Sokka would answer, "Almost noon." But Katara knew, without Aang saying anything, that he was really pointing to his arrow, and asking her when he would be able to see hers. When she answered, "Not yet, Aang," Sokka and the rest of their group grew confused and silent. It because an obvious inside joke.
Their movements from that evening on intensified. The simple feel of Katara's body heat—her arm next to his arm, their backs close to each other—filled Aang with a quiet contentment. He would steal her from the campsite more and more times during the day just to kiss. Just to be alone. Katara noticed his smiles, and the winks, and the hand gestures. She was flattered and pleased that such an arrow on her backside could cause Aang to become so longing and lovesick. It was, to her, simply adorable.
It became a quiet secret that filled them both with impatience and desire. Aang was eager to see it, Katara wanted to show it to him, and both were afraid of their fumbling inexperience. When their kisses did grow passionate in Katara's tent, they found themselves picturing the birthmark, and Aang would try—slowly, discretely—to remove her clothes. But she held firm, kept him at bay by holding his chest.
He groaned audibly and clenched his teeth.
"It will give you something to look foreword to, Aang," Katara whispered to him in the darkness.
"I want to see it," he murmured sleepily.
"It's too dark to see, anyway."
"I can firebend."
"Aang." She had placed a hand on his cheek, and turned his face to look at her. His expression was heady, wanting. Just to see it. But she knew it wouldn't stop there. "This is our secret, remember? No one else knows it is an arrow."
He leaned in close, as if to kiss her. "But, Katara—"
"And I'll wait for you, Aang. But I want you to wait for me, too." It was the way she said this that convinced him. He didn't ask her to see it anymore. When the time came, they would know.
How delicate it was, he thought, to share a secret with the person closest to you.
Katara, the Water Tribe girl, who had his mark on her before he had even touched her. And how odd it was, he thought, to say that marks hurt the first time around. This was painless love. Pure, unseeing. Marked with tattoos and an expertly placed birthmark.