My parents were surprisingly gentle with my grounding. I think all there anger was used up when they found out that my sister had failed one of her college exams. There wasn't much fury left in them. All they did was disable my internet for a while.

This should be really close to the end now. I mean it this time. I'm not going to say how many chapters to go, because I've already proven that I can't keep up with these updates, so I'm not going to make any false promises. But it will be soon. I don't want new readers to start reading this story because I am so ashamed of the earlier chapters that I actually re-read them to prove to myself that I'm becoming a better writer. Really, I'm sorry for putting you guys through that.

So yeah. Sorry for the mega-long delay. I've actually been able to use the computer for some time now, but I was just too lazy or busy to get started on this chapter. My grades are seriously suffering, mostly due to my lack of attention span to be able to do homework. So, homework has taken Priority 1 (lol, no, it was never on my priorities list to begin with). And on top of that, I've been suffering a severe case of writers block.

Now, I could go on for pages about the new season of 24, but because that wouldn't be good for my (or anyone else's) sanity, all I will say is: Must… Have… MORE! –is placed in a straight jacket- Haha, MORE! Mwahahaha! (Apparently my sanity is no longer an issue…)

Well this is one long A/N, isn't it? Well, hold on, it gets longer. Anyone heard of this 'Avatar' live-action movie thing? It's being done by the same guy who made 'Lady in the Water' and has been signed to make a trilogy of movies. Anybody else thinks that they are going to ruin a perfectly good show? I sure do. Supposedly, it doesn't follow the show's story line and it's supposed to be a sci-fi/action flick like 'Lord of the Rings.' They're going to ruin the show. That makes me angry.

You know what? This A/N is just about a whole page long. Wow. Ok, so we have a long A/N, I'll make a long chapter. I at least owe the people following this story that much. Well, let's wrap it up.

I don't own Avatar.

Ch.24

"So, where are we looking first?" Katara asked as they began to search for their friends (for the second time, but this was only the first time they actually heeded it any attention).

"Inland. They'll stay away from the beaches; Toph can't see there and Sokka knows better than to camp out somewhere where they can be seen." Aang grabbed his glider, which was leaning against the tent, as they walked past it. "Keep an eye open for boulders and rubble; it could have been Toph earthbending."

"Hmm," Katara hummed thoughtfully, a bit of a smile tugging at the corners of her mouth. "You sound more prepared than you did yesterday."

Aang gave her his traditional wide grin. "I don't think either of us were really giving it our full effort," His eyes returned to the trail they were walking on. He noticed it was the same path they took when they began their 'search' yesterday. He smiled as he recognized a familiar landmark. "I mean, I'm pretty sure your attention was somewhere at that tree." He motioned towards a tree coming up on their right side, the same tree Katara had forced him against and took the opportunity to kiss him ferociously.

Katara smiled and blushed, keeping her eyes glued to the trail on which she walked. "And your attention wasn't?"

Aang blushed as well but cast a glance at the tree as they walked past it. "No, it just took me a few seconds to catch up is all. You kinda took me off-guard; my mind was still somewhere around 'entering the spirit world…'"

Katara's face grew red once again at remembering exactly what she had done to get Aang to stop his ranting. She refrained from making eye contact and stayed focused on the trees and bushes ahead of her. Unfortunately, looking at trees only recreated the previous day's events in her mind, and looking at it from a third person perspective made it all seem much more… provocative than she had first thought it to be.

As the kiss played itself over and over in her mind, Katara found herself blushing more and more. She had harshly and strongly grabbed Aang by his collar and pushed him against the nearest tree, only to bring her own lips violently crashing down over his. Just a few days ago, that alone would have been enough of a suggestion to send her into an endless train of daydreams and fantasies, but wait, just yesterday, during that same kiss, she did something that she didn't even think herself capable of doing. When Aang was backed against the tree, she pressed the whole of her body, her entire body, into Aang, and in turn, feeling all of Aang against her. His every bump and ripple (and something that she would never mention until they were married); every square inch of his body. Not only that, but in that action, she had practically thrown herself onto him, and she could tell that he was noticing certain parts of her anatomy as well.

Events such as those carried far past any simple daydreams about her crush; imagining doing something like that was what led to the much more interesting and mature thoughts that she noticed were becoming harder and harder to repress. She blamed it on puberty.

But what seemed to irritate her most was that she had done that action on impulse, without thought, and carried through with it, all while maintaining her equanimity, and now, by simply thinking about it, her face rapidly gains several shades of pinks and reds.

"Ugh!" She grumbled, seemingly coming out of nowhere. "When did I get so… blushy?"

Aang, who didn't understand the origin of this question because he himself had been too focused on keeping his eyes in-front of him as he tried to work his blush away, realized after she said it that he had been blushing an unreasonably large amount as well when the subject of the tree came up. Not taking into consideration that this question could have been rhetorical, he responded.

"I guess around the same time I did." In truth, he didn't really know when that was, but the only possible events that could have caused it were the telling of their new 'mission,' or one of the events of the previous night… And he blushed again.

"When was that?" Katara asked him, now looking him in the face, just barely a remnant of reddish color on her cheeks.

When Aang thought again on what occurrence could have led to this outbreak of feeling embarrassed and flushed, his blush intensified when he once again thought about… last night.

He was now pretty much satisfied that the source of all this blushing was the highly embarrassing and shameful… and for some reason pleasurable thought of what was about to occur on the beach the previous evening. But now that he knew what was causing it, he was unsure as to whether or not to bring it up. They both made it clear that it's something that they want forgotten; something that they would rather regard as a careless accident and dismiss it just as quickly. Long story short, it was dreadfully uncomfortable to talk about.

However, the more he thought on it, the more it all made sense. Just after… that happened, they were both too embarrassed to say anything. And even after that, all they could come up with was 'we'll be more careful.' Perhaps all this blushing was because they hadn't spoken about what was really making them red in the face.

Thinking that the potential benefits outweighed whatever bad consequences this conversation would create, he decided to try and proceed and answer her question.

"I'd have to say… last night." He was careful to leave the interpretation of 'last night' up in the air; this wasn't a subject that they could just dive right into.

Katara's eyes widened slightly and she just barely straightened her posture. "Last night… as in the tent last night…" Her whole upper body flared into a light-ish shade of red. "…Or the other last night?"

Well, she asked… "Umm… other."

Katara's blush gained a few darker shades. For a moment, the only thing she could think to say was "Oh."

It made sense to her; they hadn't really talked about it much. And she knew that she had many more things on her mind about that than what was discussed once they returned to camp. And several of these thoughts were exactly the kind that made her blush.

Treading into uncharted territory, she hesitantly continued.

"Should we talk about it?" She asked earnestly, not really knowing whether they should or shouldn't. One theory was that it would help… but of course the other theory was that it could all just get worse.

"I- uhh… I guess. I mean, are we supposed to?" Well, Aang had been a monk, after all, and he really didn't know what they were supposed to do in this certain type of situation.

Katara shrugged as an answer. She may not have been a monk, but this was a first-time experience for her as well.

"Maybe. It might help us feel more… normal." She supplied. Katara suspected that getting this thing off her chest might help with whatever is causing all these blushes. But… what she wants to get off her chest will be very embarrassing to say out loud.

Aang nodded slowly, scared about what kind of reaction he would receive when he lets the worst of it out in the open.

"Okay…" He began, waiting for something to fill the silence. "Umm, who's going first?"

More silence. Each of them was waiting for the other to say 'I'll go.' After prolonging the silence long enough, Aang got too impatient to keep waiting. But so did Katara.

"I'll go first." They both said at the same time, their words synchronized down to the millisecond. They laughed softly and nervously and once again waited for the other to speak.

"Uhh… You said you wanted to go first?" Aang asked, grateful for the short amount of time he had been granted.

"Oh… uh," Katara began to blush. Again. "So did you."

"Yeah, but," Aang began to fumble nervously with his hands. "You know, ladies first and all, right?"

Katara laughed openly at his foolishness. "Fine," After her laughter receded, she was left with a face of seriousness, with just a smattering of worry. "Just promise me that you'll try to understand."

"Can't be any worse than what I have to say." He muttered.

That didn't really help her much. Well, at least she could take comfort in knowing that his confession would be as hard to say as hers.

"Okay… well, remember last night when you said that up to the point we realized what we were doing, you were enjoying all of it?"

Aang nodded mutely.

"And then I said I felt the same way…"

"Right…"

"Well, the thing is…" Her face regained its reddish hue and she lowered her head in embarrassment, choosing to stare at the floor as she turned over some dirt with her foot. "You see, while a part of me was glad that we ended it before anything happened… there was this other part of me that didn't want to stop. I mean, I knew the consequences and I knew that it was wrong… but… I don't know, it just felt so… good."

She paused for a moment to take a brief look at Aang and see if she could determine what he was thinking, but he just looked… interested?

"I know that it's probably wrong to think like that but a part of me really likes the idea of going through with it."

More silence followed. Katara looked up through her eyelashes to see if Aang had changed expressions or anything, but there he was, wearing the same fascinated appearance.

"So I guess what I'm trying to say is… I don't even know what I'm trying to say. I just hoped that I could say this all out loud and you wouldn't think of me any differently."

Yet more silence ensued. At first Katara was too ashamed to look up, but curiosity got the best of her and she tilted her head upwards slightly to see why Aang hadn't said anything.

And there he was, his attention still completely focused on her and her small speech/confession. What he did next, Katara definantly wasn't expecting as a response to all of this. For some odd reason, his mouth began to curl into a small smile.

"I know that this probably isn't the best thing to do after all of that, but," He leaned in and gently placed his lips over hers, kissing her softly, letting it linger for just a second or two.

"Do you have any idea how much I love you?" He asked quietly, almost in a whisper once he pulled away.

Katara looked… confused, to say the least.

Aang smiled again and laced his hand with hers. "Katara, you never have to worry about me thinking any less of you. It's not gonna happen. I'll always love you, no matter what."

Katara always found that Aang's smiles were contagious, and this was no exception. She felt the happy and relieved grin on her face as she pulled Aang into a hug.

"Thank you." She whispered. She honestly didn't know why she was all that worried in the first place. Aang had taken several opportunities to remind her just how much he cared for her, and after thinking back on them, she had trouble thinking of why he'd even have a problem with all of this. It was made clear that the word 'Love' doesn't do justice to how much he cares for her, so why would any of this be a problem?

Aang didn't really know how to react to her 'thank you;' a 'you're welcome' didn't seem too fitting (And somewhere, in the back of his mind, he questioned when he began to think before speaking, and where that skill was not too long ago when he was talking about having children). So he decided on keeping the silence and he hugged her just a little tighter.

After a little swaying back and forth and the exchange of a few light kisses, they came to realize that they needed to continue their search for Sokka and Toph. They separated, though they took their time, and returned to walking about in hopes of finding the warrior and the earthbender. But, it wasn't long before Katara realized…

"Hey, you didn't tell me what you wanted to say." Her voice carried a tone of mock accusation.

Aang laughed nervously. "No, I guess I didn't," He absently reached up to rub the back of his neck. "Well, you… uh, kinda said it for me."

Katara couldn't keep the smile off her face. "You feel the same way?"

"You didn't expect me to?" He countered with his own question and a laugh. He was thankful when he realized that he wasn't blushing anymore. "I'm a guy. I think I'm supposed to feel that way," His smile and light laughter faded when he realized what he said. "Umm, is that ok with you?"

Katara took her turn at laughter. "Of course it is. I'll always love you," She mimicked him before giving him a quick peck on the lips. "No matter what."

Aang smiled softly. "Thank you," He imitated her as well. He brought up one of her hands that was laced with his and kissed it. With a sigh, he lowered it, and they continued their search.

"So we both want… that," Katara mused aloud, a smile forming when she realized that there was no blush on her face. "But we can't. Not yet." She turned her head to look at her beloved. "What's that make us?"

Aang shrugged. "Perverted?"

She couldn't hold in the laughter after that comment left his lips. "I was thinking something more along the lines of 'human,' Aang."

Aang smiled and simply shrugged again. "Well, in that case, we're going to need to be less 'human' once we find Sokka and Toph."

"Agreed," Katara quickly concurred. She didn't know what in the world she would do to keep the situation under control if her brother accidentally walked in on the two of them nearly going over the edge again.

After a little bit of silence Aang worriedly realized exactly what he had said. "But, you know, that doesn't mean that we have to stop entirely…"

A smile returned to her features as she stopped walking and turned to face him. She slipped her hand behind his neck and drew him closer to her. At first she just barely brushed her lips against his, but then she dipped her head back towards him and gently took Aang's lower lip between hers. And just like that, she pulled away. The kiss was short, but it conveyed her thoughts well enough.

"I wasn't intending to." Katara replied quietly, in a tempting (almost seductive) voice, still standing close to him. He was smiling widely and reached out to her hips, holding them in a gentle squeeze as he gradually pulled her closer to him.

Katara's hands found themselves at his shoulders, slowly working their way down until they eventually came to rest on his forearms.

With her body flush against his, she closed her eyes and buried her head in the crook of his neck, taking in a soft whiff. The feeling of her hair splayed out, cascading over him (because it was still out of its traditional braid and hair loops from the previous night) combined with the sensation of her slow inhale on his neck forced him to bite his lip to keep himself from kissing her in a more-than-innocent way. In trying to keep his resolve and stop himself from creating something more, the hands at her hips gripped just a little tighter, as if trying to anchor himself to his current state of mind, which was (for the most part) fully in control of his actions.

Katara felt his hold on her tighten slightly, but she mistook this as a sign of encouragement. So, with her head still in the crook of his neck, she placed a small kiss at the base, and then gently bit down and sucked on the soft flesh. Her hands took to slowly traveling up and down his arms.

All the tenacity left in Aang's body had just been thrown out the proverbial window. Of course, he said that they didn't have to stop doing this entirely, but after all this talk about wanting… that, this didn't really seem like the appropriate time for such a thing. But, his drive failed, and he fell victim to the sensation of Katara's tongue flick over the spot on his neck which she had bitten. With a sigh of resignation, he nudged her head off of his neck and he began to lean towards her lips…

…That is, until they both heard a thud coming from the direction of some undergrowth. Their heads simultaneously turned towards the sound.

Aang's eyebrows furrowed. "That's the second time I hear something while we're doing… this."

Well, I bet you'll never guess who that is! –cough-

So… How was it? I hope my time away from here hasn't made my writing suck.

There's not nearly as much crap to jam in here as there is in the first A/N. Well, if things go according to plan (and they almost never do), there might be 2 other chapters: the next will be a Sokka and Toph thing (yes, I'll actually include Sokka this time), and the second would be them finding each other and getting off the island. If there's a third one… then I need to manage my ideas better.