Rated: Teen for mentions of sexuality and undescribed nudity.
Summary: Learning how to be a parent is a life-long job. But Aang and Katara always thought it would be easier than this. Why can't they make Tenzin keep his clothes on? Kataang and Maiko.
Disclaimer: "Avatar: The Last Airbender", "Avatar: The Legend of Korra", and all related characters belong to Bryke.
LES: Inspiration always seems to strike at work. I was talking to a co-worker, and we somehow started talking about child development. She mentioned that her grandchild was going through a phase where she kept taking off her clothes. Lots of kids go through naked phases. I went through it myself when I was two. My parents couldn't get me to keep my clothes on for nothing! Then I thought: Naked Phase + Tenzin = Adorable! Aang is 20, Katara is 22 and Tenzin is 2.
Muse: I see what you did there.
LES: *whistles innocently*
Everything just seemed to happen so quickly once the war was over. It was like Aang and Katara's entire futures hinged upon the war's results and when it was over, everything just seemed to fall into place.
Dating had been remarkably easy. They had been dating in pretty much every way except name during the length of the war, so it was easy to make it official once the war ended. They talked, they spent time together, they went on dates, but most of the time they just kissed. Their relationship grew stronger and stronger over the years until Aang's fifteenth birthday when he proposed to Katara and she happily agreed to marry him.
They were married one year later after Aang's sixteenth birthday and his coming of age.
It had taken them a little longer to adjust to married life then to dating. They had decided to wait until after they were married before they made love for the first time, and they had behaved just like any young couple that was newly introduced to sex… by engaging in it often. So often, in fact, that it was a complete mystery to those who knew them why it took so long for them to have their first child after their marriage.
Katara had gotten pregnant over a year after her marriage to Aang and a son was born to them nine months later, whom they named Tenzin, which meant 'upholder of teachings'. Aang had chosen the name in the hopes that Tenzin would be an Airbender and continue the nearly-extinct Air Nomad culture.
It was at this point that things got really interesting. Katara all ready had so many mothering instincts that she took to the job of caring for her newborn son almost immediately. Aang, however, had a bit of a rougher start.
It wasn't that he didn't care about his newborn son. Aang loved his son as much as he loved his wife and had spent the entirety of Katara's pregnancy in a state of constant impatience for the child to be born. The problem was the way Aang had been raised.
Taken away from his real parents at a very young age, Aang had been raised by the monks of the Air Temple. He had a wonderful father-figure in Monk Gyatso, but there were many ways in which being a real father differed from his relationship to Monk Gyatso. The differences were enough to throw Aang off balance when he had been so sure that he could follow Monk Gyatso's example and be a good father.
So the young Avatar floundered along with fatherhood, having to learn the hard way what Katara seemed to know instinctively. But Katara never lost her patience with him, no matter how many times he asked her what Tenzin's different cries meant, or how to change a diaper, or why babies behaved the way they did.
Unfortunately, it seemed that as soon as Aang knew everything there was to know about babies, Tenzin had grown into a toddler… meaning a whole new set of rules.
He was walking and talking now, and using these new skills to get into an unholy amount of trouble. Toddlers were masters at finding trouble, and Tenzin had taken trouble-making to an art form.
He was energetic and outgoing like his father, but also stubborn and hard-headed like his mother. A dangerous combination at the best of times.
However, Aang and Katara dealt with it as any other parents did: frequent vacations.
They were currently in the Fire Nation because some rebels were stirring up trouble. So, officially, there were there because of Aang's Avatar duties. However, Firelord Zuko was allowing the family to stay in his private villa on the tropical Ember Island; therefore, it was also a vacation.
Aang was currently seated in the villa's sitting room, talking about the rebel situation with Firelord Zuko, who was visiting the family in between his duties as the leader of a nation. For once, the house was quiet, because Katara had put Tenzin down for his nap. The boy always protested venomously to his nap-time, but once he got put down, sleep always seemed to follow very quickly.
"As far as I can tell, these rebels are not very well supplied." Zuko commented. "Can you believe it; some of my soldiers came back from these battles reporting that the rebels came after them with sticks, of all things!"
The two old friends shared a laugh over that. "Did they honestly think they could take on your troops with just sticks?" Aang asked, shocked.
"If they did, then it shouldn't take too long for us to clean up this mess, wouldn't you say?" Zuko asked.
"For once." Aang said. "Is it just me, or to the rebels seem to be getting less and less dangerous?"
"It's not just you." Zuko said. "In the immediate aftermath of the war, a lot of people were against me and the rebels were all well-supplied. But now that a great majority of the Fire Nation has warmed up to me, they aren't nearly as well supplied. Give it a few more months, and there won't be a rebel force anymore."
"Well, that's good to…" Aang began, but he was cut off by a yell from Katara, coming from the bedrooms.
"Tenzin! NO!" Katara screamed, and the two men leapt to their feet, both of them clearly thinking that someone was attacking them. It wouldn't be the first time rebels tried to sneak into their homes and assassinate them.
"Tenzin!" Aang gasped, horrified. Were they really sinking so low as to attack his defenseless two-year-old son? His protective father instincts kicked into high gear and he bolted towards the hallway, followed closely by Zuko.
However, before they could enter the hallway, something bolted out of the hallway, colliding with Aang's legs. Both men froze, staring in shock.
Tenzin had just collided with his father's legs, knocking the boy to the ground. But that wasn't what had them staring, but rather Tenzin's clothes, or lack thereof. The two year old was completely naked.
As toddlers were very resilient to things like spills and tumbles, Tenzin was up again in a second and started to run away. Katara came running down the hallway, intent on catching her nude son, but was unable to because of the boy's speed enhanced with very basic Airbending.
"Aang! Catch him!" Katara yelled.
Acting instantly, Aang swept his arms in a wide Airbending move that created a gust of wind, picking up the fleeing toddler and depositing him in his father's arms.
"No!" Tenzin squealed with displeasure at having been caught, writhing like a rat-viper in Aang's arms in a desperate attempt to get away.
"This again, little man?" Aang asked, exasperated. "When are you going to learn to keep your clothes on?"
"Hate clothes!" Tenzin protested.
Katara jogged up to the two men, panting. "I'm terribly sorry about this. I thought for sure that he would have a harder time getting out of those Air Nomad clothes."
"Rip, rip, rip!" Tenzin chanted, leaving no doubt as to how he had gotten out of the complicated clothing provided by his father.
"You are just bound and determined to be naked, aren't you, little man?" Aang sighed, passing the child over to Katara.
As Katara, walked away with the naked child, Zuko burst out into laughter, ignoring the deadpan look sent his way by Aang.
"I don't see what's so funny about this." Aang commented sourly. "He just doesn't want to wear clothes anymore. Do you know how hard it is to keep him from stripping down at balls and parties? He actually managed it at the Earth King's ball last week."
"Oh, geez, Aang. Lighten up. He's just going through his Naked Phase. It will end in a few months." Zuko laughed.
"His… naked phase?" Aang repeated.
"Just about every kid goes through it." Zuko laughed. "My mother always used to tell stories about how there was several months when I turned three that I wouldn't wear clothes at all."
"Are you sure that it's that common?" Aang asked. "Katara knows so much more about children then I do, but she's never mentioned a naked phase. She's just as confused as I am about this."
"Well… I can't imagine them having naked phases at the poles." Zuko commented. "It's just too cold there to strip down to nothing."
"Oh." Aang said. "So… are you saying that this is normal?"
"Completely normal. Just stop taking him to balls and parties, and he'll eventually start wearing clothes again in a few months."
Aang let out a sigh of relief. "Well, I'm glad that you think it's normal. And here I was worried that my son would grow up to be a streaker!" He faced down the hallway. "Hey, Katara! Zuko reckons that this naked phase Ten's going through is normal!"
A few moments later, Katara emerged from the hallway, holding Tenzin to herself. The boy had underwear on now, but was clearly displeased with the fact. "Normal?" She asked, holding her son tightly enough that he couldn't get out of the one piece of clothing that she managed to get on him. "Are you sure?" She asked, glancing at Zuko.
At that moment the front door burst open and in ran Mai and Zuko and Mai's second child, a girl named Ursa after her grandmother. But, what caught the adult's attention the most was that Ursa happened to be completely naked.
"Ursa, you have to put your clothes on when we have company!" Mai said with exasperation.
Ursa, who was just a few months older than Tenzin, protested venomously. "No! Only in public! Uncle Aang and Auntie 'Tara aren't public!"
Zuko rolled his eyes at the lesser experienced parents, who could only stare. "Yep. I'm reasonably sure that it's normal." He said with a firm nod.
LES: Cute enough to give you cavities? Good. That's just what I wanted!