Tears formed in the eyes of the Master Waterbender as her healing waters swept over her unconscious patient. The blue-tinted waters hummed as the boy's body, laden with ugly wounds, was slowly being healed.
Finally, the water lost its blue glow. Eagerly, the healer inspected her work but was crushed to find that his heartbeat was heard as faint as ever.
The teen slumped her shoulders; she retrieved a blanket from a nearby corner and stretched it over his sprawled form. She looked at his face, willing his eyes to open and reveal their chilling amber colors. Leaning over, her face floating close to his, she gently planted a kiss on his unscarred cheek. "Please, wake up. I… I love you." She whispered to the still un-responding countenance. Having confessed her thoughts, she retreated into a corner of the tent, where she would watch over him for the remainder of the night.
As the exhausted girl slowly drifted off into a much need sleep, her patient stirred. Rubbing her eyes with the back of a remarkably soft, tan hand, she crept cautiously forward. Again, she leaned over him, close to his face. Tears began to reform in her blue eyes when the face had not changed from its sick, vulnerable expression. Suddenly, two hands shot up from under the blanket, firmly grasping her waist.
In a smooth, easy motion, she was flipped onto her back with her once deathly-still patient's face now looming up above hers. The firebender's warm body was over hers, gently and playfully pinning her delicate body to the hard earth floor.
"Zuko, you're okay!" Katara whispered in disbelief.
Zuko grinned and brought his head down next to hers. "Because of you." He said, softly planting a kiss on Katara's smooth cheek.
Still grinning, Zuko flopped his body by hers and asked, as if puzzled, "Which is strange, I've never heard of a water-tribe citizen who would save the son of the Firelord, the hated enemy."
"Zuko, stop it!" Katara exclaimed, pushing at his shoulder, "You mean a lot more to me than that!" And as if in realization, Katara's eyes swelled and tears began to slide down her cheeks.
"Why are you crying?" Zuko asked, alarmed by the sudden change of emotion.
"Oh, it's nothing. I'm sorry, I'm so emotional. It's just… I was so close to losing you." Katara whispered, "Zuko, I don't know what I would do without you. You mean so much to me."
As Katara's open hand left his broad shoulder, Zuko quickly snatched it between his and pulled her over to him. Katara offered no resistance and placed her head on his warm chest, under his chin.
"Katara," Zuko assured her, "It will take a lot more than a gang of Rough Rhinos to take me out."
"How can you possibly be so warm?" Katara questioned, changing the subject.
Zuko couldn't help but smile at this. He snaked his arms around Katara's waist and whispered, "This is nothing!"
Katara nuzzled Zuko, who was wearing a crude shirt, with her face as his body temperature rose a few degrees. She sighed, and with arms draped across his muscular chest, fell into a relaxed sleep.
About five hours later, an aged firebender crept into the Waterbender's tent to check on his nephew's progress. He was most surprised and pleased to see the young healer curled up comfortably on his relative's torso.
"Uncle?" Zuko whispered hesitantly.
"Zuko, how are you feeling?" Uncle Iroh asked, as the waterbender named Katara's head lifted.
"Much better." Zuko said curtly, trying to drop a hint.
Understanding his nephew's meaning of 'not now', Iroh bowed and quickly departed, smiling broadly into the night.
"What is it, Zuko?" Katara asked once Iroh had left.
"Shhh… it's nothing. Go back to sleep." Zuko answered, gently pressing Katara's head back down. He couldn't help but smile at the way she sleepily obeyed and snuggled back into his chest. Zuko brought his hands so one hand held Katara close and the other slowly began caressing her soft, flowing, long, unbound hair.
Suddenly, Katara's head darted up and her soft lips pecked Zuko's cheek. This time, however, Zuko caught her retreating lips with his own, his hand at the back of her head. He kept her there for a few seconds, lips lightly on hers, before letting her sink back down. Zuko replaced his hands on her, as did she, and within seconds, they were both asleep.
AN: What do you think? Eh? RR