Disclaimer: I do not own Avatar: The Last Airbender, any of the characters, nor rights. I am a simple, albeit untalented, wordsmith.
This occurs between the final battle and the scene in the Jasmine Dragon in the finale.
Aang was frantically pacing in front of the infirmary, his forehead furrowed in anxiety and worry as he looked past the brilliantly polished wood floor. He was trying to get a look at a certain person now working on curing her brother. Never had he been this agitated before. In fact, he was so anxious that he hadn't bothered to change from his battle attire. He had just defeated the Firelord, or the Phoenix King as he called himself, after a long and exhausting battle which he was still recovering from emotionally. He'd endured the spiritual trauma of having to consider taking a life, and had managed to emerge victorious by taking the Phoenix King's bending away instead. Thus he was able to save the world, while keeping his morals undamaged, despite what his friends, and even his past lives, had told him to do.
Now, he had a new battle to face. One that was just as difficult as the first. It didn't involve mortal peril, but was a grave one nonetheless. This was a battle that was won not with bending or clever solutions. No, this battle was far more difficult. It was with his own heart. Before the final battle he had been tormented, and had even faced the person who was the source of his torment. He could still remember the incident that started this whole mess....
"But I thought after the invasion things would be different. I thought we would be together."
"Aang, I'm just confused....."
Aang thought about that, and decided he would help her out of her confusion. With this frame of mind, he leaned in and kissed her.
But Katara's reaction was far different from the kiss before the invasion. She recoiled in confusion, hurt, even anger instead of shock. Placing her hand to her face, she became angry and stated, "I just told you I was confused! I'm going back inside." Having said this, she ran back into the theater.
Aang dropped his head to the railing he had been musing at earlier, and began banging his fist against it in anger at the world but mostly at his ineptitude with women, mainly Katara, "Stupid, stupid, stupid...."
Now, he just wanted to make peace with her. She had rejected him utterly, and it wounded him in ways even more grievous then Phoenix King Ozai could in his battle. He had been foolish to think that she could love someone like him. He was too young, too inexperienced in the ways of courtship. In that vein, perhaps, she would be better off with someone else. But, he wished he could make amends. Other than what was necessary for day to day living, they hadn't said more than a few words to each other and this silence was more disturbing then the incident at the theater. He couldn't speak to her, his heart was too close to breaking for him to even breach the subject. So, she hadn't initiated any conversation, and neither had he. He wouldn't make the mistake of assuming anything again, ever. It was too dangerous for him to do it, for his heart that is.
Now he would let her know that he accepted her decision, her confusion, although it hurt. It seemed that she didn't return his affections, even though he'd loved her ever since she released him from his iceberg. So, now that the urgent need to defeat the Firelord was over, he would leave her alone, no matter what he felt. It was apparent, from her pained expression following that night, his presence was not appreciated nor wanted.
As Aang worriedly paced outside, a certain blue eyed Waterbender tended to her brother inside the infirmary. As she worked on his leg, her thoughts turned to a certain Airbender. She was so ashamed and upset with herself. Ever since that night at the theater she had felt the difference in their relationship. He was distant. Whereas he would have normally been nearby and affectionate, he was, instead, cold and impersonal, and she could see the pain in his eyes whenever he looked at her. Somehow she had to let him know the truth. Somehow she had to make it right, because it was all her fault. She had to let him know that she wasn't confused anymore, that she had never been confused. It was all about how scared she was of losing him, so scared that she was willing to push him away just to spare her feelings. But in doing so she'd wounded her friend deeply......
"There", she said pleasantly, covering her inner turmoil, as she finished with Sokka. "How does that feel?"
Sokka gingerly placed his foot on the floor, and put some weight on it. He sighed with relief as he was able to place more weight on the leg. Looking at his sister he gave a reassuring grin. "Wow! That's great, Katara. It's almost as if it was never hurt." He turned his gaze away from Katara and held up his arms in mock victory like the Boulder during the Earth Rumble VI competition.
"In fact, I feel like I could conquer Ba Sing Se!" He boasted crossing his arms as he puffed out his chest to appear manlier and macho instead of being the same boy that limped into the infirmary.
"Yeah, love to see you try. Thanks Katara. While I love being with Sokka and all, having to help him around everywhere was getting a bit old." added Suki wryly, looking at Sokka with her arms crossed over her chest.
"You're welcome", laughed Katara. "I couldn't let my only brother continue to limp around like that", she said as she cleaned out the bowl and dried it.
While she dried the bowl, a royal courier dressed in crimson robes came into the room and bowed humbly. "Lady Katara, General Sokka, Kyoshi Captain Suki....Crown Prince Zuko requests your attendance at a dinner to be held in your honor tonight."
"Wow!" Sokka gushed with a dreamy smile coming upon his features as Katara told the courtier that they'd be happy to attend. "A banquet of food in our honor..." Suddenly his face became rapturous with glee. "Do you guys know what that means?" He continued as his gaze turned to the already amused sibling and his smirking girlfriend. "It means there's going to be lots of meat!"
"Yeah, can't you just feel the love!" said a certain blind Earthbender who had just come into the room with a grin on her porcelain face, giving an almost impish look to what would have been delicate features. "I've missed the hero worship."
Chapter 2 will be up as soon as I can get it out. I apologize that it won't be immediately, though. Work and all, y'know.
I would also like to give special acknowledgement to Shinobi Bender, my Beta. She has born much in helping me, especially considering that she has school, finals this week, and all. I humbly bow to you, ma'am. Thank you.