Pairings: ZukoxAang, KataraxAang, MaixZuko, SokkaxSuki
Warnings: Yaoi. Don't like? Don't read. Jealous!Katara, Perverted!Toph, Fluffiness, Swearing! Sexual references, Randomness!
Time: 100 ASC - Post War
Setting: Upper Ring - Ba Sing Se
Important Note: The dialogue in italics is the actors talking.
Summary: After the war, the Gang stays in Ba Sing Se for a much needed vacation. But what happens when Toph decides that everything is getting much too monotonous and brews up trouble, taking them to a play that portrays Aang and Zuko as a gay couple? And what happens when, during convincing the whole of Ba Sing Se that they aren't gay, Aang and Zuko find that they are convincing themselves as well?
ONCE UPON A PLAY...
Aang's grey eyes silently followed the slow and circular movements of the fan. Round and round and round. Their apartment was very still, since the afternoon heat had caused everyone to feel incredibly lazy. But try as hard as he might, the air bender just couldn't fall asleep. So he had resorted to just following the movements of the fan, in hopes that the repeated motions might make him feel at least a little drowsy. In the end, he had found himself concentrating even harder on following the circular motions of the fan with his eyes.
Presently, the stifling silence of the Gang's apartment in the Upper Ring was interrupted as the door to one of the rooms slid open and Zuko stepped out, yawning. Aang at once shot up, eager for something to do. "Hey, Zuko!" He called out brightly.
Zuko, however, seemed not to have noticed Aang and jumped violently as the air bender's voice rang throughout the room. He turned his head to squint at him, one hand reaching up to rake through his black locks. "Hey, Aang. You're awake a little early." He said as he disappeared into the kitchen.
"Oh yeah. I couldn't sleep. Personally though, I don't get why someone would want to sleep in the middle of the day. Especially you, Zuko." Aang said as he padded his way across the wooden floor and into the kitchen.
"Aang." Zuko said flatly as he turned around to look at the air bender. "It is ridiculously hot out there and you know there's absolutely nothing to do indoors. That barely leaves any choice." He said matter-of-factly before turning around to pour himself a glass of water.
"Well, we could have played a game of Pai Sh-" Aang began but was cut off as the front door slid open with a loud bang and Toph and Sokka entered.
"What's up, Twinkles? Sparky?" Toph asked as she plopped down onto the couches pushed up against the wall along with Sokka. "Hey, guys!" He said loudly.
"Where have you two been? I thought you were sleeping." Aang said as he glanced once at Zuko before going out and sitting across from them.
"Well, we obviously weren't, twinkletoes. And you should thank us too. Because we have already set up the evening's entertainment." Toph said, a mischievous grin curving her lips upwards.
"Why does that not excite me?" Zuko asked dryly as he noticed Toph's expression.
"Aw, come on, Zuko. Brighten up a little, would you?" Sokka said.
"Yeah, Zuko." Aang said brightly. "At least we don't have to sleep around anymore." He said.
"Suppose not. So what did you have in mind?" Zuko asked as he turned to the two.
"A play!" The two said in unison.
"Uh, I've kind of lost my taste for plays ever since that one on Ember Island." Aang said, somewhat warily.
"But this one is different." Sokka said.
"What's it about?" He asked.
"It shows Aang and Ozai's fight and...other things." Toph said with an almost feral grin on her lips.
Aang and Zuko exchanged a wary glance before looking back at the two. "What do you mean?" Aang said.
"Oh, you'll find out soon enough. I have a feeling you two are gonna love it." Sokka said with an evil laugh.
The sun had almost set when a large thump issued at the door, followed by the peaceful tinkling of a bell. Still, thoroughly bored, Aang trudged towards the door and slid it open. On the floor lay a scrupulously packed bundle of parchment and he peeked out to see the paper boy turning around the corner, a small bell in his hand. With a small smile, he stepped back into the house and shut the door.
"The evening paper's here." He said, even though he knew that no one except Zuko or Iroh would be interested. So, it came as a bit of a surprise when he threw it on the coffee table and Sokka at once jolted upright, a horrified expression growing on his face.
The tribesman snatched the paper up and Zuko's sharp gaze immediately noticed the hasty movement. "What's wrong?" The fire bender asked suspiciously as he looked at Sokka.
"HA! What makes you think something's wrong?" Sokka asked, his voice suddenly seeming a lot higher.
Zuko seemed unconvinced but before he could utter another word, Sokka sidled into the adjoining room. At once, he slammed the door shut and turned to Toph who was sitting on the floor, petting Momo. "What's up?" She asked absentmindedly.
"They printed it. They actually believe its true." He said, his voice shaking violently as he dropped the paper into her lap.
Toph stared up at him before a slight laugh followed. "Honestly, Sokka. That's pushing it a bit. I'm pretty sure no one's that stupid."
"You don't believe me? I'll get someone else to read it for you." He said seriously.
Toph looked up at him in surprise and at once shuffled over to the door. "This isn't good." Sokka said as he slid open the door a fraction and the two stared at Zuko and Aang who were sitting, blissfully unaware, on the couch.
It was in light of this unnerving discovery that Toph happened to be in an incredibly bad mood that evening while Sokka paced around looking nervous. "What is wrong with you two?" Suki asked worriedly.
"Nothing!" Sokka said, much too hastily and even though Suki seemed unconvinced - and somewhat offended - she let it go.
"WOULD YOU HURRY UP ALREADY, SUGAR QUEEN?" Toph shouted suddenly as she hammered on the door to Katara's bedroom.
"Calm down, Toph." Aang muttered from the sofa, but flinched as she turned on him.
"Don't tell me to calm down. There's barely three minutes left before the play starts!" She shouted angrily.
"Shut up, Toph. It's not Aang's fault we're running late." Zuko snapped.
A short, awkward pause followed in which the fire bender seemed a little uncomfortable concerning his rather harsh wording, Toph's sightless eyes stared at him, and Aang smiled gratefully at him. Then, as if nothing, had happened, she turned back to the door and started knocking on it. Hard.
"What is your PROBLEM.?" Katara yelled as she slid open the door with a loud bang.
"Well, tempers are certainly running high today." Mai drawled from the couch but no one replied.
"Let's not waste any more time, guys." Aang piped up before anything more happened.
"Yeah, come on." Sokka agreed and at once, bounded towards the door and slid it open. Everyone filed out and the tribesman slid the door shut before practically jogging down the street towards the theater. It took quite an effort to keep and by the time they reached their destination, they had all broken a sweat. However, Sokka was relentless and hurriedly ushered them into the building and straight into the theater room.
Aang's face fell as he saw that the show had already begun and in the darkness of the balcony, everyone hastily took a seat. His foot caught in someone else's and he tripped forward when suddenly, a hand closed around the scruff of his shirt. "Sit down." Zuko's voice breathed into his ear and he obliged.
He saw that, somehow, he had ended up alone with him in the very back row. Katara, Mai and Toph were seated in front of them with Suki and Sokka in the front seats. Aang made himself comfortable, crossing his legs underneath him as he sat back with his knee lightly grazing Zuko's leg. The fire bender, in turn, draped his arm across the back of the seat and they sat close to each other, as if it were the most natural thing in the whole world. Although, Aang was mostly just anxious because darkness engulfed them from all sides and even though two more people could have easily fitted on either side of them, there seemed to be some sort of unspoken pact to leave them alone.
And somehow, the dense air bender didn't find that suspicious at all.
"Aang." A voice whispered beside him and he turned to look at Zuko.
"What?" He whispered back.
"Check this out. I picked up this leaflet from the counter and I still don't have a very good feeling about this." He hissed conspiratorially.
Aang shot him a reproachful look which obviously meant stop being so paranoid but took the parchment nonetheless. Zuko jerked his wrist and as a flame sprung to life in his hand, the two leaned forward to read the overview.
Miyako Suzuri and The Ba Sing Se Royal Theater Proudly Presents:
Directed by the best of the best, this play sheds light upon the intricate series of events which lead up to the conclusion of the hundred year war from which all have suffered.
But what if there was an underlying story being concealed behind it all?
What if it brought two of the gravest enemies together in a heart-wrenching journey of pain, misery, suffering and...
"I still don't see what the problem is." Aang said.
"You're so oblivious, Aang. But don't say I didn't warn you." Zuko said before putting out the fire and turning to look at the stage.
Before Aang could ponder any more on it, the actors on the stage began to talk.
"ZUKO! WE DID IT!" The actor playing Aang screeched happily as he launched himself into the arms of another actor, who was obviously portraying Zuko.
"You sound like a girl." The fire bender humorously muttered into his ear and Aang frowned at him.
"I do not!" He whispered defiantly. "You look ridiculous." He added.
Zuko merely chuckled, his warm breath ghosting on Aang's neck as he did. "Not as ridiculous as you sound." He purred teasingly and the hair on the air bender's neck prickled as he suddenly grew much too aware of Zuko's presence next to him.
"No, Aang! YOU did it." Zuko said in an overly exaggerated voice.
"Who knew you were such a dramatist, Fire Lord Zuko?" Aang whispered jokingly.
"I only have one word to say to that actor." Zuko said and as the air bender looked inquisitively at him. "Ew."
Aang suppressed a laugh as he grinned at the fire bender before looking towards the stage again.
"Don't you know what this meeeans, Zuko?" Aang said happily.
Up on the balcony, Aang and Zuko exchanged a puzzled glance.
"But, it possibly COULDN'T!" Zuko said, one hand reaching up to rest on his heart.
At this, Aang giggled loudly and the fire bender nudged him hard in the ribs, only to have him laugh even harder. A loud shh issued from the front and Aang managed to suppress his mirth, even though his shoulders still shook.
"This is stupid." Zuko muttered, not at all amused by the ridiculous portrayal.
"I think you mean, 'This is so STUPID!'" The air bender said exaggeratedly as he took Zuko's hand in his and pressed it to the fire bender's chest melodramatically.
"You're such an-" Zuko began with a laugh but was cut off as another shh followed from the front. The two fell silent just as the actors spoke.
"Yes, Zuko! There is nothing in this whole world that can make us hide our undying love for each other anymore. I LOVE YOU, ZUKO!" Aang said and before anyone could even move a limb, the actor playing Aang ripped off Zuko's shirt and began to ravage his mouth.
Aang's mouth fell open in shock and he looked around at Zuko, to see that the fire bender's expression mirrored his own. Suddenly, he felt his cheeks grow warm and inched away from Zuko, only now realizing that they had moved even closer to each other during their whispered conversation. So there they were, their noses barely inches apart and both their cheeks flushed red, when the lights suddenly came on.
The two sprang apart almost instantly, Zuko snatching his hand away from the backrest and placing it safely in his lap and Aang sliding all the way over to the other side of the bench. But they weren't quick enough and Sokka and Suki stared incredulously at the two blushing boys. "Sneaking your own kisses back there, I see?" Toph interjected with a wicked grin.
Aang's face, if anything, grew even more red while Zuko glared at Toph. "Ha. Ha" The fire bender said, clearly not amused.
"Aw, come on! You're telling me you didn't love that?" Sokka said with an exaggerated grin.
"No, I didn't." Zuko said flatly as he stood up. "And I'm pretty sure that's Aang's not a fan either." He said coldly as he looked down at the air bender who had covered his flushed face with his hands.
"It's just a joke, Zuko. Brighten up, would you?" Katara said cheerily.
The fire bender refrained from swearing rather obscenely at her and instead, latched onto Aang's forearm and began to drag him out of the theater room. "Isn't that sweet?" Toph said, making disgusting kissing sounds.
Zuko slammed the door behind him and turned around to face Aang, only to see that the air bender was decisively making his way to the exit. "Aang, wait up!" He called as he followed after him.
"How could they do that?" The air bender hissed angrily as Zuko caught up with him.
"Yeah, well, they obviously think they're just a great bunch of jokers." He said darkly.
"You were right, I suppose." Aang said dully as his shoulders slumped. "But how did you know?" He asked, managing to infuse just a little bit of curiosity into his voice.
Zuko smiled wryly at Aang before pulling the parchment out of his pocket and pointing at a line. "Two of the gravest enemies." He said quietly.
"But we're not enemies any more." Aang protested as he pouted.
Zuko had to stop himself from smiling and instead, just pushed open the door to the exit as they reached it. "I know, Aang. Let's just go home before we have to suffer any more humiliation." The fire bender said bitterly.
"I don't want to go home." Aang said loudly. "You know they'll be there." He said with a frown.
"Where then?" Zuko asked quietly.
"I dunno. Somewhere quiet." Aang said as he looked down at the ground.
"Aw, how romantic." Zuko said teasingly.
"Not you too!" Aang whined and elbowed him hard in the ribs.
The fire bender drew a sharp breath before he burst out laughing. "Just kidding." He said as he draped his arm across Aang's shoulder.
Under his touch, the air bender immediately cringed and as a delicate blush bloomed on his cheeks, he averted his gaze from Zuko's. "What?" The fire bender said, somewhat offended.
"D-Don't. What if s-someone sees?" Aang mumbled quietly.
"What the hell is that supposed to mean?" Zuko said irritably.
"Nothing!" Aang said hastily but the fire bender did not fail to notice as he inched away from him.
"Whatever." The fire bender said coldly as he let his arm fall to his side and glared at him.
"Don't look at me like that." He said shrilly.
"My glaring at you doesn't make you gay, Aang." Zuko said angrily.
Stung, the air bender drew back. A short, awkward silence followed before he looked up at Zuko. "I didn't mean it like that."
The fire bender merely raised his eyebrows, as if saying Didn't you? and before Aang could even utter another defense, he had turned away and made his way towards the end of the street. The air bender stared after him with a scowl on his face, wondering if what he had done had really been that offensive.
Hmhmhmhm, I think Zuko and Aang might have turned out just a tad bit OOC
Anyway, hope you like this chapter and if you have any suggestions concerning the plot [yea, I don't really know where this is going xP], PM me :D
Don't forget to review!