Disclaimer: Avatar: The Last Airbender does not belong to me.
Due explanation: This was a writing prompt given to me by my sister. Blame her. It is in no way meant to be taken seriously.
"This is going to be like explaining flying to a fish." Zuko moaned.
"Was that a personal attack?" Sokka asked sharply, pausing briefly in his pacing to glare menacingly at the older boy.
"Would it get me out of this if it were?" he inquired hopefully. The glare Sokka leveled him with crushed that thought. "This is humiliating."
"Well," Sokka shrugged, "It's either we talk to him about it, or Toph does. Now do you really want that?"
Zuko shuddered. "Fine," he grumbled. "Just go get him." Sokka scampered off, presumably to drag their young Avatar away from whatever childish activities he was engaging in. Zuko closed his eyes and breathed a silent prayer for patience. A few moments later Sokka reentered their secluded spot off in the woods, a confused Aang in tow.
"What is it, Sokka? I was meditating." Aang was saying. Zuko swallowed the "I just bet" that rose up in his throat at that. Maybe his prayer had been answered.
"Aang, we need to talk." Sokka told him critically, "Me and Zuko think it's time you learned some things about the world." Aang was instantly excited.
"Things that could help me defeat Firelord Ozai?" He asked jubilantly. Zuko cringed.
"Not exactly." He said slowly.
"Oh," was the airbenders reply. He looked slightly less excited. "Well, what is it?" He looked at them expectantly. They both took a simultaneous breath, as if preparing to go into battle.
"Aang, we think there are some things you need to know. About…well…about…" Zuko felt his throat go dry, glancing desperately at Sokka in a silent plea for help.
"About air-babies." Sokka interjected smoothly. Aang gave him a incredulous look.
"Air…babies?" He questioned hesitantly. "You mean like baby…airbenders?"
"Yeah!" Sokka nodded enthusiastically. Aang looked relieved.
"Guys, I already know about baby airbenders!" He chastised them. They both stared at him, Sokka with a look of confusion and Zuko with intense gratitude. "When a baby airbender appears, the monks take them and raise them in our culture."
Sokka looked wary, "Baby airbenders…. Appear?"
Aang blinked. "Yeah, you know. When the world makes a new Air Nomad. They start as a baby."
"And how are air-babies made, Aang?" Sokka questioned slowly.
The young Avatar shrugged. "I dunno how it works in the Water Tribe or Fire Nation, but for the Air Nomads, I think it's something to do with the planet and the air meeting… and the planet gives the air some plants…and then there's a new Air Nomad! Which never made much sense."
Zuko looked stricken. "Plants."
Sokka put a hand on Aang's shoulder. "Aang, I'm sorry to say, but that's not exactly how everything works." Aang frowned.
"What do you mean?" He questioned, "The monks wouldn't lie to me."
"Monks!" Zuko cried, throwing his hands in the air. Aang shot him a worried look.
"They didn't lie, Aang, they just… told it a little differently." Sokka clarified. "See, air-babies are made the same way water-babies and earth-babies are made. I'm not so sure about fire-babies, I think there might be some ritual sacrifices involved in that—" a pinecone bounced off his skull. "but in general, babies are all made the same way. And it has nothing to do with air or the planet. Or…well…"
"Plants." Zuko muttered. "It has nothing to do with plants."
Aang was looking worried now. "I don't understand."
"You see Aang," Sokka was telling him gently, "When a boy likes a girl—"
"Like I like Katara?" Aang interjected.
Sokka whapped him upside the head. "No, like you most certainly do not like Katara!"
Zuko snorted. "Maybe when you're a little older, Avatar." He told him. He stepped in and gently moved the distraught Sokka aside, looking down at the perplexed Aang. He took a deep breath, uttered another prayer, and tried again.
"When a man," he emphasized, "loves a woman, and they're not creating an international incident by being together, they share a very private experience, and from that experience, the woman becomes pregnant with the man's…air-baby."
Aang looked mortified. "How does the baby get there?!" he demanded.
"It grows there," Zuko said slowly. "Like…uh… like a plant."
"Oh." Aang seemed appeased. He turned to go back to their campsite, only to spin around and grab Zuko by the collar desperately. "How does it get out?"
Zuko swallowed hard. He tried to look to Sokka for help, but Sokka was still catatonic at the thought of his dear sister ever 'doing-the-deed'. He looked back at the horrified Airbender clutching his shirt, suddenly feeling very much doomed. Grudgingly, he began to detail the process of childbirth to the young boy.
Some time later, the three boys emerged from the woods into the campsite, Katara running to greet them.
"Where have you guys been?" She asked. Aang was stark white, eyes wide and horrified.
"I am never touching another baby animal for the rest of my life." He whispered, drifting past her in a daze. She frowned.
"What did you guys do?" She demanded. Sokka gripped her shoulders firmly, shaking her.
"Don't you ever touch another male as long as you live who isn't me or dad, do you understand?" He commanded, "It may never happen!" He stormed off, presumably to go take comfort in Sukki, leaving Katara gaping at Zuko, who merely shook his head in dismay.
"Air-babies." He told her gruffly. She blinked.
He nodded. "Air-babies."
A second passed. Then another. And another. And then…
"Oh." She felt herself pale. "Air-babies."