((AN: Yah, never thought I'd write an Avatar fanfic...I usually shy away from fanfics about my favorite shows. But I've had Avatar on the brain for ages now, especially on the Kataang side, and I had this cute little idea for a very short story bouncing around my head. Aang and Katara discussing parenthood is just so fluffily cute and amusing to me. So, here's probably a small tribute to what's possibly my favorite canon pairing of all time. x3 Aang and Katara are aged 20 and 22, respectively. ))
It was a rather warm late-summer evening in a temple nestled high in the mountains. The clouds surrounded sanctuary on the peaks and made the illusion of a house on an ocean of white. It was the Southern Air Temple…once a home for the monks that made up a population of the Air Nomads…now home to only one of them. But, with years of dedication behind the work of him and his friends, it was beginning to look like a paradise again. Plants and trees grew where weeds once dotted the cliffs. Water flowed continuously through fountains. The soot and dust were cleaned and bodies entombed in proper places, so that little proof existed of the Air Nomads' destruction at the hands of the Fire Nation over a hundred years ago. It was a place of hope again, and the wind was heavily-scented with flowering blooms and budding fruits.
It was also where two individuals sat together, staring out into the sunset and enjoying the comforting peace and quiet settled between them. A cool gust of wind managed to stifle the heat and keep it at an agreeable temperature that was ideal for a few moments of laziness.
And these two certainly never took laziness for granted. One person was the Avatar; the master of the four elements, a vessel for the spirit of the earth, the most powerful being to exist among mortals without a questionable doubt…and the other person was his 7-months pregnant wife, a brilliant warrior in her own right and a master Waterbender. And the only person in the world that the Avatar knew held a higher place of honor compared to him. Both had helped to save the world along with their friends and family. And now, between Avatar duties and continued trips to keep the world in balance, they relished whatever rare moments allowed them to just be together.
The two, Aang and Katara, had just finished eating and were taking that deserved moment of peace. They sat high up in one of the temple rooms on a stone windowsill while the sun penetrated the horizon and took its life-giving light with it for another night. The Water Tribe-born woman lay with her back on the Airbender's chest as his back was to the wall of the window edge, his legs keeping her steady on either side of her body. His hands were over hers on her swollen belly, but every so often his palm would settle on another spot to see if he could feel the baby moving. With her head on his shoulder and his cheek nestled in her hair, the two had tired and eternally blissful smiles. After all they had been through in their lives so far, Aang didn't think he could feel any happier.
Sure enough, the tiny bundle of life moved within Katara's womb again…and with the quickness, she winced slightly against her husband. "Okay, know what…I think we might definitely have a future Airbender here," she hummed, running her hands over one portion of her belly.
"Oh?" Aang inquired with incredulity to his voice, also rubbing on the spot. He chuckled. "What makes you say that?"
"Well, I know from watching you train that Airbending requires a lot more footwork than Waterbending," she pointed out. "And the baby can already reallyOOF…" she winced again as something felt like it impacted the bottom of her stomach. "…Kick."
Aang let out a playful laugh and lightly pressed his fingers down on her abdomen. "Quit giving your mom trouble, little guy."
The Waterbender couldn't help but laugh as well. A while ago, when they were musing on the baby's gender, Toph had sworn that she could see through her Earthbending vision that it was going to be a boy…but really, who knew if she was kidding? Though they knew it wouldn't truly be certain until the child was born, they'd gotten used to calling it a "he". It sounded better than simply referring to him as "it" the whole time.
Smiling, Aang wrapped his arms around Katara and helped her comfortably sit up more against his front, taking care not to tangle her sleeves. She was wearing a rather Air Nomad-like outfit—a loose-fitting gold and orange robe—which she had preferred to wear for comfort during her pregnancy. He thought the colors looked rather beautiful on her, but then again, she could wear anything and be beautiful to him.
"Airbender, Waterbender, whatever…he's our child and hopefully he'll be healthy. That's what I care about," he said with finality.
"Same here," Katara agreed. Her voice was low and soft, showing him that she always found the utmost comfort in his touch. "We'll teach and train him well, and he'll grow up..."
"With the best parents in the world behind him," Aang grinned, nuzzling the top of her head. "Then he'll have children while we grow old together."
Katara snickered. "I'll grow old. You'll just grow wise."
"What, I'm not wise already?" he feigned hurt, eliciting a giggle from his wife. "I'm the Avatar; I'm born wise."
"You're a wise something," Katara muttered, amused by his snort of reply. Sighing, she settled against him again. "I like to think that when we're old, we'll still be the same…and still in love, like that fishing couple we met a long time ago. Except, not as crotchety."
She felt Aang shrug. "I can act crotchety."
"You?" She tilted her head to glance at him with a quirked eyebrow. "Mister free spirit?"
"I'm a good actor, remember?" the monk laughed, and put on his best 'old-man' voice that reminded her of the first time he disguised himself to enter Omashu. "You whippersnappers git off m' temple! Y'ain't too old for me to paddle yer backside!" His right eye twitched to only exaggerate the act.
Katara's sides ached with her laughter, and the baby kicked again, as if amused too. "Nah, you can't pull off a crotchety old man," she said once she found her voice.
Aang slumped a little, his arms returning to their place around her. "I guess not. Wouldn't want to, anyway…if the temple were filled with kids playing on the steps again, it would be perfect."
She hummed in agreement, her gaze returning to the smooth roundness of her stomach. The baby seemed to have finally settled down a little for which she gave a relieved sigh. But in light of the conversation, Katara's lip curled in thought. "Your 'paddle your backside' line…I'm suddenly curious. About how we'll be as parents…if we have to be pretty disciplinary to keep him out of trouble."
Aang blinked. "Disciplinary? I don't think so…he might be pretty well-behaved. I don't like the thought of having to yell at him...and I refuse to strike my child, no matter what."
"Yeah, definitely," she agreed with a sigh. "But we will have to teach him right from wrong, just like we were taught." She glanced up to the Airbender. "When you were a little kid and got in trouble, what'd the monks do to get you to behave?"
"Me?" he asked skeptically, but he always knew a serious question from her when he saw it in her eyes. He rolled his own gaze upward in thought, the back of his arrow-clad head touching the wall behind him. "I never got in that much trouble…and neither did the other kids, really. The Air Nomads were taught our traditions and beliefs at a young age…peace, acceptance, love toward everyone and everything. But we were also raised as free spirits…kids played games, sometimes tried to ditch lessons, and they'd only be coaxed back with utmost patience. We played pranks, but never hurt each other. And if we made mistakes, we learned from them…that was the most important, was what we figured out for ourselves."
His head came forward again, missing its soft place among her hair. "Sometimes though, a kid would get a stern talking to or a raised voice from one of the elders if something got out of hand. Or sent to spent time meditating by themselves for a while." He snickered. "I remember one time…man, we must have been around five…we had a class to attend with the nuns at the Western Air Temple. My friend Jinju was nodding off, and eventually his forehead hit the desk. Bam…out like a light."
Katara snorted laughter, and he continued with a humorous smirk. "So then the Sister comes up with a ruler in her hand and shushes everyone. And she just…slaps it on the desk in front of his head." He loudly clapped his hands together for emphasis (and an Airbender could really cause loud sound waves when he needed to). "Scared us all out of our skin, but mostly him. And after that, he was attentive for the rest of the class…of course, Jinju was always two plums short of a fruit pie…guy never bathed either…" He grimaced, and then laughed. "So, sometimes the elders would have creative ways to get us to behave, but nothing bad. All in all…discipline wasn't a problem. And I certainly wasn't."
"A little unbelievable considering you, but I'll take it," his wife smiled. "It must've been a pretty nice life."
Aang blushed, pressing closer to her back. "So, you asked me, now it's my turn. What'd your parents do?"
"Mmm…" she mused, her head resting back against his shoulder. "I don't remember much before my mom died, to be honest…"
Her voice took on a small, sad tone. Aang felt regretful for bringing it up, but he listened as she continued all the same. "What I do remember, other than always constantly fearing the Fire Nation raids...we were a pretty normal and happy family. I never got in much trouble either. I did my chores, helped out...just did what was expected of me. Heh…games with Sokka would probably get a little rough, or we'd argue…but all it took was a stern look from Mom, Dad, or Gran-Gran, and we'd be separated for a while before one of us apologized."
She let out a small laugh. "Sokka got in more trouble than I did, really. Before he became all serious and warrior-like, he was just a big kid. One time he was trying to sneak around Gran-Gran while she was cooking, to snag a piece of seal jerky. Before he could get within an inch, she slapped the back of his hand with a spoon and shooed him off. That happened three times before he got the message and waited until dinner…but he was pouting the whole time and rubbing his fingers like they were broken."
Aang snickered at the image. "Yeah; Sokka I can imagine being trouble. You? Never."
"Oh, I can have my moments," Katara murmured, nudging him playfully. "But yeah…our parents never had to hit us either. I think they hated the idea. Every family has their own way of doing things."
"To each their own," Aang quoted, nodding in solemn agreement. "What I really think, Katara…is that we should just do what comes naturally to us." Both of his palms thoughtfully caressed her belly. "I know you'll be a wonderful mother; you have a good heart, you're kind…and you love children. You'll also be protective and stern when you want. And you'll also heal them when they're hurt or sick or sad. I know it, because, well…that's who you are."
The Waterbender looked at him with a skeptical expression, but her reddening cheeks betrayed the fact that she was more than grateful for the words. "You know because that's how I treated all of you during our journeys."
"I know you were insulted about that before," he grinned apologetically, "but you're a mothering person in all the good ways. And that's how I know you'll be a perfect mother for our son."
"Or daughter," she corrected. "We don't know exactly."
"Or daughter," he repeated, nodding. "Still, I like to trust Toph's judgment. She does see things in a way we can't."
Katara laughed in agreement and turned her head up to look at him again. Though he had well matured physically from the twelve-year-old that she'd first met in the iceberg, she loved the fact that he still kept those expressive child-like eyes and gentle smile. "And, just the same, I know you'll make a good father. You always loved children too, and knew exactly how to get them to both respect and love you back. You're playful and a good teacher…and you get that respect without having to assert yourself. Much," she added with a playful smirk. "That's the Avatar part of you."
He grinned again. "I think I'll probably just be the dad that spoils the kid, and you'll be the mom that nobody wants to get angry."
She snorted and lightly reached up to smack him on the shoulder. "Goof."
"Guilty as charged," he replied with truthful humor in his voice and took her hand, squeezing it. "But…I'm glad you have faith in me, Katara."
"I always did," she answered, smiling and leaning up to his face. "Thanks for your faith in me."
"No thanks necessary," he whispered, tilting her chin back to place a lingering kiss on her lips that caused her to hum in little waves of contented pleasure.
Once he gently broke the contact, he chuckled. "Besides…we won't be raising him alone, you remember. Your brother, and Suki, and Toph…even Zuko, when he and Mai can ever break away from ruling their kingdom to visit. They've all been a great help so far."
"True," Katara smiled and turned her gaze back to the horizon. The sun had set fully, now leaving the sky in ever-darkening bands of red, orange, and indigo. "They'll all love our child dearly. We'll certainly love their kids."
"If Zuko will get to kids," Aang rolled his eyes. "Mr. Fire Lord, all up to his neck in his duty, took ages just to propose to Mai."
"Sheesh, yeah…but just you wait, I think we'll hear the news from them soon enough. And Sokka seemed to like the idea of being an uncle almost as much as being a dad," Katara laughed. "Remember how he tripped on the chair when the news got out?"
"I still think he was trying to get up to kill me," Aang half-grinned, rubbing the back of his head.
"I'd kill him if he did," Katara reminded him, dismissively waving her hand. "But after that, he was ecstatic."
"Oh yeah," Aang laughed. After a pause, he snorted. "We should keep our kid far away from him."
"What?" his wife quirked an eyebrow. "Why?"
"I can't help but think he'll try to make him into a warrior or a hunter, and force-feed him meat," the Avatar grimaced in disgust.
"Pfff!" Katara snorted in laughter. "Please! He'd probably spoil him rotten, but he knows that we'll raise him how we want. He knows what we agreed on, doesn't he?"
"Yeah, I told him," Aang assured. "If he's an Airbender, he'll learn the Air Nomad's traditions. He'll get his arrows when he becomes a Master and everything that I was taught will be his knowledge."
"And if he's a Waterbender, he'll learn the Southern Water Tribe traditions," Katara finished. "Everything I know, he'll know. Sokka may feed him meat then," she added with a roll of her eyes.
"But he'll have a little of both of us, too," Aang reminded her, holding her close. "He's cut from the cloth of two Nations. However he learns, whatever he learns…he will go about it with his own decisions. His own choices in the end."
"Perfect," the Waterbender smiled, laying back against his body. "See? I guess we will be okay."
"Yeah," Aang chuckled. "We worry too much. Besides, why deprive him of getting to know his uncle, the great warrior Sokka?"
"I know he'll tell stories of the war," Katara imagined, "Just like he does with his baby daughter. Especially about everyone's heroism."
"Mostly his own," Aang hummed.
"And he'll tell jokes about it."
"Corny, terrible jokes…"
"And try to teach them to him…"
"While eating meat."
"…Let's keep our son well away from him."
A peal of laughter jolted through both of the young couple's bodies, their voices mingling and then falling into silence together once again as the last of the sun's painted light disappeared to make way for the stars. Hands together, fingers entwined, heartbeats and quiet breathing the only sounds they needed to hear, and the life-filled movements of a child that held with it such hope and would come to know a world of such love…
There wasn't much more, Aang and his soul mate seemed to agree, that was needed.