A/N: This is just a little one-shot that I felt compelled to write. I got the inspiration while surfing deviantart and found a pic with the same title in the zuko/aang club I believe. Here's the link: zukoxaangclub . deviantart . com /art/ Night-With-the-Blue-Spirit-33693237 just eliminate the spaces and make sure that you put the beginning http and stuff in there first, minus the three w's okay? Oh and that's the link through the club, the original is down for me and the pic is not in the artist's gallery so I don't know. I guess look her up or something if you want to comment. Anyhoodle thanks. And enjoy!

~~~Night with the Blue Spirit~~~

Feeling cold without the fire's comfort, Aang sat up from his resting place upon Appa. Looking around the camp, he knew his traveling companions were asleep. They did deserve the rest after all, going back to their rigorous schedule so soon after being deathly ill. Fortunately, Aang never got the bug. Unfortunately, he was not yet forgiven for making his two friends suck on frozen-then-alive frogs. Oh well, one thing at a time.

Aang sat down by the small fire, stoking it up as he prepared for another long night of deep thought and insomnia. It had been this way ever since he'd escaped from Zhao's fortress. The night reminded him of the chilled air and cover of darkness Zuko and he had had to use. Zuko…

The young monk wondered what he was doing now. 'Probably searching like crazy for our trail,' he thought. Not that he'd expected anything less. After the prince had woken up, he'd made it clear with that rage-fueled shot that they were in no way friends. Still, Aang held onto the notion that had they both been born one hundred years ago and met, they could've been the best of friends. If only.

And even though Aang had fully expected the attack, it still hurt him deeply as he leapt through the trees on his way back to the swamp. Didn't the other boy even realize that he had saved his life? His reputation? He guessed that none of that mattered, as honor seemed to be higher up on the boy's list than anything else.

So for the nights since that fateful night, Aang had sat up when all others had gone to bed, keeping a watchful vigil on the fire. The boy would stare into it for hours, mesmerized by the way the oranges and ambers and reds would bleed into one another. He'd realize only then that fire was just as beautiful as it was dangerous.

When the sun would come up, he would jolt out of his trance and make himself lie down, pretending to sleep. The others would be worried about him, especially Katara, and they would endlessly question why he couldn't sleep. Aang had not told them anything about the blue spirit, and he didn't think he ever would. It wasn't that he didn't trust them, but it almost felt like betraying Zuko if he were to tell them. And his teaching from the monks had always taught them that trust was sacred.

Sighing in frustration, he decided to change the way things went tonight and walk into the woods. There was a small stream nearby and he thought that if he couldn't get Zuko out of his mind by sitting here, maybe water bending-a thing only he and Katara had together-might do the trick.

Little did he know that he was going to change the way things went tonight and for every waking moment after…

~~~Change Scene~~~

The water was clear and felt nice on his heated skin. Aang splashed his face a few more times before simply kneeling over the water, trying to work up the energy to get into the stream and start practicing. Decided to turn his concentration to the water and nothing else, he closed his eyes.

Drops slipped down his face, making delicate sounds as they plinked into the water. The stream whispered over the rocks, and it sloshed quietly around tree roots plunging into it. He Avatar-enhanced hearing also picked up a leaf hitting the surface of the stream, floating past him and around the small bend not far away. And somewhere, while his eyes were yet closed, a gloved hand scratched against bark, and Aang heard that too.

One minute a stranger stood behind the tree to his left and in the next Aang had that person pinned by the throat, daring him to move. He knew it was a he for he'd felt a masculine presence at once, but he couldn't see this person's face. It was covered by a mask…oh…

A blue spirit mask stared back at him, its porcelain features showing no fear or anger. The body behind the mask shifted but did not try to get away. As for Aang, he was frozen from shock. He stared at the figure and didn't even notice when his grip slackened.

When the smaller boy's arm finally let up just a fraction, this figure who was no longer a stranger or maybe still was grabbed Aang and threw him back. Still in shock, Aang feebly tried to move away from him but didn't make it in time as he was tackled to the ground. The mask hovered over him, making him shiver in something that wasn't fear. He tried to look into their eyes, but the shadows hid them too well.

He knew the man behind the mask. True, earlier he had referred to him as a boy, but right now he resonated such a masculine vibe it was hard to ignore. The body above him was a man's, the hands that held his arms down belonged to a man, and the figure who suddenly had complete control of him was a man. The lips that slanted down to meet his belonged to a man.

Aang's mental process was disrupted immediately. Lightning coursed through him, setting his nerves on fire and making his heart race. He had a thought that this should make him numb with fear or disgusted, but instead he felt a warmth in his stomach. The lips moved again, opening slightly and applying more force. And just when he felt a spear of heat that was almost painful slice through his abdomen and go even lower, Aang moaned loudly and with abandon.

That moan would change everything.

Separately briefly, Aang realized for the first time that sometime during his observation of Zuko's masculinity, said man had removed his mask. The moon overhead gave his hair a silver outline while casting his face into shadows, but now Aang could make out twin slivers of amber staring at him with incredible intensity. Those eyes got closer and his gray eyes widened. The heat returned in the form of the others breath ghosting across his cheek, fanning his lips. This time though it was Aang that moved forward that last inch to kiss him.

He quickly became lost. Zuko's lips were warm and firm, feeling dry as if the fire inside him was slowly burning him from the inside out. Rough hands were no longer grasping his shoulders but lying on either side of him. Of his own accord Aang felt his body shifting and he had only one conscious thought-more.

And he was willing to do anything to get it. Tattooed arms reached upwards and wrapped around the man's middle, pulling him down. He needed him closer. Things instantly became more serious when the body above him indeed sank into his, and Aang realized with a jerk that somehow he had spread his legs. Zuko now lay between them, pressing into him tightly with his hips.

Common sense fled from him and he groaned outright, giving his companion the chance he wanted to get even closer, and Zuko was nothing if not an opportunist. An agile tongue touched his lips gently before sliding past, beginning to explore his mouth. An odd taste invaded his senses, something like burning sandalwood and a musk, and he became addicted to it even before he knew what it truly was. All he knew was that he wanted to have that taste in his mouth forever.

Copying his partner he leaned into Zuko even more, battling with his tongue and lips while his hands roamed over his back and sides. Seemingly of their own accord, yellow clad legs wrapped securely around a lean waist and when Aang shifted to get more comfortable, twin moans were smothered between them.

Their passion raged like a fire, burning through all rational thought. They were slaves to each other, as it were. Zuko could not remember being this warm since before his mother left, and Aang had never felt so alive, though he flew as high as heaven every day. The both felt such a sense of completion that would haunt them for the rest of their lives.

Somewhere in the distance, a twig snapped and leaves rustled loudly.

The man jerked his head up, looking around the small clearing with cold awareness. And as Aang looked up at him, he could see the same determination in those eyes that was always present right before he set about capturing the Avatar. Was that all he was? A prize and ticket back home? For that matter, why had he even kissed him to begin with?

Hurt flooded through him then, and he unhooked his legs and brought his arms down to rest lightly on Zuko's arms. He turned his head to the side so he wouldn't witness his pain, lest that be used against him too. Above him, Zuko had apparently decided that someone was indeed coming, so he reached for his mask.

The blue and white porcelain was a thin layer, but it feel like a great canyon had just rifted in between them. Once again, Aang looked up into shadowed eyes, wishing compassion and maybe love was in the other's gaze. He knew that Zuko could see his pain, and so he let it show clearly. He wasn't afraid of what he felt, not after this.

The seconds ticked by and they seemed like hours as they lay there, nothing sexual in the way the rested against each other. Two words finally broke the silence, making the Avatar's eyes widen.

" Thank you…"

He almost asked what the thanking was for, but thought it was most likely because he didn't leave Zuko behind after he got knocked out from that arrow. Not having the strength to smile, Aang nodded solemnly. The man above him paused, seeming to thing about something else.

Before Aang could blink, the mask slipped up again and warm lips were on his. They shook with something Aang couldn't understand, and the words "I'm sorry" were whispered against his mouth. Zuko's voice was deepened with desperation.

And just like that, he was gone. The warm body above his disappeared and with less sound than a whisper the blue spirit was gone. His heart pounded and he couldn't understand why his body would react this way. The monk's chest started to ache and he felt a stinging in his eyes.

Rustling from the bushes again caught his attention and he quickly sat up to look for the approaching figure…and Momo crawled out of the bushes. At that point, Aang wasn't sure if he should yell at the lemur or thank him profusely for interrupting them.

Momo tilted his head to one side and let his beady eyes rest on his master, as he asking him what was wrong. The boy smiled and Momo ran over and perched himself on his lap with a contented coo. They sat there for hours while Aang thought about the universe and his enormous duty. He thought about what he would have to do someday soon and how he could live with the guilt after taking a human life. And during that time, he remembered that there was just one person out there that could take all that stress, grief, and worry and make it disappear. One person that didn't see him as anything else but a way to get his throne back.

All of a sudden life had gotten so much harder. And as day broke over the land he ignored the fact that his companions would be waking up and wondering where he'd gone. He ignored the fact that right now a certain prince was probably aboard his ship, rousing his men to capture the Avatar now that he knew of their position. The first light of day warmed his body as his heart broke and the Avatar began sobbing.

At that moment, he wasn't the Avatar, nor was he The Last Hope for the world. He was just Aang, a scared little boy who'd had his innocence shredded by this world that didn't seem worthy of saving sometimes. He cried for his friend and enemy, with whom he'd shared so much of himself. He broke down in the grass with Momo standing next to him patting his back awkwardly.

His tears were for all those who had died and were dying, and all of those who had lost something in this war, including him. But mostly, his tears fell for the hopeful and loving relationship he'd barely been able to taste before it was taken from him. 'Damn the blue spirit…'