Sexual Dimorphism or Five Times Sokka Acceded Victory
an offer of marriage
In the few years since their friendship – their tentative courtship – had begun, Sokka had learned that Suki's moods were best gauged by the effort she put into their sparring matches. Fans meant she was feeling playful, and the katana meant she was feeling pensive. Sloppiness came only with severe sleep deprivation, and she was absolutely brutal when she was angry. True perfection, the precision of years of practice, was something she only used when she was in an exceptionally good mood, and if the eyeful of bamboo flooring Sokka was getting was any indication, she was positively beaming that morning. If she pushed his arm back any further it was going to come out of its socket, and the way her knee was digging into his spine, he couldn't help wondering if there would be bruising.
"All right," Sokka grunted, lifting his head as far off the floor as he could. "All right, I give."
She let up on his arm, but didn't let go or take her knee out of his back.
"I said I give," he repeated, with a little less dignity. His back was starting to hurt.
Suki's response was to announce, in what was possibly the most collected tone Sokka had ever heard her use, "I think we should get married."
Sokka choked. There was nothing in his throat besides air, but he still choked, and by the time he was done coughing and sputtering he'd managed to throw Suki off and turn himself over. He sat up, rubbing the spot on his chest where it felt like something had lodged in his windpipe, and blinked dumbly across the three and a half feet separating him from his girlfriend, before letting out a rather unintelligent, "Wha?"
Suki blinked back, and repeated herself. She had the grace to blush this time.
"Wait," Sokka interrupted – though, as she had finished talking, there was really nothing to interrupt – holding up a hand to stifle any forthcoming protestations. "You," he began slowly, pointing at her "are asking me to marry you."
Something akin to courage flitted across her face, and she lifted an eyebrow. "Well, I wasn't really asking so much as-"
"No!" he broke in, shaking his head, face a picture of confused despair. "You- you can't! It's not- I don't- No!"
Her brows drew down in a sudden reversal of the valor she'd shown just moments before.
"No!" Sokka continued, reaching out to grab her shoulders, slightly panicked. "Not no, I won't marry you! Of course I'll marry you! There's nothing I would love more than marrying you, but- I was- I mean- I was supposed to ask!"
She mouthed wordlessly for a few moments, looking from him, to the floor, to the corner of the room, before finally training her gaze back on him, her expression moving quickly from despondent, through confused and disbelieving, before settling on righteous indignation. "What?" she demanded slowly, voice balanced carefully between polite inquiry and decidedly impolite insistence. Sokka was impressed by the amount of time she was able to fill with that one syllable.
"I was supposed to ask!" he continued, his grip on her tightening. "I was supposed to- to talk to your dad, and prove my worth, and he was supposed to give you to me-"
"Give me to you?!" Suki interrupted, pulling away from him. "I'm not a piece of cattle!"
"No!" Sokka backpedaled furiously, reaching out to snag her around the waist, dragging her into his lap. "That's not what I meant! Permission! He was supposed to give me permission-"
"I can't make my own decisions?!" she demanded shrilly, planting a hand against his face and pushing in an attempt to extricate herself from his embrace. "You pig! I'm sorry I said anything!"
With one arm still locked around her waist, Sokka used his free hand to drag her fingers away from his face before she could claw out his eyes. She made a vain effort to reclaim her hand, but when he pinned it behind her back there was absolutely nothing she could do. He laid his chin on her shoulder and pulled her tightly against him before she could get her other hand between them. She scrabbled uselessly at his shoulder for a few moments, muttering obscenities and vague threats, before finally letting out a body-slumping sigh of defeat and relaxing into him.
"I'm sorry," he said, voice muffled by her collar. "I didn't- I'm not trying to stake a claim or anything. You can make your own decisions, but," he paused, closing his eyes and taking a few calming breaths, "but that's how you do things down south. And I know it's not what you're used to, and you think it's sexist and unjust, but where I come from that's how you're supposed to treat the girl you're going to marry. That's how you show her you respect her, and how you show her family that you respect her – that you respect them!" He pulled back just far enough to look her in the eye, and went on quietly, "But I guess I can let go of tradition if it really bothers you."
He was a little put out when she started laughing, but he felt better when she kissed him. "What's so funny?" he mumbled against her mouth.
She broke away, still chuckling, and laid a hand against his cheek. "I think I owe you an apology."
Sokka raised an eyebrow at her, and glanced very briefly at the support strut beside them, looking for an answer.
"If you want to talk to my dad about marrying me," Suki want on, a tiny smile settling on her lips, "you're going to have to catch him before he goes out in the morning, because he'll be exhausted and ill-tempered when he comes home, and while I'm pretty sure he's forgotten about the time on the back porch, I just think it would better to catch him before he spends ten hours hauling nets. He'll be feeling more charitable."
That was all it took to set the butterfly bees in his stomach to fluttering. "And you really don't mind?" he asked, hoping he didn't sound as breathless as he felt.
She shrugged, something in her smile changing, and said, "You do your best not to take me out of my comfort zone. I don't see why I can't return the favor. Fair's fair."
"Fair's fair," Sokka echoed, nodding in agreement, moving in to kiss her again.
"But," she interjected, laying her fingertips across his mouth to halt his advance, "if he says no, you're still going to marry me."
The butterfly bees went wild, and Sokka choked again.
money or goods given to the family of the bride by the bridegroom or his family
"Whale blubber?" Sokka queried, his nose crinkling in disbelief as he tilted his head to gaze up at Suki. "Seriously?"
"Mmhm," she murmured, her fingers stilling in his hair as she tried not to laugh outright. "Ten whole pounds of it."
He snorted. "And her dad still let him marry her?"
Her stomach vibrated beneath his head as she chuckled, and thunder rumbled in the distance, shaking the floorboards beneath them. "Listen, you might turn your nose up at it," she interjected, hands resuming their soothing ministrations, "but whale blubber is very valuable in some places. They use it to make perfume and cosmetics in the Fire Nation."
Sokka raised an eyebrow at her. "Is Kyoshi Island one of those places?"
"No," Suki responded, breaking out into laughter again. "No it's not. We eat it and use it to start fires, same as the Water tribes."
He pursed his lips, looked up at the rafters for a moment, and then repeated, "And her dad still let him marry her?"
Her only response was to continue laughing.
"I don't think I'd have to worry about your dad if that was my wedding present to you," he continued, reaching back to grab one of her hands and pull her arm across his neck. "My own dad would murder me in my sleep, right after he shouted my ears bloody about how he taught me better."
He wasn't looking at her, but he could almost see the tiny smile blooming on her face. "So, just in the interest of curiosity," she began slowly, "even though we agreed – no dowry, no brideprice… if you wanted to prove to my dad that he wasn't losing his wonderfully talented daughter to some uppity braggart from the absolute ass-end of the world, what would you give me?"
Sokka rolled on his side to give her a sour look, and her hand fell from his hair to lie beside her on the floor. Her knowing, self-inflated grin was replaced by an innocent smile in the blink of an eye.
"It seems to me that's more in the interest of your ego than your curiosity," he informed her tartly. "But," he continued hastily when she lifted an eyebrow, "I don't see why I can't answer, seeing as how I'm just some uppity braggart from the ass-end of the world, and you're so wonderfully talented."
She leaned over and laid a chaste, smiling kiss on his mouth, before settling back expectantly. The rain reverberated on the roof shingles.
"Honestly, I'm really glad we both thought it was stupid and outdated," he said, a startling amount of sincerity in his voice. He gave her hand a brief squeeze. "When I thought I'd have to find something – something so… small and meaningless as a material object, to more or less represent every single thought and feeling I've ever had about you…"
"Daunting task, huh?" she prompted gently.
"Daunting doesn't even begin to cover it," Sokka continued, rolling onto his stomach, chin propped on her hipbone, so he could see her face. "I thought of everything! There are places on the western coast where you can go pearl diving, and it's crazy dangerous, but you don't wear jewelry, and I might bash my skull on a rock anyways, so that was right out."
Suki gave a tiny laugh, and murmured, "No skull bashing, please."
"And there are men and women in Ba Sing Se who spend years learning to weave elaborate patterns in silk threads so tiny and delicate you can barely feel them between your fingers, but where would we even keep something like that? I could collect enough seal pelts to cover the entire bedroom floor! Twice! And not to mention that it would feed the whole village for a winter…"
A loud thunderclap split the silence as Sokka trailed off, Suki's fingers still twined tightly with his, her hand trapped under his body. He took a deep breath and shifted around until he was lying on his side, still facing her, but his eyes were drawn up into the rafters again, where the steady drone of the rain was loudest. It didn't seem to be letting up. That was fine. No one would come visiting in a rainstorm: more time to be alone.
Finally, he said, "I would build you a house."
Suki couldn't say why that wiped the smile right off her face, or why she suddenly wanted nothing more than to rip off all of Sokka's clothes right there on the living room floor, but she suspected it had something to do with the almost casual mention of the life they wanted to have together: as though it was the simplest, most natural conclusion in the world. Instead she sat up, took his face in her hands, and pulled him up into a kiss so heated it left his toes tingling.
"So the house is a winner?" he questioned, his gaze darting from her eyes to her mouth and back again.
"Oh yeah," she responded enthusiastically, her smile bright enough to light up the room. "The house is a winner."
Sokka's own grin almost faltered when she added, "But the pearls aren't a bad idea either."
when a newly married couple takes up residence with the wife's family or tribe
When the first snow of the winter came down, Sokka and Suki took a walk. It had been sleeting nonstop for almost a month, and pouring rain for twice as long before that, and it seemed like it had been a small eternity since they'd been out together without the weather interfering. Kissing under the same rain cloak was only fun when you could still feel your face, and as much as Sokka hated giving up, there was a point at which it became impossible to work the feeling back into your lips – or someone else's – no matter how hard you tried.
Sokka didn't mind the low temperatures; it was the precipitation that bothered him. Seasons were virtually nonexistent down south, and even though it was always cold, it was almost never wet. Storms had been common out at sea, but he could count the number of times he'd been under a rain cloud on the mainland on two hands, with a few fingers left over. He'd come down with a bad cold early in that rainy season, and after spending two days in bed with a fever – because, once assured of his survival and recovery, his sister had refused to fly all the way from Ba Sing Se just for a cold – he'd vowed he would never work in the freezing rain again; not if he could avoid it. Two months of bad weather had made his most recent project an obnoxiously difficult endeavor.
By the time the snow had fallen, the whole island seemed almost mad with cabin fever. There were children running through the streets, hurling snowballs and pushing eachother into drifts, men and women out and about visiting their neighbors; even the local pets were filled with an unusual amount of energy. Sokka nearly tripped over a white dog, whose black eyes and nose were the only indications he was standing beside them in the snow, and would have gotten a face full of cold white powder if Suki hadn't caught his arm at the last moment. Smiling, she leaned down the give the dog an affectionate pat on the head, her hand still tucked in his elbow.
Sokka began to laugh himself – more out of mild embarrassment than anything else – and then froze when a rogue snowball caught him square in the face. He dragged his arm out of Suki's grip to claw the snow out of his eyes, her laughter ringing in his ears along with the apologetic shouts of the children.
"It's not like this every time it snows, right?" he asked, spitting into his gloved hand. "I don't think I can learn to see all the village kids as a threat."
"They'll calm down in a few days," Suki responded, taking his arm again and pulling him along, "but if you think this is bad, you should see them when the snow starts melting."
"Yeah, I bet spring fever gets pretty mad around here," he sympathized, laying his free hand on hers, feeling more gallant with every passing moment. If she leaned in and laid her free hand on the arm she was currently clutching, he thought he might swoon.
"I guess I should get used to endless winter," she went on, managing to sound both wistful and teasing. "So far south, I can't imagine spring being very…"
"Springy?" Sokka volunteered.
Grinning, Suki nodded and said, "As brilliant a word choice as I've come to expect."
Sokka shrugged, suddenly uncomfortable. "Spring is more wintery than springy," he affirmed. "But I wouldn't worry about it. The weather's so much nicer here, and the food's better, so I just kinda figured…"
It took him a few moments to realize that Suki was no longer walking beside him: she'd paused and dropped his arm, and when he looked back over his shoulder at her, she was staring at him with her eyebrows drawn down and her nose scrunched, as though she were either extremely puzzled or working on an angry, scathing retort. He gave her a blank stare, and the ire drained out of her expression.
"I sort of expected you to put up more of a fight," she offered, when his blank expression persisted. Her voice sounded unusually small. "You're serious." It wasn't a question.
He shrugged again, and said, "Why wouldn't I be? You have a life here."
"And you have a family down there," she countered, propping her hands on her hips.
He turned to face her, and resisted the urge to mimic her pose. "If I dragged you anywhere for more than a month, there are about a dozen dangerous young women – women you trained – who would hunt me down, beat me into the ground, and carry you home. I'm not exactly looking forward to that."
"What about your father?" Suki demanded, her voice gaining both strength and volume. "What about Gran Gran? Don't you want to be near them?"
Sokka's eyes widened in disbelief, and he glanced skywards. "Are we really arguing about this?"
"We're not arguing!" she exclaimed. "I'm just asking you a question!"
"Three questions," he corrected, "and you're getting what you want. Why are we arguing?"
She sighed, and dropped her hands. "We're not arguing. I just want to know why you're so eager to stay away from your childhood home."
"Suki, I haven't been home for more than three months since I was fifteen," he reminded her gently. "You've only been off the island for that long once. You would be miserable down there!"
Her eyebrows shot up toward her hairline. "Last night you were telling me nothing compared to the leopard seal's mating call and the icy wind in your face first thing in the morning."
"Oh, all right!" he yelled, throwing his hands in the air. "I love it down there! I miss it every single time I see a patch of ground that's not covered in ice! And no one – no one! – can cure seal jerky like my Gran Gran!"
"And you're not even going to try and convince me we should live there?" She sounded more disappointed than anything else.
"Because you would ever agree?" He was still dangerously close to yelling, and he didn't really care. "We would go around in circles for weeks, and absolutely nothing would be accomplished except a whole lot of yelling and wasting time being angry!"
"Well excuse me if I'm just a little concerned about my future husband's lack of interest in his family!" she shouted back.
The silence that descended was colder than the air surrounding them, and Suki clapped both her hands over her mouth, unable to believe that she'd said the words aloud.
"I didn't mean that," she mumbled, her voice barely audible.
"Didn't mean it?!" Sokka exploded, his voice cracking in outrage. "You shouted it in anger! People always mean that stuff!" She was shaking her head at him, a helpless expression on her face, but he barely took notice as he marched up to her, gesturing wildly as he continued. "I'm letting go of my entire family to make a life with you on this tiny little island that always smells vaguely of fish, and you think I'm not interested in family?! Do you have any idea what I've been doing the last month and a half?! Do you?!"
She stared at him, eyes wide, afraid of what would fall out if she made the mistake of opening her mouth. When she didn't give an immediate reply, Sokka grabbed her hand roughly and hauled her around until they were marching in the opposite direction they'd been walking. They kept right on marching, past houses and the snow-covered statue of Kyoshi, past the common house and the practice hall, until they were on the very outskirts of the village. He came to an abrupt halt, shoved her forward, and said, "Well?"
More than anything, Suki wanted to see whatever it was he was showing her that would make every thing right again, but as far as she could tell he'd dragged her all the way across the village to stare at a small clearing covered in a foot of snow.
"I cleared the trees," he volunteered through gritted teeth.
She continued to stare, uncomprehending, then turned to give him a pleading look.
He softened a little. "For our house."
"We don't have a house," she informed him politely.
Taking her by the shoulders, he turned her back toward the clearing, propped his chin on top of her head, and said, "Not yet."
a set of perceived behavioral norms associated particularly with males or females, also called division of labor
Eight days into married life, with the last of the guests departed and spring in full bloom, the snow had finally melted. Every stream on the island was full to bursting, the grass on the ground was thick and new, and the bright, tiny leaves on the annuals were well on their way to summer fullness. Daybreak came earlier, night fell later, and Kyoshi Island came alive. The ice on the water had broken and the fishing boats had returned to their work. The villagers spent their days outside, repairing roofs and planting gardens. The weather was absolutely gorgeous. The winds that swept in from the south were still chilly when the sun went down, but in the early afternoons, when the light was brightest, it could almost be considered warm.
Sokka's mood matched the weather perfectly – though he fully recognized that the real reason for his good humor was the fact that he'd spent very little of the last week clothed, and not because it was so beautiful outside. He hadn't actually been outside very much, except for the occasional stroll down the beach (and all he could really recall of those strolls was Suki's smile and the way she looked with sand in her hair). In his state of complete euphoria, the only thing that hadn't escaped him was the rising temperature. The rest of the islanders called it warm: to Sokka, it was almost hot.
So, while Suki went to her first practice session since the wedding, Sokka went looking for his summer clothes. Most of their things had been piled in one of the spare bedrooms until they could get to unpacking, but everything they had owned before the wedding had fit into three wooden chests, only one of which could be called large. It didn't take him long to find the sleeveless tunics, light wool leggings, and linen breeches for which he'd been searching. The cedar planks had kept out most of the bugs, but the usual wear and tear had broken a few seams and pulled out a hem or two, so he set aside the things that needed mending, moved what was in good repair into the new wardrobe – one of the Fire Lord's wedding gifts – and went on with his day.
He'd replenished the firewood pile, organized most of what still needed to be unpacked based on what room it was going into, rearranged the furniture in the living room, and started dinner by the time Suki walked through the front door.
"There's my beautiful wife!" he exclaimed, bounding to the door, not unlike an eager pup, to sweep her up into a kiss that was so exuberant it smudged the pigment on her lips. By the time they were done, they'd even managed to get white face paint on the floorboards.
After washing each other's faces and hands, and getting into a water fight that left puddles on the bathroom floor, they sat down on the back porch with a big bowl of pig chicken soup with rice, a plate of dumplings, and two spoons between them. The warmth of the afternoon was still hanging in the air.
"… and I can't decide if that ugly monkey idol General Iroh gave us should go in the living room, or if we should hide it in one of the spare bedrooms. What do you think?"
Suki gave him a blank look, pulled the spoon out of her mouth, and said, "Um…"
"Or maybe we could put it on the front porch," Sokka went on, pushing the dumplings around on their plate. "To… welcome visitors."
"You mean to scare them off during our honeymoon phase?" Suki volunteered.
Sokka was quiet for a moment, before replying, "Right then. The idol goes on the front porch. Oh!"
"Oh?" she repeated, dropping her spoon on the plate and picking up a dumpling between her thumb and forefinger.
"I did some unpacking today," he said around a mouthful of food, " and I found some things that need mending."
Suki raised an eyebrow when he didn't go on. Sokka swallowed, suddenly nervous for a reason he could only partly grasp, and said slowly, "I was wondering if you would, well… mend them. For me."
The raised eyebrow suddenly looked a lot more menacing.
"Why don't you just do it yourself?" she asked, her voice deceptively calm. "I'm not going to ask you to mend any of my things."
"I can't sew," Sokka informed her carefully, trying to keep his voice as neutral as possible.
Something approaching a smile flitted across her face, which softened a little, and she asked, "What makes you think I can?"
"You're a girl."
As soon as the words were out of Sokka's mouth, he knew they were the wrong ones. He braced himself for the explosion, but instead of the steady string of expletives he'd been expecting, he received only a derisive snort and something resembling a snicker.
"Hold on now," Suki said, shaking her head as she turned to face him. "You've been homemaking all day, and I'm the girl? Who's wearing the pants here?"
Ignoring the slight to his masculinity, with which he was very secure, and unable to believe he hadn't taken a verbal lashing over his slip, he plowed on. "So is that a yes or a no?"
Suki laughed, pushed the food aside, and crawled into his lap. "All right," she replied, running her hands over his shoulders. "But you're going to sit right beside me and watch very carefully and learn everything I can teach you about sewing."
"Yes ma'am," Sokka breathed. He leaned in to kiss her, but before he could make the connection she was up and out of his arms, pulling him to his feet with a sunny smile.
"Right now?" he whined as she hauled him inside.
"Yes, now," she insisted. "While it's still light outside. Your carnal appetites can wait a few hours."
"Are you sure?" he wheedled, pulling her to a stop and dropping his arms around her shoulders.
She looked at him for a few moments, then stood up on tiptoe to kiss him before replying. "Maybe we'd better feed you first. We don't want you getting cranky during your sewing lessons."
With a happy whoop, Sokka bent and scooped her into his arms. None of his clothes got mended that night.
the legal termination of a marriage, as ruled by a court or, in some cultures, one half of the marriage party
"Suki? Darling? Love of my life?" Sokka grunted, trying – and failing – not to squeak. "I don't think arms were meant to bend that way."
She let out a tiny, impatient huff, her breath ruffling the hair behind his left ear. "You're giving up already?" She sounded disappointed, and just the tiniest bit angry. She'd sounded like that a lot lately.
"At the risk of dislocating my shoulder?" he asked, craning his neck to look back at her. She was scowling. "Yes, I'm giving up already."
With another little huff, she shoved him harder against the wall and then disengaged. By the time he'd rubbed some feeling back into his shoulder and turned to face her, she was already running through a form for cool-down, studiously ignoring him.
"Umiko says you've been playing kinda rough lately," he began, leaning back against the wall he'd been eating only moments before, his eyes locked on the tiny space of white skin where her swinging hair and collarless tunic left her neck bare. "I told her you were just sleepy from being up all night," he was proud of himself for keeping the snicker out of his voice, but he saw her shoulders tensing anyways, "but after seeing for myself, I think she might have a better clue what's going on than I do, and I'm pretty sure, seeing as how we're married now, that I'm supposed to get those clues first. You all right?"
"Fine," she answered curtly.
He crossed his arms and gave her back a disbelieving stare. "Are you sure?" he continued. "You've been a little-"
"A little what?" she demanded, pausing to look back at him, that unhappy frown still firmly in place.
Walking to stand behind her, Sokka laid a hand on her arm, still outstretched in a simulated punch, and pushed it gently down to her side before wrapping his arms around her shoulders. She was rigid and still for a painfully long time before relaxing into his embrace.
"A little on edge," he said finally, after she'd turned in his arms and buried her face in his shoulder.
" 'm fine," Suki mumbled, slipping her arms around his waist. She took a deep breath, let it out in a long sigh, and then leaned into him so heavily he was supporting almost all of her weight. "I am tired," she admitted finally. "Exhausted."
Rubbing soothing circles into her back, he asked, "What's wrong?"
She tensed again, and glanced up at him before shaking her head. "Nothing's wrong. It's… I don't know. It's nothing."
"What's nothing?" Sokka pressed. "Cause something's bothering you."
The scowl returned. "Nothing's bothering me!" she insisted, pushing him away with only a little more care than she'd used to shove him into the wall earlier. "Just drop it, all right?"
He stared at her blankly for a moment, feeling more lost than hurt until a sudden realization washed over him. It was so incredibly simple that he didn't know why he hadn't worked it out earlier. The timing was a little off, but Suki was an active young woman, and that wasn't uncommon.
Unbelievably proud of himself, and thanking every deity in the heavens that he'd grown up surrounded by the opposite sex, he raised his hands in an offer of peace and said, "Consider it dropped." He could just picture her face scrunching in disbelief that she'd gotten her way so easily. "What do you say we call it a day?" he went on, reaching out to tug her to him again. "I'll make some dinner, and then we can take a bath. I'll rub your back."
She was smiling when she said, "Being extra nice definitely doesn't count as dropping it."
"I'm not being extra nice," Sokka replied as he winced mentally. "I'm just trying to help you relax."
"I don't need relaxing!" she informed him tartly, laying her hands on his chest to keep him from pulling her closer. "I said I was fine and I'm fine!"
"You're questioning my offer of a no-strings-attached back rub," he countered, relaxing his hold on her without letting go. "I'm pretty sure that means you need relaxing."
"It means I don't need you coddling me!"
He winced again, for real, and made a vain attempt at arguing. "I'm not coddling! Being extra nice does not automatically translate into coddling!"
She snorted. "Please! Like that's not exactly what was running through your mind!"
"You're the one who brought up the coddling!" he yelled, releasing her and taking a step back. "Why do you think I think you need coddling?! Are you dying?! Cause I'm gonna be really mad if that's what you're hiding from me!"
"I'm not dying!" she shouted back.
He countered with, "So you are hiding something!"
Suki threw her hands in the air in something resembling resignation. "How can I even argue with you when all you hear is what I'm not saying?!"
"You started that one with the whole coddling thing!"
"You are being ridiculous!"
"You're being ridiculous!"
"Look, do you want to wake up tomorrow and find all your stuff out on the front porch?" That one made Sokka pause, and she went on, "That's what I thought. Drop. It."
A long, uncomfortable silence stretched between them, and Sokka stared, uncomprehending, until another realization dawned on him. The breath left his lungs and it was all he could do not to stagger backwards into the wall. "Did… did you just threaten to divorce me?"
It was her turn to wince. It sounded so much harsher when worded like that.
"I – I don't," he stammered, stuck somewhere between despair, outrage, and surprise. "What – How could – Why would you even joke about that?!"
"So?!" He plowed on, completely oblivious. "Just because you're having a baby, that's no reason to… to… Wait, what?"
Suki looked – and sounded – dangerously close to tears when she repeated, "I'm pregnant."
Before she could blink Sokka had her back in his arms. He pulled her clean off the floor and went about kissing every inch of her face that he could reach, murmuring all the while about how much he loved her and how sorry he was that he'd yelled. It was a full minute before she could convince him to put her down.
"You know what this means?" he asked her quietly, grinning like a madman as he pressed his forehead to hers.
Returning the smile, she replied, "I'm going to win every argument for the next eight months?"
"Well yes, but-"
"You're going to keep offering me those back rubs?"
"Foot rubs too, but no-"
"You'll be at my beck and call until the baby's born?"
He laughed. "I'm already at your beck and call. But it's better than that."
"Better than having the most handsome man in the southern hemisphere a slave to my every whim," she mused, pursing her lips in thought. "Well, you've got me.
"It means," he pronounced slowly, cupping her face in his hands, "that I am now officially the most happy man alive."
"I'm glad I could help," she replied solemnly, her smile softening. "Now how about that bath?"
AN: Written quite some time ago for the amazing boosette in an amazing ficswap at atlasummerswap on livejournal. Go check it out! There's some great fic!
So... what'd y'all think?