A/N: Written for the Avatar Secret Santa exchange over on tumblr. This is a gift for spellbending and has been up over on tumblr for about a month. Side note this is one of the times where I wish there was a T+ rating. Though reading through this there's nothing that wouldn't be on tv. Original title is "The Five Times Zuko was in Lust with Katara and the One Time he was in Love." But this is too long for .

Disclaimer: I don't own.

She smells better than he expected and her skin is almost as soft as a courtier's. She's the first girl he's touched since his banishment and he tries not to think about all the things he wants to do to her. Instead he ties her to a tree and questions her.

Later and in the safety of his cabin he replays his interaction with her over in his head. He imagines different endings. She acquiesces and begs him to touch her. He imagines her moaning his name. He'd take her with him (certainly Father would allow a spoil or two). He wraps his hand around himself and pictures her on red sheets.

As he changes his sheets in the morning he pushes her out of his thoughts and focuses back on his mission. She's a passing fancy, he assures himself.

She's frozen him to the ground but he doesn't care. He's warm where it counts as she rides him. He enjoys her smirk and the tantalizing sounds she's making.

She leans over and whispers in his ear "I've found a master for a few other things as well."

He jerks awake and feels the raft tip dangerously beneath him. Uncle's snores indicate that he hasn't felt the almost disaster.

He lies back down and hates that he's still hard. He tries to will his erection away and begins to succeed with the image of Uncle in his loincloth. Unbidden the image of Katara dressed the same pops into his head. He's certain her breasts are perfect handfuls and he curses under his breath.

He hates that he can't have her and hates that he wants her. He hates that she's not some girl working in the palace that his father told him on his thirteenth birthday he could have. He hates that Uncle told him never do to that a year later. He hates that he has no crew, no ship, and that he can't focus on those things because he's plagued by other images.

Carefully he sits up and splashes water on his face. He reminds himself that he needs to get off this Agni forsaken raft.

Uncle yawns and sits up. "Good morning Nephew. Shall we try our hand at fishing?"

He nods because he has nothing better to say.

He can still feel her touch even though days have passed. No one has touched his scar since it healed and she brazenly did.

Even Mai hesitates to touch it.

When he thinks about Katara's touch he thinks of where else she could touch him. He wants her more than ever.

Old fantasies take on new twists while he relaxes in his comfortable bed on the ship that's finally going to bring him home. He still captures his waterbender but now the story has moved to the present. She's beside him in bed and thankful for all the things he can give her. She coos that she wants him everyday. He complies.

In this world he still has Mai. She's his perfectly acceptable girlfriend who understands that he needs his waterbender. She'll stay by him and he'll be attentive to her. One day he might even marry her.

As he turns over relishing in his perfect world he idly wonders when she became his waterbender.

Living with her is the most excruciating torture he never knew existed. He's closer to his wish than he's ever been. However every cackle, glare, and insult cut as deeply as a sword. At the very least he wants her to not hate him.

He takes her for vengeance. Watching her be as cruel as a firebender makes his blood boil. He wants to grab her and press her against the wall and devour her. He fights the urge but admits she's all he's ever wanted and all he can't have.

When she finally forgives him and takes him in her arms he thinks the world stops. She smells just the same and feels just as soft but she's so much closer.

She releases him and he watches her go. He'll get her, somehow, he vows until he turns back to the Avatar. He recognizes that look on the boy's face. The boy wants her too and he has a much better chance.

He resigns himself to hoping for just one night with her. If he can have that then maybe he can forget about this consuming need to have her and be happy with the girl who's in prison for him.

This time she's really kissing him and she's really under him and everything is better than he ever imagined. They're tangled on the floor of one of the family dining rooms and he doesn't care.

She's really his, he reminds himself with a lazy roll of his hips. Even though they're fully clothed he can still feel her heat and it calls to him. They're finally together and he can't keep his hands off her.

"Zuko," she moans as he kisses a line from her jaw to the crock of her neck. Her hands weave their way into his hair while he cups one of her breast. He's discovered they are perfect for his hands.

He kisses back up her neck and nips her earlobe. She shudders and stutters out "I love you." He stills completely.

None of his imaginings included those words. He's not sure what to say because he's not sure how he feels. All he hears in his head is Uncle screaming that he never thinks things through.

He's aware enough to feel her shift under him and signal that the moment is over. He leans back and offers her his hand. They stand together and he nuzzles her neck saying "I care about you," which isn't enough but at least he hopes the words can tide her over.

He walks her back to her room, kisses her goodnight, and tries to fight the feeling that he's lost.

In the privacy of his own room he begins to sort out his feelings. He wants her, yes of course. He wants to keep kissing her and get lost in her. But love is such a strong emotion, one that he is not entirely familiar with.

They break up a month later.

It's years later and the last thing he expects to feel as he watches Katara and her daughter bend together. His heart constricts and his stomach twists warmly. She could have been ours, he thinks. In this moment he loves her more than he ever did before. Arms wrap around his waist and Mai kisses his neck. He married his first love and he's usually content. But today, today he ponders what could have been.

Reviews are awesome. Additionally I really want to write more Zutara for some reason.