DISCLAIMER: I own nothing, sadly.
A/N: Recent little something I wrote. I've been getting back into writing ATLA things pretty recently... o_O And yes, I'm aware that everybody (especially Zuko) is out of character...
She looked over her shoulder, curiosity glittering in her eyes. The elegant fire-nation dress she was wearing brought out her blue eyes, making them breathtaking.
Katara watched as Zuko eyed her, being caught in a conversation as he tried to make his way through the crowd to her.
She felt a soft hand caress her arm as a slow orchestral piece filled the hall. Looking back, she saw Aang taking her hand and leading her out to the dance floor. She looked back at Zuko again, hurt glittering in her eyes this time.
She turned back to Aang as he put his arms around her waist. She wrapped her arms around his neck, almost reluctantly.
As they turned slowly on the dance floor, Katara's gaze met Zuko's. His long black hair had been pulled back and the pronged, fire-shaped crown sat naturally on top of his head, like it had always belonged there.
Just then, Mai approached Zuko from behind, sliding her fingers between his. He broke his lingering gaze with Katara and looked down at his hand, running his eyes up her arm and looking up to her face. He smiled weakly and Katara saw his lips form words, but couldn't make them out. Then, Mai smiled and leaned up and kissed him.
To Katara's surprise, her eyes suddenly filled with warm tears. Her heart ached, and she felt betrayed. She blinked back the tears as she watched Mai pull Zuko out onto the dance floor.
When the song finally ended, Katara pulled away from Aang slightly, her eyes drifting towards Zuko. Then, Aang leaned in and kissed her, which she hesitantly accepted. She wondered if Zuko saw, and if he felt the same way she did about Mai.
"Let's go see Firelord Zuko," Katara suggested. "It is his party."
"Okay," he sighed, sliding his fingers between hers and squeezing her hand.
The two trotted hand in hand to Zuko's side, who was still talking with Mai. They looked over and Zuko smiled while Mai's expression turned sullen.
"What do you want?" she asked in her gravely, monotone voice.
Katara's eyes grew fierce and her smile faded. "We came to say hello to some old friends, if we can still call you that."
"Because it's only been eight years," Mai said sarcastically, folding her arms and waving her hand in dismissal.
She looked over to Zuko, whom she noticed was looking down at her and Aang's linked hands. She pulled her hand away embarrassedly. Then, noticing Aang's wondering look, she threw her arms hesitantly around Zuko.
"It's good to see you, Zuko," she whispered as he snaked his arms around her waist.
He did everything he could to keep from grinning. "It's nice to see you, too."
She pulled away from him and stepped back to Aang's side.
"And it's good to see you too, Avatar." Zuko smiled gravely at Aang.
"Hey Zuko. Long time no see," Aang said cheerfully.
Mai rolled her eyes. "Whatever. You guys catch up, I'm going to get something strong to drink, then crash," she said, waving her hand absently again as she walked away.
Katara stuck her tongue out at Mai, making both Zuko and Aang laugh.
Then, suddenly, Aang stretched and yawned. "I think I'll take you up on that room you offered, Firelord. Katara? Are you coming to bed, yet?"
She looked from Zuko to Aang, then back to Zuko. She grinned and blushed. "Not yet, I think I'd like to catch up a little more."
"Okay," Aang said cheerfully. "Well... Goodnight!" He walked off, the same little bounce that was always in his step.
Katara watched him leave, then turned back to Zuko, who looked back at her at the same time, their gazes locking. Katara could feel her cheeks beginning to burn.
"You look beautiful," he said quietly.
Just then, another slow piece filled the hall. Zuko looked up toward the people on the stage, playing a variety of stringed instruments, then looked back to Katara.
He didn't even have to speak, his golden eyes asked the question. Katara lifted her hand and Zuko took it, putting his other arm around her waist. She put her arm around his neck and drew closer to his body, feeling his warmth.
She blushed as she looked up into his eyes.
Everything and everybody in the room seemed to melt away as they twisted slowly on the dance floor. All Katara could hear was his gentle breathing, and all she could feel was his steady heartbeat.
They stopped spinning and everything rushed back to them; where they were, who they were with, why they were dancing.
Zuko pulled away hastily, his face flushed. "I'm sorry," he said.
Katara looked back at him with hurt in her blue eyes. "Why?"
Feeling more comfortable, Zuko stepped closer to her. "You're married, I'm married," he whispered.
Katara looked down, averting her gaze from his and trying to hold back the tears. "Well, let's at least go somewhere more private and catch up," she suggested shyly.
"Okay," he agreed.
She looked up at him with a look of surprise. She hadn't expected him to agree, much less be the one who led them to a quiet room away from the party.
She could tell he was uncomfortable as she sat down on the floor, her dress flowering out around her. He sat across from her a short distance, his legs folded and back straight.
She smiled at him. "The years softened you."
"I'm not soft!" he said accusingly, a slight grin on his scarred face. He felt as though they were teenagers again, arguing to mask their true feelings for each other.
She grinned playfully. "Oh yeah? Wanna bet?"
He squinted his eyes and glared at her, the same playful grin on his face. He suddenly felt as though he was intoxicated, even though he hadn't had one drink. He wanted to tackle her, pin her and show her that he wasn't soft, he was still strong. He held back his urge. "How are Toph and Sokka?" he asked.
"You're just trying to change the subject. But they're fine, haven't you seen them? They're here, too."
"I haven't." He paused, an awkward silence filling the air. "How's Aang?" he asked quietly, his gaze averted.
Katara's heart ached at those words, or maybe it was the way he said them. "He's good," she said, nodding, choking back tears. "He's, uh... He's been talking about starting a family soon," she said guiltily.
Zuko looked up at her with piercing golden eyes that flickered with pain. "Oh yeah?"
"Yeah..." She paused, biting her lip. "How's Mai?"
"Mai's fine. She's the usually old Mai," he tried smiling, but found his facial muscles wouldn't let him.
"Does she want a family?" Katara asked quietly, almost fearing to know the answer.
Zuko shook his head. "She's never really liked kids."
"Do you want a family?" she asked even quieter.
Zuko chewed on his bottom lip and looked away. "Yes," he said simply. "But I don't think I want a family with Mai," he said so quietly Katara almost couldn't hear him.
"Would you want a family with..." she paused, hesitant to say the next word. She found herself almost unable to finish the sentence.
Zuko looked back at her, his eyes flickering with passion and wonder. "With you?"
She looked away, smiling gravely. "It was a stupid idea, I know. I'm sorry."
She started to get up when Zuko grabbed her wrist. She looked down at him and chocked back even more tears.
"It's not a stupid idea," he said softly and tenderly.
Katara thought her heart stopped. She sighed happily, falling down to him. She cupped his face in her hands, her eyes glistening with tears. She leaned in and brushed her lips against his lips before pressing them gently to his.
That single kiss lingered between them for what seemed like ages. When Katara pulled away, Zuko grabbed her neck, gently but firmly, and pulled her back to him, kissing her again. Time seemed to stop as they finally succumbed to their passion, the passion they'd hidden for nine long years.
"Katara," Zuko said, pulling away. "What about Aang?"
Katara looked away guiltily and sighed heavily. She dropped her hands to her lap and twisted the ring on her finger.
After several long minutes, Katara looked back up to Zuko. She touched her hand to his face gently. "Will you wait for me?"
He put his hand around her neck, cradling her head gently. "Forever."
A/N: Teehee, fluffy. ^_^ Again, probably just a one shot... unless I get enought reviews. ;) But honestly, reviews kick my spirits into doing more... But I haven't really been getting a lot, which doesn't do anything for my spirits. SO. You know you want to click that little green button there.