His hand slid under her dress, greedily squeezing her rounded bottom. Before either of them could really process the gravity of what might happen, she clambered atop his body and melded her lips to his.

Zuko could worry about the repercussions later. As his rough hands found purchase on her soft, molded ass, he acknowledged that he wouldn't want to be anywhere else. Their mouths met in a hurried frenzy, eager to taste and become intimately acquainted. And once they were, it was clear that there was no going back.

Katara felt and tasted like everything Zuko had imagined. Her supple lips were drinking him in, parting easily when he grazed his teeth against her bottom lip. He was surprised at her submission but was turned on even more. Her fingers had tangled into his long hair, tugging gently when he swiped his tongue over hers. Zuko swallowed her subsequent moan and rolled her hips to his with the grip on her rear.

Katara's lips were torn away from his to release a desperate moan. "Again, Zuko."

Zuko smirked up at her and ground their bodies together once more, spanking her left cheek firmly before continuing to grope her.

The groans that the pair emitted were absolutely sinful. Zuko's hardening arousal was constricted but very noticeable against Katara's thigh. Any embarrassment he felt was quickly assuaged by the needy look on her face. Her eyes were cloudy and her features were quivering with anticipation. But there was something he couldn't quite figure out; it almost startled him.

He sat up with her still in his lap. They were panting lightly and Zuko slid his hands up to cup her face. The defiant, confident warrior he got used to had disappeared, and she was now trembling.

"Katara," he breathed coarsely. "Is this-" He nodded his chin towards the joining of their hips. "Is this okay?" He was entirely sincere and had the strength to backtrack completely if it wasn't. Katara was too important to him to risk if it wasn't.

She shifted her eyes to the fabric on his chest, cheeks flushed red. Katara removed her hands from his hair and laid them in her lap nervously. Her mouth opened to say something then closed after sound failed to come out. Zuko took one of her hands in his, lacing his fingers through hers and kissing over her knuckles slowly.

"Relax, Kat," he chided quietly.

She inhaled a deep breath and let it go after a couple seconds. When her eyes met Zuko's, she was able to fully take his advice.

"This is okay, Zuko." She squeezed his hand tight and let a small smile creep onto her face. A blush dusted her cheeks but she held her ground. "I just don't know what I'm doing, is all."

It was Zuko's turn to sigh in relief. "Great, neither do I." They smiled fondly at eachother, small giggles and laughs emitting their forms. It was hard to tell who leaned in first, but their lips found eachother again. This time, it felt like a caress rather than a punch. Zuko could feel their auras swirling around eachother and uniting in a delicate sway.

When they finally parted, Katara hugged the back of his neck, pressing their foreheads together. "I promise, I really had no intentions of seducing you tonight. But if it's okay, I'd like to learn with you." Zuko smiled broadly and pecked her lips before rolling them over.

Straddling her waist, Zuko had an alluring view of the waterbender he grew to adore over the years. Her wild hair framed her face in the most perfect way. She was watching his eyes warmly and reached for him, disliking the absence of his heat. But he caught her wrist and placed it near the hem of his top.

Katara glanced at his eyes at the gesture, teasing the fabric with her fingers. She wanted nothing more than to rip that overconfident smirk off his face, so she worked him out of his undershirt before flipping them once more. Her arms moved to pin both hands above his head.

"Kat-" He couldn't finish his thought. A hot tongue licked from the top of his sternum up to the shell of his ear. Her hips ground into his fluidly now without hesitation and a breathy moan graced his hearing. He grunted in response and met her hips, leaning his head back against the fluffed pillow.

"I can't count how many times I've imagined you under me like this," she murmured in his ear. He immediately broke free from her hold and claimed her ass with his palms again, massaging desperately. She didn't have it in her to deny his touch. It felt so surreal. So when he rolled on top again, all she could do was give a goofy smile.

Their grins met once more and Zuko was sure that his cheeks were becoming sore. He kissed her with all he had, dragging his fingers along her curves and kneading her bound breasts. He silenced her whimper by deepening the kiss and she started to wiggle under him. Katara was trying to rid herself of the blue dress and kiss the life out of him at the same time, and Zuko had to admit to himself that it was pretty damn cute.

Then all of a sudden, it wasn't.

Katara had been drinking. All night. Maybe she really did have a better grip on her intoxication because she was a waterbender, but the fact remained the same: Katara had been drinking. And so had he.

Zuko had to resist every impulse in his body and slowly detach himself from Katara. She immediately began to whine playfully, maybe thinking that he backed up to remove his pants, or even hers. But when he sat back on his knees, Katara could feel the energy in the room shift. She was trying to read his face but all she could see was guilt. Surely, there had to be more than that?

"Zuko?" She sounded softly.

He audibly gulped and dared to make eye contact. "We've been drinking," he mused almost silently.

Katara frowned promptly. A pink blush was covering her cheeks and spreading to her ears. "I thought you were over Mai." Her fingers gripped the imperial duvet and brought it to cover her face. She was embarrassed and vulnerable. Zuko nearly panicked, choking on his words and reaching out to stop her.

"I am over Mai!" He shouted a bit too loudly. "It's been two years, Katara. I've been pining after you since we first met so I promise it's not about Mai." She dropped the duvet, staring at him with wide, blue eyes. Ah, fuck. Zuko mentally impaled himself with his dao swords.

"Really?"

He winced slightly at the tone in her voice. She didn't sound pleased. His hand shot up to the back of his neck and he made distance between them once more. "I'm sorry."

Katara looked him over carefully; curiously, rather. Then an amused smile played on her lips.

Zuko was squirming under her gaze. He felt so naked. "Are you going to say anything or should I leave?" There was no malice in his voice, just nerves.

Katara laughed.

Spirits, was Zuko chagrined. She let it die down quick because he looked like he just might vomit.

"You're willing to kick yourself out of your own room for me?"

"You know I am." He answered defensively, rubbing his arms and focusing his eyes on his lap.

"Hey." She crawled forward and took one of his hands in hers, squeezing reassuringly. "I'm sorry for laughing but you could have had me fooled."

Zuko already felt his palms getting clammy but he loved the way her hand felt in his. "I would have taken your guest room." He shrugged casually.

"Not that. About your pining."

Zuko couldn't help but to roll his eyes. "You mean I wasn't obvious enough?"

"If you mean going steady with your childhood sweetheart for two years, then yes. I think you could've been a bit more obvious."

Zuko sighed and laid back on the mattress, covering his eyes with his arm. She was right. "After the comet, you went to Aang. I didn't expect much from you-actually, I expected nothing from you. So I went to Mai."

When silence ensued, he continued. "I should have said something to you. Mai didn't deserve to be strung along by me for so long."

Katara still sat in front of him, surprised. "Did she know?"

Zuko swallowed thickly, shame consuming him once more. "She said I couldn't even be honest with myself, so she couldn't expect me to be honest with her."

Katara nodded in realization. Mai left Zuko after that. She reached out to squeeze his hand in comfort, smiling warmly when his features softened. He squeezed back.

"Aang and I didn't even last a year," she chuckled. "I realized early-on that he never really gave me a choice, you know?" Zuko understood.

"He expected me to be his Forever Girl without even wondering how I felt about it. At first I didn't mind because I thought he deserved it after all he'd been through."

"But you'd been through a lot too." Zuko didn't mean to interrupt but it peeved him a bit. Avatar or not, Katara was not a prize to be won.

She played with Zuko's fingers, grateful that he knew her so well. "Exactly."

Zuko grasped Katara's chin, delicately tilting her gaze up to his. "You deserve to choose what makes you happy." His tone was just above a whisper. "You've worked so hard."

She could feel her eyelids fluttering close as she inched her lips closer to his. "So have you, Zuko."

Their noses were touching now and their eyes were closed. Breaths were expelled in small puffs; hearts hammering in loud thuds. With trembling fingers, Zuko's hand traveled to the back of Katara's neck. She shuddered.

"How about we choose what makes us both happy?"

Zuko pretended to mull it over a little, playfully humming.

"I'd like that," he sighed happily.

When they kissed this time, Zuko could feel how confident Katara was. Not just in her abilities, but in choosing him as well. Maybe this was how it was supposed to be after the comet. But after the pair had laid down to rest, Zuko held her close. Even if he wanted to sleep, he could feel the sun creeping up the horizon. He thanked Agni for this chance with the woman he loved. He promised Tui and La that he wouldn't mess it up. And he praised the Painted Lady for his new Spank Bank entries. Happy birthday to him, indeed.