Hey fun people. This was kind of a quick idea, so it's kind of a quick story. One part of it was originally intended for Parlor Tricks, but then I changed my mind about it and put it in this instead. Haha. I recycle.
Disclaimer: I do not own Avatar
Some things in the world were universal. Whether it was the Fire Nation, the Earth Kingdom, or the Water Tribe. They all spoke the same language. They looked up at the same stars every night. They breathed the same air. They all hated. They all loved.
To Katara, weddings were universal. Water Tribe weddings were grand celebrations of a new life beginning. Fire Nation weddings were solemn and full of traditions. Earth Kingdom weddings varied greatly depending on where you were, falling in a wide spectrum between the Water Tribe and the Fire Nation. But they were always beautiful. Katara loved weddings. It served as a reminder that everybody could fall in love, no matter what nation you were from or what element you bend.
But not just any kind of love. The kind of love that came along with a connection, a binding force between two people that could make them willing to pledge their lives to just one person. A lifetime. Marriage was a lifetime.
So Aang was understandably confused when Katara seemed more than a little distraught at Teo's wedding.
For years after the war, Aang and Katara had been travelling together. They were a perfect match, everyone could see it. They were never apart. They had a connection.
It seemed to Katara that every few months they got another invitation to another friend's wedding. All around them their friends were finding their lifetimes.
So as the reception began after the Earth Kingdom wedding which fell significantly toward the Water Tribe end of the spectrum, Aang asked Katara to dance knowing she would accept and he could ask her what was wrong.
"You love weddings," Aang said quietly as he took Katara in his arms.
She nodded vaguely, apparently focused on his shoes as they made their way around the dance floor.
"But you don't seem too happy about this one," he continued. She glanced up at him.
"I'm frustrated," she said in answer to his unasked question.
"What about?" he asked, smiling a little.
"You," she replied bluntly.
He stopped abruptly and another dancing couple ran into them. He muttered a hasty apology as he pulled Katara off the dance floor. She followed him without a word and cast a curious glance around their ending destination. The wedding was at the Northern Air Temple, and he had led her to an old sanctuary that had mostly collapsed by the looks of it.
"I didn't want to argue in front of Teo's guests," he said, recognizing the curious way she was looking around.
"Oh, so we're arguing?" she asked lightly.
"I don't know," he admitted uncomfortably. "Why… why are you frustrated about me?"
She stared at him for a while, as though she was sizing him up.
"I'm okay," she said suddenly. "I'm okay with what we are right now. We kiss and we share a bed and we have sex…"
He blushed and looked around as though worried Sokka would be hiding somewhere in the shadows.
"I'm okay with that," she continued as though she hadn't noticed. "And I know that you don't want anything else because you're the Avatar and you're always travelling and you don't want to be tied down."
"Wait, that's not-" he began defensively, shocked that she thought such a thing.
"But I want things," she said firmly, cutting him off. The silence of the sanctuary pressed in around them. "I can't help it. I want more."
"Katara…" he began tiredly. They'd been over this before. More than once. She wanted to get married. He didn't. He was a monk, after all. Monks didn't typically make a big deal out of marriage. It was a worldly thing of little importance to the spirituality of love. Of course, he knew that under regular circumstances he would marry her to make her happy. But there was another reason he kept secret from her. He hated that he could never really settle down, being the Avatar. He didn't feel like he could provide for her, so he didn't want to marry her. That way, she had a way out.
Another long silence fell between them.
"I want it all," she said quietly. "I want the wedding and the house. But that's not why I want to marry you."
He frowned, confused. "Why, then?"
She smiled a little. "I want the lifetime," she sighed. "I want a lifetime with you, and I want everyone in the world to know about it."
He stared at her. "Katara," he began again, but she didn't let him finish.
"I don't need a way out," she said abruptly, shocking him into silence. "That's why you won't marry me, right? You're worried I'll want to bolt but I won't be able to."
"How did you…" he asked at length, completely thrown.
"I know you," she laughed a little. "And that's the dumbest thing I've ever heard, by the way." He opened his mouth to respond, but he didn't really have anywhere to go from there. "I'm not going to bolt. I don't need a way out. I'm in love with you. I want a lifetime."
He was stunned into silence. She sighed and looked down.
"If you really don't want to marry me, then I won't ask again," she murmured. "But…"
"I want things," he blurted. She glanced up in surprise. "I want the wedding… and the house."
She smiled and he laughed.
"A house with tons of windows, because you like to watch the rain," he continued. Her eyes widened a little. "And a big kitchen because you dance sometimes when you cook."
She smiled, tears gathering in her eyes. "Aang…"
"And a fireplace with a hearth because that's where your mom used to tell you stories," he continued, taking both of her shaking hands in his. "And a small bedroom because sometimes at night you feel like there's too much space and you can't sleep. And a playroom."
"A playroom?" she asked, wiping her eyes.
"For the kids," he said simply, shrugging.
She laughed a little and the next thing he knew, her arms were around his neck and her lips were against his. When she finally pulled away from him, he grinned.
"I want the lifetime," he whispered. She beamed at him. "So?"
"Do you want to marry me or not?"
She rolled her eyes. "I guess," she sighed dramatically, still grinning. "I mean… a lifetime's a pretty long time."
He laughed. "Not nearly long enough."