Author: This is a little humor fic, so please take it as such. The characters are playing strip poker, which means that instead of betting money they bet clothes and the first one naked loses. If nudity offends you, please do not continue to read.
Disclaimer: Avatar does not belong to me, nor will it ever. Alas.
"Well, this is a first," Sokka said, scratching his head as he observed the scene before him.
Zuko was looking almost sullen as he held the cards in his hands, naked from the waist up, while Aang was left in most of his clothes, and Katara in a distressing state of undress.
"What exactly are you doing?" Sokka asked.
"Strip poker," was Aang's cheerful answer.
Katara looked away from her brother, her cheeks coloring. "It seemed like a good idea at the time."
Zuko seemed to be experiencing a crossover of boredom and annoyance, which made Sokka strangely sympathize with the Fire Prince. He looked at the three then threw up his hands in exasperation.
"Let's start a new game."
Katara brightened and quickly put on her clothes while Zuko shrugged into what he had taken off and Aang replaced his mini-cape.
Sokka just knew he was going to regret this.
He sat down between his sister and Aang (there was no way he was ever going to trust the Fire Prince enough to sit next to him) and watched as Zuko shuffled the cards expertly. Once his sister was fully clothed again the Prince dealt out the cards and explained the rules of the game to Sokka, as well as telling him the value for each piece of clothing. Once everyone had their cards, Zuko placed the deck in the middle, placing a stone on top of the pile to keep people from cheating. Sokka felt this was an unnecessary precaution, but wasn't about to say so.
Sokka wasn't particularly pleased with his hand, but it wasn't awful. The betting began and the game was off.
Sokka had particularly bad luck, as he lost hand after hand, everyone else remaining entirely clothed. Perhaps it was because his poker face was so bad? He'd never actually played any form of poker before, and even though Zuko had said they would be playing the simplest version possible he still found the rules hard to follow. He was getting desperate—he was down to his loincloth and there was no way he was going to take it off. Ever. It wasn't that he wasn't proud of what he had, it's just that it would be undignified. Luckily for him, though, his bad luck seemed to spread outward, now flickering between all the other players, leaving him barely hanging on.
If Sokka felt that he had a bad poker face, Aang definitely had a worse one, but his hands tended to be fairly good so he didn't lose too badly too quickly. Katara's face was better, but there were little things that gave her away—a certain twitch of an eye, a shift in how she sat, a brief frown or small, cocky smile. Sokka saw all these things and played off of them (afterall, he was her older brother).
The Fire Prince was surprisingly hard to read, though. Sokka would have expected that with his notorious temper that it would be painfully obvious when he had a bad hand. His cues were much harder to decipher, as sometimes the same reaction meant two very different things.
Aang folded first, face beet red as he discarded his underware, then moved quickly to hide his bits—not like Sokka was curious or anything. That'd be sick and, well, this was Aang. After that, Aang hunched over himself and watched the game, obviously trying to figure out what Sokka was—how to read the other players to decipher the kind of hand they had.
Katara was the next to go, blushing as hard as Aang had, covering her chest with her hands and sitting in such a way that her girl-parts were hidden. Sokka saw Zuko give her a casual once-over that made Katara blush and glower at the prince, who was currently winning, as he still had his pants on.
The two of them faced off, Zuko giving the young man who looked as if he would lose before anyone else even removed a single article of clothing an even look. Sokka then came to a startling realization—the Prince had been guiding the game all along, without cheating in any way. He had wanted Sokka to become desperate and start looking for cues in the other people, so had subtly redirected the game to metaphorically pick on Aang.
Zuko had been reading Sokka the entire time, using his intimate knowledge of his traveling companions to make them fold. Sokka's eyes widened and only the slightest narrowing of Zuko's eyes told him that he could tell what Sokka had figured out.
They laid down their hands and Sokka slapped his forehead. He had lost the final hand. Zuko had won.
Aang and Katara looked at the Fire Prince, startled. "You won?" Katara asked, disbelieving. "You definitely cheated."
Zuko frowned. "I do not cheat. It's below my station and ethics. Maybe you accuse me
because you cheated?"
Katara gaped then gave him a glare that would whither any other person, but Zuko brushed it off; Azula's had been much worse.
Sokka covered his genitals and shook his head, "No, he didn't."
Aang and Katara looked at him, confused. "You're defending him?" Katara asked angrily.
Sokka shook his head emphatically. "NO! What the hell would make you think that? He just was sneaky."
Zuko finally allowed himself the smallest of smirks as he put his clothing back on. Aang cocked his head to the side and asked, "Why are you smirking? That isn't the I-just-won-and-embarrassed-you-all smirk. What's going on?"
Zuko couldn't help but let the smirk turn into a feral, mocking grin. "I'm not wearing underware."