Author's note: Sorry I haven't posted a chapter for a while, I have been without internet for months but plan on posting a chapter soon and try to regularly from now on if time permits. Thanks for reading and hanging with me. : )

Disclaimer: I don't own ATLA... yada... yada...yada...

Chapter 42

Having sent all of the messenger hawks the night before, Suki felt satisfied that things were progressing well and prepared to set off for town to be fitted for her gown that morning. She and Katara decided that she would wear a similar gown to hers, but in forest green with pale green accents to offset her gown.

" I wouldn't want you to look better than the bride so take it easy on the accents." Katara said laughing lightly.

" Don't worry, pregnant or not you'll still be the most beautiful woman there." Suki replied sincerely and hugged her best friend warmly.

" Thank you, Suki. I couldn't have asked for a better friend than you. I wouldn't have made it this far without you. Through everything, from my pregnancy with Tenzin, his birth. Geez, you've practically helped me raise him. You've always been there for me, I wish I could somehow repay you for your guidance and friendship you've given me all these years." Katara said with tears welling up in her eyes.

" Being part of it all has been payment enough. Plus, I have Sokka thanks to you." Suki said as she released her friend and smiled softly.

" Yeah, Sokka, I'm still not sure that he's much for payment." Katara said, wiping the tears from her eyes. Buy Kya, now she's a winner." She added smiling brightly.

" Yeah, that she is. Katara, I know that Sokka is a bit arrogant sometimes, and selfish, and annoying... But I love him more than life itself, and he gave me a beautiful daughter. That's more than enough payment for what little I've done for you." Suki said, tears now starting to well up in her eyes.

" Yeah, I love him too. He's the best big brother a girl could ask for." Katara said smiling softly.
" He's the closest thing to a father that Tenzin had before Aang came back in to my life and I think he was a little jealous at first. He wasn't the center of Tenzin's universe andymore." Katara added laughing.

" He was, I could tell. But he got over it eventually." Suki said wiping the tears from her eyes, laughing with her friend.

" Okay, you'd better get going, we're burning daylight here. Go get a gorgeous gown, but not too gorgeous, remember?" Katara said shaking a finger at her.

" Got it." Suki said, hugging her friend once more then set out for town.

" Wow, Aang, this place is everything you said it was." Sokka said eyeing the scene that would be the site of the wedding, Kya on his hip and squirming madly to get down to join her cousin who was at the edge of the brook practicing his water bending.

" Yeah, beautiful isn't it. I know Katara will love it." Aang said smiling proudly.

" Okay, okay. You can go play with Tenzin, but stay out of the water and where I can see you." Sokka said to his squirming daughter as he placed her on the ground at which time she took off in the direction of her cousin. " Tenzin, keep an eye on Kya and don't let her near the water." He yelled toward Tenzin.

" Kay." Tenzin yelled over his shoulder.

" The Kyoshi Warriors plan on decorating with fresh flowers the morning of the wedding. What do you think, did I make enough benches for everyone?" Aang asked.

" Well, the list didn't look that big. Mostly close friends and family, so I think this'll be plenty." Sokka replied looking around. Aangs face lost its smile and a frown began to form on his face.

" What? What's wrong? I said it will be plenty for everyone." Sokka said looking at his friends change of expression.

" It's just that... I wish Gyatso could be here. He was the closest thing to a father I had." Aang said softly.

" Oh." Sokka said understanding the sudden change in his friends mood. " His spirit will be here, Aang. He'll always be with you in your heart." He added gently.

" That's true, thanks Sokka." Aang said smiling at his friend, making Sokka a bit uncomfortable. It's not like Sokka to be so kind, it's not manly.

Changing the subject quickly, " Well, what can I do to help?" Sokka said rubbing his hands together. " Kya! Away from the water." He yelled toward his daughter which caused her to frown at him.

" Well, I was hoping you could help me clear the under brush and clean the area up a bit. Glad you brought your sword." Aang said smiling, knowing it would please his friend to feel included in the preparations, even though he could obviously do it all himself in less time.

" You've got it.' Sokka said pleased and unsheathed his sword and got to work.

" I'm just gonna check on the kids, I'll be right back." Aang said, giving Sokka time to get some work done before he rejoined him.

" Kay." Sokka replied, swinging his sword at the weeds around the perimeter.

" How's the water bending going, Tenzin?" Aang said as he walked up to the children.

" Okay, I guess." Tenzin said scowling, trying desparately to form a water whip.

" You need to stream the water, Tenzin. Like this." Aang said showing his son the technique.

" Sure, it's easy for you, daddy." Tenzin said tersely.

" I'm sure you'll get the hang of it. You took to air bending quickly, I know you'll be able to master water bending in no time. Besides, you just learned that you could water bend so it's gonna take some time." Aang said encouragingly.

" Maybe I should just work on my air bending for a while." Tenzin said discouraged.

" No, you're almost an expert air bender now, keep working on the water bending." Aang replied. " You know, I had a very hard time learning how to water bend." He added, knowing he was blatantly lying to his son. He actually mastered it the easiest, but he wanted to make his son feel better.

" Really?" Tenzin said looking up at his father.

" Really. I was just lucky I had your mother to help me and was very determined." Aang replied.

" Okay, I'll keep practicing." Tenzin said pouting.

" Good. Keep it up and you'll be a master water bender in no time. Now, make sure to keep an eye on Kya and don't let her get in the water, she's little and can't swim." Aang said.

"Kay, dad." Tenzin replied as Aang walked back toward Sokka who had broken in to a good sweat by now.

Sokka stopped and leaned on his sword for a minute and wiped his brow with his forearm. " Well, what do ya think?" He asked.

" Fast work, looks great." Aang said sincerely surprised. Sokka had almost cleared the entire area of underbrush to a short crisp cut grass like area.

" Thanks." Sokka replied.

" We'll have to trim it up again at least once before the wedding though." Aang said looking around.

" Yeah, I figured once or twice next in the next two weeks ought to be plenty." Sokka replied.

" Daddy!" Tenzin screamed as a huge splash was heard at the side of the brook.

Bothe Aang and Sokka took off toward the screaming boy, fearing the worst, but when they arrived where the children were, Tenzin was holding a soaking wet Kya in the air over the brook with a stream of water.

Smiling Tenzin squealed, " Look daddy! I can stream the water!" Smiling with glee.

Both men placed their hands on their knees as they caught their breath and Sokka said breathlessly, " What happened?"

" Kya got to close to the water and tripped over that stone and fell in... I picked her up out of the water." Tenzin said as the stream of water left the brook and placed Kya gently on the grass next to her father.
" Thank you, Tenzin. You saved Kya's life." Sokka said dropping to his knees and embracing the boy.

" Tezin, I'm so proud of you." Aang said prying his son away from Sokka and picking him up briskly and hugging him tightly as Sokka reached for his daughter hugging her so tightly she looked uncomfortable.

Suki hadn't been gone long when Katara double over in pain as she was washing the breakfast dishes. " That can't be good." She said through clenched teeth. It wasn't a labor pain or anything like it, it was more like a super kick in the gut by a giant baby.

" Maybe I should go see the village healer, just in case." She said to herself as she sat down at the table, making sure it was a one time occurence she sat there for a while.

" I wish the guys hadn't taken Appa, I guess I'll have to walk." She said thinking out loud, then started for town.

Luckily, she didn't have any more pains on the way to town and started to doubt whether it was really even necessary by the time she reached the village healer's cottage. But since she'd already travelled all the way there, she decided to go ahead and get checked out, just in case something was wrong. Entering the cottage she found it to be relatively empty, just one person in the outer room waiting. Walking up to the rude woman that she had seen sitting behind the desk her last visit, she announced, " I need to see the village healer."

" What's the problem?" The woman said looking up at Katara, then at her protruding abdomen. " Oh, have a seat and I'll get you in next." Then she stood and walked through the door to the back.

'Well, she's a lot nicer this visit.' Katara thought as she took a seat. A few minutes later a man exited the doorway and bowed to the healer thanking her as she stood in the doorway.

" You're welcome." The woman said politely. " Lady Katara, please, come with me." She said gesturing for Katara to follow her which she did. " Well, I must say, I wasn't expecting to see back this early, but I can see why you're here. You abdomen has grown quite substantially since last we saw each other." She added.

" I know. Listen, I had this terrible pain in my belly today, like the baby kicked me so hard he might come out of my belly button. It wasn't like a labor pain or anything, but it did concern me." Katara said.

" Climb up on the table and lay down, I'd like to examine you." The healer said.

" Okay." Katara said complying.

" This might be a little uncomfortable, but try to relax and bend your knees and let them drop to the side." The healer told her. As she did an internal exam she palpated her abdomen as well, making comments like 'Hmmm' and ' I see.'

" What?" Katara asked. " Is something wrong?" She added looking concerned.

" No, I don't think so. Just one more thing." The healer said as she grabbed a pair of plastic tubes connected to a cup at one end and placed the other ends in both of her ears then put the cup on Katara's abdomen and began to slowly move it from one spot to another, listening briefly at each area. After several minutes, the healer removed the device and took the ends from her ears and laid the instrument on the table beside her. " I don't think there's anything to worry about, Lady Katara. It was probably just one of the babies kicking as they repositioned in your womb." She added smiling.

" Oh, thank goodness." Katara said looking relieved. " Wait... what did you just say?" She asked confused.

" There are at least two babies in your womb, Lady Katara. That's why your abdomen has gotten so large so quickly. But, I believe there are only two, I could only hear two heartbeats clearly." The healer said smiling brightly.

" Two babies?" Katara replied bewildered. " Two babies?" She repeated having difficulty comprehending what the doctor had told her.

" Yes, at least two, remember, but probably only two I think." The healer reiterated.

" You mean, like... Twins?" Katara asked looking up at her.

" Yes, exactly. Twins." The healer said. " How wonderful for you." She added.

" Twins." Katara said to herself more than to the healer.

" Twins." The healer said cheerfully.

" What will I do? I don't know what to do. I've never had twins before. Help me!" Katara shrieked with fright, grabbing both of the healers arms.

" It's okay, Lady Katara. Calm down, you've had a child before, correct?" The healer asked.

" Yes, but not two at once!" Katara screamed in fear.

" They come out one at a time, not together, Lady Katara. You'll be fine. And as far as I can tell, the babies are completely healthy." The healer told her. " Of course I can't tell exactly if they will be identical or fraternal." She added.

" What's the difference?" Katara asked, still trying to wrap her head around the concept.

" Well, identical twins are from one egg that split into two and are identical in every way. Hence the name 'identical'. But, fraternal twins come from two separate fertilized eggs and could be no more the same than any two siblings. One could even be a girl, and the other a boy in some cases." The healer explained.

" A girl and a boy?" Katara asked amazed.

" Yes, remember, two separate eggs. Just like two separate children sharing a womb." The healer said.

" What about identical twins, they share a womb don't they?" Katara asked.

" Yes, but they also share the same egg sack." The healer told her. " They will look exactly alike in every way. As if they were the same person." She added.

" I see." Katara said starting to understand. " Oh my! How will I tell Aang?" She squealed shrilly.

"Why, just tell him dear. I'm sure he has enough love for two more children." The healer said sympathetically. " The Avatar is a brave, kind and gentle man. Do not doubt his love for you and your children. Are you not to be married soon?" She asked.

" Yes, but... I don't want him to go in to information overload! Things are just so crazy already right now. It's all happening so fast!" Katara exclaimed.

" I think that you underestimate him, my dear. He did save the world. Maybe it's you're fear that is causing you to worry, perhaps?" The healer said gently.

" Yeah, he's a wonderful man. You may be right." Katara said smiling, then looked and her abdomen and began rubbing it gently.

" That's the spirit. Everything will be just fine, but, I do want to see you every lunar cycle since our new discovery. There can be more complications with multiple births and we want to be safe and prepared." The healer said.

" Complications?" Katara asked looking at her with concern.

" Very rarely. Don't get yourself upset. As a matter of fact, I want you to take it easy and avoid stress if possible." The healer assured her.

" Take it easy... no stress... that's going to be easy." Katara said sarcastically, then laughed as she got up and repositioned her clothes. " Thank you so much, for everything." Katara said sincerely.

" You're welcome, dear. Now remember, take it easy, no stress." The healer called after her as Katara left the examination room.

Katara left the village healer's cottage in considerably better spirits and almost collided with Suki as she was walking back to the cottage after her fitting.

" Katara! What are you doing here?" Suki asked surprised.

" Suki, you're not going to believe what I'm about to tell you." Katara said smiling and placing her arm in Suki's and walked along beside her.