Part II

The months passed quickly.

Within days, the entire Southern Water Tribe seemed to know that Avatar Aang was courting the Chief's daughter. And, within weeks, it seemed like the whole world knew.

Katara was a little dismayed, but not shocked, to see that her relationship with Aang was under such great scrutiny from the world. Sometimes nasty rumors were spread about her; like that she was only dating Aang for the prestige of dating the Avatar. It was Aang who calmed her down these times by reminding her that those women only said those things because that's what they would be doing if they had the chance to date him. He called it projection.

More nerve-wracking than the rumors were the people who made bets the first few months of their relationship about whether or not their relationship would end in marriage. Katara loved Aang a great deal, and she wanted to think that they would get married some day. But at the time she just wanted to take her relationship one day at a time.

And things were progressing well between her and Aang since that time. Those problems all seemed minor compared to the happiness that he filled her with when they were together. Even Waterbending lessons soon became a vehicle of pleasure. They both had to take care because if they started kissing during a lesson, they would not be finishing the lesson.

Of course, it was usually Aang who interrupted their lessons this way. He assured her that he'd never been in a relationship before, so Katara figured that he was just naturally a love-sick romantic. In the year that they had been dating, she'd never known him to miss the opportunity to complement her or kiss her. Being a loving boyfriend seemed to come absolutely natural to him.

Despite a few… hang ups, Aang's Waterbending training was progressing just fine. He was moving up the levels of Waterbending, and Katara could guess that, at the pace they were moving, he would be ready for his Master's examination in as little as two or three months.

It was only that thought that gave Katara pause. Two or three months… then he'll be a Master Waterbender and he'll be required to leave the Southern Water Tribe and meet up with his Earthbending teacher in Ba Sing Se. He had been in the Southern Water Tribe for nearly two years now, and Katara almost couldn't bare that thought of him leaving.

She knew that the general rule was that the Avatar made his journey alone. There could be an exception made for his wife to travel with him, but Katara was not his wife and she didn't know if he would ask her to marry him before he had to go.

Over the last few weeks, Katara had come to realize that she really, truly loved him, and she would be honored to marry him. He raised her spirits like no other and made her feel like she was the most important thing in the whole world. The way he devoted himself to her was awe-inspiring, and she knew that would translated into him being a husband. Aang was approximately eighteen years old, and she was twenty years old… both of them were plenty old enough to get married.

Aang used to be the one who told her that he loved her all the time, while Katara mainly saved those special words for special occasions. But now Katara was telling him that she loved him with greater frequency, hopefully to give him a hint that she loved him and wanted to marry him.

But he was either missing the point of deliberately ignoring her. She was more inclined to believe the first one, but one could never tell with Aang, because he was capable of being devious. It was possible that he understood Katara's hints loud and clear, but was just waiting for the perfect moment.

It never even crossed her mind to think that Aang didn't feel as strongly for her as she did for him. She knew just from looking into his silver eyes that he was every bit as enraptured as she was.

She could see it in his eyes at that very moment. They were lying together on the fur-covered couch, gazing into each other's eyes. Aang had become much more tolerate of using furs. Any reservations that he had about using the furs pretty much ended after the first winter that he spent in the Tribe, when the sun didn't rise for several months and it became so cold that even the Tribe members who lived there all their lives couldn't go outside because it was so cold. In that extreme environment, the furs were a life-saver, literally. He still refused to hunt or eat meat, but everyone had stopped pushing him, even Sokka had given up on him in that regard.

They scooted closer together, drawing each other into a passionate kiss. Their mouths moved slowly and breathlessly against each other, their tongues meeting in a tangle of wet passion.

When they parted, Katara smiled at him, a grin that he returned. "Do you know what day it is?" She asked.

Aang gazed at her, confused. It was winter again and the sun never rose. He still had trouble keeping the date, so he really had no idea what day it was. "No. What day is it?"

"Today is the eighteenth anniversary of Avatar Roku's passing." Katara said. "So… happy birthday."

"But the autumnal equinox is still months away…" Aang began before he realized what she was saying.

"I know. But I figured that this would be as close to your real birthday as you'd ever know. I know that the odds that you were born exactly on the day of Avatar Roku's death is very slim, but sometime in the next seven days you will be truly eighteen."

"Well, thanks, Katara." Aang said, and then he sighed. "I can't believe it's been almost two years since I found out I was the Avatar."

"It's been a good two years, right?" Katara asked.

"Of course it has. Being the Avatar gave me the chance to meet you. I could never regret that." Aang kissed her again.

"What about your friends back at the Southern Air Temple?" Katara asked. "Don't you miss them?"

"I do." Aang said honestly. "But I'll see them again once my training is done. Or I could make a quick stop there on my way to Ba Sing Se…"

Katara rested her head against his chest. He brushed his fingers through her hair. She sighed, but she knew she had to say what was on her mind. "You'll be ready to make your Waterbending Master's test in about two months." She said. Aang didn't say anything. "Have you thought about it?"

"I have." Aang said slowly. "Frankly, Katara… I don't want to leave you. I don't know how long it will take for me to master Earthbending and Firebending, but I don't want to be separated from you for that long… or any amount of time, really."

She gazed up and met his eyes. "There is a way we can stay together."

"I know. We can get married." Aang said. "Katara… what are your Tribe's customs for marriage?"

"You all ready have my father's permission." Katara said. "All that's left… you've got to ask the question."

He was nervous, she knew. She could feel the tremor in his hands as he brushed his hand through her hair. She didn't blame him. Marriage was an enormous step to take, no matter who you are.

"Katara of the Southern Water Tribe…" Aang began, meeting her eyes and holding one of her hands in his. "I love you. I love you with all my heart, and I know that I don't want to face the rest of my life without you by my side. Will you come with me on my journey to master the rest of the elements and forever? Will you be my wife?"

Katara scooted closer and pressed her lips to his. "Yes, Aang. Yes." She whispered, pressing her lips to his over and over tenderly. "Yes to it all." They exchanged several more kisses. "I love you."

"I love you too, Katara…" Aang whispered passionately against her lips as they changed position so that he had her pressed down against the couch. Katara wrapped her arms around his body, holding him close to her as they moved.

"Mmm." Katara hummed as he settled his weight over her and began to trail his lips down the column of her throat. "Aren't you being forward?" She asked, mischief in her voice.

"You just happen to bring out the worst in me, Katara…" Aang whispered against her collar bone. "And the best too."

"I'm glad. You bring out the best and worst of me too." Katara breathed, digging her fingers into his parka in annoyance. She wanted, more than anything, to feel him without the thick clothe in the way.

"Katara…" Aang moaned, his own fingers digging into her waist.

"Aang… I want you…" Katara whispered.

Aang froze against her. He pulled away from her slightly. "What?"

"We're adults. We're engaged to be married. And I want you." Katara whispered against his lips. He responded to her kiss, but still stared at her in shock. "I think you want to as well."

"I do!" Aang assured her. "But… now?"

"Now is the best time." Katara whispered. "I just want… I want you."

Aang pulled her into a kiss. "I want you too, Katara." He gazed at the door to his room. It was closed. "How alone are we?"

"Alone." Katara answered. "My father and brother are out on a hunting trip, and my mother… she trusts us… or she doesn't mind what we're about to do. Probably the later. She adores you, you know."

"That's good enough for me." Aang pushed himself up off the couch, pulling her along with him. They undressed quickly and practically dived into Aang's bed, seeking the warmth against the chill of the air.

Things paused as they just held each other close, seeking each other's warmth for protection against the cold of the air. But they couldn't ignore the fact that they were lying in bed, naked, together for the first time.

Aang gazed into her eyes. "Are you sure you want to do this?" He asked.

"I'm sure. I'm completely sure." Katara whispered, pulling him into another kiss to silence any further questions. She'd never been more sure of anything in her life. She wanted a life with Aang, and it would all begin tonight. As she hoped, he made no further attempts to protest and returned her kiss with equal passion.

The world blurred around them until they were the only real things in the world. There were not even sure what they were doing to each other as they kissed and caressed every part of the other's body that they could. They just knew that every touch, every kiss felt amazing, like liquid fire burning through their veins.

They eased together with soft cries of passion. For Katara, it was a little painful, for he was well-endowed and she was a virgin. But the immense pleasure of having him that close completely overwhelmed any feelings of pain that she was having.

They moved together, not always in sync, but it hardly mattered to the young lovers. It didn't seem that there was a wrong way for them to make love to each other, because everything felt amazing.

They clutched at each other desperately as they moved together, occasionally tossing and turning in wanton passion. The sheets and furs tangled, tying their bodies together, but they didn't mind. They never wanted to be apart again.

Despite the chill in the air, soon they were sweating, their bodies overheating with passion. And they were out of breath, despite the fact that they led active lives. Making love was the most fulfilling thing that they'd ever felt, and it was made all the better for the fact that they loved each other so deeply.

Katara began to breathe and gasp louder as he drove her steadily to her peak. She dug her fingernails into the flesh of his back and shoulders, urging him wordlessly to take her all the way. Aang eagerly complied, pushing her over the edge into ecstasy with a few more thrusts. It didn't take much longer for Aang to find his own completion.

They collapsed together on the furs, utterly spent and completely satisfied. Aang rested his head against her neck, breathing heavily, his hot and moist breath condensating on her skin.

Everything was still a blur as they held each other in the trembling aftermath of their lovemaking. They gazed at each other, their eyes heavy with passion and love as they shared one last kiss as sleep began to take them.

"I love you, Katara… so much." Aang whispered as he drifted off to sleep.

"I love you too." Katara replied as she also went to sleep.

The next few weeks were, at once, the best and most confusing time of Aang's life.

His engagement with Katara was accepted universally with happiness among the members of the Water Tribe who knew them best, and Katara had not backed out on her decision to marry him. More often than not, when they could get away with it, they slept in the same bed and this often ended with them making love again.

But, at the same time, it was confusing. Within a week of their engagement, Katara had stopped training and sparing with him personally. Instead, she called on the help of two regular Waterbenders a day to train with him. She said it was because in order to pass his Master's test, he would have to win a spar against two Waterbenders, one a Master and one an Adapt. It was an acceptable answer because it was true, and he did need some practice under the conditions. But he didn't see why Katara couldn't be one of his sparing partners instead of an observer. She said that she needed to watch his movements critically, but she could do that during a spar.

But he trusted her. He knew that she had another reason for not sparing with him, and he trusted that it was a good one, and that she would tell him when she was ready.

Because of all this, the next two months passed in a blur. Winter was just ending and the sun was up for a few hours a day now. And before everyone knew it, Avatar Aang was ready to take his final Waterbending test, the one that would prove whether or not he had mastered Waterbending and could move on to the Earth Kingdom.

Two years ago, the people of the Water Tribe gathered to watch as Master Katara battled to earn the right to train the Avatar. Now they gathered once again to witness the skills that he'd gained under her guidance.

As Katara had explained to him, it was a two-on-one spar; with him facing off against a Master Waterbender and another Waterbender who was nearly a Master. It was clear to all that he'd learned well under her. Even without using any Airbending, he seemed to be untouchable. Even working in tandem, the two Waterbenders could not overpower him. His skill and power was plain for everyone to see, and he easily won the day, earning the title of a Master Waterbender.

Word was sent to the Earth King that day, saying that Avatar Aang had mastered Waterbending and to expect his arrival within the next few weeks.

That night, as they laid together in Aang's bed in the aftermath of their lovemaking, Katara smiled at her soon-to-be husband and scooted up to give him a kiss. "I was so proud of you today, Aang. You earned the title of Master Waterbender, and became a much better Waterbender than I ever could be."

"Don't say that." Aang whispered to her. "I'm the Waterbender I am because of you."

She moved closer to him, pressing her body flush against his side. "Any news from the Earth Kingdom?" She asked.

Aang nodded. "They've picked my Earthbending teacher. She's a young woman, a bit younger than I am… but apparently she's blind."

"Blind? Really? And she's an Earthbender?"

"I was shocked too, but she is legitimately the best. Her Earthbending is so powerful that she can even Bend metal."

"I never knew that Earthbenders could Bend metal." Katara commented.

"No one knew they could." Aang said. "But she did it. She's a prodigy. A real prodigy, not just inherently talented like I was."

Katara rested her head on his chest, taking a brief moment of silence and just enjoying his company. Aang wrapped his arm around her body, more than willing to keep her close.

For a while, neither one spoke. And then Katara glanced up at him. "Aang? I have something to tell you."

All sorts of horrible thoughts went through Aang's mind at those words. But the biggest fear of all was if she decided marrying him was a mistake and she was backing out. But he stamped down on the ideas. He knew he was just being paranoid. There was overwhelming love in Katara's eyes as she looked at him… maybe a little apprehension too, but he knew that she loved him. "What?"

Katara couldn't seem to meet his eyes for a moment, and then she glanced up at him nervously. She scooted up and whispered in his ear: "I'm pregnant."

She pulled away, but Aang remained frozen where he was. He stared at her in shock, absolutely unable to comprehend the words that she'd spoken to him. He was sure that he'd misheard. "Pregnant?" He gasped. Katara nodded. "You're pregnant? Really?" She nodded again. "It's mine?"

"Oh, I ought to slap you for that." Katara said playfully. "Of course it's yours."

"Oh… man… you're sure?" He asked. "How… how long have you known?" He asked.

"Nearly two months."

"But…" Aang trailed off. Granted, he wasn't an expert on pregnancy, but that seemed a little off to him. "How could you have known for that long? We only had sex two months ago."

"I'm not just a Waterbender. I'm a healer. I knew that I was pregnant from the moment I conceived." Katara said.

"Oh… that's why you didn't want to spar with me the last two months." Aang gasped with realization. He knew that Katara had a different reason for not sparring with him, but he never imagined that her being pregnant was the reason!

"I didn't want to risk hurting the baby." Katara said. "You're… not upset?"

She barely had the time to finish the sentence when Aang pulled her into a passionate kiss. Katara gladly let the sentence drop in favor of kissing him, which she did with gusto and passion. They wrapped their arms around each other until they were pressed flush against each other. When Aang at last pulled away, Katara noticed that the palm of his hand was pressed to her abdomen. Her fingers met his. Although there was no sign of the baby to feel there, they both basked in the feeling of knowing that there was a child growing there, whether it was obvious or not.

"Of course I'm not upset. I was just shocked. I didn't expect us to get pregnant so soon." Aang said. "I'm so incredibly happy right now! You're my future wife, and we're going to be parents! How could that upset me?"

"But don't you think we should move the wedding up?" Katara asked. "I know that people will figure it out, but…"

"Well… I suppose I could say that I need to get to the Earth Kingdom." Aang mused. "And I'm certainly not going without you. How soon can your tribe prepare for the wedding?"

"The day after tomorrow." Katara whispered as they shared another kiss.

Within two days, Avatar Aang and Katara were married according to the traditions of the Southern Water Tribe. Her family and friends gathered and watched as they pledged themselves together for all time and sealed that pledge with a kiss.

After the wedding, Katara spoke to her family and told them about her pregnancy. After she assured her father and brother was she wasn't just marrying Aang because of the pregnancy, the whole family gave her their blessing and asked if she wanted to stay in the South Pole until the baby arrived.

But Katara knew that her place was with Aang, and his place was in Ba Sing Se. So they gathered their things and, after spending their wedding night locked in passion in their newlywed suite, Aang departed the South Pole with Katara.

First they made their way to the Southern Air Temple, Aang's childhood home, where Katara met the monks who were like Aang's family, especially the man who raised him, Monk Gyatso. Katara liked the venerable old monk a great deal, and Aang knew that Gyatso liked her. In fact, not long after they arrived, Monk Gyatso pulled Aang aside and told him that he couldn't find a more worthy bride if he tried.

Just like Katara's family, Aang told Monk Gyatso that they were expecting a child. This made Monk Gyatso very happy to see the young man that he raised from a toddler beginning the most mysterious and wondrous journey that a man could take in his lifetime.

He married them in the Air Nomad tradition, or at least the best they could do for only a brief visit. Normally, the festivities surrounding an Air Nomad wedding could last for weeks. Buy Gyatso cut it down to the actual ceremony so that Aang and Katara could be on their way soon.

And soon, they were off for Ba Sing Se, to begin a whole new chapter in their lives together.

(Epilogue, 2 years later…)

The sun rose bright and steady over the large Earth Kingdom city of Ba Sing Se. And, unlike the densely populated lower and middle ring of the city, the high-class upper ring was still peaceful and tranquil.

Katara rose with the sun. Once upon a time, she wouldn't be able to get up any time close to sunrise. But having a husband who rose with the dawn and an infant child who rose even earlier, Katara had gotten used to waking up so soon.

She stretched and slowly sat up in bed, noticing that her husband was not in bed beside her, but she was not concerned. She knew that she would most likely find him meditated or having a cup of tea in the garden.

She got out of bed and pulled on a dressing robe so that she would be decent to walk around the house. The help staff knew very well that the Avatar's bedroom with his wife was a private sanctuary so Katara didn't have any qualms being naked in her own room. But, if she stepped outside that door undressed, she would likely be seen.

She opened the door and made her way to the small room next to her own. One of the staff stopped and bowed to Katara as she passed. "Good morning, Lady Katara." The maid said before continuing on with her duties. The Waterbender didn't think that she would ever get used to having a household staff. Even growing up a princess in the Southern Water Tribe… they didn't have staff like this.

"Good morning to you as well." Katara replied as she passed. She opened the door to her second favorite room in the whole house, besides her bedroom with Aang: her baby's room.

Little Kimi, her and Aang's daughter and a near spitting image of her mother, was still asleep in her crib. She moved over towards the crib and peered down at her sleeping daughter. Her breathing was soft and even, her little hands curled up next to her cute and chubby face. She had skin tone and hair to match Katara's, but her eyes were closer to Aang's grey rather than her blue.

She reached down and stroked the little girl's hair softly, taking care not to wake her up. She was so beautiful. Katara remained just as enchanted with her as she had on the day of Kimi's birth, with her family around her since they traveled up to Ba Sing Se to be with her for the birth.

She was just thinking that there was one thing missing from the picture of tranquility when a pair of strong arms wrapped around her body, drawing her close to a firm chest. She knew him right away, for she could never mistake the touch of her husband.

Aang rested his chin on her shoulder, gazing down at his daughter fondly. "She's still asleep?" He asked, his voice barely above a whisper.

Katara nodded. "I thought that you would be meditating."

"I've finished." Aang told her. "And I thought that I'd check in on my two favorite girls." He pressed his lips tenderly to the side of her neck, licking and nipping lightly at the skin, just hard enough to draw soft sighs from her. She could feel his need against her body and she pressed back against it, drawing a deep moan from his throat.

She knew that he wanted to have sex, and she would have been inclined to give into him if not for one simple fact… "You know that Toph will be waiting for you." Katara whispered as he continued to milk pleasure from her body. "She'll punish you if you're late again."

"I've got ten minutes." Aang commented.

"And it will take you five minutes to get there." Katara reminded him.

"My dear, sweet, loving wife…" Aang whispered against her skin. "Five minutes is all we need."

Katara surrendered to him with a laugh, allowing him to sweep her off her feet and carry her back to their room, kissing each other all the while.

Over the next five minutes, any of the household staff that walked by could hear the sound of laughter, low moans, and the soft sound of lips (and other body parts) coming together and parting.

But they just rolled their eyes at the noises. It was just another day in the Avatar's house.

LES: Done, done, and done! Well, I hope that you enjoyed it. Just to let you know that I'm going to be taking a short break from challenge fics, at least until I get the rewrite of Doctor Who's Voyage of the Damned finished.

I hope that you enjoyed it!