I started this just about forever ago and at last. It is done. Read it or something.
Disclaimer: I do not own Avatar
Aang grunted in his sleep. Katara smiled. He had noisy dreams, she had noticed in the year or so they'd been sharing a bed. There was always something happening, something vibrant and exciting. Katara, on the other hand, dreamed in black and white.
She sighed and glanced out the window. The moon was bright and full, laying silver shadows over everything. Even though Katara knew it was Yue out there somewhere, making the world sparkle in the night, tonight the moon felt cold and distant.
Tonight, the full moon made her stomach turn. It made the blood frigid in her veins. It made her very aware of the beating heart in the chest of the man beside her. Thump thump. Pumping blood through him, out to his fingers and toes and back again. The way it moved beneath his skin, like music.
Goosebumps rose on her arms. She could smell him, that musky windy smell of Aang, she could hear the smallest changes in his breathing. That had come with the full moon since the beginning. It affected her deeply, heightened her senses, strengthened both her waterbending and her muscle. She was like an animal, something primal and dangerous. She was wired, her nerves fried, waiting on her heels for something to happen. To snap.
But only a few years ago had this new awareness entered her mind when the moon was full. This horrible awareness of blood. Of the warm blood in the body of the boy asleep beside her.
Katara sighed heavily, leaning back against the headboard. Aang, the ever restless sleeper, had one of his arms up over his head as he snored on. Katara smiled gently and reached out, tracing the veins in his wrist with a fingertip. The full moon was whispering to her, hypnotizing her. She felt that familiar urge, the desire, the knowledge that she could flick her wrist and send the Avatar through the wall. She could move her fingers just so and instantly end his life.
She sighed again. Oh, this terrified her. She used to retreat from him, from everyone else. Find someplace where she could be alone and wait out this one terrible night. But she had lived with it for a few years now, gained confidence, taught herself that she controlled this terrifying power, not the other way around.
But she still wondered sometimes…
The Avatar State scared her. Aang was in control of it completely now, and had been for some time, but it still frightened her. She couldn't help it. She couldn't stop remembering what it used to do to him, what pain and fear he had to be in to reach it in the first place. He seemed entirely comfortable with it now, just another sign that he was the fully realized Avatar. But those glowing eyes weren't his, no… those weren't the eyes Katara had fallen in love with. And so much power… he could simultaneously control all four elements, he had the massive power and knowledge of every Avatar before him. There was something vast and terrifying about him in the Avatar State.
So she wondered, sometimes, if Aang was ever afraid of her. If the knowledge that she could snuff out his life in moments during this one night a month scared him. It certainly scared her enough.
Aang snorted and blinked, yawned, and looked over at her.
"Katara?" he murmured, still half asleep. He stretched his arms over his head. "What are you doing?"
"Pondering," she muttered, managing to avoid glancing at the moon. But Aang knew her better. He sat up and snuck an arm around her waist, pulling her close.
"Full moon, huh?"
She nodded silently.
"So you're either awake because of all the extra energy or…" he trailed off, allowing her to fill in the rest.
"Or," she sighed.
"Or," Aang repeated, and she felt his arm slacken around her waist. That's when she heard it, she felt it. His heart quickened its pace. The blood was moving faster in him. He was nervous.
So she did scare him. She understood. She scared herself, too.
"I… I should go…" she murmured hurriedly, shying away from his side and kicking her legs over the side of the bed.
"What?" he asked blankly, surprised by this development.
It occurred to her when her feet touched the cold wood floor that she hadn't thought this through. They were in Ba Sing Sei at Iroh's house, all the rooms were occupied by friends and family. But she made for the door anyway. At least, she tried to. But Aang was quick despite his confusion, and his hands were firmly on her waist before she made it halfway across the room.
"What's this about?" he asked slowly.
She sighed, frustrated, and tried to get his hands off of her. It didn't work.
"You know what I could do to you right now?" she whispered lowly, becoming rather still in his hands. She felt him stiffen at her words.
She exhaled slowly and closed her eyes, trying to calm herself. "I haven't bloodbended once, not once, since Zuko and I went after the Southern Raiders," she whispered, refusing to face him. "And every time the full moon arrives, I feel like I've been holding my breath since then."
Aang's hands left her waist. She took a few steps away from him and crossed her arms over her chest.
"I can't sleep, I can't settle down," she continued quietly. "I'm exhausted, but my nerves are on fire. I can… I can feel your heart beating, I can practically hear it. And I've got this awful hunger… this need to do something, to just… let out all this pent up energy. Waterbending doesn't help."
"Katara… why didn't you tell me?" Aang asked, and she felt his hand touch her shoulder. She stepped away from him again.
"Because she was right," she replied darkly. "I am a bloodbender now. I've become something terrible."
"No…" he whispered, wrapping her in his arms. She stiffened, feeling his heart pounding against her back.
"No," she repeated, pulling away from him and turning to face him. "Don't you understand? I want to do this. I actually want to do that to someone. To… to control them. Like a… like a puppet…" Aang watched her plaintively. She could see he wanted to hold her, but he stopped himself. She was grateful. "And you're always the closest to me when I'm like this."
Aang's eyes widened. "Oh…" he whispered. Katara looked at her feet, tears welling in her eyes. "Oh, Katara… you're afraid you'll hurt me."
Katara covered her mouth with her hand to hold in a sob. "I'd never forgive myself if I did that to you," she whispered, tears leaving wet trails down her cheeks that shone silver in the light of the full moon.
Suddenly, she was folded into his embrace again, head tucked under his chin. He rubbed her back slowly, ran his fingers through her hair, and hushed her while she sobbed into his chest.
"You have to let me go," she whispered at length. "You have to let me get away from you, please…"
"You're not going anywhere," he murmured, kissing the top of her head. "We'll get through this together, even if I have to stay awake with you all night. If that's what it takes, every full moon I'll stay up with you all night until the day I die."
Katara became very still for several moments, sniffing. At length, she managed to push herself out of Aang's tight embrace, only to reach up and meet his mouth with hers. The kiss lasted for several long moments, soft and warm and a little frantic. When it ended, her lips remained against his, one hand on his chest and the other on the back of his neck.
"Thank you," she murmured, eyes still closed. "Thank you… oh, Aang. I don't deserve you…"
"Don't say that," he whispered, leaving a few short, lingering kisses on her lips. "Don't think it, either. Just… come back to bed. We'll get through this."
No sooner had Katara nodded that Aang lifted her into his arms and carried her back to their bed, prompting a modest laugh from her lips. He sat up against the headboard and eagerly welcomed her into his embrace, holding her tightly to his side with a hand on her hip. She laid her head on his shoulder and sighed.
"Better?" he whispered.
"I love you," she murmured in response.
He grinned. "Not technically an answer, but I'll take it," he laughed a little. She smiled. "I love you too."
Katara sighed again and cuddled closer. "I can feel it," she whispered. He glanced at her and she looked at the hand that wasn't on her waist. She took it gently in both of her hands and turned it over, gently tracing the veins in his wrist again with a soft fingertip. "Your blood moving in your veins. I can feel it. The way your heart pumps it all the way out here to your hands…"
Aang moved slowly, turning his hand back over and lacing his fingers with hers. She glanced up at him and smiled.
"That's good," he said quietly. "As long as my heart is beating, I'm alive."
Katara blinked. "You're… alive," she repeated softly. "You're alive and you're mine. As long as your heart is beating…" She smiled just a little bit. "You're alive." She leaned up and kissed his cheek. "I am so grateful that you're alive."
"Does that help?" he asked, smiling.
She sighed contentedly and relaxed against him, hand warm in his. "More than you know."