I Do, And Then Some
Rated: Teen for Romance
Summary: A companion fic to "Duty Versus Love". The Duke and Toph are getting married, and of course, they have to do it in their own special way, courtesy of Toph.
Disclaimer: "Avatar: The Last Airbender" is owned by Bryke. "Duty Versus Love" is written by me.
LES: This story is the love note to all supporters of The Doph, especially Spruce. In this story, Anil is ten years old, Sho, Ammy and the rest are nine years old, Kya and Tenzin are five years old, and ages go from there.
"Spread your feet a little further apart." Aang instructed, watching Sho's stance critically. Sho glanced up at his father and shuffled his feet until they were a few inches farther apart. They were still not far enough apart.
A few feet away, Anil was working with the rest of the siblings, and glanced over at Sho. "Come on, like this." Anil said, moving over, and nudging Sho's feet into the proper position. "See?"
"I think I've got it now." Sho said, twisting his arms in a circular motion and then thrusting his arms out to create a blast of air. Nothing happened.
Sho dropped his arms in disappointment, thinking of the great blasts of wind that his father and Anil could summon at will.
Aang placed a comforting hand on his young son's shoulder. "Don't be disheartened. All it takes is practice."
"I know, Dad. I'm trying." Sho said, getting his feet back into the proper position to try again.
"Aang." The Avatar turned around with a smile on his face. His wife, Katara, always had the power to put a smile on his face.
"Katara." Aang replied softly, scooping her into his arms and pressing a firm kiss to her lips, followed closely by a chorus of "Ugh" from the children.
Aang pulled away from his wife, laughing at their disgust. "Now, now… in a few years, you might all feel a bit differently about love. After all, I was twelve when I discovered that love was desirable."
"Yeah right." Sho said, rolling his eyes in disgust.
Aang and Katara laughed, and then Aang turned his attention to his wife. "What is it, Katara?" Katara smiled as she handed him a scroll that was sent from the Earth Kingdom. "News from the Earth Kingdom?" He questioned, opening the scroll and quickly reading it.
Dear Avatar Aang, Lady Katara, and family,
I am pleased to inform you that one week past, I proposed to Toph and she has agreed to marry me. I would be honored if you would join us on the Spring Equinox in Ba Sing Se to witness the binding of our lives.
Aang, myself and Toph would consider it a great honor if you would agree to be the officiator of our wedding. Nothing would make our wedding nicer than if the Avatar himself consented to join our hands.
Hoping to see you soon and with lots of love,
The Duke and Toph
Aang's arms went limp and the scroll nearly dropped from his hands. Of all the people Aang knew, of all of his friends, the one that he least expected to get married was Toph. Even when she had begun dating The Duke several years ago, Aang never expected her to settle down. In every sense of the word, this was a surprising and momentous occasion.
"What is it, Aang?" Katara asked.
Aang smiled at her. "We have a wedding to go to."
"What? Whose?" Katara took the scroll from Aang and quickly read the invitation. "The Duke and Toph! Oh wow! I never… expected that!"
"You and me both." Aang said.
"And they want you to perform the ceremony for them. Well, that's just perfect. As a monk, you must know something about performing weddings."
"Yes, I do." Aang said carefully. When he was younger, he had studied marriage rites of most of the different nations because Air Nomad monks were the most common way to get married. Few others had the legal or spiritual power to bind two people in marriage, and those were high-ranking government officials who only married those of nobility.
But, still, those marriage rites had changed in the last hundred years, and even if they were the same, knowing them and performing them were two different things. He had never been asked to officiate someone's wedding before.
Katara read the look on his face and pulled him into a swift kiss. "Don't worry. You'll do fine." Aang gave her a grateful smile, and she placed the scroll back in his hands. "Well, let's get packing. We're going to need to leave as soon as possible if we're going to get to Ba Sing Se in time to help with the preparations. Come on, children. Today's lesson is over."
"Aw!" The children chorused as they followed Katara back into the Temple.
Aang stared down at the scroll he was holding, and then tucked it away in his robes, walking down to the stables to ready Appa for the journey.
Aang and his family arrived in Ba Sing Se, and were utterly shocked to discover that there was very little preparation to do. This was mainly because Toph was insisting that they not make that big of a fuss over her wedding.
"I don't care how the place looks." Toph said as Katara and The Duke discussed decorations. "It's not like I can see them anyway." But Toph quickly learned to be quiet and let Katara handle everything.
In fact, one would have thought Katara was the one getting married the way she involved herself in the planning of even the tiniest detail. Indeed, many of their helpers were under the impression that they were preparing for some sort of vow renewal ceremony between the Avatar and his wife rather than an actual marriage.
But once that got straightened out, the planning went smoothly.
While Katara worked on getting the venue looking presentable, Aang was spending a lot of time with the Earth King, who was bringing the Avatar up to speed on Earth Kingdom marriage rites, giving him the essential phrases, and taking him step-by-step through the ceremony that Aang would have to lead on the Spring Equinox.
By the time the Spring Equinox arrived, Aang had memorized the entire ceremony and the venue looked amazing. And it was finally time…
The first day of spring rose surprisingly sunny. Everyone except Iroh had expected it to rain as it normally did that time of year. They really should have known better than to bet against General Iroh.
Aang, Sokka, and Zuko had the relatively easy job of helping The Duke get ready for the big day. Overall, they considered themselves lucky. Katara, Suki, and Mai all had the much harder job of convincing Toph that she actually did need to wear a dress and some shoes for the big day
To compensate for the lack of her vision and the lack of her father; Sokka, as the best man, would be escorting Toph down the aisle.
"So, are you nervous?" Sokka asked. The Duke didn't answer, and Sokka patted his shoulder. "Don't worry about it. Everyone is nervous on their wedding day. I almost threw up. And whew boy, don't even get me started on Aang! I thought he was going to either pass out or go into the Avatar State… whichever one came first."
"Gee, thanks, Sokka, for allowing me to relive those memories." Aang said sourly.
"The point is…" Sokka said with a glare in Aang's direction, "everything turned out fine. Being married wasn't nearly as scary as I thought it was going to be, and Aang realized that what he was worrying about was for naught." Sokka shuttered. Aang had been worried about his wedding night rather than the wedding, scared about not satisfying his new wife in bed. But, judging by the number of children they had and even the one time Sokka had walked in on them making love, those fears had been baseless.
"Well… I am nervous." The Duke admitted. "But probably not for the reasons you guys think. I mean, I am marrying Toph, and she has all ready expressed her feelings about how stupid weddings are. I'm just worried that she'll…"
"Screw up the wedding just for the fun of it?" Zuko finished.
"Uh… yeah, that about sums it up." The Duke said. "So… fair warning, Aang?"
"Duly noted." Aang said, but he wasn't really listening. He was too busy going over the vows in his head. No one caught his lapse of attention. He had long ago mastered the ability to pretend to pay attention when his mind was really elsewhere. It was a bad habit that he'd learned as a teenager stuck in meetings and had carried when him into his adult years.
Suddenly, there was a knock on the door, and one of the many wedding coordinators stepped into the room. "It's time Avatar Aang… Duke."
The Duke was so nervous that he didn't even bother to correct the coordinator.
Forcing himself back to reality, Aang nodded and lead The Duke out of the room.
The temple really was beautiful, Aang had to admit. Earth Kingdom temples were nothing like Air Nomad Temples, for they felt too closed in for Aang. But he had to appreciate the level of detail in the masonry and how the strategically placed windows filtered light into the room in glorious golden streaks.
Most of the guests were all ready seated, and Aang watched as Zuko, Mai, Katara, and Suki took their places near the front of the Temple. Aang noticed that all of his children were sitting quietly without even a hint of fidgeting. He could only guess that Katara had promised them sweets for good behavior, for nothing else was capable of taming his young children.
Several more minutes passed, and it came time for the wedding to begin. Most often, Earth Kingdom weddings began with a long bridal precession, but Toph had refused this, so they were just skipping straight to the bridal march.
Toph was guided into the room on Sokka's arm. She looked absolutely radiant in a flowing white dress, her long hair bound into a bun, and her make-up bringing out her pale green eyes perfectly.
It became clear to everyone instantly that Toph was going to make trouble. Instead of walking at the stately pace the music implied, she walked down the aisle at a brisk walk, dragging Sokka along with her.
They reached the front quickly and The Duke jumped down to the floor to receive her. "Slow down, Toph." Sokka whispered to her just before he left the front and went to sit down with his wife and sister.
From there, The Duke led Toph up onto the raised platform, and stood facing each other before Aang. While Aang waited for the last of the guests to take their seats, Toph clearly lost patience with the ceremony once again and began tapping her toe under her dress. The noise was highly distracting.
"Um…" Aang began before he forced the sound of the tapping out of his head and picked up his train of thought. "Family, friends, and guests; we are all gathered here today to pay witness to the union of my two personal friends, The Duke and Toph Bei Fong. Love is…"
"Ugh." Toph growled under her breath. "Just get on with it, Twinkletoes."
Both Aang and The Duke stared at her in horror, but then realizing that their stares were lost on her, Aang cleared his throat. "Anyway… if there are any here who hold objections to this union, or have any reason why these two should not be bound in marriage, speak now or forever hold your piece."
The Earth King had told Aang to pause for about five seconds here, to give someone the time to object. But, considering how impatient Toph had all ready shown herself to be, Aang really should have been prepared when she could barely even wait two second.
"No one's objecting. What are you waiting for?"
Aang gave her another glare, and then hissed at her through his teeth. "I believe I'm the one running this ceremony."
Toph rolled her eyes.
"The Duke, do you promise now and forevermore to…" Aang began.
"I'm not getting any younger." Toph whispered.
Finally, Aang lost his temper. "Okay, fine. The Duke, do you promise to be a good husband?"
"I—I Do." The Duke stuttered, shocked at Aang's sudden switch-up of the vows.
"Toph, do you promise to be a good…"
"I Do." Toph said over the end of Aang's sentence.
"Then as the Avatar, I pronounce you man and wife." Aang said, finishing off with a hand gesture that clearly said 'Go ahead.'
The Duke was still in shock about the abrupt end of the ceremony, and he barely even noticed when Toph grabbed the front of his dress robes and pulled him into a kiss. But he quickly caught on.
Meanwhile, all the guests were whispering to each other. They were all pretty sure that they had never witnessed a shorter or more abrupt wedding ceremony.
"Okay… it's not that I don't trust your judgment about running this ceremony, Aang, but what happened there?" Katara asked Aang. They were at the banquet following the wedding, and Katara had just confronted him about his abrupt handling of the ceremony.
"It was not my fault." Aang said firmly. "You try to handle a wedding ceremony with proper solemnity with Toph hissing at you to hurry it up."
Both Zuko and Sokka were shaking their heads. "And, to think, we both nearly asked you to officiate our ceremonies as well." Sokka said.
"Best decision I ever made, asking him to stand with me rather than read Mai and I our vows." Zuko agreed.
"It was not my fault!" Aang said heatedly. "I memorized the vows perfectly, and the ceremony would have gone off without a hitch if Toph hadn't forced me to hurry up."
"Well…" The gang turned around, and found Toph walking over to them. She actually still had her dress on, but the shoes were long gone. They all suspected they would find them in a nearby garbage pail. "I think that the ceremony went off without a hitch."
"Without a hitch?" Aang repeated incredulously. "Your hissing caused me to skip over about ninety percent of the ceremony!"
"So?" Toph asked. "If you ask me, today was completely worthless anyway. I love The Duke; I don't need some foolish ceremony or pretty words to prove how much I love him."
Everyone fell silent, none of them having ever expected to hear such words of love coming out of her mouth.
"You said the important bits, The Duke and I both said 'I Do', and you pronounced us man and wife. That's all I needed." Toph said. "Now, if you'll excuse us, The Duke and I will be leaving now."
"Gonna rush through the wedding night too?" Sokka asked with a laugh.
"Oh no." Toph said, grinning wickedly at Sokka. "There are some things you never rush." She spared then one final grin before grabbing The Duke by the arm and dragging him away. The Duke smiled and waved at them cheerfully before he was pulled out of the room.
The six remaining friends glanced at each other, their eyes going wide with shock. "Whoa…"
LES: To The Doph shippers, with love. XD