A/N: I'm not sure what compelled me to write this... I guess I was just feeling a little silly.
Disclaimer: I own nothing.
Aang pushed aside a heavy branch and set his eyes on Sokka. The warrior was standing in the middle of a clearing with his machete brandished in front of him. With some amusement, Aang watched as Sokka spun slowly around, working the sword in different positions and fighting nonexistent fiends. Maybe he would find a better time to ask, Aang thought, because Sokka sure looked busy…
No. Aang stopped himself from leaving. If he didn't do it now, then he might never muster up the guts to try again. So he took a deep breath, prayed for reverence, and stepped out into the clearing.
Sokka turned, saw Aang, and dropped his machete. The weapon landed on his foot and Sokka gave a startled yell, then proceeded to hop on the uninjured foot while clutching his wounded one.
"Hey Aang," he replied, though his voice was oddly strangled. He dropped his foot back to the ground and winced. "What can I do ya for?"
In response, Aang clasped his hands together and twiddled his thumbs nervously. "Well, I was wondering if I could ask you a question…"
A flash of realization came to Sokka's eyes, but it was gone the second he blinked. Instead, he crossed his arms and raised an eyebrow. "Yeah?" he asked, his voice oddly skeptical. When Aang took another deep breath, Sokka cut across his forthcoming words. "Is this about Katara, Aang?"
Aang sighed. "Yes." He paused. "You know how me and Katara have been together for a while now, and I wanted your permission to… to propose to her."
The most awkward silence in the world followed this statement. A few moments later, Sokka motioned for Aang to step forward. Legs shaking, the Avatar did just that. As he stood there, feeling awkward and vulnerable, Sokka began to walk around him in long, lazy strides.
"Now Aang, I'll bet you know that I love my sister with all of my heart, and I would never want to see her sad. Isn't that right?" Aang nodded. Sokka continued pacing and talking in a smooth voice. "Good, good. I'm glad we got that settled. In addition, it's customary for the proposee to ask the man of the house for permission. Otherwise, the proposal will be seen as indecent."
"I know," Aang said suddenly, "That's why I came to –"
"Who's talkin' here?" Sokka stopped in front of Aang and pointed in his face with an accusing finger.
Aang gulped. "You are, Sokka."
"That's right." The warrior resumed his pace. "Now before I say yes or no, I have to ask you a few questions. Is that okay?"
Even if he'd wanted to, Aang wouldn't have said no. He nodded. What kind of questions would Sokka ask? Will he have to do something stupid?
"Good. First question: will you treat my sister with the utmost respect and dignity?"
Okay, so far not difficult at all. Aang's features brightened. "Of course!" he replied.
Sokka gave him a searching look and snapped, "I wouldn't look so smiley just now, Mister."
The smile faded off the Avatar's face.
"Next Question: have you ever taken part in physical contact with my sister?" Sokka's expression was completely and utterly stern, almost to the point of being scary. And the question itself was a sensitive one. Aang felt heat rising to his face.
"Uh, well…" he trailed off, clasped his hands again, and twiddled his thumbs. Certain things just weren't supposed to be discussed with the older brother. Aang averted his eyes and finished, "I suppose so, yeah."
Aang certainly hoped that he hadn't.
"Okay Aang, I have one last question before I decide whether or not you can marry my sister." He picked up his machete and placed the sharp end right underneath Aang's chin. Aang gulped and moved his head back an inch or so. "It's the most important question of all. Are you ready?"
"Okay. What is… two plus two?"
Aang's eyebrows just about shot off his face. Could this possibly be a trick question? Somehow he thought so. However, after waiting a few moments and mulling over the other possible answers, he determined that there really wasn't an 'other answer'.
Yet another awkward silence followed, in which Aang and Sokka stared at one another, one man with an almost fearful expression and the other with a stern one. Then, before Aang knew what had happened, Sokka had dropped his machete and threw his head back, howling with laughter. The Avatar watched as Sokka fell to his knees, clutching at his sides, and laughed until he fell over.
Aang, confused and a little hurt, frowned and furrowed his brows. "Hey, what gives?" he asked. "Two plus two is four… isn't it?"
Sokka, after a few moments, pulled himself together enough to get up off the ground and face his friend. He wiped a tear of mirth away and patted Aang on the shoulder. "Of course it is, don't be stupid. I was just messing around with you."
"You – you were?" Aang's eyes widened. Eventually, he managed a weak smile. Whew. "So you don't mind if I propose to Katara?"
Sokka waved his hand as if the matter were nothing to him. "Nah. I've been waiting for you to ask me for ages, actually. But seriously," he suddenly dropped his smile and happy demeanor, and placed one hand on either of Aang's shoulders. "If I ever catch you two kissing, I'll have to kill you." He drew one finger significantly across his own neck to reinforce the point.
Blushing, Aang gave his friend an embarrassed grin and took a step back. If one thing was for certain, he was definitely going to watch his back – and throat, for that matter – from now on.