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  • Title: A Gift and a Promise
  • Rating: G
  • Genre: Friendship
  • Characters: Katara and Ty Lee
  • Shipping: Hint of Kataang in the beginning, mostly Katara/Ty Lee friendshipping

Plot Edit

It is Katara's 17th birthday party. She has a good time, though she notices that a special friend is missing until she arrives a little bit letter, with a gift that emphasizes their bond. Later, they agree to an important promise.

The story Edit

A late arrival Edit

Katara sat on her home couch, snugged up against Aang. It was a joyous occasion for her as she continued into young womanhood, hitting the age of 17. Next year, her boyfriend would also be an adult officially. However, something still bothered the young waterbender. All her gifts were open, but she was missing one. She looked up into Aang's eyes, her crystal blue eyes wearing a look of some sadness and worry.

The Avatar returned the look. "Katara? What's wrong?" He then addressed her. "It's your birthday...what could have you so down?"

"Aang," Katara began, speaking in a disheartened tone. "Ty Lee never showed...she said she had a 'special' gift for me to show our friendship...but...I just don't know."

"I understand," Aang replied. He then brushed a few stray strands of hair out of her eyes. "I know how much she means to you, how you two are like sisters...to not have her here...it is a strange thing. I guess we are left to wonder what gift was."

At the South Pole port, Ty Lee quickly hopped off the boat. "Stupid storm!" The Kyoshi Warrior yelled as she quickly threw on her coat on the run. "Now I'm late...oh, spirits, Katara is going to kill me!" She ran, the gift in hand, to the re-constructing city as fast as her feet could carry her. She knew she had to find the house to the right of the chief's palace and present her best friend with the gift she had wanted to for months now. You're my sister, Katara...and I want to show it. Please...wait for me...

"Well, party is just about over," Hakoda mused. "Katara...was that a great birthday?"

The chief's daughter sighed sadly, getting up from Aang's grasp for a moment to make eye contact with her father. "Dad...it was great for the most part...I mean, all your gifts were spectacular. I just...I feel like something's missing."

"Your other friend didn't show up, I am aware," Hakoda replied. "I see how tough it is--" Just as he was talking, a knock came at the door. "Oh, I'll get it." He walked through the hallways, reaching the icy door that separated his home from the outside world. Hakoda opened it, and before him, the Kyoshi Warrior was revealed.

Ty Lee was out of breath and panting. "Chief Hakoda...sorry...for being late. Storm...bad one..."

Hakoda tried to settle Ty Lee down somewhat. "Why don't you take a moment to catch your breath before coming in, Ty Lee? It's okay, I'm sure Katara will understand."

After a moment, Ty Lee finally walked in. "How late am I?" She asked Hakoda.

"I'm afraid we are just about finished with the party," the chief answered. "But...Katara is still here. She's still expecting you." Ty Lee's head dipped. "What's wrong?"

A tear dropped down Ty Lee's face, which she quickly wiped away. "I...I have something special for her. She's probably so upset with me now, though...I didn't make it in time. She probably won't even want to see me now."

Hakoda placed a hand on the warrior's shoulder and smiled at her. "Now come on, you know my daughter is of the forgiving type. You've known her almost two years now. If she could forgive you for everything in the past...if you just calmly explain to her why you were late; you said something about a storm, she will understand. Don't worry too much. Now then, Katara's in the living room, with Aang." He then stuck his head in. "Katara. Someone's here to see you."

The waterbender rose from the couch. As she did, Ty Lee walked in. Happiness quickly came over Katara's features. "Ty Lee! You made it!" Without a second thought, she ran over and threw her arms around the Kyoshi Warrior in a tight hug.

Ty Lee was caught off guard by the hug, but she returned it nonetheless. "Katara...I'm sorry. I got caught in a storm...so my ship was late. I know you wanted me to be here and...yeah. I'm sorry..."

The two separated from the embrace, Katara then moving her hands over Ty Lee's. "Please, don't worry about it at all. I know you can't control everything...no one can. Nature happens. I'm just glad you're here." She smiled brightly, giving her best friend an assuring look.

After a moment of quiet, Ty Lee then took her gift out. "Well...listen, can I talk to you, privately?" The warrior then asked. "This gift is really special....and I prefer if I discussed it with you one on one."

"If you really want to," Katara replied. She got the okays from Aang and the remainder of her present family; her brother and grandmother.

A gift Edit

The two then went upstairs, making it into Katara's bedroom. The sun shined in through the clouds, casting a light within. The two girls walked in and took a seat on the bed, which was decorated in a large, blue blanket for providing extra warmth, and two soft, fur skin covered pillows. Ty Lee then took out the gift again, which was in a small red jewelry box with writing on it that translated as "Miyaka Jewelry Co., Shu Jing". Before turning it over to her friend, Ty Lee explained some things about it. "This gift...well, it was really meant to be mine so many years ago. However, I think I know a better purpose for it now. I think it definitely belongs with you now."

Katara turned her head in curiosity. "Ty Lee, are you sure you want to give it up? If it was meant to be yours, I'm not sure how comfortable I am in taking it off your hands."

Ty Lee put her hand up as if to tell Katara not to worry. Nevertheless, she said, "I am sure. Katara, this is my birthday gift to you. Don't worry about a thing." With that, she handed the jewelry box to the waterbender before her.

Katara opened the box slowly, and the gift was revealed. She took it out and saw that it was a wristband. The piece of jewelry appeared to be made of mostly silver with red gems decorating it. Finally, at the forefront of the shimmering silver was an orange stone. Crafted within the moderately-sized stone was a bird, appearing to be a phoenix holding an olive branch in its claws, with a red string wrapped around its wings. The waterbender looked upon it with amazement. "It's beautiful..." She then set her eyes back on the smiling Kyoshi Warrior. "I don't understand, why would you want to give this up? Ty Lee, it's just...amazing."

"Like I said," Ty Lee began. "It's special...very much so. Well, given the circumstances of our friendship, I think it's simply the most appropriate gift. Katara...what you have there is the symbol of my family. We all have gotten these after we were born."

Katara's smile faded to a more worried look. "Oh...well..."

"Is there something wrong?" Ty Lee asked as she saw her best friend turn away somewhat, as a smile ran away from her face.

"Ty Lee...please, listen," the waterbender began, placing her new gift back in the box. She set this box back on the bed and moved closer to her best friend, grasping her wrists. "I hate to see you give that up. I know you feel distant from your family, especially given all the years that have gone by, but you really shouldn't give that stuff up. Your family still cares about you so very much...they love you just like I do."

"Katara," Ty Lee started her reply. "I just...I don't feel right holding it anymore. I think it belongs in the hands of someone special...and that someone is you. I know what you're saying, but...you're practically my sister. You know I love you like family as well. If I can't have it...I want it to be in the hands of someone I love like family. That's why I'm passing it to you." She then removed one of her hands from Katara's grasp. "This way, you will know."

"Know what?" Katara mused.

Ty Lee then lifted up her pointer finger, and placed it on Katara's heart. Her slow and steady beat rustled through the Kyoshi Warrior's finger as she touched it. "You will always know that I'm with you," she said, her voicing dropping to a whisper. "Family never dies, Katara. Everyone always lives on in your heart. Your mom, your grandfather...Sokka will, your dad will, Pakku will...it all lives on. When you establish that special bond with someone...it stays for life. With my gift to you...you will know I'm always with you...sis." She then cupped her right cheek in her hand. "That is my gift to you. It symbolizes our friendship more than anything...something I wouldn't trade for even a billion gold pieces."

Katara returned an affectionate smile at Ty Lee's words, as a couple of tears strayed down her cheeks. "Ty Lee, I..."

As the waterbender started to speak, the Kyoshi Warrior brushed her tears away softly with her right hand. "Sorry...I know it's happy tears, but, I hate to see you cry, sis. Carry on."

"Don't worry," Katara replied, her eyes still welling with tears. "I just, I don't know what to say. Those were such beautiful words." The waterbender then placed her hand over her own heart. "You're my best friend in the entire world...sis." She then took her pointer finger and placed it over Ty Lee's heart. "I'll always be in you, too. You're like my family as well...and I hope you will carry me forever."

"I will," Ty Lee assured her. "I promise it. You're my best friend for life...and I love you."

Katara then grabbed Ty Lee's wrists again and pulled her into a tight hug. "I love you too, Ty Lee. I'm so glad we became friends."

Locked in the hug, the two girls couldn't have been any happier about where they stood with one another. It wasn't too long ago that they were divided, a cold hatred between them. Now, they were united, a warm friendship, so warm it could melt the ice and snow that surrounded the igloo they were in. After remaining steadfast in this hug for several moments, they finally broke it up, but were left giving each other affectionate smiles.

A promise Edit

"Ty Lee," Katara finally said after a couple of moments of silence. "You know...I've been thinking lately about the whole 'best friends for life' thing."

The Kyoshi Warrior suddenly grew worried. "Is there something wrong, Katara? I want to be your best friend."

"No," the waterbender assured her. "I don't want to change the fact that we're best friends for life. But, I have been thinking...if we are going to be best friends for life, if we have promised to be alongside each other the entire way...why not see each other through until our dying moment?"

"Well, isn't that what it means to be best friends for life?" Ty Lee replied with a chuckle.

"I'm getting into something a little deeper," Katara answered. "Ty Lee...I'm going to make you a promise, right now. We're all going to die at some point in our lives. It's a given; no life lasts forever. So...here's my promise to you. If you happen to die first...I will be there on your last day, for your last moments. I will be at your side until that final heartbeat."

"Awww," Ty Lee replied affectionately. "You don't have to, Katara..."

"They say most people want to pass away with their families at their side," the Water Tribe native added. "So, if we're also going to be like family to each other, I will be at your side to your final moment. Right?"

"That is true..." Ty Lee mused happily. "You will stand by me, even if I'm in a coma until that moment?"

Katara nodded. "Absolutely...otherwise I'd be breaking a promise to my best friend in the entire world."

Ty Lee felt her eyes well up with tears, and moved her finger over her eyes to wipe the water out of them. "Then...let me make the same promise to you, Katara. If you happen to go first...I want to stand at your side...no matter what. Best friend for life, indeed. What kind of person would I be if I didn't agree to this? I'll keep it true, Katara. It's the best thing I could do for the best friend to ever come into my life."

"Needless to say, I feel the same way about you," Katara replied. "I'd say the same about Aang, but I guess he's kind of more than just a friend now," she added with a chuckle.

"Hey," Ty Lee added. "You guys may officially be in love, but I've heard that true lovers are also each other's best friends, and you two...well, you certainly fit that bill."

"Then let me reword what I said," Katara answered with another a laugh. "You're my best non-romantic friend ever."

"Good enough for me," Ty Lee said. She then threw her arms around Katara and engaged her in another tight hug.

Katara placed her arms around Ty Lee in response. "You know," she then said, "you give some of the best hugs, you know that?"

"Your hugs are pretty awesome as well," Ty Lee answered. She then sighed happily as her best friend held her tightly.

After a few moments, they again separated from the hug. Katara then placed the wristband on her. "This is the perfect complement to my mom's necklace," she mused.

"I'm glad you like it," Ty Lee said, smiling brightly.

"This has been one of my favorite birthdays ever," Katara added. "Your gift...Aang got me some beautiful new dresses...just a lot to enjoy."

"Glad I could help," the Kyoshi Warrior answered. "I'm sorry again for being late."

"Don't worry," the waterbender assured her, placing a hand on her shoulder. "Just you being here is fine enough for me. Let's just never forget our promise."

"Right," Ty Lee replied.

The two girls then made their way back downstairs to wrap up Katara's birthday party, now feeling an even stronger sense of family unity, and ready for the future ahead of them.

All through a simple gift and a promise.

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