Miss-smarty-pants- bossy-boots-know-it-all and his royal dorkiness find the Oracle
Katara wasn't perving, She was observing. And they were two very different things- no matter what Toph had to say about it. Okay, so she had taken to watching Zuko and Aang train with great fascination. She'd watched Aang learn earthbending too and that didn't have anything to do with seeing Toph all sweaty. Not that she watched Zuko train Aang to see him all sweaty. And shirtless. And muscular. Not at all. That wasn't the reason. It was observing! Not perving. And she had a…a medical interest in the whole proceedings. Zuko had been severely injured and she was observing him to make sure he had healed properly and for Toph to suggest otherwise was just..just..SO WRONG.
Where did Toph get these ideas from anyway. She said she could sense these things. What did that mean? Katara could sense that Toph wasobviously spending too much time in the sun and getting sunstroke and hallucinating. It didn't mean what Toph thought it meant that Katara had insisted on more healing sessions, even though Zuko's lightening scar had healed as best it could. Or that she perv-Observed him firebending with Aang, or that they always sat together at dinner. Katara liked talking to him, but that didn't mean anything.
It didn't mean anything that the first time she was able to make him smile it gave her a feeling like really really good indigestion. Could indigestion be good? Whatever, that's what this feeling was like. His blink-and-you'll-miss-it smile had for a brief moment completely transformed his face. It was still his face, obviously, but it looked…sweeter and nicer. He looked handsome. Not that Katara would spend her time thinking about how handsome he was. Pfft. As if. Katara had better things to do.
The war had ended a couple of months ago and an era of reconstruction and rebuilding was in full swing. All the Gaang had stayed in the firenation with Zuko. The firenation was like the naughty kid at school, you couldn't turn your back on it! You had to watch them, but with the right guidance and discipline, they could come good. Aang wanted to stay and help Zuko and heal the world and all that other stuff that Aang liked doing. And the Gaang as a general rule, followed where Aang led.
Even though he'd been able to beat Ozai, he still hadn't completely mastered firebending. Firebending teachers had literally fallen over themselves volunteering to teach him, but Aang had, loyally, wanted to keep Zuko as his Sifu. Zuko had seemed oddly touched that someone would stick with him out of something other than necessity. Every morning a little after sunrise, they practiced. Every morning a little after that, Katara found a reason to be in the courtyard. What? That doesn't mean anything.
Every second day, in the middle of the afternoon, Katara healed Zuko's lightening scar. It was healing slower than Aang's because Katara hadn't had the aid of spirit water in the initial healing. She really was doing her best, but it was going to be an ugly scar. She hadn't seen any noticeable improvement for the last two sessions but she still kept insisting on it. Zuko insisted that it didn't pain him, but he was always so stoic about things so Katara didn't put much stock in what he said pained him. She could still feel a tight bundle of negative energy around the scar, over his heart. She wanted to ease it a little. She never imagined anyone would take a bolt of lightening for her. She didn't like to think on it too much, on what could've happened if Zuko hadn't been able to deflect some of the lightening. No, she couldn't think about that. It was too overwhelming. Instead she'd do everything she could to heal Zuko. It didn't hurt Katara's determination that every second day she got to run her hands all over Zuko's chest. For healing purposes of course.
Toph thought all this meant something. But really it just meant that she was being a good friend to the new Firelord. That all there was between them. They were just friendly friends who were friendly a lot. She was getting to know him so much better and she liked what she saw underneath the brash, brave exterior he presented to the world. She was getting to know the shy, dorky dude that Zuko could be when he thought no one was watching and it was just the two of them. They talked a lot, when it was just the two of them…And his abs (she may have named them in her head). She noticed him now, in a friendly way of course.
She noticed when he snuck ever-so-sneakily out in the middle of the night. Katara had learned all she knew about being a sneaky ninja from Zuko. She knew all his tricks. She knew he was up to something. Katara had never been one to stand idly by. She was actually physically unable not to be a nosy-parker and but her nose in. nosily. It was her thing. It was what she did. She got dressed quickly and silently and followed Zuko out into the night.