Seasons came and went for the Gaang, the world and themselves growing. It had been a year since the Frozen Heart curse had taken control of Katara, and during that time, four months after she had been saved, she and Aang had married, combining both the Air and Water customs into the celebration. The music had been splendid, the food a mix of vegetarian and meat, and the decorations had strung the walls and ceiling with blue and yellow drapes with candles casting a soft glow among the room and guests.
They had gotten married at the Southern Air Temple after cleaning it out. Aang had been reluctant to use it, mainly because he didn’t want Katara to clean for their special day and also because of the sad memories the walls held, but Katara was adamant, saying that it would be a new beginning for everyone, including the spirits of his people. In the end they used the prayer room for the ceremony, all of their closest friends and family joining this small party.
Suki and Sokka had married three months prior to the younger couple’s wedding, theirs taking place on Kyoshi Island in front of the whole town. They had found a small island somewhere in between there and the South Pole, so they were working on a small house there to raise a family and as a point so they could go back to either of their old homes for supplies or visitations. Suki was the mother of a healthy baby boy named Kai and Katara was nearing the end of her pregnancy.
Toph and Quin were still dating, but a proposal was not very far away, as it was about to happen soon.
The former was very nervous about what he was going to do. He had taken his girlfriend out to a nice place in the Earth Kingdom, somewhere in the middle ring of Ba Sing Se because Toph couldn’t stand the upperclassman, not that he blamed her. There were so few nice people up there that it made him want to tear down some houses too.
They had come to Ba Sing Se after checking up with the school and worked classes until about a month ago, letting some of the newer teachers take charge. Since then, they had stayed at the house where the Gaang had lived in during the war, going to the Jasmine Dragon to help Iroh or to have a relaxing time.
Quin palmed his pocket, feeling the ring. Although Toph wouldn’t be able to see it, he still wanted to make her one, to show that she was his and no one else’s. He took a deep breath, feeling his heart pound, but before he could ask Toph stated, “You’re more nervous than a Badgermole in water. What’s up with you?”
He cleared his throat. “Just thinking about something is all.”
She frowned, obviously studying her heart rate, before she shrugged. “Well, maybe you should talk about it. Whatever it is it must be bothering you.”
As she took a sip of her tea, he thought about how in the name of the Spirits he was going to do this. He knows he wants to marry Toph, but what if it was too soon for her? What if she said no? What if she didn’t love him as deeply as he did for her?
Well, only one way to find out, and he said, “If you want to know, I was thinking about you…”
Toph’s brows rose up. “Me?” she asked.
He cleared his throat again to relieve the tightness. “Well, to be more specific, it was more about…us.” As he spoke, some hidden strength came to him and he reached over and grabbed her hand. “Toph, I’ve been thinking about us for a while, and I want to say something I’ve been meaning to say for a long time.”
As she continued to frown, he swallowed, continuing on. “I’m not sure how to phrase it, but I’m going to try. Toph, I love you, and I want to spend every day with you until we die and beyond. I’ll do whatever I can to make this work, to prove that life with me will be the best you could ask for. I would hold you until my final breath leaves my body, I will nurture when you’re sick even if you don’t like the idea. I guess what I’m trying to say is, Toph, will you marry me?”
As the silence stretched, he wanted to curse at himself. Of course she didn’t want to marry him, not when they had only been together for a little over a year. He should have waited, he should have given it more thought, he should have-
Quin felt his chair moved until it was sitting next to hers, and he became aware that everyone in the shop had quieted. The next thing he knew Toph was kissing him full on the mouth, not caring about the audience that they obviously had, and he kissed her back, not caring either. Yet he was confused; did this mean she was accepting his proposal or trying to soften the blow to reject him?
After they parted, there was a big smile on her face as she said, “Yes, yes, you big idiot. I will marry you!”
He laughed and hugged her until she was crushed against him, but they were too happy to care about the fact that neither of them could breathe properly. As they hugged, applause could be heard and they created some space, smiles on their faces and blushes heating their cheeks. He said, “I think we have an audience.” Quin grabbed her hand and placed the ring on the appropriate finger before kissing her hand.
Toph placed her forehead on his. “I love you, Quin.”
He chuckled, “I love you too, Toph.”
She backed up and punched his arm, hard. He grunted but still smiled. “Your way of showing of affection?”
She shrugged. “You know how I work.” Then she grabbed his face and kissed him again. “You better get used to it.”
As the crowd laughed, Quin and Toph sat down again, joy in their faces. He had never realized how much he needed Toph in his life until they had gone to save Katara a year ago. He didn’t know what he would have done if Toph was in some kind of situation to where she was in danger of herself. He was happy to know that for a long time they will be together, that when they do die, they will be reunited in the Spirit world. Hopefully one day they could have children, but he knew that would be too much too soon.
Right now, Quin had everything he could hope for.
Katara rubbed her belly out of habit and sighed on boredom. For eight months she had been doing nothing but sit and wait while Aang took care of everything. Since she had gotten pregnant, he had been a nervous wreck, doing things for her that she would normally do for herself. The only things she was allowed to do was some calming Waterbending and eating, simple things involving not a lot of movements.
Okay, she loved Aang with all of her heart, but this not-being-able-to-anything thing was hammering on her nerves. She couldn’t wait to have this pregnancy over with.
The door of their Upper Ring house opened and the Airbender came in carrying a bag over his shoulder. His face when he looked at her beamed with a hint of nervousness that made her heart swell no matter how annoyed she was with staying put most of the time. Katara knew he had the best of intentions and that made her love him all the more.
Aang came over to her and sat down, putting the bag on the floor as he reached for her swollen belly, kissing her cheek. “How are you feeling this morning?”
She smiled. “I’m hanging in there. The baby seems to be little anxious though.”
He rubbed her belly, face beaming so bright it nearly blinded her in its radiance. “I think I might have something to help with that.” Reaching down, Aang opened the bag on handed and brought out what looked like a pie with jell in the center. It was a fruit pie made by his people over a century ago. It was something she has always been craving especially since she got pregnant almost nine months ago.
Katara’s stomach growled and they laughed as Aang lifted the gooey center. “Here,” he said, handing it to her.
Mouth watering from the aroma coming from the cake, Katara tore off a piece and chewed, making contented sounds. The fruity taste always satisfied her.
Katara looked at him. “Thank you, Aang.”
He smiled back. “Anything for my wife.” He seemed to love calling her that and she couldn’t say she was disappointed by it. Having Aang as her husband seemed so surreal that she had to often remind herself that he was hers for the rest of their days and beyond. She will never forget the day he proposed to her before everything became frozen, quite literally.
When the curse had taken over her, Katara thought of the damage to was going to inflict on the people. She had been afraid for them and her friends and family. The power, the strength, nothing could have bested it, not even her Waterbending or Aang’s Airbending. The memory of hurting so many people had made Katara feel a horror that seeped deep into her bones.
When Aang had struck her heart, she had been able to feel the emotions from him and stream into her blood. There had been fear, sadness, self-hatred, but most of all, she had felt his love, his need to protect those around him, which included her. Her love for him had spiked right then, engulfing her being, and that had made Katara say that she loved him.
In the end she survived, and the curse was gone. When Aang had been to the Spirit World, he had learned that Koruk had sensed the curse’s disappearance, vaporized, never to come back again. Apparently the warmth had been too much for it, the love too strong for it to survive. The world was saved from the curse. Knowing that it was gone for good made Katara feel relief so strong she had cried, clutching the love of her life tightly.
Now she was expecting to have their first child soon.
As she finished the cake, she was about to turn to Aang to kiss him, a contraction came to her stomach, and she clutched it with a gasp. Aang was immediately on the alert. “Katara, what’s wrong?”
She was about to answer when another contraction hit, harder this time, and them something wet slid down her leg. She looked at him in pain. “The baby,” she gasped, and the next thing she knew Aang was carrying her outside and placing her on Appa, flying away to the clinic.
As he paced around the area, Aang didn’t know whether to be happy or in panic, so he settled for both. Katara was in a room down the hall, giving birth to their child. Her cries always made him wince, wondering what was happening. He had wanted to go in there, but Katara didn’t want him to watch her be in pain, and since the baby was coming, he didn’t have time to argue as she was speed walked into the room, leaving him alone.
Sokka was with him and Suki was in the room where Katara was, helping with the birthing. Their son was being watched over by a lady they had met by the name of Jane, an aunt to two kids and very fun and Toph and Quin were still out. His best friend was watching the Airbender pace, looking a little stressed. Aang turned to him. “Was it like this for you when Suki was giving birth?”
Sokka nodded. “The wait was excruciating. I thought the noise would never end.” His face became dreamy. “But then, when it was all over, I held Kai, saw the way Suki looked, and fell in love all over again. Seeing what we made together was the best thing in the world.” He smiled up at his friend. “You’ll see, when you hold your kid, it’ll brighten your life probably more than marrying Katara did.”
Taking a deep breath, Aang nodded and calmed somewhat; then all at once the noise from the room stopped and his nerves came back tenfold. The door opened and a tired looking Suki came out with a smile. “Aang?” She nodded to the room. “Katara wants to see you.”
He swallowed and went into the room, which was slightly dark but illuminated with lanterns and candles. What he saw on the bed though is what took his breath away.
Katara was lying on it, holding a blue bundle in her arms. She looked exhausted after hours of labor, but her skin positively glowed under the lights. Her smile was radiant as she looked up at him. “Come here, Aang,” she said quietly. “Come meet our son.”
Heart pounding, Aang walked over to her and bundle, sitting in the chair by their side. She looked at the bundle before him, indicating that he should take a look, so he did, lowering the blanket from his son’s face. The face was pudgy but adorable, eyes closed as breath left and entered him, peaceful. Aang touched his chubby cheek, noticing the skin color. A pit pale with a hint of mocha. He was beautiful.
The baby boy’s eyes opened wide, and Aang noticed the color, a silver blue that matched theirs. He smiled at his wife. She smiled at him. “What should we name him?” he asked.
She looked thoughtful for a moment before saying confidently, “Bumi.”
Aang stared at her, touched. She wanted to name their son on honor of his old friend. With a smile he said, “Thank you.” Katara handed him Bumi and Aang held him close to kiss his forehead. “He’s beautiful. I love you both.”
She placed her head on his arm, watching Bumi with misty eyes. “We love you too.” Aang kissed her head and they looked at the baby until she fell asleep. He stayed awake, holding the precious he and Katara had created. Sokka had been right; it was like falling in love again, both with Katara and with the babe. Light and warmth seeped into his being. He had a family, one with the person he married.
And he vowed to always be there for the both of them and any future children and grandchildren they will have and see. Life could throw the most unpleasant surprises in their path, but that only makes a person see the delight they come across. They had fought a war, but they also made many friends, have grown closer, been through so much together that brought friends into a family of beings with something to fight for.
Life couldn’t get any better when someone has a meaning to it.