((AN: Yeah; I finally wrote my own take on a mature Kataang piece. I had originally felt like writing some passionate fluff, but, it kinda went further than that.

So, what the heck, I said; I decided to try and prove to myself that I can write a peaceful, romantic piece, plot-oriented and tasteful (I don't even really call it a lemon in good conscience, or smut, because I pretty much managed to avoid using any crude and descriptive vocabulary. It's how -I- write making love, if I ever include it in any story). Kataang deserves a much better treatment than smut, really.

Besides, my muse wouldn't let me write anything until I got this thing finished. xP So there ya go.

For people who find this, and haven't read through To Muse on Parenthood (yes, I seem to prefer sticking my Avatar stories in the same continuity in my head), Aang and Katara -are- older, and they -are- married...in fact, he'd be 19 here, and thus she'd be 21. Heck, maybe this is how Tenzin is conceived. :B

Also, this is the first and most likely -only- mature piece I'd ever write for anything ever, so if anyone asks me to write more, I'll know who doesn't read the Author's Notes. :3 But please do forgive me if something seems amiss. x3 Like I said, first lemon-scented piece. Plus, though I've never been flamed for a story, I have heard it happens...so thus, as I say to any troll, if you don't like the material, don't say anything. After all, you've been warned here and in the intro. x3

Enjoy! And may the divine Mike and Bryan forgive me for this atrocity on their characters.

-Kersnap!- ALRIGHT, onto trying to update my other pieces!

...You know you write too much Avatar when your muse learns how to Water-Whip...))

It was perfectly warm in their bedroom. Warm and dark, nestling them together in their little niche made of quilt, blanket, and sheet.

But the Avatar—even with his wife lying pressed against his side, her head on his chest and wrapped with one of his arms—couldn't sleep. Peace and quiet was all around, enveloping him in all of the most pleasant things his senses found offered to them. Her sweet scent trickled in his nose, her warmth comforted him to his core, her quiet and even breaths soothed his ears, and her slumbering form was such a heavenly sight…

But he was still awake, nonetheless, kept from lulling away to sleep by the troubled turns of his mind alone.

Aang kept his stare to the stone ceiling above, while taking a long, slow breath and continually running his fingers with feathery softness up and down Katara's upper arm. The Air Nomad kept stewing in his mind over and over the things that plagued him recently…duties that he had been asked to oversee the next day that went against some of his own ideals.

It wasn't too long ago; a powerful terrorist from the Fire Nation had been captured, after many months of hiding out while his aides performed the most unspeakable of crimes on the innocents of the Earth Kingdom and in the re-formed villages for returning colonials. Torture, murder, kidnapping, burnings…all of it done in the name of the former government. It wasn't the first time a rebellion had been stopped…but this was the first time that one had gone on for several months without a lead, causing severe unrest from the people…until finally, to the great elation of the innocent villagers abound, the menace had been found and captured. He was thought to be an old high-ranking advisor to Ozai, and at that, a smart and ruthless Firebender.

Many thought that imprisonment was too soft for such a tyrant, or that he would be too clever to be contained. Most wanted him dead; others, punished slowly and painfully. Both Nations had their own brand of retribution for criminals against their citizens, but couldn't decide by which to abide. They'd needed a great, influential judgment from outside. That's where the Avatar came in.

Another shudder crawled through Aang's body, and he'd hoped that it wouldn't awaken his beloved. He was angry and repulsed, but at the same time, he knew this was what his title entailed. He was supposed to be a peacekeeper…someone to indeed come to when such decisions couldn't belong to just one of the world's leaders.

But does that make me a divine judge? They all KNOW how I stand. How can they expect me to decide how they sentence a man to suffering, even if he may deserve it?

He sighed once more and ceased his gentle ministrations upon Katara's arm, lowering his hand lazily over her side. I definitely won't be able to sleep. I have to go think for a bit, he decided, though not without some reluctance.

With a slight shift, carefully so that he wouldn't awaken the deeply-slumbering Waterbender, Aang pulled away and stood up from the bed, smoothing the sheets back over her body. She stirred, but only nestled back into the pillows with a sleepy hum.

Don't worry, my love, he smiled warmly to the peaceful visage of his wife as his fingers trailed the ends of her long brown hair, I won't be gone long.

With steps so light and quiet that only an Airbender could have made them, he pulled a nearby robe over himself and snuck out the door. His steps grew heavy again when he descended the spiraling stairway and adjoining halls, down to the main living sections that made up just a portion of the massively-refurbished Southern Air Temple; redecorated and so beautifully mirroring the former glory of his people, his true home just for himself and his family.

He shivered when he stepped outside into the front garden, the ground crunching at each track made…it was winter, and there was a nice, deep coating of snow upon every surface he could spot. It brought back memories of winters at the Temples long ago, where he and his young friends would run and play with reckless abandon, tossing snowballs at one another or stuffing the ice down an unfortunate friend's shirt.

It had stopped snowing ages ago, but the brisk, cold night and the crisp mountain air kept the snow fresh and sticking to everything in a beautiful, glistening sheen. Aang only felt the cold for a brief moment; as an Airbender, he could subconsciously keep the air around him warm or cool enough to suit himself. As a Firebender besides, one quick exhalation of the Breath of Fire technique kept his inner body toasted for long periods. And as a Waterbender, he relished the feeling of the winter season; Water's power was the strongest here. No doubt, Katara loved it, too.

The sky was clear and cloudless that night, and the moon very nearly full. The snow all around him that was bathed in its heatless luminescence took on a gem-like sparkle; it made one want to reach out and touch the frozen crystals with their bare hands. And thus he did, idly letting the crisp, cold snow drop through his fingers as he cleared a spot for himself to lean on the marble rail.

He turned his eyes upward to the stars and just stared for a long while, losing himself to the sight of the eternal cosmos. The moon was in his line of sight soon enough, and his gaze held to the great off-white orb; a heavenly entity, doing its silent duty to balance itself with the tides and the earthen energies below.

Well, Yue…what would YOU have had to say to this? He silently inquired of the moon, and the spirit associated with it…that of an old friend. Would you have let someone suffer for their deeds, or ended their life? He closed his eyes and smiled to himself. Well, you're a spirit now. Spirits probably have their own way that doesn't include meddling in OUR affairs.

I know what the other Avatars would say though. Be decisive…be active…do what is right for the world…justice for peace.

He snorted. I could Energybend, but…it's a dangerous thing to resort to. Who knows how hard it would be. I still think I was somewhat lucky with Ozai.

I just don't know.

Aang let out another long, meditative sigh, a shudder exiting his body as a result. Whether it was from the cold or releasing his own tension…or a bit of both…he didn't know. But he didn't have too much time to ponder that before another distraction caught his attention.

He had felt someone approaching through his Earthbending senses…and had heard them as their feet too crunched a pattern in the snow, slowly, as if uncertain that their presence wouldn't have been welcomed at that particular moment.

Another long breath of cold, bracing air was drawn into his lungs, and his lips curled into a small smile. Katara. I thought so.

In one of his unique ways for acknowledging her presence, he raised his left hand in a fluid, swift Waterbending motion to lightly fling some of the snow from the railing beside him. He patted and smoothed the surface invitingly. Judging by her slightly quickening footsteps, she'd seen the gesture and had taken him up on his offer to join him in silence. He felt, rather than saw, her sidle up to his side.

When her hand, warm and soft, found his own and gave it a light squeeze, he turned to look upon her concerned features. Her bright eyes gazed up into his, filled with questions, while a warm-hearted smile graced her lips.

"It's freezing," she said. "Why'd you choose here to sit and think?"

He grinned back, returning the squeeze on her fingers. "I don't get cold that easily, you know." A quirk of the eyebrow. "And I could ask the same of you…you'd be warmer inside, in bed."

"You're talking to someone who began life at the South Pole," she lightly quipped. "This place in winter is a little like summer there. Anyway," the Waterbender hummed, her gaze dropping. "I'm warmest wherever you are."

He turned his head and closed his eyes, keeping that wide smile on his features. His cheeks brightened in a scarlet hue in the adorable way she so remembered.

She let go of his hand, letting her fingers slide over his skin. "I'm sorry if I disturbed you though. Just, considering things lately, you had me worried. I'll go back inside if you want me to."

He let out a light snort, his breath coming out in little clouds of moisture in the cold air as he spoke. "I rarely spurn your company, Katara." His fingers came up to brush her cheek tenderly. "You know that."

It was her turn to blush, the hue a rosy pink on her darker skin tone. "I still like to be sure."

Reassuringly, her husband kissed her forehead. "Well, I'll make sure you're sure, then."

She chirped a laugh, leaning her own weight upon the rail. Their shoulders leaned together, each lending support to the other, as her eyes returned with his up to the stars. So bright and dazzling, lending an air of infinite space and faraway presences to the empty solitude of the icy earth around them.

When Katara caught sight of the moon, so nearly full, she could feel her blood responding to the tidal pull. As a Waterbender, she wasn't at all immune to its energy.

"Seeking council from Yue?" she murmured.

Aang chuckled. "In a way." His smile fell, and so did his eyes. He knew she was waiting for him to tell her what was wrong, though patiently so. "There are times I really don't like being the Avatar," he murmured.

His wife paused, and then nodded her understanding. "You're still wondering about what to do tomorrow."

His eyes met hers. "What would you do?"

Caught slightly off-guard, she averted her gaze. "You know exactly what I think of men like him. I feel the same way as most of those people." She raised her hand in a fluid, pulling motion, bringing some of the snow into the air with it. "If it had been me…my family that was being threatened…"

Her voice took on a quiet, venomous quality. In demonstration of her opinion, the snow near her fingers froze into solid ice and could be heard crackling as her hand flexed. The sounds caused her to stop and breathe, and the ice melted into water as she relaxed…the droplets would soon become icicles in the cold air when they landed.

"…Like I said, you know what I'd do," she whispered. "But…I know that it doesn't help you any. You're better than that."

His arm went around her shoulders, pulling her into an ardent embrace. "I hope you aren't implying that I'm better than you."

She didn't have an answer; she could only squeeze him back and cup his cheek in her hand. "I just don't want this to worry you all night, Aang. You know you won't be alone. I'll be going too. And I'll stand by whatever decision you make."

"I don't even want to make such a decision," he sighed. "Even with all the power I have, I still don't feel that I have the right to play the divine judge, or…executioner…to any person's life."

In exasperation, he let his closed fist fall hard onto the aged stone, his voice rising to a growl. "Seems the only option I'd take is to remove his Firebending, but that's a little dangerous."

"You can do it," she assured, still holding him in comfort. "You've had to do it with Ozai. Surely this monster's energy can't be worse."

"…Maybe," Aang finally assented. "And if it works, it'll be a better fate than death or torture."

Katara nodded. "I think so."

With that, the words between them fell again into quiet. Their eyes returned together to the night sky, neither of the benders mindful of the freezing air. The moon and the stars seemed to observe them both right back, saying nothing of this exchange.

"It's too beautiful a night to worry about anything, anyway," he heard his wife murmur.

And he had to agree. Despite his turbulent thoughts, the entire environment seemed to be doing its best to soothe him. But he also attributed that best to Katara, whose presence never failed to do that. It would be something that he'd always thank fate for having…and to her, be forever grateful.

He turned his head to look at her as she watched the sky. He couldn't keep his eyes off of hers right then…the moon was reflected in her deep blue irises, the stars mirrored in the blacks of her pupils.

She noticed him staring after a moment, and turned to look back. His stormy eyes, half-lidded, had such depth to them. They bore his very soul; warm, gentle, loving, with such wisdom and power hidden deeper still. She felt entranced, and couldn't even bring herself to ask why he stared so, with that inviting smile on his face.

They drew closer to one another, slowly, her arms snaking around him and palms resting up on his back. One of his own arms drew her ever closer, ever tighter, while the fingers of his free hand combed admiringly through her hair and trickled over her cheek and chin. Their noses touched, their breath on each other's faces a warm, stark contrast to the cold. When her lips brushed his, he responded with a slow, tender kiss.

Having shared too many kisses with Aang to count, Katara knew the mood of all of them. This one, and each one after going at the same lingering pace, was much like many they'd shared in the years of their youth before they were married. As his lips moved over hers, caressing with no frantic intent, he was professing his respect…his adoration…his love, all to her, reminding her of his profound appreciation for her. Only when she returned it all with a passionate push, a quiet moan of "Aang…" released from her throat, did he deepen and lengthen those kisses with a sensual and wanting intent…actions that made her blood rush, her fingers scrunch on the back of his robe, and him to press a little deeper with a groan that tickled her tongue.

When he pulled away slowly, the separation causing them both to take in a quick breath, they kept up that silent half-lidded stare. Katara smiled, feeling that her face was suddenly too warm even then. "And what was that for?" she asked with a purr to the edge of her voice.

"Just because," he answered, in the deeper tone that was reserved only for her.

She couldn't help but laugh and shake her head, simply leaning into his arms. For the millionth time she wondered how he did that…how he left her so light-headed and free of restraint with every passionate moment. And with him, as his cheek nestled affectionately into her hair, he embraced the familiarity of being grounded with her care and love as his anchors and his armor.

He released a long breath and met her eyes again with a smile. "Let's go back inside and warm up, shall we?"

She chuckled, her fingers affectionately trickling down his face. "Can't take the cold much longer?"

"I can," he matter-of-factly shrugged with a smirk. "But I dunno about you."

"Psh," she scoffed, "Normally I'd show you what-for and stay out here all night."


"But frankly, I've had enough of arguing for one day. Aaand…you're being too irresistible to not follow inside," the Waterbender smiled enticingly.

With a soft laugh of his own, he took her hand, leading her back to the residential hall. "C'mon."

Although neither of them felt like going back to sleep just yet, they also found themselves a little too lethargic to want to trudge back up the spiraling staircase to their tower bedroom. So instead, they'd made a little nest of cushions and blankets in one of the living commons in front of the fireplace to relax and rid themselves of the chill.

As Aang used a blast of fire from his hand to light the hearth, filling the dark room with a warm, flickering orange glow, Katara set the last blanket down and stood facing the adjoining dining room. "I'll go get us some tea," she started. "Which kind do—HA-CHOO!"

At the sudden sneeze, the nomad blinked and looked up from his position on the floor. "Are you alright?"

"It's just a sneeze," Katara waved off. "I'm fine, lemme g…H'CHOO!" again, she forcefully exhaled, accompanied by a quick sniff.

The Airbender was on his feet in an instant, taking her gently by the shoulders. "Oh, no you don't," he chided, leading her back to the pillows. "You stay here and get into a blanket, and I'll get the tea. If you're getting a cold, best to catch it at the roots."

Katara snorted. "I hardly think I'm getting a cold; we haven't been out there even an hour."

"I'd rather not take that chance if it's all the same to you," he argued softly, giving her his warm smile as he wrapped the blanket around her shoulders. "Just stay. I'll be right back."

Unable to argue, Katara did as told and watched him speed off to the dining room. She smiled ironically to herself. As his wife, she was still treated as his equal in all things; but sometimes it was also nice to hold him higher. The only man that she'd let her guard—and stubborn self-sufficient walls around her heart—down for.

So long as it's Aang that can protect and care for me, she sighed, I can just let go.

Her husband returned not a few moments later with two hot cups of tea. "Hope you like it," he smiled and sat beside her as he handed one of the cups over.

"I always do," she chuckled, accepting the drink with a grateful hum as she sipped. "Mmm…Lychee."

The Airbender took a sip from his own cup. "Glad to know; I'm no Iroh, but, I still try."

"Oh, don't worry," she laughed. "I doubt anyone could be Iroh when it comes to tea."

"Got that right."

For those moments, they sat against each other in front of the hearth. Their fatigued eyes stared off into the space of the fire, nearly hypnotized by the flickering of the flames and the warmth it emanated for them. Combined with the tea, they felt the chill from outside slipping out of their bodies; and Katara was certain she wasn't catching a cold after all, but she nestled closer against Aang all the same. When their cups were empty, she draped the other side of the blanket around him, and in return he wrapped an arm about her shoulders.

She hummed with comfort, her head resting on his, her soft breaths trickling on the crook of his neck. His fingers slowly intertwined with hers, and every long inhalation from him brought the lulling scent of her hair to his nose. In the wake of Aang's often-busy days as the Avatar, and her own tedious duties as a Water Tribe ambassador and Master, simple times like these were appreciated; where they could just hold one another and bathe in the comforting essences around them.

"Know what I wish?" Aang whispered. At Katara's questioning stir, he sighed. "I wish that I never have to make a decision again like I have to make tomorrow. I would like to help the world go on the right path to solve their own problems, so I could have time to really make some good changes. And to just live more like a normal guy."

She snickered, a tickling of breath against his skin. "Yeah; your normal last Air Nomad living in a normal huge temple with his normal Waterbending wife…"

"Oh, you know what I mean," he snorted with a wry smile. "But yeah, exactly. Be a normal family man too, with kids running around the huge temple."

At that, Katara snuggled closer with a blush on her features. It always warmed her heart that even though he was so patient with his harrowing life, he still showed that he wanted children just as much as she did.

"Well," she breathed, her lips against the skin of his neck, "All good things come in time. You're the one who taught me that. You just wait…it will all turn out for the better. I know it."

His next breath was a shaky one, through the shudders her kisses on his throat caused. "Ever the optimist," he smiled, caressing her hand. "But I trust you."

"Good," she said, pulling away a little to look into his eyes. "Now…will you stop worrying?"

"Aw…I guess I can, until morning," he chuckled back. "After all, you're right…it's too beautiful a night." His hand reached up to her cheek and caressed to under her chin. His voice grew low again; entrancing, soft, holding her captive as much as she was doing to him. "Katara…I love you."

Her breath stilled. "I love you too. So much, Aang…"

His kiss silenced her.

It was as if they were finishing what they'd started outside. The instant their lips met, all of the breath had left their bodies and all other thoughts were banished. She could feel their hearts racing in tandem; her own blood rushing to appropriate spots on the body, and no doubt his was doing the same. His kiss was thorough and slow, taking in all of her, and she responded with like enthusiasm. She hummed into his mouth, and his grasp became tighter on her.

Eventually, Katara felt herself lowered onto the pillows. She gasped when Aang pulled his lips from hers and placed affectionate kisses on her cheek, following a trail to her ear and falling to her throat. Playfully, he blew cool air on those damp spots, and she squirmed with a muted laugh.

He looked into her eyes again, hovering so closely above her, exchanging breaths and searching her mood through their shared gaze.

When she spoke, her voice was heavy. "Do you want to go up to the bedroom…?"

There was a pause as he seemed to think that over. The fire still flickered on beside them and gave the room a steady, comfortable hue as well as an atmosphere of silent crackling.

Briefly, he rose up on his knees and undid the knot in his sash, allowing his robe to fall open. "I think we're fine right here," he murmured with such a grin, it filled her stomach with butterflies.

If the Waterbender had even wanted to argue, she wouldn't have found time for it anyway. He had lowered himself back down, taking her in those kisses that always left them both light-headed and thinking of nothing else. As her exploring hands pushed the robe down his shoulders and off to the floor beside them, his had pulled her own warm sleeping robe open. His fingers sensuously caressed the sensitive skin of her stomach and sides, and the garment was drawn slowly off of her shoulders and arms to be left forgotten beneath her.

One by one, each remaining article of clothing slid off of their bodies; his skilled fingers undid the ties of her bindings easily, and her feet and legs helped to shimmy his pants down. They took their time, pressing upon and caressing every bit of skin revealed and admiring every part of one another, only for them alone. And it only served to be more stimulating on the cushioned floor of the living room in front of the fireplace instead of the familiar comfort of the bed, although the entirety of the temple was empty otherwise; so their actions went ecstatically undisturbed.

They broke their kisses long enough to catch each other's eyes again. The glow from the fire bathed their naked skin, giving a shimmering hue to his milky pale form along the edges of his tattoos, and her own rich olive complexion. Their breathing grew deeper, with waves of chills crashing through both with each touch. Her arms slid around his torso and pulled him flush against her, chest to chest.

His cheek pressed to hers, and he felt her shiver. "Are you okay?" he whispered.

"Yes," she breathed back, voice barely heard; it was weighed down with love and need for him. Her calf slid over the back of his leg and her movements led him between her knees. She inhaled sharply and ran her teeth over her lip when his heavily-stiff warmth touched up against her depths. "Aang…" she groaned.

He complied with a shaky breath of anticipation, pulling the blanket over them both. As his lips kissed and suckled ever so gently on her neck, one hand sliding under her head and the other pressing her own hand to the floor, fingers entwining, he lowered himself and pushed forth within her.

The fingers of their joined hands scrunched up, and quivered with their entire bodies. Their eyes shut tight, and their breathing came in and out harshly, in barely contained sighs of bliss. There were times that they didn't care how vocal they became in the throes of passion; but tonight, somehow, they felt like keeping it still and quiet, peaceful and beautiful, like the air around them and the utter silence outside.

Her chest heaved against his with every heavy breath as he held her still, mindful of his weight but still pressing close. Covered by him and cocooned by the blanket, feeling him going as deeply as he could, Katara's every sense was of him…nothing but him.

Aang didn't bother to rush himself. The movement of his body: push…and pull...and push again…forth and back…all of it was slow and delicate. Their bodies continuously rocked against the pillows as gently as if they were floating on the churning waves of the sea. Were it not for the fervently wonderful lashes of pleasure shooting through them both as a result of their very joining, they would have perhaps been peacefully lulled asleep together. Katara caught on easily that he'd wanted his lovemaking, the pleasure they were giving each other, to linger on long into the night.

As it did, their voices came out as slow, long sighs in each other's ears…sometimes she'd utter a breathy whimper, or he a soft, low moan…she'd murmur his name to coax him into moving faster, yet he'd still maintain all control and hum her name in return, to will her to relax, and kiss her tenderly…she returned each kiss, happily acquiescing. It couldn't end yet, not so soon…

It was a rhythmic pattern they kept, slow and steady against the pillows as his kisses ventured from her lips to her jaw and ear. His lips ghosted over her face, his nose rubbed against hers, and they opened their eyes to the other's half-lidded, love-drenched stare drawing them in further, deeper, higher, closer; in brief snatches of her occupied mind, Katara wondered if Aang had much more patience left in him not to rush to the end. Listening to his shallow breaths and primal groans, it seemed so.

The moment she'd thought that, he'd broken his gaze and continued to treat her with wandering kisses, only adding to the cascading shivers racing down her spine. At one point his hand detached from hers, and then trailed down her arm, over her shoulder, to tenderly cup her breast and run his thumb (moistened by his tongue) over the sensitive mark. He felt her shiver, a moan forced from her throat as her limbs coiled around him. She'd leaned up to lay little nips on his throat, intending to give as much attention to him. He exhaled forcefully at her quickened movements and reached out again to pin her wrist to the blanket.

"Relax, Katara…relax," he soothed, the words coming with cool streams of breath on her throat…and not once had he stopped his movements between her thighs. "This is…all for you."

There he goes again…giving me so much…to Katara, she probably would always be amazed at how much he exhausted himself for her sake…to show her in all ways how deeply his love went.

"But…Aang…" she exhaled; she didn't wish to leave him out, and it was all she could to show him that.

"Shh…" he tenderly cooed, kissing her fully on the lips. "I want this…to last. It's enough…for me to…hear you, and feel you." As if to drive his point home, he deepened the kiss and coaxed a passionate hum from her throat.

Her arms relaxed from around him to lie next to her head, and his fingers once again laced between hers. His other arm was wrapped under her back, keeping as much of her as close to him as possible. And this way, in her mind she just laid the last of her concerns to the side and slipped away…free and unrestrained in sheer bliss, with him to carry her. And Aang too was lost to her; the passion he bestowed came straight from his heart, and he wanted her to have every bit of him; for she deserved it every time she saved him from his fears and concerns as she had done earlier that night.

The time moved on as slowly as they did…it seemed like an eternity later that they finally felt the pleasure culminating, that glorious peak of feelings approaching…too slowly, ever too slowly.

Katara knew she wouldn't last. Her breaths grew faster…her voice grew louder…

And when she held him tight and pleadingly bucked her hips against him, Aang had lost all resolve as well. He clutched her and escalated his pace.

In no time at all, his spine had arched, his head rising up to groan her name to the high, shadowed ceiling. "K-Katara…"


When the surge of warmth was felt within her, the Waterbender clutched hard onto him and answered his provocative call in a heaving breath. Her body reached against his as close as she could possibly get, eyes squinted shut in a pure explosion of pleasurable fire within…as were his.

A combined shudder passed through the both of them as they held themselves firm until the fires died to a mere trickle in their blood. She sagged back against the pillows and took him with her, his slackened weight upon her coming with very little discomfort thanks to the support of the cushions.

For a long time, they laid there and simply breathed. The fire still crackled on beside them, and all was still…as if in the calm after a storm.

Through closed eyes, she felt him shifting to the side; but the way they embraced, not even exhaustion could pry them away from their other half. They lay on their sides, foreheads touching, peering into eyes that held within more passion than words could express.

Affectionately, her fingers followed the line of his arrow from the forehead to the neck. "I love you," she finally breathed, breaking the ethereal silence.

"I love you more," he answered with an entrancing smile as he gingerly moved a few stray strands of hair from her face and kissed the corner of her lip. "And…thank you, again, for distracting me," he chuckled wearily.

Katara chirped a short laugh. "And here I thought you were the one that led me here. Still," she murmured as the sincerity returned to her voice, "You never have to thank me. Like I've reminded you before, and like I'll be reminding you again, you never have to face any decision alone."

"And for that," Aang smiled as he kissed the inside of her palm, "I'll thank you forever anyway. Though, I still wouldn't mind sleeping in tomorrow and just missing this unfortunate mess."

Her eyes rolled sleepily and she let herself comfortably lay upon his chest. "You'll take care of this," she insisted, "And hopefully it will serve to make an example to the world that it must stay peaceful."

"And then…we can worry about our own future," he slurred tiredly and tucked them both into the blanket, intending for the two of them to fall asleep right then and there.

And so they did, letting the fire eventually die down in the hearth and the darkness of their dreams lead them on into better times. Their duties would still lurk in the back of their minds and keep them worrying for the life that they'd wished for.

But that night…and every other that allowed them to hold each other…took away from any sense of uncertainty and urgency. He was her hope, she his life.

And to each other, the future.