I dont know what i want to say up here...I guess i should mention there are many short time skips, conveniently divided by the lines :) If you find any mistakes or things that seem weird for one of my stories, just let me know so i can fix it. I usually reread stories five or six times, but you never know. I tend to miss things a lot. By the way, it was hard to remember some of the names of the more...known animals in the avatar world so i had to look most of them up, which took a couple of minutes. Anyways, enjoy!
"Can we keep it?" Kya asked, holding tightly to the squirming ringed tailed lemur in her hands.
"Why not?" Bumi whined.
"There are plenty of lemurs around. You won't be able to keep track of one."
"Dad had a lemur," Kya told her mother matter-of-factly.
"That was an entirely different situation," Katara said.
"He still had one for himself," Bumi muttered, but Katara caught it.
"We thought Momo was the last winged lemur for a long time. Your father, Appa, and he were all that was left of the Southern Air Temple. He was a great companion on our travels, but that doesn't mean you can keep a lemur in the house. It needs to be outside where it can fly around with all the other lemurs on the island."
"But mom!" Kya complained.
"No. End of discussion."
"Fine," Kya replied, "When's dad coming home?"
"He should be here any time now. But asking him isn't going to help because he'll tell you to ask me and you already have my answer."
Aang had been gone for two weeks now, and it wasn't helping Katara any. He had some Avatar business to take care of in Ba Sing Se with the Earth King and Fire Lord Zuko. That left Katara home with her three kids and their impossible amount of energy and impatience. It wasn't helping that they suddenly wanted a new pet, to which Katara was completely against since it would mean more messes and arguing. The kids were persistent, but for now they would leave her alone.
About an hour passed and Katara was in the process of getting things ready for dinner before the kids were back, this time without anything in their hands.
"Mom, can I have a poodle pony?" Kya asked innocently.
"Can I have a poodle pony?" Bumi asked.
Katara shook her head, "No one in this room is getting a poodle pony."
"Ostrich horse?" Tenzin asked enthusiastically.
"Absolutely not! Where would you keep an ostrich horse?"
Tenzin shrugged, "With the bison?"
"You already get a bison Tenzin! You don't need another pet! So be quiet," Bumi said, making his younger brother cross his arms and huff.
"Bumi, be nice to your brother," Katara warned. She was now in a staring contest of sorts with the three kids. They all made puppy dog faces up at her, but she just smiled down at their attempts and shook her head.
Soon enough, though, they began talking again and Katara just shook her head at the random animals they named off.
"Boar-q-pine?" Bumi asked, earning him a strange look from his brother and sister.
"Buzzard wasp?" he tried again.
"Absolutely not," Katara shivered. She hated those ever since the desert.
"Cat owl?" Kya asked.
"Eel hound?" Bumi tried.
Katara gave her daughter a strange look at the suggestion, but shrugged, "No."
Katara remembered when Sokka had bought one of those birds. She hadn't seen that thing since it flew off with Toph's message home, "We are not getting a bird."
"Sparrowkeet?" Katara informed Bumi that that was, in fact, a bird, and they were not getting one.
"How about a pygmy panther?" Katara didn't want any of those running around trying to get a bite out of the lemurs. They would cause a lot of trouble.
"Can we have a platypus bear?"
Katara sighed, "Last time I checked, that is a dangerous animal and we don't own a zoo."
Her sons deflated, but Kya smiled, "But daddy built that one in Ba Sing Se, didn't he?" Bumi and Tenzin smiled at this, but deflated again when Katara told them it wasn't the same as owning a zoo.
"We don't have anywhere to keep any of these animals you want." Bumi opened his mouth to say something, "And the answer is still no." He promptly closed his mouth and scratched his head.
"What about a lion turtle?"
Katara opened her mouth to say no, but stopped herself. They were nearly impossible to find, so ancient that most people thought they were mythical creatures. She smiled to herself. Aang must have told them about his run in with the world's largest creature and they thought they would have a possibility of seeing one too. If that was the case, maybe they would stop asking to get another animal for a while. The odds of them finding one if they were on the island were so low that Katara almost wondered what made him suggest it.
She looked down at them carefully, "Fine. If you can find a lion turtle while you are on the island," she said, adding, "And that means no leaving," when she saw the gleam in Bumi's eyes that usually meant trouble, "you may keep it."
Katara was mixing a pot of rice when she heard footsteps behind her. It was probably her kids again, realizing that it would be impossible to find a lion turtle and coming back to give more suggestions.
"No, we cannot get a badger frog," Katara sighed.
"I wasn't going to ask for one," a voice said cautiously from behind her, "I was just going to say that I'm finally home."
"Aang!" Katara exclaimed as she turned around and ran to give him a hug.
"So, what's this about a badger frog?" Aang laughed into her ear as he hugged her back.
Katara took a step back and rolled her eyes, "Your children insist on getting a pet."
Aang raised an eyebrow, "They do realize that we live on an island filled with lemurs and bison right?"
Katara shrugged, "You should hear the list of animals they want. I'm sure several have tried to kill us before."
Aang gave an apologetic smile before saying, "Then I guess now isn't the time to say I found a lost saber-tooth moose lion cub and brought it home."
Katara's eyes widened, "Take it back right now! Don't let the kids see you."
Aang started laughing, "I'm just kidding. Sorry I was gone so long. The Earth King had a few things that he wanted my opinion on and I had to stay longer than I thought. Sadly I'll have to go back in a couple of weeks for a follow up on the new plans." He frowned at this, but was otherwise still laughing.
"Uh huh," Katara replied, nodding her head and biting her lip, "Now's probably not the best time to tell you that I'm pregnant then."
"Yeah," Aang still laughed, "Probably-wait. What?" He stopped abruptly and stared at Katara with his mouth open in a rather strange expression.
Katara rolled her eyes and put a finger under his chin to get him to close his mouth. "Just kidding," she smiled, "I guess you aren't the only one with acting skills."
"Oh ha ha," Aang said, "So, what are the kids doing exactly? They didn't even look up when Appa landed."
"Well," Katara said, "to get them to leave me alone long enough to make dinner, I told them that if they found a lion turtle, they could keep it. I guess they are taking it seriously and trying to find one."
"Out of all animals, you said they could keep a lion turtle? The largest creature in the world?" Aang asked, rather amused now. Kya, Bumi, and Tenzin had been on the beach, looking out into the water and digging in the sand when he had arrived. He was surprised none of them seemed to notice his arrival and planned on going down there to see what was going on as soon as he let Katara know he was home. "They're so few and far between I doubt they'll find anything even resembling one."
"Exactly," Katara said. "I was hoping they would stop asking if they could have a new pet."
Not a second later, the sound of footsteps could be heard as the three kids ran into the kitchen and jumped onto their father. He crouched down to hug each of them and listen to their tales of the two weeks he'd been gone. Then Kya began jumping up and down. Aang then noticed something was wiggling in between his youngest son's hands.
"We found a lion turtle! No takebacksies!" Bumi yelled, pointing at his mother, before Kya could say anything. Aang and Katara looked at each other in astonishment before the silence was once again interrupted, this time by Kya.
"Yeah, he's so tiny and cute! Tenzin show em!"
Tenzin uncovered his hand and placed his palms together to make room for the tiny creature to crawl along. It stared up at them with intelligent eyes as it walked in Tenzin's hand. It blinked slowly and kept staring.
Tenzin smiled innocently up at his parents as they stared down at the little thing that they knew for a fact was a lion turtle, just in baby form.
"Great," Aang said, noticing the look on Katara's face. "Why don't you three go play with it for awhile while I talk to your mother."
"Okay!" they all yelled as they ran out the door.
"Is it even possible that there are baby lion turtles left? Is it even possible for them to have babies? I mean, it had to come from somewhere, but…how? And why here and now? I think the universe is out to get me," Katara managed in one breath as she sat at the dining room table, putting her head in her hands.
Aang just walked up behind her and rubbed a hand on her back comfortingly. She uncovered one eye when he spoke. "You know, you're starting to sound like Sokka. Maybe you should take a break. I'll take care of dinner and the lion turtle. Okay?"
Katara nodded her head and sighed, "But I thought no one's seen a lion turtle in years! How is it that our kids just happen to find one on the island?"
Aang shrugged, taking his hand off her back and sitting down next to her, "Anything's possible."
"Like a group of kids saving the world?" Katara sighed.
Aang nodded, "Just like that. Plus," he added, just because he thought it would make her feel better, "you kind of set yourself up for it."
Katara let out a little huff of indignation and elbowed her husband's arm. He stood and left her sitting there as he followed the sounds of his children's voices.
"Do you three really think you can take care of a lion turtle?" he asked curiously as he stood on the beach with his kids, who were playing in the sand and watching the tiny creature crawl around. Aang was surprised the poor thing could put up with all the attention. "Where did you even find it?"
Kya looked up at her dad, "We were digging in the sand and we saw it crawl onto the beach. It's just a baby."
"I can see that," Aang said as he crouched down and cupped the tiny turtle into his hands, looking into its eyes, "Two lion turtles in one lifetime. Who would've thought?"
The kids shrugged, not quite understanding his rhetorical question, but were keeping an eye on him since he had their precious new find. The lion turtle stared up at the Avatar with none of the wisdom he had seen in the other one he encountered. It was just a baby after all. It blinked again, being able to do almost nothing more as the Avatar straightened up and walked towards the water, his children demanding to know what he was doing.
"Lion turtles live most of their lives in the ocean," he explained. "I'm sorry, but we can't keep him on the island." The three kids all began to complain as their father set the lion turtle in the water and it began to swim away. He put up a hand to silence them, "For now, he needs the protection the water will give him. Maybe you'll see him again someday."
When Aang turned, he could see the sad expression on each of his kids' faces. He sighed and crouched down in front of them, giving them a small smile, "I need you to do me a huge favor."
Kya was the first to speak up, "What kind of favor?"
Aang smiled at his daughter, "I need the three of you to not mention seeing a lion turtle to anyone. Can you do that?"
"Why not?" Bumi asked, crossing his arms and sticking out his bottom lip in defiance.
"A lot of people don't believe they're real. Others think their extinct. If they found out that you three found one, especially a young one, they might try to hunt them."
"Like the dragons?" Tenzin asked curiously, having only heard part of that story.
"Yes," Aang sighed. "Can you three keep it a secret? If not for me then for the lion turtle?" The three children looked at each other and nodded. "Great. Now," he said, standing to his full height, "who wants to help with dinner?"
When none of them made a move, he rolled his eyes, "In that case, leave your mother alone for a while. She needs some rest."
"Okay daddy," Kya grinned up at him and wrapped her arms around her brothers' shoulders, pulling them closer to her and turning them around, "We'll stay away from mom while you make dinner."
Aang crossed his arms and smirked, "And no messing with the Acolytes, leaving the island, or thinking up any pranks without me. Got it?" He saw Kya and Bumi sigh in defeat, but Tenzin just shrugged.
"Fine," the two masterminds replied. Tenzin just looked at them and frowned. Aang almost laughed at his youngest for being so serious when it came to thing like that. Both of them knew that the two older children already had several schemes in mind and they were just waiting until they were out of earshot to voice them.
Aang shook his head and began his way back to the house, "I'll call you three when dinner's ready."
After a strangely quiet dinner, the kids waited at the table, one with a bored look, and two just bursting with anticipation. Bumi was practically bouncing in his seat and Kya was grinning from ear to ear, while Tenzin just rested his cheek in his hand until his siblings spit it out.
Katara and Aang exchanged a look and asked what was going on. Kya ran out of the room for a moment and came back with another squirming animal, this time a fire ferret. Katara gave Aang a questioning look, and he just shrugged, "It must have found its way onto one of the boats."
Katara took a deep breath as her two elder children began to beg to keep it, saying how adorable it was and they would love it and take good care of it. She had to admit, it was adorable, but not worth having to deal with her kids fighting over it. Even Aang looked like he was beginning to fall in love with the squirming ferret, which Katara would not be able to deal with.
"Absolutely not," She finally said, getting up from the table and walking towards the door. "Aang, I know you just got home, but I'm going to bed and that thing needs to be off the island in the next half hour or I'm making stewed sea prunes for dinner for the rest of the week."
All four of them made disgusted faces and Kya handed the creature to her father. They all had to agree that it wasn't worth it. That didn't stop Bumi though, "Dad, can we get a hog monkey?"
"No!" came Katara's answer from somewhere down the hall before Aang even had a chance to open his mouth.
He just shrugged, "I guess that answers that," before standing up. "You three get to bed and I'll take care of this little guy."
"Goodnight daddy!" they all said as they scooted out of their seats and went down the hall.
Aang made his way to the bison caves, scratching behind the ferret's ear and muttering, "Why do I get stuck with getting rid of the adorable animals? Why couldn't it have been a gopher bear or something? That would be a little easier to get rid of."
Sometime later, Aang finally got to lie down in bed for the night. He turned to face Katara, who was still wide awake and asked, "So, why were they asking for a pet in the first place?"
Katara just sighed and pulled the covers over her head, "You wouldn't believe me if I told you."
This part is about the lion turtle if you want to read it. I just wrote it and asked myself what i was thinking, but i didnt want to get rid of it. I left it here so you can read if you want. It's right after Aang sets it free.
The lion turtle had all but disappeared when it turned to look at the family one last time, blinking with new knowledge. It would never come back, but that was only because there was much to see in the world, and that was just a glimpse. It would never trust humans, but that was because it would probably never meet another, staying mostly underwater for the rest of its life. It would live for thousands of years if it could, gaining more knowledge from the elder ones, who have been there for even longer than the Avatar itself. Maybe it would enlighten those younger than itself, maybe not. There were so few that it would be almost impossible to meet another lion turtle, but pathways as ancient as the earth itself were ingrained in the little turtle's mind, and it would follow where those paths lead until the end of time. Anything is possible. Those words rang through the tiny creature's head as it disappeared under the water.
So, before anyone says how ancient and huge the liion turtles are, remember that they would start out smaller. I just happen to make this one small enough to fit in a kid's hands. Yeah, i see how impossible that seems, but hey, i'm me, so i decide what i decide to do, if that made any sense...i think it does, and i'm rambling again. Now, lion turtles had to be babies sometime, so just think up your own reason for a young one to be there, like maybe there was a nest or something and eggs hatch every thousand years! Or, even crazier than that, though i guess that isnt considered crazy in the avatar world...hmmm. Anyways, please tell me what ya think about this.