Disclaimer: Not mine
Author's note: This one is a bit old. I decided I need to post all my old oneshots that never got posted when they were written, so there'll be a lot of random oneshots posted in the next week or so.
Sokka skipped another stone moodily into the fountain that adorned the Fire Palace's garden. The pond that Katara was supposed to be fixing with her powers. However, there was a distinct lack of water bending going on. Instead, she was using the time to make out with her jerk of a boyfriend. He supposed he should be a bit more respectful, even in his head. Zuko was the Fire Lord, after all. And he had helped them defeat Azula. But, still, that didn't give him the right to be all over Katara. It was disgusting. Katara deserved better! Even more annoying was the fact that Sokka seemed to be the only one who thought this. Aang, who Sokka knew had a crush on Katara, had given them his blessing. The self-sacrificing little twerp had said that he was happy as long as she was happy and gone off with Toph, Appa, and Momo on a mission to investigate rumors of a small group of Air Nomads who survived the Fire Nation's attack. Sokka almost wished he had gone with them, so he could be away from his sister's constant flirting with Zuko. On the other hand, if he did leave, who knows what he would find when he returned. He didn't dare take that chance.
"What are you looking at?" an emotionless voice behind him asked.
"I'm watching your ex-boyfriend eating my sister's face," Sokka replied flatly.
To his surprise, he heard a muffled sound from Mai's direction. He turned to look. He couldn't believe his eyes. Mai was laughing. He's been trying to get her to laugh for ages and now she just all of a sudden starts giggling at a lame joke? That was so not fair.
"What's so funny?" he asked.
"It's just, that was a perfect metaphor," Mai giggled.
"You should smile more often," Sokka said. "You have a pretty smile."
Mai positively beamed. Okay, this was getting weird. Mai was never this friendly. But he hadn't been lying. She did have a beautiful smile. As much as this new Mai freaked him out, he had to admit she was fun. He could get used to this.
"Are you mad at him?" Sokka asked, wondering how far he could take this.
"Zuko? No," she replied. "It would have happened even if Katara didn't come in and steal his heart. We weren't really that close."
"He doesn't know what he's missing," Sokka told her.
Damn! Even Mai seemed to support Zuko and Katara.
"I didn't know you could be so sweet," Mai said. "I thought you were just an annoying show-off."
Mai giggled again, presumably at his facial expression. He'd been told more than once that his face was hilarious when he was shocked or surprised.
Thinking back, Sokka realized that in most of his encounters with Mai before this he had been trying really hard to make her laugh, in increasingly ridiculous ways. Now that he thought about it, he'd never actually tried just cracking a joke. He must have looked like an idiot. So the ice princess could be melted with just a simple joke? He'd have to remember that. He wanted to see her like this more often.
"Maybe I'd be less of a show-off if you were less emotionless," he suggested.
"I am not emotionless!" she snapped.
Her hand connected sharply with the right side of his face.
He rubbed his cheek gently.
"That hurt," he moaned.
"That was the point," she retorted.
But she was smirking. It was almost too much for Sokka. The cold ice queen had turned into a fiery beauty with no warning. He sat down on the edge of the fountain, just in case pigs started flying or something. He couldn't handle any more surprises. Of course, he had forgotten that said fountain was broken and the person in charge of repairs was definitely not going to get it repaired any time soon. Naturally, the clogged waterways chose that moment to unclog and send water flying through the air.
After several seconds of confusion, Sokka ended up on the ground, covered in mud. He looked at Mai, who was on the ground next to him and equally mud-soaked. She was also laughing hysterically. Seeing Mai, who was normally so composed and formal, sitting in the mud and laughing, Sokka couldn't hold back a grin.
"Don't just sit there smirking!" Mai yelled. "This is your fault!"
She tossed a handful of mud in his face.
Sokka burst out laughing and aimed a mud-ball at her hair.
"I hate you!" she screamed.
However, she was grinning madly, and the two were quickly caught up in an all-out mud fight, furiously trading playful insults and handfuls of mud. They didn't even notice when it started raining.
Eventually, Mai flopped back on the muddy ground.
"I'm tired," she complained.
Sokka could see the old Mai starting to return. He tried desperately to think of something funny to say, but nothing came to mind except "Why do you look so gorgeous covered in mud?" Somehow, he got the feeling she would hit him if he said that.
"We should go get cleaned up," Mai remarked.
She stood up and walked away, without even looking back to see if he followed.
After several minutes of sitting dejectedly in the rain, Sokka too went inside.
The next day, it was still raining. For want of anything better to do, Sokka curled up in a big cozy armchair in the library, studying a scroll on military strategy. It was rather dull, but there wasn't really anything better to do.
"You looked bored."
He looked up in surprise to see Mai perched on the arm of his chair.
"Are you stalking me?" he asked.
"I'm bored," she said. "And you happen to be remotely interesting."
"Remotely interesting?" he repeated. "Are you kidding? Interesting is my middle name!"
"Sure it is,"
Sometime during the night, the rain let up. Sokka rejoiced and hurried outside right after he gobbled down breakfast. It was still wet and muddy out, but the rain had stopped and the sun was high in the sky and blazing brightly. It was wonderful.
"You look happy,"
"Mai!" he greeted her.
"Hey," she replied emotionlessly.
Suddenly, she grabbed him and pulled him into a rough kiss. It took several seconds for Sokka's brain to register the fact that yes, this was Mai and yes, she was kissing him. It took much less time for him to decide that this was the best thing that had ever happened to him.
After some time, Sokka really wasn't paying attention to how long, Mai finally pulled away.
"That was for entertaining me yesterday," she explained simply.
"I think I love you," Sokka declared dazedly. "Will you marry me?"
Any barrier he might have had between his brain and his mouth had definitely been shut down by that kiss.
"You make life interesting," Mai replied. "I think I'll stick around."
From her, that was practically a declaration of undying love. At the very least, she hadn't tried to kill him.
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