Aaaaawwwwww snap. A Kataang oneshot. Dunno what came over me guys, I was just listening to a song and I was like... I gotta write. Can't say if it's any good, but it felt good to write something again. Like... cathartic, yo. Let me know what you think of it!
Disclaimer: Avatar. I don't own it.
"Aang, stop fidgeting. You're making Appa nervous."
Appa let out a growl of consent as he soared through the clouds, Aang sitting uncomfortably on his head, twisting the reins in his hands. Katara lounged in the saddle just behind him, watching him shift awkwardly back and forth.
"I'm not fidgeting," Aang muttered defensively. The tips of his ears turned red, and Katara grinned. She decided to leave him with his thoughts and looked over the edge of Appa's saddle.
They had been flying for most of the day, and the sun was beginning to set. Katara sighed, a blissful grin on her face. She had been flying with Aang for seven years now, but the sights and the feeling never got old. They were flying over a deep valley filled with clouds that spread like an ocean beneath them. Rocky spires jutted up through the fog here and there like ghostly islands, and her mind began to wander as it always did when they passed over unfamiliar landscapes.
She wondered if people lived down there, beneath the clouds. If there were dwellings on the tops of those pillars of stone. Maybe it was a land undiscovered, where no human had ever walked. Maybe it was the ruins of the ancient civilization that came long before the Avatar. Maybe… she paused and glanced up at Aang again, the setting sun turning him red. She smiled. Maybe they would come back here someday, and all the other strange places she had seen from above.
As she watched him, he rolled his head on his shoulders to stretch the kinks in his neck and gave himself a brisk shake. She sighed a bit and sat back against the saddle right behind him so they faced away from each other.
"Aang," Katara she said quietly, glancing at him over her shoulder. "Tell me what's wrong. Please?"
He sighed heavily and she felt him slump forward a bit.
"It's nothing, we've just… we've been in the air for a few days straight now," he muttered. Katara frowned. He sounded tired and concerned. "And even when we land for a while we just stay at inns or camp out in the woods like the old days…"
Katara just smiled sadly, her concern for him growing. "What, you're getting air sick?" she teased gently.
He allowed himself an insincere half-smile. "Well… we've been together for a while now, you and me…" Katara's ears perked up at this. She hadn't been expecting this. Was it her fault he was acting this way? Maybe he was getting tired of her…
He sighed again. "It's just… I'm sorry, Katara…"
She swallowed hard. "Sorry for what?" she asked quietly.
"I'll be nineteen soon you know," he said abruptly. She blinked, unsure of how to respond. "I've been an adult in the water tribe for three years now, and your father doesn't want me dragging you all over the world without a good reason. He thinks we should get married soon."
"I know," Katara replied simply. Ever since Aang had reached manhood in the water tribe, Hakoda had been hinting that he wanted them to marry. But they didn't want to get married yet, they were too young. They still had so much childhood to catch up on after all they'd been through.
"I'm just kind of scared," he admitted quietly. "I can't provide for you yet."
This, to Katara, had come out of nowhere. "What are you talking about?" she asked, genuinely confused as she looked over her shoulder at him.
"We've been flying for days," he repeated nervously. She saw his ears turning red again and smiled a bit. He was so sweet, she didn't think she'd ever get tired of it. "All we do is travel. We don't really have a home of our own."
"Oh," Katara said, everything suddenly becoming clear. She sat back, relieved. "That's all."
"What's all?" Aang asked distractedly.
"Aang, a home is what you make it," she replied gently. "We can live wherever we want."
Aang fell thoughtfully silent and Katara smiled again. She knew any moment he'd be asking her more questions, and she looked forward to it. Being stuck in ice for a hundred years, Aang had lost some perspective. That was what Katara provided for him in situations like this.
"Well… where do you want to live?" he asked at length.
Katara laughed lightly. He had missed her point, but she would get him there in his own time. She leaned her head against his back and felt him stiffen a bit in surprise before he relaxed.
"Hm, that's a good question," she sighed thoughtfully. "We could go to the Earth Kingdom. Live in a little house on a hill." Aang nodded, and her smile grew a bit. "We could… go to the North Pole and live in a houseboat, grow old together out in the ocean." He nodded again. She chuckled. "We could go to Ba Sing Se and get an apartment in the lower ring, where all the city life is."
Aang didn't nod this time. She could tell he was thinking hard about something. "You're trying to make a point, aren't you?" he asked with laughter in his voice. She grinned. He knew her so well. She got up and climbed out of the saddle, seating herself beside him on Appa's furry head. He shifted behind her, situating her comfortably between his legs so she could lean back against his chest and rest in his embrace.
"Home isn't just four walls and a roof," she said quietly. "Home is where you want to be. It's where there are people who love you, someplace you can always come back to."
She glanced up at him and he smiled. She felt that familiar, fluttering warmth in her chest and closed her eyes comfortably.
"This is home, Aang," she whispered. "I'm home with you."