Fandom: Avatar: The Last Airbender/The Legend of Korra
Title: Third Time's the Finish, Dammit
Word Count: ~1,000
Our heroes' next generation. Includes details from the first TLoK episode.
"That," moaned Katara, "is it."
"It's...a boy, actually," said Aang as the midwife swabbed birth slime off the mewling newborn.
Sila chuckled. "Hush, foolish man. I know what she means." She began to bundle the infant into a goatfleece blanket. "Don't argue with your wife at this moment."
Aang blinked, feeling blood rushing back into his fingers as Katara released his hand. "I wasn't arguing. I don't even know what she means."
"I'm right here, you two," Katara snapped.
"Of course you are," Sila cooed. "Mother of another wonderful healthy son." She put the wrinkle-faced swaddle into Katara's arms. Katara's face lost some of its edge.
"Hi, there," Aang said, moving his arm so that it circled both his wife and newborn son at the same time. "Hi. I'm your dad. Say hi. Can you say hi?" The familiar feeling of his heart leaping in him like a fish had him giddy.
"Stop that," said Katara.
Aang drew his arm back. "What? What's wrong?" Was he hurting her?
"I know what you're doing," said Katara. "What you're checking for."
Before Aang could answer, Sila hushed, "Ssh, ssh, the two of you mustn't fight at a time like this. Otherwise this boy gets anger with his milk, and no one wants that, now do they?" She took Katara's hands and began to move the baby to a position where he could get his first feeding, though after two previous babies Aang thought Katara could do that pretty well by herself.
"I don't care if--" Katara began, but softer as the baby began to root against her breast, not quite finding the right spot yet-- "if this one can bend air, or can bend anything at all. That is it, we are done."
"What?" Aang didn't mean to say it, but she'd startled it out of him. His next word was "Ow!" as Sila ground her foot into his.
"Don't," the midwife growled at him, low. "Anything you say right now is wrong, Avatar."
He opened his mouth in reflex to speak, then closed it again, as Sila's form of address brought home the unreasonable power any argument of his would have, and how that would probably earn him an ice ball in the face and an utter lack of forgiveness, ever. "Oh. Okay." He plastered on a cheerful smile, which wasn't hard to do as he watched his new son scrunching up his little face. "We can talk about it later."
A hiss from Katara was eclipsed by Sila's fingers digging into Aang's arm painfully. Aang said "Ow!" again.
"Your line," the midwife snarled, and wasn't it bizarre how that kindly face could transform like that, "is, 'Whatever you say, darling.'"
"I don't call her 'darling,'" Aang said, just as Katara snapped, "Don't call me 'darling.'" Then it was Katara's turn to murmur, "Ow," as the baby suddenly realized what to do with the nipple in his mouth and began his first meal with greed.
Aang instantly forgot everything. "Oh, hi, look, you're a strong one, aren't you?" he babbled happily. "You're going to be--"
"Stop!" said Katara. "He's two minutes old, stop thinking about what he's going to be!"
"I was just going to say," Aang said, unable to disguise his hurt, "that he's going to be a handful, like his brother and sister. I mean, they were."
Katara's weary brow smoothed with a hint of a smile. "They still are. Oh, look at you, you are a little piglet, aren't you?" She nuzzled the top of the baby's dark head. "Sweet thing. Hello, you're the one who's been shoving at my insides half the year, haven't you?"
"Let's have a dozen," Aang burst out. He completely hadn't meant to, completely honestly totally, it had just slipped out.
The next several minutes were occupied by Katara yelling, Sila making ever-escalating gestures and wheedling noises, the baby crying, and Aang cringing and trying not to allow his voice to rise to add to the chaos. "I'm just so happy! That's all I meant. We make--you make such perfect babies, that's all I meant!"
"If you want more perfect babies, get someone else perfect to make perfect babies with!"
"But that's not what I want!" Aang said, realizing he wasn't defending himself the way he wanted at all. "I want them with you!" Which may have not have been the right thing to say.
It wasn't. "That's too bad, because I've already talked to Toph!" yelled Katara.
"Toph? What's Toph got to do with it?" Aang felt like he was drowning. In air.
Katara's eyes suddenly got huge, and her mouth got small. "Oh. Oh, no. I wasn't supposed to tell you like this."
"Tell me what?"
The door opened without any warning, and Aang's brother-in-law pushed his way through it. "Is it here? Is it a boy or girl? Can it bend? I brought a leaf, can we see if it can lift a leaf?" Sokka brandished a leaf between his fingers.
"Sokka," Aang threatened, "get out of here if you don't want to be killed by every woman in this room. And if they don't I will."
"But we have to know if it's an airbender! The future of the nation--"
"Sokka, I want to sleep with my wife sometime again in my lifetime and if you do not shut up and get out of here she will kill us both and that will never happen," Aang said, his last words dropping into a low roar.
"Told you it wasn't twins." Behind Sokka, Toph's smug figure was pushing her way into the room. "Just the one heartbeat. Guess all that fat was just you, Katara." She was grinning.
Aang stared at Toph, suddenly understanding.
As the room hung in silence, except for the baby's cheeping complaint, Toph's face screwed up so that it matched the infant's. "What? It was a joke."
Aang opened his mouth. "You--" Closed it again.
Toph's face blanked as completely as her eyes and she sucked in breath. "You told him, didn't you."
Aang urked, Sokka said, "What? What did I miss?, Katara whimpered, "I didn't mean to just blurt it--" Toph began a rushed explanation of, "Look, you can't expect Katara to do all the--" and Sila tried to rout every adult who had not just given birth out of the room before the new mother hemorrhaged, for heaven's sake.
And in Katara's arms, the future of the nation sucked and slept.