Working the crowd in the festivities after Zuko's coronation, Aang had somehow gotten separated from Katara, and the rest of his adopted family. He politely excused himself from a group of mostly Earth Kingdom admirers and began weaving through the throng in search of familiar outfits. He couldn't help noticing that the people were still grouped by their nationality. It was going to take some time before the Earth Kingdom and Water Tribe would feel comfortable with the Fire Nation.
Soon he caught sight of a group of green-clad women whose bold face paint made them stand out even in the diverse gathering.
"Hey girls. Have any of you seen Katara?"
The girls shook their heads, and Ty Lee sprang forward with the grace of a cat-owl. "I'm sorry, I haven't seen her, but actually I've been wanting to talk to you about something."
Aang blinked. "Okay, what is it?"
"I want to tell you alone." Ty Lee glanced over her armored shoulder. The other girls shrugged and talked amongst themselves.
"Okay…" This was getting weirder by the second. "I'll try to find someplace with no one else around. How about the facilities?"
Ty Lee's painted face twisted into a grimace. "That's gross. Let's try the stables."
Two minutes later, Aang and Ty Lee opened the gate to the stone building that housed the ostrich-horses, komodo-rhinos, eel-hounds, and Appa.
"Hiya buddy," said Aang, walking across the straw covered stone floor to stroke Appa's muzzle. The royal stables had a stall large enough to fit the ten-ton Sky Bison, which raised a few questions that Aang had yet to voice.
"So what do you want to talk about, Ty Lee?"
The girl drew a deep breath and looked at her brown boots, as if she expected them to provide encouragement. "I guess it would be better if I show you."
She filled her lungs with air and blew out with the force of a gale. It rocked him back, and he struggled to stay upright. Ty Lee kept a steady stance, but blew herself back five feet across the floor.
When gale died down to a normal breath, Aang blinked several times.
"You - you're an airbender?"
Ty Lee's eyes met his. For the first time, Aang noticed what color they were. Gray, like his. Like an Air Nomad's.
"But then - airbenders are hiding in the Fire Nation?" A delighted thrill shot through Aang's chest. "Our people weren't all killed?"
"Before Sozin started the war, a lot of Air Nomads intermarried with Fire Nationals," explained Ty Lee. "My great, great grandmother was an Air Nomad. But Sozin thought that airbenders weakened the firebending families." She bit her lip and laced her gloved fingers. "As you know, he decided to wipe them out. He made a law that all airbenders must be killed. So my sisters and I had to keep our bending a secret."
Aang was shocked at this uncharacteristic speech. "Your sisters are airbenders too?"
Ty Lee nodded. "All six of them."
Aang smiled as his eyes misted over. "Even though the Fire Nation wiped out my culture, life still found a way. The Avatar cycle will continue."
Despite his lighthearted nature, Aang still felt guilty that he failed to prevent the Fire Nation from massacring his friends from his old life. Ty Lee's revelation lifted most of his guilt and gave him great comfort.
Without thinking, he grabbed her arms, pulled her close, and kissed her on the lips. It was chaste, but it was the way he kissed the love of his life. When he pulled away, Ty Lee's eyes were the size of platypus-bear eggs, and she blushed like a fire lily through her white face paint.
"Aang, I - I didn't know you felt that way. Aren't you with Katara?"
"Not officially." He dropped his gaze to the floor. "It's confusing, but, in kind of a good way," he finished, glancing back up with a sheepish grin.
"But - you're what, twelve?"
"I just turned thirteen. A hundred thirteen," he amended.
"Oh." Her red lips parted in a grin. Aang wondered how he'd overlooked her beauty. Was it the makeup? But he'd never felt this way about Suki. At that moment, he was staring at the world's first woman.
Ty Lee looked him in the eye. "I'm going to tell everyone else. About airbending, I mean. I just thought you should be the first to know that you're not the last airbender after all."
"And - I've never had any training," Ty Lee continued. "I'd love to train under a master."
Aang took both her hands in his.
"It would be an honor to teach you."
A/N: For some reason I have a fixation on making normal people benders. I don't know why.
It was difficult to write a serious scene where Ty Lee had to explain something. I feel like she's a tad OOC, but I can't figure out what to change to make her IC. I don't know, this fanfic isn't supposed to be that serious anyway.