You're My World, So Please Stop Spinning
No, really. I'm getting dizzy.
"Maybe they…renovated?" Sokka suggested, eyeing the music-emitting building with distaste.
My stomach let out a loud growl. "Do they have food that won't kill us?"
He glanced at me, eyes wide. "Toph, why are you acting like me?"
A whole symphony of growls joined the first. "'Cause my stomach, Snoozles, demands food," I told him, dragging him towards the restaurant. "And, hello, first rule of the universe: give my stomach what it wants, or die."
Sokka's brow furrowed, and he looked at me, intrigued, as I pulled him along. "Die how?"
I thought on this for a moment. "Torture through music," I finally said. "Sixteen hours of straight Hannah Montana. After that, you'd just spontaneously combust."
"Hey!" Sokka's eyes widened. "Maybe that's how Hawky died! I knew all that Hannah Montana Katara used to listen to was bad for him!"
"Katara?" I asked suspiciously, as I yanked open the door, to be greeted with singing comparable to that of a dying cat. The temptation to cover my ears was too much to bear. Digging my fingers into my eardrums and dropping Sokka's wrist, I practically screamed at him, "Who is she, huh? Your ex-girlfriend or somethin' stupid like that?"
Reaching up to remove my fingers from my ears as the horrible screeching came to an end (oh God I was gonna murder them if they started singing again), Sokka looked horrified. Struggling to overcome his disgust, he finally managed to get out with a weak chuckle, "I don't believe in incest, Toph, but if that's what you chose…" his smile wavered. "Be free to love whoever you want!"
I stared at him like he had bugs coming out of his ears. "Um, Snoozles, are you goin' deaf? 'Cause I didn't say anything about 'free love,' least of all incest—" I halted, as I realized what Sokka was trying to say. "You don't mean she's your sister, do you?"
"Yep! That's me and Katara! One big happy family…" Sokka smiled, shaking his head fondly. "I remember the time she flushed my goldfish down the toilet," he said wistfully, gazing off dreamily.
I waved my hand in front of his eyes. "Snap out of it, Snoozles. Even though I'd rather not, we gotta go in now. My stomach insists on it."
"Oh! So does mine!" Sokka nodded enthusiastically, rubbing his stomach in a circular motion. "Food, here we come!" he declared, stepping into the ill-fated Bumi's Karaoke Bar.
I stared around the place. Whoa, I had to hand it to them—they sure knew how to make an ordinary building look like complete crap, didn't they?
I center stage lay at the back of the room, while small, circular tables filled the rest of it. The…karaoke-lovers….were applauding—I think they were just glad it was over—as a dark-skinned man with a curled mustaches bowed of the stage, beaming.
Wow. I was wrong—it had been a man after all.
I tried not to think about how disturbing that was, and instead focused on Sokka. Infuriating he might have been, but it was my last night in love with him, after all.
Although I was coming dangerously close to dropping the whole 'one last night' idea and simply quitting cold turkey.
"Food," I muttered, refocusing myself. Glancing around, I mumbled, "Now where it the freaking food!"
The occupants of Bumi's Karaoke Bar (how a pitied them) were all dining on—surprise, surprise—Italian food.
Not that it wasn't kinda strange, I mean. This night had just been so weird so far, nothing could have surprised me by then.
"Hi, Sokka! What a surprise seeing you here! And this must be your girlfriend, right?"
Spinning around, I found a pale-skinned boy about my age, perhaps, greeting Sokka cheerfully and running his fingers through his own messy mop of dark hair. Beside him stood a tall brunette, bearing a striking resemblance to Sokka. It only took a moment to make the connection—this must be the sister he'd spoken of, Katara. Funny how he'd never mentioned her before.
And funnier that we'd run into her at a place like this.
"What are you guys doing here?" Sokka asked, obviously confused.
Aang grinned, and indicated that rather beat-up guitar cradled in his arms. "Playing, of course! Bumi's an old friend, and he said he'd let my play my guitar and put a new twist on karaoke! Besides, I need to practice in front of a crowd anyway, right?"
Sokka brightened at the mention of music. "Hey," he exclaimed, puffing his chest out proudly (musta been a habit of his), "If they're letting you play on your guitar and skip the whole karaoke thing…maybe he'll let me play, too!"
I rolled my eyes, and turned to Katara. "Morons."
She smiled. "Yeah," Sokka's sister laughed, "Boys." Gesturing towards an empty table, painfully near to the stage (huh, I wonder why), Katara suggested, "Why don't we go sit down. A little girl talk would be good, don't you think?"
God. She was so nice it made me wanna puke. But whatever, it couldn't hurt, could it? And more time around Sokka, with the way the idiot was acting, would probably bring me down a few IQ points. So pukey-nice sister it was! "Sure," I shrugged, chair scraping the floor as I pulled it out and plopped down.
As I would soon find out, Sokka's sister didn't plan on wasting any time with small talk.
"So..." Katara folded her hands, and beamed at me. "You two are in love!"
I choked on air. "Excuse me?!" Of course, it didn't help that she'd been right—halfway, at least.
"In love!" She clapped her hands together. "I mean, your girlfriend and boyfriend, right? And you've been friends for so long!" Sighing, Katara stared dreamily into space. "It's so romantic..."
"I don't mean to burst your bubble," I lied, because I totally did, "But we're not in—err—L-O-V-E." I still had issues with the L word.
Katara frowned. "What?"
"Not in love," I repeated. "With that idiot?" I pointed over to Sokka, currently having a great time with Aang and the Bumi-ster himself, squirting chocolate milk out of his nose. "Ha. As if."
"But—you're boyfriend and girlfriend," Katara reminded me, obviously confused.
"Well, yeah." I shifted uncomfortably. "But in a friendly way. So no crazy romantic schemes, 'kay? And no wedding-things either. Yeah. Definitely no weddings," I reassured both Katara and myself, as if I probably wouldn't end up dreaming about it at night anyway. Wait, scratch that—I did dream about it at night.
"But—I thought—" Katara stammered.
"Look." I leaned forward, and stared directly into her eyes (don't even think it, okay?! I know you all harbor secret lesbian fantasies. Really, I do). "
"Sokka and I are just friends. He will never want to be something more, I will never want to be something more." I sincerely hoped she couldn't tell I was lying. "He is not in love with me..." I swallowed
Here it went.
"...And I am not in love with him," I finished, closing my eyes in a flash of darkness. When I opened them again, anger and a sudden burst of understanding flooded Katara's face.
I prayed she wouldn't mention it. Well, thanks, God! For once, I really did get my wish come true.
"Listen." She poked my chest threateningly, all nice thoughts forsaken and left for dead. "I don't care how you feel about Sokka, okay? But you better not break his heart, like she did—because if you do, I swear...I will destroy you."
I felt like throwing back my head and giving a hollow laugh in reply. Me? Breaking Sokka's heart? Ha, as if. It was a cruel joke...too cruel. I could barely stand it. And who the hell was 'she,' anyway?
But I couldn't say any of that. I was Toph...and I had to act the part.
"Listen, lady," I drawled, placing my hands behind my head and discreetly wiping the almost-tears from my eyes, "You got it all wrong. I'm not gonna break Snoozles heart, 'kay? Told ya, didn't I, that we were friends, just friends." Before she could object, I added, "Friendly dating, remember? No love, 'cept if its platonic and crap." It wasn't. At least, not on my part. "Got it straight?"
I hoped Katara did. I sure didn't.
The sister in question nodded slowly, squinting at me. "I believe you. But remember—one tiny break, one hairline crack, and you'll never be able to show your face around here again."
We locked eyes for a moment. At last, Katara nodded slowly, anger slowly disapparting. "Okay. I can see that there's nothing more here for me to say. But remember..."
"Whatever," I shrugged. I didn't care what this bipolar meddlesome chick thought...as long as she didn't mention it to Sokka.
A cackle from the stage area, as yet another 'singer' stepped off stage (after a horrible rendition of 'Wannabe,' the Spice Girls), brought both of our gazes to rest on Bumi. When silence had been achieved, he began in a heavy Italian accent, "I'd like to introduce the"—giggle—"forerunner of the karaoke revolution"—snort—"ready to play a song for us on his"—giggle snort—"guitar. Your up, Sokka!" Insert insane asylum worthy chuckle here.
I blinked, as Sokka took the stage. Huh. And I'd thougt that my parentswere the cookiest people I'd ever met.
Clearing his throat, the love of my life spoke directly into the microphone. "Hi." He gave a small wave, and the audience chuckled. Sokka waited for it to die down again, before continuing, "I know this is kinda weird, listening to me play the song on my guitar, at a karaoke bar...but..." He rubbed the back of his neck nervously, and shot us all a smile. My heart did cartwheels as he offered in explanation, "I need somewhereto practice. And also, my car broke down outside and Toph reallywanted to come in and Aang already had my guitar in his trunk, so..."
Face tomato red as the audience laughed, loudly and boisterously (see? Thiswas the effect my almost-boyfriend had on people), Sokka added, "I'd like to dedicate this song to my best friend, Toph, because even though I know she'd never admit it...deep down, whenever she hears it, she gives a big 'squee.'"
It was so strange hearing the word 'squee' come out of Sokka's mouth, much less in reference to me. But as he played the opening chords, I knew which song he was talking of...and that he'd chosen perfectly. 'Squee' I did.
Meanwhile, Katara exchanged a glance with me, as if to say, 'Ha. I knewhe was in love with you.' But I couldn't focus on her. That's because my mind was somewhere distinctly separate and far more pleasant: Sokka.
Just Sokka. Just Sokka. In the morning I'd regret all these fluffy thoughts of mine, but right now?
I knew it. I knew that he was the center of my universe, he was my world, and that if I had my pick I'd be the moon revolving around him...or maybe the sun, the center of hissolar system, whatever. But I knew that only the first option was possible: I might be his moon, true, but what of it? Sokka was the earth, the world, and no matter how long I turned around him, there was no guarantee, no more then the slightest chance that my feelings would be returned.
Yeah, I understood it. Yeah, I knew it like the back of my hand.
Frankly, nothing—besides Sokka, of course—mattered. Not any crackpot decision I'd made to somehow miraculously fall out of love with Sokka, not Suki, not Yue, hell, not even me.
And right at that moment, as Sokka prepared to play a song, guitar and voice and everything—for me, and it wasn't even my reward for striking this not-so-lame deal with him—from the way his eyes met mine, from the way his voice seemed so perfectly aimed at me…
I was pretty sure that I was the center of his world, too.
I, Toph Bei Fong, as Sokka Kuruk's world. Maybe not romantically, but it was something.
Something, and that was enough.
Impossible, but….it was happening, somehow or another.
And I was gonna live it out for as long as I could.
But for right now, there was only one thing to do…and that was sit back and listen to my best friend in the entire world, my not-never lover, and drink in every moment as he ever so slowly opened his mouth and began to sing.
A/N:I'm a little late, aren't I? Okay, a lot late :( Hopefully the next update will be a hell of a lot sooner. But other than that...nothing to say, nope. Not till the end of the chappie ;D Also--due to a sudden stroke of, I dunno, something XD hopefully I will be posting a 'Thirty Ways and Thirty Days to Fall in Love With Your Best Friend (Or Maybe Maybe the Other Way Around)' WILL be posted as an epilogue (I think). Be proud of my effort XD
Also: Whoohoo! Tokka fluff! Hope they weren't too OOC :) And I don't yet know what song Sokka's gonna sing (though I have some ideas) so just hop over to my profile to vote!