Title: The Verisimilitude between Tangled Sheets
Summary: Zuko and Toph are friends. Sometimes lovers, but only when it's convenient. No questions asked, no strings attached—but of course, that was inevitable.
Disclaimer: Avatar: The Last Airbender is not mine. The characters are not mine. All I own so far is this plot…and this computer that I'm typing it with, but that's about it. It's a sad existence.
A/N: PLEASE READ. While reading this chapter, please keep in mind that the time intervals between Toph's and Zuko's point of views are inconsistent and are completely independent of each other. Basically, this chapter is like two totally different stories that have no relation to each other, time-wise. That is all, thank you for reading this bothersome note. :D
The Verisimilitude between Tangled Sheets
Chapter Nine – Distance Makes the Heart Grow Fonder, Maybe
"Thanks for letting me stay for the night," Toph said, enjoying her cup of freshly-brewed tea as she replayed the past few blurry days in slow motion in her mind.
She ran. As far as she could from Zuko's palace, she ran. Her eyes remained tightly shut—clearly done out of habit for it's not like she can see with them at all—as she focused her attention on his dissipating presence.
With shallow breaths, she eventually slowed down before settling into a quickly-paced walk.
"Toph!" a voice cried out behind her. She didn't give any sign of recognition.
"I'm sorry, Toph!" the voice was becoming closer. She knew perfectly well who it was, it was all too familiar. But he was very near the very bottom of the list of people she wanted to encounter. She opened her dry mouth to protest the oncoming existence, but no sound came out. She struggled to find the energy to run before deciding it was futile.
When he finally caught up next to her, he put a hand on her shoulder, urging her to stop.
"I'm sorry about what I said," his voice was nervous but not dishonest. "I was way out of line."
Toph kept silent, offering no response but to shrug off his offending hand.
"My actions were completely unacceptable, and if you're going to give me the silent treatment for the rest of the time we're here, I completely understand. Just please, forgive me?"
A vein in Toph's head throbbed. There was no use being angry with him, and she had bigger problems to worry about. Taking a deep breath, she conceded and resumed walking. "Whatever."
"Leaving already?" Sokka jogged to catch up with her.
"What does it look like?"
"Oh," he finally stopped following her. "See ya at the Kyoshi Festival at spring, right?"
Toph shrugged, not caring whether he saw her response or not.
"Okay then!" he called. "Stay safe, have fun, be good!"
And thus, Toph continued on her journey. She camped on undisturbed earth, enjoying the undiluted closeness she felt with her element. A week later, she had stumbled upon the base of the Order of the White Lotus, whose kind members were more than happy to accommodate her.
"You've become a beautiful young woman, Lady Toph," said Piandao sincerely.
"You're sure to break hearts some day, eh?" King Bumi added with a rough cackle.
Toph could have sworn she remained stoic, but she felt the knowing glances the wise men exchanged.
"Perhaps she already has." Pakkun spoke, and Toph openly flinched.
Iroh gave a hearty chuckle. "Well, what else did we expect from our feisty earthbender?"
The others soon stood up and retired to their own rooms, leaving the two in silence.
"My nephew," Iroh began, referencing Zuko. "He meant well, I am sure of it."
Toph said nothing.
"However, he doesn't always think things through. Though I know you're aware of that."
She felt a small smile tugging at the corners of her mouth.
"He probably rushed into things, as he so often does, and in doing so, scared you away. He will want to wait for you, but he cannot do it forever."
Toph felt herself nod, not fully understanding his words. She heard him bid her a good night, and she returned the gesture before returning to the guest room.
Zuko's warning of rebellious blocs entered her mind. She cursed. If only she knew how to write, she could send a letter to her shishou to let him know about the change of schedule. However, Toph didn't have enough time to mull over learning the written language, as she clamped her hands over her ears in an attempt to escape Zuko's confession.
It would only be a matter of time, she told herself, until she reaches the desert. While there, Toph vowed to focus all her attention to training and put the episode with Zuko behind her.
She left the comfort of her bed before anyone in the Order awoke.
Back in the palace, Zuko monotonously ran through meetings and paperwork, emotionally paralyzed at Toph's departure.
The down side to being a hero was that they were required to have an inextinguishable hope. They were obligated to always cling on to the small chance, despite unfavorable odds. And so with that in mind, he waited, day after day, in the hope that she would return.
No, Zuko wasn't so delirious that he expected her to declare her everlasting love for him. No, all he wanted was for Toph to burst through his door, crack a joke, and they would both pretend as if nothing happened.
But as months passed, his landscape remained the same and his underground pipes remained undisturbed.
It seemed as if to even hope for Toph's friendship was foolish.
"Your majesty," a servant bowed deeply upon entering his office. "Pardon the interruption. A visitor is waiting for you at the foyer."
"Tell them to come back another day," Zuko all but snapped. "I don't have the time for this."
"My, my, Zuko," a voice drawled from behind the curtained door. "Is that how you treat all your ex-girlfriends?"
"Show yourself," ordered Zuko impatiently, annoyed at the familiarity with which she spoke.
"It's only been three years since we broke up; don't say you've forgotten me already." Mai glided through the curtain and made a motion to dismiss the servant. "I'm hurt, Zuko."
The dull sarcasm still resonated in her voice.
"Mai!" Zuko unconsciously leaned against his plush chair, driven back by the surprise. "What are you doing here?"
"Oh, I was in the capital, decided to stop by," she strode over to his desk, resting a hand on it and displaying a ringed finger.
Zuko suddenly became very conscious of his own hands, weaving them together.
"You're not wearing your ring anymore," she stated. "Does that mean the rumors are true?"
Zuko's eyes narrowed, but Mai took no notice, too wrapped up in observing her nails. "What rumors?"
"I've heard from several people that you've been getting…friendly…with a certain Earthbender," she emphasized.
Zuko's nostrils flared. How dare she get involved with his business after three years of absence. "No."
"No? So it wasn't just a friendly encounter?"
"Nothing happened between Toph and I."
"You sure? I heard she's spent the night in your chamber on more than one occasion."
"She was sick," he answered stiffly, not wanting to elaborate much further. Outright denial would have only furthered her suspicion. "And the other night was because she was hysterical. I merely tried to comfort her."
He fed her the same lie he fed Katara, "She took the bed while I slept on the couch. Nothing indecent happened."
Mai's face transitioned from one of hostile indifference to that of relief.
"I'm glad," she said softly, her amber eyes considerably getting warmer. "And here I was thinking that little blind girl took my place."
Mai leaned over the desk and cupped Zuko's face before kissing him.
Zuko numbly returned the favor. Mai, he thought bitterly, it is you who is taking her place.
Toph entered the area where solid earth thinned out to be replaced by sand.
She grinned, feeling Xin Sha's presence from several yards away. "How'd you know I was gonna be here today?"
"There was a rumor of a plan to capture one of the war heroes. I've taken care of them."
Toph strode over to him, despite the increasing fuzziness of her vision. "I could've taken them."
"Of course." Whether he was being patronizing or sincere, his voice betrayed no emotion. "Let's go," he took a step closer to her and widened his stance the slightest bit.
Sand danced around them, swirling until Toph felt only the fraction they were standing on and then…nothing. Toph couldn't 'see' anything else, not even disfigured images.
"You'll be learning this technique." In their close proximity, Toph felt him cross his arms over his chest.
"Eh, shishou," she said uncertainly, unconsciously holding onto her new teacher's garb. "I can't 'see' anything in the air."
She felt him nod. "Exactly why you'll have to practice this. You'll have to figure out a way to connect to the earth while mid-air."
His tone was calm and even, with no hint of doubt.
"You just wanted to show off," she said with a smirk.
"But Lord Zuko!" one of his elder advisors pleaded. "You are well of marrying age and a union between you and Miss Mai would surely gather popular support!"
Zuko pinched the bridge of his nose. Here they go again, pressuring him into marriage.
"Of course," he forced himself to answer. "I'll take care of the matter soon enough."
"But you told us months ago that you had it taken care of already!"
Ouch. Though it was unintentional, that one remark went directly for the jugular. It hadn't gone exactly as he had planned, or rather, hoped. Toph refused him and he hasn't seen her since.
"As you know, Mai and I have rekindled our romance only five months ago. I am simply waiting for the right time to propose."
It was the same line Zuko had rehearsed in his head repeatedly to avoid murdering his marriage-manic advisors.
"If Miss Mai isn't adequate," his voice had dropped a tone. "I'm sure there will be plenty of other girls who would be honored to be your Fire Lady."
Just what he needed. A spineless, brainless tart who wants him for the power and the fame, in love only with his title and his face—the good part, anyway.
The truth is that Zuko was working up the heart to propose. He would learn to love Mai as much as he thought he once did, and he would marry her, and they would have beautiful children and be a happy Fire Nation royal family.
His chest throbbed.
With a quick wave of his hand, he dismissed the elder man. As soon as he was alone, Zuko dove through his drawers for his medicine.
He wasn't getting any better, and the pain-relief promised by the mulberry-colored antidote became less and less effective as time went on. He felt his own immune system was working against him.
The beginning stages of her training were the hardest. The sand refused to submit to her whim as she struggled to control it.
"Don't focus too much on your footwork. Concentrate on forearms and quick hand movements." She tried to apply the concepts her master kept repeating.
After a month of very little progress, Toph found the training ground comparatively easier to 'see' in. He had compacted the sand for her.
"Don't pity me," she hissed through gritted teeth.
"Then don't give me any handicaps!"
"You need them."
"I do not!"
"For now you do." Xin's tone held no room for argument and Toph begrudgingly complied, taking her frustrations out on the solidified sand.
He would watch her under the scalding afternoon sun, after he was finished with his morning briefings. He rarely bothered initiating small talk, deciding it was better to simply sit back and comment only when absolutely necessary. Occasionally, he would correct her stance, but most of the time he let her figure out her errors on her own.
"You can let the sand return to normal now," Toph chided during a break. "I'm getting the hang of this." As if to illustrate her point, Toph created a series of sand hills behind her.
She felt him regard her curiously. "I stopped using that technique a few weeks ago."
Toph's face broke into a large, triumphant grin. "I am so awesome."
"Don't get cocky."
"See? You're not denying it."
He grunted, and Toph imagined him rolling his eyes. She laughed.
Sometimes, when Toph was unable to sleep, she would return to the training grounds to practice. When she closed her eyes, she remembered Zuko's quiet murmurs as his lips trailed soft kisses along the shell of her ear and down to her neck. The memories were accompanied by a hollow pain in her chest, and she refused to answer to it. So she would go through stance after stance, forcing the sand to do her bidding, all so she could feel the boisterous beating of her adrenaline-fueled heart.
Because a part of her missed Zuko, but she refused to acknowledge it, and she would only return to her room after that small voice in her head withered off completely, if only for the night.
And in her attempt to make this denial her truth, she failed to notice Xin Sha watching her from his tower.
Tireless practice and minimal sleep took its toll on Toph's body as she found out one night when her much-improved 'vision' became increasingly fuzzy, and the last thing she remembered was the sound of frantic footsteps before slipping away into consciousness.
Fuck, fuck, fuck. Zuko scrunched his eyes close as he felt the familiar metallic taste overwhelm his mouth. Blood rose up from his throat as he rushed towards the restroom, before spilling over to the porcelain sink.
At this rate, his council would find out about his worsening condition. He had rushed out of the meeting chamber gracelessly, without bothering to excuse himself and with a hand over his lips.
"Fire Lord Zuko?" A hesitant knock came from the other side of the door.
Zuko cupped his hands under the running water before pouring some into his mouth. He let the cold liquid swirl inside, diluting the blood before spitting out the pink-tinged result.
"Are you alright, your Highness?" The voice was now urgent.
"I'm alright," he said, straining his throat so the other would be able to hear. "I'll be right out."
After splashing cold water over his face, Zuko took a deep breath before exiting the restroom.
"L—Lord Zuko!" One of his advisers gasped audibly. Zuko followed his subordinate's eyes and cursed. In his rush, he had failed to notice the blood stain that stood out against the gold trim of his robes.
The double-doors to the meeting room slammed open to allow the healers that rushed in.
"That's not necessary," said Zuko in the most calming tone he could muster. "I'm alright, rea—" His hands flew upwards, over his mouth, as he a coughing fit engulfed him.
This is convincing, he thought wryly as he felt blood seep through his fingers.
He felt one of the medics pry his hand away from his face, only to replace it with a cool fabric. This was the fourth time he had coughed up blood this month, and his body felt weakened. He felt his body being hoisted onto a stretcher and in the distance, he heard someone calling for Mai.
The royal healers carefully maneuvered his body towards the palace infirmary.
"Sleep, Zuko," Mai's voice commanded.
Zuko's heart clenched once again and he felt a cold sweep over him, leaving goosebumps on his skin. There was no warmth in her voice, it offered him no solace. Zuko bit his lips as he fought back the liquid stinging his eyes. The last he saw were Mai's shallow, amber pools, cold and unfeeling, before he felt her hands close his eyes.
He surrendered, feeling the warm liquid trace his tear ducts before disappearing into his thick hair. This was the woman he was expected to spend the rest of his life with.
When he awoke several hours later, he was granted a week's rest from meetings and other royal formalities.
"We have found high amounts of iron in your blood," the head medic told him. "Lord Zuko, we are not sure what could have caused this, but a sufficient amount of rest and a low-iron diet should suffice."
Zuko spent most of that time in his private garden, left to his thoughts in solitude. It dimly registered that he had barely seen Mai the last few months. He would be wrapped up in his office, without any idea of where she was or what she was doing. Even now, in his sick leave, he had only seen her during the evenings. It saddened him slightly that he didn't care much.
The week passed by all too quickly for his liking, however, as Zuko found himself pestered by the elders as soon as he set foot in his office.
"Fire Lord, please, in your condition, it would be best to secure an heir immediately! You must get married and produce one!"
"I'm sick, not dying," Zuko twitched, annoyed and mildly embarrassed by the elder's insinuation.
"Even so," he said impatiently. "How will the other nations view a leader who is still not married at twenty-five? Most men your age have settled down by now!"
"I'm only twenty-three," Zuko corrected dryly.
"Fire Lord, our nation has no doubt been weakened by the war reparations we were forced to comply with. A union between you and a respected noblewoman would only do good for our country."
And what about what's good for me? Zuko wanted to demand. It was selfish, he knew, and he decided against voicing it.
"There is a law, Lord Zuko, that a leader who is unable to produce a male heir by age thirty can be overthrown by the council, and replaced by the next in line."
"What kind of a bogus law is that?"
"It is to secure the nation for the next generations."
Zuko groaned. The next and the only one in line for the throne was Azula. Prisoner of war or not, she still had her royal birthrights. And knowing that some members of the council would prefer her in power sickened him.
"I've got time," he said, mostly to comfort himself.
"It's been almost five years since you've ascended to power, Lord Zuko. Think about how quickly that time has passed by," the elder gave him another wary glance before leaving.
Zuko walked over to a hidden vault, brushing aside the wooden shelf to reveal the metal underneath. He opened it and pulled out a small, velveteen box.
Maybe he should've listened to his uncle's advice. Maybe it would've been better if he hadn't rushed his proposal to Toph. Zuko opened the box and pulled out the small ring. Its large diamond stone caught the setting sun, making the green gems that surrounded it shine as well.
It matched the necklace he had given her. And he couldn't bear the thought of giving it to anyone else.
With a sigh, Zuko returned it to its cushioned home and closed the metal door.
He'll just have to buy a new ring.
From his spot by the window, Xin Sha glanced over to Toph as she mumbled incoherently, consciousness slowly returning to her and attempted to sit up.
"It would be best if you didn't strain yourself," Toph recognized his voice. Her attempts to discern her surroundings proved futile, as she was not in direct contact with earth.
"What happened, shishou?" asked Toph, letting her head fall back into the pillow.
"You've over-exerted yourself and fainted. You've been out for a good four hours."
Damn it, again? It seemed only a few weeks ago when she had collapsed in front of Zuko, when in reality, it's been several months. "What time is it, anyway?"
"Almost five in the morning."
Toph heard his footsteps coming closer, aiding her to sit up. "Where am I, anyway?"
"Oh." It seemed whenever she passed out, she recovered in some guy's room.
There was a stretch of silence between them. The men who find her never seemed to just take her to a medical center which, Toph figured, is the logical destination.
"I didn't know where your room was," Xin's answer was almost childish in its bluntness, as if it were the most common thing to overlook. Toph laughed. "Where did you sleep?"
"I don't sleep," he stated blankly, extracting another round of chortle from Toph. He blinked, dumbfounded as to what made her react that way.
"Ah," she breathed once she composed herself. "So you can be funny."
Xin's brows furrowed. "I was being serious."
"Hm…" she ignored his statement. "Now all that's left is to make you laugh."
"Ha ha, Toph. Ha ha." he enunciated ever syllable. "Happy?"
The next few days were spent in relative comfort as Toph's teacher allowed her to practice only the most basic sand techniques.
"It wouldn't do either of us any good if you passed out again," he had explained gruffly, before leaving to attend to an urgent meeting.
"You must be something else, kid," said Doku.
"I'm not a kid," Toph grumbled at the man who was appointed to look after her in Xin's absence.
"I've got a good six years on you," he replied easily. "So, to me, you are very much a kid."
She ignored him, launching a set of sand missiles towards an unassuming wall.
"Xin Sha doesn't take new students often. Come to think of it, it's been about four years since his only one…Can't really blame him, of course, especially with what happened."
Toph's ears perked, intrigued. "What happened?"
"He was abducted in an attempt to get to me," Toph suddenly felt Xin's presence, his voice tense and remorseful.
"Ah," Doku said, attempting to lighten the mood. "But we got him back safely so everything turned out fine."
"Will you ever learn to keep your mouth shut?" Xin asked Doku, a teasing weariness in his voice.
"You know I'm bad at that, little brother. Besides," Toph felt the closeness between the two men and smiled at them. "You picked a good apprentice this time. She's much cuter."
"You can go away now," Xin grumbled. She felt the sand beneath her shift, dragging Xin's laughing older brother away.
"Shishou, you and your brother are very different from each other."
"You've been training here for months. You can call me by my name, you know."
"I am, kind of." Toph shrugged. "'Shi' is kinda like that 'Xi' in your name, and since shishou means master, so I just mix it all together. So your nickname is Xishou!"
"Ah, and here I thought you referred to me as your master out of respect," he answered dryly.
"Someday," he swore, once Doku was completely out of earshot. "I'm going to kill him with his own poison."
"Eh?" That's an odd threat, thought Toph.
"He's a big fan of chemicals. Poisons and antidotes, he's the man for it. He's annoying, but useful."
"Interesting…" Toph trailed off, remembering the night when Zuko rushed to an apothecary. She had asked a stranger to tell her the name of the store he entered. An uneasy feeling came over her, similar to the one she felt that night, when Zuko admitted that something was bothering him.
"Do you miss him?" Xin's voice cut through her thoughts.
"Miss who?" Toph feigned innocence.
"You get that same faraway look in your eyes whenever you're thinking about him."
"I'm blind. My eyes carry the same expression everyday."
"Wrong. They change according to your moods. "
"They're my eyes, I think I'd know."
"Just because you can't see out of them doesn't mean others can't use them to look into you. Besides, you said his name at least three times while you were passed out—oh, and you're blushing right now, by the way. I took a stab in the dark and apparently hit jackpot." His voice now held a victorious tone.
"I don't know what you're talking about," Toph said, annoyed.
"Don't play stupid with me, Toph."
"No," she said through gritted teeth. "I don't miss Zuko."
"So you won't care that he's engaged?"
The sand that Toph was molding into a boulder fell to a shapeless heap. She felt her body numb momentarily, before gathering her bearings and collected the sand once again. "Of course not. He's my friend, I'm happy for him."
Xin hummed the tune of 'liar, liar, pants on fire!' under his breath. "Well don't throw a party for him just yet; it's only a rumor."
"I'm done with training for the day," she announced and walked away briskly.
Toph wanted to throw the boulder she had created over her teacher's head at his roundabout way of comforting her. But even more so, she wanted to smash it over her own head to crush the nagging feeling that had started to gnaw at her insides at Zuko's rumored engagement.
Author's Note: I hope the way this chapter skipped from one POV to the next wasn't too confusing. If it was, I'm very sorry, please let me know how I can improve on it for next chapter…Anyway, woo hoo! This one took less than two weeks! Anyway, as a heads up, the next chapter probably won't be until after December 8th…I have a website and a large research paper due before Thanksgiving, and after that I have finals, and I kind of want to pass. HOWEVER, there is a good chance I can submit a chapter before then, because I've already started on parts of the next chapter. They were originally a part of this chapter, but I decided you guys have waited long enough already and leave it at Toph pondering her situation with Zuko…even though I think we all have an idea of where this is going. Okay, I'll shut up now.
Lillythemarshmellowqueen: Yay! I love those little e-mail alert thingies! Now I can read the stories as soon as I get the alerts on my phone. But I can't leave reviews, so that's kind of a bummer for me…Anyway, I'm glad you like the fic!
Nychothomas: U.U I am deeply apologetic that this one took so long as well. Even more so, I'm sorry the next one might take even longer. I took your advice into consideration, and because I'm not sure how to do a recap that will blend in smoothly with the flow of the chapter, I kinda made references to the previous chapters…so I hope I didn't do too badly. He he. Thanks for not rushing me to update, it's good to know you've enjoyed the chapter where Zuko's heart pummels to the ground.
Brotherchimo: What could be worse than being the complete opposite? How about this, that chapter was at the other extreme of the spectrum than you were hoping for? And the necklace, hmm…I was going for those 'symbolism' factors, so the story should still make sense even though you don't understand it right now. Maybe in a few chapters, it'll fall into place.
Lazyguy90: I laughed out loud when I read the 'what a messed up relationship' part. It's so true. And dammit! Toko week! I completely missed it! And a few nights ago, I was doodling…and it would have suited one of the themes. Maybe I'll end up finishing it and submitting it on DA, but it'll be super late.
Sagibunu: Don't feel awful for not leaving a review for every single chapter! That'd be silly. :) I'm glad you're leaving me your thoughts at the latest chapter available, though. And I'm glad it's so long! I love reading through reviews, so if they're nice and long, it gives me something to read so yay! So no shame on you. And yes! Zuko all but died protecting Katara and I was determined to include that in this fic! Unfortunately, I don't foresee any fluff scenes between Zuko and Toph for a while. Oh, and I don't hate Katara, in fact, in real life, I have a friend who's so caring just like her and I love her to death. Except, she's not as self-important, so that probably helps. Haha. And yes! Indulge your Toko addiction.
Kagegahashiru: That sudden jump in the flow was intentional, haha. It was to emphasize that Zuko rushed things as soon as he felt he could, despite uncle Iroh's warning, so tsk tsk for him. I'm glad you noticed the disruption in the flow, though!
Adridere: About time he 'fessed up, in my humble opinion. Except, if I were him, I would not have done it via proposal. Ah, he is silly. AND YES! Toph will have to start questioning herself, as she did in this chapter, and she'll have to start coming to terms with things she may not be ready to face. Maybe her sandbending teacher can teach her a thing or two, eh, because she needs a voice of reason.
Syeira: Aw, thank you and thank you. You flatter me so. I love dragging things out and separating them, huh? And mystery guy is finally revealed! He and Toph just started actually talking towards the end of the chapter, though, so it's too early to call what will happen between them. ;D
Party in the Afterlife: Zuko, I would say, is not who people would call subtle, under any circumstances. Haha. To me, he seems so impulsive, driven by his emotions, especially when he was all angsty during the beginning of Book 3. Ah, but that's why I love. And dammit, that's why Toph ought to fall in love with him, too! If I were here, I'd have fallen seven chapters ago!
C00kiemon: …Me rove you rong time. At four a.m., that is what came to mind in response. Hah. Anyway, Zuko would fail epically at life without uncle Iroh—who finally makes an appearance woo hoo! Oooh, and jealousy is fun to write about! I particularly liked envisioning Zuko spewing out the unlikely circumstances to deter her from leaving in the first place. Oh, and I loved how you phrased that, 'make her realize that he's the firebender for her.' It was so unexpected and it caught me by surprise that I had to read it over and over again to make sure my mind wasn't making things up!
Blz1990: Yeah, I feel bad for Zuko, too. But if there's anything I've learned, the harder the climb, the sweeter the fruit, and that's something he's got to learn!
Avatargirl92: ACK! I totally missed that! I'm sorry! In my mind, I've changed it so it makes sense, I guess I forgot to type it out. I'm sorry, it's totally my fault and I hope that didn't stop you from enjoying the rest of the chapter. A beta sounds like a good idea, but I don't want to be too bothersome to anyone. Does anyone want to be my beta reader? If you're interested, please say so in your review, and I'll get back to you. =D
Lulu: Oh hey! Zuko might be engaged! More drama! And uh, hmm. Why has Toph not gotten pregnant? I dunno, maybe during her ovulation week, Zuko pulls out? Haha. XD
Mlkoolc86: Hmm, yes. Things were going so well. That's why the heartbreak at the end was necessary to balance out the forces of good and evil, mwahaha! And he'll get his chance, maybe. But probably not.
YumKiwiDelicious: Ooh, yes, denied! Those are the words of truth, and you saying them is completely acceptable. :3
Liooness: Ah, no problem! Actually, I'm sorry. I've read all of your fic updates on my phone, but I can't leave a review over my blackberry, so I'm sorry. Any other day, I don't think Zuko would've lied to Katara so blatantly. It was just one of those days, y'know?
Cutie in boots: Aw, Sokka's not an ass. He was drunk and stupid, those never go well together. :(
Forever: Dun dun dun dunn! Even more twists! I'm glad you like how the plot's developing!
aGirlNamedMouse: …consider yourself lucky, this update came two days after you read it. The other had to wait almost two weeks for this one, haha. And okie dokie, I'll check out your stuff!
Oh, and if you guys have any fic recommendations, yours or not, don't hesitate to push them my way! I find myself having such little time even browsing the site, and it's shame that I could be missing out on other fantastic fics!
Thank you so much, I love you guys!