A/N: Alas, parting is such sweet sorrow. Yes my friends, we have reached the end of the line. It's been tons of fun writing this (though it mostly wrote itself) and I'll just take a moment to thank my fabulous reviewers. I'm very sorry if I missed your name.
So hats off to:
4olivesinned, Aangs fangirl 1214, Ataraia, BlackBlur87, Cass the Homocidal Maniac, Daydream11, desdemona kakalose, frozenheat, Invaderm, Kataang93, Kataanglover, Katara2102, Libowiekitty, Mcwheeler12, My evil mind, Nafien, RHrWilLizKataangPrincess2010, and all you anonymous reviewers, too!
And a special thanks to Invaderm, for being the coolest dork ever.
Now, without further ado, we have our epilogue.
Disclaimer: I own nothing.
Epilogue – In The End
"…and then you'll have your third great grandchild before quietly passing away in your sleep."
Katara smiled to herself. As usual, Aunt Wu had been right on the money. Well, almost. She actually had four great grandchildren, several nieces and nephews, and a handful of great nephews and nieces, if called that.
Kiyodu had moved on to do great things with his life; he'd gotten married, joined Sokka in the fight for peace and international unity, and had three children, who had also had children. Now, in addition to Kiyodu, there were a handful of tattooed Airbenders in the family.
As if it were yesterday, Katara remembered the day that Kiyodu had finally "earned his arrows". And oh, hadn't that just been fantastic? She could still hear his screams and see Aang's somewhat apprehensive expression. A laugh almost escaped her. After all of that, Kiyodu had attempted to persuade Amaya into taking the arrows as well, but she wouldn't. The other Avatars hadn't had the markings unless they were born Airbenders, and she wasn't about to give up her Waterbending heritage. Still, she and her brother were as close as ever.
Amaya, while still a loving person, had chosen to open the Thought Chakra, thereby letting go of all earthly attachment. While it didn't change her feelings for her family and friends, it made it virtually impossible for her to be a spouse. Still, she accomplished great things as the Avatar, including end the war for good. The rebel attacks had stopped after one last battle, in which many died on both sides of the fight. One such person happened to be Suki.
Sokka had been crushed by this, and had decided to block out all relationships for the rest of his life. This decision, however, had not lasted. The only woman who could still talk to him, Katara excluded, had been Toph. Slowly but surely she had picked away at his desperate attempt at blocking people from his life, with the argument that it was not his fault that these women had died. In the end, she managed to get through his stony exterior and open his heart once again.
Two years later, they had married. While Toph had been unsure about having children because of her blindness, Sokka and Katara had been with her every step of the way, and eventually Sokka had several new 'warriors' in his life: a pair of twin Earthbenders, one a boy and one a girl, and then another little girl. Katara still found this to be very amusing; Sokka, who had once nursed a very bleak opinion of women, was now constantly surrounded by them.
The rest of Aunt Wu's prediction, though, had been correct. As Katara lay there in the warmth of her own bed, she felt that her time had finally come. She was old – ancient, she often said – and not afraid of the next challenge in life: death.
A deep sigh came to her, and she grasped the opportunity to take it. If death was coming to her, it wasn't so bad after all. She was situated on Aang's side of the bed, hands folded on her stomach, and she felt a serenity that she had never felt before. Then, suddenly, she was sleepy. She took one last look around the room, inhaled a deep breath, closed her eyes –
And opened them to find that she was lying on a grassy slope overlooking a river.
"What the –?" Katara sat up and looked to her right, then to her left. As far as she could see, there was nothing but nature all around her. She furrowed her brows and looked down at her hands, only to see that her hands were not her own. Or, at least, she had not seen these hands since she was in her twenties. A gasp escaped her lips. "I'm young again!" she breathed, in awe.
Her immediate thrill disappeared when she realized that she'd never seen this place before. How long had she been lying on his hill, anyway? A gentle breeze passed through and pushed her hair loops around her face. Was this really what death was like? If so, she decided that she didn't mind it half as much as she thought that she would. Only, she was just – just so… alone. Somewhere deep inside her heart she had hoped that, maybe –
"I've been waiting for you."
The voice, and the familiarity of the voice, startled her. Katara spun around on the slope and saw a person sitting beneath a blossoming tree: Aang. Any words that may have been on the tip of her tongue vanished at that instant. He was there, sitting cross-legged with his staff lying across his lap, a small smile turned in the corners of his mouth. He looked exactly the same as he had that last time he'd kissed her goodbye.
And, for some reason, Katara didn't feel any tears prickling in her eyes. She was too astounded to even think.
"Yes… I can make it."
Aang stood up and walked a few paces towards her, but stopped.
"You're – you're here," she breathed, covering her hands with her mouth. All the sorrow that she had ever felt seemed to dissipate at that moment, leaving nothing but a confused sort of jubilation. Here she was, back in her young body in this beautifully strange place, and she was with Aang. Aang. How many times had she thought about him, seeing him, just being able to look him in the eye and tell him that she loved him? Her hands fell to her sides as they stared at one another, he with a vaguely amused smile and she with shock evident on her face.
"Besides, we're together anyway."
"So…" she began, her voice unsure and not quite at her normal pitch. Her expression was unsure, yet hopeful all the same. "What do we do now?"
He opened his arms as if gesturing to the world around him, his grin suddenly broad. "Whatever you want," he answered. "Just say the word and you're there."
"And how long do we have?"
Aang scratched his chin thoughtfully and gave her his trademark grin. "Oh, I'd say we have, roughly… eternity. How does that sound?"
He held out his hand to her for the first time in decades, and suddenly time itself was not a factor.
"It's just you and me now," he said.
"I wouldn't marry anyone else."
Her eyes dropped to his outstretched hand, then back up to his kind face. His eyes sparkled with youth, love, and promise for a perfect union for the rest of, well, eternity. In the end, Katara supposed, that's what she had been waiting for.
And it sounded so right.
So she let her eyes connect with his, felt the small smile spreading onto her face, and took his hand. They had been together in everything. In love, life, and death, never for one moment had they been apart. Katara then knew, that no matter what would happen, she would always have Aang.
And in the end, that was all that really mattered.