Sooo I've been having difficulty with Parlor Tricks and I was feeling somewhat sappy, and I realized that Parlor Tricks has like... taken over. I'm hardly writing oneshots anymore. SAD. So I wrote this, and I am now trying to make oneshot updates more frequently while not neglecting Parlor Tricks. Should be interesting.
In regards to this specific one, it fits into the vague continuity that a few of my oneshots fit into, but if I tell you which ones it'll give away the ending. But anyway.
Disclaimer: I do not own Avatar
PS the document manager was being a jerk and not letting me put a break here, so here's a fake one
FAKE BREAK. NOW THE STORY STARTS.
Katara was sitting.
She was sitting on the stairs in front of Iroh's tea shop. Just sitting. The sun was shining in its sparkling afternoon way, the breeze was whispering and warm, the city was alive with men and women and children going about their lives, and Katara was sitting.
She sat with her elbow on her knee, chin resting in her hand. She chewed her lower lip thoughtfully, bright eyes never drifting from their fixed point some distance above the horizon. She sat. And she sat.
She didn't seem to notice the odd looks people gave her as they passed her, coming and going from the Jasmine Dragon. She returned a polite "hello" to those who greeted her, but otherwise didn't say a word. She neither frowned nor smiled, made no indication that she was bored or discontent.
Katara was just sitting.
Aang was watching.
When he had woken up that morning and crossed the courtyard from Iroh's house to the shop, she was already there. He had approached her, asked what she was doing. She had told him. She was sitting. He asked if she wanted breakfast. She said she already ate. He asked if she wanted company. She said she didn't mind it. He sat. She sat. He attempted conversation. She responded rather vaguely, giving him the impression that her mind was on something else. He grew bored and politely took his leave. She didn't appear to be bothered by it.
So he returned to the shop to help Iroh, for lack of anything else to do. As he ferried trays heavy with steaming tea cups out of the kitchen, he watched. Nothing changed but an occasional shift in her posture. All morning she sat, and it wasn't long before Aang was sitting too. He had dropped into a chair near the doorway, staring at her, befuddled.
Never in his eighteen years of life had he seen anything quite like it. At the Air Temple in his childhood the monks were known to sit, but they were meditating. People usually did something when they sat. But Katara did nothing. She just sat.
He wondered if something was wrong. They had only been married for about a year and a half, things were bound to go wrong every now and then. But she always told him when something was wrong.
She had been fine yesterday, the first day of their biannual reunion at the Jasmine Dragon. In fact, Aang would go so far as to say she was better than fine yesterday. They all were. Aang and Katara were the first to arrive, greeting Iroh excitedly. Shortly after came Toph, who had barely changed despite her acquisition of both height and visible muscle since going through puberty. Fire Lord Zuko and Mai arrived next with their three-year-old son, Lu, who Katara and Aang had spent the next hour playing with. And finally, Sokka and Suki showed up with their two children, three-year-old daughter Hana and infant son Zei. It was Zei's first trip to the biannual reunion, and he had taken up most of the attention for quite some time. Katara, being directly related to Sokka, and Aang, being her husband, had already spent quite some time with Zei after his birth and in the months afterward, so after greeting him and his parents they had taken it upon themselves to keep Hana and Lu entertained.
Their biannual reunions were the two happiest times of the year. So what had happened to cause this sudden change in Katara?
"I must have done something wrong," Aang sighed, eyes never leaving the back of his young wife's head. She was too far down the steps to hear him, but he still kept his voice rather low.
"Aang, calm down," Sokka said for what felt like the hundredth time that day as he gently patted Zei's back, trying to coax a burp out of him. "I warned you before you married her, Katara is a complex individual. Probably the most complex individual any of us will ever meet."
"No kidding, Airhead," Toph added from her seat next to Sokka, smirking and foiling another attempt by Hana and Lu to sneak up on her and sending them giggling to the other side of the room. "So your girl's being a little weirder than usual. It can't last. She's too moody to just sit there forever."
Aang could help but smile a little when Toph called Katara "his girl." After all these years, he never got tired of it.
Zuko poked his head out of the kitchen when Hana and Lu came scampering back, gibbering about how cool-aunt-Toph must have superpowers. "What's wrong with you?" he asked, not unkindly, as he approached the table by the entrance. Sokka gestured toward Katara with his thumb. "Oh. You're still worried about that?"
"See?" Sokka said pointedly. "Zuko doesn't think you have to be worried. Will you listen to him?"
"It's not that I'm not listening," Aang said defensively. But before he could continue, Suki and Mai joined them at the table, each carrying their three-year-old.
"You know, it's funny," Mai began, smirking as she cleaned dirt off a giggling Lu's face with her sleeve. "I can always tell who they've been playing with by how dirty they are."
"I've noticed the same thing," Suki added, rolling her eyes at her daughter. "What kind of lady are you?" Hana just laughed when her mother started tickling her.
Toph shrugged innocently. "Dirt builds character," she said decisively. "Now help us convince Twinkle Toes that nothing's wrong with Katara."
Aang groaned and buried his face in his hands.
"You really don't have to worry, Aang," Suki said soothingly. Then she turned to Sokka. "Has he burped yet?"
"Working on it," Sokka replied. "Come on, Champ, make your old man proud." Zei still stubbornly refused to burp. "Knowing this one, he'll probably fart instead."
Hana and Lu giggled upon hearing the word "fart."
"Oh great, now look what you've done," Zuko sighed as Lu started saying "fart" over and over again to make Hana laugh.
Aang groaned again. "That's it," he said loudly, getting abruptly to his feet. Zei farted. Hana and Lu burst out laughing. Everyone started talking at once, and Aang stomped out of the shop before the subject returned to him. He sat down beside Katara without preamble. She didn't seem to notice.
"What did I do?" he demanded, startling her. She looked over at him, confused.
"Um…" she began warily, clearly not knowing how to answer. Aang sighed heavily. He could still hear Hana and Lu chanting "fart" back in the shop.
"Did I do something wrong?" he asked quietly. "Is that why you've been sitting here all day?"
"Oh," Katara smiled at him. "No, Aang, you didn't do anything wrong." He sighed in relief. She laughed a little in spite of herself. "You've been worrying about this all morning, haven't you? Oh Aang, I'm sorry." She looped an arm through his and kissed his cheek. He smiled, the tips of his ear turning a little red in embarrassment.
"Don't apologize," he said lightly, kissing the top of her head. "I'm just glad you're not mad at me."
"Of course I'm not," she murmured comfortably. Her gaze returned to the sky shortly and she fell silent.
"Can I um… ask why you've been sitting here?" he asked at length.
Katara frowned thoughtfully. "I'm not… sure," she said slowly. "I just… had some things to think about."
"Any of those things involve me?" he asked with a grin, wiggling his eyebrows. She laughed, and he visibly relaxed at the sound.
"All of them, actually," she admitted. "It's just… it was so easy, falling in love with you."
Aang hadn't been expecting this. He quirked an eyebrow at her, waiting for her to continue. She smiled indulgently.
"Think about it. In different circumstances… no war, no deadline… our relationship would have started just like that, no problem," she sighed. "I think I fell for you the day I found you."
"But… what you said at Ember Island…" Aang said quietly. Despite everything, he still hadn't been able to forget that night. Neither had Katara, and she looked down regrettably the moment he mentioned it.
"Like I said… the circumstances made things difficult…" she muttered. "I've told you before… I was too afraid of losing you to let myself get any closer…"
"I know," Aang said hurriedly, pulling her a little closer. "Sorry I brought it up."
She smiled a little sadly. "If it hadn't been for that… for the war and all we had to do… it just would have been so simple," she continued. "We're perfect for each other." Aang smiled, but she looked down again. "I used to think that… since we had so much trouble in the beginning, everything after that would be easy. And it has. But…"
She trailed off. Aang sort of understood what she meant. It was like something the monks said. The universe was all about balance. For every day, there had to be night. For every summer, there had to be winter. For every heartbreak, there had to be happiness. But?
Katara sighed again. "But we've been so happy for so long, Aang," she said in a rush. "I feel like something bad has to happen now."
Aang smiled at her and kissed the top of her head again. "We went through a lot to get where we are," he said quietly. "I think the universe owes us at least another twenty years of happiness ." She smiled a little and he grinned. "What brought this on, anyway?"
Katara became very still. It seemed to Aang as though she had been sitting here thinking about something else, and that he had just gotten to it before she was ready.
"Um… well…" she began, very quietly. She was biting her lip again, looking away from him. She shifted rather uncomfortably beside him. "I uh… have some news, actually."
Aang frowned, confused. News?
It was then that Aang noticed the hand that wasn't on his arm had been resting on her stomach the entire time he'd been sitting beside her.
"What news?" he asked, trying not to get too excited. Maybe he was reading too much into this. Maybe she just had a stomachache. Maybe…
"I'm having a baby."
Aang felt as though a large balloon was inflating in his chest. "You…" he began, eyes widening, but he couldn't quite get any more words to come out. She was watching him apprehensively, chewing on her lower lip as her hand tightened almost imperceptibly on her stomach.
"I'm um… pregnant," she said, very quietly. "We're uh… having a baby."
"We…" he said faintly, taking a deep breath. She looked down, waiting nervously. All of a sudden his arms were around her, lifting her to her feet and spinning her around in an ecstatic circle. She grabbed his shoulders in surprise as he spun her again, and then she heard him laughing. All of her tension left her and she felt tears in her eyes. She threw her arms around his neck, laughing excitedly. He stopped spinning long enough to kiss her.
When he pulled away, he was babbling, to excited to form entirely coherent sentences and dropping swift kisses on her lips between words.
"I can't believe it… this is wonderful… how long have you... can't believe it… this is so… we're going to be... Katara, we're…"
"You're going to be a father," she whispered against his lips, and he laughed again. In fact, he couldn't seem to stop.
The laughing and spinning had gained the attention of the occupants of the table near the doorway in the tea shop, but it wasn't until the two of them calmed down a little more and Aang laid a hand on her stomach that everyone else got excited as well.
Aang and Katara both looked up the stairs to find everyone staring at them, smiles spreading across a few faces. Aang just grinned and shouted, "Hey guys, good news!"
That continuity I was talking about? Involves WHAT WAS DESIRED and PLAYING FAVORITES. Now you see why I couldn't tell you before. And also I suppose CONTENTMENT and THREE DAYS fit also. And ONE WEEK. And likely a few others, but who has the time?!