"So, Aang... where're we going?" Katara asked him as Appa soared through the skies.
Aang smiled mischievously as he said, "You hate not knowing don't you?" Katara sighed as she resigned to her fate. This was gonna be a long morning.
Aang was thinking about how he was going to ask her. He still had his doubts. After what Sokka told him last night, it was difficult for him to forget the fact this being the Avatar meant responsibilities other than his friends and family. He suddenly thought of Koh... and about what Avatar Kuruk had said... and it scared him more than anything. How could he possibly put her in danger that way? Could he live with himself knowing he let his enemies get to her when he could've prevented it? He looked sideways at her and found her smiling to herself with her eyes closed as the breeze caressed her beautiful hair and flew it in all directions. He just had to smile. Once again, he forgot everyhting else as he remembered how happy she made him...
"We're here!" he said slowly as they made their descent towards a beautiful riverbank. Katara smiled as she remembered the place.
"Aang, this is so great! It's been so long since we came here!" she exclaimed.
"I'm glad you like it," he said sincerely as he got off first.
The reason he'd chosen this place was because this was where he'd actually realized he was falling for her. He smiled as he remembered the last time they were here.
"Wait there... and don't peek until I ask you to come down," Aang told her.
She just nodded and sat back. Aang, meanwhile, raised the earth to make a small platform. Then he laid out two watermelons deftly cut and filled with watermelon juice... Then he arranged some fruits to make fruit tarts and lit two candles and placed them in the middle of the platform.
"Alright, Katara... Come on down, now..."
Katara got down and gasped at the spread he had just created.
"Aang, it's wonderful!" she said as she hugged him.
"Happy Birthday, Katara," Aang said as he smiled at her and kissed her. Then they sat down and enjoyed the fruit tarts and watermelon juice.
"This is great, Aang," Katara said as they sat by the riverbank and watched the river flow on... Fish kept popping in and out of the water in turns.
"So... where're we headed next?" she asked him.
Aang didn't seem to get the drift as he answered, "I really don't know, Katara... and that's what worries me."
Katara raised an eyebrow as she asked, "What do you mean?"
Aang just turned away from her as he said, "I'll never forgive myself if I put you in danger."
Katara was annoyed to say the least as she retorted, "What makes you think anyone will hurt me to get to you?"
"Because I love you, alright? You're the only one I'd go to any lengths to save! And they know that! If we keep this up, then... they're bound to hurt you to get to me! How do you think I'll feel if that happens? They already kept Appa captive so that we'd never tell the Earth King about the solar eclipse... What if they do the same to you because they want something from me?" Aang asked angrily.
Katara understood what he was scared about. He wasn't worried about himself... He was worried about her. She tried to think of something that would calm him down, but she knew him too well to try it.
"Aang, the war's over now. Your enemies don't have the resources to hurt any of us. And even if they do, we'll deal with that when it comes to it. There will always be people who'd want to get to you. And if that does happen, I'll be ready to face them. I'm not weak!" Katara said.
"I'm not saying you are!" Aang said apologetically.
"I know what you mean... and I really appreciate it. I'm glad you were honest with me about this," Katara said and kissed him. "I'll be happier though if we can just enjoy being together without worrying about all this all the time," she finished.
"So... you wouldn't mind if the world keeps asking me to put their problems first?" Aang asked her doubtfully.
"I'd understand," Katara said as she smiled at him.
"And you're ok with the fact that our lives can never be... normal... like everyone else's?" Aang asked with a little apprehension.
"Since when have they been normal?" Katara asked with a hollow laugh.
Aang smiled slightly. This was true. She'd lost her mother when she was seven... They'd journeyed all over the world and had encountered some very strange and dangerous situations... Why hadn't he thought of all this before? He'd been so worried about what Sokka had said that he'd forgotten all about those things! Relief swept over him as he finally felt ready to ask her the final question.
"Katara, I'm sorry... I should've known better. And I do now! And I want to ask you one last question... now that I know you understand how this is going to be," he said and looked at her for any sign of worry or fear. He saw none, so he sighed and removed the necklace he'd made. He heard her let gasp involuntarily as he did so and smiled.
"I love you so much, Katara... and I've been telling you that ever since we got together... It just pains me to think that we'll never be able to enjoy a normal life... but if you understand it... and if you give me the chance, I'll do whatever it takes to make it as normal as possible. Katara, will you marry me?" he asked her finally.
Next thing he knew she was kissing him. And it made him happier than he'd ever been because he knew she was saying yes... that she'd been waiting for this moment as much as he'd been...
"Of course I will," she said as they finally broke apart. They smiled at each other as he tied the necklace around her neck. Then he kissed her again as the sun set slowly over the horizon.
"Happy birthday, Katara," he said again as he smiled at her happily.
"It really is, thanks to you," she said. Then they went back to watching the sunset together... and somehow it seemed more beautiful to them than it had ever been before