Momo dodged artfully around the igloo, narrowly avoiding an unlucky comb that was the latest in a bombardment of Katara's possessions raining down around the room. Operating at lightning speed, her hands flung object after object behind her, with no thought as to where they landed. Her eyes glanced back and forth over her scattered belongings before coming to the horrifying conclusion that had been building in her mind. "My necklace is gone."
She'd been hesitant to take it off in the first place. If Sokka hadn't pointed out that the necklace's blue seemed to clash with the red-only dress code of the new firelord's farewell banquet, she probably wouldn't have. As much as she hated to admit it, Zuko's visit had been as rewarding as it had been unexpected. No one had asked the young ruler to embark on his worldwide goodwill journey, but that didn't mean the gesture was unappreciated. Fresh from over a century of war, it probably would have been in poor taste for one of his guests of honor to show such flagrant disrespect.
She'd left it sitting on her dressing table. She was sure of it. When it came to her necklace she was always sure about what she did with it.
When she had returned, head admittedly clouded by a few too many drinks and the dancing skills of a certain airbending messiah, she'd been too tired to worry about putting it back on before collapsing into her polar lion furs. Now that her necklace was missing, that same intoxication came roaring back as rage and frustration seeped into her judgment and her emotions ran loose.
Momo glided over to her, the barrage of personal items finally having stopped, and inquired if she was alright in a series of animal noises. Instantaneously reminded of both the lemur's presence and its natural tendency toward kleptomania, Katara whirled round to face her little primate companion. "I swear, Momo if you took my necklace I'm turning you into Gran-Gran's next pair of slippers!" She yelled, voice and eyes brimming with wrath.
"What is it with you people and animal skins?" Came a tired voice from behind her. Toph walked into the room, a fist rubbing the sleep from her blind eyes. Her hair, loose from its usual bun, was falling awkwardly from how she'd slept on it. With a backward glance, Katara noted shrewdly that the earthbender had yet to change out of her formal gown, the straps of which now hung off her slightly, dangling just below her shoulders.
"It's a water tribe thing, Toph." Katara turned around fully, attempting to remain calm, "Speaking of which, you haven't seen my necklace, have-" She stopped herself as her eyes fell on the circle of blue stone hanging from the younger girls neck.
"YOU BITCH!" The waterbending master shrieked, a water whip flying out to snatch the necklace from Toph's throat. "This is my mother's necklace! This is all I have left of her! How could you even think of doing something like this?!"
"Katara! Calm Down!" Toph shouted, her temper rising along with the volume of her voice. One hand clutching at her now bare neck, a look of pain came over her face, "Just give it back!"
"What is the matter with you?!" Katara screamed, totally losing herself in her self-righteous fury. "I love this necklace more than anything in the world! Do you think you can just take it from me and not expect me to fight for it?!" At these words, she kicked at the floor, launching a wave of ice shards in Toph's direction. Separated from her native element by yards of frozen water, Toph rolled to avoid the oncoming attack unable to counter. Closing the distance to her friend turned opponent, she slide tackled Katara and brought them both to the icy ground.
Melting the ice behind them, Katara made a punching motion at her rival and launched a wave of water that picked Toph up and thrust her against the wall of the igloo, freezing her in place. Her opponent pinned, the waterbender smirked triumphantly.
With her one free hand, Toph reached out and bent the only earth within reach. With a flick of her wrist, she summoned the necklace to her hand.
"TOPH!" Katara screamed, wrenching up another waterwhip.
"KATARA!" Came another voice from behind her. "What the hell is the matter with you?" Her brother shouted as he ran into the room, dressed in only the pants of his formal attire. Made suddenly self-conscious by the interruption, the waterbender released her hold on Toph- sending the smaller girl soaked and coughing to the frozen floor. Passing his sister entirely, the future chieftain ran to the earthbender's side and draped a wolfseal-skin over her. "You okay?" he asked, tenderly.
Her reply came through chattering teeth, "I have a new appreciation for your culture's taxidermy fetish."
"Sokka!" Katara said, indignantly, "What are you doing?! She tried to steal Mom's necklace!"
"You mean this?" He replied grimly, pulling the missing accessory from his pants' pocket. Katara did a double take.
"Wait a minute, but then there are two." She replied confused.
"I borrowed it last night to use as a model. I meant to replace it before you woke up," He explained calmly, "But I- well, that is to say, we- overslept."
Katara blinked. Her head clearing, it was easy to see the subtle differences between the two necklaces. While hers was all blue, Toph's choker clasp was made of jade. Upon closer inspection she realized that the pendant itself was different on each necklace. Toph's didn't bear the traditional water tribe markings, and was instead carved with the symbol of the earth kingdom. At first she marveled at the craftsmen ship her brother had obviously put into making it, then the weight of his words settled in as she recalled a certain conversation she'd had at the North Pole.
So, who's the lucky boy?
"No way…" Katara said in disbelief, "You're kidding me."
"We weren't going to tell anyone until we were ready." Sokka said softly, one hand moving lovingly up and down his fiancées back.
Katara, knelt down to the sitting Toph's eye level. The younger girl, already uncharacteristically silent, blushed furiously. A grin formed over the waterbender's face, "Toph…" She murmured, "You know when I said you should marry my brother, I was just teasing, right?"
"Shut up, sugar queen." The earthbender groaned as she was pulled into a warm hug.
"Welcome to the tribe."