Fire Burns and Fire Warms
Rated: Teen for romance (Kataang)
Summary: Katara is curious about Firebending. Who better to satisfy her curiosity than the only Firebender she trusts? Firebending Raid!
LES: Since the Fanfiction Raid on Kataang Forever kinda went under, I've decided to separate each chapter into its own separate story. So, don't worry, all of those stories will eventually get back up again. Hopefully, it will be done by the end of the morning.
It was the day after Zuko and Sokka had left on their little 'fishing trip', and Katara finally began to suspect that it wasn't exactly a fishing trip. She and Sokka had gone on more fishing trips than she could count back home at the Southern Water Tribe, and those fishing trips had never taken more than a few hours… let alone a whole day!
In a way, Katara was grateful for the fact that Sokka and Zuko did not seem to be intent on coming back any time soon. For Zuko, the reason for this was obvious. Katara could probably throw Zuko further than she trusted him, and as far as she was concerned, the further away he was from Aang, the better. Katara wanted to give Zuko as few chances as possible to betray Aang, and she had nearly been driven insane with worry when Aang and Zuko left on their trip together.
For Sokka, she was glad that he wasn't around because it gave her time to contemplate the possibility of her getting a boyfriend.
Sokka liked to live in a world where he believed that his younger sister would never fall in love, date, marry, or have children. But Katara was like most Water Tribe girls her age. She wanted to meet someone who she could fall in love with, marry her soul mate, and fill their house with children. With Sokka around, she would never be able to look at Aang with interest. Not the sort of interest that came from her curiosity of him being an Airbender or the Avatar… but interest in him as a young man and possible future-boyfriend.
Katara sat up in her sleeping bag and glanced across the small courtyard towards where Aang was laying down. She could tell that he was awake by the way his eyes were tightly shut and his hands were clamped over his ears. She knew what he was trying to do: trying to avoid doing his Firebending drills by 'not hearing' the Badger-frogs croaking.
She could hardly blame him, though. The Badger-frogs had kept him at those Firebending drills from dawn until dusk the day before, and he was clearly exhausted.
Still, she could not resist teasing him. She stood up and moved over to the prone Avatar, who hadn't noticed her approach thanks to his own abandonment of his senses. She knelt down next to him and, feeling particularly brave at the moment, placed her hand on his bare chest.
Aang jolted, sitting upright swiftly. "Who is…?" He began, before he saw exactly who had touched him. Katara did not miss the blush that darkened his face. "Oh, Katara…"
"That's cheating, you know." Katara said.
It took Aang a moment to realize what she was talking about, but then he sighed and lay back down. "I don't know what you're talking about." He lied. "If I don't hear the Badger-frogs croaking, then I don't have to do the drills. Zuko's note said so."
"I doubt that Zuko meant that you could get out of your training as easily as covering your ears." Katara said, pushing the game just a little further.
Aang clearly thought that Katara was going to rat him out, so he sat up and looked at her with pleading eyes. "Please, Katara… I did these drills non-stop yesterday! I'm sore all over! Can't I please have a break?"
"Aang, calm down." Katara said. "Of course you can have a break. I was just joking."
"Oh." Aang said, then he gave a happy sigh and lay down, resting peacefully, though Katara could tell that he was awake.
"You know that I would never rat you out to Zuko… or anyone. As long as you promise to do some drills this afternoon."
"I promise." Aang said.
Katara knew that she should probably get up and leave him in peace, but she didn't really feel the need to. She still found it a little hard to admit to herself, but she liked watching him during these peaceful moments. It seemed like Aang hadn't had a peaceful moment since the Day of Black Sun. No one wanted to say it, but Katara knew that Sozin's Comet hung over the small group like a cloud of misery… Aang especially. Katara knew as well as Aang that his only chance of taking down the Firelord without also taking his life would be to make the Firelord completely powerless. Aang had missed his chance and now there was only one option left… to kill the Firelord.
But, during a moment like this, Katara could almost believe that Aang wasn't being torn from the inside out, the very fabric of his being at war with his duty to the world. At moments like this, Katara could almost believe that Aang was your average 13 year old boy. Almost.
Suddenly, Aang spoke up. "Katara?"
"You know you don't have to sit there like that." Aang said, opening his gray eyes and staring up at her. "It can't be very interesting to watch me rest."
"I don't mind." Katara said. "I kind of miss the times when we could just sit like this and do nothing."
"Yeah, I know what you mean." Aang said thoughtfully. The young boy did not say anything for several moments before he spoke up again. "You know… I doubt things are going to calm down even if everything goes according to plan and the Firelord is… defeated."
"I know." Katara said. "You can't end the suffering of a century-long war in a single day."
"I'll probably be busy for years after… you know… helping the world rebuild itself." Aang said. "I can only pray that I have the wisdom and strength to lead the world as it recovers."
"Don't worry, Aang. If anyone can lead the world back to peace, I know that it's you." Katara said, feeling a little bit braver, she leaned forward and caressed Aang's face: down his forehead, cheek, and chin.
Aang sighed loudly as her fingers ran over his skin, and he unconsciously pressed his face into her contact, eager for more. However, a few seconds later, Aang realized what he was doing and instantly rolled away from her, his back facing her and a blush coloring his face.
Katara sighed in disappointment. As much as it made her nervous to explore the boundaries of her relationship with Aang, she wanted him to show her the same affection and passion that he showed for her on the Day of Black Sun.
Katara didn't speak as she thought over her predicament. And then a thought occurred to her. When Aang had kissed her on the Day of Black Sun, it was because he had been pushed out of his comfort zone. Before that day, he seemed more than willing to maintain the status quo of their relationship, but the thought of his or her possible death and driven him to kiss her. After that, he had slipped back into his old comfort zone. What she needed to do was getting him back out of his comfort zone again.
Of course, it had to be short of a life-or-death situation. And then it occurred to her. She placed a hand on Aang's shoulder and leaned slightly over his body.
"Aang, I'm kind of curious." She whispered in his ear.
Aang shivered as her hot breath tickled his sensitive skin. "About what?"
At long last, Aang sat up and stared at her. "Firebending? Why?" He asked. "I thought you hated Firebending."
"I never said I hated Firebending. I hate Firebenders who use their powers for evil gain." Katara said. "But Firebending itself interests me."
"Okay." Aang said. "What do you want to know? Though I have to warn you, I'm no expert at Firebending. Zuko would…"
"I don't want to talk to Zuko. I want to talk to you." Katara said, cutting him off. "So… what is it about Firebending that makes Firebenders so straight forward and blunt?"
"Well… I suppose it's because Firebending comes from a Martial Art that is very heavy on offense, with very little focused on defense. You're average Firebender will simply attack to overwhelm their opponents before they can counter-attack."
"I suppose they say a good defense is a quick offense."
"It's… a little difficult for me… though not as difficult as Earthbending was." Aang said. "Airbending is a style focused on defense; Water and Earthbending equally use both; but it's hard for me to find the aggression to attack with the ferocity of a Firebender."
"I'm glad." Katara said.
"I don't want you to turn into a Firebender." Katara said. "I don't want you to become ruthless like a Firebender and lose yourself. I like you just the way you are."
"Something's got to give somewhere." Aang said. "I have to master Firebending. It's my duty to…" Aang trailed off.
"To do what?" Katara asked.
"To become better than I am." Aang said.
Katara took his hands in hers, running her fingers along his palm. Aang shivered at the contact. "I still see you holding back, you know."
Aang didn't need to ask for clarification He understood what Katara meant. He looked away from her in shame. "I still have nightmares about burning you. I don't want to hurt you. I don't want to lose myself to the fire and become a monster."
"You won't." Katara said firmly. "I know I've said this before, but I have complete faith in you."
"That's the point of your training. You will learn how to control the fire rather than let it control you. Then you'll never burn anyone you care about again." Aang slowly met her eyes. "You'll be the good in every element. You won't be the harsh wind that knocks down trees and homes, and strips the land of its soil. You'll be a gentle summer breeze. You won't be a tsunami that kills hundreds in an instant. You'll be gently lapping waves on the beach. You won't be an earthquake that swallows cities whole. You'll be the majestic mountains and the mysterious caverns of the earth. You won't be a wild fire that destroys everything in its path. You'll be a gentle flame that warms and comforts all around." Katara held onto his hands, feeling how they warmed up. Aang had been giving off lots more body heat since he began training in Firebending in earnest. "I'm not afraid of your fire, Aang."
Aang stared at Katara in shock. He was raised a monk and, therefore, spent a great deal of his life studying scholarly texts. He caught the double-meaning of Katara's words. Fire was often used as a metaphor for passion, love, and lust in the old texts. Katara meant that she was not afraid of the literal fire that he could create at will now, nor was she afraid of the passionate feelings that he had for her. One look into her cool blue eyes was all he needed to confirm it.
Aang turned slightly to face her, licking his dry lips nervously. "Katara…" He whispered, unable to hold himself back anymore. He leaned forward and molded his lips with Katara's.
His heart began beating forcefully as she began to kiss him back, returning all the passionate he had given her. They found their position to be slightly awkward, so Aang twisted his body until he was facing her completely and pulled her into a strong embrace, only breaking the contact at their lips for a moment as they moved.
Katara closed her eyes and coaxed him into kissing her deeper, opening her mouth against his and inviting his tongue in to explore with a gentle caress. It worked, and he plunged his tongue into her mouth, tasting her fully.
Both had feelings like there were butterflies going mad in their stomachs, but at the same time, it was a good feeling. Katara moaned loudly as their tongues met in a passionate dance.
Katara felt his hands around her waist, and they seemed to be staying there in that safely neutral zone. Katara, however, was a bit braver. She ran her hands along his chest and stomach, tracing his developing muscles, and drawing groans from his throat with every caress.
They began to run out of breath and parted most reluctantly.
Neither Aang or Katara could seem to find the will to open their eyes all the way.
"Katara…" Aang whispered, his voice heavy with emotion.
"Aang, I…" Katara began.
"Oh for the love of the Spirits!" A loud voice interrupted, causing both Aang and Katara to nearly jump out of their skins. They both looked around and saw Toph standing in the doorway. "Look," she began, unable to see the blushes that crawled up their faces. "I know that this little 'confession' has been a long time coming, but can't your little face-eating session come after breakfast? I'm starving!" Without waiting for her friends to reply, she stalked out of the room, muttering: "It's about time!"
Aang and Katara glanced at each other, blushing. "Um…" Aang began.
He was interrupted when Katara leaned forward and gave him a chaste kiss on the lips. "We can continue later." She said, standing up. "What some breakfast?"
Aang smiled and stood up with her. "Of course."