Note: This is the last bit, and it's mostly a short epilogue. Thanks to those who have been following the story. Drop me a line if you liked it (or hey, if you didn't). And thanks to the marvelous JadePrince who gave me the prompt in the slash swap and the excuse to write this. :)
They met on the shop's private patio. Everyone was else — Aang, Katara, and Toph — were inside, laughing as Uncle entertained with well spun story. Katara and Aang were holding hands which had caused quite a few raised eyebrows and joking comments. But now the night was winding down; all the activity and laughter was behind them, and they were out in this silent patio overlooking the vista of Ba Sing Se, alone.
The hard promise they made each other a month before had been kept. There had been no more encounters; all focus had gone towards the war. Zuko had picked Katara to go face Azula with him, because she was the best one for the job. He trusted Sokka to stay smart, stay safe. Sokka had kept the other boy firmly out of his mind as he went about destroying an entire fleet of airships, turning what should have been a suicide mission into a grand victory.
Their eyes met. There was a slight blush on Zuko's pale cheek, a quirk of a smile on Sokka's face as if to say: We did it, buddy. We survived.
It was hard to say who moved first. Sokka turned slightly as if to face him. Zuko stepped in to close the distance. It was an embrace that ended in a kiss; arms wound around one another, breathing in the other's scent, each in taking the feel; the strength of the other boy.
There weren't any words. No confessions of love or overly sappy romance. They kissed under the sight of the new stars, over a city newly liberated, and before a new type of future full of peace and prosperity.
Later, there would be questions from their friends. Explanations. Now, as they finally drew back and Zuko raised his hand to cup Sokka's jaw, and Sokka gripped tighter around him. They kissed again.
Now… it was perfect.