Katara is surrounded by warmth, cradled by a soft breeze, and she hasn't felt this comfortable in months. She sighs softly, forehead relaxing, mouth sliding into a soft smile.
"Do you like that?" Aang says, his voice just as soft as the breeze supporting her.
"It's wonderful," Katara says, stretching out her arms in front of her. The faint whistling of the breeze underneath her changes as Aang compensates, supporting her against the cushion of air.
She turned in the bed, wincing against the pain in her hips, trying not to wake him even as she twisted next to him.
"Katara?" he said, his voice sleepy and quiet. "Are you okay?"
She sighed and rolled onto her back. "Sorry, sorry, just can't get comfortable..."
He lifted his head. "The baby...?"
She rested her hands on her stomach, feeling the kick in response. "The baby's fine...it's me." His head lifted higher, and she waved her hand. "Just aches and pains, Aang. I'll be fine..."
He shifted over, resting his head against her. "Are you sure?" he asked, looking up at her.
She smiled and ran her hand over his head. "It’s just part of having a baby..."
"But the other two weren't like this..." he said worriedly.
She sighed and stroked his head again. "I know. Gran-gran always said that every pregnancy was different..." She shifted again. "It's just my joints, Aang. I'll get back to sleep soon."
"I'm going to start now," Aang says, his voice low. "Let me know what feels good, okay?"
"Mmm, everything feels good..." she says drowsily.
He chuckles, and there's a sudden warmth against the base of her spine, the soothing hot weight of a large round river stone that makes her gasp in surprise.
"That okay?" he says.
"Yes..." she says, arching her back just a little to get more of that heat in.
The stone begins to move, small leisurely circles nudging deep against her skin, radiating warmth into her muscles. She sighs happily when a second heated stone is placed between her shoulder blades, pressing into the muscles there.
The third and fourth kneading against her hip bones hurt — but it's the good kind of hurt — and her slow soft moan produces a faint exhalation of laughter from Aang even as more heat slowly rests against her spine, her legs, her shoulders, her neck, even the arches of her feet.
She can't move any of her muscles, all turned to jelly by the weight and heat against them. It feels like lying on a hot beach on a breezy summer day, but she's weightless, everything supported by the strong current of air beneath her even as the heat soaks into her bones.
"Do you want a back rub?" he said, shifting a little in order to look up at her.
She smiled. "Do you mind?"
He shook his head, then his eyebrows raised slightly. "Actually..." he said. "D'you mind if I try something?"
"Yeah, with the back rub. Just an experiment."
She smiled wryly. "I don't know, Aang. The last time you 'tried something', we ended up with Kya..."
He blushed, and she laughed. "Go on," she said, holding out her arms. "I'm all yours."
"Katara?" she hears him softly say.
"Mmmm?" She lifts her head slightly, blinking.
"I'm going to let you down now," he says. "Can you turn over for me?"
She shifts, rolling onto her back, and realises the stones are gone. "Oh..." she says, her voice still soft and drowsy. "Did I fall asleep?"
"Mm-hmm..." he says, even as he slowly lessens the cushion of air underneath her. She slowly lands onto the bed, her body resting on the mattress gently. He leans over her and looks at her closely. "How do you feel?"
"Mmm..." she says, pulling him down for a kiss. "Wonderful."
He smiles, and curls up next to her in bed, resting his head on her shoulder, one hand on her stomach. She strokes his head as she drifts back to sleep.
He comes in from his morning meditations to find her humming to herself in the kitchen as she makes breakfast. She's light on her feet again, smiling, and as he comes up behind her to wrap his arms around her and kiss her on the back of the neck, she laughs and turns to face him.
"Thank you for last night," she says. "I haven't slept that well in years."
"You're welcome," he says, and grins. "I guess if this whole Avatar thing doesn't work out, I could always get a job as a masseuse."
She narrows her eyes at him. "Oh no," she says sharply. "That's only for me — you got that?"
He laughs and pulls her closer. "Always."
This Avatar: The Last Airbender story was written by Kate Bolin. If you liked it, there's plenty more at http://www.dymphna.net/fanfic/. And you can feedback her at firstname.lastname@example.org.