You have all been soooo kind to mee~ Thank you so much for your positive reviews and encouragement. =] Special thanks today to Ace Please, who MADE MY FANFICTION LIFE with her embarrassing, super flattering review of my last Zukka fic. So glad you guys liked it~ I'm touched.
I hope this next fic meets the standards you've all set for me.
Disclaimer: I do NOT own avatar, or any of the characters involved~ I am but a humble, nerdy fan.
Occasionally things would go bump in the night, when closed off from the world in the dead-silent temple chambers, but never so loudly. Zuko awoke with a start, upright and attentive in his less-than-comfortable bed. Normally, he could skip that drowsy still-sleeping stage, but tonight it took him a moment to break from it before he could hone in on the noise which had so rudely awoken him. Silent as the night itself, he stayed stock-still, good eye wide, waiting for another distant bump.
A dream? Surely not. But the hall was silent. The floor above didn't make a peep. He could feel Toph's snoring in the creaky wooden boards of his bed, but heard her none through the three layers of wall between them. Every bit of him hushed- his muscles didn't tighten, his breath became shallow, his eyelids fluttered but never touched. All of his senses magnified against the stone walls around him, waiting...
Zuko's head jerked, and with a sigh, he stood and walked calmly toward the window across the room. "You should probably stick to being a warrior. I have a feeling you wouldn't survive as a ninja."
A fuzzy, matted wolf tail peeked over the window ledge before Sokka managed to pull his face up into the opening. He glowered at the firebender childishly. "Hey, I was the master of stealth at the Boiling Rock!"
"You almost got us killed, making your little dramatic rendezvous with your-"
"Okay, okay, just pull me in."
Zuko suppressed a snort and grabbed Sokka's elbow, pulling him into the room with one arm and bracing himself on the wall with the other. The watertribe warrior stumbled in, but quickly regained his balance and brushed the moss and dirt from his shirt. As patiently as a man could be when woken three hours before sunrise, Zuko stood to the side, standing by his bed in the cold morning air and cropped pants, waiting for his guest to finish his personal inspection. When Sokka looked back up at him, Zuko carefully arranged the words in his head before he opened his mouth.
"Why the hell are you here?"
Right. He wasn't a morning person. The stunned look on Sokka's face assured him that he hadn't actually said 'Is everything okay,' but he brushed it off when the boy before him began to fidget.
Amber eyes were dead set on going back to sleep with or without Zuko, and Sokka's scintillating conversation was not helping him any. Unconsciously, or maybe not so much, Zuko shuffled back to his bed, listening in aggravation to the insensible mumbling from the younger teen by the window.
He could just push him out... No, if he didn't catch the ledge, he'd undoubtedly die. And catching the ledge at this time of night... morning... would probably be a bit harder than usual... Why was he so set on pushing him out the window? The scenario played again and again in his mind until Sokka finally blurted out some sensible grammar.
"I have to talk to you."
...Okay, sensible, but obvious. Finding himself back in his bed, Zuko chanced an irritated glance back, opening only his good eye- Sokka had pinked significantly. And not just the rosy 'I'm intruding on your sleep' pink, but more of a flushed, uncomfortable... teenager pink.
...Oh Gods. Zuko looked him up and down, from his nervous, jittery feet to his eyes searching for anything but Zuko's own. Something strange was going on.
"...You're going to have to be more specific than that," he finally commented, finding his commitment to the situation and the scone by his bed with a quick torch. The room lit up instantly in a dull red glow, and suddenly the color of Sokka's face wasn't so harsh.
Sokka fidgeted again, now able to really see the shirtless boy before him- and he didn't exactly look his cheeriest. Which, Sokka reminded himself, was about as happy as a turtleduck tipped on its back. "...How specific?"
"Have you ever had sex before?"
The sconce flared in a horrific display of pyrotechnics, frightening the not so stealthy assailant before flickering and cooling back to its original warm glow. The silence of night returned until the two met eyes. The gaze was held, one trying to make the other understand without words what was going through his mind.
Zuko found himself unable to break the stare, as much as he wanted to scream out of sheer discomfort at the question. Why would Sokka ask him that? EVER?Was there ANYTHING more embarrassing and unpleasant he could have asked Zuko at the time? The sleepy fire prince was now more awake than he'd ever been. He could have composed the fullest, most patient words any man had ever conceived, had he not forgotten half of his vocabulary on the spot.
Instead he went with the first thing that came to mind. "I uhh... What?"
Sokka's face turned a shade darker, but he continued to stare at Zuko for some sort of answer. His mouth twitched nervously and his fingers curled and uncurled around the hem of his shirt.
With little thought left in his brain, Zuko leaned forward past his knees and patted the end of his bed. Surprisingly, Sokka moved without a word to the end and obediently sat down, flipping his legs up to sit lotus style across from Zuko. The room grew awkward again, this time heavier than before, until Zuko cleared his throat and looked back up at Sokka from his sheets.
"Why are you asking me this?"
Sokka looked at him and then away and then back up, face contorting uncomfortably and desperately. "I don't know, I just... I've been thinking, and with Suki, and Dad mentioned it and I just-"
"Your DAD mentioned it?"
"He said he was concerned."
"About your sex life?"
When had this become a one of Tai Lee's slumber parties? Zuko wanted to kick himself for leaning into the conversation so curiously, but drastic times called for drastic measures.
Sokka reswallowed the lump in his throat and took a deep breath, trying to regain control of his burning cheeks. "We haven't. I mean, I haven't, I don't know if SHE has-"
"Okay, STOP." Zuko managed to cup his hands over the boy's mouth before he could go any further with his simpleton train of thought. He waited until he could no longer feel Sokka's mouth moving under his hand before he removed it and went on. "Start from the beginning," He commanded.
Sokka nodded and took another deep breath.
"I was with Suki, and we were... together and we were..."
The cruelty of the Awkward Gods bore down on Zuko as he struggled in vain not to watch Sokka's hand gestures as he explained his whereabouts before he appeared in the window. Sometime between Sokka's fingers weaving together and his palm meeting his forehead, Zuko had managed to tune out most of his words and caught the very end by the time he realized what had happened.
"...I don't know. It just got me thinking about it..."
Zuko leaned back and put his hand to his chin, thinking of how his uncle would react to a conversation he'd only caught half of. "Well..." He began slowly.
Sokka leaned in like he was in elementary school, hands on the bed in front of him to prop him up as he inspected his counsellor's face. Zuko squirmed under the intense stare and found himself clearing his throat again and again. What a morning this was turning out to be.
"...It's all up to you, isn't it?"
"So you have done it?"
Zuko spluttered for a moment before jerking backward defensively. "WHAT?"
"So you haven't?"
His nose wrinkled in displeasure before Zuko once again sat upright and crossed his arms. This was getting no where, and continuing to make very little sense. The sconce in the corner wavered and burnt low, offering Zuko some peace in the dark to help settle and gather his thoughts again.
All the while, as he sat and played with different phrases and offered gestures in his head, he could feel Sokka fidget and wiggle around at the foot of his bed. It was like having a baby Komodo Rhino on his mattress. It distracted him very easily from the little bit of brain activity churning in his head.
He couldn't find everything he wanted to in his own mind, but when the sconce flaired again, the watertribe warrior was at attention.
"...Do you want to?"
Silence followed the question, and the fidgetting resumed. Zuko waited patiently, watching Sokka open and close his mouth again and again, like a fish gasping for water.
He looked hopeful and frightened when he offered the answer- not surprisingly, considering the stern, rough 'sensei' he was facing.
"Don't do it."
This caught Sokka by surprise- he sat up straight, eyes wide and lost, and a little bit relieved. "What?"
"You heard me," Zuko confirmed. "Wait."
"Because you faltered."
The room was almost a dizzying burnt red in the sconce light, but the sun was beginning to rise, so Zuko felt to need to hurry his point along. Instead of waiting for another reply, he stood groggily, pulling Sokka up with him, and continued with his reasoning.
"You aren't confident in yourself, which means either you are not ready or you are scared to do it. Wait until the time is right- you'll know, or she will, and Gods forbid a person like Suki wait for an idiot like you to realize it's the right time."
The lecture finished, Zuko found himself silently cheering that he had managed to get Sokka to the door frame- though he stood now right on the opposite side of the arch staring back at his half-asleep counterpart with a less-than-well hidden question still on his face. A groan fell with an alarming lack of dignity from Zuko's lips- when was it going to END?
One more question. That's all it was. Surely Sokka knew some form of boundaries here- Zuko needed a few more hours of sleep, and if he didn't get it, not just one person would pay for it.
Though one might pay more than the rest of the gaang.
Sokka continued to play with the hem of his shirt as he looked around him wildly for anything to watch other than Zuko. The tired boy before him tried with all his might to burn whole into the intruder with his eyes as Sokka looked around nervously with that suddenly annoying shade of red on his face. "Well, umm.. I just.."
Hard eyes softened slightly, and Zuko's grip on the door loosened a little. Maybe this one was really important. Of all the things he had said so far, this was the one he was having the most trouble with. Maybe it wasn't actually a stupid question.
"W...Would you teach me?"
The door between them slammed shut.
Here we are! At the end of the fickage!
I hope you all enjoyed the ride, R&R very much appreciated. =] Thanks for reading!
If you see any mistakes, simple grammar or spelling, please PM me about it so I can fix it forthwith. Thanks. 3