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The following story is indubitably fanon and should not be considered actual canon.
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AN OLD COUPLE’S ANNIVERSARY Edit
Sun poured in through the windows, warming the old Avatar’s face until he opened his eyes and woke from a peaceful sleep, the first he’s had in a long, long while. Aang stretched and rose out of bed, placing a hand on his wife's cheek, smiling as he watched her sleep so soundly. Katara felt the touch and she opened her eyes to see that peaceful smile from her old husband, making her grin before she too rose out of bed to greet the warm morning.
“Good morning beautiful,” he chuckled.
“Good morning Aang,” she stretched back.
With a laugh she waved away his words and replied, “Did you? You’ve been stressing yourself to the bone since this new “Equality Uprising” started going around the city.”
Aang frowned, but Katara rose and took his hand, imploring at him… “Honey, the group is small, smaller than any of the gangs in Republic City---they pose no threat, Toph can’t even arrest them without it seeming pathetic. Dear, this is just a phase, don’t worry, it will pass. The only real threat is the source...those darn Equalists.”
With a grunt of defiance, Aang let out a tiny smile and walked over to open the window, letting in a crisp, early breeze. "I hope we catch them before they make another strike," he said, "That's all I can hope for now that they're winning over the non-benders of this city---and without Sokka here things could get worse without him."
"Enough of that!" Katara chipperly snapped, “Time to start off the day!” following close behind was the next part of her morning routine; she kissed her husband once on the cheek and asked him, “So, what are you going to do today?”
He took in a deep breath and flirted back at her, “I have an entire evening planned out, but you won’t know about it until later today. Go and have a wonderful day my Forever Girl, and when you return, there will be a marvelous surprise waiting her for you.”
“Aang, you old charmer,” she chuckled, “Alright, I’m going----I’m going. Today is Toph’s day off, maybe she can keep me occupied until tonight. We can go to the spa or something, she always liked that.”
As Katara fled the room, Aang shouted out at her, “And Katara!” She lingered in the doorway and he gave her a defiant old grin, “Happy Anniversary Sweetie.”
Katara chuckled back and shook her head, “Happy Anniversary Sweetie,” her voice trailed down the hallway, "I can't wait to see how you surprise me this year!"
By Nightfall, Katara returned to Air Temple Island to find Aang outside near the waterfall in the backyard; he had strung up a few paper lanterns and made a bench out of earth so they could sit together by the falls.
“What’s all this?” she chuckled knowingly.
“Surprise?” he gestured half-enthused and utterly goofy.
“Well, I certainly am surprised honey---” she chuckled, taking a seat beside him; the rush of the waterfall made a peaceful echo through the trees and Katara sat back on her old husbands shoulder, laughing as she handed him a little box.
“Happy Anniversary,” she grinned.
“Hmm?” he toyed, “What could we have here?” Aang opened the little box and inside was a tiny sculpture of ice, it was an odd swirl design and freezing to the touch, an Aang chuckled and replied, “Gee---thank you---Katara.”
“That was supposed to distract you, she laughed, “your real present isn’t quite ready yet; it depends on what you got for me?” she chuckled, “We said we were going to try and be original about our anniversary this year, remember? Your idea, not mine.”
“No,” the old Avatar laughed, “I love it really---must take a lot of concentration for this to stay frozen?”
She gave him a look and gruffly shoved him before replying, “So---your turn old man.”
“Oh,” he gasped, “I must have forgotten it back at the house---Oh no, where could it---”
“Aang…” she punched playfully.
“My old memory---” he laughed, reaching behind his robe to pull out a large rectangular box. “Here,” he smiled, “This is for you.”
“I wonder what it could be?” she giggled.
Aang stared at her with a small grin, and Katara unwrapped the small, square box gently to pull a book out of the package.
“A book?” she wondered curiously, flipping through the first ten pages because there was no title on the cover, “A very, very large---handwritten book?”
“It’s a journal,” Aang laughed, “I wrote down every minute of every day that I could remember since the day that you pulled me out of that iceberg. There are a few blank pages in the back, I was hoping you could continue it for me, after I’m gone.”
“Aang,” she sighed.
“Oh!” he changed subject, “Open it up near the seams---there’s one more surprise.”
With a look, Katara opened it and saw a picture from their wedding lingering in the pages. She grabbed it and smiled before a small trinket slipped onto her lap and she dropped the picture in sheer surprise. Laying on old Katara’s lap was a small engagement necklace carved---well, almost mediocrely---to be honest, but it was cute.
“I know it isn’t the prettiest thing in the world,” he blushed as his wife picked it up to examine it, “Quite frankly my dear, it’s an eye sore, but---” he took it and wrapped it around her neck, “If you wear it, then it will become the most beautiful piece of jewelry in the entire world.”
Tears in her eyes, Katara touched the necklace with the tip of her finger and smiled as thankfully as she could, sighing, “In all our years Aang---this is without a doubt---the greatest present---that you have ever given me.”
“Now you can give your mother’s necklace to Kya, like you wanted, and still have something---well---” he mumbled nervously, before waving the words away, kissing his wife once, and stating, “Happy Anniversary Katara.”
“I love you so much,” she hugged him, “I wish we could stay together forever---just like this.”
"I wouldn't mind being a few years younger myself," he teased.
Katara punched him lightly and added, "I don't care how old we get as long as I can just stay with you."
Aang frowned, but stroked his wife’s hair and replied, “Sadly sweetie, there aren’t that many pages in one book---you see, eventually---you just have to start a new one.”
Katara grabbed his hand and pressed her face to his chest, half-chuckling, “Well, I always liked the original copy better. It's worth reading more than once and never getting tired of it.”
“You took the words right our of my mouth,” he shrugged comically, “But, I could read the pages over and over for the rest of eternity and it wouldn’t compare to this moment.”
“Aang,” Katara blushed, “Honestly, where do you contain all of this charm---you’re making me blush.”
He kissed her again and Katara chuckled, “Excuse me honey,” she teased, “but, I have to go write this down---it seems you’ve just given me a new hobby.”
“Well, now the writer’s hand seems to not be worth it?” he coughed lightly, and added, “I’ve created a monster.”
“You’re right,” she smiled, “I’ll be inside sweetie, see you there for dinner.”
With a smile, Aang got up and followed Katara inside; hand in hand they walked as she admired her new necklace and talked about all of the things she was going to write down in her new diary.
“The Adventures of Team Avatar”---I think that’s what I’ll call it?” she chuckled, ending her statement with one last flirty kiss.
"Worth the cramping writter's hand, definatley..." Aang chuckled.
SKELETONS IN THE CLOSETEdit
Zuko was sitting in his chambers watching the lively flames in front of his throne thrive as he pondered in the silence. Fire was life, or so he was taught. Zuko saw his friends as well as himsefl growing older by the day and he often wondered how long they would have until their flames all went out. For an older man, Zuko thought himself to be in a great shape of power and durability---not as much as when he was a young man, but more so than others his age who were starting to need glasses to see and canes to walk on. Poor Aang needed both and he was aging faster than the rest of them. Zuko was wondering just how much his age was actually starting to catch up with his friend, Aang; what would they possibly do if he should---No, Zuko thought, not possible to even think about someone like Aang dying, at least not anytime soon, he was getting the rough end of the stick on aging, but his personality hadn't changed at all since he came out of the iceberg.
A creak at the door made Zuko snap to reality and he saw a huddled old woman scooting slowly into the dimly lit room. “Fire Lord Zuko...” she bowed as much as her old bones could bend and took in large breaths of air afterwards. Her body was ancient and she seemed too old to even be moving; still the woman managed to shuffle about and Zuko had to give her credit for that, even considering who was greeting him on this dreary day.
“If it isn’t Elua,” He sneered at her, remembering her traitorous history with his mother and Ikem. Zuko rolled his eyes and continued, trying the best he could to act his age, but he really did not care for this old woman at all. “You look well. You must be pushing one hundred at least---maybe 110?”
“I realize that I am ancient,” she frowned in a cracking voice, “So you realize that my time could come at any moment, and I feel the need to confess something to you. Confess a sin that I have made on your behalf. I have come to believe that it is the only reason I am still in the world at my age.”
“You want to confess your gossip like you did to my father?” Zuko scoffed, “What else have you meddled into now, Elua? At your age, one would think that you couldn't be much trouble.”
“It was many years ago,” she sighed, “Before our Lady Mai had passed away.”
Zuko’s cheek twitched and he leaned forward, “Out with it then.”
“You were so distraught to hear of her death, and we were all so afraid. We thought you had gone mad like your sister and father. You must agree that you were an awfully frightening sight for months of darkness until the Avatar brought Ursa back home to you.”
“What are you saying?” Zuko stared down at her with wide eyes of curiosity.
“The other servants and I feared for the child’s safety---feared what you would do if you ever saw him---so we---we told you that he had passed away just as Lady Mai.”
Zuko didn’t move.
“Fearing the worst, we sent him away…” Elua coughed, “He lives in Omashu with Tom Tom and his family.”
“Mai’s brother?” Zuko stumbled for words. His breath choked as he looked into the fire and a tear slipped out of his eye, “I have a son? My son has been alive all this time!?” Zuko stared down at his lap and his fists tightened at his knees until they started to shake and another tear slid down his cheek as he grunted to keep his composure.
"We weren't sure of your rage quite yet---and it was a secret we were too afraid to ever reveal to you, even in these times of peace...you must understand that. I have nothing more to lose, so I agreed it was far past time to tell you."
Zuko’s golden stare trembled and he stood up abruptly as the fire of the chamber rose all the way to the top of the ceiling. “What did you think I would do!?” Zuko shouted angrily, “I never once blamed him for what happened to Mai! I blamed the doctors, the healers, I blamed Mai, but I blamed myself more than anyone else because it was MY FAULT! I never once gave any sign of blaming that boy!” He took a few deep breaths, “H-How dare you do this to me! Thirty years, Elua! What kind of monster would do somthing so cruel!?”
“Understand that you were in a crazed state of mind, Fire Lord,” she trembled, “Princess Honora was already out of state, so we feared for the child’s life.”
“You had no reason!” He bellowed, fire dripping from his hands as he paced around his throne, “Why has no one told me? All these years? Even after things got better?” Zuko was so angry that sparks flew off his tongue and smoke poured out through his flaring nostrils. He tried to calm down and heaved out his next question, “Why has Mai’s family not told me!?”
“Have you seen them?” she spat back coldly, “You didn’t even allow them to bury their daughter. The family was so distant to you, we swore them to secrecy and they managed to obey and keep their distance. I’m not sure how much the boy knows.”
Breathing heavily to rid himself of his burst of fury, the fire of the chamber suddenly drained away and he hopped onto the ground, making the old woman jump in terror. He wouldn’t even look her in the eye and started walking towards the door, his voice calm and refined despite the heat that could be felt swelling through him as he stepped closer towards her.
"I will not ask your forgivness, but I do hope you make this secret right."
Zuko's voice trailed away, “Elua, you are banished. If you so much as cross my path again, you will be spending your next hundred years in a Fire Nation dungeon. Expect nothing less after all that you’ve done to ruin my family.”
“Where are you going?” she turned in shock as he passed by her with nothing but his phrase of banishment.
Zuko snarled and shot the doors open, “To Omashu," he said, "See yourself out, Elua.”
“You’re kidding me! Please tell me that this is some sort of sick, twisted humor that for some reason only our family possesses.”
“From what I can gather, Honora, it’s true,” Zuko said. He arched his brows and ran a hand through his white hair, “Honora, your brother is alive, and perhaps it has been my fault that neither one of us ever knew it until today.”
“You were hurt, emotionally unstable---You were at your lowest point father, it was not your fault! That daffy servant took advantage of your emotions! She took advantage of your madness towards Mother’s death and played us all for fools!”
“Elua was not the one who overreacted,” Zuko admitted, “She was right...I behaved inappropriately for a man of my age, and what was worse is that I drove you away that year---I never would have imagined that I had also driven out my only son…”
“Stop it!” Honora snapped, “Just stop! After all you’ve been through, honestly father, if you hadn’t snapped when Mom died then I would have believed you to be made of stone.” She snickered to herself and placed a comforting hand on his shoulder as Zuko sulked to himself in guilt. “Everyone in our family has experienced a strike of psychotic behavior at one point or another. I’m still waiting on mine, but Daddy, this is not your fault! I don’t blame you for what happened and neither should you---those pesky servants should never have done what they did, it was downright heartless of them to interfere!”
“Have you ever even met your mother’s family?” Zuko spat quickly. “Mai hardly saw them after we started dating and then when we were married. Without even realizing it, I stole Mai from her family. I might as well be my father---snatching my mother out of her old life---she never saw her family again after that, you know the Fire Sages laws about marriage to the Royal Family.”
“All old ties from life are cast out,” Honora nodded, “But Dad, no one has followed that law since grandmother’s time. Mother never mentioned her family because of their strained relationship from when she was a teenager---for Aang’s sake Dad, Mom traded her infant brother for that 112 year old king!”
“She knew what she was doing,” Zuko smiled a little, “Mai knew that Aang wouldn’t let anything bad happen to her brother. And if she hadn’t, then who’s to say Azula wouldn’t have just tossed Tom Tom over a cliff---”
“Honestly?” Honora rolled her eyes. She took in a sigh and forced Zuko to a stand as she started dragging him towards the bunker where they kept their war balloons. Honora persisted in her most mature of tones as she led him towards the garage. “People change and so have you. It’s far past time we make things right between Mother’s family, and it is definitely far past time to meet my new little brother. Come on, we’re heading out!”
“You mean---you want to go---right now?” Zuko was shocked, but a small smile twitched across his face.
“Don’t be such a child!” She laughed, “I’m sure after tea and a long, long explanation, everything will be set right. Uncle Iroh taught me that.”
Zuko smiled as they started prepping the old Fire Nation hot air balloon, “With Lee away with the United Republic, what about Iroh?”
“We’ll only be gone for a few hours---I doubt he’s even awake yet; we’ll be back before he knows it!”
“Mom?” a tiny, tired voice squeaked. It was little Iroh, standing in the middle of the hallway with his father’s dragon, Tanwen, who sat behind him, looming over young Iroh’s head like a tall street light.
“Iroh, you’re up!” Honora smiled, her wide grin hiding secrets from her little six-year old. Zuko’s guilty look matched his daughters exactly.
“Why are you guys in that balloon? Are you going somewhere?” he yawned.
“What?” Honora snorted awkwardly, “Wh-why would you think something like that honey? You and Tanwen should go get some breakfast and play outside, it’s such a nice day.” The rain outside proved otherwise and all three sets of eyes gave Honora a look of accusation.
“I apparently forgot how to teach you how to lie to a six year old, my dear…”
“Shut it---” she huffed in defeat, “You’re no better!”
“Alright grandson!” Zuko called, “You can come with us, but I’m afraid Tanwen needs to stay here with her brothers and sisters.”
The dragon snorted and Iroh pouted, “But she wants to go flying, come on! Grandfather, you said when they got big enough, the dragons could take us places like the Avatar’s Bison! I want to go on Tanwen! Please Grandfather!?”
“Dad!” Honora snapped, “Why would you even say that!?” She grimaced, and slapped her forehead, “What about the secret of their existence?”
“I no longer want any secrets in this family,” Zuko frowned, “And I did say that to him…” He laughed, “Iroh, you win! We ride on the dragons! Fetch Dao and Charge, and let’s get going.”
“Whoa, whoa…You’re going to let my six year old son ride all the way to Omashu on the back of a dragon? By himself!?”
“I believe in him,” Zuko nodded, “And Tanwen won’t let anything happen to young Iroh, will you girl?”
The dragon nodded and slithered happily out of the garage with Iroh to retrieve her brothers and sisters.
“Oh father, you do not know the evil of which you have just wrought.” Less than a minute later all seven of the fairly large dragons wrestled over one another like an excited pack of dogs, tails wagging and wings flapping hastily.
“I said just the three,” he whispered.
“You know that Iroh treats everything equally---this little family mission just turned into a dragon field trip!” Honora directed all blame to her father and Zuko sighed in defeat, “Alright, let’s just go before you invite the rest of the house.”
“So where are we going Momma?” Iroh pondered as Zuko lifted him onto the White dragon’s back.
“We have a very important person to meet in Omashu, honey. He’s your uncle.”
“I have an uncle!?” he squealed, “Cool! How come I never met him before?”
Zuko cringed, then gave his grandson a small smile and replied softly, “Sometimes destiny is a funny thing, Iroh. You never really know how---or when---things are going to happen, but when they do, you just need to keep an open mind and an open heart, and things will all work out in the end. They always do.”
The boy looked confused, but Honora patted his head and replied, “You just focus on staying on this dragon.” She turned to her father, “That goes for you too, old man!”
“You know, I am the Fire Lord, right?” Zuko pouted, “You don’t need to take care of me. A little less sass would also be nice.”
“Yeah, but you’re also my daddy, so it’s my official job and sworn duty to make sure that you don’t do anything stupid---again.”
As they each settled on the backs of their dragons, Zuko frowned and looked to his daughter with concern, “What do you think he turned out like---being raised by Mai’s family who probably hate me. What if he hates me too?”
“I don’t,” Honora smiled calmly, “And as his older sister, he is forced to agree with my opinion.” Zuko didn’t get as much confidence from her words, so Honora added, “Trust me Father,” she stated strongly, “Things will turn out alright in the end. Stop focusing so much on just the dark or the light, you have to look for that silver lining in the middle...”
“Did Uncle teach you that?” Zuko smirked.
“No,” Honora shook her head and took off on Charge’s back into the sky with her son and the other dragons. “You did.”
To Be Continued...
Fanon Trivia Edit
- Aang and Katara have now been married for forty-six years.
- Katara's necklace once belonged to her Mother, Kya and then it also belonged to her Gran Gran, Kanna... so one day, Katara will give the necklace to her own daughter Kya.
- The memoir Aang wrote Katara could possibly be the book Jinora was reading when she was talking to Katara in the LOK episode, "Welcome to Republic City".
- This secret of hers dates back 28 years ago in Year 23.
- Iroh was born back in Year 45. He, like his family, rises with the sun and can be incredibly sneaky and nosy.
- The 7 dragons from Year 41 are now Ten years old and have grown to be the size of long, slender street lights.
- Tanwen was originally loyal to Lee, just as Charge and Dao are to Honora and Zuko. However, in his absence, she mostly clings closely to young Iroh.
- The Fire Sage law on marrying the Fire Lord was content used in The Search Part 1.
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