HOLA! It's my first story and the more insecure side of my brain is telling me to bury this story in a hole and let it bio-degrade into fertilizer for a pretty flower. Or a lemur... Not sure how these things work. But I guess it's time


I can't let go!


AHA! Got it. Here ya go!

"Zuko" She mutters crossly. Her blue eyes take in the cut lip, the smear of dirt under the chin, the golden eyes that are fixed decidedly on the distant forms of Sokka and a lemur. The piercing blue gaze flicks to where his own eyes are: watching Momo steal a fish out of Sokka's collection for dinner.

She scowls, emitting an impatient huff. It draws his full attention for the first time since she confronted him. He raises his eyebrow in polite curiosity, but his uneasy gaze, falling everywhere but on her own eyes, tell a different tale. She steps closer to pick out a twig in his hair, not realizing her closeness or how his body tenses up as her hands brush his unruly hair lightly.

She steps back, and scowls. "What did you think you were d-"stopping immediately as Zuko turns his eyes to hers, and states calmly "I had to," as means of all that earned was a twitch in the nerve above Katara's temple, Zuko continued "You don't know what those boys were thinking… about you. What they wanted to do, Katara. You think you can just wander into an unfamiliar market, looking like…you, and not attract that kind of attention?" His tone is level but he pins her gaze with golden eyes that flash dangerously at the memory.

She hesitates, not expecting that response, then remembers herself and says "…and so YOU had to go fight four boys, destroy a cabbage merchant's stall, attract the attention of the entire market, and get bruised up? Zuko, people will always talk! It's not new to me, and you don't have ANY reason to fight my battles for me. I don't need a man in shining armor to protect my honor! I can take care of myself!" her voice rising with every syllable. She turns around, walking away haughtily.

Zuko stiffens his assaulted pride stinging more than the cuts on his face. He feels anger and something unfamiliar bubbling inside his chest, and scoffs back "No. I don't think you can." Katara straightens her back, eyes already glowing with anger and ... anticipation? She turns around "You- You-"flushing a deep red. It only deepens as his scowl turns into a smirk, when she struggles to come up with a suitable response.

He turns and begins sauntering away, satisfied and- his head gets jerked forward with a snap, as Katara extends the offending water whip. He swirls around, flames already whirling around his fingers. He silently takes in his assailant: the Waterbender standing in her familiar fighting stance, eyes flashing with the brilliance of anger. Anger reflected in his own eyes.

Her water moves, suspended in the air, glistening with captured light. His fire casts the surroundings into shadow, dancing across the clearing where the group made camp. The fire prince and the water peasant watch each other, as if waiting for an invisible signal.

Suddenly they spring into action. Her vortex of water dousing the wall of flames that he sends towards her. She strikes, he blocks. He punches, she deflects, both benders moving as if locked in a lethal dance. (Quite the irony since I can't imagine either dancing voluntarily)

Her heart pounds through her ears as she feels raw heat in his every attack. She fends off Zuko's attacks with a strand of water, loosing it to the fire right on impact. Through the clouds of smoke and steam, she gathers her element, relishing in the cool consistency between her fingers. With one quick motion, she turns her gently flowing element into jagged, biting ice daggers. Her fingers form claws as she threatens to bring them down on the prince. She warns breathlessly. "Take it back!"

He feels is heart singing, as it does whenever he deals with his temperamental element. And with her. Shaking the strange feeling off, he reacts quickly. Dodging the onslaught of ice daggers, he conjures up a flare that breaks them into harmless pieces. He takes a breath, and exhales, drawing fire from his very breath. He looks at her, laughing, and with sarcasm dripping from his voice, responds "Attacking an ally from behind. Very convincing."

Katara, frustrated, strikes out with a powerful whip that is only met with one of his own. The strands entwine, and then disappear. With that, through the steam, their eyes lock. Gold takes in blue eyes, the blue clad form moving like her element, pushing and pulling. Blue eyes watch as fire glows brightly against his red clad body, pulsating with a life of its own with his breath.

They continue circling, striking at intervals, until Zuko realizes her attacks are more efficient at a distance. He draws closer, bringing them into shorter ranges, pressing her backwards. She realizes his strategy, and suddenly charges towards him, abandoning bending for pure fist to mouth fighting.

He moves to strike her arms, she blocks with a fast move, jabbing his chest. Coughing, Zuko sends a kick, and she pulls away just fast enough. Recovering, she throws a punch towards his stomach, where his hands catch her fist, and pulls it backwards, behind her back.

She grunts with the force of impact as she is held captive by his arm around her shoulder, preventing her from turning or bending. He whispers breathlessly into her ear "Just as I said. You can't take care of yourself." She shivers despite her anger, affected by the feel of his heated breath down her neck, in her ear. She pulls away, only to be restrained by his arms.

She falls backwards, into his heaving chest, promptly standing back up, due to the proximity and how the teenage essence of her brain begins sending her excited signals as she admits (marvels at) the strength in his arms and chest.

Working hard to squash the forbidden thoughts, she spits out "Let GO!" Her mind shorts out again at the unfamiliar, if not unwanted sensation of her body being held tightly against his. Her mind, previously occupied by admiring his biceps, begins a debate between comforting morality and saying "up yours" to it and kissing him.

Oblivious to Katara's discomfort, Zuko chuckles, and relaxes his grip, allowing her to squirm out of his grip. She turns away from him, not able to look directly at him, a blush painted on her face. He walks away a couple steps, before pausing, turning. He looks at her, and when she is unable to meet his eyes, he says "Katara, I…I was wrong, you can take care of yourself." She looks up; locking eyes with his earnest gold ones, only to flush, scowl and look away again. Zuko growls out "What? Even now?"

She glares at him and says "This wasn't the first time we've fought! You know I'm good. If I can take care of the Avatar, my idiot brother, the blind bandit herself, all while still doing the laundry and cooking and 'mothering' of every single person in this group, all while dealing with a certain confused fire prince, betrayal, your psycho sister, and fire nation soldiers, then …spirits… WHY cant I at least take care of myself with some idiotic, pre- pubescent boys wh-.. what are you doing?" She stops mid rant, distracted by his advance. He walks towards her, pinning her gaze down with his eyes, slowly pushing her backwards. She stares back at him, blue eyes widening as they flick back and forth.

There is no anger in his eyes, the gold gleaming with something unfamiliar. Laughter? No. Something …more. Katara backs slowly, until she feels the rough bark of a tree pressed into her back. She looks around wildly, then back at the advancing Zuko.

He stops, separating their bodies by mrere inches. Her heart beath races as his arms hit the tree on either sides of her body, trapping her there. She shivers at the proximity, and the smouldering look in his eyes. She backs up,pressing herself against the tree, but afraid to break eye contact.

Zuko lowers his head down to her ear and softly hisses "Do you have any IDEA what you do to me when you get angry like this? Do you how… intoxicating you are when you fight and waterbend, or what you can do to me when you smile?" Katara jerks her head, eyes focused on his. Confused, she shakes her head. He sighs, then continues. 'I've known for a long time what youre…capable of . I know, better than anyone that you can take care of yourself. But that isn't ever going to stop me from protecting you against people like them, because I…" he trails off, grimacing. She waits, simple because she is incapable of speaking coherently.

He carries on, more to himself than to her, "I don't know why, or when, or how… considering you are just a peasant, you were a constant thorn in my attempts to catch the Avatar, and you're the most pig- headed, stubborn, infuriating woma-"

She interjects, finding her voice. "Pig- headed? Oh that's rich coming from the guy who spent the last year chasing us around the world, to 'capture the Avatar', and never giving us a chance to rest, or even wash Sokka's disgusting soc-…mmmm?"

Katara's rant is cut short by Zuko's lips pressing hungrily against Katara's. She stops breathing, stops thinking, just feels. She feels his rough but tender lips skim over hers, his mouth over hers, him being near her, how strangely right it is.

The debate in her conscience is blown up after the powerful blow dealt by the "Up yours…" side of her morality.

With that, she kisses him back, tilting her head to fit into his own. His eyes widen; the golden color betraying the vulnerability and the happiness; the close as he brings his hands up to her head, cradling it as he deepens the kiss.

Running his tongue along the line of her mouth, he asks permission to enter, which she only too willingly gives. She shudders with pleasure as his tongue explores her mouth, tasting and memorizing her hungrily.

Her hands, previously clenched to her sides, now fly over his back, to his hair, his chest, his neck.

Neither can find the motivation to break apart, until the lack of oxygen does it for them. They break apart slightly, both breathless and dizzy with excitement.

Zuko places his forehead against Katara's and breaths deeply, then whispers "…and even beyond all of that, I still love you and I don't know why and I couldn't…I cant stop."

Katara places a hand on his cheek, brushing the scar that bore both his shame and her… her pride. He shivers at her touch, then stills as she places kisses on the scar, the eyes, then lightly on the lips.

She smiles into the kiss and says "I love you."

He looks up, warily staring into her eyes. Seeing her honest, excited gaze, he lowered his hands to her neck, brushing her shoulders and neck with his hands followed by a kiss.

She tilts her head back, allowing him to place a kiss under her gasps, as his mouth continues to her collarbone, at which her knees weaken. He smiles, catching her around the waist. He takes her hand in his, entwining their fingers.

She looks at her hands, at him, and then leans in for another kiss. When they break apart, both breathing heavily, she vaguely wonders to her self how she ever went this long without him. Without Zuko.

A question soon answered by a gasping Sokka (with a securely bound lemur, and four fish in tow)


...so. REVIEW?

The Fanfiction God's still have to pass their judgement on me. It up to you whether or not I should be among the greats of Fan Fiction.

Hit me! Gimme an honest opinion. I'll do my best not to cry :)