Disclaimer: Never gonna own Avatar.
She had a choice from the very beginning: she could marry the young man her parents had chosen and at least try to get back into their good graces, or refuse and shame her family, even her little sisters who were still too young to even know the meaning of honor and shame.
He never had a choice, even if he'd wanted one. During the siege he had been stripped of both his pride as a warrior and the hand of Princess Yue, and he needed to redeem his family in some way, being the nephew of the Northern Water Tribe leader.
The first time they met, choices didn't matter; they'd already made their decisions. They would marry, in one of the many attempts to re-establish peace between the Fire Nation and the Water Tribe.
In the way that was an established part of her very being, she fell in love with him in only a few days, knowing of his arrogance and merely choosing to help him through it. He viewed her as slightly odd, but he chose to ignore this—she was friendly and cute, and maybe in time he would learn to love her.
Though he didn't love her—at least, not in the beginning—he chose to still put an effort into her betrothal necklace, since he figured she deserved something pretty. Being that she was Fire Nation (and she missed her home, though she tried her best to hide it behind smiles and a never ending thirst to explore the Northern Water Tribe), he carefully carved into the blue ice the symbol of the Fire Nation, ignoring his father's scorn.
(It was all worth it when she squealed and tackled him, hugging him tightly and giving him a quick, hard kiss on the lips. He never told her it was his first kiss.)
The quiet but quick burst of love that had been blooming within her only expanded with his gift, and she wore the necklace proudly for the rest of her days.
After that, he had no choice at all.
He fell head over heels in love with just a smile and a kiss.
Sad to say it was not unusual for another man to try and claim an engaged woman; if he did so successfully, he could easily force the woman to be his wife instead. The drunk, however, had forgotten about this particular woman's pressure point skills. He crumbled at her feet, a soundless mass.
Her fiancée stared in amazement, the sword hanging at his side (he hadn't needed it.). She shifted nervously from foot to foot, unable to meet his eyes. After seeing her skills, most men assumed she was weird.
The next instant she stiffened slightly in shock as he pulled her into his arms, his sword falling to the ground with a clang; her eyes widened slightly, and she slowly relaxed. "Hahn?"
"Are you all right?"
"Y-yeah… I'm fine…"
He laughed softly and spoke directly into her ear.
"You were amazing, Ty Lee."
She had no choice. Her heart was lost.
They had no choice in having children; it was expected from them the moment they met and the moment they married.
What no one ever knew was that they had agreed to it long ago.
He was the one who had a choice to make when tragedy struck.
She was only about five to six months along (he hoped it was a boy, while she held out for a girl. They both agreed twins would be a good compromise) when she fell ill suddenly, and was dragged under the heat and pain so roughly that she had no way to recover. As she slipped quietly into a coma, he was offered a choice by the healers.
"Either we can focus all our energy on saving the child and lose your wife, Lord Hahn, or we can focus on saving your wife and losing the child."
It was a choice no man was supposed to make. It was a choice he was expected to make, and in only a few minutes so the healing could begin.
He thought of the small, nameless life growing inside her, a boy or a girl or possibly even twins somehow.
He thought of her smile, the way she'd kissed him when he gave her the engagement necklace, how warm and soft she felt in his arms, the way she filled his heart.
He made his decision.
Her voice was weak, soft, but he expected that considering her fever had just broken. He took her hand, gave it a light squeeze, and forced a smile. "Hey, Ty."
She looked at him, her eyes dark and weary. "I'm… I'm alive."
Her fingers tightened against his and she closed her eyes, what little color she'd regained draining from her face. She was still tired, and the full grief of what they'd lost would hit her then—but there was still pain, sharp and warm in her chest, and she drew some comfort from his presence.
After a long moment, she spoke again, opening her eyes. "What happened while I was asleep?"
He brought her hand briefly to his lips.
"They gave me a choice. I chose you."
They slept curled together that night, her breathing soft and warm against the curve of his throat and her arms tight around him. He gazed quietly at the pendant around her neck as the weak moonlight danced across it, before closing his eyes and turning his cheek against her hair, joining her in sleep.
Their fingers met, curled together, rested.
They never had a choice about marrying. That was simple.
They had a choice, however, when they spent time together, got to know each other, began to understand each other.
And they chose to fall in love.
This was yet another writing challenge between myself and Daydream11, a good friend of mine. We just can't seem to resist challenging each other, and we just had to pair up the last of Ozai's Angels after the Azulaang and Sokkai challenges.
Read and review, please!