Okay out of all the things I really love about this pairing (and there’s a lot) I really like the hint that there was (possibly) going to be a-disapproving-parent-trope.
Now, I could go on and rant about how Toph was one of the most neglected characters after season 2 and how absolutely upsetting it is that she never got the opportunity to work things out with her parents (even though there was foreshadowing that she would reach some sort of understanding with her mother in particular… Possibly creating a mother-daughter dynamic that was previously non existent in the show… don’t even get me started on how they ruined Aang and his character potential…)
But I won’t (for now).
Instead I’d like to point out how interesting it would have been to see Aang navigate the complexities of the Bei Fong family dynamic.
Especially since they are a family that embodies the exact opposite of everything he grew up knowing. Where he was raised to abandon worldly possessions and focus on spirituality, the Bei Fongs built their entire family legacy, their empire, on worldly possessions and accumulating wealth.
Mayhaps a more in depth look into their way of life, would be the push that would get him to, for the first time in his life, question the philosophies and customs he grew up with.
I imagine that Lao would have the hardest time coming to terms with it all. In his mind, whenever he had imagined giving his blessing for a union with his daughter, he always envisioned someone wealthy enough to contribute to the Bei Fong fortune, someone with a nacht for managing finances who would help manage all of their assets and estates. Someone who would appreciate and acknowledge how “delicate” and “fragile” his daughter is, and take care of her.
A young man whose only possessions are the clothes on his back, a pair of flying mammals (who are more like pets or family than possessions really…) and a stick.
He may be the Avatar but even that won’t be enough to get back in Lao’s good graces. After all Lao (canonically) is under the impression that Aang kidnapped his daughter in the dead of night and dragged her into a raging war.
Toph and Aang would certainly have their hands full trying to explain\clarify that one.
And it would be so great because Aang’s used to having everyone find him friendly and likeable, so to have the parents of the girl he cares about loathe him with an intensity that rivals the fire nation’s view on him during war time; he’d be tripping over himself to gain their approval, especially since Toph would finally be getting somewhere with repairing her relationship with her parents.
I’d like to think that Poppy, at first, would not be the world’s biggest Aang fan either. But after reaching out and trying to understand her daughter, she’d come to respect her choices. Plus, I could see her growing rather fond of him, and appreciating how much he genuinely cares about Toph and how happy she is with him. Besides there’s a certain beauty in the romance of them running away together, she thinks…
They’re good together. Balanced. Toph seems freer around him. Lighter somehow.
(Poppy strikes me as a hopeless romantic)
Lao and Aang would probably never *truly* get along, but I imagine there’d be this sort of resigned tolerance of each other, after all they both have at least one thing in common: their love for Toph.
So being a cause of contention and upsetting the delicate balance of their fragile healing process would definitely bother Aang. Especially since he contributed to the initial problem to begin with… But Toph would just jokingly tell him to quit bummimg her out with his guilty vibrations. She’s glad he’s here.
Aang would be supportive and be there for her during this no doubt frustrating time. Which would be kinda difficult since he’s not allowed on the Bei Fong property.
But that’s okay. He snuck in once, he can do it again…and they would walk along the pond in the garden, just like when they were kids, when they first met, laughing and trading stories about how they grew up so differently, reminiscing about the day they met:
“Hey, Toph, isn’t this the shrub I fell into?”
“Who knows? They’re all starting to *look* the same these days, don’t you think?”
“Now that you mentio– Toph. Why are you like this?”
“You love me this way.”
“…Yeah I do.”
And of course the occasion bending battle. Maybe visit an earth rumble match. See if the name ‘blind bandit’ still makes grown men weep like infants.
Toph loves her parents, in spite of everything, and she really does regret hurting them by leaving, even though she doesn’t regret the act of leaving itself and really appreciates them trying to finally get her and she’s also matured enough to want to meet them halfway. But Twinkletoes is a big part of her life now and he’s not going anywhere.
She keeps him grounded.
So Lao and Poppy will just have to deal…
I could see this whole mess being equal parts angst and humor. And it really is a shame this was never explored in canon.
Toxic Aphrodisiac: (rated T) a high schoo AU where Zuko, a typical angsty teenager instead of a fire nation one, struggles with fame as a model and against his abusive family, and Aang is an artist looking for a model. An OTP fic.
How to Kiss A Girl: (rated T) canon universe, set in the Western Air Temple. A short little fic about a zukaang kiss that implies to lead to more.
Parallels: non-slash, but it’s so perfect, and really sums up their relationship. It’s really short too… a definite admin fave.
An Airbender’s Fire: “Zuko was at a loss for words. How a look of want had been so deeply misinterpreted, he didn’t know. But then again, Zuko really had three default expressions: angry, more angry, and mortified. Currently, he was sturggling between ‘more angry’ and 'mortified’.” A hilarious but serious and realistic fic set during atla. (warning: zuko doesn’t ask in this fic, which is unacceptable in real life. ask for permission when you want something always, kids)
Secure: canon universe, when Aang is 15 and Zuko is 19. Aang doesn’t love Katara anymore, and decides to clear his emotions with his best friend in the Fire Nation.
Truth of Dare?: a friendly game of truth or dare in the Fire Nation Palace that leads to more. canon universe.
Possession: Just a bunch of oneshots about zuko and aang. various mini plots.
Mornings: atla and beyond: Aang discovers his sexuality with his handsome firebending teacher. Believable and surprisingly not creepy, even if it still takes place when Aang is 12-13 and Zuko is 16-17.
Feel free to submit additional fanfic favorites here for the next zukaang fanfic rec coming soon!