The Avatar's Marriage
Rated: Mature for romance/sexuality (Kataang)
Summary: AU story in which the War has never happened. Katara's life in the Southern Water Tribe is turned upside down when she is forced into an arranged marriage with the Avatar. But perhaps arranged marriages aren't so bad after all.
Disclaimer: "Avatar: The Last Airbender" is owned by Bryke. Me no own-y, so you no sue-y.
LES: An AU story that takes place in Aang's time. The war might happen, the Air Nomads are still alive, and all the characters from the show are alive, even if I have to warp their family trees. This is the result of another AU story I was writing. It sucked, so I dumped it. Now this story improves what needed to be improved and keeps what was all right. So let's get this show on the road!
Chapter I: The Arrangement
It was a fact that Katara had known almost all her life: she would marry the Avatar, a man that she had never met.
It was a custom: the Avatar had a difficult job and would lead a difficult life. Having a life-long companion who could look after mundane concerns while the Avatar focused his energy on the world was a great idea.
So when each new Avatar turned five, the search began for the Avatar's companion.
Under normal circumstances, only young people from the Avatar's nation were considered, but the Air Nomads were different.
The Avatar was nobility… practically royalty. Only those of nobility, who would be used to being in the limelight as the Avatar's companion, could handle such a life. The Air Nomads had no nobility, so it fell to the other nations to provide.
They were looking for young girls of nobility who were also five years old, just like the unknown Avatar.
Only half a dozen girls were offered and young Katara was the one chosen.
Thus did she find out she would be the Avatar's wife before she found out who the Avatar was.
When Katara was sixteen, she waited with bated breath along with the rest of the world. The world leaders and Katara were the first to receive the scrolls of announcement from the Air Nomad leaders.
The Avatar, her future husband, was revealed to be Master Aang, an Airbending prodigy from the Southern Air Temple.
Katara received an additional scroll from the Air Temple monks. Master Aang would leave on his Avatar journey to master the other elements; only upon the completion of his training would she be called to the Eastern Air Temple where she would live with him as his wife.
Katara sighed with relief. It took most Avatars ten years or more to complete their training. She would be in her mid-twenties and more prepared for the idea of marriage by then.
But Master Aang was a Bending prodigy. It only took him four years to Master the other elements and the Avatar State. It took him half a year for him to master Water, two years for Earth, a year for Fire, and another half a year for the Avatar State, making him easily the youngest ever fully-realized Avatar.
So it was that Katara was only twenty years old when she received her summons from the Eastern Air Temple. The wedding would be in a few weeks, and she needed to be ready when her Air Nomad entourage would pick her up.
"I don't like this." Katara's older brother, Sokka, said as he watched his sister pack the things she would need to start her new life at the Eastern Air Temple.
Katara looked up from her packing in shock. In the Water Tribe, arranged marriages were not only acceptable, but the norm.
Many of the couples had their marriages arranged by their families, and they all seemed content with their matches. Sokka and Katara's parents had an arranged marriage, but it was clear they loved each other. "What don't you like? It's just an arranged…"
"Katara, pretty much every marriage in our tribe was between two people who have known each other since childhood. But Avatar Aang… do you know what he looks like?"
"No." Katara answered.
"Has he ever written to you or spoken with you at all?"
"No." Katara admitted. "But it's not like I've been eager to contact him either."
"It's just weird, okay?" Katara said. "He is my future husband, so I would like to meet him and find out what he's like, but I'm scared at the same time."
"Scared of what?"
"Of the Avatar." Katara said. "I'm scared of the mighty spiritual being that he is." She closed the final strap on her luggage, ready for when the Air Nomads would pick her up tomorrow.
"Katara… you know I want you to be happy in your marriage, right?" Katara nodded at her brother. "But… if something does go wrong, send me a message. I hear the Air Nomads have flying rat things to deliver messages for them. I'll come down to the Air Temple and straighten him out myself, Avatar or no."
"I hope it doesn't come to that." Katara said, embracing her brother. "I really hope it doesn't."
On the other side of the world, Avatar Aang was having a nervous breakdown. He had felt deeply honored when his spiritual mentor informed him that he had mastered all his Avatar powers completely and that he was officially given the title of fully-realized Avatar… until he remembered what that meant for his personal life.
Unlike Katara, Aang only had four years to get used to the idea of marrying a young woman that he had never met. He knew her name, Katara, and he knew that she was the daughter of the Southern Water Tribe chief, but that was all he knew about her.
He had arrived at the Eastern Air Temple with his mentors to officially begin his reign as the newest Avatar, and he ran into a group of Nomads getting ready for an obviously long journey.
"May I ask, where are you going?" Aang wondered, given the assumption that the entire Air Nomad nation would be here to honor their Avatar.
"Oh, Avatar Aang…" The Nomads bowed quickly. "We were on our way to the Southern Water Tribe. You know your bride has been waiting for you to finish your training for four years."
Suddenly, the fact that he was going to be married in a few weeks crashed down on him all at once and he almost had a heart attack right there. The Air Nomads noticed his discomfort.
"Is something the matter, Avatar Aang?" One asked.
"Oh… I guess I'm just a little… nervous." Aang confessed. It was still an understatement.
"It's all right to be nervous." Aang breathed a sigh of relief and turned around. It was his Airbending Master and a man who was like a father to him: Monk Gyatso.
"I just…" Aang began. "I've never met her before, and now I'm supposed to marry her. What if we don't love each other? What if we don't even like each other?"
"Aang, you are a good person. You genuinely love those around you, you are able to put people at ease even though you are supposed to be an intimidating Avatar, and you will respect her no matter what. I believe that she will find you very likeable. The young women that you've met on your travels certainly seem to think that you are quite the catch." Gyatso said with a smile. Aang blushed.
"Katara…" Aang tested the name on his tongue. "Have you ever met her, Gyatso?"
"Once, when she was a child. Her father was particularly proud of her, said that she looked just like her mother. You should rest easy knowing that her mother is quite a beauty, and I'm sure she's grown into a beautiful young woman herself."
"But what is she like?"
"She was very much like you were at that age, playful and full of life. You have matured and she will have as well. We are confident that we made the right choice for you." Gyatso trailed off when he noticed the look on Aang's face. "My young one, I was one of the monks who chose this girl for you. I wouldn't have picked someone who I didn't believe you could grow to love. Remember, I just want you to be happy."
Aang gave Gyatso a weak smile. "I'll try."
Gyatso pulled his charge into an embrace, which he eagerly returned. "I'm proud of you."