So ends Lyralocke's Kataang Week Part Deux! Now, godwilling, I will get some Parlor Tricks done.

Chapter 7: In My Arms

The day Zuko and Mai chose to be married was exceptionally hot. The types of garments traditionally worn at Fire Nation weddings were not at all suited for exceptionally hot days.

Maybe it was just another in a long line of signs that this wasn't a traditional marriage in a traditional time. The world was changing, after all. Not as rapidly as it was seven years ago, but there was still a long way to go before they reached the peaceful world the Avatar and the Fire Lord envisioned. Either way, the traditional wedding garb was tossed aside in favor of the nicer (but still not quite formal) clothes the wedding party usually wore on hot summer days in the Fire Nation. They were all dressed in reds and golds of course, but it served to make the atmosphere less stuffy and traditional and more celebratory of a new phase in the lives of two great friends.

Plus they all went barefoot, which pleased Toph greatly.

The banquet was all the more fun without to restraints of the attire that would have been, and in some ways the banquet was even more important than the actual ceremony, so it was remembered as one of the more enjoyable weddings the palace had hosted in recent decades. The menu consisted entirely of light summer dishes to begin with, so this particular day wasn't any fuss for the kitchen staff. And despite the heat it was a beautiful day, so no one objected to sticking to the original plan of throwing the banquet outside in an open air pavilion on the palace grounds. The table was long and low, surrounded by great silk cushions in place of chairs, so a comfortable atmosphere pervaded the event.

So the wedding of the Fire Lord began with a reminder of just how little power they had over the earth, and ended with a reminder of just how adaptable the human race was. It seemed very fitting, in a poetic sort of way.

"You know what I think?" Katara said seriously after Aang had related these thoughts to her. He smiled, indicating that he was listening. Katara smirked at him. "I think you, Avatar Aang, have had a little too much to drink."

Aang rolled his eyes and Katara laughed lightly. Evening had fallen and the pavilion was lit with hundreds of paper lanterns. Fireflies were blinking lazily in the darkness beyond the long table, which was currently laden with teas, wines, and desserts of every kind. What had earlier been a raucous feast had devolved somewhat to a contented buzz of conversation.

Katara was cozied up to Aang's side on the cushion he was occupying, resting her elbow on the table and her chin on her hand as she comfortably surveyed their surroundings. Aang had an arm loosely around her waist and was leaning back on his other hand. He turned his gaze to the fresh stars and sighed.

"What a day," he murmured, running a hand up Katara's back. She closed her eyes and let out a sigh of her own.

"A good day," she finished for him. He grinned.

"If someone had told me eight years ago that I would be with you at Zuko's wedding right now, I'd have told them they were crazy."

Katara smiled at him. "I agree with half of that." Aang gave her a puzzled look that made her laugh a little. She reached for him, resting a hand on his cheek and smiling fondly. "I knew I'd be with you."

Aang's eyebrows shot up in surprise. "Oh you did?" he asked with an air of great surprise. She smirked and gave a little half-nod. Aang glanced thoughtfully skyward. "Well what if I had given up on you and fallen in love with that girl at the Fire Nation school?"

Katara wasn't phased in the slightest. She just shrugged one shoulder. "But you didn't give up on me, did you?"

Aang let out a low laugh and leaned forward, resting his head in the crook of her neck. Her hand left his face and came to rest on his shoulder.

"Nope," he sighed. "Never did, never could."

"And in the end I just couldn't resist your charm," Katara replied dramatically, unable to disguise the smile in her voice.

Aang chuckled again and wrapped his arms around her waist, his lips tickling her neck when he whispered, "And now here you are, in my arms."

Katara just smiled and murmured, "Wonderful place to be, in my opinion."