The Island Question

Katara fisted her hands tightly in Aang's robes, her face turned into the wind. They were on his glider, sailing through the sea-salty air over the bay, headed for an island in the center. Katara had one arm wrapped around Aang, and held a woven basket filled with food in the other.

Ever since the trouble began with Yu Dao several years before, it seemed they had little time to relax and simply enjoy each other's company. Forging a new way of living, a new way of thinking, a new form of government… it was tiring. In many ways it was more tiring than the war they had fought.

And so today, when Aang woke her before the sun was up and announced they were going on a picnic, Katara hadn't argued. Surely Yu Dao - Republic City, she reminded herself - could survive without them for one day.

They landed softly on the sandy island shore, the waves washing gently over their feet. Aang slid the sails of his glider shut, and then flexed his hands, pulling the water from their shoes with waterbending.

Katara smiled.

They roamed through the trees until it got hot, then selected a place in the shade for their picnic. Katara was touched that Aang had packed stewed sea prunes. She knew he hated them.

They ate quietly, talking of inconsequential things. It was nice to simply be, without people rushing in to exclaim that the Avatar was needed to solve a dispute, or Master Katara's presence was necessary at a council meeting. But slowly, it became apparent that Aang was a being little too quiet.

There was something on his mind.

"Aang, what is it?" Katara needled him, tweaking one of his ears playfully.

"There's something I want to ask you," Aang replied, blushing even as his face went serious.

"What, Aang?" Katara demanded, starting to get nervous. Aang only used that tone of voice when he was discussing something he thought was vitally important.

Aang stood, airbending a breeze to cool them off that made Katara's hair flutter around her shoulders. "I've been thinking. Republic City is supposed to be a new center for the world. A place where all the nations are one. Earth Kingdom, Fire Nation, Water Tribe… Air Nomad."

Katara waited, not sure where this was going.

"Do you like this island, Katara?" Aang turned to her, his eyes wide and earnest, making Katara's lips twitch up in an unconscious smile.

All these years together, and he could still melt her heart with a look alone.

Katara looked around them, taking in the trees and the scent of the sea. "It's a nice island," she humored him, trusting he'd come to his point.

Aang looked her in the eye. "I want to build an Air Temple here. A place to rebuild my culture."

Katara's brows lifted in surprise, but then she smiled and stood to pull Aang into her arms. "Aang, that's a great idea! I know how much this would mean to you."

"You really think so?" Aang returned her embrace, leaning back to lift Katara's feet off the ground, spinning her around.

"Of course!"

And now Aang started blushing, prompting Katara to give him a speculative look.

"Toph said she would help build the temple. But I was wondering, erm, hoping actually that…" Aang let out a deep breath, and then sucked an even deeper one in.

"Would you live here, on Air Temple Island with me and help me?"

Now Katara blushed. "You didn't have to ask, but I'm glad you did. Yes, of course I will."

Then Aang's lips were on hers, his hands in her hair, and they didn't speak for quite some time.