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|Craftsman's Class: The Final Lesson|
1 July 2011
Craftsman's Class: The Final Lesson is chapter 1 of: Katara and Aang.
Set Date: 7 December, 104 AG
Aang awoke, the ice around him reminding him where he was, in his own igloo on yet another chilly day in the Southern Water Tribe. Sure, it was cold, but he was always warm, knowing he was constantly within her presence. She was always close...just an igloo or two away.
He smiled as he prepared for the day, though the butterflies in his stomach would not be still. For the past two weeks, he had been working with an elder craftsman to learn how to create jewelry. It was clear why. He knew that a year and a half ago, his friend, Zuko, had proposed to his girlfriend, who was now Fire Lady Mai. Aang had been with Katara now for four years; not a day passed that he didn't think about being with her forever, having a family of his own, living out the remainder of his life with her. With his heart set, it was time to make his move. He, however, needed it to be perfect.
"Maybe she'll finally see just how much I love her," he spoke quietly to himself as he turned to see the small portrait of her on his desk. "Katara, I love you so much...it hurts to be away from you for even an instant."
Aang entered the class once more; there were about ten students, as well as the elder craftsman who had spent the last fifty years of his life crafting jewelry. When Aang first decided to make her his for life, he knew he needed help in making a necklace. There was no better man in the Water Tribe than this particular craftsman, who had migrated south not too long ago.
"Class, let's begin," the craftsman announced, grabbing his students' attention.
Aang was hanging on this man's every word. Full focus. He blocked out the entire world around him to make sure he understood everything the master craftsman said. He needed to know all that went into making the perfect gift for Katara. If he missed even a single word, he feared that everything would fall apart. Not a single outside word pierced the Avatar's mind, besides those being spoken by the craftsman. He wanted to think of her, but he couldn't allow himself to do so.
The craftsman spoke of many things. Tools, materials, and, finally, making what was desired by the crafter. Aang got every word and paraphrased them into notes; his notebook at this point wearing very thick.
"Class, that is the end of our lesson. I hope you have taken everything I said over the last two weeks to heart. As a token of my appreciation, I will allow you to take some materials I need to get rid of. Pupil Aang, you step up first. I will say this: It has been an honor to have the Avatar as a student."
Aang bowed to the craftsman. On the table before him, he saw all the tools he needed. He took a dark gray band, and a blue, circular stone. After this, he got a bone dagger, made of the tusk of an elephant walrus, for carving.
One-by-one, the remaining students took their materials and they all exited.
"Avatar," the craftsman called, pulling Aang side. "You have taken the parts of a betrothal necklace. I guess you know someone."
"Yes, I do..." Aang's words were slow but deliberate.
"Well, I hope you have learned a lot from me. A betrothal necklace is one of the Water Tribe's most important artifacts. My carving lesson should help you greatly. Best of luck. Don't be nervous about it. Let the necklace craft itself. When I made a necklace for my wife, that's what I did," he explained.
"Thank you for your advice, sir. I will put it into this work," Aang promised.
As he left, she entered his mind. He knew he didn't just have to make a necklace. Not just any necklace for this girl...
The girl who pulled him from the iceberg. The girl with whom he went penguin sledding with just mere moments after. The girl he had shared so much with in the final year of the War. The girl who was always there for him. The girl he loved. The girl who loved him.
The girl who meant the world to him.
It has to be perfect....
Questions flew through his mind. What would the design be? How could he keep his intentions a secret?
She may not have approached him directly, but someone else did. He soon learned her brother had realized what he was doing.
"Aang, I don't know how you kept this way from my sister for so long." Sokka shook his head.
Oh man, don't tell me he knows. Don't tell me he knows. "Sokka, what are you talking about?" Aang's heartbeat picked up, his palms slickened, worried that his surprise was busted...or worse, he didn't have Sokka's support. His thoughts raced with the intentsity of a mad ostrich horse.
"I know you want to marry her."
Aang nailed heavily and took a step backwards. "Sokka, it's just that..."
"What are you so worried about?" Sokka laughed lightly. "I don't mind it all. Aang, you guys have been together for over four years. I had my reservations at first, but you make her happy. As long as you keep her happy, I am fine. I'm really glad for you two, and it will be an honor to be your brother-in-law. Good luck with this." He paused. "What took you so long?"
Aang laughed nervously. "Thank you Sokka. Likewise I wish the same for you and Suki."
However, he was still anxious that her brother knew of his plans. Sokka wouldn't blow my cover, would he? My future brother-in-law? "Please don't tell Katara. I really want this to be a surprise," he pleaded, his eyes widened.
"Your secret's safe with me, buddy," Sokka assured him.
Aang shook Sokka's hand and made his way back home. He could now rest, assured that he had a good surprise in mind, and that he had Sokka's full support. His thoughts could now circle back around her.
Aang returned to his home, spending another night to himself. These nights of loneliness wouldn't last for soon, though. She was around, just not with him at that moment, the two not quite ready to share a home.
Soon, they would. It all came down to thinking the design through. Thinking about every lesson the craftsman told him.
Aang suddenly began to quiver with fear, and he sat on the edge of his bed, his head in his hands. If I make a lackluster design...what happens? Does she not marry me? Does she leave me? What if I get upset with her? There are so many ways this can go wrong...
He knew it had gone wrong before.
The Waterbending scroll. "Will you please shut your air hole!" Those biting words return to him, her coming down hard at his instant success at Waterbending.
He remembers keeping her from her Dad. Her staring away from him, hurt, nearly crying, at his hands, his selfishness.
He remembers burning her. His impatience and desire with learning Firebending resulting in charred hands.
He remembers snapping at her in the desert.
When he tried to kiss her on Ember Island. "I just said I was confused!" He remembers her words like they were just yesterday.
He remembers a couple of arguments they have had since being together. Although they have been few, they still stung Aang. They stung him like a swarm of bees that had congregated around him.
Suddenly, he ached. Pain as bad as when lightning circled through him in Ba Sing Se. Pain like falling from a tree. Pain like being slammed against a rock.
Why were these bad memories circling around him now? It wasn't the time. He grew visibly upset and nervous. As a result, he quickly assumed a meditating position. Suddenly, as fast as he could manipulate the air around him, he began to clear those bad memories.
His visions are replaced with good times again. The penguin sledding. The hugs they shared. Her happiness when she revived him.
Finally, their kiss at sunset after the world was saved. He remembers her long hair flowing in the breeze, her hair loopies connected to a magnificent pink flower, and that huge smile she wore, in the face of brand new peace. She brought herself up to him, threw her arms around him, and he seemingly rose into heaven as her lips met his. The start of what was currently a long and prosperous relationship.
He remembers how happy he makes her, and how glad he is that she entered his life. He knew that without her, his life would be nothing, even though he is hailed for saving the world. For what would the celebrity status be if he had a broken heart? Not to mention that if she never entered his life at all, he would still be sitting in that iceberg below the icy seas, as the Fire Nation would claim victory in the war, while he sat, hopeless. She saved him. She brought him back to the world. She was his savior.
While this was happening, a blurry vision came to him. He recognized it, however, quickly.
"I know what I will do! Katara, I hope you'll like it..."
The "blurry version" actually refers to his design for the betrothal necklace, and a reference to my ideas right now, as I don't know what to write in for the necklace's design. :/
For the collective works of the author, go here.
|Zuko and Mai|
|Zuko Thinks - One More Date - Zuko Makes His Move|
|Aang and Katara|
|Craftsman's Class: The Final Lesson - Crafting His Masterpiece - It All Comes Together|