Never again… The simple thought that typically followed a night of heavy drinking, haunted him, even before he could reach full consciousness. He could feel the bright sunlight soaking his entire body. Already feeling the regret of his next action, he allowed his eyes to fly open. Repressing the scream that threatened to burst free from his mouth, he hefted himself up onto his elbows. His head throbbed, angrily. He took a quick look around, his mouth dropping open at the scene before him. "Oh. My. God. What the hell happened last night?" he asked no one in particular.
To his left, he heard a groan. "Sokka," came the weak voice, "keep your voice down. My head is killing me!"
The dark skinned boy glanced over, seeing Suki clutching her head. Her eyes were squeezed shut in obvious pain.
"Sorry, Suki, but seriously, what the hell happened last night?" He continued looking around. "We're outside, there's a giant hole, ramen noodles everywhere and…" He stopped, noticing Toph and Aang's unconscious forms. They were gathered together, desperately holding onto something in between them. "Is that a mountain bike?"
Suki cracked open an eye, looking first at Sokka, then at Toph and Aang. "Where could they have possibly gotten that?"
"That's what I want to know!"
"Sokka! Don't shout!"
"I'm not shouting!" Sokka whispered, heatedly. He finished looking around the yard, grateful for living far from neighbors and bustling streets. "Wait, we're missing Katara and Zuko."
"Huh? But they were here last night."
"Damn. Where could they be?" He struggled to his feet. "You might want to cover your ears, Suki." The teen did as she was told. Sokka cupped his hands around his mouth. "KATARA! ZUKO! WHERE ARE YOU?"
Aang jumped awake. He sat up upon hearing the shout. "What?" Then, the world began to swirl around him. He fell back, groaning. "Wha-what's wrong with me? I feel awful!"
"It's a hangover, buddy." Sokka said, walking over to him. "It's what happens when you drink like a man."
"But I didn't drink!"
"Actually, you did." Toph said, tiredly. She yawned and rolled over. "I kind of…slipped some moonshine into your drink."
"You did what?" Aang hissed. "I knew there was something off about my favorite drinks last night. I thought it was just me!"
"You needed to relax a bit more, Twinkletoes. I did you a favor."
"Don't do it again! I'll relax my own way!"
"No more shouting!" Suki growled. She stood, swaying on her feet slightly. "I'm going inside. I want peace and quiet so I can sleep this off…" She gave them a warning glare before marching into the house.
Sokka stared after her. "Drinking that much last night probably wasn't my best idea."
"Ya think?" Toph said, exasperatedly, throwing her arms out in front of her. "My gut feels so queasy…Ugh."
"I think we should all go inside and sleep. Come on, Toph. I'll help you inside." Sokka said, helping the small girl up.
"Could you get me a bucket, too? Just in case." She groaned.
Aang rose to his feet. "That sounds like a great idea. My entire body feels heavy. I need to feed Appa and Momo first though." He walked into the house, pressing a hand to the side of his head the entire way.
"I still have to find Katara and Zuko too…" Sokka sighed as he and Toph began heading to the house. "I wonder what the hell happened to those two."
"They'll show up. They probably just wanted to have a little alone time."
"What, pray tell, do you mean by 'alone time'?"
"What does it sound like I mean, Snoozles?" Toph smirked.
The dark skinned boy cut his eyes. "I'll kill him."
"Relax. They didn't even drink last night, remember? They're probably in their beds.
"Yeah! Katara is too goody-goody to drink and Zuko is a stick in the mud. They must be in their beds! Thanks, Toph."
"No problem, Snoozles."
Zuko started. Was that someone shouting his name? Why was most of his body underwater? A million more questions popped into his head. The darkness surrounding him caused his heart to beat slightly faster in panic, then he felt the large weight on top of him. It felt warm, yet fleshy…He reached up an arm and poked whatever it was on him. He felt it wiggle, then sit still again. Whatever it was, it was not moving.
Soon, his eyes became adjusted to the dark. He looked around, trying to gain clues as to where he was. A large mirror, counter, sink, toilet…the bathroom? He looked down. He was lying in the small tub, which was full of water. He still could not make out what was on him, but fur or hair was all he could see.
Movement outside the door startled him. It sounded like footsteps and hushed talking, then a little giggling. Finally, he heard a door shut. He groaned as a sharp pain shot through his head. He needed an aspirin. He closed his eyes, wondering how he ended up in this predicament and why he felt so weak.
The memories flooded him all at once. Last night, Sokka, Toph, Suki and Aang had started drinking! He and Katara wanted no part of it, so they escaped to their bedrooms, but later Katara had come in, sad that her friends were having all the fun and she was acting too 'stuck up' to join them. He remembered their talk and how they had decided to give drinking a shot, but not in front of the others, no, they would have only been teased. They decided to drink alone to see how they could handle it. If they were alright they would join the others later. He remembered the first few shots, but everything afterwards was just not there.
The object on him began to wiggle. Then, it let loose a small yawn. Zuko blinked. "Katara?" he asked, quietly.
"Zuko?" she answered. She twisted her head around to look up at him. "What happened? What are we doing in here?"
"I have no idea. I just woke up."
"Are we in a tub filled with freezing water?"
"I don't think it was freezing when we got in."
Katara began to giggle, then let it turn into full on laughter. "Oh, Spirits! I remember!" She had to take a few deep breaths to calm down. "After we took a few drinks we decided that we really needed to go swimming for some reason! But we couldn't find a lake or pond or anything, so we came in here and filled up the tub. Then, we stripped-" She suddenly choked on her words and stiffened. Zuko wondered why until her last statement sunk in.
"Oh…Agni…Are we…?" He asked.
"I don't know…Let me…" She let her arms roam her body. "Well, I'm not naked, but I'm in my underwear."
"Then, I probably am too." He sighed and leaned back. He was starting to get uncomfortable, but he was more worried about how composed Katara was acting. "You're being awfully calm about this."
She shrugged. "I'm still kind of out of it. I'm sure later I'll look back at this and feel horrified."
"Oh okay." He shifted. "Do you think we should get out of here?"
"But I'm comfortable."
"That's because you love water, hot or freezing cold."
"I was raised at the South Pole. I can't help it."
"Fine, but you have to share your body heat." Before she could protest, Zuko placed his arms around her and squeezed her to his chest. He moved his legs a little, allowing hers to fall in between his. Then, he sighed and closed his eyes.
"It'd probably feel better if I did this…" She twisted in his arms, turning so her blue orbs, which still had the heart melting affect to them, stared into his golden ones. Her arms snaked around his chest, her hands clasping onto his back. She was right, it did feel better.
The pair continued to stare into one another's eyes, not blinking, barely daring to breath. They felt trapped in the other's gaze. Zuko felt Katara's breath on his chest, slow and steady breaths that warmed him to his very core. He snapped his eyes closed, breaking their connection. He kept them shut for a few minutes, willing his head to forget about those deep, cerulean eyes that haunted him. He felt her stir in his arms and opened his eyes, slowly. He did not expect her face to be within inches of his own. Her half-lidded eyes stared at him, tauntingly, while her mouth hung slightly open.
Zuko did not want to think. He just wanted to feel her lips on his. He cut his eyes and inched his face forward. He brushed his lips against hers, waiting for a reaction. Her breath hitched, slightly, then she pouted her lips out, pecking his softly. That was all he needed.
Eagerly, the fair-skinned teen pushed his lips against the other's, firmly, but not roughly. She responded and pushed a bit more also. Her arms made their way to his shaggy hair and began to brush through it. His hands danced across her exposed back and sides, loving the soft texture of her skin.
Zuko parted his mouth and stroked her bottom lip with his tongue. She gasped and pulled back, breaking the kiss. Then, she dove onto him, attacking his lips with new vigor. She opened her mouth, allowing him access and could not believe the sensation that coursed through her at the feel of his tongue against hers. However, she had to break the kiss again for air. She laid her head on his shoulder, taking deep breaths. The boy began placing small kisses on any part of her that he could reach with his mouth.
"Zuko, Spirits!" she nearly moaned. "That was incredible. I feel…like I'm on fire." He nodded, watching her carefully. "Let's go again!" She lifted her head and the two continued with their passionate kissing.
"I know I keep hearing noises!" Sokka grumbled, walking back down the hallway for the umpteenth time. Fatigue was starting to wear on him, but his warrior senses refused to let him rest until he figured out where the strange noises were coming from. He passed by the bathroom and paused. Did he just hear another noise coming from inside? He pressed his ear against the door. Sure enough, another sound. "Finally!" He opened the door and flicked on the lights.
A scream and shouts of protest filled the air, certainly waking the others of the house. Sokka panicked and turned the light back off, without thinking. The gears in his mind began to turn as he realized what he saw. His face flushed red with anger and he switched the lights back on. "Katara! Zuko!" He screamed at the underwear clad twosome that was lying in the tub. "What are you doing?" He spotted their puffy lips and how quickly their breathing seemed to be. He paled. "Were you guys making out?" He received no answer. "I-I must have had one too many." He turned on his heel. "You two are only part of a really bad, liquor induced dream. I'm going back to bed. None of this happened!" He left, shutting the door behind him.
"Damn." Zuko cursed under his breath. "He could have at least turned out the lights behind him."
Katara giggled. "I think it's time to get out of here anyway. I don't think Sokka should find out the truth about this. Not yet." She pulled herself out of Zuko's grasp, much to his dismay, and climbed out of the tub. "Lets get cleaned up before anyone else sees us."
The scarred teen already felt the cold consuming the spot Katara had occupied only seconds before. He sighed, but grumbled his agreement. "Your brother always has great timing." He added as an afterthought, reaching down to unplug the tub.
"Yeah," Katara said, "He gets that from our dad." She chuckled at the thought. She grabbed two towels from the cabinet under the sink and passed him one. He accepted it and began to dry off, a sad expression still on his face. "La and Tui, Zuko, you act like we'll never do this again. Well, we may never go swimming in the tub again, but…" She blushed, not sure she could finish her sentence. Zuko grinned.
"I get it." He turned to leave. As he stepped out, he said over his shoulder, "I hope we get another chance to." Then, he was gone, heading to his room. Katara's body flushed, but a small smile danced onto her lips. She felt on air as she made her way to her room to change.