|Dark and Intriguing?
Author: Luna Waitress of Doom PM
A pseudo-academic conversation on the merits of Zutara between Sokka, the great Wang Fire, and sometimes Toph. Pro-Zutara obviously, some mention of Sukka, and possible implications of Sokka x ...You want a list?Rated: Fiction T - English - Humor - Sokka & Toph - Chapters: 2 - Words: 4,675 - Reviews: 5 - Favs: 8 - Follows: 1 - Updated: 04-16-09 - Published: 08-01-08 - Status: Complete - id: 4440929
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Disclaimer: Avatar belongs to a bunch of people... who aren't lowly grad students like me, and I make no money off of this. Does that cover it?
Pairings: ZUTARA discussion, mentions of Sukka (mostly involving Suki kicking Sokka's ass), implications of Sokka x ...You want a list?
Spoilers: Plot through EIP, final pairings, NO finale plot spoilers (takes place in a hole in the timeline between TSR and EIP)
Thanks to: My beta reader (HI SIS) who got me into Avatar and Zutara in the first place and the CAPSLOCKZUTARA LJ community, who got to see this first, particularly the kind member that prompted me to post it here too. ;)
No thanks to: The document uploader/editor thing. Am I dating myself by saying that I miss the days when I had to do all of the HTML encoding myself by hand?
FAIR WARNING: In case that first pairing in all caps didn't make it clear enough, this is a pro-Zutara fic, and a snarky one at that. If you don't like Zutara... you DO know where your back button is, don't you? Other than that, all ambiguities, implications, and innuendos are specifically labeled "interpret as you will".
Dark and Intriguing...?
A pseudo-academic conversation on the merits of Zutara between Sokka, the great Wang Fire, and sometimes Toph
Sokka was conflicted. (No, not like the Boulder's conflict. Sokka knew better than to underestimate sarcastic little blind girls with a penchant for throwing very large, very heavy chunks of earth.) Sokka was conflicted about his sister's romantic prospects. As delightful as it was to be one half of the only couple at the quasi-abandoned royal vacation house on Ember Island getting any romantic affection on a regular basis, the mocking was getting rather tiresome (why did only he get picked on? oh, right, Suki was far more intimidating than him), and he wanted a distraction. Namely, he was looking for a distraction in the form of another couple to take the majority of Toph's barbs and pranks. Since he feared for his life, attempting to set up Toph herself was out of the question, and Suki was his girlfriend, dammit all, so that left... Katara. Although he would rather not think about his little sister having a boyfriend ever, he figured that he could only postpone the inevitable for so long before she drowned him in his sleep, and well, at least he could take the opportunity to subtly -- or what passed for subtly in his mind -- influence her decision in a more palatable direction. In any case, being drowned in his sleep seemed like a better option than being crushed by a small mountain while he was fully awake. So, his internal debate became external.
"Aang and Katara? I like the guy, but she acts like his mother... eww." A grinding of rocks and Toph had designed her own comfy armchair from which to watch Sokka's inner conflict unfold.
"Haru and Katara? Not until he quits running from the damn razor. Wang Fire's beard is manly, Haru's is just weird and a little sad." Another shuffle and a footrest appeared. It was shaping up to be a long "discussion".
"Jet and Katara? Oh yeah, Jet's kinda dead. Ouch! Dammit, Toph, watch where you fling your toe boogers!" Her snickering became the background for Sokka's extended monologue as she mentally filed away the term "toe booger" for future use.
"Zuko and Katara? Nah, too dark --"
"Oh, no! What a nightmare!" With her ritual toe picking now completed, Toph was in one of those "spirited" moods where she insisted on adding her own smart-assed commentary whenever the opportunity presented itself. In other words, there was absolutely nothing new with her.
"-- and intriguing." Sokka dismissed the idea with minimal consideration. A close "friend" of his, however, had other plans.
"Dark ("Try having my eyes for a while!") and intriguing? That's hot. Wang Fire knows hot." He pointed to the stupid grin on his bearded face for emphasis before his look turned goofily thoughtful. "Besides, intriguing just means interesting. I looked it up. The other definitions didn't make sense here... but that doesn't make it any less hot!" He tried and failed to ward off commentary by pointing in Sokka's general direction.
"From what I've seen, Suki knows hot too!" Toph grinned like a madwoman while Sokka glared at her.
"No, no. Suki knows lukewarm. If I were her boyfriend, she'd know hot. Like fire." Wang Fire stroked his beard, oblivious to Sokka's redirected glare. Momo flew over to investigate Toph's hysterical rolling around on the ground and the associated tremors. The armchair had become a collection of vaguely armchair-shaped fragments.
"Hey!" Momo attached himself to one of Sokka's waving arms, chattering angrily.
"My name is Fire. I believe that makes me an expert on all things hot. Water and fire make steam, you know. Steam is also hot." Wang Fire's dignified image was marred by Momo's curling up on top of his head after detaching from his arm.
"I know all about the properties of steam, I'm not the idea guy for nothing, thank-you-very-much... Wait a minute, you had better not be trying to go after my sister!" Toph, red-faced, slammed her fist on the ground, and Appa bellowed indignantly from a distance in response.
He gave Sokka an odd look. "No, of course not. She's not my type. Do you know who is my type--"
"You had better not say Suki!"
"Actually, I was going to say--"
Wang Fire looked mildly offended. "I was going to say that flirty bendy girl. You know? The one that keeps chi blocking you?"
"Ty Lee?" Toph laughed. "This is great! You know I'm going to remember this one for future reference!"
"You mean blackmail?" Sokka arched his eyebrow.
"I would approve of your mischievous plot," Wang Fire huffed, "if it weren't directed against yours truly, the great Wang Fire, legendary lover of the ladies, honored student of the master himself, the great Iroh." Sokka's groaning turned to laughter as Toph pantomimed crying in response.
"Never mock the master! You only wish that you had half the skill Iroh has with the ladies!"
"I can't speak for Toph, but I was mocking you, not Iroh. ("I'd never mock Iroh!") When did you meet Iroh, anyways?" From there, their conversation began to degenerate into fragmented squabbling.
"Um, Sokka... err, guys? Aren't you missing an essential detail? Like, say, does Zuko already have a girlfriend?"
"He did. Mai the moody knife-throwing girl was his girlfriend. He broke up with her. Then he locked her in a jail cell in a decidedly non-kinky fashion. Talk about ending a relationship! It wouldn't make any sense if they got back together any time soon! Suki would kick my ass but good if I ever tried that on her! ("Oh please, like Suki doesn't kick your ass regularly already!") Are you ever going to quit being a smart-ass?" Toph grinned broadly, which was her way of saying "not in this lifetime, and not in the next one either".
"Besides, why date ho-hum Mai when you can date the extra-flexible TY LEE? Or Azula, if you prefer your feisty girls with documented homicidal tendencies."
"Yeah, yeah, I get it already, you like Ty Lee... Azula? Are you insane?!"
"Should I comment on the irony in Sokka calling someone insane now?" Toph made a show of pretending to think about this supposed decision. "Yes, I think I should. Sokka, you're one to talk about insanity!"
"And you're one to-to--"
"I can bend your precious space sword, don't forget." She spun a small boulder on her index finger, perhaps to make a point, or perhaps just for the hell of it. With her, the boundary between the two cases was rarely well-defined.
"Damn your metalbending talents."
"Oh boo-hoo, boomerang boy. Don't you start either Lord Hot Pants." Sokka laughed so hard that he burst into tears, which triggered Toph's hysteria once again.
"Back on topic now," Sokka's snickers died down a little as "Lord Hot Pants" spoke. (Toph's did not.) "Have you ever noticed how eager to please those two are?"
"Ha! Katara? Not to me she isn't!"
"You don't count!" Toph and Wang Fire yelled in unison.
"Please tell me that you have noticed how well they work together."
"I have actually. ("For once!") DAMMIT TOPH! They don't even need to talk most of the time! I think it's kinda creepy. Almost like they can read each other's minds!" Sokka wiggled his fingers in front of the strange bug-eyed face he was making in a manner that was supposed to be spooky. (Perhaps it was. To him.)
"Well, talking is neither necessary nor desirable for some of those activities that they apparently work well together for..." Toph was well-informed by her orthopedic powers of observation. Very well-informed.
"You mean like secret ninja missions?" Sokka chirped, grinning.
"...Right. Like secret ninja missions," her comment was oozing with an impressive amount of sarcasm, a remarkable feat even for Toph. Wang Fire snickered.
"Fine, fine. So they work well together, although on what I don't know," Toph slapped her forehead, "but it's not like they have anything else in common!" Wang Fire stared blankly. Toph, not knowing this for obvious reasons, sent a column of earth at Sokka's butt, eliciting a very unmanly yelp.
"So, would the greatest earthbender in the world like the honor of correcting this fool's misconception, or should I have it?"
"Why thank you for recognizing my amazing bending skills, Lord Hot Pants, but I have to say that distracting sarcastic commentary is my specialty in these situations."
"Are you two... trying to say that they do have things in common?"
"YES!" Toph and Wang Fire shouted in unison.
"We already covered that they're eager to please, except when it comes to you, Sokka. Also, they both lost their mothers as children."
"As did I!" Momo latched onto his neck and poked the bulging vein in his forehead until Sokka unceremoniously plucked him off (and made a scary face at him for good measure).
"The difference here is that Zuko's mother was specifically trying to protect him just like yours was trying to protect Katara." Toph admired her newly bent earth slippers -- with her toes, of course.
"Toph, how do you know this?"
"I said I'd get payback from Zuko for burning my feet. I made him tell me stuff."
"How much stuff?" Toph shrugged and smiled.
"You remember when Katara became the Painted Lady to help those Fire Nation villagers? Well, Zuko used to put on a mask and do stuff as the Blue Spirit. Not all of the stuff that he did as the Blue Spirit was good, mind you, but that's because it was before he told Ozai where to stick his pointy crown. He did defend an Earth Kingdom village against some thugs that called themselves soldiers though." Momo tried to inspect the new slippers until he caught a whiff of Toph's feet: dazed, he decided he would be best off avoiding them in the future.
"Dressing up in costumes and compelled to be do-gooders? Wang Fire approves! It makes things all the more... interesting." He grinned broadly and wiggled his eyebrows.
Sokka ignored him. "Okay, okay, point made. Did you make Zuko tell you his whole life story or something?"
"Were we finished yet, Wang Fire?" Toph carefully pretended not to hear Sokka's question. In the interest of potential future embarrassment and/or blackmail, she felt entitled to certain secrets: how many of Zuko's secrets she knew was certainly among them.
"No, we were most certainly not! They're both very passionate people, aren't they, Boomerang Boy?"
Sokka ground his teeth. "It would be greatly appreciated if you never mentioned my sister, Zuko, and passion in the same sentence ever again. ("But there's just no denying it! Zuko and Katara are full of passion!") Why have I not come to expect this out of you by now, Toph? Why? OW! And if I have a bruise on my butt in the morning, I'm coming after you!" Toph paused her impromptu game of rock marbles with Momo long enough to send another one of the aforementioned playing pieces at his rump. Momo followed suit.
"I too would appreciate it if you quit sending chunks of earth at Sokka's behind-- Owowow! Don't worry, I will not ask that again!" Wang Fire rubbed his bruised bottom as Toph smiled and bended a new set of marbles.
"Well, at least Wang Fire isn't a total moron, even if Sokka usually is. Now, please continue before I get the urge to use these marbles just like I used the last set."
Wang Fire self-consciously covered his rear as he continued,"So, have either of you ever tried to stop them when they're hellbent on doing something?"
"I'd rather face a rampaging platypus bear than get in Katara's way after she sets her mind on something. Well, we used to try to stop Zuko from capturing Aang back in the day, not wanting him to get captured by the Fire Nation and all, but... yeah, I'd have rather faced the platypus bear if I had a choice."
Toph nodded her assent. "They're not known for doing things halfway."
"Two very driven individuals," Wang Fire smirked triumphantly.
"Fine, I'll give you this one. Is it gang up on Sokka day and nobody felt the need to tell me about it?"
"And this would be different from every other day... how exactly?" Sokka glared at Toph, completely missing the fact that this would have no effect on her. "Besides, Aang wouldn't understand my dirty jokes, Zuko and Katara are both way too serious to be any fun to tease like this, and at least I know that Suki will join in if she gets bored. That makes you my best option for laughs around here... not like I wouldn't annoy you anyway," Toph cackled.
Sokka's face fell, and he made a mental plea for his dear friend to divert the conversation back to the topic of his sister and the resident firebender; not that he was particularly fond of that topic, but it was a considerable improvement over the one that centered around mocking him. Fortunately, Wang Fire heard his cries.
"And did you notice how Zuko criticized your lack of planning while you two freed your father and aforementioned girlfriend from prison, just like Katara usually does?"
"How would you know about that?!" Sokka's mind, already on a very long tangent, immediately and illogically concerned itself with the possibilities of spies within the group. Several months ago, he would have immediately suspected Zuko; given the disowned prince's recent change in alignment (and their man-bonding time in prison), he was torn between Momo and Haru as the chief suspects, and deliberated on the subject until a helpfully provided pebble returned him and his debate partner to the topic at hand.
"I'm Wang Fire. I have my ways. Oh, and have you noticed the tension between the two of them?"
"You'd have to be blinder than me to miss it!" Toph chewed on a piece of some unspecified meat jerky that she lifted from Momo, who had lifted it from Sokka's prized Earth Kingdom bag, who had yet to notice that anything was amiss.
Sokka sighed, "...yeah. And?"
"Tension is hot." Cue an ear-to-ear grin and a cheesy wink from the esteemed Mr. Fire.
For once, Sokka was speechless.
"What do you and Suki do before you two have 'quality time'?"
"'Quality time'? Oh, you mean-- ("MY INNOCENT EARS!") LIKE HELL YOU'RE INNOCENT! ("I don't know what you're talking about.") YOU AND YOUR DAMN FEET--" Wang Fire cleared his throat impatiently.
"We spar," Wang Fire gave Sokka a significant look, "...Oh. Right." He reddened and looked away sheepishly.
"My point makes itself, doesn't it, Toph?"
She flopped on her back and wiggled her toes in the air. "Actually, Katara and Zuko have been making your point for you for about... hmm, the last two weeks or so."
Sokka snapped out of his dejection long enough to begin a tirade. "I'll kill him for touching my baby sister!"
"Oh no you won't! I haven't had such entertainment in months!" Toph jumped to her feet and snapped a tube of earth around Sokka, leaving only his head showing. "Don't worry, I'll come back with Suki to retrieve you when she finishes practicing for the day. If I remember to tell her. If she misses you. Maybe if you make enough racket?"
"What's all the noise about? Sokka...?" Aang wandered by after finishing firebending practice for the afternoon.
"Cactus juice. He's restrained until it wears off. You know how he gets."
"I thought they only grew in the Earth Kingdom desert? Oh, well."
"TOPH, YOU DAMN LIAR!" He kicked futilely against his dirt prison and was rewarded with several stubbed toes.
"See you after dinner! Tell Wang Fire I said hi if he comes back."
"NOOOOOOO!" Sokka wailed.
"So, Twinkletoes, what's Zuko up to since you've finished firebending training for the day?" She was very, very careful to speak loudly enough that Sokka would be sure to hear her.
"He usually spars with Katara before dinner... Are you sure Sokka's okay? He didn't cry like that the last time he drank cactus juice."
Toph shrugged, a less-than-innocent smirk creeping onto her face. "Extra-potent cactus juice. Don't ask me how he got it, must have been while my feet were burned."