Author's Note: This story is supposed to take place just sometime in the future. It is compliant to all three seasons, though ages are a little different. Katara is 16 and Aang is 15.
Summary: Katara likes to watch Aang waterbend, even when he notices that she's there. Cute, fluffy Kataang.
Disclaimer: I do not own Avatar.
Though they often practiced waterbending together, they often practiced it alone as well. When Aang stood knee deep in water, stripped bare to the waist, pants rolled up his legs, Katara liked to watch him. She liked to watch the way he moved, his light skin glistening with sweat, the arrows curving gently across his arms, down his back, snaking along his muscles. He had a fuzzy layer of dark hair again, but when he turned in just the right direction, she could see the tip of the blue arrow on his forehead.
He didn't know she was watching, but she preferred it that way. She preferred it when he flowed gracefully from form to form, relaxed, unaware of her presence and therefore in no rush to impress her. He impressed her simply by being himself. And the way he moved in the water… it made Katara hold her breath. The way Aang's body - taller and longer now - tensed and relaxed, arced and straightened, was unique to him alone. Perhaps it was because he was first and foremost an airbender, but his waterbending forms were unlike those of any waterbender Katara had ever seen. He had a lightness about him, even in the water, that eclipsed the most skilled waterbender's fluidity and flexibility. Yet he was also unlike any earthbender, any firebender she had ever seen. As the Avatar, master of all four elements, he was skilled beyond compare.
Yet this, despite room for resentment and jealousy, did not bother Katara. Instead she simply watched, watched how he managed to bring traces, extensions of the other elements into his waterbending. She watched and tried to learn. There was nothing that Aang could do or not do that would lessen him at all in her eyes, or make her love him any less. Just seeing him there, happy, bending, made her heart warm and a smile bloom on her lips. And as if he could feel her contentment, Aang glanced slowly in her direction.
"I know you're there," he said, as he moved his arm in a graceful arc and a stream of water twirled around him. He directed the flow behind his back, up around his head, and stopped it in front of his eyes. He flicked his fingers and the hovering ribbon of water sprayed away from him in a shower of water droplets.
Katara stood. She had been hiding behind a bush, and she brushed her skirt free of leaves as she walked toward Aang. He turned fully and smiled at her, the same boyish smile, though the roundness in his face was gone. His gray eyes lit and crinkled at the corners. He held out his arms and Katara easily stepped into them.
"How did you know I was there?" she asked.
His smile turned mysterious, and he answered, in a sing-song voice, "I always know where you are."
Katara pinched his arm, laughing as he skipped away from her and then back moments later. "You do not," she said. "It was a lucky guess."
Aang settled his arms around the small of her back and pulled her so close they were nearly pressed together. Katara's breath caught in her throat. She felt herself lean closer to him, eyes on his lips, but then she blinked and moved her head back again.
"I knew you were there," Aang began, "because I hide in that exact spot sometimes when I watch you waterbend."
Katara's eyes widened. "Do you?"
Aang nodded. "I can hardly pass up an opportunity to watch you only half dressed and often soaking wet, can I?"
Katara didn't need to see the sparkle in his eye to know that she was blushing. She felt her face grow hot and ducked her head, but Aang caught her chin before her hair could fall to block her face. He looked into her eyes.
"It's okay," he said. He blushed slightly this time. "I like you watching me."
"Really?" asked Katara. "It-it doesn't make you nervous, or anything?"
Aang laughed, that wonderful free laugh that she loved so dearly. "Of course it makes me nervous! But it's also exiting, exhilarating, exceptional, even after all these years."
Katara smiled. On a sudden impulse, she stood up on her tiptoes and pressed her lips softly against Aang's. She remembered a time, "all those years ago," when he had still been shorter than her. But now, with one hand moving from her chin to cup her jaw, the other tracing lazy patterns across her lower back, and those light, breezy lips on hers, Katara could admit that his height and his strength, the fact that she felt secure in his arms, safe, was part of what attracted her to him. He was no longer the little boy she had found in the iceberg.
When they pulled away from each other, Katara feeling light headed, she looped her arm through his. They walked slowly back toward the shore.
"How long have you been secretly watching me waterbend, anyway?" she asked Aang curiously, in an offhand way.
But he only smiled, turned to face her, and kissed her again, harder this time, making Katara moan. And she realized, as they stood there in the water, that she didn't really need to know.