So the point of this story is to embaress the s #$ out of Sokka and Aang, and make you, the reader, laugh. There will be a lemon in it, but it won't be for a couple of chapters and I will mark it appropriately with LEMON STARTS HERE, LEMON ENDS HERE.
The rest of the story is T and deals with what happens when two cultures collide. I have incorporated some Native American and other customs in here to jazz things up a bit and make things really uncomfortable and comical for Aang and my readers.
I do refer to Azula having bison in this story, which goes along with my other fics, "Dance of the Bison Lord: An Azula Story" and "It Likes Azula?" but you don't have to read those to get this one. Just note those parts and move on or read these stories later if you prefer.
Lots of humor, but with a cultural twist, so if that's not your bag, turn back now. Otherwise, enjoy.
"I'm telling you Aang, you don't want to do this!" Sokka firmly advised, his hand pointing fervently at Aang for emphasis.
Aang laughed as he sat across from Sokka at the Earth Kingdom tavern. He was feeling ridiculously happy for two reasons 1,) he was quite tipsy, really almost drunk 2.) Katara had just accepted his proposal. In less than six months time, he would be an insanely happily married man, and there was nothing Sokka could say to get him down. The two men had gone out to celebrate, but the conversation had taken a turn when Aang mentioned that Katara wanted a traditional Southern Water Tribe Wedding complete with blanket ceremony.
Aang, not knowing what that meant and not really caring in light of his good fortune, nodded his head to everything Sweetie said. In reality he only caught a few words whose meaning did not even remotely register.
Unfortunately the alcohol was not helping his memory. Even lesss fortunately, Aang was not willing to do anything about it except guzzle down more booze.
Surprisingly, Sokka was the one nursing his drink and in control. He facepalmed when Aang, already starting to sway, signaled the waitress for another drink. "Aang, listen to me," he pleaded, "Southern Water Tribe weddings are really embarrassing!"
Aang snorted and waved dismissively at Sokka. "How bad can they be? I already know you guys eat meat."
Sokka just about came out of his chair at that one. "It has nothing to do with the food, Aang!" he hissed, a little more loudly than intended, which caught the attention of a couple of patrons. Their eyes darted from Sokka to Aang wondering if it would dissolve into a fight. Sokka smiled awkwardly at them before relenting and turning his attention back on Aang. "Look," he said, lowering his voice, "why don't we do this instead: We'll fly to Iroh's. You can have a nice little ceremony on that balcony where I first caught you guys sucking face. Then, Iroh can make tea and cake. That guy's tea is fantastic; can you imagine what his cake is like?"
"Yes, Iroh cake! What do you say, Buddy?"
Aang's expression brightened, "I say that's a great idea, Sokka. We'll have him cater the wedding! Hmm, I wonder if Azula would lend me one of her bison to bring him down to the South Pole? Appa's going to be pretty busy..."
Sokka's face received another view of his palm. "Number one, Azula's bison are just as psycho as she is, and number two, the point is to not have a Southern Water Tribe Wedding..."
Aang cocked his head at his friend. When did the blue of his shirt suddenly become so fuzzy? "Are you wearing new fur?" Aang asked after a hiccup.
"Oh no," Sokka stated just before Aang tumbled off the stool onto the wooden floor below.
# # # # #
The next morning, a terrible headache and remarkeable clarity seized Aang. He was lying on Sokka's cot, and Sokka had taken up on a makeshift bed of furs across the room. His friend had removed his shoes, but he was clothed in the exact same garments he'd worn last night. He heard Appa grumble outside.
He tried to right himself but only felt a pounding in his head. He wished Katara was there with him to heal it.
Instead, he received some friendly advice from the warrior on the furs across the room. "You might not want to move. My guess is you've got a nasty hangover." Sokka raised himself up on one elbow, regarding Aang with a somber expression.
Aang laid back against the cot. "I don't care, I'm still happy!"
Sokka sighed. "That's good buddy, but do you remember what we talked about last night?"
Aang closed his eyes to shut out the offensive sunlight. "Something about Iroh cake?"
Sokka blew a lock of hair out of his eyes and sat up against the wall of his room. "That's not what I'm getting at."
Aang groaned and held his head. "Sokka I have to pee, and I don't want to get up to do it!"
Sokka bit his lip to keep from laughing at the poor kid. Chances are this was his first time with a hangover, and he wasn't aware of how to recover from it. "I'll help you, but you have to promise to listen to me afterward. You weren't really in a state to listen to me last night, so you will have to do it now."
"OK, just help me please?"
Sokka drew the curtains partway shut and brought his friend a bucket. He then politely turned his back while Aang relieved himself. "Do you remember what I said last night about Southern Water Tribe Weddings?" he asked over his shoulder.
"Not really," Aang amended, setting the bucket off to the side. He hoped he wouldn't have to use it for vomit as well.
"Well," Sokka sighed, trying to think of how Toph would approach the situation, "they're really embarrassing. There's a huge emphasis placed on sex."
Aang squinted at him through the dimmed room. "Go on."
"Do you remember how Katara painted herself and pretended to be a spirit when we were at that village?"
"Yeah, but what does that have to do with anything?"
"Everything! She was so good at the makeup because that's what Southern Water Tribe females do in a wedding or engagement ceremony, or rather after it. After the huge party, the public ceremony, they paint the bride and bring her to you. That's the beginning of the blanket ceremony. She's brought to you butt naked and painted like the ocean waves with paint made from snowberries so that...well you can...remove it from her if you get my drift. "
It was clear from Aang's wide eyed expression that he did get Sokka's drift.
"By the way, you're naked too, in front of my Dad and Gran- Gran, for a moment before the the two of you are wrapped in a white blanket and left to...to..." The extent of Sokka's bold speech ended right there. He was struggling to form the rest of the words.
"To have sex," Aang finally finished for him. "So what's wrong with that? At that point you're married, right?"
"Right, and there's nothing wrong with it except..." Sokka groaned, muscling the courage to continue... "they check you in the morning, Aang and her. They look for how much paint is gone; they check the white blanket for first blood. The female elders examine her..." again the word eluded Sokka, but he could tell from Aang's expression that he understood. "A few of the men will look at you to make sure some of the paint got on you. Then Katara will give the elders and the males of her family details, and if your performance isn't to everyone's liking, they can dissolve your marriage. But the worst part of it is, I have to be one of the ones to check because I'm her brother. It's me, Dad, Gran Gran, and two other non-familial elders, most likely the shaman and..."
That did it for Aang. He wretched into the bucket.
"I couldn't have said it better myself buddy."
"Sokka, I had no idea your people had these crazy customs!"
Sokka shrugged, for the first time nonchalant since they started the conversation. "It could be worse."
Aang's jaw dropped. "What could possibly be worse than that?"
"Well, they used to leave an elder in the hut with you to watch you consumate your marriage." He placed his hand on his chin thoughtfully. "Actually, I think some families still do. Hmm...I wonder what Dad's stance on that is..."
"Sokka that is so messed up!"
"Hey, I tried to tell you," Sokka insisted, "but all you wanted to do was get drunk last night!"
Aang groaned, but didn't disagree. "How do we fix this?"
Sokka thought for a moment. "We need to get to Katara before she talks to my Dad. The problem is he's supposed to be in port today or tomorrow. He may have already arrived. Once he hears news of having a traditional Southern Water Tribe Wedding all bets are off. My Dad's really big into tradition."
# # # # #
Unfortunately, by the time Aang recovered enough to get to his bride's apartment, Hakoda had already beaten him to the punch. He was conversing with Katara when the two young men walked in.
After a traditional greeting and Hakoda had this to say to Aang:
"It means so much to me and my tribe that you've decided to have a traditional Southern Water Tribe Wedding. I know that our customs are a little strange and forward, but I appreciate you embracing them. Don't worry, celebrations last for several days, and the day of the wedding is pretty long, so there will be plenty of time to work any Air Nomad traditions you would like into the ceremony as well."
Katara came over and gave him a huge hug. "Sweetie, after Dad leaves I'll give you a session OK..."
"In front of Sokka," Hakoda grumbled as he turned to leave. "You're not married yet and we don't want to mess up your blanket ceremony." Hakoda winked at the couple. "I'll see you all later for dinner."
Katara gave her finacee' a big kiss and giggled as she turned to get the water ready for Aang's hangover healing session.
Once she disappeared into the other room Aang gripped Sokka's lapel in desperation. "Sokka, you're my idea guy! Help me!"
"Sorry buddy," Sokka sighed, "I got nothing."
First Blood is something that sometimes happens when a Virgin has sex. The breaking of the hymen causes scant amounts of blood. There was a practice in the early US and Europe of newlyweds hanging the sheets outside their window the next morning to display to gawking friends and family that the bride was a virgin. Thankfully, the custom fell out of practice because 1.) its not reliable, not all virgin sex causes this, even with an intact hymen. 2.) Ewww, seriously, people used to do this?