Title: Finger Lickin Good
Theme: candy

Word Count: 2,290

Warning! Some Sokka/Katara. Nothing hardcore but it's there. You've been warned!


Aang had disappeared again.

It was not an unusual occurrence. Every few days it would happen. He would be silent for a long time just sitting there staring at the wall or the floor completely unmoving when finally he would stand up and proclaim he was going to go mediate.

They always let him go with a smile and an "Okay." They knew he was going to go look for Appa but they had learned by now to feign ignorance, for his sake if nothing else. Sokka suspected that Aang was fully aware they were pretending to not know a thing but he didn't question them and they didn't question him about that either.

Let the boy have his faults.

There was nothing to do anyway. There were a thousand different places they needed to be but nowhere in Ba Sing Se. It was a restless kind of stagnation, knowing they had places to be and things to do but unable to do any of it because they had to wait. Ba Sing Se drove you mad and then it kept you that way.

The city's madness had a silver lining to it though. It was so far removed from reality that it created one of its own. There was no war here. There were parades, gambling, circuses, fairs, and shops galore instead. It was, Sokka realized, a place the whole world would have been like if the Fire Nation had never charged upon their shores.

He had never seen a place like it. He had seen cities before but never one like Ba Sing Se. The North Pole, that beautiful but dreary old city, had been on the edge of war, a place that was more a military compound than a home for families and friends. Omashu had been just as serious, though Sokka did miss the mailing chutes.

In Ba Sing Se you didn't have to be self-sufficient whatsoever. If you needed food, you just walked a hundred feet to the closest food market. If you needed something done you could just hire somebody else to do it for you.

It was a sharp contrast to the South Pole, which had no market and where the citizens could only rely on themselves for food.

There were so many different things to try. Meat he had never seen before, fish that were so fat he had to get Katara to help him carry it, and the candy.

The candy.

Candy had been a rare commodity on the South Pole. The only time he had experienced it were the times when his father had returned from the rare trip to a faraway market. He could still remember the little pink pieces. Katara had always eaten them slowly, hoarding them to make them last longer. Sokka had been the opposite. He had devoured his immediately, then spent the next week trying to think of clever ways to sneak Katara's away.

But in Ba Sing Se there was no shortage of candy. It was everywhere. Chocolate, vanilla, chocolate-drizzled-vanilla, taffy, caramel. It was a wonder the children weren't all spastic sugar addicts.

Sokka, always the wise one, had indulged in his sweet tooth right away. If they were going to be stuck here, they might as well enjoy themselves, he had told the others repeatedly.

Unable to help himself, he had pulled his usual antics when he first bought some of the foreign sweetness. He had ended up heaving into the flower beds, Katara forcing Aang to hold his hair while she flitted around getting water and scolding him. It had not been an enjoyable evening and not an event Sokka wished to repeat. Besides, when you had something readily available the desperate urge to attain it faded considerably.

Today was the day Aang went off to brood, which meant they were stuck inside until he returned.

For Sokka that meant a slew of pillows and cushions thrown on the floor to lounge on and some toffee. A bag full of it. It was a good day. He popped a piece into his mouth and chewed blissfully.

"Would you stop chewing so loud?!"

He slowly opened one eye, directing it at the person who had interrupted his candy bliss.

Katara. His sister was pacing back and forth across the boards, only stopping momentarily to snap at him. She was worried. Whenever Aang disappeared she worried. Not just about his physical safety, although that was part of it, but his emotional safety as well.

And when Katara worried she was easily irritated too.

Let the girl have her faults.

Faintly Sokka was glad Toph had wandered off to take a nap. The last thing he needed was a cat fight to ruin his candy bliss.

He continued chewing sedately, refusing to allow Katara to spoil his sugary euphoria.

Katara twitched irritably, like a cat that had detected an enemy. She forced herself to sit down on the edge of the floor and allowing her feet to dangle. "Can you be quiet for five seconds?"

"No." Sokka continued chewing, opening his mouth wider so it was more amplified. He popped another piece in his mouth.

"If you don't stop I'll…" She didn't finish the sentence. She left it as a hanging threat.

Unperturbed, Sokka went about his sticky delectable with more enthusiasm. He leaned towards Katara, right in her ear, and gave a good smack.

"I am going to take that candy away from you if you don't stop," she warned.

"Oh no," said Sokka, sarcastically. He popped three in his mouth this time and had to struggle to get his teeth to move. "Ist tast sew gud."

"You're disgusting." She turned her face away, nose wrinkling as he breathed right on her.

Sokka continued his smacking. He wiggled closer so she could hear it better. He could see her rage building in the way her shoulders began to tighten. Unfortunately it didn't take as long for her to explode then he had anticipated and she rounded on him before he had time to move.

"Alright, that's it! Give me that candy!"

She threw herself at him, knocking him back onto the cushions spread out the floor. She reached for the bag of candy clutched in his hand but he held it tight and tried to hide it under his body. He was laughing but there was so much candy in his mouth it came out as only a slightly wheeze. If he didn't swallow it quick he was going to suffocate. What a warrior's death that would be.

"Give me it!"

"N-" Snort. Wheeze. "o."

They continued to struggle on the cushions, Sokka rolling away and Katara prying at his fingers. They wrestled and flipped, one gaining leverage before losing it again. Katara would be on top and then on the bottom before somehow wiggling her way on top of him once more. They were well matched. Katara in her fiery determination and Sokka's ribs hurting from laughing so much, only able to use his one free hand to fend her off.

It wasn't until Katara tore the bag open that Sokka resorted to desperate measures. The candy tumbled out in a big blob and they dove for it. Sokka reached it first, scooping it up before it got too much dirt on it. Not that dirt would stop Sokka. It certainly hadn't in the past.

He immediately popped the huge glob in his mouth in front of Katara. He grinned at her, teeth stained, mouth filled to the brim with sticky, sugary goodness.

Katara was doing another good impression of an exploding volcano. Her hands were curled, fingers spread and tight like talons, hair messy and unkempt around her head, and her teeth grinding in a feral snarl.

"Oh like that will stop me!"

She reached for his face, forcing him onto his back as she straddled him. He grabbed her wrists to fend her off. They were locked in a stalemate, Katara struggling to break his grip and Sokka bucking and wheezing under her as the globby mess blocked his laughter and made him cough. Then she managed to break free with a smart twist of her wrist and her hand reached for his mouth.

He could feel her fingers slip into his mouth. One brushed his tongue, the other two becoming tangled in the mixture of saliva and candy. The next instant she made a disgusted, horrified sound and quickly retreated both out of his mouth and off of him.

"Ewww!" She stumbled away, holding her wrist and staring wide-eyed at the gooey mess on her fingers. "It's so sticky! This is so nasty! How could you possibly eat this?!"

Sokka did his best not to choke himself to death.

Katara tried frantically to wipe the mess off on the wooden wall. "It won't come off!" she cried. She shook her hand furiously in the air, a vain attempt to dislodge the sticky substance. Sokka knew from experience.

Sokka swallowed the rest of the candy in his mouth. He beckoned to her. "Come over here, I'll get it off."

She walked towards him and obediently held out her hand. Sokka clasped the wrist and eyed the sugary coated digits. Then he stuck them in his mouth and promptly began sucking on them.

Katara must not have expected the action. She straightened as if she had been given an electric shock and he felt a soft tug but his hold on her wrist kept her from pulling her hand away.

He was only getting the candy off. No candy should go to waste and what better way to remove it then this? He doubted there was any other way to remove the sticky taffy besides. He knew this from experience as well!

He continued sucking on her fingers, tongue swirling to remove every last sweet bit of candy goodness from her flesh. His eyes were closed, enjoying the sweetness, and it wasn't until he opened them a crack that he saw the expression on her face.

Her eyes were wide as saucers. She was focused entirely on him, gaze unwavering as it was cemented on his face. Her other hand was clasped around the fabric in front of her chest. He saw her swallow, mouth opening to allow a soft, shaky exhale. It almost looked like she was sweating underneath the heavy Water Tribe clothing.

Sokka had always been good at reading people. He had been the only one to be suspicious of Jet's actions. Katara was somebody he knew better than anybody. He could read her more easily than he could other people.

His mouth stilled as he looked at her. He didn't move for one long tense moment, calculating, gauging like he always did before deciding on what action to take. Then, decided, he began sucking on her fingers again but much slower, no longer after the candy. There was hardly any at all left, if at all.

His teeth grazed over her flesh, tongue swirling against her fingertips. His eyes weren't closed this time. He kept them on her face, watching her.

Her lips parted, tongue darting out to lick her lips. He could feel her pulse speed up by the wrist he still clasped.

Sokka felt a tightening in his groin, a desperate ache he had only felt as acutely as that time Suki had pushed him into a wall and held him there. He fought the urge to move his hips forward to relieve the fierce throbbing against the fabric of his own heavy clothing.

Why was she looking at him like that? And why didn't he stop? The toffee was gone by now. So why hadn't he stopped?

It must be the madness of the city. It was affecting them slowly but surely, drawing them in and enticing them. The city was the snake, the candy the apple, and they were the naïve Eve. They knew it was wrong, knew they should stop, but they didn't. They didn't want to stop.

"Hi, guys! I'm…home..."

Aang. The young Airbender had returned.

Katara stepped back so quickly she nearly tripped over a cushion. "Aang!" She stared at the boy in the doorway.

Aang glanced between them. He looked utterly confused. "What were you guys doing?"

Katara's wet hand fisted. She held it with her other hand against her chest as it had been burned. "I…We…" Her cheeks had turned scarlet. She looked anywhere but at him or Sokka. "We…that is we…We were…I- I gotta go! I have something I have to do! Bye!"

And she fled the scene before Aang could ask anymore questions. The two boys watched her flee, watched her disappear behind the door with a whip of her long braid.

Aang turned to Sokka, who looked nonchalantly back at him.

"What were you two doing?"

Sokka casually crossed his legs, managing to barely flinch at the pain the action caused. He smiled widely, face hurting. He held up the empty bag and shook it. "Just enjoying some candy."

-

-

-

They never spoke about the incident and they never repeated it either. They went along as if it had never happened, chalking it up to the madness the city caused. Ba Sing Se was a fruit ripe with it and they had taken a bite. It had been a harmless action of madness.

But despite what they said to convince themselves, whenever Sokka ate candy he couldn't help but look her way and Katara would quickly turn away with a blush and fight the urge to stick her fingers in her mouth.

It was just madness after all and hell maybe some madness was good every once in a while.

That was what Sokka thought anyways.

Let him have his faults.