Because Snowboardingchic25 asked for it. She even said please. You see what reviews do? Amazing little things...
"How did they find us?"
"I told you not to make a triple decker sandwich! Did you listen? Nooo!"
"I was starving! They would have tracked us anyway with how loud my stomach was growling. And you ate too!"
"Whatever, Sokka. Keep running!"
"What's it look like I'm doing?"
Aang and Sokka argued back and forth, having just escaped from the girls in the kitchen. Exploding flour bombs were actually effective for escape, even against blind, feel sensitive earth benders. Who knew? Since their Fire Nation sanctuary was no longer safe, they were running back to Zuko so they could borrow an airship to get them to Omashu. Why didn't they use Appa? Katara has the air bison whistle. Hence, riding air bison is not only a bad idea, it's suicide.
Aang, with the help of airbending on his side, was way in front of Sokka. The two sprinted upstairs, thinking they might be able to confuse Toph's 'sight' a little. In truth, they both knew she was just playing with them, like a cat and weevil-mice. Or rabbit-weasels.
They scrambled back up to the roof and ran to Zuko's office, now reasonably sure of where it was this time. Aang dropped onto the balcony first, while Sokka absently noted that they seriously needed to do something about the security. Aang pushed open the door, drew in a big breath of air to begin his ranted plea when he froze, holding his breath. Sokka landed next to him, took a look at his buddy then inside to what he was staring at. They openly gaped at the sight before them.
Zuko was pinned to the wall. Mai was standing in a pool of red before him. Aang let out his breath in a squeak. Sokka's hand automatically came up to cover his mouth. Mai sent them a lazy glance, a knife in hand.
"Sorry, wrong room!" Sokka blurted and slammed the door, backing himself and Aang up to the rail, his hand still covering his mouth.
"Were they just –"
"But with knives!"
"Aang," Sokka sent his friend a very serious look. "Fire Nation are freaky."
The metal balcony beneath them warped and shifted before either could react, wrapping around their legs. They both screamed as it sucked them down through the floor.
Back in Zuko's study, Mai was following Toph's advice. Most of Zuko's red shirt had been cut off at the front and fallen to the floor, leaving enough sleeve to pin him to the wall. Aang and Sokka's interruption already forgotten, they went back to the, ahem, forgiving each other.
"I'm so sorry! It wasn't my idea, he made me do it! I tried to stop him! Toph, please don't pebble me!" Sokka pleaded.
He would beg on his knees, but she had sunk him up to that point in the ground floor of the palace. Shortly before his begging had started, Toph had released Aang only for Katara to freeze him in ice and pull him after her. His screams still shook Sokka to the bone.
"You honestly expect me to believe all of that was Aang's idea and he forced you to do it? Especially," Toph stomped the ground, popping Sokka up slightly so that they were face to face. "when I can tell you're lying."
"But – but…but… I."
How it was possible that someone so cute and tiny and girly looking could be so scary was beyond him.
"Yeah. Really, that was an awful trick you two played," Toph said as she started to circle Sokka. She pulled the meteor bracelet off of her arm and bent it into different shapes.
"I can't just let it slide, you know."
She turned it into a little man as she went behind him.
"I have a certain reputation to maintain."
She came back in front of him. The little man's body was in one hand, his head in the other. Sokka gulped.
"Toph, baby. It was just a little joke. A little funny, ha-ha, laugh. I do that. I'm the funny, meat guy," he chuckled nervously.
Toph got right in his face and he immediately stopped.
"Do I look like I'm laughing?"
"Didn't think so," she straightened up.
Internally, she was. Toph got a special kind of pleasure from scaring people, her boyfriend included.
"I mean, that whole thing really upset me," she told him while picking dirt from under her nails. "I'm just all broken up about it. How are you going to make it up to me, Sokka?"
"I'll do anything. Er, almost anything. I'd like for it not to include bodily harm if that's okay with you."
Toph bent the little man into a little woman before molding it back onto her arm. She turned to him, somehow finding just where his eyes were and that face-splitting grin spread across her face.
"Almost anything, huh?"
As Aang was dragged through the palace by his irate waterbending girlfriend, the guards and servants had to wonder: Why didn't he just bend himself out? It would seem this might be another Avatar thing. When he is in mortal danger by his loved ones, he loses the ability to bend because of the damage he'd cause. Or he's scared. Like, planning his funeral scared.
She finally stopped and released him once they made it to the courtyard. Aang's first thought was that she wanted the execution to be public. He stood up, determined to face this like man- I'm not a man! I'm seventeen! – and turned to face her, looking very miserable. Katara threw herself at him, and he very visibly flinched.
"Oh, Aang. It's okay," she told him, wrapping her arms around the stiff airbender in a hug, "I know how having all of this responsibility gets to you sometimes. I should just be more understanding of you. When you're pulling these dumb pranks with Sokka, that's just your way of dealing with it."
"Uuuh…Yeeees. Yes! Exactly what you just said!" he agreed, now hugging her back. "It's so great how you get me, Katara. But…I thought you were mad at me."
"I can never stay mad at you. Now, come on. Let's go."
"Sure! Where are we going?" Aang grinned broadly, allowing himself to be lead by the hand through the palace.
"Back to the market, of course. I never got to finish looking at those kimonos."
The grin slipped off of his face.
"Oh. The market…kimonos."
"Yeah, except this time, we won't bring Sokka. He's such a handful."
"Good plan," Aang intoned.
Aang dragged himself through the doors of a sitting room in the palace over to an area padded with cushions before flopping facedown on top of them. He sighed deeply before rolling onto his back. Katara had forced him to go to every – probably not –single kimono, dress, comb, fan, jewelry store there was in the entire capital. She bought three items. She tried on a countless number. At this point, Aang wasn't sure if she meant what she said before or if all of that had been punishment.
A white and black ball of fur dropped onto his stomach and peered at him with curious, green eyes.
"You know, Momo," he scratched the lemur behind the ears as he spoke to him, "I really admire how you have enough sense to never be around when the girls are angry. You have to teach me that."
Momo tilted his head and chattered in a manner that gave the impression that what Aang had asked was a hopeless feat. Moments later, Sokka stumbled through the same doors. He didn't make it to the cushions, instead dropped to the floor and crawled to the area rug where the floor was marginally softer.
"So…what'd my sister do to you?"
"Shopping. Lots of shopping. Those are five hours I will never get back, Sokka. Gone forever."
"Ha, shopping. Yeah. I had to talk with her parents. Wanna know what we talked about? 'When are you going to marry our daughter and give us grandbabies?' You know what Toph said? Nothing! She was just sitting there, acting like she wasn't aware what was going on, but she did. Oh, she did. And she was laughing! Giggling, even!"
"Ah, the single life."
The boys in the room snapped their attention to the door way where Zuko stood.
"Looking at you two with your relationships makes me realize how much better my relationship is than yours, Sokka."
"You just take every opportunity to kick a man when he's down, don't you?"
"Sure. I'd do it now if there was a man around, but you'll do."
"I've really missed hanging out like this," Aang spoke up.
"What's really bugging me is that Toph thought I was lying about the prank being Aang's idea."
"Why?" Zuko asked, walking all the way into the room. "If it was your idea, own up to it."
Sokka sent Zuko a pointed look. He caught on to his meaning and glanced at Aang who was looking away and whistling innocently.
"So what about those grandbabies, Sokka?"
A/N: The entire reason this fic was written was because of those few lines when Aang and Sokka walked in on Mai and Zuko. I don't know where the rest came from.
If anyone has a problem with Toph/Sokka, refer to How Suki Killed Sokka's Self Esteem. It will explain all. Also, I have no idea what Zuko and Mai were fighting about. I might have at one time. But I forgot. So again, no idea. Use your brain matter and come up with something. If it's really good, you can message me about it, and I might turn it into another short chapter. But mostly, this is
(Actually, the end was up there before the author's note, but eh. Details, technicalities, details.)
To everyone who reivewed, favorited, alerted this story: A big ol' Thank you!