Sage's Kataang Week 2012
Rated: Teen for romance (Kataang).
Summary: A progression of the love story between Aang and Katara for Kataang Week 2012. (July 22 - July 28, 2012)
Disclaimer: Avatar: The Last Airbender is owned by Michael Dante DiMartino, Bryan Konietzko, Nickelodeon, and Viacom.
Many of the Kataang moments near the start were fluffy and adorable. Panda Lilies, Necklaces, the Iceberg… Focus on early series Kataang, like S1.
Day 1: Beginnings
There seemed to be no other explanation. Aang was getting sick.
There are two different types of people in the world: people who seem to be sick a lot and some who rarely ever get sick. Aang had always found himself in the latter category. He'd been injured, of course. No one could master any form of Bending without getting injured a time or two. But actual illness was something that he'd almost never experienced.
But what other explanation could there be for the way he was feeling right now?
He was feverish. His skin felt like it was crawling. And his stomach would cramp with a feeling like there were butterflies fluttering around his insides. It was like the flu, but not quite.
The strangest thing about his illness was that it only seemed to happen at certain times, which made him certain that it wasn't the flu or a cold. He would be fine for the whole day, and then it would happen. Katara would glance at him across the camp, smile at him, or heaven forbid touch him and the symptoms of his mysterious illness would flare up until he just wanted curl up and hide until the illness passed.
Once, when he was a little boy, he had heard some of his friends at the Southern Air Temple talk about cooties: some mysterious property that girls had that made close contact with boys undesirable.
Aang had not known many girls in his life, and those that he did know had not seemed dangerous to him, so he had dismissed the notion of cooties. But now, with Katara's very presence affecting him this way, he had to admit that maybe those boys were right about the mysterious cooties.
Perhaps he was catching cooties, and that was what caused the strange symptoms to flare up. He tried to remember what his friends had said about cooties. The only way to avoid them is to stay away from girls.
He could stay away from Katara. Of course, he wouldn't abandon her since they were all traveling to the North Pole and she had never left the South Pole before, but he could put some distance between them. Perhaps he could get closer to Sokka, make more of an effort to become his friend. He was a boy and, therefore, didn't have any cooties.
As soon as he began to consider backing off from Katara, he grew sick at the very thought. It was not like the cootie symptoms, but like his heart had dropped into his stomach. And he knew, at that moment, that backing off from her couldn't be an option.
For some reason, it hurt worse to pull away than it did to be close. Cooties grew stronger over distances, he guessed. He made a mental note to start avoiding all other girls from then on. Even if he caught Katara's cooties, at least he could stop from being effected by any others.
But then another thought occurred to him. He had met other girls besides Katara on their journey so far, and none of them had provoked the same kind of reaction. Not even his group of fangirls on Kyoshi Island had him reacting like this, and they sometimes got a little too close for comfort.
Aang blinked with the realization that it was Katara, just Katara, that had him reacting this way. It was like she was the only girl with cooties in the whole world. But that couldn't be right. His friends had clearly said that all girls had cooties.
So maybe Katara didn't have cooties after all. She had something else. Something more mysterious and possibly more dangerous than cooties. But he had no idea what it could be. Was the problem with her, or was it with him? It was difficult to say.
He jumped when he felt a light hand fall on his shoulder. He twisted around from his seated position and his eyes met hers. She was awfully close to him. He froze as the symptoms began to consume his body… the heat, the tingling feeling on his skin, especially where she touched him, and the butterfly battle going on in his stomach.
"Hey, Aang, are you all right?" Katara asked. "You're being really quiet tonight."
Aang blinked, taking in his surroundings. They were in the middle of the woods, and it was nighttime. Nighttime? When had it become nighttime? Aang was in shock. The sun had been up the last time he was aware of it. Had he really spaced out for that long?
His face started burning as a hot blush spread across his face. He had no idea why, but perhaps it was the embarrassment of having been caught after letting his guard down for so long. "I'm fine, Katara. Just thinking."
"About what?" Katara asked good-naturedly.
Aang's eyes widened as he stared at her. Dare he confess that her very presence caused him to become sick with some mysterious illness that made him feverish and made his stomach do flips? A part of him wanted to confess and tell her everything; but another part, the louder part, wanted him to keep his silence. A part of him, an instinctual part or maybe even the Avatar part of him that had lived for a thousand lifetimes, urged him to silence.
He cast around for a lie, but he'd never really been good with lies. He settled upon a half-truth instead. "Something." Or maybe a quarter-truth.
Katara stared at him. Aang sat, frozen; worried that she would insist on a more detailed answer than the one he had given her… anything other than the ultimate in generic answers. After a few tense moments that felt like an eternity, Katara smiled and backed off. "Okay. As long as you're okay. But you do know that you can talk to me about anything, right?"
"Of course!" Aang answered, perhaps a bit too quickly. He blushed again, realizing how foolish he sounded. "Um… good night, Katara."
"Good night, Aang." Katara smiled, turned, and walked back into camp towards the tent she shared with her brother.
Aang watched her go, and smiled despite the fact that the illness still consumed him. It didn't feel so terrible anymore. It felt good. Addictive, even.
He realized that there was one more option that he hadn't considered yet. During his travels before being frozen in the iceberg, he had seen young couples together… a boy and girl who would pair up, hold hands, kiss, and generally stay with their partner for the rest of their lives. Love.
That could be the explanation for why only Katara seemed to give him these feelings. What if he liked her as more than a friend? What if she were his partner in love, his other half? What if…?
That and a million other what if's occurred to him before he pushed the thought aside. He couldn't love her. He couldn't! He had only known her for a few weeks. He had to admit that he enjoyed her company a great deal, that he admired her, that he enjoyed delving into and discovering the different facets of her personality, and that she was beautiful…
Aang's mind screeched to a halt. Beautiful. I just called her beautiful. It wasn't a lie. Aang could appreciate beauty and Katara was very beautiful.
But he couldn't love her, right? He was twelve years old. Twelve! Manhood was years and years away for him.
He liked her, Aang decided. It was a nice, safe thing to think. He liked her. No one could fault him for that.
A crush. That's what I have. A crush. Aang realized. It wasn't as mysterious or feared as cooties, but it felt much more dangerous because it was so much more real.
"It's natural to feel that way, right?" Aang asked out-loud to no one in particular, and then sighed. He was in crush, and he would just have to deal with that.
Across the camp, Katara laid down on her sleeping bag and tuned out the sound of her brother's snores as she did every night. Her thoughts turned towards the young Air Nomad and Avatar who slept outside and under the stars every night.
Just the thought of the young man was enough to send shivers through her body and a blush to creep, mostly hidden by her skin tone, across her face. Crushing on your best friend isn't that bad. She thought to herself before she turned over and fell asleep.
Day One, finished.