A/N: Takes place after episode 312, "The Western Air Temple". Rated M for Many Sexytiems. You've been warned!

This story has been on Livejournal for a while now, but I thought it was time to finally expose it to . Hopefully this will give me the much-needed incentive to finally finish part 3, "Contrition".

Also, Voting for the 2009 UFO Awards has begun! I have two fics nominated, one of them Zutara. Link for voting is in my profile. Go vote!!!

That you were once unkind befriends me now,
And for that sorrow, which I then did feel,
Needs must I under my transgression bow,
Unless my nerves were brass or hammered steel.

For if you were by my unkindness shaken
As I by yours, y'have passed a hell of time,
And I a tyrant have no leisure taken
To weigh how once I suffered in your crime.

O that our night of woe might have remembered
My deepest sense, how hard true sorrow hits,
And soon to you, as you to me then tendered
The humble salve, which wounded bosoms fits!

But that your trespass now becomes a fee,
Mine ransoms yours, and yours must ransom me.

-William Shakespeare, Sonnet #120


meaning: forgiveness

He thought he'd been asleep maybe an hour, maybe two, but Zuko woke up quickly when he felt the presence of someone in his bedroom.

It was Katara, again. She stood in his doorway, still in her day-clothes, as was he. But the difference was that she looked as though she hadn't slept at all so far that night—her long hair was tousled all around her, some of the edges curled up, reminiscent of someone tossing and turning. Most of all, she looked downright pissed.

Instantly alert and fully awake, Zuko sat up in his bed so abruptly that he heard blood rushing through his ears. His heart had already started a slightly-panicked, staccato tempo in his ribcage. She had just threatened him—with his life—not hours earlier, and he knew she had meant every single word. Is she here to put an end to me, like she told me she would?

He waited. When it was apparent she wasn't going to attack him, he cautiously pulled the covers back and got out of his bed. If he could engage her in a dialogue, maybe she would calm down a bit with the death threats, and maybe she would see he was truly trying, this time.

He took a few wary steps in her direction. She held up a hand from where she stood in the doorway.

"Stop right there," she said lowly, and he acquiesced. "Stay where you are."

Despite his apprehension at seeing her again so soon after she'd threatened him, part of him didn't want to frighten her away—or have her leave angrily as she had before. If I have a chance to convince her I'm worth trusting this time, I'll try for it.

"Okay," he responded quietly, meekly. He could see in her eyes that his attempt at humility didn't seem to satisfy her—she was still quite irate.

"You're a long way from being forgiven," she asserted coldly, the look in her eyes nearly making him shiver. "But I think you can show me some penitence for what you've done to both Aang and myself." She bit her lip, and the cold anger in the blue depths was suddenly replaced by something else—something he couldn't quite define, but that instantly intrigued him.

She folded her arms across her chest, feet planted sturdily apart. "Come closer. Just a few steps." He did, and stopped only a few feet away from her.

The look she gave him was hard. "Down on your knees."

He certainly wasn't beyond it, having already done so for the Avatar and the other members of Aang's group. Zuko knelt humbly before her, ducking his head slightly.

"Promise me," she began, and now he could hear the emotive inflection in her voice, "that you won't hurt any of us. That you won't hurt Aang, ever ever again."

"I promise," he answered readily and more than willingly, his head still bowed.

"Promise me you'll protect the others when they need it. Especially Aang, and particularly the younger ones."

She didn't mention herself. "I promise." His words were still just as sincere, still directed to the stone floor.

She didn't seem appeased; in fact, by the sound of her voice, Zuko could swear she sounded more aggravated than before. "Swear to me that you will uphold these promises," she continued sternly, and when he looked up at her face to assure her he would, he saw she was frowning. She still didn't believe him.

"I swear to you," he said, his rasping voice low and calm, golden eyes pleading, "I will uphold these promises."

Katara bit her lip again, and his thoughts were derailed once more. He focused on her mouth, and the shape of it; inexplicably, he found himself wondering what the texture of her lips was like. With her eyes flashing and her cheeks reddened and flushed with a myriad of emotions, and her trembling form, and her mouth—

He stopped himself. She was speaking again, more quietly this time.

"If that's true, then I want you to do something to prove it to me," she said. And he thought in response, anything.

Her hands moved from her chest to her hips, and she pointed one tanned leather-booted foot forward. "Kiss my boot to prove you mean what you say."

Zuko's lips dropped open in surprise, and his pride momentarily asserted itself. What? "But…your boot is kind of dirty," he said in an attempt to reason with her, scowling slightly.

She glared at him. "Do it."

He took only a moment to think. If it will make her believe me, then it might be worth the humiliation. He leaned down on his elbows, his face to her foot, and held her boot in his hands, examining it to find a clean section; he pressed his lips against that spot and sat up again, looking up at her for approval.

To his chagrin, she switched her feet, bringing her other boot forward. "The other one, as well." She's perversely enjoying this.

Zuko frowned slightly, but complied and leaned down to kiss her other boot. When he looked back up at her again, Katara was watching him carefully with interest, her face thoughtful. The realization suddenly struck him that she really did like him doing that, and it wasn't necessarily because of his humiliation at her hands. He felt something coiling in his gut at the thought, winding him tightly on the inside like a spring.

The look on her face changed as he watched her; she must have known she had given herself away. She stepped backward from him, just a couple of steps, and then she turned on her heel and moved as though to leave the room.

He didn't want her to leave. Not now—not when he felt he was close to winning her over, if he just kept trying hard enough—so he quickly devised a reason for her to stay. "Wait! I'll do more."

She stopped, turning. Her voice was taunting and defensive. "Oh, will you, now?"

"I'll do anything," he gushed, sitting back on his knees, his own voice husky as he lowered it. "I'll…I'll kiss you anywhere you want, if it means you'll forgive me."

Her face softened, her anger melting just a little bit. Zuko sucked in his breath, inwardly cheering his success.

But though her face and eyes betrayed her, her tongue was still sharp. "I'll just bet you would." She laughed; a short, prickly sound of scolding derision. "What makes you think I have any desire for you to kiss me anyplace besides my feet, anyway?"

He ducked his head wordlessly in response, not attempting to hide the glare that had crossed his features.

She waited a long moment, studying him carefully, her arms crossed over her chest once more. He knew she still didn't trust him, any further than she could throw him—but there was that spark of something that was definitely curiosity he'd seen in her gaze, that couldn't be disguised. There was no mistaking that for fear, or even anger or irritation.

Katara's lips twitched. Her hands fidgeted, and the question from her lips was somewhere between uncertain and suggestive, if such a place even existed. "Anywhere?"

A beat. "Anywhere." His glare lessened, and Zuko could feel his cheeks becoming hot, his internal furnace spiking briefly with lust as he looked up to meet her eyes again. I can't believe I'm doing this. I can't believe she's even thinking of doing this.

After another moment, fiercely trying to hide her own blush, Katara walked across the room, passing by him on the way to his bed. She turned to seat herself primly on the edge of the bedspread, facing him. He shifted slightly to turn his body toward her, still on his knees on the floor.

She lifted her chin and one of her legs splayed forward in his direction; her water tribe robe parted to reveal its shape, molded by leggings and her boot, from shin to upper thigh. "My knee," she commanded him succinctly.

She wanted him to kiss her on the knee, of all places. The coil in his lower belly cinched just a little bit tighter.

He felt his own moment of uncertainty, most likely voiced in his head by a flash of Iroh's wisdom—you can't really undo certain things once they're done—but he pushed it down inside of him and slid obediently over to her on his hands and knees, across the stone floor, holding her eyes as he did until he was kneeling before her as she sat on his bed.

Zuko sat forward and settled her ankle between his knees, straddling the boot she'd offered. He took the calf of her leg in his hands, lifting it slightly, and felt its muscles tense up in reflex. He wanted to whisper to her, to tell her to relax, but he was far too worked up himself to be of any guidance—he couldn't look at her face now, and he could barely keep his own hands from shaking with repressed excitement.

Consumed with winning her forgiveness, he lowered his head. He brought her knee to his lips, kissing it through the cloth, pressing them there for several long seconds. Katara was completely motionless at the touch, but she was looking directly into his eyes when he raised his head. He didn't even have to wait.

"My hand," she said, her voice still clipped, and held it out for him daintily, palm faced downward and tapered fingers spread.

And just like that his anxiety was abruptly gone, replaced by the insight that suggested he could assert his control with her anytime he wanted to. He was still bound to do as she requested of him, but she didn't have to have the upper hand in the situation. Zuko took the hand offered to him in his own, turning it slightly, and pressed his lips against the soft, fleshy part of her palm. The fragrance of her skin was like spring rain.

She audibly sucked in her breath at the gesture, her hand still in his. "Why did you kiss it like that?" she asked in a whisper.

He swallowed heavily to appear penitent. "Because I thought you would like it."

A pause. "Do it again." Yes.

This time the kiss against her palm was open-mouthed, and he could taste salt on the inside of his lips. He heard the tempo of her breath changing, and silently regretted having her foot so near to his crotch; the slight pressure against it was growing uncomfortable. He moved his mouth against her hand again almost hungrily. He was sorely tempted to bite down on it, but he didn't want to frighten her.

Katara seemed as though she was having trouble catching her breath. Her eyes were bright. "My…ankle."

He stopped. "Not the boot, again," he argued, "I already did that."

She didn't seem to mind his defiance so much anymore. "Without the boot," she clarified, her voice breathy. Ah…good.

Zuko sat back again on his legs, taking the knee he'd kissed, and gently pulled the boot off of her foot. She had white wrapping as a sock underneath, binding her ankle, and he removed that as well, noting a peek of white underneath the edge of her leggings at the top of her shin. "You don't leave anything uncovered, do you?" he asked, slightly amused, rubbing her foot in his warm hand as he did.

Her posture on the bed stiffened. "I am a proper maiden of the Southern Water Tribe," she announced haughtily, conveniently neglecting to mention the two-piece Fire Nation ensemble she'd worn recently; "and therefore, no."

"Right." His fingers smoothed along her instep, and he felt her calf tense. "That's why you're letting me do this." And he bent his lips to the inside of her raised ankle, covering the smooth skin with his mouth, sucking on it gently. She gasped.

He looked up at her from the task, and moved his mouth's attention to the arch of her foot. Her eyes closed, and Katara made a noise somewhere between a sigh and a moan; reflexively she tried to pull her foot back, but he held it fast.

"Not yet."

Zuko used his lips and teeth to scrape lightly along the instep, starting at her heel, following it with short flicks of his tongue. By now she was panting, mouth dropped slightly open in an unwilling combination of astonishment and need.

"Zuko," she whispered, catching her breath, trying again unsuccessfully to pull her foot away. "Stop."

He spoke, muffled against her skin. "Stop what?"

She shook her head helplessly. "Stop…what you're doing to my foot."

He finally lifted his lips away, a trace of characteristic impatience on his face as he looked up at her pointedly from the floor. "You told me to kiss your ankle, so I'm kissing it," he reasoned. "If you don't want me to do it, tell me where you'd rather I kissed you instead."

She frowned, obviously not pleased with his factual logic and backtalk. "My elbow," she responded tartly, jutting out the body part in question.

Sitting forward again on his knees, he leaned in closer and took her proffered arm in hand. "Inside or outside?" he asked, deliberately lowering and quieting his voice.

"Inside," Katara replied, her own voice softening, and she eyed him again with that same vague expression of curiosity he'd seen earlier. He turned her arm slightly outwards, and pressed his lips—this time, chaste again—against the soft crook of her elbow. Despite her frostiness, he felt a slight shudder course through her.

He sat back. "Where next?"

She was somewhat at ease again, and Zuko felt he'd gained the edge once more. "…My neck," she admitted, rather reluctantly.

Now she wanted him even closer than before. He leaned in again, raising himself up on his knees, and she turned her face slightly to the side, arching her neck towards him in acquiescence and invitation. He could feel her warm breath on his cheek, could see her eyes up close, the colors changing and swimming into various shades of blue, from dark to light. The churning within them reminded him of the ocean's tide.

The only previous time he'd ever remembered being this close to her was—

Right. When he'd tied her to a tree, and was taunting her with her mother's necklace. And then, again, when they had been in the crystal caverns underneath Ba Sing Se, she had come close enough to touch his face…

It was no wonder that she had reacted the way she did towards him. She had been quite fearless, both then and now; it was admirable. She had proven herself to be his greatest opponent in battle. But now he needed her approval, her forgiveness, to feel as though he belonged with the Avatar's group—she being the only one he felt obligated to prove himself to—and he was beginning to question whether he deserved it, after all.

All of the times he'd ended up fighting against her, as her enemy, and she had done nothing but try to help him. She had offered to heal his Uncle, after Iroh's injury by Azula. She had offered to heal his scar. And now she was offering him that most altruistic of sacrifices yet; herself. Suddenly Zuko felt very unworthy of the trust she was now yielding. This is your opportunity to show her differently.

He braced himself with one hand on the bedspread beside her, as he leaned forward between her legs; with the other, he brushed a long lock of her hair from her neck. Something like tenderness came over him as he placed his lips gently below her ear, and pressed them against her skin.

Katara's head lolled; she exhaled a quiet sigh. He could feel a flare of heat emanating from her, sparking a similar reaction in his own body. The warmth between them must have affected her as well, because she turned her face to look into his as he pulled away. They were inches apart from one another. Suddenly his breath had begun to come faster.

"My mouth," she whispered, unbidden.

Without waiting another moment, he leaned into her and captured her lips with his own. The first crash of his mouth upon hers was frantic and desperate, as though he were drowning and she was his source of air; he held his need in check and managed to draw back slightly, Katara's lips following close behind. He felt her response against him and kissed her again, turning his head to the other side, moving his hands up to cradle her face. Her mouth met his eagerly, her lips parting at the insistence of his tongue.

"Oh." She sighed inbetween his lips, and then he felt her entire body melting under his touch, like ice beneath the sun. The sound she made roused him further—he wanted to hear her make it repeatedly.

Zuko worked at her mouth, slowly, tasting her, teasing her. When she leaned into him, he pulled slightly away from the kiss so that she had to follow; when she withdrew he pursued with intensity, angling his head further to reach more of her and gently running his tongue along hers.

Finally he separated his lips from hers, drawing himself back and observing the flushed heat of her face as he opened his eyes fully. A small string of saliva still connected them, like silk from a spider's thread, and he wiped it away somewhat awkwardly. Katara opened her eyes and looked at him, heavy-lidded.

Their breaths mingled. "Now where?" he asked in a breezy whisper, a smirk threatening the corners of his mouth.

A flash of recognition lit her face, as she realized the game was still on. She looked pensive and thoughtful, but only for a moment. "My knee," she answered quietly.

"I did that one, already."

She shook her head. "Not like before." Her lips pursed briefly. "On the skin."

It took a few seconds for him to understand the implication—but as soon as he did, Zuko was placing his arms at her waist, steadily unfastening the knot that held her water tribe robe in place. She jumped slightly at the sudden motion, but allowed him to undo it, shrugging it off of her shoulders as he pushed it aside. Her chest and part of her midriff were covered by white binding wrap, as was the rest of her from her navel to her knees, he imagined, underneath the leggings.

He grasped the waistband fabric of her leggings gently, and slowly began sliding them underneath her, over her hips—sure enough, she was wearing the white bandage wraps serving as long underwear, underneath. She gasped slightly and held onto his shoulders, as he slid the leggings down over her legs and tossed them away behind him. But when he hooked his fingers in the long underwear to do the same, she hesitated.

"Wait," she whispered, and he paused in his work, looking up curiously at her face. "I'm…I'm not sure about this."

Zuko gazed at her in surprise, and then wanted to smack himself in the head for not having paid enough attention to see it sooner. She's a virgin. Maybe she's not ready for this, yet…maybe this is too much for her to handle all at once…

But a part of him wanted it—wanted her—so badly, nonetheless, virgin or not, and he pressed on. "I promise, I'll go slowly," he whispered to her in his rasping voice, and she bowed her forehead against his as he spoke. "When you want me to stop, I'll stop. But let me just try."

She seemed to balk, still, and he whispered, "Please…just trust me." He knew how much he was asking from her with such a phrase, but he held out for the hope that she believed him.

Katara held her breath for a long, agonizing moment…and then nodded, biting her lip.

He tugged gently at her long white underwear, sliding it over her rump, and she lifted her hips slightly to let him slide it over her ass and legs, revealing her tanned skin. His gaze roamed over her bare thighs and hips, and settled at the spot inbetween her legs—but she drew her knees inward, self-protectively.

Zuko sat back on his heels again, covering both of her bare knees gently with each hand, keeping his eyes on hers to calm her. Slowly he drew them apart, inch by inch, as she watched from the edge of the bed. Her breath came in pants. Her fists gripped the bedspread, clenching tightly; he noticed her chest heaving, and through the makeshift bandages covering it he saw her nipples poking out against the white fabric.

He lowered his head again to kiss one knee, stealthily positioning himself between her legs once more, and she sucked in a breath at the warm touch of his lips on her skin. Moving his head to kiss her other knee, he ran his hand up the outside of her bare thigh. His next kiss was midway up her inner thigh, and she made a breathy noise of uncertainty mixed with arousal—a plaintive plea—and tensed at the touch.

"Relax," he whispered, stroking her outer thigh with his hand. "Slowly; I promise."

Her scent was driving him crazy. He moved his mouth to her opposite leg and kissed her inner thigh there, and before she could fully react he moved his head and pressed his lips between her legs, brushing past the short, dark, curling hairs to move against her hot outer lips. Katara moaned loudly and threw her head back, gasping for breath.

He shushed her. "You don't want Toph to hear you, do you?" he asked, his words muffled against her labia; and with a look bordering on distress, Katara bit her lip and shook her head. He drew her thighs carefully over his shoulders with his hands, settling her against his face, and parted her slick opening with his tongue as he took a long taste of her. Her back stiffened, her entire body going completely rigid as she cried out softly.

She was unbearably wet, and hot, and tasted better than anything Zuko thought he'd tried in his whole life. He used his lips and tongue to deliver long, slow kisses to her slit, feeling her quiver and shake beneath his ministrations, listening to her gasping breaths and stifled moaning sighs. She leaned backward on the bed's edge, sturdying herself with her hands behind her, unconsciously giving him better access. His tongue explored her, and touched the small, swollen flesh of her clitoris, just a quick swipe—and her body jolted like she'd touched a live wire as she gave a soft yelp. His mouth moved slightly away from that tender spot, moving down to kiss lower; but every now and then he revisited it, with gentle licks and probing nudges with his tongue.

"Zuko," she whispered, over and over; somehow the sound of his name on her lips now made him harder than he'd thought he ever could be. With the hand that wasn't gripping the blanket beside her, he stroked himself through his pants in an effort to relieve some of the tightening tension in his own body.

After several moments he raised his head, hearing her lamenting moan—"Zuuukoo, don't stop"—as he removed his mouth from between her legs.

"This might be easier if I were lying down," he told her, and she leaned forward again and lowered her legs from his shoulders to look at him, trying to grasp the meaning of his words.

"You want me…to…" Katara's breathless voice trailed off with her thought process, and she suddenly realized what he meant. Her eyes widened, and her next words came out as though they were a direct order. "Lie down on the bed."

Zuko wiped his face on his arm as he sat back on his heels; he stood up, relishing the bloodflow returning to his legs. He shrugged off the shirt he'd been sleeping in, tossing it aside and watching her approving stare with something akin to satisfaction. He put his hands to the waistband of his pants, and paused there, catching her eyes—when he saw her looking on with interest, he unfastened them and removed his pants as well. His cock stood proud and erect, jutting out from his lean and muscled form like it was chiseled from stone; and as he watched her gaze at it with surprise and fascination, he realized that this was probably the first time she'd actually ever seen one.

With a gentle smirk he stepped toward her as she still sat on the edge of the bed, giving his cock an experimental stroke for show. "Do you want to touch it?" She shook her head rather hurriedly, nevertheless mesmerized by it and not letting her gaze wander from it.

Zuko sat beside her on the bed, and turned to cup her face in his hand, bringing her lips to his again for a slow kiss; he was sure she could taste herself on his mouth and tongue. She returned the kiss hesitantly, growing bolder as it deepened. He interrupted it to slide himself backward to the head of the bed, resting his elbows on the pillows behind him.

Katara took that to mean it was her turn to shed clothing, and she stood up from the bed, facing him, slightly uncertain. She guardedly began to unwrap her breast-binding wrappings as he watched, baring her smooth tanned skin to his view. Her breasts were pleasingly ample, the nipples a tannish-pink that matched the color of her lips before he'd started kissing her. Finished undressing, she stepped back toward the bed, crawling onto it on her hands and knees toward him; and in his head, Zuko silently thanked Agni or whatever god that was up there listening that his evening had turned out like this.

She stopped halfway up his body, looking curiously down at his manhood beneath her; she touched it tentatively with her fingers, and he sighed in appreciation. She ran her hands along the shaft, her soft fingers feeling like feathery-light touches—and then she encircled it with her hand, firmly. His dick jumped slightly in response, and her eyes widened.

"It moved by itself," she noted in surprise, and Zuko fought to hold back an amused snort. "I can feel it pulsing, like your heartbeat," she said again, this time with wonder in her voice, and his expression softened.

He encouraged her with his hands to come to sit over him. "Come here." She complied, crawling up to him, and he pulled her forward by the hips toward his face so that her thighs rested on his shoulders. He teased her wet cunt gently again with his tongue, and she gasped and hesitantly bucked at the renewed sensation, pulling up and away from him shyly. Zuko firmly grabbed both cheeks of her ass, and pulled her back down to his mouth—meriting a half-surprised and half-pleased yelp from Katara.

Now he was more forceful, his lips and tongue probing; he licked and sucked on her clit, feeling it continue to swell under his touch, varying the intensity. With his hands holding her in place by her hips, she had nowhere to go but to endure the delicious torment, and he could feel her writhing above him, twisting in pleasure—trying desperately to keep her voice quiet.

He moved his tongue lower again, humming softly and quietly as he did—he felt it slide all the way between her lips, and this time he pushed it inside her, thrusting it into her. Katara gave a harsh cry, stifling the sound almost immediately after, and pressing her cunt against his mouth as far as it would go; and he began to do it rhythmically, alternating between gentle sucking on her clit and fucking her with his tongue. One of his hands had crept down his body and wrapped sturdily around his cock in the meantime, stroking it in time to Katara riding his mouth, but he was surprised—and pleased—to find that even as distracted as she was that her hand covered his, reaching behind her to grasp it firmly, moving it in the same tempo he had. He felt her body begin to shudder violently, her gasps having turned to soft cries of please…oh, please…Zuko, pleasehe willed her silently to be quiet, so that she didn't bring the blind little earthbender and the other members of the group running through his bedroom doorway, thinking that he was doing her harm.

He continued his motions until he felt Katara abruptly freeze, her entire body becoming rigid as she moved against his mouth, her lips halted open in a silent shout of pleasure. He was glad that she'd heeded his advice regarding the sounds she made—the noise she made now was a soft, high-pitched cooing, sounding eerily familiar to his ears like the mating calls of female dragon-hawks. She arched her body away from his mouth, flesh suddenly too sensitive to his tongue's touch; but he held her fast, and lapped with an unhurried greed at the juices coming from her as she trembled and shook with aftershocks.

Katara fell forward over him limply, barely supporting herself on either side of his head with her hands, still quivering.

"Are you alive?" he asked as he pulled his face away from her, his voice tinged with quiet sarcasm.

She looked down into his eyes from where she hovered over him, breathing heavily, giving him a secret smile before nodding. "Yes…I think so."

She looked at her hand that had been stroking him during the entire time—leaving him still achingly hard, and unsatisfied—and she seemed surprised to see a clear, sticky fluid covering it. "It's what happens when I'm really excited," he said by way of explanation. He watched as she lifted the hand to her face, her pink tongue darting out to taste it, and his eyes dilated with desire.

Before he knew what she was doing, she was lowering herself back down his body, having recovered her breath, stopping with her face at his crotch. She cradled his stiff, smooth cock in her hands, rubbing it firmly, sliding her fingers over the moist head and watching him carefully as she did. Zuko couldn't stop himself from groaning as he closed his eyes at the sensation.

Apparently emboldened by his response, she lowered her head to lick hesitantly at its tip, tasting his fluid. Zuko watched, gasping, and his hips bucked gently upward. She took the motion to be encouragement for more, and took the head completely into her warm mouth.

One of his hands entwined in her long, loose hair, tightening his grip in measured increments as his cock disappeared into her mouth. Her name was a plea as well as a warning. "Katara," he whispered, his breath hissing past his teeth.

She lifted her head away suddenly and scooted upward, straddling his hips as she carefully positioned herself over him. Zuko released her hair, his mouth open in shock. Of all things, he hadn't expected this. "Are you sure?" he whispered, feeling a spike of apprehension at having to cause her pain; but she nodded, insistently.

"I want to make you feel good, too," she whispered in return. "It's only fair." And then she adjusted him with her hand, finding and maneuvering him into the right spot—and the next thing he knew she was lowering herself onto him, inch by agonizing inch, and he was sinking into her slowly.

His hand gripped the bedsheets for purchase, the other at her hip. Oh, shit. She was tight, so very tight—but as he watched her face carefully there was no blood or pain for her, as far as he could tell, and she was so hot and slippery and wet that his cock seemed to just glide into her without tearing her.

It felt amazing.

It was a tight fit, though, and she bowed her head in an effort to adjust. Zuko held her in place at her hip, stroking her hair gently as it fell over his chest like a soft curtain, breathing slowly and whispering soft words of encouragement to her. He could feel himself pulsing inside of her. Katara was quietly panting, her face flushed and registering exhilaration; one of her hands moved to grasp his at her hip, and his fingers entwined with hers.

He'd had sex before, but not like this—not with a virgin girl whose trust he'd worked so hard to earn, whose full trust he had yet to earn…not with someone he'd fought with, bravely, on a battlefield. Not with someone who felt like she knew him, inside and out. This was, he felt, the closest he'd ever been to anyone in his entire life.

Finally after a few moments he began to feel her starting to relax her muscles around him. He moved his hips experimentally, in a gentle rolling motion, like a wave; Katara arched her back, and moaned rather loudly at the sensation of him sliding part of the way out of her and then sliding back all the way in.

"Shhhh," he reminded her, gritting his teeth as he struggled to maintain his own desire in check. He shifted his attention to her breasts, cupping them in his hands, feeling their silky-smooth texture. He drew the soft pads of his thumbs over her hardened, pebbled nipples, fingers moving to pinch them sharply, and she gasped anew. When she was sufficiently distracted he moved his hips again slowly, the pleasure of her tight cunt gripping him so great that his eyes nearly rolled back into his head.

She was quiet as she focused on his movements and tried to mimic them, raising and lowering herself over him so that he moved inside her—and eventually she caught on to the rhythm of his motions, rocking against him when he moved up to meet her. She did this again and again, lifting and falling against him, to both Zuko's chagrin and delight.

He held fast to her hip with one hand, attempting to slow her movements slightly. "That's good," he whispered, biting his lip and smothering another groan as he felt her muscles milking him.

Katara's face was alight with pleasure and realization. She arched her back further, squeezing his sides slightly with her knees. "It's just like riding the buffalo-yak at the North Pole," she informed him; this time Zuko had to stifle unexpected laughter. She was obviously proud of herself for having put the connection together in her mind. Strangely, he found he didn't really mind being compared to a shaggy, Arctic beast of burden, after all; he'd always had a strong work ethic, at least. Maybe that's a good analogy, he thought.

He'd stifled the laugh, but he couldn't help the smile that escaped to dance across his lips. This waterbender is crazy, he decided, but it was a good crazy—fearless, forgiving, fucking crazy. She saw his smile and returned it with one of her own, resuming her movements with renewed vigor, this time leaning forward and gaining leverage with her knees.

The humor between them was forgotten a moment later, as Zuko felt his pleasure spiking uncontrollably with her muscles clenching around him. "S-slow down," he whispered, feeling the telltale tightening of his body, "you need to slow down, a bit."

Katara moved with determination. "Not yet, not yet," she whispered back, her features flush with delight. "Just a few minutes more."

He gritted his teeth. "Katara, stop," he whispered, "I'm going to come."

"You can't…don't come yet," she pleaded breathlessly. "You're to do what I say, remember? Don't come yet, Zuko."

It figured she was choosing to assert her authority again, right when she had him where she wanted him. He could barely hold the rushing tide within him back, biting his lower lip so hard it nearly bled, one of his hands gripping the blanket beneath him and holding on for dear life as she rode him. When he could finally take no more and felt as though he was about to go insane, he growled and reached up for her, pulling her body down against him.

"Zuko, wha—" she started to protest, as he held onto her and rolled them over so they were still joined, she on her back.

He hooked one of her legs over his elbow, holding her upper arms down against the bed forcefully with his weight of his hands, as he withdrew his cock all the way before plunging it again roughly inside. She shrieked with pleasure as he began to fuck her with a new and furious rhythm.

"I told you," he panted between thrusts, "to slow down…but you didn't listen, Katara." He plowed into her relentlessly, gasping, feeling her muscles clenching, feeling his balls tightening in inevitability. He was lost to sensation, only barely registering the fact that Katara was still practically shouting in delight with each thrust. He quickly clapped one of his hands over her mouth to silence her.

She bit down hard on his fingers, her wet sheath starting to spasm uncontrollably around his cock—and that was when Zuko lost it, leaning down to sink his teeth into her neck in a moment of sheer madness. He stifled his own shout against her skin as he came hard, hearing her own cries of completion muffled by his hand, feeling as though he was emptying himself into her forever, over and over, never ending. He collapsed into her spent and gasping, feeling her still contracting around him.

They spent several moments tangled up and breathless, waiting for their combined pleasure to completely subside, sneaking glazed and half-lidded glances at one another. As he felt himself slipping slowly from her body, he could feel their combined fluids sticky between them, and—

"Oh," he whispered hoarsely, in sudden realization. Shit. "I didn't mean to do that…I should have pulled out—"

"No, it's all right," she whispered back, knowing exactly what he meant before he'd even clarified. "I can do this—watch."

With a wave and push of her wrist, she directed his seminal fluid out from inside her. He watched, fascinated, as she bent it away from them and out the window of his bedroom.

"Where's that going to land?" he asked curiously, thinking such a spot on the ground would look suspicious the next day. Katara's giggling was contagious, and he turned back to her with a soft smile. "You can do that with any bodily fluid?" he wondered aloud, in awed admiration. "Even blood?"

Her face suddenly darkened like a storm cloud, and Zuko instantly wondered what he'd said wrong. "Yeah. Blood."

They lay together for several moments in his bed, simply studying and looking at one another, before Zuko reached for her gently and drew her to him. To his surprise, Katara wormed suddenly out of his grasp and went to get up out of bed. She began rifling around on the floor, reassembling her clothes; Zuko reclined on his elbows and watched her silently in confusion, his golden eyes questioning.

"You're not to speak of this to anyone in the group," she warned solemnly as she dressed, "provided Toph hasn't already found out by hearing us." He said nothing in reply. When she had fully dressed she turned to face him again, and the stern mask of indifference that she'd worn earlier was firmly in place. He felt his heart sink.

"I don't think I've fully recouped my deserved penance from you, yet," she went on, business-like. "I think I'll need to continue this punishment with you, tomorrow, as well." Despite her tone, Zuko could hear the carefully-concealed yearning and desire behind it. "So make sure you're prepared for it."

She straightened her back before turning on her heel and leaving the room, believing her dignity to be intact. Zuko allowed himself a smirk as soon as she was out of sight.

The punishment would continue tomorrow, as well. Oh, yes—he'd make certain that he would provoke her enough the next day to fully warrant a repeat performance of his 'penance'. Let her insult me all she wants during the daylight, in front of her friends, he thought; he would make certain to take it out of her after dark, extracting his own version of atonement from her more-than-willing body.

Tomorrow night, he surmised, he would put her over that chair in the corner of his room, and he'd grab onto her luxurious mane of hair, twining it hard in his fist, and fuck her from behind…

Zuko sighed as he settled back into bed, his arms behind his head, and drifted off to sleep happily anticipating the next evening.


Somewhere, in a far wing of the Western Air Temple, Toph had her fists in her ears as she gnashed her teeth.

"I fucking hate you guys."