Rated: T for romance (Kataang)
Summary: Aang and Katara muse over the first time they are confronted with someone who believes their love to be immoral because of their age difference.
Disclaimer: "Avatar: The Last Airbender" is owned by Bryke. If I owned it, it probably wouldn't be as good.
LES: So… once again I have to experiment with the 1st person POV. So you know, this is not the style that I'm used to. I'm more of a 3rd person sort of gal. But… for the sake of the theme, I shall step outside of my bounds. XD
I was insulted today.
It's not that I haven't had some pretty nasty things said to me in the past. But those had been completely false accusations. I suppose insults hurt worse when some small part of you realizes that there is some grain of truth within the insult.
It all started on my first public date with my new boyfriend. Isn't it obvious who that is? I've written about him enough in this last year. Looking back through this thing, I can't find a single entry that doesn't include some mention of him. Within the span of a year, he has become everything to me. I love him. Aang. The Avatar.
Funny how the world works, isn't it? My childhood was filled with dreams about the Avatar returning to save the world. And now here he was: the literal man of my dreams; and we loved each other. Oh, and we had saved the world together too. But, somehow, that didn't seem as important as our budding relationship.
We had gotten together after the celebratory party at Iroh's tea shop in Ba Sing Se, and it was a few weeks later that we were finally able to go on a real date. Unfortunately, the scars of a hundred years of war cannot be healed in a few weeks, or even a few years. Aang had been so busy with peace meetings that we'd barely spent time together at all.
However, today was different. Even politicians couldn't spend day after day locked in meetings, and they had decided that now was as good a time as any to have a day off. As soon as Aang got the news that he would have a whole free day, he began to make plans for us to go on a date. A real date!
Our date began well enough. Well, I suppose we got sidetracked a number of times. We were a bit more interested in finding dark private corners to kiss rather than doing the activities that Aang had planned for us.
We had just finished our lunch and Aang was leading me though the streets of Ba Sing Se to our next destination when we walked past a group of girls who looked like they were getting out of school, judging by their matching uniforms. They ranged in age from about eight years old all the way up to sixteen or so.
They all recognized Aang instantly and bowed to him as he walked past. I saw the difference between the girls instantly. The girls younger than nine and the girls older than 13 simply bowed to him, but the girls aged ten to twelve bowed with blushes staining their faces as they stared at Aang out of the corners of their eyes while trying to pretend that they were not staring at him.
The girls who were in the first group recovered first. The younger ones went about their business, while the older girls continued to watch us with interest. And then they noticed Aang's arm around my waist.
"Cradle robber." One of the girls jeered.
I had frozen in place, and so had Aang.
Of course, Aang's age had crossed my mind a few times when I considered starting a relationship with him. But I eventually realized that it was superfluous when faced with the reality that we loved each other. It was only a two year age difference. That sort of difference wouldn't matter very much as we got older. After all, how radial does eighteen and twenty sound? Twenty-eight and thirty? Thirty-eight and forty? And as for Aang being a pre-teen right now? He was going to turn thirteen in just a month and become a teenager, and it seemed foolish to wait a few weeks when we both knew what was between us.
However, insults do hurt worse when there is a grain of truth within them. I knew that Aang was a child. Technically, I guess I was a Cradle robber. But it wasn't like I was forcing Aang into a relationship that he couldn't understand. Aang understood perfectly what our relationship meant… perhaps a little better than I understood it. After all, more often than not… it was he who was a hundred miles ahead of me in this relationship and I was the one struggling to keep up with it.
I would never force Aang to do anything that he wasn't ready for. We both deliberately kept our relationship firmly at the level that it was at currently, and we had not strayed into deeper passions. In love or not, we knew that the only way our relationship would be accepted was if we waited to deflower ourselves until after Aang was an adult, at the very least. (Better for us to be married. He was a public figure, after all.)
Sokka better never get his grimy paws on this diary!
Cradle robber? I prefer to think of myself as a cougar.
I've noticed that when someone calls someone else a 'cradle robber', it is an insult against the elder person in the relationship. When that girl called Katara a cradle robber, I knew that Katara was hurt. I could see it on her face. But, frankly, I was a bit insulted myself.
A hundred years ago, that term didn't even exist, nor was it considered immoral for two people with a slight age difference to date. The Air Nomads, especially, had no reservations when it came to love. I was brought up to believe that love, in all its forms, was natural; whether it be between two people of the opposite sex, two people of the same sex, or two people with an age difference like mine and Katara's. The Air Nomads celebrated love in all forms, so it would have never crossed my mind that some people would find my relationship with Katara inappropriate.
Being trapped in an ice berg, only to emerge from my prison a hundred years later, was a culture shock in many ways. Not only was my culture completely wiped out, but the other cultures had changed so dramatically. Like when I was trying to blend into the crowd in the Fire Nation, just after getting our disguises. It was only much later that Sokka and Katara told me that no one behaved like that anymore. How embarrassing.
The words 'cradle robber' was not even in my vocabulary until Sokka forced me to become familiar with modern laws. Imagine my shock when I discovered that they had tried to legalize love! The Fire Nation, especially, had strict laws concerning the compatibility of two people, and didn't take into account at all those people's feelings.
Even though it was technically illegal for Katara and I to date in the Fire Nation (and discouraged by Earth Kingdom laws), we did not care. The Water Tribe had no laws concerning the age one could date. Mostly because the children of the Northern Tribe were betrothed to be married when they were still toddlers, and then married once they both reached the age of sixteen. The Southern Tribe was virtually destroyed, with little in the way of law. People did what they pleased there. Therefore, in both of our cultures, what we were doing was perfectly legal and acceptable.
Not that those Earth Kingdom girls would know that, I guess. Pretty much everyone in Ba Sing Se was Xenophobic. They probably only tolerated myself and my friends because of my status.
But the legality of the matter does not change the fact that I feel insulted.
Wasn't it just a few weeks ago that everyone was telling me to kill someone? To end someone's life with my own hands and damn myself in the process?
The hypocrisy is astonishing. So I'm old enough to become a judge, jury, and executioner, old enough to fight and die in a war; but I'm not old enough to know what love feels like?
How can anyone expect to know my own heart better than me?
Cradle robber? Is it theft if the cradle wants to be robbed?
LES: No, I don't support pedophilia. What I do support is the idea that making a big fit about Aang and Katara's age difference (which is minute) is foolish. There are much vaster age differences out there. My own cousin is dating a woman four years older than him.