I. Water

Nothing is softer or more flexible than water, yet nothing can resist it.
Lao Tzu

There was water in his cup.

Zuko stared into the still surface of the clear liquid, part of his face reflecting the consternation he felt. He dipped his finger into the cup, creating ripples with the disturbance.

It amazed him how she could manipulate the element with such deadly force one minute, and then drive back death itself with its healing touch. If he were honest with himself, Zuko would admit he was jealous of the power she wielded, of the ability she had to both heal and destroy.

Zuko was rarely honest with himself.

"I did not ask for water," he stated imperiously to his fellow diners. The diners who were staring at him and his strange behavior.

"Perhaps," his uncle murmured next to him, "Someone felt you needed it."

II. Earth

The earth does not belong to us. We belong to the earth.

Chief Seattle

From Toph she had learned to relish the feel of the earth.

Here in the snow filled tundra of home Katara realized how much she missed the soil. Especially the dark scent after a morning shower and the squishy feeling of mud between her toes.

He had found her there one late morning.

The rain had passed on and she was enjoying the after effects. The turtle ducks in the pond were watching her with what possibly amounted to amusement. Katara could care less. Here, in her loneliness, she could revel in any of her guilty pleasures with no fear of censure or approval.

He had found her there.

And he'd had no opinion. Had said nothing about her muddy clothes, her dirty feet. He had simply joined her, commenting on the scent of the world after a morning rain.

He became a guilty pleasure.

And now when it rained in the mornings her heart squeezed painfully.

III. Fire

Fire is only as dangerous as you let it be.


He could create a flame with a single touch, with a single breath.

Katara stared into the light of the cooking fire. Gran-Gran stirred the soup and hummed an old love song. It brought to mind hot summer nights in a land formed from the ash of dragons breath...or so their stories told. His stories told.

He could light the flame inside her with a single look and make her burn until she felt she would explode.

She marveled at his control, over her, over his element, over himself. He had told her once that to wield his element was to understand restraint. A lesson he had learned through much trial and error.

And she wondered sometimes when he watched her manipulate water to heal if he detested his ability. He had complained once that he destroyed everything he touched.

She had wanted to explain to him the growth that came after the fierce blaze killed the diseased. She had never been able to find the words.

She had wanted to explain to him the warmth and comfort he could provide with a single gesture. She had never told him.

So she stared at the fire cooking their meal and willed the dancing flames to send her words to that which she burned for every night and every day.

IV. Air

If you surrendered to the air, you could ride it.
Toni Morrison

Zuko watched her ride the wind with an ease and comfort that spoke of hours spent there.

He appreciated having his feet firmly on the ground, but she delighted in the breezes that would fling her unbound hair in a multitude of directions. She claimed the world looked so much wider from those crazy heights, that it cleared her mind and renewed her spirit.

When Aang was there, for visits, he would fly her so high they became specks amongst the clouds. His heart would clench every time, wondering if one day they would simply not return.

And when they did return, he would hold her tightly and she would let him as if knowing what balm his soul needed. His independent, spitfire water bender who could see into the core of his being. He had no secrets from her, could never have secrets from her. She knew the jealousy that burned there whenever Aang arrived, but she appreciated more that he remained silent and allowed her this time with the young man who yet loved her.

"I will always return," Katara said. "There is nothing in the sky that can compare to that which you kindle inside me with a look, with a touch."

And she would kiss him. And because he alone could see into the core that was her being would know in that moment that he need never truly worry.