Chapter One: Sokka

The group was staying in a sliver of woods between the steep cliffs of some mountains and a peaceful river – the perfect site for both earthbending and waterbending. Momo had not stolen any of Sokka's food, which tonight was his favorite Earth Kingdom meat – meadow vole. Aang had not even bothered him once about the "evils of eating animals." The campfire was blissfully roaring, the food was delicious, Sokka's friends were all here and safe. Yes, tonight was perfect, except for –

Sniff. His stupid, snotty nose. Sokka had no clue where he would have gotten a cold from – nobody else had a cold, and they hadn't seen any other people since they visited the last town two days ago. He suspected Momo. Because clearly, it was the lemur's fault he was sick.

He sniffed for the third time in a minute. Katara snapped.

"Just blow your nose, Sokka!" she said with exasperation.

Sniff. "I did, just five minutes ago," said Sokka, "And now it's filled up again." Katara fumed. " Now don't interrupt!" Sokka said dramatically, picking up another leg, "This is the most perfect meadow vole ever, and I don't want to spoil the moment!" Toph snorted, while Aang shook his head at Sokka, and took another bite of his leechee nuts.

Just as Sokka was about to put his teeth into the tantalizingly juicy leg, he sneezed. All over his meadow vole. But Sokka had no time to mourn for his lost dinner because even more dangerously, he had sneezed all over Toph. Katara and Aang both stifled giggles.

"You," Toph snarled, putting her vole down gently, "Have about five seconds to tell me what I'm covered in before I bury you. One." She lifted a finger.

"Snot, snot!" Sokka said hurriedly, "I'm sorry!"

"Two." Toph lifted a second finger, the picture of eerie calm.

"I said I'm sorry!"

"Three." A third finger.

"What do I do?" asked Sokka panickedly. Aang shrugged.

"Run?" He suggested.

"Four." Sokka ditched his snotty vole and bolted for the river.

"Five." Toph abandoned her calm pretense and growled angrily to the sky. "Sokka, you're dead!" She chased after him.

Katara and Aang glanced at each other and nodded in silent agreement. Best not to get involved in the matter. Toph wouldn't really hurt Sokka – they hoped.

Sokka dashed for the river, but was nowhere close when he heard Toph stomping behind him. His eyes darted about furiously, searching for any escape route. There! With a giant leap, he gripped a low-lying branch on the closest tree, intending to climb it.

"Sokka?" Sokka froze, still slightly swinging from where he dangled from the tree branch. Any sound, any slight movement, might alert the snot-covered earthbender to his presence.

Concentrating on making no sound or movement whatsoever, Sokka did not even think about the consequences of one, insignificant, instinctual nose twitch.

Sniff.

It was hours before Aang finally freed Sokka from the pile of rocks Toph buried him in.

(-+-)

A/N: This is going to be a series of one-shots, as the disease moves through the gaang. The whole story takes place sometime between Bitter Work and The Library, as Toph is in the gaang and they haven't lost Appa yet. Hope you enjoyed it. :)