Author's Notes: Because Sokka is a shoulder-dusting pimp.
He thought about her the most once she was already gone.
He'd never met a girl like her before and all the ways in which he could have acquitted himself much more impressively ran through his mind constantly for a long while afterwards. He thought about the things that he could have said (as was often the case, the most clever rejoinders came barreling into his mind long past the point where they would have been of any use) and things that he should have done (he bristled at being kissed for the first time instead of being the one doing the kissing and he felt he owed her something better than wide eyes and a warm cheek).
The most perturbing thing, though, was the way the phantom of her presence haunted him. He would willingly carry ten times as many persistent regrets if it could free him from the memory of the way she moved, muscles loose and form graceful, and the exhilarating rush of contact, her body pressed against his in all kinds of delightful places, before she smirked and sent him tumbling away.
Sokka considered himself a pragmatist and didn't like to focus on things he might never really have had in the first place and would very likely never have again.
She made him feel both better and stupider than he'd ever felt in his entire life and he never could quite figure out how she could be so brilliantly confusing. But there was something so special about her that he ignored his better instincts because when she smiled, when she laughed, and when she looked at him, nothing else mattered.
He didn't like uncertainty though, and he had no idea what would become of them. He felt so young sometimes and she wasn't much older. It seemed wrong that they would have all the concerns that they did. But she would never shirk her duty and he had his own obligations. (She had to help save her people and he had to help save the world and didn't that seem just a little crazy to anyone but him?) Everything that was between them boiled down, by necessity, to basking in each other's presence for a few precious hours at a time.
Afterwards, that was the one thing that didn't change.
No one could have predicted it and, what's more, nothing and no one could have stopped her from doing what she thought she had to do. He understood that. Still, he'd never met a girl like her before and never would again. And nothing and no one could stop Sokka from thinking it was his own fault.
III. Ty Lee
"Your aura's such a pretty shade of green," she'd said conversationally as she aimed a strike at his forearm, "with blue around the edges."
At the time, he had been far too busy trying to dodge her attacks to worry or wonder over what that was supposed to mean. She was strange, in general, and that threw him off, as strange things often did. He'd never met a girl like her before and, furthermore, had never imagined that he would want to, but there was something to be said for persistence, even if it took him a while to accept that she did, in fact, want what she obviously seemed to.
Of course, it would have been very hard to deny that when she straddled his waist and leaned over his body until there was barely an inch between their noses.
"What's your name?" she asked, her eyes bright and her voice pleasant.
"Tell me yours and I'll tell you mine," he said, because it seemed fair.
She didn't respond, just smiled before she closed the remaining distance between them and giggled into his mouth.
Sokka found out her name later, after one war but before another, and learned how to whisper it in just the right timbre so that he could feel the shiver run through the length of her body.
After nearly five years of living and fighting beside her his only warning was the way that she'd said his name. He'd heard that tone of voice before, but never from her (he'd barely even imagined she was capable of such) and the ground shifted beneath him. He found himself sitting when before he had been standing, staring into her glassy eyes instead of over the top of her head at the closed flap of his tent.
Her hands, strong but still very small, ghosted over his face, and he didn't ask if she couldn't already feel what he looked like through the earth, because he understood that it wasn't the same. Her fingers traced his jaw more gently than he would have expected from her and she ran her thumb across his bottom lip. He didn't ask "when?" or "for how long?" or "why didn't you?", just thought back on years of mutual poking and teasing and protecting and knew: always.
He realized that he'd failed to understand for a very long time because he'd never met a girl like her before, possibly because there were no girls like her. And Sokka was convinced that she was, if not more than enough, exactly the right amount of her for the world.
She certainly fit into his arms quite nicely and when he kissed her she tugged at his wolftail, urging him on. After all, they hadn't expected to see another tomorrow.
V. Suki (redux)
Once everything was over, really over, he saw her again.
The distance between them was not as mawing as it had been for so many years, but there were ghosts residing there now and he did not regret a single one of them. The first time he saw her face without the carefully applied war paint, without the need for a mask, he knew that she had her own ghosts as well. That was comforting in its way.
There was a sameness to them and always had been, and it did not surprise him when they picked up right where they left off a lifetime ago. They were older and wiser, most definitely, (he wasn't sure if they were better or if just the world was) and when they sparred she still pressed her body close against his before she tried to dance back out again. He'd learned a lot though, and among those things was how to recognize an opportunity that shouldn't be allowed to slip away. All the same, Sokka was never quite sure if he'd taken the advantage or done exactly what she'd expected him to, and she never would tell him the truth of it.
She was not quite the same and neither was he, but he'd met a girl like her before, once a long, long time ago and that was more than enough.