Aang watched from the island's pier as the last flicker of sunlight faded from the horizon. He then turned up to see a waning gibbous moon - just a couple nights earlier, it had been full. Though it was now becoming less in size, it still would be able to cast a brilliant light when the daylight would fade.
He then looked down to see the calm shores of Ember Island, remainders of small waves softly crashing into the pier's supports. The calm waves made him think about what Katara's mind had become - finally easing up after a major storm of rage clouded her, and nearly drove her to an unspeakable act. Aang sighed as he remembered how much he worried for Katara while she was away with Zuko.
Katara slowly made her way over to her close friend, thinking about what she would tell him. Just like her brother moments ago, she also owed Aang quite a bit - it was because of him that she didn't carry through with the cold-blooded murder of that evil, heartless old man. She also felt like she had something to apologize for - attempting to steal Appa while also shoving him off along with Sokka.
Aang turned behind his back to notice that familiar face, decorated with her shining blue eyes and long brown hair flowing from her. As the breeze played with said hair, he couldn't help but again think just how beautiful she was - but now was not the time to really think about it. This was a more pressing issue.
Katara walked onto the pier as Aang again adjusted himself to face her. She stopped about arm's length short of the Avatar, releasing a sigh before turning up to him. A look of deep thought and regret played across her face, a small frown emerging from her mouth, eyes turned to Aang's right.
"Aang..." she whispered.
"Katara..." he whispered back, keeping his eyes locked on her.
She kept trying to turn her look to him, but it was a struggle.
Aang arched an eyebrow in curiosity. "What? Sorry for what, Katara?"
"The way I blew you and Sokka off," Katara answered. "I just...you're my best friend, and you understand me in ways only my family could reach...and I let my rage just throw you out of the picture like nothing, while carrying out this stupid revenge scheme."
"It's all right, Katara," Aang replied. "You know I forgive you." He offered a comforting hand for her shoulder as the waterbender's head dipped.
"You'd never forgive me if you found out just how far I went with all this..." Katara mused. "I couldn't believe what I was doing, all I had done, while anger just drove me to points I thought I would never reach..." she looked toward the moon as she said this, walking away from Aang and toward the pier's edge.
"I don't understand," Aang replied. "Katara, what do you mean?"
"I said I'd never bloodbend again," the young waterbender's voice began to break. "I...I did. On a guy I thought was Yon Rha." Tears pooled in her eyes slowly. "I thought he was Yon Rha and I just...went off."
Aang felt somewhat disappointed that Katara had gone to that, but he knew what it was like to feel such pain and rage from heartbreak. "Katara, why would I not forgive you? I know how you feel...like when I found out I lost Gyatso, and Appa."
Katara allowed a couple tears to escape down her cheeks. "I couldn't believe I was letting this happen to me," she added with a sniffle. "Then...when we went to face Yon Rha...spirits...I can't..."
The Avatar again laid a hand on his best friend's shoulder. "Please, turn around..." he whispered. "Talk to me..." he urged with concern ringing through his soft voice.
Slowly, Katara again turned her face to Aang, water blurring her eyesight. "Staring him down, the man who took mom from me...all I could think..." More tears escaped down her face.
Aang used his right hand to brush the tears off her face, and then cupped her right cheek in said hand. "I'm here...talk..." he continued his gentle advice.
"All I could think was just to take his life from him," Katara continued. "Just...wipe him out. Take revenge. What was possessing me..." she let out a choked sob. "Aang...please..." She felt herself quaking within.
"Go ahead," the Avatar urged her.
"Please...I need you to h-h-hold me..." she finally got out.
Without a moment's hesitation, Aang took Katara into his arms and drew her close to him. He held her tight as she buried her head into his shoulder, her tears moistening the fabric that draped it. He ran his fingers through her long hair in comforting strokes, trying to comfort her the best he could.
Katara placed her arms around Aang as she continued her recollection of the past events. "Just...all I could think was to strike him down for everything he had done, all the pain he had caused...but then, I could only think of what you said. What you told me about revenge, and about how this would solve nothing...and that's how I stopped myself."
Aang thought about how he thought that advice fell on deaf ears with the way Katara was feeling at the time, but was glad to know he did get through to her somehow. Still, his mind was set on keeping her comforted. "I knew you had it in you, Katara. I believed you would always make the right decision...and I'm so proud of you for doing so."
"I still can't believe I nearly did it," she mused. "I nearly became the same monster he is...almost let myself go that far...what is wrong with me...maybe I am dangerous..."
"Shhh..." Aang whispered. He then kissed her forehead before starting to slowly rock her from side to side. "It's all over...the key thing is you didn't let yourself go that route. You proved yourself stronger than him."
"It's all because of you..." the young waterbender replied. "It was your advice...like you were standing behind me the whole time. Like your voice was just guiding me, or you were just a spirit lingering on my shoulder...watching over me. You saved me from myself, Aang..."
Aang drew her closer. "I'm glad I could be here for you, Katara...I care about you so much. You mean so much to me..."
Katara smiled, finally looking up to him, tears still pooled in her eyes. "You mean a lot to me, too. Just...with that advice and keeping me from that act...I don't know where I'd be if you never came into my life." She then adjusted herself a slight bit and then drew him back into another tight hug. "Thank you..."
The Avatar returned the embrace warmly. "You're welcome...and I could say the same for you."
From a distance above, Sokka and Toph stood next to each other while the scene played out.
"Yeah...I think I know what's up between them," Sokka mused.
"Then...you're a bit late to the party, Snoozles," Toph replied back. "Tell me you're not just catching on now."
"Toph, what do you mean?" Sokka asked.
The blind earthbender scoffed, crossing her arms. "Sokka, please, I've been picking up something from Aang and Katara since basically day one. If it's obvious to me, then it should have been obvious to you, so-claimed genius," she ended with a smirk.
"Just what is that supposed to mean?" A now frustrated warrior wondered.
"Figure it out," Toph snarked back, walking away with a smirk still painting her face. "Not spelling it out for you!"
After he calmed down a bit, Sokka spoke again to himself. "But in any event...Aang, you've got my sister quite happy. Keep it up, man. You've come a long way."
Back on the pier, after several moments, Aang and Katara separated from their tight embrace. A thankful smile painted each of their faces while the daylight faded out from the skies.
"Perhaps we should head back now," Katara suggested. "Guess we should get set for dinner."
"Need any help?" Aang asked.
"If you want," the waterbender replied. "Sokka will probably need it more though with gathering up some food."
"Okay," Aang replied. "See you soon, then."
The two began to walk back toward the house, thinking about how glad they were for each other coming into their lives.
They were inseparable friends.
Quietly, there was a bit more than that between them.
But for now, that was on the sidelines.
Tonight, it was just about being there for the other.