Vaguely inspired by one of my all time favorite episodes of The Big Bang Theory, 'The Bath Item Gift Hypothesis', this is just a silly Christmas one-shot I wrote. Hope everyone enjoys!
Zuko is in a panic, so when his roommate, Sokka, comes back to their shared apartment from work he practically throws himself at him.
"I need your help."
Sokka freezes, turns slowly in Zuko's direction and lets his mouth fall open. He's never heard Zuko utter those words before.
Zuko looks sweaty and flushed. "Well, Katara updated her Facebook status saying that she was buying Christmas gifts for everyone."
Sokka blinks. "Okay."
"She tagged me!"
"So now I'm required to get her something."
Sokka rolls his eyes. "Zuko, Katara's feelings won't be hurt if you don't give her anything. Christmas isn't about—"
Zuko cuts him off. "You don't understand. If your sister is giving me something then I have to give her something too. I can't just not give her something."
Sokka stares at him for a moment before heaving a sigh, finally letting his car keys drop onto the coffee table. "Okay, okay. Here's the thing, don't think I haven't noticed the awkward sexual tension mounting between you and Katara, because I have. This is troubling, since she's my baby sister and I live with you and know who your favorite porn star is. However, you are my bro, roommate, and best friend, so I'm going to do you a solid. Tomorrow we're going epic Christmas shopping and we will get this done and it will be epic. And I'm getting you a beer because you look like you need one."
Katara dials Toph's number in a panic.
"What's up Sugar Queen?"
Frazzled, Katara glances over her Christmas shopping list for the umpteenth time, organized by person, item, and calculated budget. "I need your help."
"I have no idea what to get Zuko for Christmas."
"So? He's the only person I haven't bought for yet! And I have no idea what to get him!"
"Just get him a gift card."
Katara practically snaps the pen she's holding in her hand in half. "I can't. Gift cards are so impersonal! I want to give him an actual gift, something that he'll look at in the future and go, 'Katara gave that to me,' and then he'll think about me. And it will be personal. But it has to be something that he would like but I don't know what to get him!"
There's a long pause on the other end of the line. "Alright Sweetness, you want to eventually bone him and make him your boyfriend so you wanna give him a nice gift, I get it I get it. Here's what we'll do. Tomorrow we'll go out. You're driving and buying me lunch. You won't argue with me over my gift suggestions, and when we're done you'll buy me a drink because I'll need one."
"Toph, thank you so much—"
Toph has already hung up.
Zuko is starting to regret this decision.
"Why did you take me to a Bath & Body Works?" he grumbles under his breath as they walk into the store.
Sokka looks much more excited then he probably should be. "Dude, this is the Mecca for ladies gift giving. I don't know what it is about girls and smelly lotions, but they flip their shit over it!"
Zuko looks around the store with a pensive frown. "But I don't know what Katara would want to smell like."
Sokka shrugs. "I just sniff everything in the store and then pick out something that I wouldn't mind smelling on her. Oh look! They have festive fragrances!"
Sokka trots to the first display. "Be Enchanted! That just sounds so pleasant." Sokka immediately unscrews the lid and takes a large inhale, then coughs. "Fruity!"
Zuko is already eyeing the exit door in longing.
"What else, oh! Vanilla Bean Noel. Oh look, Zuko, doesn't that sound nice?" Unscrew, then sniff. "Oh my god. This smells delicious. What the fuck, I would seriously rub this all over my body. Zuko, come smell this. Seriously, come smell this."
Zuko takes the green bottle that Sokka has handed him and takes a delicate sniff. "It's nice."
"See? There's an idea! Oh, oh! Strawberry Sparkles. That sounds like something Katara might wear. OH GOD IT SHIMMERS. OH MY GOD. HAHA, ZUKO LOOK, I'M SPARKLY!"
Zuko wanders into the aromatherapy section, attempting to separate himself from his friend.
Five seconds later Sokka is right beside him with a handful of lotions, sprays, and body washes. "Okay, Zuko, tell me which one is better, P.S. I Love You, Black Amethyst, Paris Amour, Dark Kiss, or Japanese Cherry Blossom."
Zuko sniffs them all. "They all smell like headaches."
Sokka looks genuinely surprised. "Really? I don't know, I think they all smell really good in their own way. I'm actually partial to Dark Kiss myself."
"Then you can buy them, Sokka."
For a moment Sokka actually looks tempted.
"People in here might stare at you funny," Toph warns. "Just so you know."
Katara and Toph step inside Game Stop. All the adolescent boys standing in the corner turn to glance at them before looking away. Then their heads immediately turn back, now opening staring.
"Yes," Toph says, loud enough for the whole store to hear. "We have vaginas. You can carry on."
Katara looks around the store awkwardly. "Toph, I'm a bit out of my element here."
Toph taps her chin in thought. "Well, there's Skyrim, and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare. There's a new Mario, but I don't know if Zuko has a 3DS, and of course there's the new Zelda, but any gamer with any amount of self dignity already has that."
Katara's eyes have gone wide. "But I don't know if Zuko plays any of that stuff."
Toph frowns. "Well, the first season of Game of Thrones comes out on blu-ray soon—"
"Zuko has already pre-ordered that. Sokka told me."
Toph nods. "I forgot that he's sort of a fanboy in that regard."
Katara starts to look over the display of games. "There's the new Lego Harry Potter, I bet he'd like that!"
"Normally I'd agree, but a lot of them have been recalled because of glitches, so I'd wait a couple of months before I'd buy that game."
"See? Aren't you glad that I'm here?"
"Uh huh. Hey, what's Star Wars: The Old Republic for online?"
A big, excited grin stretches across Toph's face and Katara instantly regrets asking.
Zuko and Sokka leave Bath & Body Works and make their way through the rest of the mall.
Zuko slows down and lingers in front of Victoria's Secret until Sokka grabs his elbow and shoves him forward.
After leaving Game Stop, Katara nearly breaks down in the car until Toph threatens to smack her.
It isn't until they drive past a local bakery that Katara gets an idea.
Both Katara and Zuko are anxious.
It's the evening of Christmas Day, the whole group is together and hanging out, and most everyone has already opened their gifts.
Except for Katara and Zuko.
They're sitting next to each other on the couch, awkwardly watching A Christmas Story while Toph and Sokka get into a heated game of Uno.
"So..," Zuko begins, turning his head slightly and glancing at her, "you can open your gift if you want." He clears his throat and turns bright red.
Katara smiles, shifts a little bit, and then daintily opens the red envelope in her hand.
It's a typical Christmas card and a $75 gift card to Bath & Body Works.
To Zuko's pleasant surprise, her face lights up. "Oh wow! How did you know that I have a thing for bath items? Oh, I bet all their holiday themed stuff will be on sale tomorrow! Thank you!" She grins and does a cute little jig in her seat before giving him a one armed hug.
Zuko nearly dies from the relief.
"Okay," Katara says, her cheeks turning a lovely shade of pink. "Open mine."
Zuko yanks off the bow and ribbon before unwrapping the gift, letting the shredded wrapping paper fall onto the floor. It's a tin. With a thoughtful frown Zuko opens it before grinning.
The tin is full of rice crispy treats, brownies, cookies, and homemade chocolate candies.
Katara bites her lip, nervous. "It's okay of you don't want to eat any of it, and you'll probably have to hide it from my brother but—"
She shuts up when Zuko stuffs a rice crispy treat into his mouth.
"Mury Chrrissmas," he says, mouth full.
She lets out a breathy laugh, scooting a bit closer to him on the couch. After he swallows, they watch each other for a moment, allowing the tension to build.
They both lean in at the same time, and once their lips actually meet both muse that this kiss is sweeter than anything that she could bake for him.
"Whoa whoa WHOA."
Katara and Zuko turn their heads to see Sokka stand up and shake his finger at them.
"First of all, Merry Christmas and congratulations, we were all waiting for you two to come to your senses. Second of all, there will be no hanky panky in this house. In fact, I think you're both in a danger zone, there on that couch. Why don't you guys come over here and join me and Toph in a rousing game of Uno: Attack?"
Zuko grabs Katara's hand and leads her out of the apartment. They're happy to find that there's snow on the ground, and even happier to find that the second kiss manages to be sweeter then the first.
I imagine that Katara bought some of that Sensual aromatherapy stuff with her gift card. ;D
I hope everyone enjoys the holidays this year! And don't pepper spray anybody while shopping, even though it's tempting!