A/n: I've been working on this for a while, between being busy as heck and doing other stuff. Moony requested this after winning the Tokkaneer Haiku contest over at KF, and these were her requirements for the story:
It needed to have:
- A bar fight
- Bar singing
- An older!Tokka luuurve moment
- Visions of grandeur on Sokka's part
There is no way my drunken Tokka can ever compare to artemisrae's brilliance, but I'm pretty happy with this first try!
RATING: PG-12, for some boozin and some suggestive comments. Yay!
ALSO, I disclaim the bar song used. I merely stole it from Dook (meowmadness here, I think) and reworded some of the terms in order to make it fit into the story. ALL BOW TO DOOKSTER. And thanks to Devi for helping me out a bit.
Disclaimer: I own nothing.
"Please, please you two, be on your best behavior tonight."
The eerie torchlight of the Fire Nation palace's entrance hall made her eyes twinkle in a way that he might have taken to be mischievous if the rest of her face had not been contorted into a stressed sort of glare. "After what happened last year, Zuko isn't going to let you get away with anything. Gosh, when I think of the repair costs for that statue…"
Sokka wasn't listening to his little sister—not so little nowadays since she had recently turned twenty—and Aang had already taken up the job of patting her shoulder in a reassuring way, nodding as if to tell her that yes, she was absolutely right and the statue had been gorgeous. Instead, Sokka took a look around the immaculately decorated hallway. Indeed, there was a suspicious lack of statues in the hall and, presumably, in the ballroom as well.
In truth, Sokka didn't particularly want to be here at all, and had been rather disappointed when Zuko had changed his mind about banning he and Toph from future gatherings. This disappointment stemmed mostly from the fact that he had had to hand over his precious Earth Rumble tickets in order to be here, but also because he knew that Katara would be watching him like an eaglehawk the entire time; she had already begun to do so—and they were still only squished in line with the rest of the "noble" partygoers.
A sharp jab in his side caused him to jump slightly and, wincing, cast his eyes downward to the green-clad girl beside him. Toph looked ravishing tonight, he mused momentarily, if just as unhappy as he. After much arguing, Zuko had managed to lock Toph in one of the guest rooms long enough for a team of maids to wrestle her into the flattering gown that she now grudgingly wore. Shades of green silk cascaded down her shoulders and waist, hugging the places just enough to accentuate features normally hidden away by loose fighting clothes.
The Earthbender in question pointed in the direction of the gruff-looking bouncer, who had evidently been trying to get his attention.
"Sokka of the Water Tribe?" he asked. Sokka nodded. "I have direct orders from Fire Lady Mai to confiscate all of—"
"Right, yeah." Sokka waved away the man's sentence, one hand reaching backwards toward his sword hilt as if he had been expecting this all along. He unclasped the hilt from his waist and pressed the weapon into the expecting hands of the bouncer. "Here you go. Be careful with that—it's a priceless memoir of my—"
"Sokka, aren't you forgetting something?" Katara cut in irately.
Glaring at his sister, he nevertheless reached into the front of his fancy outfit and pulled forth an unsheathed boomerang, then handed it over with his sword.
"Anything else?" the bouncer asked, eyebrows knitting into a frown.
Sokka felt his mouth twitch downward about the same time as Toph smirked. Oh, he would have his revenge on Katara later, for certain. But of course, that would require he didn't die of boredom first from lack of weaponry and decent food (he and Toph had decided upon the very first War's End party all those years ago that the food served at these things was beyond horrible).
With a sigh, the warrior bent over and yanked up the hem of his right leg. Aang let out a sort of surprised laugh; tied to Sokka's boot was his Water Tribe club. Sokka pulled it off and handed it wordlessly to the bouncer, whose expression now held a hint of surprise as well as his previous gruffness.
"That's all I got," announced Sokka, straightening the blue hat on his head. Beside him, Toph disguised a snicker behind a well-timed cough. At Katara's searching look, he added in earnest, "Really."
The bouncer, somewhat confused, set the weapons on the table. "Well, if that's all…"
He stepped out of the way. Aang took Katara's arm in his and, beaming, passed through the door of the crowded ballroom with a surly Toph and Sokka in his wake.
The first hour was torture. By the hour and a half mark—and Zuko hadn't even made his "blah blah the war is long since gone but the bonds we've made remain" speech yet!—Sokka had been reduced to hitting his head against the table while Toph sat beside him with her arms crossed and her fancy updo falling over her eyes.
"Remind me again why we're here…?"
A pause ensued, then: Thump. "We're showing our support for the Avatar and Fire Lord Fancypants." Another pause. "Also, Katara said she would make us clean Appa's stable if we didn't come. Personally, I'm a great shoveler."
"So it was shoveling bison poo or bad food and being miserable?"
Thud. "Yeah, pretty much."
To pass the time, Sokka lifted his head from the table and began counting things. First he counted how many people were not wearing black and red (the total was six, including the initial four of them). Next, he counted the different decorations and the types of food he'd actually enjoyed. Then he, peering across the dance floor and rubbing the red spot on his forehead, counted how many times within a minute that Aang and Katara laughed all flirty-like (the final count was four, though he hadn't included a handful of blushes). Last, for good measure, Sokka counted his own fingers and how many little hair clip things he could see in Toph's hair.
Much to his dismay, all of this took less than five minutes. The exasperated warrior let out a loud groan and buried his face in his arms, his hat tumbling from his head into the remnants of his mostly untouched rice—overcooked rice, he had previously noted with a scowl.
Suddenly Toph addressed him again. "Katara and Aang are on the other side of the room. Do they look busy?"
Sokka lifted his head just long enough to catch a glimpse of orange and blue across the hall before replying, "Yeah. Talking to His Royally Scarfaced and Lady I'll-Knife-You-If-You-Look-At-Me-Wrong." His eyes flickered to the expressionless girl beside him. "Are you thinking what I'm thinking?"
A small grin bloomed across her face. "The bar is just ten feet away."
Sokka was already fetching his hat from the bowl and pulling it onto his head; little grains of rice bounced down his front. "Drinks are on Zuko—let's go!"
"Ah, good day, sir! Yes, I am quite well, thank you."
"Good, good. And you, Miss Bei Fong?"
"Thrilled to be here. I daresay this night is a lovely one! My escort and I are traveling in the direction of the refreshments, if you will... Yes, I hope your night is equally as pleasing, thank you."
Toph raised a hand towards Sokka and airily asked, "Doth thine sister have a preoccupation?"
"Indubitably, my dear blind one!" Sokka replied, grinning at her with closed eyes and raised eyebrows. "Indeed, I do believe she is quite occupied with the arrowheaded one."
"Oh, how splendid, my dear Water Warrior." She addressed the nobles around them next. "Well, my escort and I must head outward now, if you please… Tata, good sir! Come now, Mr. Sokka."
As Toph pulled Sokka by the elbow away from the sea of nobles, he shot a furrowed-brow glance over his shoulder before leaning in and hissing in her ear, "Your escort?"
She only smirked in response.
The pair waded through the party, dodging familiars and using unnecessarily snooty voices with the other partygoers. It was a source of great amusement for the both of them—last year, they had attempted to see who could use the most extensively useless words per sentence, much to the confusion of the nobles.
When finally they crossed under the red cloth-draped archway leading into the fancy bar, Sokka clapped his hands together once in delight. He felt Toph quiver beside him, her hands balling into fists as the licked her lips in excitement.
"Oh, now it's good—I can smell it already."
"Mmm…" A look of excitement sprang across his previously expressionless face. "That doesn't mean much coming from you, but I get the point. Here, you get the drinks and I'll get seats over at the long table.
"You got it, Sokka."
He stared dumbly at her retreating back (so nicely clothed) for a few moments before he called out, "Can you get me one of those little umbrella things in my drink?" She waved back at him. "Oh, and a cherry! Make sure he doesn't forget the cherry—"
"You want that in a pink cup while I'm at it, right?" she teased.
"Ooh, su—wait. Very funny, Toph," he deadpanned.
She, laughing, ignored Sokka and instead plunked herself down in the first open barstool she happened upon. The place was warmer than the stifling ballroom, the seat upon which she had hoisted herself high enough so that her bare feet—the maids had insisted that she wear shoes, but no sooner had they arrived than she had deposited them into the nearest vase—swung idly about a foot above the ground. She smirked at the familiar voice on the other side of the bar counter; that was one more person who would be less than happy to see here sitting there, passively.
And sure enough, as soon as the bartender began to speak to her, he faltered in a mixture of surprise and fear.
"G'day ma'am, how can I—help…you…" He paused. Toph grinned. "Oh dear."
"We'll take the regular," requested Toph serenely. "Only hold the cherries and silly umbrella thing in mine."
"Didn't you—? Weren't you banned from the bar after last year?"
At this, Toph reached into her pocket and withdrew a single bronze Earth Kingdom coin. She slammed it down onto the bartable, then slid it across with one finger.
Furtively, she wiggled her eyebrows at the bartender and remarked, "You don't remember us."
The less-than-pleased man could only grumble a halfhearted objection before he ultimately pocketed the coin and, frowning, stomped off to make their drink orders.
When he returned, she threw out a casual "Thank you kindly; just put it on Fire Lord Zuko's tab." before taking up the free drinks in either hand and turning to face the crowded bar. Her bare feet—so unfitting with the rest of her outfit—twitched on the cold marble ground at the number of vibrations beneath them. Even with all these people, she had no trouble finding Sokka where he sat at one of the longer benches—this was partly because his feet were on the ground, but mostly because his voice had a tendency to carry across even the most packed hallways.
A booming laugh from one of the men at his table prompted Toph to start moving in that direction, and even though she couldn't see, she still felt the piercing (and, in many cases, glazed) eyes of too many drunken men on her as she passed down the aisle. Maybe the maids had been right about the dress and how flattering it looked on her. Maybe the drunken nobles weren't the only ones who had noticed; the thought crossed her mind with only a slight flutter in her stomach.
"One fancy drink," Toph announced, louder than necessary, as she slammed the drink down in front of the still laughing Water Tribe Warrior.
"Ah, you're the best." Sokka grabbed the drink, paused to give a quick reply to the man across from him, and took a sip. But before the glass had even touched the table, his eyebrows had shot up and he'd taken another drink.
She too wasted no time in settling in with her drink. They must have looked almost silly together, she thought—while Sokka, who was considerably taller and more broad-shouldered than she, had ordered a (still large) somewhat feminine-looking drink, she'd gotten a pint of her favorite rum. But oh, wasn't it delicious! Especially since she'd spent the last two hours wondering when she could leave this party.
"S'good," she acknowledged to no one in particular before raising the pint and taking another long swig. "They need to make these bigger, I think."
"I agree," replied Sokka, opening the little pink umbrella and grinning at it before he stuck it in the brim of his hat. "Let's get another round—to protest, of course—hey, Mr. Barman! We'll take another round, if you don't mind."
Judging by the barman's expression, he did mind; he raised a finger as if to protest, but the only sound that came from his mouth was a whimper. He, clearly unhappy, went back to make the drinks. Sokka's eyes followed him for a few moments, a smile still lingering on his face, until he turned to a considerably more contented Toph.
"Have you met our fellow barmen for the night?" he asked.
"Well, across from us is Li—there are a million Li's, remember? Haha—then to your left is Chang, and next to Li are Jian and Tao."
All smiled and gave small waves, some not seeming to realize that Toph couldn't see them. An array of empty pints and glasses littered the bench top, most likely to be taken away when the bartender brought the drinks over. Sokka took a look around the crowed bar as he drained his glass, smiling curiously. Besides the fact that his blue and her green made them stand out rather obviously amidst the masses of black and red, he thought that they were pretty well hidden from Katara, Mai, or anyone else who sought them. And even if someone did come looking for them, Toph was fairly small, even if her dress was vibrant; he'd put her on his left side so that she would be more or less hidden by his frame. He had even chosen two seats in the dead center of the room—close enough to the bar so that he could shout for drinks, and where the chaos would be at a level where he and Toph could blend with the crowd. And so he and Toph sat squished together amid the ocean of nobles, in hopes that Katara and Mai would be too busy to look for them.
An hour and several drinks apiece later, the overall noise level of the bar had risen to a laughing, talkative roar of mostly male voices.
"…and then I said 'Hey! You're not the boss of me!' and I stabbed 'im with my sword!"
Sokka was feeling really, really good by now. His hat was adorned with a number of colorful little drink umbrellas that gave him the appearance of wearing a crown, and his fine motor skills had diminished only so much that he had a bit of trouble finding his mouth when trying to eat the crackers that had been set in the center of the table. Meanwhile, beside him Toph and the men around them were in a similar state, reduced to giggles at the smallest statement.
Across the table, the short and plump Jian belched and rubbed the side of his face, glazed eyes open and staring at Sokka in awe. "Wow, that's 'mazing, Soccer. You really showed tha' guy."
"Yeah, only in real life he ran 'way, screaming like a girl," interjected Toph.
The surrounding people burst into drunken, rowdy laughter. A distinctly indignant Sokka slammed one hand on the table and turned his upper half in Toph's general direction, his eyes focusing on her with some difficulty as she started her next drink.
"Well excuuuse me ma'am, I but I recall you don't recall that, mostly because I stabbed the guy!"
"I remember lots of stuff," Toph replied comfortably, dipping her finger into her rum and then poking it into her mouth.
The eyes of all the surrounding men followed the two and their banter, amused and slightly nonplussed; several jaws hung slack.
"Bah." Sokka waved his companion away with one hand, using the other to hold himself steady when he swayed backwards. "You don't know what you're talkin' about, Toph. You won't even remember this later."
From across the table, Li smirked and took another swig of his drink. "Maybe you just don't want her to remember what you two're doing… or what you're gonna do!"
Rounding on the man, Sokka snapped, "Hey now, you watch your mouth, Buddy. Toph is like my sister… only sort of like a masculine one."
Toph snorted into her pint.
"Yeah, a really hot sister," Tao laughed.
Toph continued to dissolve into laughter, at the same time trying to drink (the result was half of her drink spilling across her lap) and reply, "S'true, I'm pretty good-looking."
"Yeah, well…" Sokka did not seem to approve of this or of the redness rising in his cheeks (which he pointedly tried to rub away with his sleeve), so he instead desperately grappled for a different subject. "When we get back home Toph, I got a good idea of wha' we should do."
"You mean who—" Li was effectively silenced, mid-sentence, by a tipsy glare from Sokka—a glare that was perhaps more frightening than a sober one.
Sokka began to speak in a serious tone, though his expression was anything but stern; at the moment, his eyes slid in and out of focus towards Toph. "I wanna got back to the Southern Water Tribe. Once we get outta here, we can take ol' Zuzu's boat and go visit my family."
Toph seemed to wilt at the bench, her pint clutched tightly between both hands. "Aw, I hate boats. An' snow. They make me dizzy, and then the next thing you know, blahh!" She made a hand gesture and the man to her left shrunk away, suddenly pukish.
"Are ya sick in the mornings?" Li jabbed. "Cos that 'aint seasick, honey—"
Beside him, Jian laughed so hard that he was forced to slap a hand over his mouth to suppress a hiccup. Apparently Sokka didn't find the comment to be as humorous, though, because he leapt to his feet in frustration, and was seated again only when Toph reached blindly upwards and yanked him back down.
"I changed mah mind," she announced loudly. Sokka sat, almost toppled off the bench for a second time, and grabbed the edge of the table to steady himself. "But only if you let me name the ship 'Toph'. Haha, get it? It's my name—"
The table erupted into laughter again from all sides, though some weren't quite drunk enough to see the humor in Toph's statement. Sokka wiped his eyes and, still chuckling, waved the bartender back over. The frowning man complied with only a slight grumble.
"How 'bout another round?" Sokka said to the bartender.
"Sir don't you think you've had enough—?"
"—One for me, and one 'fir the first mate."
"Hey, that's 'captain' to you, stupid!" Toph shouted.
"—And one for everybody else!"
Toph's protests and the bartender's sigh were both drowned out by a round of cheering and nonsensical shouting. When the poor bartender—weary, annoyed, muttering about a raise—slunk off, Sokka sighed contentedly.
"When we get that ship, we'll be rich," he mused aloud. One arm wound around her shoulders and pulled them against his side, almost causing her to drop her drink. Toph began to giggle again, aberrantly, some of her rum slopping down her front.
"First we visit my family in the Water Tribe, and then we can open a gift shop—it'll be the fir's the sea's ever sawed!" At this, he threw his arms wide and proceeded to knock over every empty and full glass in his reach. "And we'll call it 'Sokka's gift shop'!"
"Aw, I wanna call it 'Toph's gift shop'," Toph muttered, slumping down against Sokka's side.
"Why don't you smoosh your names together?" offered Chang.
"Yeah!" Tao nodded enthusiastically, then grabbed his head in pain and added in a groan, "You can call it 'The Tokka Shop'! Heck, I'd go there!"
"Tokka Impodrium!" Sokka cheered, grabbing his new drink from the approaching bartender's tray before the man had a chance to put it on the table. "I'll be rich! Ooh!" He turned to face Toph, grabbed her by the shoulders, and shouted, "We're Tokkaneers! Haha, get it?"
Whether it was because she was drunk or inspired, Toph grabbed Sokka's hands in hers and held them tightly in her lap, the sparkle in her eye more than a little adoring. But instead of simply replying, she opened her mouth and sang in an off-key tone, "The best idea you've had all day!"
Sokka grinned and responded, also singing, jabbing his elbow backwards in victory, "I loves it when things go my way."
Some of the surrounding men laughed uncomfortably, others shook their heads and drank some more. Chang leaned his chin on one hand and drained his glass. Smacking his lips, he slammed the pint down and sighed dreamily, "Ah, I love that song."
"M'too," Toph slurred, nodding in his direction before starting up a well-known bar song. When she sang, her voice was less than beautiful by any means, and she took the liberty of substituting words as she went: "Yo ho ho, Tokka's the ship fer me!"
Recognizing the general melody of the song—or at least what they could decipher from it—the vast majority of the bar began to sing along. Most of the men (and the handful of women who happened to be there as well, for most chose to avoid the grabby men at the bar) couldn't pitch a tune any better than Toph, and they stumbled as she changed the words of the original, but the dull roar of the room dulled down only long enough for them to jump into the song.
"I bet me wooden knee:
That ye've never sailed,
Such a ship,
On the sixteen seas!"
Once Sokka recovered from a bout of laughter, he took a long drink and stood up from the table. Toph, sensing his movement, jumped up as well. The warrior sauntered across a few aisles during the singing and stopped at a small booth, where a number of war veterans sung with their assorted drinks. Sokka joined in the singing, snatching up a pair of eye patches from two scarred men (who certainly did not appreciate the gesture) as he did so.
"With salsemanship and space rocks,
Hey, a title thar could be,
That you'd dock fer you and me!"
Sokka darted back to the table without bumping into anything, which proved to be quite a feat, and found that Toph had jumped up on the bench with her pint. Delighted, he joined her—he swayed slightly when he leaped onto the bench, but managed not to fall—and put both eye patches on Toph's head. She grinned in his general direction. His heart fluttered, partly because of the drink and partly because she looked weirdly endearing, even with the lopsided eye patches.
I bet me double-blind eyepatch:
That ye'll never see quite a batch,
So natural as Toph and Sokka!"
Sokka and Toph both pumped their pints into the air and yelled "OY!". A combination of Sokka's drink and Toph's rum rained down on the people singing nearby, but nobody seemed to notice in all the commotion; the song was reaching a roaring finish, and even the bartender had stopped sulking to watch the unlikely pair as they continued to sing along, louder still, their arms wrapped around each other's shoulders and the whole bar swaying…
"Sooo, we "Gift Shop Sellers" shall be,
Happy to sail the sea,
Dubbin' the 'ship of Tokka,
The best that thar' could be!"
The song reached a high, very off-key note that nobody seemed to hear, and the bar burst into cheers and a round of applause so loud that a few people outside the bar doorway stopped and stared at the commotion. Sokka, beaming at nothing in particular, leapt down from the bench, stumbled, then grabbed Toph's hand and pulled her down as well. However, Toph, who had not been expecting his gesture and who was still clutching a drink in one hand, toppled off the bench with a surprised yelp and landed in an unsuspecting Sokka's arms, sending them both crashing to the ground in a heap. Chang jumped to his feet to help, but he was little less prepared than she had been; his foot snagged on the underside of the table and sent him on his face a few feet away from the pair. Half the room gasped, half laughed.
A loud groan emitted from Sokka's mouth, Toph giggling where she lay, sprawled on top of him. The fancy décor of the room spun before his eyes; surely he would later regret setting foot into this place—probably when he woke up the next morning, maybe before—but at the moment all he felt was the familiar numbing sensation of booze and Toph's weight pressing down on him.
"Whoops!" Toph laughed airily, her hands finding the ground on either side of him and hoisting her upper half up about a foot, just enough to ease the pressure on his chest. Her long, dark hair, now askew and loose, fell across his surprised face—his arm instinctively found her waist and steadied her when her hand slipped and she lurched sideways, bringing their faces closer together than he ever recalled them having been. A small gasp escaped his mouth.
"Uh oh," he slurred with a slight laugh, his half-lidded eyes taking in every pretty feature of her face from her surprised grin to the lopsided eye patches that had slipped up her forehead. "I think I'm gonna regret that tom'orow, I think."
"Ahahah… yeah," she muttered. "Me too."
With the exception of a few voices, the room was silent. Sokka briefly wondered if she could feel his heart hammering along in his chest. Her breath was laced with the familiar smell of alcohol—then again, so was his—and as she leaned down and he tilted his face upward, the entire room seemed to be on edge, holding it's breath, waiting…
Then, suddenly, Toph rolled sideways off of him and staggered to her feet, seemingly oblivious to the stares she and Sokka were receiving; Sokka chose to pierce the silence by grabbing Chang by the sleeve and hoisting him off the ground, at the same time finding his own balance. Together, the Blind Bandit and the warrior managed to brush off the semi-conscious man and plunk down into their seats on the bench. Sokka could do little more than peer around the table at the men and women, all of whom were now chuckling into their glasses in a way that suggested they thought was covert. And for a few seconds he too laughed, until finally a long-dormant part of his brain began to ask why they were all giggling.
"Hey guys," he began, suppressing another laugh with the brim of his pint, "Hey—why're we laughing?"
Toph hiccupped. "'Cos we are friends!" she exclaimed, a little louder than necessary. "And b'cos Sokka has a stupid little beard."
"Don' make fun of my beard!" Sokka scolded defensively, nevertheless self-consciously stroking the small patch of facial hair on his chin—as if Katara didn't make fun of it enough! And to think that he and Toph had almost just—no, he couldn't think about it right now; he was too drunk and he knew that even if he was sober he would have denied feeling the way he had felt just moments before.
Jian ignored Toph's reply and quipped, "Well duh, you looked real cozy together, din't you?"
"Yeah," Li added, positively bouncing in his seat with excitement, even though he spoke as if cool and collected. "She wants your babies, Sock. And if I'm right—hic—you want 'em too! Hers, I mean—not yours. Ahaha…"
The grin on Sokka's face quickly melted into a flabbergasted expression.
Beside him, Toph appeared more confused than anything else, but nevertheless gave a stifled shriek when the hem of her elegant (and now rum-stained) dress was hiked up under the table. All around the table, people gasped at the scandalous gesture as Sokka's hand fumbled clumsily around her knees, grasping around as if searching for something. If her face had not already been tinged pink from the alcohol, it was now; her face dipped an even darker shade. With an exasperated cry of "here we go again", Toph took a swig from her drink, seemingly unperturbed that he was roaming around under her dress—
A victorious Sokka released the bottom of the dress and thrust his arm defiantly upward to show everyone in the room that he had found what he was looking for: a Water Tribe machete.
Tao gasped. Jian burst into more laughter. Sokka turned his body towards Li, though he couldn't focus on him properly and the man's head spun before his eyes, and pointed the machete at the latter's face.
His arm swayed, blue eyes blinking blearily as he slurred, "All right! I've had e'nuff of 'yer sass, mister." Sokka accompanied this statement by a hiccup, slammed his hand down on the table.
Toph covered her ears with her hands and winced with a shout of "Be quiet, stupid!" A girl with super-sensitive ears, she thought through the haze, should never sit next to someone as loud as Sokka.
Li only grinned and wiggled his eyebrows at the flustered warrior. If he had been in a better state, he might have seen the danger in the situation, but he proceeded to act as if Sokka were brandishing a cloth at his face.
"I thought they said you couldn't have no weapons anymore!" teased Li. "It was 'yer idea to put the giant knife in her dress, right? Bet you liked reachin' 'round there, dincha? How often you do that—?"
Li's sentence was cut abruptly short when Sokka, shouting curses that many of them had never heard before, launched himself across the table at the man.
The bar, already on the brink of disaster, exploded into chaos. Having been given a reason to be even louder than before, people in the bar began to shout and brawl amongst themselves. Toph, after recovering from her laughter and dodging an accidental blow towards her head, pulled one of the eye patches from her head and used it as a slingshot, which only caused the level of disruption in the room to rise; a well-aimed (particularly for a doubly-impaired woman) ball-ed up piece of bread struck the side of one noble's face, at which point he turned around and dumped his drink on his neighbor. The neighbor, in turn, attacked the noble. The poor bartender, a tray held above his face to block any wayward blows—there were numerous, for most of the humble bar's inhabitants were too drunk to aim properly—managed to crawl along the ground and escape put the draped doorway of the bar.
It was only a minute before he returned, at which point Sokka had already knocked a very confused Li to the floor and had a chokehold on him. Sokka—who would later deny being angry at all, and would also deny that he and Toph had ever so much spoken of smuggling a weapon into the party—raised his machete into the air to strike the man, only to see a flash of silver streak across the room and knock the weapon forcefully from his hand. Sokka and Li's heads both jerked upwards in surprise (Li with a cut on his lip), both pairs of eyes growing wide at the sight of a very displeased Fire Lady. Several of the little umbrellas in Sokka's hat fell to the ground.
"Hey, Toph," muttered Sokka, dropping Li's throat carelessly from his grip, eyes still glued to the frowning woman in the doorway.
Toph, who had just found another piece of food and flung it blindly across the room from where she knelt beside Sokka, began to laugh and replied, "Wuzzit, Sokka?"
"I think we maybe be'in trouble."
Toph's laughter stopped as quickly as it had started, though Sokka wasn't sure whether it was because of what he'd said or because an upturned bowl of pudding collided with the side of her head a second later. Either way, he thought hastily, quickly grabbing up the last standing drink he could see and drinking it down as fast as he could, he had a feeling that he and Toph would not be allowed near any parties for a quite some time. Sokka wasn't sure whether to laugh or cry.
The slamming door—and, as a result, the sound of it being locked from the outside, but he didn't pay much attention to that—didn't help the pulsating in Sokka's entire head. Groaning and inwardly cursing his luck, he put his head in his arms on the table. Off to his right he heard the clinking of a pouch of ice, and looked up in time to see Toph flop unceremoniously into the chair beside him.
"Here," she muttered, sliding the ice across the table with one hand, the other dropping a second pouch onto the top of her head.
Sokka reached out and took the ice, then gingerly placed it on the back of his neck. "Thanks," he responded with a grimace. A pause. "Well, I'd say that went well, don't you agree?"
"Only if you planned on getting your butt kicked royally kicked by a pair of crazy women and being quarantined in this room for the rest of the week."
Wincing further and turning his head sideways to get a better look at her—the dress was long gone (trashed, mostly), and she instead wore the typical Fire Nation sleepwear now, as morning had risen just ten minutes ago with Katara's shouts—he replied, "I meant Katara's reaction, actually. At least she has Aang to cool her down, right?"
"I guess so… she can still yell louder than I need to hear, though. And we're not allowed to leave this stupid room until we leave this place!"
It might have been the ice freezing the part of his brain with reason, he mused, but a second later he heard himself say, "At least I have a good cellmate, right?"
A faint blush that had nothing to do with the ice crept up her neck, and she turned in her chair away from him for a moment as if to hide it. Slowly, she pulled the ice bag from the top of her head and weighed it in her hands. "All the stuff that happened yesterday—not the stupid stuff or the fight, I mean, but… the other things…"
"Yeah…?" In his mind, the somewhat blurred thought crossed his mind of Toph's weight on top of him, her flushed face inches from his, lips parted ever so slightly. He shivered where he sat, cradling his face deeper into the crook of his arm.
"It was just a spur of the moment thing, wasn't it?" She continued hesitantly. "Well, I mean we were sort of… not with it, and—"
"I don't think it was," Sokka interrupted, a little quickly.
Toph turned back towards him in her chair (it didn't make much of a difference for her) and fixed her intense stare somewhere off to the left of his ear. Her hands were shaking—or maybe he imagined it—in her lap, face seemingly paler than before (or maybe it was the hangover).
"Yeah. Well… It was an accident, how things turned out, but…" He trailed off. "I didn't really mind. And—" Breaking off again, Sokka paused for long enough to take a deep breath and turn his head to smile at the blind woman. "I'm just sorry the party's over."
Toph smiled back, but half a second later she jumped out of her chair so fast that the whole room spun before his eyes. Grabbing at the ice pouch and sitting bolt upright in his seat, he exclaimed, "What's going on?"
It seemed that the end of her silk robe had just whipped around the door when she returned, beaming in his direction. Sokka almost fainted when he saw what she held in her hand—
"Rum!" she exclaimed, haphazardly reaching across the countertop and grabbing two porcelain mugs on her way across the room. "Courtesy of Fire Lord Zuzu—Katara must have forgotten it was in the ice box." The amber fluid sloshed around in the full bottle as she gave it an affectionate shake. There was a sort of light in her blind eyes that Sokka could not ignore, one that promised his headache would be gone all too soon.
"Oh Zuko, you do love us!" sighed the warrior.
A lazy grin of relief spread across his face, his eyelids drooped. Toph found the table, popped the cap into the air, and poured both mugs to the brim. One cup actually overflowed onto the table, but he made no notion of her blind error, instead mopping it up with his sleeve—it was not his fancy robe, anyway—before taking his drink with one hand. His eyes lingered on her face a second time before he tore them away to stare at the drink in front of him.
Toph, grinning, lifted her mug to him. "Here's to us, Sokka—the best shenanigators in the Fire Nation!"
Sokka mimicked her lopsided pose, amused. "Here's to us being unconscious by the time Katara gets back!"
Once they'd clinked their mugs together in a way that produced what he thought was the most wonderful sound in the world, Sokka took a swig and smacked his lips in a satisfied manner before setting the mug on the table.
"You know," he began, tugging thoughtfully on his beard. "Getting a Tokkaneer ship and becoming sea merchants really doesn't sound like a bad idea."
Toph sat down across from him and took another sip. "I haven't had enough rum yet to agree with you, Sokka."
"Well if you don't want to run away together, then I guess—"
"Shut up and drink!"
Sokka was thrilled to comply.
A/n: Weird, yes, but it was a request, so I'm not going to take the full blame for this. Haha.
Crit is welcome, and thanks for reading!