Day 1 : Crossover
The forest was dark. I could hear the birds chirping in the distance, and the shaking of leaves closer to us.
Then the sun broke through the clouds, and I stopped breathing.
He stood before me, his shirt abandoned on the ground. "This is why I stay hidden," he said, his voice tense.
His chest was glittering like a thousand diamond. It was so lovely it almost hurt to look any longer. I finally tore my eyes away from him. In an instant he stood in front of me. He reached out to cup my cheek, his hands were so cold it made me flinch.
"Katara..." he breathed, his face coming closer and closer. I could almost feel his lips pressing against my neck.
"Aang," I gasped trying to pull away. He released me, and I stumbled back. "I know what you are," I managed to say through quick breaths.
His eyes turned harsh. "Say it, then." He took a step closer, and I flinched. "Say it out loud."
I was panting, my heart beating so hard I could feel it in my neck. "Vampire," I breathed.
He reached out to me. "Are you scared?" he asked.
I started to reach for him, but something made me pull my hand back. "I... I..." A ferocious snarl ripped through the woods. I watched, frozen, as a huge flame-colored wolf lept into the clearing. His jaws were open, all of his teeth gleaming and ready to tear his prey to bits.
Aang hissed, jumping in front of me so fast that I never saw the movement. "Back off, Zuko," he growled. He looked, to me, like a lithe lion, ready to pounce.
Wait. Zuko? The nephew of Gran-Gran's friend Iroh? He was a... a... "A werewolf?" I gasped. Aang nodded tersely, and the wolf turned to me with almost apologetic golden eyes. Yes, this was definitely Zuko. I would know his eyes anywhere.
Then it hit me. Something Aang had told me long ago.
The only enemy of the vampires are werewolves.
And then, that fateful day on the beach when I had first talked to Zuko.
They think he's one of the 'pale ones.' You know, a vampire. The reason werewolves exist is to protect humans from them.
Two mortal enemies.
Two men that I loved.
Two fighters facing off across the battleground.
Zuko snarled, his tale lashing. Aang growled back, equally as fierce. "I don't care what you think, dog! She's mine!" Zuko's hind legs tense, ready to jump. With a slight touch, Aang sent me flying back against a tree. "Stay down!" he ordered as Zuko flew at him.
I watched in horror as they collided, the sound echoing like boulders crashing down a mountain.
Aang's fangs dug into Zuko's shoulder as the wolf latched onto his upper arm. They jumped away, their blood splattering the leaves of the bushes. Their snarls of frustration made the ground under my feet vibrate. I stood shakily, my back pressed against the tall tree behind me. How did this happen? How could my two best friends be fighting?
Was this... was this all my fault?
Zuko's tail was now a foot away from sweeping off my face. He barked something to Aang, which made his face become even fiercer. "Who cares about your stupid imprinting crap?! She loves me! She always will!" With a rippling snarl, he attacked.
Zuko stood his ground, allowing Aang to attack him head-on. He yelped, his paws sliding back, his tail so close it tickled my nose. I could see the blood streaming from the bite wound Aang had dealt to his shoulder. Aang face was so twisted with hate and rage that I hardly recognized him. Zuko's head tilted back to meet me eyes. I saw the terror on my face reflected in that glittering gold.
"Please," I heard myself whisper. "Please, no."
Aang released Zuko's shoulder only to grab his neck, throwing the wolf into a tree across the glade. He yelped as he collapsed on the ground. His eyes opened. He looked at me, pleading. Aang towered over him.
"I'm actually doing you a favor," he said coldly. "Since wolves cannot live without those they have Imprinted, you will never have to feel that pain." He opened his mouth, a loud snarl ripping through his throat as he prepared the final blow.
I never told me feet to move.
I never told my legs to race across the clearing.
I never told my body to shield Zuko from the death blow.
But I do remember telling my mouth to open, forcing my voice to work, curving my lips to cry out to Aang.
I was sprawled across Zuko, my back to Aang, my hands full of his flaming fur. Tears streaked my cheeks as I looked at my friend. "Please," I begged again. "Please don't." I choked back my sobs. "I can't live without both of you. But I know I could never live without him. Just as he needs me to survive."
His grey eyes were wide with shock and terror. He stumbled back, away from us. "I... but... Katara..." He reached for me again. I stayed where I was, but I felt Zuko's weak growl. He caressed my cheek, and I did not flinch from his frozen touch.
Finally, he turned away, and disappeared forever.
The wolf beneath me trembled, and I jumped back as he transformed. Panting and still bleeding, Zuko lay sprawled, naked, on the forest floor. I fell by his side, entwining my finger with his. "Katara," he rasped, flipping over onto his back. "Why... why did you..."
I gulped. "I couldn't let you die." It was the truth. But it was also something that Aang had said, during the fight. "Zuko," I whispered. "What's imprinting."
He squeezed my head, his eyes closed and his breathing ragged. "It's how wolves find our mates," he murmured. "It feels as if... as if..." He looked up at me, his eyes shining. "As if my whole world revolves around you. You are the center of my universe."
Sobs raked my throat. "How... how long have you know?"
"Since that first night, back at your grandmother's house. Remember? The first time our eyes met."
I smiled, my sobs mixing with my laughter. "Oh, my poor, brave Zuko..." I breathed, leaning in to touch my cheek to his.
"Katara." His breath in my ear sent a shiver up my spine. His hand came up to touch my cheek. "You're so cold," he whispered. "And you're trembling."
I pulled back, sniffling. "I'm just afraid the big bad wolf's going to go swallow Gran-Gran," I teased weakly. He laughed, a throaty rumble that infected me as well. We sat, laughing and weeping, until the rain started again.
He sighed, his eyes searching mine. "I love you," he said, his voice tender.
I wrapped my arms around his warm neck. "And I love you," I said, just before our lips touched.
The rain fell even harder, and thunder boomed while we remained locked in a kiss that could have moved the mountains and stopped the rain and summoned the lightning.