So ends Lyralocke's belated condensed Kataang week. Hurrah. Hopefully I can get back into Parlor Tricks now. I just realized I haven't posted a new chapter in a month and now I feel really guilty. ACK. Help me, PUSHING DAISIES!

Disclaimer: I do not own Avatar

CHAPTER 7: Comatose

Half an hour later, Aang and Katara were to be found in front of the fireplace in Iroh's house, their soaked clothes hanging in the washroom to dry. Aang had put on a dry pair of pants, Katara a robe, and they sat together in intimate silence until Aang fell asleep. When Iroh walked into the room, the young Avatar's head was in her lap. Katara was gazing into the fire with a slight smile on her lips, one hand intertwined with his and resting on his bare chest as he snoozed on.

"Is he alright?" Iroh asked quietly.

Katara glanced back at him and nodded, still smiling. "He fell asleep," she whispered. Iroh nodded. He knew he had come to the house for a reason, but looking at the two of them, the details seemed to have left his mind.

"You seem rather happier than usual," Iroh observed, sitting down beside her.

The smile grew on Katara's face. "Something wonderful has happened," she sighed. He nodded for her to go on. "I told him I wanted to spend my life with him, and he told me he loved me."

Iroh felt himself grinning right back at her. "If you don't mind me saying so, I could see that he loved you from the moment I met him." Katara closed her eyes as if the words were music to her ears.

"What about me?" she asked shortly. "Could you tell I loved him?"

"That depends," Iroh replied, shrugging. "Could you?"

Katara paused. Aang sighed and the smile tugged at her lips again.

"I've always loved him," she stated. "Always." Iroh seemed satisfied with her answer. She glanced at him. "I never thanked you."

"Hm? What for?" Iroh asked, perplexed.

Katara's gaze returned to the fire. "Under Ba Sing Se, when Azula…" she trailed off and swallowed hard. "You… you stood between us and your own niece and nephew to save him. I never… got a chance to thank you until now."

Iroh nodded solemnly. "How long was he down?" he asked gently.

Katara became very still at the thought of Aang's long period of unconsciousness after the fall of Ba Sing Se. "Too long," was her quiet reply. "But he came back to me. He always does."

Iroh sighed. "Yours is a love most rare in this world," he concluded as he got to his feet. "I believe you are very right in thinking you will spend the rest of your life with him."

Katara smiled fondly at the boy slumbering in her arms. "Thank you," she whispered.