In the pale light of dawn, a man returns home. He has been away for three days and is glad to see the smoke rising from his own chimney again. He could have stayed in any number of houses or inns on his travel home, but chose instead to spend his last night away from home out in the open air. He reached home sooner, traveling at his own pace, and it gave him a sentimental sense of adventure. He and his steed come home on light feet, and the man feeds the animal a large amount of hay after stabling.
"Good boy! You deserve that," he says, patting the creature affectionately. He turns toward the house, but halfway there, he veers toward an open window instead of the closed door and climbs quietly inside. The house is small, but comfortable. The man and his wife live simply, but they prefer it that way---it reminds them both of happy times when they were younger.
He moves through the house softly, light as air, so as to surprise his wife. He finds her in the kitchen, her back toward him, when he sneaks his head around the doorframe. Despite the early hour, she has dressed and eaten and is washing her breakfast dishes. He knows that when he's not there, she doesn't pay as much attention to the rise and fall of the moon, moving instead with her own sense of time. He stands there for a minute, content to just watch her as he decides how to let her know he's there.
Though her braid is tidy, she has missed a small strand of hair along the nape of her neck. With a grin, he sends a little wisp of air that winds it along her dark braid. Her reaction comes, but it's small---her head tilts slightly, her feet shift on the floor, and he hopes she's smiling.
With a quick movement, she lifts her hands and a stream of water comes flying out of the bowl she's holding. He's sure she's smiling now. As it cascades toward him and the floor, he pulls it together and carefully sends it sliding back into the wash bucket. Having let the water confirm her husband's identity, she turns around. With a delighted smile, she is pulled into his embrace and met with a welcoming kiss.
And when the kiss is done, she punches him in the arm.
"That," she says as he begins to protest, "was for trying to sneak up on me."
He tries to appear penitent for a moment, but then a chuckle leaks out. She pouts at him, but quickly joins him in laughter, too glad to have him back to even pretend at arguing.
"Welcome home, Twinkle Toes."
Author's Note: Yes, I realize that this is most likely AU, but as I haven't finished Season Three quite yet, I can't say for certain. Regardless of whether or not it is, I hope you enjoyed it.
Please review. Constructive criticism will be warmly welcomed, as this is my first attempt at fanfiction. Flames will be sent to Aang and Zuko to aid them in their journey to the Firebending Masters.