This was defiantly something that was supposed to be soft and romantic but somehow warped into…I dunno how to describe it. You'll have to be the judge.
Standard warnings: slash, Zuko/Sokka, bad language.
Disclaimer: I do not own Avatar.
By Sexy Pancake
There were times, late at night, when the darkness was deep and blinding, that Sokka awakened to other senses he for the most part took for granted. The calming sounds of the wind as it caressed through the trees, the soft babble of the stream near his tent, and the nearly inaudible sound of the breathing beside him all took new form in his heightened mind. Something he hadn't expected to notice, however, caught him off guard.
At that moment, Zuko smelled like ash.
Quickly sitting up so that the blanket around their shoulders pooled at his waste, Sokka slightly shifted away from the prince while at the same time cautiously reaching out to let his hand hover over the dark silhouette of Zuko's shoulder.
He could definitely feel a very distinct warm heat coming from his lover's skin. Hunching his brow a little at the small, pained moan coming from Zuko, Sokka drew his hand back and pondered his next step.
It wasn't exactly a rare occurrence for Zuko to have nightmares, or for Zuko's skin to be warmer than the average human, but the current combined situation didn't happen enough for Sokka to be exactly sure how to proceed.
Zuko was too hot to touch, and waking him could result in either nightmare stricken anger, unintentional injuries, spontaneous combustion, or all three at once.
Another moan and a sharp intake of breath from the man beside him made Sokka snap out of his thoughts and move into action. Did he have any other choice? There was no way he was going to let Zuko face his demons alone.
Besides, Zuko only ever smelled like ash when he was suffering from great sadness.
Suddenly, a pale arm shot out and looped itself around Sokka's waste, dragging the tanned man back down into the blankets. Zuko was still very much asleep and Sokka gasped as the bare skin of his chest met Zuko's and the pale arm seared his lower back.
It was too hot!
Crying out in pain, Sokka braced his arms around Zuko's neck and yelled, "Zuko, stop! Wake up! Wake up!"
Amber eyes shot wide open as Zuko, choking on a gasp, bolted up straight, Sokka still firmly attached to his front.
"What…" Zuko started, only to pant at an immense lack of air in his lungs. His eyes immediately zeroed in on his lover literally clinging to his chest. His heart stopped.
"Shit!" He cursed, frantically trying to seize the tan arms around his neck and fling the other teen back. But Sokka only clung tighter as the heat coming from Zuko's skin spiked before beginning to diminish. Zuko's furious shouts met deaf ears as tears began to slip down Sokka's cheeks.
After a few minutes of fright induced anger, Zuko eventually dropped his arms to hang limply at his sides. The blue-eyed teen's head remained still on the prince's shoulder as his breathing started to slow before calming all together.
Dilated yellow pupils stared down the brown back. He raised his trembling fingers to the base of Sokka's skull and finally, the other leaned back just enough so that he could brush his lips against Zuko's and stare directly into his eyes.
"…shit, Sokka," Zuko whispered into his lips. Confused and distressed eyes searched sapphire depths, but a calm, loving gaze was all he found.
"I love you," Sokka whispered back against Zuko's lips. He stretched further and rested his lips a hair's breath away from the scar.
"I will never leave you," A soft kiss.
"I will never be afraid of you," He lingered on the scar a moment longer and listened to Zuko's dazed silence. He leaned back.
"I will never let you go."
The cool night air had long since chilled Zuko's skin, and the darkness around them stole nearly all light, but the fire in his eyes burned brightly as he released a shuddered breath. Gently raising his hands to Sokka's shoulders, Zuko eased the other back.
A nauseating tingle ran up his spine and made the back of his eyes burn in the worst way.
Sokka was burned, he knew this without doubt. He swallowed down the urge to vomit as his beautiful lover smiled up at him, eyes full of love, and skin marred by his very body.
"Hold still," Zuko murmured, and was amazed at how solidly he spoke, how much bravery he could possibly muster as he slipped an arm under Sokka's nude body.
Lifting him up and out of the tent with unspoken strength, Zuko numbly carried the smiling man a short distance and into a shallow part of the stream.
Sokka breathed a loud sigh of relief as the cold water soothed his front. Zuko, however, had finally lost to the suspicious wetness around his eyes slammed his fists angrily into the water.
"What the hell is wrong with you! I burned you! Why the hell didn't you let go? Oh my god…" Zuko's face fell into his hands as he swayed dangerously back into the deeper middle of the stream.
Startled, Sokka splashed after him, burns once again forgotten.
"Hey, hey. Not so fast there! No committing suicide on my watch. Where the hell do you think you're…" and with a grumbling frown on his face, Sokka tugged him back to safety, moving to force Zuko's hands back into the water.
Staring at him hard in the face, Sokka said, "Don't you get it, dummy? I love you. And though I gotta admit I didn't plan on getting burned tonight, I'm not exactly gonna start hating you. I mean come on, you're a firebender, right? Geez."
And as the clouds covering the moon shifted and sparkling blue light descended upon them, Zuko could almost swear Sokka's eyes became even more beautiful, and that the dew light droplets on his skin appeared to become diamonds.
Closing his eyes in annoyance and sighing tiredly, Zuko ran his right hand threw his black shaggy hair. "Comes with the territory, huh?"
And he finally smiled for the first time that night. Sokka felt as if an extremely heavy weight had just been lifted from both of their shoulders. They had been together for many months, but this had been the first time either of them had seriously hurt the other. It was a hurdle that needed to be jumped, and now that they had, their bond only seemed stronger.
"I'm sorry," Zuko whispered, caressing Sokka's face with both of his hands. Slowly, they descended to where the burned skin began, eventually falling under the water. His eyes lost focus as he stared where the skin met water. Sokka murmured an inaudible reply.
The full moon, now shining down brightly upon the two men, glowed in all its holy glory.
Sokka grunted softly and backed away from Zuko. At the other's startled and confused look, he held up one hand and said, "Watch."
Raising both arms into the air he held the moon between his palms, before taking a deep breath and crashing under the surface.
Zuko's alarmed cry ended nearly as soon as it began when Sokka immediately resurfaced, standing now only waste-deep in the water.
And Zuko stared.
Time seemed to stand still.
Because Sokka's chest was no longer burned.
The tanned teen laughed airily at the prince's blank look and swam over to take his hands in his own.
"I'm not a bender, Zuko. But you can't hurt me. Do you understand?" When he shook his head, Sokka merely smiled and lead him towards the shore.
"So…like your sister…?"
"I guess. I dunno. It only happens on nights when the moon is full. But hey, I am from the water tribe. And hell, I deserve some weird powers after all the shit I went through." Zuko merely stared at his significant other, pondering his words, musing at the possibilities.
"Or maybe it's Yue. Heh…yah." Sokka continued to mumble, turning to gaze at the full moon again. They stepped out the stream together and made their way back to the tent. Zuko had squeezed Sokka's hand tight at the last comment but made no reply.
They lay back down, chest to chest, weary and beaten from emotions used far to late at night. Zuko spoke quietly into Sokka's neck.
"I said, if I start to burn you again, yell, scream, wake me up."
"I won't leave you Zuko."
"I know, Sokka. I know"
And high in the sky, the moon continued to shine for the rest of the night. There was no more darkness to be found.
So, how was that? I know it was weird. It was really OOC too. I like OOC, though. I like thoughtful Sokka and sensitive Zuko, though not too sensitive or it's just dumb. In this story, I like to think of Zuko as being macho/sensitive/loving/frustrated. Lol.
Please R/R. Thank you!