Disclaimer: I do not own Avatar: The Last Airbender or the song "Never Mind the Why and Wherefore" from Gilbert & Sullivan's H.M.S. Pinafore.

Author's Note: There seem to be so many AangxKataraxZuko triangles out there, it's almost a madness. I heard this song and thought it might work nicely as a parody of that. It's all pretty much tongue-in-cheek humor. I've left out some of the repetitions for the sake of space and my sanity.

Dedicated to SnakeEyes16 because he said he really liked my songfics and wanted to see more. I hope this one doesn't make you regret that statement. I reserve the right to dedicate a better one to you in the future.

Never Mind the Why and Wherefore

Never mind the why and wherefore,
Love can levels ranks, and therefore,
Though his lordship's station's mighty, though stupendous be his brain,
Though her tastes are mean and flighty and her fortune poor and plain.

"How lucky to be marrying a prince, and he's soon to be Fire Lord!" This was all Katara had heard ever since the marriage had been arranged. The most irritating part was that she hadn't even given her consent yet. It never seemed to occur to anyone that any girl wouldn't be delighted and honored to marry royalty. Never mind that he and his family had chased her halfway around the world, or that the Fire Nation had killed people everywhere for the past 100 years.

Reluctantly, Katara had to admit that Zuko had his good points. He was nicely built and not too bad-looking now that his hair had grown out some. He even had honor, education, and fighting skill and was a decent bender besides. However, Katara didn't believe, young though she was, that all this was enough on which to base a marriage.

It was a political association more than anything else, and while Zuko seemed to have resigned himself to it, Katara had not. She didn't love him, and she knew darn well he merely tolerated her. Didn't that matter? She didn't know about anyone else, but the thought of spending the rest of her life with someone that she thought she might be able to live with left her hollow.

Ring the merry bells on board-ship,
Rend the air with warbling wild,
For the union of his lordship with a humble captain's child!

Furthermore, Katara couldn't figure out why it had to be a shipboard wedding. She supposed Zuko felt it was some sort of deference to her heritage. The ship she was currently sitting in was even now speeding toward the place where Hakoda and the other Water Tribe warriors were camped so that they could attend the ceremony. It was scheduled to be on this very ship in just a few days.

Katara leaned her head down on the dressing table in her cabin and groaned. The practicing of the musicians on deck was giving her a headache.

For a humble captain's daughter (for a gallant captain's daughter)
And a lord who rules the water (and a tar who ploughs the water)
Let the air with joy be laden,
Rend with song the air above,
For the union of a maiden
With the man who owns her love!

Katara had some hope that she could explain matters to her father and get herself out of this mess. As chief of her people, he should be accorded some measure of respect, although the great houses of the Fire Nation would probably not recognize his rank in any way.

Sokka had also helped her to send word to Aang, and he'd written back to say that he would catch up with the wedding fleet and promising that he would put a stop to all this nonsense. He had stopped short of indicating that he wished to be her husband instead, but Katara found herself hoping that was the case. It would be understandable for him not to want to put something so intimate in a letter. She'd prefer that he ask her in person.

Never mind the why and wherefore,
Love can level ranks, and therefore,
Though your nautical relation in my set could scarcely pass,
Though you occupy a station in the lower middle class --

There was a knock at Katara's door.

"Come in," she called without hesitation. She was decently attired, and anything would provide a welcome distraction from her thoughts at this point. Zuko himself entered, carrying himself with stiff formality, as he'd been in a habit of doing ever since regaining his rank and station. Katara found herself wondering if he'd even be like that in bed and couldn't help the giggles that escaped her at the thought.

"What's so funny?" he demanded. The prince had never liked being laughed at, and having the future wife he clearly regarded as beneath him apparently amused by him was sure to darken his mood.

"Just a stray thought," she mused. She had to keep the peace until she, Aang, Sokka, and/or Hakoda figured out what to do about the situation. As much as she understood the message it would send for the new leader of the Fire Nation to marry someone of another nation, Katara failed to see why she should be the one sacrificed to duty.

"Are you prepared for our wedding?" Zuko resumed the conversation, sounding as though he were discussing something no more important than the menu for the evening's meal.

"No," she answered truthfully. "I've never liked the idea of arranged marriages. You can't tell me you're happy with this." His posture, if possible, straightened even further.

"It is a sensible match," he replied. "You are the daughter of the chief of the Southern Water Tribe. The Earth King has no children, and the only princess of the Northern Water Tribe--"

"Don't you dare say a word about Yue!" Katara interrupted heatedly. Yue had escaped an arranged marriage by becoming the moon, and Katara momentarily wondered if there were any other spirit positions up for grabs. No, now she was just being ridiculous. "I don't want to be sensible. I want to be happy! Doesn't anybody care about that anymore?"

Ring the merry bells on board-ship,
Rend the air with warbling wild,
For the union of his lordship with a humble captain's child!

Katara thought she caught the barest flicker in Zuko's eyes at her words and suspected she had managed to reach him somehow. This was swiftly replaced by a wince, however, as the musicians began tuning their instruments yet again.

"They're supposed to be professionals," he muttered to himself. "You'd think they could tune a mandolin."

"I spent most of a year fighting to end the war," Katara went on, ignoring Zuko's musical critique. "I thought it was all so we could go and live our lives in peace. So we could be happy. I certainly never figured I'd be chained to you for the rest of my life. Nothing personal, of course."

"Of course," he repeated dryly, mouth twisting into a self-mocking grin, which disappeared almost as quickly as it had formed. "I was always prepared to have these decisions made for me, but I understand that you weren't."

"I mean, surely there must be someone else who could fit the bill," Katara pressed. "Some high-born girl from the Earth Kingdom, maybe?" There was that flicker again. Zuko looked as though he were going to say something but changed his mind and instead gave her a small bow and left her.

Never mind the why and wherefore,
Love can level ranks, and therefore,
I admit the jurisdiction; ably have you played your part.
You have carried firm conviction to my hesitating heart.

Katara had not been left with her own thoughts long when someone called her name from outside her cabin window. She looked out to find that Appa was hovering just outside, with Aang, Sokka, and Momo riding on his back.

"I heard a rumor that there was a damsel in distress on this ship," Aang said casually, eyes dancing with good humor. "Do you, by any chance, need rescuing?" He had grown some in the year since she had seen him last and added some muscle to the frame hidden by his clothing, but his open grin was the same as ever, and she felt a rush of feeling.

"As a matter of fact, I do," she answered cheerfully. Looking around quickly, she stepped across to Appa, assisted by Aang. Once there, she gave him a fierce hug.

"I've missed you," she whispered in his ear, and she thought he quivered, just the slightest bit.

"Me too," he murmured in reply.

"We're going to go talk to Dad and sort out this mess," Sokka told Katara the plan. Aang went up to Appa's head to take the reins and Katara, unwilling to be separated from him now for even a moment, climbed up to join him.

Ring the merry bells on board-ship,
Rend the air with warbling wild,
For the union of his lordship with a humble captain's child!
Rend with song the air above
For the man who owns her love!

"So, Katara," Aang said, after he had pointed Appa in the right direction. He seemed suddenly nervous. "If you're not doing anything later, would you like to marry me?" The question took Katara a little by surprise, but she recovered quickly.

"I'd love to!" she exclaimed. "And I love you."

"I love you, too," he answered. Katara completely forgot about her brother's presence as she kissed the Avatar in a way she had been dreaming of for a long time.

"Yes!" Sokka crowed from behind them, apparently not minding the display of affection. "There's still going to be a wedding. The right one."

Katara smiled into the wind as they flew on, enjoying the newly rediscovered sense of freedom. Her smile only broadened at the thought that Fire Nation soldiers would soon be searching for a bride who was no longer there. She was with the man she loved, which was as it should be.

--

Author's note: Yeah, I was kind of in a silly mood when I thought of this. I at least hope it made someone laugh. The lack of alerts is starting to drive me nuts, so if you stumbled on this and liked it, please read Boys & Girls. That collection has much better oneshots in it than this, and I just updated it this week. Thanks!