Disclaimer: I do not own Avatar: The Last Airbender.
Author's Note: So here it is at last – the epilogue! I give this to you with mixed feelings, as I'm sure many of you will have reading it. On the one hand, it is a lengthy, sometimes emotionally draining work that I am glad to have behind me. On the other hand, it feels like the series is ending all over again, leaving a void that I will need to find something to fill.
I think I will be taking a break from Avatar fiction for a while (although I am working on a songfic that should be finished soon, and I may revive my Magic Kingdom and Avatar on Broadway collections from time to time). I will probably be posting some short ideas from various television shows and books, and I'm considering an extended work based on the book "The Magician's Ward" by Patricia C. Wrede. In the meantime, I thank you all for being such devotees of my work, and I hope you'll consider branching out to read my stories in other fandoms.
Firelord Zuko kept his word to the Bei Fongs, sending many gifts to Toph over the successive months: more jewelry, hair ornaments, bolts of cloth to make dresses out of, special shoes without soles so that she could appear to be wearing stylish footwear while maintaining her connection to the ground. He also visited as often as he could, getting to know the young woman Toph had become and developing their relationship in new ways.
By the time all was said and done, eight months had gone by, and they finally stood before General Iroh, the Dragon of the West, for the wedding ceremony. It would normally be the Fire Sages who presided over such an event, but Zuko felt better about having his uncle there instead. He'd already changed many traditions, so one more didn't seem to matter.
A silken cord was tied around Zuko and Toph's wrists in a symbolic binding. They said their vows, followed by affirmations from the guests. Then Iroh set a careful fire to the cord, incinerating it to ash to symbolize that their binding was now part of them and no longer needed the outward reminder. Finally, they exchanged gold rings as a symbol of their commitment to one another.
That night, Zuko took his bride to his bedchamber and proceeded a little hesitantly. She seemed so small and fragile that he'd decided to be gentle with her. His resolve only lasted, however, until she demonstrated rather forcefully that she was really not all that delicate.
Aang and Katara enjoyed a long and happy marriage. They did have some disagreements and misunderstandings along the way, but Aang's easygoing nature and Katara's recognition of her own volatility led them to make up their fights quickly. Katara was also careful not to let Aang leave on Avatar business with any harsh words. She knew better than most how easy it would be to lose him, and she always wanted to make sure he knew how much she loved him.
Katara suffered two miscarriages, which caused grief to both her and Aang. However, she managed to bring ten healthy children into the world, most of them airbenders. The settlement that they established at the Eastern Air Temple became a thriving community of people from all nations. Some of their children found their perfect mates there, while others had to travel to discover theirs. Aang even found a mate for Momo, so that the skies were soon filled with flying lemurs, many of which became pets to his children and grandchildren. He missed the sky bison, but it appeared that he had the last one of those, and he was happy to see some semblance of the life that this temple had once held.
When she was finally done having children, Katara formed a small waterbending school. Since Aang was spending a lot of his time training their young airbenders, it seemed only logical for her to teach the ones who were waterbenders. After that, it was a small step to add her niece and some other southern waterbenders to the instruction. While some waterbenders from the north had moved to the South Pole, Katara had wider experience than most of them and could offer the new techniques she and Aang had developed. Besides, none of the northern waterbenders who'd migrated were healers, and everyone agreed that was a useful skill. Some young swampbenders even made the journey to learn her style.
Both Aang and Katara fulfilled Aunt Wu's prophecy, living long enough to see several great-grandchildren brought into the world before crossing over to begin their final adventure in the next world.
The relationship between Sokka and Suki had a tendency to be confrontational, but they were solid for all that. Motherhood mellowed Suki considerably, and she threw herself into the tasks that would make her a good wife for the Chief of the Southern Water Tribe. Visits from or traveling to relatives on both sides kept her occupied as well.
For his part, Sokka was not as patronizing of women as he'd once been and was open to the ideas that his warrior wife brought to the South Pole. She taught some of her fighting techniques to the females of her new tribe, awkward as some of them were while wearing heavy parkas. In turn, they taught her how to survive in their frozen surroundings.
Sokka also saw the sense in creating a new group of waterbenders for his tribe and encouraged more interaction between the South and North Poles. He was a little taken aback when one of his daughters turned out to be a waterbender, but he recovered, sending her to her Aunt Katara for training as soon as she was old enough.
Zuko and Toph were also far from having a placid relationship, but it worked for them. Zuko even found that sparring with Toph helped him to reach new levels of firebending, and it was an added benefit that their exertions usually led them to a bath and bed, not necessarily in that order. The couple ended up with seven children, more than any royal family in recent memory and a testament to the strength of their feelings for one another.
The people of the Fire Nation eventually learned to love and respect both their Firelord and their unconventional Firelady. The world was at peace, and even the common people prospered as their taxes were reduced. Toph was already accustomed to getting what she wanted, and the air of command came naturally to her. She became more of a co-ruler than simply the Firelord's wife, and Zuko relied on her advice on many occasions. Her special abilities also came in handy, since she could tell who was lying when people came to court to have grievances addressed.
Zuko banned the hunting of dragons, and the surviving pair finally felt safe enough to lay a clutch of eggs. The majestic creatures visited the capital occasionally, eventually presenting the Firelord with one of their hatchlings. It would be a decade or more before it would grow large enough to carry him in flight, but in the meantime, the sign of trust indicated a renewal of the relationship between the royal line and the majestic creatures who were credited with teaching people firebending. Beyond that, the symbol represented the promise of dragons once again filling the skies. There was even talk about dragons becoming the new bonded animals for Aang's airbender offspring, since the flying bison were now all but extinct. The union of Fire and Air would also be a symbol of the change in relations that had occurred since the Fire Nation slaughtered the Air Nomads a century earlier.
Finally, Firelord Zuko benefited greatly from the presence of his stepfather, who gave him more sound advice in an average week than his birth father had provided in a lifetime. It could honestly have been said that Fire, Earth, and Water all living together in the Fire Nation was a large part of what kept the global peace intact.
Princess Azula spent several years in prison before finally swallowing her pride and agreeing to work with her brother. She'd had a brief taste of being Firelord, and that remembrance wasn't easy to let go, despite the loss of her bending. Zuko and Aang had already agreed to make no attempt to return her firebending to her, no matter how reformed she appeared to be. Aside from the fact that Aang wasn't even sure it was possible, the temptation for her to use her power to challenge Zuko for the throne would be too great.
Azula lived at the palace for a time to re-acclimate to society, but Zuko soon realized that deciding what to do with her was not as easy as he'd thought it would be. He didn't want her too close to his growing family, knowing that she could be dangerous even without fire. On the other hand, she needed to be near enough for him to keep an eye on her. In the end, he made her the governor of an island that lay to the southeast of the main island of the Fire Nation, making sure that some people loyal to him were included among her servants and functionaries to report on anything suspicious. The arrangement worked out well. She never married, seeming to find solace in her independence.
Iroh happily ran his teashop in Ba Sing Se for many years, usually giving the Avatar and his companions free drinks and snacks whenever they passed through. He also hosted occasional reunions of those who had helped to end the great war.
However, there was no denying that he was an old man, so when his body was no longer up to the challenges of running a bustling business, he sold out to an employee who made nearly as good a cup of tea as his master and retired to the Fire Nation. Though he never forgot the loss of his son, he enjoyed being around his nephew's children in his declining years. He also managed to have some long talks with his niece, even if he was never certain whether he was getting through. His mind remained sharp to the end.
Hakoda and Ursa enjoyed a relatively quiet, retiring life in the Fire Nation. Finding romance after so much time alone was refreshing for both of them, and the fact that they'd been part of something great in the process of finding each other made it that much sweeter. They spent as much time as possible with their children and grandchildren, while always making time for each other.
Haru mastered earthbending, under the tutelage of his father, and became well respected in the village of his birth. However, his involvement with the Avatar had given him a desire to travel, so he wandered for a few years. He eventually found himself in the Fire Nation, where he began the improbable courtship of the irrepressible Ty Lee. After a great deal of teasing on her part and patience on his, they married and moved to the Eastern Air Temple. Much to her chagrin, she gave birth to six beautiful daughters. In an attempt to avoid the kind of youth she had fled from, she tried to encourage them all to develop individual skills and personalities.
Teo returned to the Northern Air Temple with his father and enjoyed a long, blissful life, spending as much time in the air as possible. Under their guidance, the settlement prospered, and he married a local girl. Although travel was difficult for him, he never forgot the Avatar and his friends and wrote frequent letters to them.
Longshot and Smellerbee spent seven years in the service of the Earth King before they decided to train their replacements and settle down. They married and joined the growing colony at the Eastern Air Temple, where they raised their family alongside the Avatar's.
The Duke and Pipsqueak decided to remain freedom fighters, traveling the Earth Kingdom and beyond in search of small fights that they could help the little people to win. They gathered others to them in the process, eventually founding a world-renowned mercenary company that was known to back up Avatar Aang in situations where diplomacy failed.
The Earth King spent several years learning how to be a good ruler, and his time incognito among the common people helped greatly with that. Although he showed no inclination to marry, his advisors pointed out that he needed an heir in order to avoid plunging Ba Sing Se into chaos upon his eventual death. He acceded to this wisdom, and after much considering and rejecting of candidates, Mai was selected as his bride.
To outside observers, this hardly seemed a suitable match, but she was from a good family, and another bond between the Earth Kingdom and Fire Nation seemed both prudent and wholly respectable. Besides, Mai had been at loose ends since Zuko had permanently broken off with her, and her stony demeanor tended to drive away potential suitors. Perhaps that actually made her perfect to be the wife of a ruler of earthbenders.
Mai dutifully produced two sons for the Earth King, after which the pair largely pursued their amusements separately. It was an amicable marriage, if not one filled with happy delirium. Mai would not have known what to do with such an excess of emotion anyway, and the Earth King was content to spend time with his pet bear when he wasn't conducting the business of the kingdom. He was eventually remembered as one of the most forward-thinking leaders Ba Sing Se had ever seen.
So the balance of the world was restored, and the various intermarriages of the world's leaders and war heroes helped to assure that international alliances would extend for generations. It was likely that the isolation of the elemental nations was entirely a thing of the past, a situation that Guru Pathik would no doubt approve.
Despite local issues that flared up from time to time, the peace was lasting, and Avatar Aang was able to turn over a unified world to his successor.
Author's Note: I hope that satisfactorily wrapped up the major and lesser characters. A part of me wanted to bring Song back in somewhere, but since I didn't include her in the story, I didn't think that made much sense. If I left off someone you thought should have been included, please let me know, and I may update. Again, thank you all for coming along with me on this alternate conclusion to the most beautiful animated series ever created.
Big A. Lovin kataang: I usually call it Toko, but I hope your friend enjoys it. I've already been requested to write a Toko-centric fic. I'm not sure yet whether I will.
Amber Pegasus: Well, he's had two years to think about it. He may not know exactly what he's getting into, but he's been watching the marriages of his friends all that time and is probably envious.
Mithendel: Indeed, all things must come to an end. I will probably throw in some oneshots here and there, but I'm not planning to begin another novel-length project right away, at least not for Avatar.
Katsumara: I can't tell anything about the acting yet, but the guy playing Zuko is an Indian comedian, so he should at least have the timing for Zuko's deadpan moments. I am concerned that the humor will be lost, since that was a large part of the show's charm.
Private LL Church: I know Toko is a bit of a stretch by modern standards, but they seem so well suited to one another, and their ages would be nothing unusual in prior centuries. 15-year-old Lydia Bennett (Pride & Prejudice) married 28-year-old Mr. Wickham, and let us not forget that Juliet was 14, Romeo 17.
The Lonely Fox: I admit to mixed feelings as well. I'm glad to finally be done with this big project, but I now have to decide what to write next.
Kataang-girl14: Well, I updated quickly, but sadly, it's the last chapter. Hope you enjoyed the story!Well, I updated quickly, but sadly, it's the last chapter. Hope you enjoyed the story!Well, I updated quickly, but sadly, it's the last chapter. Hope you enjoyed the story!
Animus of Masada: Sorry, but this is the end. I don't believe in overstaying my welcome.:) Seriously, though, I think for a story to be truly good, it has to have an ending. I'm glad you enjoyed it.
Cpd x: I've been trying to keep this fic tastefully T rated. If you want more description on Aang and together for the first time, check out my oneshot "Wedding Night."
milktart lover: Actually, what pulled down life expectancy in earlier centuries was mostly the high rate of infant and child mortality. Secondarily, a lot of women died in childbirth. Men, if they survived the wars that were usually going on, often lived into their 60s. Still, marriages at 13 or 14 were quite common in the Middle Ages and still occur today in tribal cultures.
arizony: Sadly, yes, it is over. I was really just trying to write an alternate ending to the series, after all, plus tag on a ship-filled coda that covered things I'm sure the creators wouldn't have dreamed of. It is somewhat of a relief to finally have finished this, and I thank you for joining me for the ride.