Author's Note: This is pure cute Kataangy goodness. I do not apologize for the over-abundance of cuteness. Nor do I apologize for the lovey behavior. Any Scrooges who say Aang and Katara can't be in love at their ages - well Bah Humbug to that. Go pee in someone else's Wheaties.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
The war was over, the nations were starting to rebuild, and the demands on the Avatar's time were never ending. It seemed that the world had forgotten that the bringer of peace and balance was in fact still just a young boy. A young boy who had a girlfriend with whom he had been able to spend only a few precious moments with. Moments that were stolen during the seemingly endless parties, banquets, and meetings.
It was during one of the moments that Katara realized she finally had had enough. She and Aang were sitting on a bench out on the balcony of an earth kingdom official's house, wrapped in each others' arms and staring out at the night sky. It had been the first time in days they had been alone together, the first time Katara had even had a chance to be this near to Aang.
"I've missed you." She whispered against Aang's lips.
"I know. I've missed you too." The young Airbender returned her kiss fervently, as if trying to make up for all the weeks and months he had been called away.
"Well all this has to end at some point. I guess people are still excited. I mean it hasn't even been six months since the end of the war..." She was interrupted by the shouting of a frantic official.
"Where is the Avatar! I must speak to him!"
Aang cringed as the man ran past the doorway to the balcony, praying quietly that they wouldn't be discovered and then sighed, shoulders slumping in defeat. "This is never going to end." He looked up at Katara, his gray eyes tired and sad. "I just wanted to have one day where we didn't have a banquet to go to or I wasn't being pulled into five meetings at once."
The waterbender frowned and stood up, grabbing Aang's hand and pulling him back towards the party.
"Katara, what...? Why are we going back...?"
She squeezed Aang's hand tighter and stood in the doorway, her stance reminding Aang of a Fire Nation military officer.
"Listen up!" She yelled. All talking and eating stopped and all eyes turned to see a very irritated waterbender and a blushing airbender. "Avatar Aang is taking a holiday!"
"Katara, I can't take a holiday!" Aang said, frantically pacing the living area of the small house the gang had rented next door to Iroh's teashop. "I just can't! I'm the Avatar!"
She sat on a nearby chair watching him cross the floor several times, before reaching out to clasp his hand in hers. Katara pulled him close and wrapped her arms around his waist, leaning her head against his chest.
"Yes, you can. You are exhausted. It's just one day." She looked up at him and smiled. "Besides, the Winter Solstice is coming up in a couple of weeks and that was always a special time for Water Tribe kids."
"Yeah." Katara's smile grew wider. "We didn't have much, but my parents always made it fun for me and Sokka and the other kids in the tribe. We played games, my mom and Gran Gran would stock up all year on cave berries and make us steaming bowls of hot berry juice and ice candy. And every year we would get something special. I got my mom's necklace one year and Sokka got his boomerang. After we received our gifts, we would bundle up and sit outside on the glaciers to watch the stars. They always shone the brightest that night."
She hugged Aang again. "It was a special time. And now that we have each other, I just want to spend that day with you. So you, Avatar Aang, are taking a holiday."
The boy grinned down at her before leaning in for a kiss. "Yes, Sifu Katara.
By the next morning, the word had spread - the Winter Solstice would be the young Avatar's day off. Proclamations were made in every court, city, town, and village. And much to Aang's surprise and relief, no one really had an issue with it except a few grumbling officials who thought the Avatar had no business taking a day off.
Aang happily went through the two weeks before the Solstice with the knowledge that he and Katara would finally have some uninterrupted time together. He gladly went to meetings, sitting through trade disputes and the endless arguing of government officials with a ear-to-ear smile plastered on his young face. He couldn't wait to find out what Katara had planned. She had been very secretive about the whole thing, telling him nothing except he would love it.
Aang awoke the morning of the Winter Solstice a bit startled and disoriented. The sun was shining brightly into his bedroom and he jumped out of bed, grabbing his clothes and pulling them on quickly before rushing out into the living area. Four pairs of eyes stared at him in confusion.
"Why didn't someone wake me up? I have a meeting..."
"I thought you could use a morning to sleep in." Katara interrupted, taking a sip of her tea.
"Why on earth would you think that? I have..." The airbender stopped mid-sentence when he realized what day it was.
"And Twinkle-Toes is finally catching up." Toph laughed.
Aang blushed. "Oh yeah. Sorry, I'm just not used to sleeping so late."
"Yeah, we know, Mr. Morning Person." Sokka grumbled, having been woken up more than once at dawn by the energetic young Avatar who went about his morning routine cheerfully. Too cheerfully for Sokka's taste.
"So what do you and Katara have planned." Suki asked, shooting a hard look in Sokka's direction.
"I don't know. Katara won't tell me."
The waterbender stood and took Aang's hand in her own. "It's a surprise. " She grinned at the boy, who smiled back. "And I guess we should get this day started."
Waving goodbye to their friends, she pulled a protesting Aang out the front door. "But Katara, I haven't eaten anything. I'm starving."
"I know. That is the first thing on our list." Still holding onto his hand, she led him over to a nearby park. The upper ring of Ba Sing Se had some of the of the prettiest gardens and parks, each with little ponds and big shady trees. There was a chill in the air and it momentarily made Katara a little homesick. Next year, she vowed, they would spend the Solstice at the South Pole. This day had been planned rather quickly and she knew it would have been an impossibility to go home, even with Appa, given the short amount of time. So instead she had decided to make the day special despite the city they were in.
"Wow Katara..." A blanket was spread out on the grass with bowls, cups, and chopsticks sitting on top. Next to it were two baskets. "When did you..."
"Shhh..." She placed a finger to his lips and smiled. "Sit down and we'll have something to eat."
She lifted a jar out of one of the baskets and pulled off the lid. A tangy smell wafted out with the steam as she poured what Aang saw to be vegetables, noodles and broth into the two bowls. She handed him one of the bowls and watched as his eyes lit up in surprise when he tasted the contents.
"It's the soup from Omashu! Bumi's mother used to have the kitchen staff make it special for me when I visited because I don't eat meat. She said it was the only meatless dish Bumi would ever eat. How did you...?"
Katara grinned. "Bumi sent me the recipe and we found the ingredients here in the market. It wasn't hard."
"I haven't had this for ages. It was one of the things I always looked forward to when I visited Omashu. We didn't have the right spices and vegetables at the air temples. So it was a real treat."
The waterbender continued to smile as she tasted the soup. Aang was right. It was delicious. Tangy and spicy with hearty vegetables and noodles. They sat close to each other, neither saying a word as they savored the warm soup. She was delighted when Aang asked for another bowl and then another. Katara put her bowl down and reached for one of the cups. She pulled another jar from the other basket and bended a reddish colored liquid into the cup before handing it to Aang. It was hot and smelled sweet. He watched as she bended some of the liquid into a cup for herself and they shared a smile.
"It's not quite the hot berry juice I had when I was a kid, but it passed the Sokka-test."
Aang laughed and took a sip. The sweet juice warmed him like the soup had and he smiled.
"I take it that you like it." Katara said, grinning as the airbender gulped down the rest of it. The boy smiled and nodded. They snuggled together on the blanket for a little while longer, the juice and soup completely consumed. Eventually Katara extracted herself from Aang's embrace and stood up grabbing his hand and pulling him to his feet.
"C'mon! We still have a whole day together!"
The couple headed off into the city. Katara was both pleased to see that no one bothered Aang with a problem or shrieked with glee at the sight of the great Avatar and disappointed to see that the Winter Solstice seemed to be only a Water Tribe celebration. There was nothing to announce the day except for the cooler air and the city folk in heavier clothes.
The rest of the day was spent exploring Ba Sing Se and sneaking off into secluded spots to kiss and be alone. Katara was glad that being alone together seemed to be what Aang wanted to do most. It had seemed like a lifetime since their passionate kiss on the balcony of Iroh's teashop, both pulling away breathless and glowing with love. They had shared only one or two kisses like that since then, Aang's schedule reducing their kisses to mere pecks on the lips followed by hurried 'I love you's.' But she knew that would happen and Katara had accepted Aang's role as the Avatar long ago. But she still missed him, the only thing making it slightly bearable was the knowledge that he missed her too and was just a disappointed in their lack of time together.
"Have you enjoyed your holiday so far?" Katara asked with a smiled, squeezing her arm tighter around Aang's waist.
"Oh yeah." He grinned back at her and she giggled. They had just emerged from a secluded corner of the marketplace where they had spent the previous few minutes kissing like crazy.
"I'm so glad." She stopped for a moment. "Oh Aang! Listen! Music!" The waterbender led him over to the next street. A couple of musicians were playing and a few people in the crowd were swaying to the music. "Let's dance!"
He laughed. "I remember someone being too shy to dance. Something about having the wrong shoes..." She swatted at him playfully with her hand before pulling him over to the musicians. Aang tossed a few coins into the open instrument case and Katara wrapped her arms around his neck. It took a moment for them to find the rhythm, but once they had they were whirling around in time with the music, lost in it and each other. When the song finished they were momentarily surprised to hear applause and see that the smiling crowd had parted to give them room.
Blushing, the young couple bowed and dashed away, laughing. They had no doubt the story of the Avatar and his waterbending girlfriend dancing up a storm to some street musicians would be all over the city by morning. But they didn't care. They were having too much fun.
The rest of the day passed quickly. The couple met a few kids and were talked into playing a game of "Who's the Best Bender?" They ended their day in the city with delicious dinner at one of Ba Sing Se's many restaurants (this one having the added bonus of being recommended by Iroh) and sunset stroll. Aang was surprised when Katara led him to Appa's stable.
"Why are we getting Appa?"
The waterbender led the bison out of the stable and climbed into the saddle. She smiled down at Aang. "We still have to watch the stars."
Leaping effortlessly onto Appa's head, Aang grabbed the reins and gave the command for Appa to take flight.
"Now you know to just fly around nice and slowly, right?
The bison snorted in response and Aang hugged his friend. "Thanks buddy."
The boy climbed up onto the saddle where Katara was sitting and he stretched out, holding out his hand as an invitation for her to move closer. She snuggled against the side of his body, her head on his shoulder, their arms around each other. The night sky spread out above them and even though it was not the crisp winter evenings she knew from her childhood, she knew it was the most beautiful starry sky she had ever seen.
"Hey, we forgot something." Aang said softly.
"Well, we had hot berry juice, played games in the marketplace with those kids, danced to music, kissed..." He blushed. "But we have one thing left to do before this Solstice celebration is complete..."
He shifted her slightly in his arms so he could reach into the pocket hidden inside his tunic. He opened his hand and resting on his palm was a beautiful beaded bracelet. She took it from him, inspecting it carefully. Each bead was either a pretty blue or saffron color and each one had an small air nation and water tribe symbol carved on it.
"Oh Aang! It's beautiful!" He helped her put the bracelet on her wrist.
"You like it? I made it. Each bead...
She didn't give him a chance to finish. Katara cupped Aang's face in her hands and kissed him soundly. She loved that he made the gift instead of buying it. Being the Avatar and being the one to end the war and bring peace, she knew he could go anywhere and get anything he wanted. But he chose to make her a bracelet. And it was all the more special to her because of it. He was all the more special. And she loved him.
"I love you, Avatar Aang."
He grinned. "Meetings and all."
"Meetings and all." She kissed him again. "But I didn't get you anything."
Avatar Aang smiled and wrapped his arms once again around the girl he loved and stared out at the beautiful night sky.
"Yes you did. You gave me a holiday."
Author's Note: This will have some illustrations. It is too cute not to. Time just got away from me. I am by no means a writer, but I hope you enjoy it. :)