Rated: Teen for romance. Kataang.
Summary: Katara stared in shock at the still body lying on the cushion. No… he can't be… (Not as serious as it sounds XD)
Disclaimer: "Avatar: The Last Airbender" is owned by Bryke, not me. If I did own Avatar, the show would have a sequel, and it definitely wouldn't be aired on Nickelodeon. LOL
LES: This story is not as serious as the summary makes it sound. Takes place during the Finale, immediately after the Firelord's defeat.
It happened as Suki loaded the now-harmless Firelord into one of the few Airships that hadn't been destroyed thanks to Sokka's Airship Slice attack.
The full enormity of the situation hit Aang at once. It was over. The war was over! The war had lasted one hundred years, and it made its presence known during Aang's every waking moment (and many of his sleeping moments) for almost a year; but with Ozai's defeat the world was at peace.
He suddenly realized how tired he was. It was like the only thing that was keeping him on his feet was adrenaline and sheer will power, but he found that quickly deserting him.
He wobbled precariously, watching in mute fascination as his vision began to go dim almost against his will.
Toph, who could easily notice the slightest shift in someone's stance, easily noticed the change in the boy's stance. "Hey, Twinkletoes. You all ri… whoa!" Toph gasped loudly as Aang lost his battle to stay conscious and collapsed against the Earthbender. It was only Toph's solid stance and Aang's slight build that allowed the shorter girl to support the Avatar in his unconscious state and spare him the humiliation of passing out on the ground. "I guess not." She murmured to herself. And then she called. "Hey, Sokka? Suki? I think something's wrong with Aang!"
With her Earthbending vision, she watched the rather hilarious sight of Suki dropping the prone Firelord immediately and not sparing him the humiliation of hitting the ground face-first as she had done for Aang. The former-Firelord groaned in pain, but was so weakened from whatever Aang did to him that he could do little more than moan and drool.
Sokka and Suki rushed back out (Sokka as quickly as he could on his bum leg) and found Toph supporting the unconscious boy against her side. "What's wrong with him?" Sokka asked, scared for his best friend.
"I'm not sure. He just passed out." Toph said. "As far as I can tell, he's not too badly injured. But, then again, I'm not a healer."
"Well, quick. Get him inside." Suki said. "I'm not a healer either, but I do know some things about healing." Toph managed to drag Aang with some dignity into the Airship and laid him down on the first cot they saw.
After that, Suki carefully checked the young Avatar over, looking for any cuts or burns that could explain why he had fallen unconscious. Sokka and Toph stood nervously over her shoulders, having completely forgotten about the former-Firelord laying face down on the ground not too far away.
"Is Twinkletoes going to be all right?" Toph asked.
"I think so." Suki said. "He's got a few burns, but they're nothing that won't heal on their own in due time. I think it's just exhaustion, which is understandable. Letting him rest is probably the best thing we can do for him now."
"Thank the Spirits." Toph said. "If Twinkletoes kicked the bucket now, after all we've been through; I might just have had to follow him to the Spirit World to kick his butt."
Perhaps it was because Katara wasn't there, but Suki quickly took to mothering Aang. While Toph took over Suki's job of roughly dragging the Firelord to one of the on-board cells, Suki made sure that Aang was comfortable and covered up so that he could rest comfortably.
He just saved the entire world. Suki thought to herself, tucking the boy in. The least I could do is make sure he can rest comfortably.
Once Suki was sure that Aang was comfortable, she left him to go to the Bridge. After all, they had one more place to go before the group could be together again.
At the Fire Nation Capital, Katara paced in front of the Palace restlessly. Once she paced to one end of the courtyard, she would pause, wring her hands, and then turn on her heels and pace to the other side of the courtyard to begin the sequence all over again.
Her and Zuko's plan had gone well. Azula had been subdued. The former Fire Nation Princess had long ago screamed herself into exhaustion, and passed out. But there were four parts to their plan, and she had no way of knowing how the others had fared.
Iroh, Pakku (or Grandpa Pakku), Jeong-Jeong, Piandao, and Bumi had left with the Order of the White Lotus to liberate Ba Sing Se from the control of the Fire Nation. But they were the group that Katara was the least concerned about. All of them were great Masters of their art, and were sure to be a match for anything the Fire Nation could throw at them.
Her brother, Toph, and Suki had left to take down the fleet of Airships that were on their way to burn the Earth Kingdom to the ground. Their part of the plan was essential, because if they failed, then the Earth Kingdom would never be able to recover and it would only be a matter of time before the Fire Nation brought the last free nation, the Water Tribes, under their boot.
But none of the worry that she felt for them could even come close to the amount of worry that she felt for the last member of their group.
Aang, who had disappeared without a trace three days ago. Aang, who had probably been tearing himself up for three days, terrified that he would have to kill the Firelord. Aang, who would have to face the most evil man in the world alone.
Aang, who it seemed had only come to terms with his identity as the Avatar, would now have to enter a battle for his life. A battle that no thirteen year old boy should ever have to face.
And, what was worse than that, she couldn't even be sure if Aang had been there to face the Firelord at all. She knew that Aang wouldn't just run off and abandon them, but he hadn't meant to abandon his people either. What if something happened to him and he was unable to face his destiny? What if the Firelord succeeded, despite her and Zuko's victory?
It would be all for naught.
But, more than that, she was worried about Aang's safety.
Zuko, who had been injured in his fight with Azula when he failed to completely redirect a bolt of lightning sent Katara's way by Azula, watched as Katara paced the length of the courtyard once again. "Calm down, Katara." Zuko called, holding his injured stomach. "I'm sure they are going to be all right."
"But what about Aang?" Katara asked. "We can't even know if he's faced the Firelord at all, let alone if he survived the encounter."
"Don't worry." Zuko said. "Aang's a lot of things, but he's not a coward. He will face the Firelord. And he'll do anything to make it out alive."
"But a person's will does not always dictate the survivor." Katara said worriedly. "I can't… I can't lose him again…"
Zuko knew instantly that she was thinking about that day under Ba Sing Se, when he had made the mistake of joining forces with Azula and Aang had been shot with lightning. He never knew how badly Aang had been hurt that day. But Zuko could imagine that he had been hurt pretty badly. Zuko, with his recent mishap with lightning, knew that it was extremely deadly. And Zuko had managed to redirect most of the lightning that struck him. Aang had gotten a full blast right in the middle of his back, only inches from his heart, judging by the position of the scar on his back.
"In Ba Sing Se… how badly was Aang hurt?" Zuko asked.
Katara felt tears run down her face as the horrible memory of that day invaded her mind. She wrapped her arms around her body. "He died that day."
Zuko honestly did not know how to respond to that. He admitted that he had a lot of flaws, but he never intentionally set out to have anyone killed. He wanted to capture the Avatar, not kill him. "The Spirit Water saved him?"
"Even with the Spirit Water, Aang was unconscious for a month." Katara said.
"Don't worry, he'll be all right." Zuko said, not sure what else to say. "Don't forget that the Comet will power up his Firebending just as much as my father's. He'll survive, and he'll come back."
Suddenly, Katara paused in her pacing. "Is that… an Airship?"
Zuko glanced in the direction that Katara was staring. Sure enough, a single Airship was flying towards the Fire Nation capital. "That's one of the fleet." Zuko said.
They watched with bated breath as the Ship came in for a landing just beyond the courtyard. And then, people walked out of the Airship, but they weren't Firebenders.
"Sokka! Toph! Suki!" Katara called in excitement, rushing over to them. She almost jumped on Sokka in an enthusiastic embrace before she saw that he was using a crude crutch and favoring his left leg. "Sokka! What happened to your leg?!?" She demanded.
"Nothing that won't heal. Especially if my sister will help me." Sokka said.
Katara glanced at the group, and her smile faded. There was one person missing. Sokka, Toph, and Suki were supposed to meet up with Aang to support him if he needed any help with the Firelord, but she didn't see Aang in the group. "Aang? Where's Aang?" She asked desperately.
The small group glanced at each other. "He's inside. But, Katara, he's…" Sokka hesitated slightly. Suki had her eyes firmly fixed on the ground, and even Toph looked a little down.
A cold chill ran down Katara's spine. She had gotten this same feeling in Ba Sing Se when she saw Aang struck with lightning and fall. "No…" Katara gasped, pushing past the group to go into the Airship. "No! No!"
At the end of the first hallway, inside some spare sleeping quarters for the crew, she found Aang lying on a spare cot.
Katara froze in the doorway, staring in shock at the still body lying on the meager cushion. No… he can't be! Katara cried mentally.
Suki had, not on purpose, arranged Aang in the position that Water Tribe members arrange their dead for funerals, with a white sheet pulled up to his chest and his arms crossed across his stomach. As far as Katara saw, Aang was being given his last rites.
She felt tears form in her eyes. "No, Aang… no!" She gasped, rushing to the cot and knelling next to him. "Aang, you can't leave me! Not again! I—Aang, I love you!" She quickly pressed her lips to his in a desperate kiss.
However, it quickly became clear that something was wrong. Aang's lips weren't cold; they were still soft and warm. And to Katara's great surprise, they began to move against hers!
Katara gasped in shock and pulled away from Aang, staring at the boy in amazement. He definitely wasn't dead! He stared up at her with slightly lidded eyes, a soft grin on his face.
Before either of them could say something, Sokka hobbled into the room. "Geez, Katara, what are you so upset about? I was going to tell you that Aang was fine, just exhausted. What? Did you think he was dead or something?"
"Um… I…" Katara began nervously. "Uh, Sokka, could you leave us alone for a few minutes?" Katara said, standing up and gently urging Sokka out the door. "I promise I'll look at your leg when I done here." Sokka got the hint and left.
Katara hesitated before turning to face Aang, a dark blush on her cheeks. "Um… Aang? I, uh… how are you feeling?" She asked, losing her courage to talk about what just happened.
Aang sighed heavily. "Tired." He answered, and then he smiled at her. "But better now. I haven't had a wake-up call this nice since you freed me from the iceberg."
"Aang, I… about what just happened." Katara began.
"There's no need to explain, Katara." Aang said, sitting up slightly, though she could tell that he was still completely exhausted. Without thinking, she moved quickly to help support him.
As soon as she was next to him, Aang reached up and brushed some of her hair out of her face, tucking it behind her ear in an incredibly tender gesture. Katara turned slightly to stare into his eyes.
As soon as they made eye contact, Aang blushed slightly and Katara adverted her eyes. "Now would be a great time." Aang whispered.
"Time? For what?" Katara asked, confused.
"For you to tell me if you return my feelings." Aang clarified. "The Firelord has been stopped. I defeated him for you, Katara. I'd defeat a million Firelords for you. Please, Katara… I have to know. Please."
"Aang, I… you stopped the Firelord for me?" Katara asked, shocked.
"Of course." Aang said. "Katara, I'm the Avatar. The only things I own are a Sky Bison, a lemur, and my clothes." Aang glanced down at his bare chest, and snorted softly. "Of course, my clothes were destroyed. I don't even have clothes to my name. I'm going to spend the rest of my life travelling and being a diplomat for peace. I have no Earthly possessions to offer you in return for your love. So I gave you the only thing I could: the gift of a peaceful world."
Katara felt tears of happiness run down her face. Another person in Aang's situation would despair at that inability to get the one they love a gift or token of their affection. But Aang had managed to give her a completely unique gift that no one else could give her. And that made the gift all the more memorable.
Katara quickly wiped away her tears before Aang could get the wrong idea, and smiled at him broadly. "You don't have to get me a gift."
"I know. But I wanted to." Aang said.
"So… a peaceful world, is that some sort of token of affection?" Katara asked.
"It's a token of love." Aang said. "I love you, Katara."
That was it. Katara burst into full-blown tears of happiness. She felt Aang wrap his arms around her and hold her close, apparently confused if she was sad or happy. Katara pulled away slightly and met his eyes. "In that case, I accept."
Katara slowly reached up and caressed Aang's soft cheek. His eyes closed and he let out a soft sigh. When he lips were parted slightly, Katara pressed a passionate but soft kiss to his lips. Aang quickly responded, quickly tangling his fingers in her hair and he deepened the kiss, seemingly on instinct.
Katara jolted in surprise as his tongue met hers, but it was a pleasant surprise. She had never kissed Aang like this before, and she had no idea where he learned to kiss like this. Though, she supposed, maybe it had something to do with him being the Avatar.
Katara's hands drifted down from around his neck and down to his bare chest. For the first time, she touched his bare skin without the excuse of correcting his form or healing his various injuries.
Aang groaned softly as Katara caressed him. And he pulled away slowly, pressing another, shorter kiss to her lips. "I love you." He whispered, though he only seemed half-awake.
"Oh, Aang, I forgot how tired you are." Katara gasped, starting to get up. "I'll let you sleep."
But Aang quickly grabbed her hand. "No! Uh, I mean… Katara, stay with me?"
Katara smiled softly at him, and then kissed him. "Okay." She said, settling down next to him under the sheets, and pressing her body to his with a slight blush coloring her face. She kissed him again. "Sleep, Aang. When you wake up, you'll wake up in a peaceful world this time. I promise."
"Thanks, Katara." Aang whispered as she fell asleep against her. Katara smiled, and soon joined him in sleep.
It was only later, when people began to gather in the Fire Nation capital for a glimpse of the Avatar, that the gang went back into the Airship to get Aang and Katara. However, Sokka almost had a heart attack at what he saw.
He opened the door, and his jaw dropped.
His sister… his little sister was sleeping next to the barely-clothed Avatar! And they weren't just sleep next to or near each other… their bodies were so intertwined that it was hard to tell where one ended and the other began.
Sokka opened his mouth and almost began to yell at them, but then he quickly stopped.
He hadn't seen such a look of peace on his sister's face in such a long time, that it was quite a shock. And, no matter his feelings about the fact that she got that peace from sleeping with Aang, he wasn't completely heartless. He could let Katara have this one moment of peace.
He quickly backed out of the room and closed the door. Of course, nothing was going to save them from getting the lecture of a life-time when they woke up!