Disclaimer: I don't own ATLA, so please no lawsuits, Bryke...unless you have a burning desire to have my prized collection of literature anthologies because that's all I have.
A/N: So...I revised this. Why? Because I'm anal. I dunno. I guess I wanted Aang and Katara to talk more. Sue me. ;)
Katara awoke with a start, mildly disoriented for several different reasons. She was in a strange room. She was in a strange bed. And, most alarmingly of all, her four month old daughter wasn't crying. That last realization had her leaping from beneath the covers in a blind panic and scrambling across the sprawling bedroom to the small bassinette that cradled her child. Her breath leaked from her lungs in an audible and relieved wheeze when she noted the telltale rise and fall of Kya's tiny chest. The baby was just as Katara had left her earlier, on her back, her hands curled into tiny, adorable fists and her birdlike mouth agape as she released ever so soft snores that signaled a blissful sleep.
She looked very much like her father right then.
Smiling fondly, Katara reached down to lightly sift her fingers through Kya's downy tufts of hair, careful not to wake the infant with her touch. It was the first time the baby had slept through the night since being born. Perhaps they were finally turning a corner. As Katara's gaze drifted across the murky darkness towards the bed where Aang lay on his belly sprawled beneath the sheets and snoring lightly as well, she certainly hoped so. Four months of non-stop exhaustion was more than enough.
Not surprisingly, Aang and Katara were the typical parents of a newborn…cranky, chronically exhausted, sleep deprived and sex deprived. While the first two issues were an inconvenience they could work around, the third was beginning to make them mentally loopy and the fourth was simply unacceptable. After all, the couple was still in the newlywed stage and both were barely into their twenties as well. Sex for them still remained very much like a brand new toy. Neither of them had tired of playing with it yet, not even after several years of intimacy.
In the beginning of their sexual relationship, novelty mixed with their natural desire to be close to one another had led to a good portion of their time being devoted to carnal pursuits. They had taken any and every opportunity presented to them to eagerly explore one another's bodies. Those early times between them had been somewhat shy and awkward and clumsy as they were still in the initial stages of acquainting themselves with one another intimately, but they had also been filled with curious passion. It didn't take very long for the nervous fumbling to cease as Aang and Katara grew more comfortable with their sexuality.
No one had been particularly surprised when they conceived Kya only a few, short months after their wedding. Given their inability to keep their hands off of each other, it had been expected. Yet, despite the fact that they had become sexually active in the year before they formally made vows to one another and their ardor for one another had only escalated following their wedding, most especially during Katara's pregnancy – when it seemed like she couldn't get enough of it – a pervasive dry spell had settled upon them following Kya's birth. Being a new parent, the young couple quickly discovered, was exhausting work. Sex was inevitably traded for sleep which, with a newborn baby who fed every two hours, had become a precious commodity.
Their situation was further complicated by Aang's duties as the Avatar. With the Harmony Restoration project a dismal failure and the eventual start of the United Republic of Nations, Aang and Katara had been quite busy traveling to the different former Fire Nation colonies in an effort to establish a new order. Sometimes the transition was smooth and other times they found themselves knee deep in political quagmire. But no matter what political atmosphere they found, most of those trips had been spent traveling throughout the night with a fussy baby, an even fussier lemur and an exhausted sky bison.
This was the first time in several weeks that they'd had a break. Rather than being forced to camp out in the open as they usually did on such trips, however, King Kuei of Ba Sing Se had graciously put them up in one of his palace guestrooms for the evening. The room was open and spacious with polished floors and ornate furniture which was adorned in deep shades of shimmering green and gold. There was a fireplace, a ridiculously large bed and plenty of flickering candlelight. It was the perfect romantic environment and yet Aang and Katara were much too exhausted to care.
As soon as Aang's head had hit the pillow, he was asleep. He had stayed conscious long enough to strip down to his underwear, peck Katara's cheek and mumble a "goodnight" and that was all. Katara hadn't been bothered by his actions, however, because she had been equally tired. After nursing Kya and tucking her into the small bassinette that had been provided for them, Katara had crawled into bed beside Aang, scooted into the crook of his body and fallen asleep as well. She might have remained in slumber too had her mother's instincts not kicked her awake in time for Kya's usual feeding.
Yet, it seemed that the baby hadn't needed her after all. But that mattered little in hindsight. Katara was now fully awake and her mind was suddenly wandering to places it hadn't visited in weeks. She stared at Aang's silhouette in the murky dimness, her breath quickening slightly.
Quite a bit of time had passed since the last time they had been intimate. Aang had been tired. She had been tired. Frankly, between her duties, supporting Aang and the new baby, sex hadn't been on Katara's mind too frequently.
In addition to that, she was still growing accustomed to the slight changes that childbirth had brought to her body, still trying to find the balance between her identity as a mother and her identity as a sexual creature. On some occasions she had even wondered if one automatically nullified the other. Now, however, Katara knew that wasn't the case at all. That part of her was still very much alive and, as she stood there contemplating Aang's sleeping form, she could feel that carnal need within her reasserting itself.
After leaning over to brush a light kiss over Kya's forehead, Katara drifted back across the room towards the bed with her heart set on seduction. A small smile ghosting her lips, she eased to sit down alongside her sleeping husband. Katara took a few moments to study him in the iridescent candlelight, a pastime she hadn't enjoyed in quite a few months because life had been much too busy.
He slept soundly, like a newborn baby himself. One lanky arm hung partly off the edge of the bed while the rest of his body was draped haphazardly across the mattress and twisted in the sheets. He didn't usually sleep so wildly and it was a little endearing to observe him in such an unguarded moment. His impossibly curly lashes fluttered spasmodically as he dreamed. Except for the shadowy stubble that darkened his jaw line, he almost resembled a little boy.
Katara smirked to herself, trailing her knuckles lightly over the bristly edges of his chin. Aang had recently decided that he wanted to have a bit of facial hair. He seemed to believe that having a beard would make him look older than his twenty years and more distinguished as the Avatar. He balked at the idea that he was supposedly the most powerful human being in the world, a husband and a father and yet, when he looked in the mirror, he still saw the face of a teenage boy. Katara hadn't yet made up her mind how to feel about the beard because a stubbled Aang was definitely different. Sexy, she decided after staring at his sleeping profile for a thoughtful few seconds, but still different.
Her gaze inevitably traveled lower as she admired the lean, rippled muscles that defined Aang's arms and back. He lay with the sheets slung low across his hips so that all of his naked back and just the slightest flare of his buttocks were exposed to Katara's view. She followed the broken line of his pale, blue tattoo with avid eyes. She had seen him shirtless countless times since they had first met eight years prior and yet Katara continued to be captivated by his body.
Aang was lean and long, the lines of his body sleek and precisely defined. He was in excellent physical condition and his tattoos, which had peaked Katara's curiosity as a child, now heightened her sexual desire as an adult. She loved looking at him, but she loved touching him even more. Starting at the base of his neck, Katara lightly drew her fingers down the center of his back, following that streaming line until she reached the puckered edges of his scar.
The flesh had long since healed over, becoming taut and shiny with age. But, even now, Katara couldn't look at it, couldn't touch it without shuddering. Not because it was ugly, because it certainly was, but because the star-shaped wound was a constant reminder of how close she had come to losing him…and losing everything they could have been together. She didn't like to think about that time.
Tears prickling her eyes with the memory, Katara leaned down to blow a breathy kiss across the marred skin, nuzzling him there as if to kiss away the long forgotten pain. Aang mumbled her name in his sleep, inciting Katara's contented smile. Sighing into his skin, she kissed her way higher and climbed into the bed to carefully straddle over his body. She nibbled a path up towards his shoulder, darting her tongue out against his skin as she did so. Although he continued to doze, Aang's breath began to quicken with her touch. He moaned softly, his body beginning to roll sensuously beneath her with awakening arousal.
Encouraged, Katara nuzzled sweetly at the rim of his ear, tracing her tongue along the delicate skin even as she slid her hands between his body and the mattress to caress her way down to his pulsing arousal. She grazed the tip and his breathing became harsh and labored in response. Aang pumped his hips lightly against her questing fingers. He uttered her name again in a low groan, still half asleep when he shifted from beneath Katara and around slightly so that they were lying face to face. Katara nipped soft kisses across the ridge of his cheek before dragging her lips across his closed eyelids to feather her kisses there.
She peppered his cheeks and nose with the same soft kisses and then finally descended lower to explore his mouth. Katara traced her tongue along the seam of his lips, coaxing them to part until Aang finally began to respond to her ministrations. He did so very slowly at first as he shook off the clinging tendrils of sleep and then with deliberate hunger as he became more aware.
With a broken moan of unfurling desire, Aang pulled Katara into his arms and twisted his hand in her hair, angling her back into the pillows so that he could deepen his kiss and caress the soft curves of her body. Katara groaned into his mouth, her hands racing over his skin in fevered urgency as they fit themselves more closely together, their limbs tangling. They rocked against each other in a frenetic need to get even closer. The sparse barrier of clothing between them became too much.
Aang grasped the flimsy strap of her cotton nightgown, dragging it over her shoulder to expose her bare breast to his plundering mouth. He nipped across her skin, sliding his hands up and down the length of her body. But just as he started to close his mouth over her turgid nipple a thought suddenly occurred to him. He jerked his head up with a startled frown.
"Where's Kya?" he gasped in sudden panic, "Katara, something's wrong with the baby! She's not crying!"
"I know," Katara murmured with a smile, holding him fast when he would have scooted from the bed, "It's okay. I've already checked on her. She's fine, Aang. She's sleeping."
He gaped at her blankly as if that statement was the most ludicrous thing he'd ever heard. "Sleeping? Since when does she sleep?"
Katara stroked her hand down the center of his chest, her smile turning provocative. "Since tonight, I guess." She pressed an open-mouthed kiss to the base of his throat, darting her tongue against the fluttering pulse that beat there. Aang shivered. "This isn't a bad thing, you know," she murmured against his skin, "Our daughter is sleeping. But you and I are definitely awake." She nipped provocatively at his lower lip. "So what do you think we should do about that?"
In answer to that breathless question, Aang relaxed against her and dipped his head to kiss her again, tangling his tongue with hers. As the last remnants of his inhibitions died away, he shifted himself fully between her legs with a low, gratified sigh and lowered his mouth to her exposed breast. He stroked her nipple lightly with the tip of his tongue, coaxing it into sensitized rigidity. Though he was eager to taste her, Aang was careful not to suck too forcefully, well aware of the reaction he could produce given the fact that she was still nursing their daughter.
Consequently, he left off in his avid exploration of her skin sooner than he wanted and began smoothing his hand up her thigh to drag her nightgown up higher over her hip so that he could press closer. He bunched the diaphanous material around her waist. Katara was thankfully naked underneath. Aang eagerly tunneled his slender fingers through the coarse curls at the apex of her thighs, dipping between them to find the moist, warm center of her.
The instant his fingers penetrated her both Aang and Katara sucked in a sharp breath of mutual sensation. He slid in one finger, then two, stroking within her with practiced ease. She gasped his name.
Aang dropped his forehead against her breast and groaned. "Katara, you're so wet…" He pushed higher, harder into her creamy heat, his craving for her heightened by her responsive moans. Aang closed his eyes, groaning anew as he rolled his hips against her. "Oh Katara…Katara…yes… …You feel so good…"
His name escaped her lips in a fitful whimper. Katara ground wantonly against his hand and his erection which throbbed against her hip. Her fingers bit into his shoulders as she arched beneath him again and again. Their breathing became harsh and shallow, their kisses fervid and wet.
"Aang…Aang, please…" she gasped, "I want you now…I need…"
He didn't need her to finish the broken plea. Within seconds, Aang was replacing his nimble fingers with the straining tip of his arousal. He pushed inside her with one, complete thrust, releasing a serrated groan of pleasure over being sheathed within her so fully. Katara's slick inner muscles contracted around him tightly, drawing him even deeper. They both moaned with the sensation. But it wasn't enough. Aang hooked his hand underneath the backs of Katara's knees, bringing her legs higher against his hips, opening her body to his so that he could stroke inside her slowly and deeply.
Katara locked her legs around his waist at the ankles as their mouths met in another groaning kiss. Aang shifted his hands beneath her to cup her bottom and fit her more closely against him. The beat of his thrusts gradually began to increase as Aang became overwhelmed by the warmth and wetness of her.
She arched against him, her hips pounding steadily with his, hardly aware their escalating moans or the rhythmic banging of the bed frame against the wall. A fine sheen of perspiration moistened their skin. Their hearts thundered together in a staccato tempo as they raced furiously towards the goal. Aang stroked inside her hard, his thrusts gaining more speed as he felt his orgasm beginning to peak. He pushed her thighs wider, driven by the need to be as deep within her as possible.
"Come on," Aang panted against her skin, "Come on, Katara…hurry… I'm close…I'm so close… I don't want to…not without you okay…" Desperate to bring her to climax because he knew he wouldn't last for too much longer, Aang angled himself so that he hit the exact spot he knew gave her absolute pleasure.
"There…" she gasped as her body began to quicken, "Right there…right there, Aang! Don't stop!"
He surged against her, following her broken instructions with grunting eagerness, watching her face for the exact moment when her climax washed over her. Katara was convulsing around him seconds later and moaning so loudly that he had to press his fingers to her lips to muffle the sound. Aang stifled his own reverberating groan by biting down on his bottom lip, his body tensed with the pulsing explosions of his own orgasm. Afterwards, he collapsed against Katara heavily, thoroughly spent.
Only when those last electric ripples finally dissipated completely did Aang gather the strength to slip from Katara's body and flop to her side. They lay there together in panting silence for a few seconds, their limbs lolling, both a bit shocked by the intensity of their coupling and completely undone. Finally, Aang rolled a dumbfounded look towards Katara, grinning at her and dazed all at once.
"What got into you?"
"You got into me, Aang." She couldn't help but delight in his answering blush.
He nudged her with his shoulder. "You know what I mean," he retorted breathlessly, "Where did that come from?"
"I don't know," she replied with a shrug, "I saw you lying here sleeping and…I just wanted you." Katara regarded him with a timid, sideways glance. "It's been a while for us. I missed being with you."
"I missed being with you too." Aang reached over to brush a sweaty tendril of hair from her forehead. "I didn't want to bring it up or…or try anything because…well… You've been tired lately."
"So have you, Aang."
"Yeah, I know…" he sighed in acknowledgment, "It's not that I haven't been thinking about it. I have been thinking about it. But you just had a baby, Katara, and I didn't want to be selfish. Plus…sometimes I just didn't have the energy myself. I wasn't prepared for how hard it would be or how much would change for us. Before we had Kya, I figured that all babies did was sleep."
"Well, I knew better," Katara confessed wryly, "but I still didn't realize how exhausting it would be either. I didn't know that we'd have so little time for each other."
"Do you wish we had waited?" he whispered.
Katara nibbled her lip to think about that for a minute. "No, I don't," she said finally, "I'm glad Kya is here. I don't regret it." She surveyed Aang from beneath her lashes with an uncertain look. "Do you wish we'd waited?"
Aang leaned up to feather a soft kiss across her mouth. "I think that Kya came into our lives exactly when she was supposed to."
"Yeah," she breathed, "that's what I was thinking too. I guess I just wasn't fully ready for it not being just us anymore. I'd gotten used to having you all to myself, Aang."
He smiled at her, reaching out to sift his fingers through her hair. "It's been a crazy few months, huh?"
"The craziest," Katara agreed quietly, "And, given that fact, I probably should have let you rest tonight. I know how tired you've been lately, Aang. I didn't mean to jump you."
"Well, I'm definitely not complaining about it," he laughed, shifting onto his side to kiss her, "Feel free to jump me anytime you want…" However, before he could deepen his exploration of her mouth and attempt to make up for lost time, a familiar and fitful whimper split the night, belatedly reminding them that they weren't completely alone. The sound startled them both apart with laughing groans of mutual disappointment. The couple exchanged a wry look that was part frustration, part amusement.
"Well, we knew it couldn't last forever. Back to reality, I guess," Katara sighed sadly, pulling her nightgown back into place, "I'll get her. She's probably hungry."
Aang caught Katara's wrist before she could push herself from the bed. "Let me get her. You stay here. I'll bring Kya to you." After tucking himself away and readjusting his underwear, Aang hurriedly scooted from beneath the covers as Kya's mewling cries began to grow more consistent and strident. Despite his daughter's rapidly growing agitation, however, he paused on his way over to the bassinette and directed a crooked smile over his shoulder at his wife.
"Thanks for the wake-up call. I meant what I told you before. You should do it again sometime."
She stacked her hands behind her head, sweeping his body in an appreciative once-over before she drawled with a languorous grin, "I'll be sure to keep that in mind."