Post AtLA. At times like this, not only Katara wishes he were home.
"So let me get this straight," Katara says rather wearily, pinching the bridge of her nose. "This household will finally be at peace of your incessant hollering and complaining if your father and I buy you a boomerang?" She peers inquisitively at her five year old son, Bumi, who was staring back at her with bright gray eyes so much like his father's, Aang.
"Yes momma," he says matter-of-factly, using his small pudgy hands to emphasize his point. "If I get a boomewang then I would haff something to pwactice with, like Kya with hew watew contwolling thing, 'cep I haff a boomewang instead just like Uncle Sokka!" He grins hugely at her, hands suspended up in the air as if to say, "ta-da!"
Katara shakes her head at her son's crazy antics and gives away a small laugh. Sometimes she can't help but imagine her brother Sokka in him, what with the wit, the jokes, and the wreaking-havoc-around-the-house thing that was clearly her adorable brother especially back in their youthful days. She stoops down to Bumi's height and gives him a loving smile.
"Okay, okay. Your father and I will think about it. I'll talk to him after he comes back from work, how's that?" She sees his face face light up in sheer delight and within seconds she feels his short, pudgy arms attempt to smother her with hugs.
"Yay! I wuv you mumma! I wuv you!" He screams, pulling back after hugging Katara and giving her a sloppy kiss on the lips.
Katara laughs and hugs her son back. "Oh, I love you too, my little monster. So very much. But it's already getting late and I want you to go up and wash before I change my mind. It's nearly past your bedtime and you know what happens if you're not in bed by nine, right?"
His stormy gray orbs widened in fear and before he knew it, his mother was already attacking him with her nimble fingers, tickling him mercilessly.
"Noooo! Tickles! Momma stop noooo i'll wash now momma ahhhhhh!"
Soon enough his loud and childish giggles fade away as Katara ceases to tickle him. He receives one, last, lingering kiss on the forehead before he runs out of the kitchen and races to his bedroom. Katara leans against the door frame and smiles lovingly at the running figure of her five year old son, thinking of his previous request and how she can gently tell her husband that his son was slowly turning out to be like his brother-in-law.
She doesn't notice the firebird tapping its beak on the window until a few moments later.
"Kya, my love?" Katara whispers, peeking into the room of her eldest daughter. The lights were shut off, save for the night lamp Zuko and Mai gave her a couple of months ago for her seventh birthday. It was a small room, with a single wooden bed on the wall, a bedside table with a glass of water, and a clothes rack on the far corner of the room. Kya was on her bed reading a water tribe book from her mother, and upon hearing her mother's voice she glanced up immediately.
"Mommy? Is everything alright?" she asks her anxiously, closing her book. "Is Daddy okay?"
Katara crosses the room and sits down on her daughter's bed, wrapping an arm around her small shoulders.
"Oh your father's fine. I just got his message, and he says he can't make it home again tonight. Is it alright if you and Bumi spend the night with me?"
Kya nods her head and kisses her mother on the cheek. It was a routine she was clearly used to by now. "Okay mommy. I'll go ahead and get him." She then runs off and fetches her brother; Katara silently watching her stride away. She looks down on the letter clasped tightly around her hand, and she gives another weary sigh.
Might not be home in time tonight. Meeting's still not done and Zuko says I might have to spend the night. I'll try my best to get home though. Give the kids a kiss from me.
I love you, always.
She crumples the letter and brings her knees up to her face, tucking her chin in between. Aang's business meetings with the Fire Lord were getting more frequent now, and Katara swears she's nearly at her wit's end in frustration. She and her husband barely have enough time together what with his Avatar duties always keeping him busy and the kids always wreaking havoc around the house. She misses him so much; she misses how they used to have all the time in the world, just two lovers leisurely traveling the world on Appa with no kids or business meetings eating their minutes up.
But still, she thinks quietly to herself, despite the constant ache and nostalgia I feel for Aang, I'll never regret having Kya and Bumi. They will always and forever be our pride and joy, whatever happens.
The kids arrive the bedroom shortly, interrupting her inner thoughts. Bumi runs up to her and she indulges him with a ride on her hip. She gets up from the mattress and extends her free hand for Kya to hold.
"Come on my dears," she says, smiling at both of them. "Let's get some rest."
"When will daddy come home, momma?" Bumi asks wonderingly as Katara struggles to tuck him in bed. "Will he be home tomowwow? He's always gone an' I miss him alweady."
"I don't know, my love. Maybe, though he did say he'd try to get home as soon as his talk with your Uncle Zuko is done. Now stop moving so much, you're making the all pillows fall down the bed!"
Kya, who was already lying down, giggled and turned to the direction of her mother and brother. "He's always away," she says sadly. "I miss him too. Do you think we can ask Uncle Zuko to make him stay home tomorrow, mommy?"
Katara gave her daughter a sad smile and kissed her forehead. "We'll see, my dear. Your father's job is very important which is why we have to understand why he's away most of the time. But don't worry, we'll have some time with him soon," Bumi yawned tiredly and Katara rubbed his forehead. "But right now, it's getting late and you kids have to sleep. We can visit your Uncle Sokka tomorrow, if you want."
Bumi grinned and began to close his eyes, drifting off to sleep in mere minutes. Kya faced the opposite direction and fell asleep as well, leaving Katara sitting on the foot of the bed, staring lovingly at the sight of her kids. A few minutes thereafter she gets up, switches the light off, and climbs on the bed beside Kya and Bumi, stroking the top of their heads with utmost care. She looks out of the window and sees a bright, crescent moon against the inky black sky. No air bison in sight tonight. She sighs.
"We miss you, Aang. Come home soon."
Moonlight streamed through the shutters and bathed the sleeping figures in silver light. A lone figure in the shadows crept slowly towards the bed, careful not to wake them up. He reaches the foot of the bed and stares lovingly at their peaceful faces, chests continually heaving up and down. Katara's arms encircled the small figures of her kids, as if protecting them for the darkness. Aang smiles at the gesture and kneels down to give them all a kiss on the forehead. It sends Katara stirring and she wakes up, eyes unfocused and forehead all scrunched up.
"Wha, whashappning –"
"Shh," he whispers, placing a finger on her lips. "It's just me. I'm home now."
A/N: Found this in one of my folders the other day. Haha.