The Best Laid Plans – Epilogue
Aang watched his twin sons as they tried to feed the turtleducks. Only being two, they did more squealing and jumping up and down excitedly, while scaring the animals than actually feeding them. When Aang advised them for the hundredth time that they must stay quiet, Kuzon squatted down with his bread pieces crushed tightly in his fist, while Gyatso gave up and just lobbed the bread at them.
Bored, Gyatso, who was the eldest, toddled over to his father with his arm up in the air "Ride!" he demanded, but Aang shook his head. "We can't go flying son, we are waiting for Uncle Sokka and Uncle Zuko."
"Someone call my name?" Sokka asked, coming around a cluster of shrubs and into view along with Zuko.
Aang looked at the fire prince, who looked a little frazzled "I'm surprised you were able to get away from your duties."
Sokka snorted "It's Katara he's trying to get away from. We left right in the middle of the 'trust fire nation healers to make childbirth into something complicated' speech."
Aang winced sympathetically. Even he had heard that speech more than once during his stay. He understood of course, Katara was a waterbender and a healer. Childbirth was a perfectly natural event. The Fire Nation had no such healers. Instead they had doctors who went to special schools to study about medical conditions. Apparently, by their way of thinking, Katara giving birth to the next heir to the nation was a medical condition.
Sadly it seemed to fall to Zuko to act as a referee between the two before his wife did something violent to the doctors. Now that Toph and Suki were there, they gave him a bit of respite in placating his enormously pregnant wife, but peace wasn't going to be restored until she finally gave birth.
Over by the duck pond Gyatso had decided to find his own entertainment by splashing the pond water with his hand. Terrifying the turtleducks into fleeing and soaking both him and his brother.
"Gyatso!" he gave a strangle cry while using air bending to pull his sons away from the water. Once they were out of disaster's way he used water bending to dry their clothes. Again his eldest son shot up his hands and demanded to go flying. "Gyatso, behave. Do you want me to call mommy?" His son's grey eyes opened very wide and he shook his head adamantly. Out of the two of them Toph was apparently the scarier one.
Since the turtleducks had swam away, Kuzon moved up to Sokka and had the sudden need to be a part of the conversation "Mommy has babies in her tummy." he announced proudly.
With a gentle indulgent smile that adults almost always used on children, Sokka kneeled down to him. "Yes, yes she does. My wife and sister also have babies in their tummies. As a matter of fact, my sister who is married to this guy here is going to have her baby any day now." He said while nodding his head over at Zuko's direction. Then to the other two men he asked, "Hey how did we end up with all three of them pregnant at the same time?"
Both of Aang's brows shot up at him surprised and Zuko gave him a bland glare that clearly said 'you seriously don't expect me to tell you how I got your sister pregnant do you?'
"Err… that didn't quite come out the way I meant. What I meant was we should have planned this better because they are scary when they are all pregnant together."
Aang rubbed the back of his neck awkwardly. "I don't think I actually have a say in it. Toph and I have been really careful and she still ended up pregnant with another set of twins. I'm beginning to think she's right that the universe plans for her to repopulate the air nation by herself."
"Well not exactly by herself." Sokka said with a leer while picking Kuzon up. Aang rolled his eyes at him and picked up Gyatso and the small group moved over to a table that Zuko's servants were setting up with a garden lunch. Just as they were about to start eating, they were interrupted by a deep grumbling sound and Toph appeared straight out of the ground before them.
"Yo, Sparky, you're needed."
Zuko groaned in mock despair. "Oh no. What happened now?"
"Katara's in labor."
"What? Now?" he asked looking around frantically as if his wife was going to pop out of thin air.
"Actually, she's been having contractions for some time now and has been hiding them from those doctors of yours, but now that her water broke, she can't hide it anymore."
"Damn, I better get up there before she kills one of them for trying to do their job. Remind me again why I agreed to marry her?" he grumbled while striding off towards the palace. His long legs were eating up the distance which was the only thing that showed just how nervous he was.
Sokka decided to go with him and passed Kuzon on to his mother. "Don't you remember? You won her in a fight. Maybe you should have lost on purpose!" he finished teasingly while almost running after the much taller man. He shot Aang a cocky wink and a wave before he disappeared out of sight.
Aang leaned over past his sons and kissed the tip of his wife's nose. "Hello love, care to join us for lunch?"
Toph's face blushed at bit and she tried to hide her embarrassment by saying she hoped she wouldn't just turn around and throw it back up.
His wife was still wasn't quite comfortable with public displays of affection or with him openly declaring his feelings for her. At night in the privacy of their own room, she was more than willing to accept his feelings and return them –ardently- but she still got shy when she thought someone else might see.
As he predicted, in the almost three years they had been married, Aang had flat out fallen in love with his wife. She made him laugh, occasionally made him want to cry, rooted him to something solid when he was feeling adrift, and was a steady presence at his side that he could always lean on. She completed and balanced him in a way he needed and adored.
Motherhood hadn't slowed her down at all. When their sons had been born many were worried and offered to help out but Toph stubbornly wanted to prove that she was more than capable to take care of herself and her children.
In his opinion, she probably did better than most seeing mothers. There wasn't a place anywhere in any air temple that their little terrors… err… children could run off to that she didn't know about, and couldn't divert them back from.
Gyatso was the eldest and their trouble maker. He, like his namesake, got bored easily and always ended up getting into trouble without even trying. Kuzon was a much deeper thinker but he was almost always willing to go along with his brother in whatever trouble he was getting into.
Even as chubby toddlers they had the classic long slim features of airbenders and were already showing basic air bending talent. Aang had been trying to teach some of the refugees air bending with only minimal success and it was painfully obvious that the bulk of airbenders in the future would be from his progeny.
He couldn't say he really liked it, but he would always be proud of his family.
The Avatar watched with a mixture of disgust and amusement as his sons smeared the fruits and vegetables that were supposed to be their lunch, just about everywhere except into their mouths. Toph did her best to try and slip a few bits in, but the majority of their lunch was on them rather than in them. The pair of adults tried their best to clean up their children, when a piercing scream traveled on the wind from Katara's birthing room.
"Sounds like it's almost over. Should we start heading over there?" Toph asked.
Aang only thought about it for a moment. "No there will be plenty of time later. Let's let Zuko spend some time alone with his family. I kind of like being with you guys."
"You're always with us."
"You're such a sap."
"Probably, but I love you."
She blushed a bit and ducked her head "Same here."
Done! Done, done, done! Hurray! Finally! And all that jazz!
Thank you to all of you who came with me on this little journey! I love you guys! You have all been completely and totally wonderful!
Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!