AN: I love Kataang. LOVE IT. That's all the motivation I needed to start this collection. I hope you guys enjoy. Feedback and reviews are always great to read and are deeply appreciated :)

I don't own Avatar: The Last Airbender.

Everything Before

Katara knows who she is and isn't often offended or shamed by it.

People think of her as serious and collected, and she's fine with that. She obviously isn't a party animal like Sokka or Toph, or the silly one like Aang, with all his goofy interpretive dances and face-splitting smiles. The waterbender is the one who's rooted, grounded more than Toph in at least one way.

Even in the peace time, she keeps her head and is the one in the political meetings the aged diplomats don't mind having around. She doesn't chuckle at random words or intervals like Sokka does, Toph and Aang giggling along. She just rolls her eyes at them before focusing her attention back to the matter at hand.

Her brother once called her a stick in the mud, but she snapped back that she's glad she is. Without that stick, there'd be nothing to pull you out of the sucking brown goop that would surround and drown. Sokka could only blink; Katara had smirked in victory.

Truthfully, she wants to let loose sometimes. To dance without resolve and sing without worrying about notes or proper tone; to just walk on bare feet with her hair loose and free, grinning like the luckiest naïve fool in the world.

But she has responsibilities. She has had them since the fire nation took away her foundation and her second pillar left to war.

She could have never guessed then, when she was younger and so cold and scared, that one arrow-covered boy would change her to such a degree.

How in her future, he would suddenly sweep her up when they would be having breakfast or reading just to twirl around the room without mean or measure. How he would wake her up to watch sunrises, explaining how they're much better than sad sunsets, and take her to places she'd never dreamed of. Waterfalls that flowed backwards because of strong air currents, rainbows that never ended, pools that alit at night from glowing algae; he knew it all to make her smile and giggle like she always used to do before her Mother died.

Aang makes her feel like she's weightless.

The way he can make her blush just by squeezing her hand or by nudging her foot with his under the table. She feels like she's idiotically free falling.

And she knows, every time they bring their lips and breaths together, that she's living in her youth.

That she isn't the strict old woman Sokka would call her, or even the dignified peasant diplomats talk grandly about. On the outside, she's in control of her emotions, cool and flexible like the water she can bend; emotions always in control. But on the inside and when he shows her those shy smiles, she's something else entirely.

She isn't anything but a silly girl in love.