A/N: Ok so there was mild scandal in the last chapter—BAD KATARA—but there will be more this chapter! Still rated T for the time being so don't be scared, my pretties! This chapter will also be made up of smaller paragraphs/scenes since there's a lot going on! A big thanks to those of you reviewing! Keep it up!
It was a day to remember, one that would be talked about in the Fire Nation for weeks, months, years to come. It was the day the Fire Lord would take a Southern Water Tribe girl for his bride, and—hopefully—start producing heirs. More than that, to Katara, it was the day that Sokka and Toph would finally come face to face in front of hundreds of Fire Nation nobles and honored guests from around the world. In short, she was sweating spearheads.
Katara was dressed like she'd never been before, in a gown that likely cost more than every other one of her belongings put together. It was long and flowing, and a golden flame barrette adorned her hair. She had to force herself from playing with it, since the women who had gotten her ready had already gone, and she was left to pace and fret all alone until her father fetched her, since he was going to walk her down the aisle. After a very ugly bout of pneumonia in the village, Hakoda had given over Chief position to Sokka, but Katara thanked the spirits every day that he had lived to give her away.
She saw that the lines on his face had etched themselves deeper when he came for her, and she found it comforting, as if something in her life made sense, had some sort of chronological sanity to it, "You look beautiful," Hakoda said, "Are you nervous? Your mother threw up on our wedding day."
Katara made a face, "Please don't talk about that," she said.
"I'd sure be nervous," Hakoda mused as he led his daughter toward the hall where the ceremony was to take place.
"I just hope Sokka doesn't put cactus juice in anyone's drink," Katara sighed, but she knew better. Somehow without Toph, Sokka had grown up—not necessarily in the good way—and she'd come to expect a lot less of his pranks.
Hakoda smiled, "Don't worry. I'll keep Sokka and Aang out of the alcohol until everyone else is good and drunk." The man stopped when they came to the entrance adorned with black and red lace and satin, "Your mother and I are very proud of you today, Katara," he said, "Although Kya is not here to tell you herself." He kissed her knuckles and then touched the necklace that contrasted the reds of her dress, "You are more beautiful than she or I could ever have imagined when you were a child."
Tears welled up in Katara's eyes and her father kissed her forehead before leading her past hundreds of their friends, acquaintances and a lot of stuffy old Fire Nation nobles. Some of their friends, including Teo and Haru gave little whistles as she passed, causing her to blush. The redness in her cheeks only worsened when she caught sight of Zuko, more handsome than she'd ever seen him, and looking at no one but her. When she came to stand across from him, his small, sweet smile made it obvious that he would much rather gather her in his arms and give her a crowd-awing kiss than wait for the ceremony in silence, but he was nervous enough to keep his urges under control.
"I can't believe it," Aang said quietly, taking a swallow of the alcohol he'd been given and making a face at how strong it was.
"I thought you weren't supposed to be drinking," Kanna lectured.
The Avatar sighed, "I won't tell if you won't."
"You got a deal," the old woman mused, then pointed at a servant, "Hey you! I'll have what this young man is having!"
"Are you sure? It's kind of strong. Aren't you a little too old to drink like that?"
Kanna laughed, "I think you mean I'm a little old not to drink like this. I've seen my two grandchildren get married three times. The spirits are bound to be after me sooner or later."
Aang frowned, "I just thought it would be different," he said, taking another drink with yet another face of disgust, "After she kissed me last night I thought she'd leave him for me."
After the Avatar's quiet outburst, Kanna took his drink and finished it herself, "That's enough for you. Why don't you go find a pretty girl to dance with?" she prompted.
"Because she's married!" Aang replied tearfully, leaving Kanna to decide whether to comfort the hysterical boy or sneak off while the getting was good.
Suki walked over to the table where a buffet was set up, smirking when she saw the woman who was standing beside her, "You'd better not be smiling at me," Toph growled.
"Oh Toph, the last thing I want to do to you is smile," Suki said pleasantly.
"Don't spit on me either."
"I wouldn't spit on you if you were on fire," Suki responded.
"Good, because if you saved me everybody might forget what a bitch you are," Toph said, smiling in satisfaction at Suki's obviously angry scoff.
Suki gathered herself, "Well Toph I'm glad to see you haven't lost your spirit. It isn't your fault that Sokka left you for me. I was surprised too. I'm just a strong woman while you… well you're a man."
Toph paused for a moment, "Then how about you get down on your knees and su-"
"There you are!" Katara exclaimed, grabbing Toph's arm, "I have been looking for you all over the place!" She smiled at Suki and drug the petite Earthbender away, "What did I say?" she asked like a scolding mother.
"You told me to behave with Sokka. You never said I had to behave with Suku. Besides, the bitch started it," Toph defended.
"Hey, Sokka," Jet greeted as the Chief passed him, "Listen, I don't want this to come between all of us anymore, you know? We could be friends, right? Start the healing and show the women how it's done?"
Sokka stopped and stared at the man for a moment, "Go to hell," he said calmly before walking away. He was looking for Suki when he bumped into someone he had definitely not been looking for, "Watch where you're going! Oh that's right, terribly sorry."
"I'm not sure which would be meaner, to tell you how stupid you are or to let you go on living a lie," Toph replied.
"I stopped living a lie when I admitted that I no longer liked men and divorced you," Sokka replied, taking a swallow of his drink.
Toph's eyebrow twitched, "It was hard to tell if it was really you. You don't smell quite drunk enough. What's the matter? Losing your stamina for publically embarrassing yourself?"
"Speaking of," Sokka mused, "Look out for any low footstools."
"I ran into Suki earlier," Toph said, "It's so nice to see you with someone of your own limited mental prowess."
"Well what can I say? I never should have lied and said that I love you. For that I do apologize," Sokka said coldly.
Toph scowled and shifted her foot to the right, causing a small pillar of the stone floor to knock Sokka aside into a servant who was carrying a tray of drinks. The glasses shattered on the Water Tribe Chief, and Toph smiled, "Now that smells like you," she said.
"Bitch," Sokka growled through clenched teeth, and it was obvious she had rattled his cold exterior.
"My my, not so sober after all," Toph said, taking a step back when Sokka rushed to his feet, but Katara was there in an instant.
"I told the two of you to behave!" she cried, "You can't even pretend to be decent people long enough for me to enjoy my wedding! Well that is it! I want both of you out of here until you can be civil and handle yourselves!" When both friends opened their mouths to protest she took them both by the arm, "Out!" she shouted, leading them from the other guests and slamming the heavy door behind her once she had returned inside.
"Shut up!" Sokka snapped, folding his arms.
"What's the matter, you don't want to play anymore?" Toph shot.
Sokka moved quickly, grabbing Toph's wrists and pinning her against one of the garden's larger trees, "Don't you ever get tired of this?" he asked, quickly ducking a rock that Toph sent his way, "Why do you have to be such a monster?"
Toph struggled violently against the warrior's grip, but it did no good, "Because I hate you," she said, puffing herself up to look meaner, and bringing her face closer to his, "I hate you!"
Sokka took a breath, wanting to shout that he hated her more, that he couldn't stand her, but his body seemed to control itself as he leaned in and pressed their lips together. He felt Toph's struggling cease and soon she had taken over the kiss, her arms wrapped aggressively around his neck. Before Sokka could react, they were both on the ground and he had hiked up the Earthbender's dress. Hands were wandering and muttered words of protest and pleasure intermingled until there were no words at all under the hot Fire Nation sun.
Toph sighed happily, comfortable and content on the mossy ground. Sokka was not so pleased, "This was a mistake."
"You sure sounded like you enjoyed yourself," Toph responded.
"Well yeah I did but," Sokka sighed, "What if you wind up pregnant or something?"
Toph laughed, "Well if the baby comes out tanned and stupid I'll just tell Jet it got burned from staying in the Fire Nation for two weeks," she said calmly, "What do you care, anyway? Wouldn't you love to see Jet leave me?"
"I hate that bastard," Sokka admitted, "But I don't exactly want Suki finding out."
"I get it," Toph said, "Get dressed and keep my mouth shut, I can do that." She stood up and fixed her dress as best as she could, "You might want to lend a hand unless you want it to be obvious," she muttered.
Sokka dressed and straightened Toph's hair and dress before clearing his throat, "Well I guess we can go back inside now. I feel like I can handle myself now," he joked.
"Yeah I feel properly handled," Toph said with a smirk, following Sokka back to the festivities.
"Katara's looking at us," Sokka said.
"Let me guess, she isn't happy to see us," Toph said, then left Sokka's side as simply as if they had never met, making her way across the room following Jet's voice.
"So what happened?" he asked when she reached his side, "Did you kill him?"
Toph smiled, "You know me too well," she said, "But no, we ignored each other until we could pretend not to hate each other."
Jet pulled Toph close and kissed her, "I'm proud of you," he chuckled.
"I can't believe Katara sent you out there with her," Suki fumed lightly, "Did she hurt you?"
Sokka winced as one of Toph's many scratches on his back shifted under his clothes and caused a little flair of pain as if on cue, "Not too bad," he said.
Suki kissed his cheek, "I just hope you gave it back to her as good as she gave it to you," she purred.
"Oh I did," Sokka said with a straight face, grabbing a drink from a passing tray and downing it as one of the musicians stood up.
"Where are the Best Man and the Maid of Honor?" he asked, smiling as Sokka and Toph each raised an awkward hand, "Why don't you two get over here and show us how it's done?"
Katara gasped, "I thought you told them not to do that part," she whispered to Zuko.
Zuko was maddeningly calm as he smiled, "I thought you did," he said, grabbing Katara's hand when she started toward the approaching couple, "Let them dance. It'll be alright." He slipped his arms around her waist and she lost any will she'd had to leave him, melting into his grip and bending to his suggestions like she was a flame in his hands, a very beautiful, very happy flame.
Toph and Sokka were close, and Toph let Sokka lead as they took a slow-dancing position that was somewhat awkward for both of them, and fairly new to everyone there, but Toph leaned over toward Katara, "Katara your dress is beautiful," she said.
Katara smiled and then realization hit her and she scowled, "Thank you Toph," she muttered, "It is beautiful."
Toph smiled and Sokka snickered childishly, "She still does that," the Chief mused.
Katara watched them for a moment with a bad feeling tickling the back of her neck, "I think they're drunk," she said to Zuko when they were out of earshot.
"You're not?" Zuko asked, then laughed lightly at her expression, little did he know none of them except for Aang—and Sokka to a much less degree—were even the least bit tipsy, "Don't worry," he said, "I didn't want to take any chances that I might forget even a second of you from today."
Katara frowned and put her head on his chest, "How do you do that? Say one thing and make me forget about anything but how happy I am?"
Zuko kissed her, "Diplomacy."
A/N: Hope you guys enjoyed it! Just a note to those of you out there reading: Please review! I don't really have this story 100% plotted out so a review might sway my writing NOT TO MENTION I am so starved for reviews haha. If you usually wait to review when the story is done, please don't hesitate to review now. You never know if I'm going to finish or not-I hope I am! Never feel your reviews are stupid or insignificant each one makes me do a dance of joy! Next chapter: SCANDAL! You might've guessed!