Prologue

I never gave much thought towards boys. I was too busy taking care of my family, what was left of it, after my father had left. Taking care of Sokka, and Gran Gran, even though they were both older than me. When my mother died, I aged emotionally. Males outside of my family never caught my eye, never distracted me from what was important.

Until I met Aang. I'll admit, at first, I was more excited that we had found the Avatar. The person who could save our world, make it whole once more. I grew to care for him, then to love him. I kept pushing the idea away, telling myself we didn't have time for such things, life wouldn't let us. Meaningless lies to myself that worked, until he kissed me.

I tired to forget it, tried to tell myself it wasn't that way, it was a last and only kiss before battle. Then Ember Island and the play tore through that delusion. I panicked, pushed him away when he needed me the most.

Things seemed to be okay once the big battle was over, however struggles from resistors have created a large rift between us, no matter how hard we try to close it. Six years, we've shared nothing more than kisses stolen before he had to leave, fulfilling his duties, before I had to go and take care of my students. Six years since the final battle and Mai is pregnant, producing an heir to the title of Fire Lord in less than a months time. We've spoken about the matter on a few occasions but life won't let us have time to ourselves. Aang's 18th birthday is tomorrow, as well as the rebirth of the new year and we're celebrating it on Ember Island. Maybe this year we can be together without rouge factions threatening peace, or swarms of people stealing him away for trivial matters.

Maybe this year I won't have to see the longing in his eyes as he rushes off to take care of things only the Avatar can fix.

Maybe this year.

Katara sighed as she finished her journal entry. It seemed pointless to continue writing in it when everything was the same, day after day. She tucked it into the desk drawer and locked it up, letting the key settle around her neck, attached to a fine silver chain given to her by Iroh years ago.

She stretched, reaching up towards the wood ceiling on the balls of her feet, trying to unkink the knots in her back. She nearly fell when a knock startled her off balance, her bed post saving her from hitting the floor. Her eyes flew to the doorway and her curse towards the person died in her throat.

Aang leaned against the door frame. He had grown considerably, filling out his tiny frame until it bore the sculpted look of a fighter at his prime. His storm gray eyes still held the faint trace of laughter that would burst from his soft, full lips at any moment.

When they met her eyes, they flashed with heat lightning, gone in an eye blink as he strode forward.

"Everything packed?" His voice, no longer childish, was a low tenor that caused her to shiver.

Katara nodded and gestured towards her bed where a bag was waiting to be loaded onto Appa before they took off to Ember Island. As always, her throat stuck and she had trouble speaking when he was around. The effect of his growing up always hit her the hardest because she had missed a lot of it. He had always been gone. While she tended her school in Ba Sing Se, he had helped Zuko take care of renegades. He had come back to his, their, home one day and the change had struck her speechless.

Aang watched the blush rise on Katara's cheeks. How he wished that he had more time to spend with her. A smile found its way to his lips at the thought of the news he had to share with her.

"Katara," he began, catching her attention once more from her private thoughts, "you'll never guessed what happened yesterday."

She glared a little at him. Since he had been away so long, she had lost the glitter in her eyes for fun and games. She still was soft around her students when it was called for but around her friends she had become moody and he hoped to change that.

"What?" she asked, silently asking for patience that she so often ran out of whenever Sokka was around. She had to remind herself that it was Aang in front of her and that he wouldn't try her patience like her brother would.

His grin widened and he took the last few steps, closing the gap between the two. He heard her small gasp as he slid his arm around her waist and stole a kiss from her surprised lips. Her blush had returned two fold and he laughed, holding her close against him, breathing in the lavender scent of her hair.

"We captured Zeng Tai and his faction. They are now guests in the Fire Nation prison where they will stay until they are moved to Boiling Rock."

He let the news sink in for a moment. Zeng Tai had eluded his grasp for almost six years, he had given Zuko the most trouble with the group that had wanted to return to how things had been before he had overthrown his father.

Katara tried to diminish the rising hope that Aang might be able to lead a more normal life, outside of his Avatar duties. She looked up into his eyes, trying to force the smile that was creeping on her lips away, "There are still other groups that would take his place," she pointed out.

He simply kissed her again, this time bringing the hidden smile out of her in full force, "true, however they won't be as organized. So much so that the army will be able to take care of them on their own."

Katara's arms went around his torso, hugging him tightly, "does that mean you'll be coming home more often?" she asked softly.

He chuckled, an agreeable sound that sent shivers down her spine. "I'm hoping that's what it will mean," He gestured to the house around him. "if you haven't gotten rid of my room in my long absence."

Katara blushed and looked at him through her lashes, "even if we had, you could still share with me," she mumbled.

Aang chuckled again as he tilted her face towards his, "I say leave my room to the dust that blankets the bed. If you don't mind, I'll take you up on your offer," he slowly eased his lips over hers, holding her closer to his body as was possible. Her hands slid up his back, caressing muscles as he deepened the kiss.

A sharp chitter broke through their trance as Momo flew into the room and circled them. He landed on a slightly disgruntled Aang and pointed towards the door frame where Sokka had just stopped.

"Are we going or not?!" He asked impatiently. Suki appeared behind him, baby Saiki sleeping in her arms. She rolled her eyes and dragged her husband away from the room, scolding him softly.

Katara sighed and turned out of Aang's arms to grab her bag. She turned back towards the door only to be caught up in his arms, his lips on hers for a brief moment before he let her go.

"Now we can go," he said, wrapping his hand around her free one, pulling her gently towards the door.