Katara gave a chilly breath, glancing at her brother with a slight smirk and raising the bottle of Budweiser to her lips. "Here's to … what should we toast to?"
"To mom." Sokka smiled slowly, raising his beer bottle up to the thin sliver of a crescent moon as he leant against the railing of the small balcony that protruded from his sister's bedroom.
"Here, here." Katara smiled back, up-ending the rest of her beer. She frowned, taking it away from her mouth empty. "This is pathetic, you know? There's a bunch of New Years parties going on right now."
"What? You don't want to stand here drinking beer with your big brother?" Sokka patted her on the back, before taking another swig of Budweiser.
"You'd much rather be with Suki right now. The only reason you're here is because you don't want me to be alone. Well, that and you're Suki's bitch right now." Katara hurled the bottle and waited for it to smash on the street below. It let out a satisfying smash as it broke, shattering into tiny shards across the sidewalk she could see. "This is really just pathetic."
"How is it pathetic?" Sokka looked at her.
"Have you met me?" Katara let out a humorless laugh. "I don't get depressed." She met Sokka's skeptical gaze. "Oh, right. Well, not over boys anyway."
"Well I mean … you and Jet were pretty serious."
Katara glared at Sokka. "I'm not upset about him dumping me. I'm upset that he did it in front of like, everyone we know, in the middle of town."
Sokka paused for a moment, tilted his empty bottle and looked away from his sister. "You want to go to a party? Zuko's got all the booze you can drink at his place."
Katara laughed at her brother. "Okay. Can I throw that?" she pointed to his bottle. With a supportive smile, Sokka handed her the bottle and watched her launch it across the suburban paradise. It smashed into the side of a house, causing Katara to pull a face and pull her brother back into her bedroom to avoid someone seeing them.
Sokka banged his fist on the large door at the front of the mansion, hitting the doorbell again with his other hand. The hood of Katara's blue hoody was pulled up over her head as she looked down at her black sneakers. Music was pumping loudly inside.
"Hey!" Sokka shouted, hitting the door again.
One of the double doors opened to reveal a familiar smiling face. "Would you like a wrecking ball? Maybe you can knock it down a little faster." Zuko smirked, opening the door to let his friend in. Sokka stepped in, revealing his sister behind him. Zuko's face immediately dropped. "Hey, I saw what happened earlier at the mall. Are you okay?" Zuko asked tentatively.
"I'm fine." Katara looked up and smiled briefly, walking in. Zuko shut the door behind her.
"Good. Don't let that jerk bother you." Zuko put a hand on her back, leading them to the large hall were a huge crowd had assembled. Sokka grinned at the crowd.
"So where's your dad?" Sokka turned to look at Zuko.
Zuko shrugged, a grin forming on his own face. "Denver, I think." He looked up the large stairs to see people dancing on them to the music beating from huge speakers near the bottom of the steps.
"And your sister?"
"With Mai and Ty Lee at the beach. They'll probably end up staying the night at Chan's and then spend the day there tomorrow." Zuko's grin drooped a little, before he tugged the siblings into the crowd, toward a drinks table. He grabbed up two beers, handed them off to them and grabbed his own. "Come with me." He headed toward the base of the stairs. They followed him upstairs.
Sokka brought his eyebrows down in thought as he clasped a bottle in his hand. "Why are they at the beach? It's supposed to snow tonight." He asked as he faced Zuko's back.
"Sorority thing, I guess. They're doing those stupid pledges again." Zuko ground his teeth, freehandedly pulling the cap off his bottle. "You'd think they'd have stopped after what happened last summer."
"No kidding." Sokka shook his head as Zuko pushed open his bedroom door.
"Everyone out!" Zuko grabbed the emergency soda bottle at the foot of his door and shook it up, handing his beer to Sokka. Sokka and Katara pressed their backs against the hallway wall as soaking wet teenagers swarmed out of the room whining and complaining. Sokka smirked, catching sight of one of his school rivals storming out covered in cola. The siblings walked into Zuko's room, a black and red room with a few gold accents like the curtains and a few trophies and knickknacks here and there.
A sofa and recliner sat in one corner of his massive bedroom surrounding a black coffee table that harbored a few music books and some math homework with a worn textbook beside it. His bed was a king size with horizontal red and black stripes on the top sheet, and despite the family maid's love of throw pillows, he only had two, a collapsed red one on the left side and an untouched black one on the right. A red neon lamp stood on a dark wooden nightstand at the left side of the bed, with a half-consumed Stephen King book lying pages-down at the base of the lamp. The walls were painted a dark scarlet red and the floor was carpeted in black. One wall opened up a wooden sliding door out onto a large stone balcony with wooden flooring and a garden swing on it.
"Uh … what happened last summer?" Katara asked, pushing back her hood and scraping off the cap of her beer on the nightstand near Zuko's bed.
Zuko sank down in his recliner as Sokka sat down on the couch. "Azula had a group pledge in the woods. One of the girls never came back and the next morning the police found her hung to death in a tree." Sokka shivered at the thought.
Katara's mouth fell open as she sat down next to Sokka. "You're messing with me." She looked at him sheepishly.
Zuko shook his head and leant forwards, snatching his beer from Sokka. "No, he's not. Azula nearly did juvie time for being the last person to have seen the girl. Turned out some psycho had found out they were doing the pledges that night and he'd been waiting there for them." Zuko knocked back a merciless sip of his drink. "I mean, Azula's not the best sister ever, but … you know, I can't imagine what could've happened."
"Wow." Katara looked down to the beer bottle in her hands, before taking a polite sip.
"Chill, Zuko, this is supposed to be a party." Sokka held up his bottle to toast. Zuko and Katara knocked their bottles with Sokka's, celebrating with him.
"Hey, what time is it?" Zuko glanced at the wristwatch on Sokka's arm.
"Oh, uh …" he looked down at it. "Half past eleven." He looked back up.
"Great; you guys can catch the fireworks." Zuko put his bottle down on the coffee table as his phone beeped in his pocket. He pulled it out and looked at it. "This can't be good." He looked to Sokka as he brought it to his ear. "Zuko here." He asked suspiciously. "Azula- what are you-," Zuko interrupted himself to laugh. "Really? You called to tell me that?"
Sokka smirked, knowing what was going to happen now.
"Uh- no, I really don't- uh, Hi Mai." Zuko let out a disgruntled breath. "Are you drunk too?"
There was a loud laugh on the phone. Well, Ty Lee was anyway.
"Snowing- yeah, Azula just told me." Zuko looked over his shoulder at his open balcony door. The snow was falling heavily. "Mai, you're … yeah, Mai, you need to stop drinking now. I'm serious." Suddenly Zuko's face went completely red and his mouth opened as if to answer, but he couldn't find any words. He looked up to see Sokka with his hands over his mouth, struggling to keep his laugh in. He pushed a button on his phone and cleared his throat. "Uh … could you repeat that?" He'd put the phone on speaker.
"What? Why … you heard me fine. Come on, I'm drunk. You can … I don't know, take advantage of me or whatever." She suddenly let out one of the first laughs Zuko had ever heard her let out. Sokka burst into laughter, before slapping his hands over his mouth again. Katara covered her mouth with the back of her hand.
Zuko struggled to keep himself from laughing too. "Can you put my sister on?"
"Hey, you guys need to stop drinking if you're planning on getting home before the countdown." Zuko lifted his beer bottle again.
"No, I think we're going to go to Chan's for the countdown. You know, to keep you from taking advantage of poor Mai." Azula joked drunkenly.
Zuko laughed. "Right. So you're going to Chan's." Zuko scoffed. "Okay, have fun." He pulled the phone from his ear and pressed another button. "You know, when she's drunk she'd almost pass for a human being." Zuko guzzled down some more beer.
Sokka wiped his eye from laughter. "Mai was … I couldn't believe she said that!" Sokka laughed hysterically.
"Me neither." Zuko smirked, putting his phone on the coffee table. "Girls are crazy." He shook his head with a slight smile. "No offense." He glanced at Katara.
"None taken." Katara smiled fully, pouring some beer down her throat as the end of the bottle tipped upwards.
"Whoa! Slow down!" Sokka reached for the bottle she held to her mouth.
Katara turned away, finishing the drink. She pulled it away and grinned at Sokka. "Too late." she looked at Zuko, who was up-ending the last of his own beer.
"You two are a real pair, you know that? You'll meet each other when you're in your forties at an AA meeting." Sokka grabbed Katara's empty bottle.
"What's with you?" Katara raised an eyebrow at her brother.
"If you have a hangover tomorrow morning, Dad will kill me." Sokka answered calmly, putting her empty bottle on the coffee table.
"Relax, Sokka. It's a party." Zuko drummed his fingers against the textbook on the coffee table.
"Yeah, Sokka." Katara grinned again at her brother. Sokka shook his head and looked back to his watch.
"It's quarter to midnight." He looked back up to Zuko, who was getting up.
"Time for the Fireworks, then." He led them out onto his balcony that overlooked a large lawn where people were swarming out of the house. The first rocket whistled its way up through the sky and the snow falling from it, exploding in a burst of orange.
"Wow, it's really coming down, isn't it?" Katara bit her lip. "Think the roads are safe for Dad?" she looked at Sokka, who looked just as worried.
"I hope so." He answered in concern. Hakoda was heading into town that night to spend the evening celebrating with his childhood friend, Bato. The roads were very likely to freeze over. Another explosion, this time in green, burst open in the sky, illuminating the flagstone mansion.
Zuko would've said something about worrying about his father, but honestly, he wasn't worried. He did think of his Uncle, though. His Uncle was on vacation in Bermuda with his cousin, Lu Ten, who'd just graduated from Harvard that fall. They were his real family. The ones that cared about him. It probably wasn't snowing in Bermuda, though. He had nothing to worry about. Well, at least they'd be back by the time school started back, maybe he could go see them and welcome them home.
Zuko smiled as a red flash illuminated the sky, him and his friends. "So, Sokka, why aren't you with Suki right now?" he looked past Katara to the older boy on her other side.
"We're having a fight right now." Sokka answered calmly. "She'll come around by Valentine's." he snorted a laugh at his own sardonic humor.
"Right. What are you fighting about?" Zuko leaned on the stone rail.
Sokka shrugged, causing Katara to answer for him. "He left pecker tracks on her brand new satin Christmas panties." She grinned mischievously, removing her hoody and tying it around her waist.
At this Zuko sniggered and doubled over slightly, leaning further into the railing. He looked back to them, catching Sokka glaring at his sister with an evil eye. He wiped his eye from laughter and shook his head. "Man, I wish I hadn't asked."
"Yeah, me too." Sokka murmured. "Honestly, I can't see why they couldn't go in the washing machine."
Katara sniggered. "She made him take them to the drycleaners." She looked back to Zuko as a blue flash lit up the sky.
"Oh, no." Zuko let his head fall into his hand as he laughed. "How'd that go?"
"Shut up, Katara." Sokka scowled. "Or I'll tell Dad you were drinking."
Katara nodded and smiled innocently. She leant towards Zuko and said under her breath, imitating Sokka; "Oh, no it's … uh … yoghurt." Zuko actually winced as she said this, embarrassed for Sokka.
"Oh, god." Zuko dipped his head down and gave a small laugh.
"Shut up, Katara!" Sokka was beet red now. "You have just as many embarrassing stories as any of us here, by the way." He glared at Katara.
"Oh, yeah? Like what?" A blue flash of light illuminated Katara's face.
Sokka thought for a moment, before grinning and turning to Zuko. "Katara took off her shirt at Suki's birthday party."
Katara's mouth fell open. "You bastard!" she punched him in the arm. "How did you know that? You weren't even there!"
"Suki told me." Sokka looked back to the fireworks.
Zuko was smirking smugly. "Why?"
"I was very, very drunk, okay? And it was hot. It was August, by the way." She glanced hatefully at Sokka. "Besides, it was an all-girls party."
"Yeah, well, why'd you need to get on the coffee table?"
Zuko sniggered. "Nice." He smirked at Katara, who gave him a hard slap in the arm.
"Perve." She laughed at him, before a wicked thought came over her. "You have stories too, you know."
"Not as many as you two."
"Oh, you have more than the both of us combined." Sokka pulled a lopsided smirk at Zuko.
Katara glanced at Sokka. "Azula made him watch 'Twilight'." She grinned.
"Yeah, that was … horrible." Zuko shuddered. "I think I threw up."
"So did we." The two answered together. They grinned at each other.
"Countdown!" Katara suddenly yelped. "Challenge time! Whoever consumes the most alcohol before midnight gets to-,"
"No way, Katara, you're already too drunk." Sokka put a hand on her shoulder.
Zuko paused. "I'll play with you." He gestured toward the house. "On your marks."
"Get set!" Katara added, readying herself for a sprint.
Sokka sighed heavily. "Go!" he finished for them. They sprinted for the house and Sokka walked after them, where the people inside were already chanting down from sixty. When he got downstairs, the two of them were standing next to one another by the drinks' table, both of them chugging from beer bottles up-ended.
'Thirty! Twenty nine!'
Sokka crossed his arms and watched as they discarded the empty bottles and grabbed for new ones. Katara swiftly removed the cap against the edge of the table and got a head start while Zuko pulled off the cap freehandedly. Beer trailed down Katara's neck and chest, before soaking into her red low-necked t-shirt, while Zuko sucked down all the beer in his bottle.
Katara and Zuko each knocked back a shot of vodka and lemonade, glaring at each other in extremely poor focus, fighting not to grin. They knocked back another couple.
They each knocked back another couple.
'One! Happy New Year!' The whole crowd chorused out as Katara fell into Zuko, laughing like a maniac. The both of them went crashing to the floor, laughing and screaming out the celebration. Katara loomed over Zuko with a shit-eating grin on her face.
"You gonna give me a New Year's Kiss?" She grinned jokingly.
Zuko laughed again, unable to move. "I was thinking about it. Your brother's right there though." He tilted his head back and saw Sokka's sneakers.
Breaking out in laughter, Katara rolled off of Zuko and grinned up at Sokka. "Come on, Sokka, it's more fun when you're drunk."
Sokka shook his head, letting an equal grin grow on his face and grabbing a champagne bottle from the drinks table. He shook it with one hand and popped off the cap, directing the explosive foam at the two drunkards on the floor. With a shout of surprise, Zuko rolled onto Katara.
"I'll protect you!" he joked, leaning over her on all fours. The liquid was however, unavoidable. Katara laughed up at him, shoving him off of her.
"Ooh! I have an idea!" she forced herself up to her feet, dragging Zuko up with her as Sokka's weapon ran out of ammo. "Come on!" she dragged him through the crowd. Not that she noticed, but a fair amount of boys gawped at her sopping shirt sticking to her, just as girls stared as Zuko's smart white shirt stuck to his abs. Sokka raced after them, trying to keep up, which wasn't hard as both narrowly avoided tripping over things. He lost sight of them however, as he tripped over someone passed out on the floor.
Katara shoved open the door into Ozai's personal gym. Zuko started laughing. "I'm not allowed in here." He leant in the doorway, alcohol sinking into his blood.
Flicking on the switch, Katara saw the pool lights light up the water and she grinned at Zuko. "Okay, well, if you want to get sticky from the Champagne…" Katara kicked off her heels, pulled out her ponytail and untied her hoody from around her waist. She took a heedless run at the pool and belly-flopped in. Zuko burst out in laughter.
"You forgot your clothes."
"Who says I forgot? We just established you're a pervert." The water came up to Katara's chest. She was in the shallow end. "Just get in already!"
Zuko kicked off his shoes next to Katara's and ran at the water with abandon. Jumping at the last second, he wrapped himself into a cannonball and splashed into the water. He came up for air, pushing his wet black hair out of his face. "This is stupid, you know." He laughed at Katara. "The two of us swimming in our clothes."
"Well, when people ask you what you were doing on New Years' Eve, you can say something cool." Katara grabbed the top of his head and shoved him under the water. Zuko grabbed hold of her waist and pulled her down with him, the both of them kicking playfully at eachother. The two came up for air, inhaling and laughing at their own stupidity. "You look like a wet dog." Katara pointed at him with a devious grin.
Zuko suddenly smirked, shaking his hair quickly, splattering water everywhere. He pushed his hair out of his face again. "I'm not going to remember any of this tomorrow." She pulled a lopsided smile. "That's how drunk I am."
"Lightweight." Katara shoved him impishly. "What is there to remember, anyway? We'll probably pass out on the stairs once everyone goes home."
"Aren't you going home?" Zuko stumbled onto his feet in the water.
"Are you kidding? I can barely stand up straight." Katara reached out for him, catching hold of his arm to steady herself. "I'd probably puke in the car."
Zuko stuck out his tongue in distaste. "Ugh." He grunted out.
"No kidding." Katara suddenly beamed at him. "Marco."
"Fuck off. I can't." Zuko shook his head drunkenly, raising a hand and entwining his fingers into his black hair.
"Marco." Katara repeated and covered her eyes with her hands.
Zuko gave her a mischievous grin, before sweeping his foot behind her ankles, causing her to fall back with a yelp. "Polo." He answered, looking down at her as she got back onto her feet. The smirk on his face split into a full-blown smile. "Oh, no, you found me." He teased. "Marco."
Katara grabbed his arm and pinched it. "Polo." She snapped with a grin. He simply beamed right back at her. "How much do you think you will remember then?" she crossed her arms, her clothes dripping water back into the water.
"I'll remember you and your clothes sticking to you." Zuko grinned devilishly. "And that I had the opportunity to take advantage of an extremely drunk girl on the rebound and I was so honorable, that I didn't."
Katara smirked. "Right. Because I am easy to take advantage of." She shook her head sarcastically.
"Right." Zuko replied with a smug simper. "You really are such a … delicate young lady." He poked her in the ribs, causing her to yelp out.
"Yeah, it's not like I can take care of myself or anything like that. Why, if it weren't for such a wholesome community as this one, I'd probably be dead right now." Katara ran her fingers tauntingly up his arm.
Zuko felt the tickling sensation on his wet skin. "Oh, definitely. Probably in some gutter or something." He swallowed the dry feeling in his throat.
"Hmm." Katara answered with a long breath, smirking as she ran her fingers over his arm.
"That's starting to bother me." Zuko lied, looking to her hand on his arm.
"Sorry." Katara took her hand back and stretched her arms up to yawn. "So when is the party leaving?"
Zuko's eyes darted over her body as her wet clothes parted with her skin. "Uh … any minute now." He shook his head quickly.
"Oh?" Katara glanced at the clock. It was quarter past midnight.
"Yep." Zuko felt a grin spreading on his face. The fire sprinklers suddenly came on over the pool and he could hear shouting and screaming in the next room. Katara was staring up like it was raining, beaming up as the water poured over her.
"Why is there a fire sprinkler over the pool?" she suddenly laughed.
"I have no idea." Zuko laughed back, leading the way to the edge of the pool. The water moved against him and his clothes as he pushed through it. He grabbed hold of the edge of the pool and pushed himself up into a sitting position on it.
Katara swam after him, hoisting herself up to sit next to him. "So." She began. "Where do you want to pass out?" Katara leant her head on his shoulder.
Zuko scoffed a laugh. "You know what I want to do?"
"I want to get another drink. How about you?" he glanced down at her.
Katara reluctantly let a grin spread on her face. "Oh … I don't know." She moaned under her breath.
"What are you? Chicken?"
With a breath, Katara leapt to her feet. "Fuck it. Come on."
Sopping wet, the both of them walked out into the main room, leaving their shoes and jackets there, to catch sight of the last few people leaving with damp clothes. Sokka sat on the stairs, glaring at them. His face dropped when he saw that they were completely soaking and clinging to eachother in drunkenness. Not only that, they were heading toward the drink table.
"What the hell is wrong with you!" Sokka instantly was in front of Zuko, poking him in the chest angrily.
"Me? Oh, uh … I'm really, really drunk, and …" Zuko broke off his train of thought to laugh in Sokka's face.
"My dad is going to kill me!" Sokka flung his arms up in the air.
"Dad won't be back 'til tomorrow afternoon, Sokka." Katara slurred, poking Sokka in the forehead. "And Zuko says we can sleep over."
Zuko tilted his head. "When did I say that?" he garbled debauchedly.
"Well, can we?" Katara leant heavily on him. "I mean … someone's got to drink all this booze, right? 'Cause otherwise your Dad'll find out you had a party."
Sokka slapped his own face. "No way. You're already way too drunk, Katara."
"Oh … okay, Sokka. I guess we should go. But I think we'd ought to borrow a bucket or something, because I think I might be sick …" Katara frowned with a sigh.
Sokka growled angrily. "Okay, fine. We'll stay, but only so you don't puke in my car, got it?" Sokka's voice cracked.
"Yay!" Katara let go of Zuko and grabbed Sokka in a drunken hug. "You're the best brother ever!"
Sokka grumbled. "I need a drink." He let go of her and the three of them headed for the drinks table, Katara and Zuko at a run.
Katara groaned in sickness, leaning against the toilet seat, her legs folded under her. "I'm never … going … to drink … again." She panted, before retching into the toilet again. Zuko was sitting against the tile wall, a black plastic bucket in his lap. He was holding his hair out of his face with one hand.
"All actions have consequences. That doesn't mean you regret them." Zuko drawled out, gripping his bucket pathetically.
Katara lifted her head up. "It does when you're blowing chunks from the bottom of your stomach." Katara groaned in anguish, still holding her hair in her fist, behind her neck.
Zuko started laughing, but his chortle ended abruptly as he resumed puking into the bucket. He could feel his insides burning and his head thumping loudly. Sokka suddenly banged his fists on the door from Zuko's room.
"Guys, come on! I need the bathroom!"
Katara grumbled as her head spun. "There's one downstairs!" Katara shouted back. She let out an excruciating moan. "Oh, god…" she groaned out, her head dipping back into the toilet as her stomach's contents came up violently through her throat.
Zuko's stomach was churning as he lifted his head up, refusing to look into the bucket for fear of what he might see. "I'm dying." He panted pitifully. "I swear to god, I'm going to die." He glanced up at the ceiling.
Katara pulled her head from the toilet and spat into the toilet, trying to rid herself of the taste of the Chinese food they'd ordered at two in the morning the prior night. "Fuck…" she inhaled deeply and rubbed the sweat from her forehead with the back of her forearm. "We're a pair, aren't we?" she scoffed an ironic laugh.
Zuko grunted humorlessly. "Regular fucking 'Odd Couple'." He answered sarcastically.
"Idiots." Katara scratched her head to find rice falling out of it. "I have food in my hair." She shook her head with a grimace.
"Better than hair in your food." Zuko replied with a single laugh, before calculating his breathing. "You know you said last night, I'd be able to tell people something cool if they asked me what I was doing on New Years' Eve?"
"Mm-Hmm?" Katara murmured.
"I just hope they don't ask what I did on New Years' Day." Zuko groaned, shutting his eyes with a self-scolding racing through his head.
"You know, the only thing you didn't do last night was get laid." Katara said into the toilet, her own words echoing around her.
"You and I both know I could've." Zuko laughed slowly.
"You'd like to think that, wouldn't you." Katara sat up straight and smirked at him.
Katara plucked open her locker and withdrew her Biology books. She shut the locker and held the books at her side in her left hand. She turned around to head to class, only to see a familiar smirking face behind her. She scowled. "Go away, Jet."
"Look, Katara, I just came to give you the opportunity to apologize." Jet put his hands in his pockets. "If you can get over your pride, we can put this behind us and get on with our lives."
Katara's mouth literally fell open, her eyes widening to the point where she thought they would pop out. "Me? I should apologize?" she screamed angrily. Heads turned in the corridor.
"Yes! You walked out on me in the middle of a conversation!" Jet replied, basking in the attention of the other students.
"I didn't walk out on you, you dumped me!" Katara clenched a fist on her free hand.
"We were having an argument, for god's sake!" Jet threw his hands up in a temper.
"You called me a prude in front of the whole school, you jackass!" she stamped her foot angrily. The whole corridor was staring at them.
Jet grumbled in a low voice, before continuing. "Well, if you could just keep an open mind-,"
At this point, Katara launched her fist across the air, right into his pretty-boy face. He stumbled back, his eyes wide and his hand clapping over his face in surprise. He finally stood up straight enough to stare at her in bewilderment and distress. The punch was an eye-opener, a bolt from the blue, judging by the way he reacted to the wake-up call. He clutched his face and glared daggers at her.
"You conceited little jerk-off." Katara brought her eyebrows down even further. "I wouldn't touch you with a ten-foot bargepole." She growled under her breath. "And if you ever say so much as a word to me, ever again, I'll rearrange your face." Katara turned her back to him and stormed off for her class. Suddenly there was uproar of laughter and cheering behind her. Toph appeared at her side.
"Attagirl!" Toph slapped her friend's back.
Katara smiled at Toph. "Hey, where are you supposed to be right now?"
Toph shrugged. "English, I think. Want to cut class?"
Katara considered it for a moment. "Uh … no, I think I'm good. I'm probably going to get in trouble for punching Jet, the last thing I want is to cut class on the same day." Katara patted her friend on the shoulder. "So how are things with Aang?"
"Why don't you ask him? You're always asking me." Toph yawned, reaching into her shoulder bag for her chewing gum.
"Things are weird between us. So?"
Toph grinned. "We had sex." She bit her bottom lip.
Katara's mouth fell open. "You bitch!" she grinned back. "You were supposed to wait for me!"
"Well then, I guess you've got to catch up." Toph smirked, giggling girlishly.
"So what was it like?" Katara strained the words.
"Umm … it was fun. It was … intimate …" Toph scratched her chin in thought. "I know there's a word for it, it's a good word too, but I can't remember it."
"Electrifying?" Katara asked.
"Raunchy?" Katara smirked, raising an eyebrow.
Toph scoffed a laugh. "Jeez, you're so not a prude." She smacked her friend in the arm. "Oh! I got it!"
Katara blinked expectantly, as Toph grinned out the word.
"…erotic." Toph bit her own tongue as she said it.
"Ooh, that is a good word." Katara nodded slowly, checking her watch. "Oh, shit! Sorry, Toph, I'm late for class! See you at lunch!" Katara raced off down the hall, leaving Toph to roam around the halls before finally settling on sitting down in the hall and listening to her iPod.
"Sorry!" Katara bit her lip, smiling awkwardly at her Biology teacher, Mr. Piandao.
"Don't let it happen again." He waved disinterestedly, continuing with his lecture on cell structure.
Katara slid into her seat next to Suki and opened up her Biology book, taking notes. She leant aside and scribbled on a scrap piece of paper, pushing it to Suki.
'Did you hear about Toph/Aang?'
Suki looked quizzically at Katara, scribbling down a reply. 'What about them?'
'They went all the way.' Katara looked up to her friend, who covered her mouth to hide a grin.
Katara nodded with a girlish grin. She pulled the paper off the desk and hid it in her pocket. The last thing she wanted was for Piandao to find a note like this. Technically, the students weren't supposed to be having sex at this age. And Toph's parents would go apeshit if they found out she'd had sex at fourteen. Then again, this was California; home of Jamie Lyn Spears and Lindsay Lohan.
An hour later, Katara and Suki were no more educated in the molecular structure of a virus than in that of a black hole, though now feeling a little more tedious than they had before. The two walked out of the class and made their way to the cafeteria, however, Suki pulled Katara toward the window to point out at the snow covering the whole campus, before they raced off to the lunch hall and snagged the last four-seat table available. They hadn't had to wait in line, thanks to packed lunches.
Katara pulled out her chicken-mayo sandwich and plopped it down on its cling-film wrapping in front of her. "So, I punched Jet." She suddenly exhaled happily.
Suki's eyes widened and she choked on her toffee popcorn. "What? When? Why are you telling me now?" Suki gasped.
"Well, I only did it before Biology." Katara smirked. "I used your 'bargepole' line in correlation with Toph's facial rearranging line. I love stealing lines from you guys."
"Nice one, girl." Suki patted her on the arm across the table. "So, face or body?"
Suki grinned. "So, what did you do on New Years' Eve?"
Katara bit her lip and beamed. She was prepared for this question. "I got absolutely shit-faced, jumped in a swimming pool with my clothes on, gossiped about Sokka and the yoghurt-on-the-panties, fell on the floor and ordered Chinese food."
"At your house?"
"At Zuko's. I was way too drunk to leave, so I slept over."
Suki choked again. "On you own?"
"No, Sokka stayed too. Probably to make sure Zuko didn't take advantage of me or something like that." Katara scoffed a laugh. "So then me and Zuko spent the whole day New Years' Day puking and knocking back aspirin."
"True friend." Suki smiled softly. "You know that saying; 'A friend will bail you out of jail, but a best friend will be next to you screaming 'Whoo! That was awesome!',"
Katara laughed again. "Yeah, he is a good friend." Katara looked up across the lunchroom, over Suki's shoulder to see Jet glaring daggers at her like a child in a pout. "Jet's throwing a tantrum." She looked back down to her sandwich, before lifting it and taking a bite. Jet's jaw was bruised; purple, black and grey.
Suki looked over her shoulder. "Ooh, fuck. Nice punch." She turned to face Katara again.
"I know, right?" Katara grinned at her own food, stealing one of Suki's popcorns.
Suddenly, someone sat at Suki's left and Katara's right, and someone else sat opposite them. "Hey, guys." Toph smacked a fist onto the table. "Ooh, popcorn." She snatched up a handful of Suki's popcorn.
"So, congratulations on your maiden voyage." Suki held out a hand to Toph, who took it and shook it.
"Why, thank you, Suki." Toph tilted her head appreciatively.
"Hey, what about me?" Aang laughed, elbowing Suki.
"Congratulations, Aang." Suki shook her head with a small smile. "But it's a lot bigger for a girl than it is for a boy."
"Who says?" Aang scoffed a laugh. "I think it's pretty big. Like a rite of passage. An … assertion of my manhood, as Sokka would put it."
Toph snorted a laugh. "I think we all know who's the man in this relationship, Twinkletoes." She slurped out of Katara's orange juice carton.
"Hey, I saw what happened with that jerk on Saturday." Aang looked to Katara.
Katara looked up from her food. She swallowed and pointed past Suki. "It's okay. I got back at him." She smirked.
Aang looked and saw Jet's face, a huge purple bruise on his jaw. "Ouch." He yelped, wincing. "Nice job."
Toph suddenly quoted Katara. "I wouldn't touch you with a ten foot barge pole, and if you ever speak to me ever again I'll rearrange your face," Toph slapped her hand on the table, sniggering out a few momentous laughs. "Best. Line. Ever."
Katara smiled happily. "I thought that was pretty good." She clenched up her empty sandwich wrapper and tossed it across the crowd and straight into the bin. "Score!" she threw up her hands. Not long after, one of the jocks upended a nerd and inserted him into the bin.
"So, Aang, would you describe your affairs with Toph as erotic?" Katara cleared her throat.
Aang raised an eyebrow. "Why…?"
Toph slapped Katara in the arm. "It's okay, Twinkletoes. I was trying to describe it, and she came up with electrifying, and raunchy. I, being much more mature and not being a virgin child, decided erotic, was much more fitting."
Aang nodded slowly in thought.
"Oh, my god, you bitch." Katara glared at her friend with a playful smile. "You don't get to call me that!"
"You're like, the only virgin among us, Sugar Queen. You need to get your cherry popped, or you will be subject to all our childish jokes from now on." Toph smirked evilly.
"I repeat, bitch." Katara shook her head. "Suki didn't tease you."
Suki held up her hands. "I would've, though." She admitted. "If she were the only virgin here, I'd tease the hell out of her."
"You guys are all deviants anyway. I have my dignity." Katara smirked, getting up and turning swiftly. She slammed right into someone and the both of them went toppling to the floor.
Suki looked down at them. "Well well well… Honor and Dignity all wrapped up into one." She smirked from her seat at the table.
Katara tilted her head to see Zuko laughing ironically. "Well, this is familiar." Zuko pushed himself into a sitting position.
"No kidding." Katara sat up too. The both of them dusted themselves off before climbing to their feet and each taking a seat around the table. Toph had moved into Katara's seat to sit next to Aang, so Katara and Zuko each took a seat near where Toph had been. "Hey, Suki, where's Sokka?" Katara asked.
Suki bit her lip gingerly. "I made him go to Home Ec. Club." She buried her face in her hands, turning red. "To learn … how to do laundry." She started laughing.
Katara, Zuko and Toph howled in laughter with Suki, leaving Aang confused. "Why is that funny? What happened?"
Toph leant to Aang's ear and whispered something, causing Aang to pull a confused face, then a disgusted one, and then finally laugh maniacally like his friends.
Eventually, Sokka turned up and they all headed to a quiet spot in the hall to sit down and hang out.
Zuko reached into his deliriously oversized rucksack and produced Katara's blue hoody. "You left this at my place. Consuela put it through the laundry." Zuko handed it to her.
"Thanks." Katara brought it to her face breathed in its smell. "Coconut?" she looked at Zuko quizzically.
"I think so." Zuko shrugged with a warm smile.
Katara put it in her bag and bit back a blush from the soft smile he offered.
"So … Katara, I guess you'd be free to date again, huh?" Toph thought aloud.
Katara rolled her eyes and glanced at Toph with a small smile. "Yeah … ?"
"And there's that hot guy in our Maths class…" Suki continued, a similar look to Toph's on her face.
Katara's eyes widened. "Eew. You mean Haru?" She strained her words. "You think he's hot?"
"Meh, I have a thing for guys with a tan." Suki shrugged, cuddling up to Sokka. Sokka welcomed her with open arms, having spent most of the winter vacation trying to get back on her good side.
"But he's got that weird … thing on his lip. That would be like making out with a caterpillar." Katara shuddered at the thought. "God knows where it's been. It's like a pipe cleaner."
Aang, Toph and Zuko each let out simultaneous laughs. "He's a skirt-chaser anyway." Aang yawned, putting an arm around Toph. "He actually lifted the skirt of some cheerleader this morning in Gym."
"It's for that reason that I never wear a skirt." Toph held up a finger on the end of her hand, matter-of-factly. "That, and it's stupid."
"So, Toph, do you guys want to go on a double-date this Saturday?" Sokka glanced aside, as if he'd been thinking about it the whole time he'd been silent.
"We have plans." Toph grinned shamelessly.
Aang let his own grin spread on his face, squeezing Toph in his grip.
"I'm free." Katara raised an eyebrow.
Sokka rubbed the back of his neck for a second. "Um … not to be mean or anything but it was pretty even when we did triple dates with Jet, but … now, you're kinda like a fifth wheel. If me and Suki wanted to go elsewhere, we'd have to feel guilty for leaving you, you know?"
Katara pouted angrily. "You're really a great brother, Sokka. Honestly, I don't know why I'm not nicer to you. Oh, Wait! It's because you're a jerk!" Katara straightened her legs and pushed herself off the floor and onto her feet.
"Jeez, Katara, chill out." Suki tried to calm her down. "It's one weekend."
"No it isn't! You can't exclude me simply for the fact that I haven't got anyone to hang off like a drape, like you guys!" Katara crossed her arms and peered down at them. "And if that's what you're doing, you can't just expect me to have a boyfriend within the next couple of weeks!" she scoffed a laugh in astonishment.
Aang looked to Toph, who raised a hand thoughtfully. "Relax, Virgin Queen, Sparky will go out on a date with you."
Zuko's head immediately snapped to Toph. "Huh?" he stared.
"What did you just call me!" Katara hissed angrily.
"Queen Elizabeth I of England, also known as the Virgin Queen. That is what I just called you." Toph smirked, turning her attention to Zuko. "Well, will you?"
Both Katara and Zuko laughed out loud. Zuko held up his hands. "Katara and I don't…"
"We're not …"
"…not my type…"
Zuko started laughing. "What are you talking about? I'm your type."
"No you're not." Katara laughed back.
"I thought you liked Bad Boys." Zuko joked with a smirk. "I'm Bad."
Katara put her hands on her hips. "Jet wasn't bad. And neither was Aang."
Zuko smirked. "Well, don't you think it's time you had a bad boy?"
Katara started to laugh as Toph held up her hands. "See? You guys flirt all the time!" she grinned.
"Yeah, but that's because we're friends." Katara pointed out. "And by the way, Zuko, I don't have a type."
"Yeah, you do. It's the whole damsel in distress thing; Aang and you started dating after what happened with that insanely butch cheerleader, and you and Jet started dating after Pipsqueak knocked you over and Jet caught you." Zuko pointed out. "Not that you're delicate, or anything."
Katara scoffed, finally annoyed. "I don't have a type." She repeated, walking back over to the group and sitting down.
"If you say so." Zuko watched as Katara sat down next to him.
"And if I did have a type, I'd be attracted to guys who know about romance, and poetry, and wine, and culture …"
"You mean a gay guy." Toph sniggered.
Katara exhaled in exasperation. "Guys who are sensitive and don't steal the covers." Katara glared at Zuko. "These … are all things that you know not of." She poked him in the arm.
"I get to steal the sheets in my own bed. That's the rules." Zuko laughed. "And I can be sensitive." He held up one arm and used the other to roll up his sleeve and point to the cut scar on his wrist.
Aang, Sokka, Suki and Toph broke out into laughter. "Good one, Zuko." Sokka laughed maniacally.
"What is that?" Katara's face paled. "I didn't know you …"
Zuko's eyes widened. "Oh … uh …" he swallowed hard. "It was a long time ago." He suddenly rubbed the back of his neck. "Uh … you guys tell her." He turned to his friends.
Suki patted Katara on the shoulder. "Zuko slashed his wrists when he went through depression three years ago, after he got his scar. His Uncle found him on the floor in his bath tub, bleeding."
Katara turned to look at Zuko, her face now softened. "What … oh my gosh." She brought a hand to her mouth.
"Really, it isn't a big deal." Zuko drew up his shoulders uncomfortably, tugging down the sleeve that had been rolled up on his black and red striped hoody, bringing it down over his wrists. He wished he'd explained it himself. Suki's said it like something out of a horror book.
"Why am I the only person here who didn't know?" Katara brought her eyebrows down in a hard expression.
Zuko sighed heavily. "Toph's goes to counseling, and she saw me there and asked why I needed counseling." He blinked slowly. "It spread from there. I figured everyone knew."
Katara shook her head quickly. "That's horrible." She frowned. "Gosh, Zuko … are you … are you okay now?" she tried awkwardly.
Zuko nodded. "See, this is why I didn't want to tell you, Toph." Zuko ran his fingers through his hair, deep in thought. "I didn't want people constantly worrying about me like my Uncle."
"Do you blame him?" Sokka looked down solemnly. "The guy found you lying in a pool of your own blood. Don't you think he has the right to be a little worried about you?"
Zuko suddenly growled angrily. "You don't know what you're talking about!" he shot up to his feet and grabbed his bag off the floor, glaring daggers at Sokka.
"Zuko, calm down." Aang stood up carefully.
"I don't need to calm down!" Zuko kicked Sokka's bag into him. "I need you guys to shut up!" he seethed. He marched away, but before he was out of earshot, Suki spoke.
"I don't think we should leave him alone." She licked her dry lips. He growled, turning back toward them.
"I'm fine! Why doesn't anyone get that?" he loomed over them, ferocious, teeth bared in anger.
"Well, clearly you're not!" Toph stood up also and crossed her arms.
Zuko glanced at her. "You're one to talk! Little Miss 'Run Away'," he snapped angrily.
Toph's eyes widened in shock. It was well known that nobody ever talked about her issues at home. "You bastard!" she lunged for him. Aang stopped her, holding her by the arms.
"Shouting and fighting isn't going to do anything!" Aang yelled, struggling to hold a ferocious Toph back. Sokka got up to help restrain Toph.
Zuko was silent, his hands tucked in his pockets and his brows down. "I'm out of here." He shook his head and turned to leave.
"Zuko, wait!" Katara got up, walking after him. Zuko ignored her, leaving her standing in the middle of the corridor, staring after him. When she finally turned back to her friends, Aang was hugging Toph, who was crying now, and Sokka and Suki were both watching her.
"You shouldn't have asked." Sokka frowned.
Katara's mouth dropped open. "You were the ones who pushed him over the edge! He's right! It isn't a big deal! So why are we making such a big deal about it?" she threw her hands up in the air.
"It is a big deal, Katara. He tried to kill himself; that's a big deal. If he's so unstable that he can't deal with one conversation, then we don't want him hanging around us." Suki felt Sokka's arm around her. Sokka was frowning indignantly.
Katara continued to frown. "Sokka … what he went through was tough." She looked pleadingly at Sokka. "We need to apologize."
Sokka growled out angrily. "Apologize for what? He's the one that got all touchy. If he wasn't prepared to deal with the consequences, he shouldn't have slashed his wrists."
Katara was taken aback. "You idiot! How stupid can you be? You think he did it because he wanted to look like a badass? What, like a tattoo? What consequences would there have been if he'd died? If his Uncle hadn't found him, he wouldn't have had to be prepared to deal with the consequences!"
Sokka clenched his fists and pulled away from Suki. "Don't you dare turn this around, Katara." He seethed.
Toph and Aang stepped in, both looking confused. "What are you guys talking about?" Aang asked innocently. Katara grabbed her bag from the floor and violently pulled it over her shoulder.
Sokka glared at Katara. "Nothing." Sokka turned his back to her and grabbed his bag as the buzzer for class went off.
"We're not talking about anything." Sokka snapped at his sister, before storming away for homeroom.
A/N: That's chapter one. It's dark themed, or at least, it will be, suicide and shit like that tends to be a touchy subject in schools, especially mine. I figured it would be a little awkward for it to end up just blurted out, so I did it. It is a little OOC with Zuko, since he's so happy in the first area of the chapter, but I really like the whole morning-after scene. It speaks for itself. Anyway, angry Zuko is sexy. You'll find out what Katara's talking about in the next chapter! I also liked the 'Virgin Queen' thing, since Katara is Sugar Queen, and now it's 'Virgin Queen'. Me and my mom spent the night comparing words that we thought were good, and a line came up that I really liked, thanks to the way it sounded;
'Ooh, that is a good word.'
And thus, I needed someone to say it. As you can see, it varies in its energy levels. At the start, it's very happy-happy, and then toward the end of the chapter it's very dark and twisty. I can't tell you what the next chapter will be like, but I do know it'll involve a shocking confession from Katara … oh btw, I was thinking of doing a lemon in this, see so it may change to an M later, or I might upload a twin story just M-ified. I dunno, thinking out loud.
P.s. I already know everyone else has done High School fic, but I haven't so I wanted to! If it's the same as everyone else's just say the word. I know the rules: Supply in demand. And in case I didn't say it, Toph is colorblind.