Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Fandom: Avatar: Legend of Korra
Relationships: Lin Beifong/Kya I I Korra & Asami Sato
Collections:2021 ATLA-verse Summer Festival Event
Chapter 3: Slow Dancing
Lin was the first to wake up, she was an early riser. 3 decades of Police work will do that to a woman. Drawing in a breath she stretched her sore muscles before realizing she wasn't alone. Stiffening she turned slightly to see silver locks cascading over tanned skin. The ping in her chest reminded her how much of a stupid idea this was. Slowly pulling the blankets back Kya shifted and wrapped an arm around her midsection.
"Mmm, 5 minutes." The Waterbender mumbled, pulling Lin closer.
"Kya, I need to go." She grumbled.
"Linny, I'll miss you."
"Kya, I need to pee." Lin barked and it startled the Waterbender awake.
"Oh. I'm sorry." She quickly recoiled her arm and pushed herself up onto her elbows. The Earthbender stormed off toward the bathroom, her chest full of mixed emotions and slammed the door.
Gripping the marble countertops she looked at herself in the mirror. Steel grey locked spiraling every which way, pale skin littered with scars and green eyes swimming in a sea of turmoil. She should have just let Kya sleep on the pull-down, to save herself from bringing up these feelings once more. But she couldn't. She didn't have the heart to force her onto the uncomfortable mattress. Letting out a long sigh she finished her business, washed her hands and opened the bathroom door.
The Waterbender was leaning against the wall, in her robe, still half asleep. Her hands balled up into fists that were rubbing sleep from her eyes. Kya jumped not noticing Lin standing a few feet away in the doorway.
"Oh! Sorry. I was waiting for my turn."
"Why didn't you use the Master bath?"
"Why didn't you? I am a guest after all." Kya asked in return, slipping past the Earthbender to do her business. "I put on some tea water. I hope you don't mind."
"That's fine." Lin replied, still standing in the doorway. They locked eyes for a long moment. It was like she hadn't left, like they could so easily slip back into their routine. It was almost like Lin wanted that to happen.
"Are you going to watch me pee or…?" Kya asked with a cocked eyebrow. Lin felt her cheeks flush as she scurried out of the bathroom.
Walking into the kitchen she could still feel Kya's presence through her stone tiles. Her feet delicately tapping along the floor, how her heartbeat seemed to be calm and relaxed. Lin didn't want to admit to her that being in her apartment reminded her of their time together. How every object that was once her own now brought back some sort of vivid memory. How she can't use her own master bath because of their morning showers and passionate love making sessions. Cursing under her breath she pulled her mind as far away from that thought as possible. Friends. They were better off that way. They couldn't be more.
"Good morning." Kya said and Lin jumped at her sudden proximity. Her thoughts had pulled her from the constant seismic sense. "Is the tea box still in the same place?" She asked, walking around the bar.
"I haven't moved anything around." Lin said, grabbing two tea cups for them.
"Makes it easier for me to help make breakfast then doesn't it?" The Waterbender beamed as she opened the mostly empty fridge. "Tisk tisk Beifong. You need to go grocery shopping."
"The eggs should still be good and I've got rice." She said as the tea kettle began to hiss. With a few wrist flicks Kya pulled the water into their cups and sat the eggs onto the counter. "If you get the rice started I'll work on the eggs."
They fell into a familiar rhythm cooking around each other. One would need a utensil, the other a spice and the goods would be exchanged. They seemed to dance around each other in the kitchen, slowly and methodically the meal was prepared and served. Lin sat a plate in front of the Waterbender before sitting a seat away at the bar. She knew keeping her distance would be best. It would be easiest.
"What are your plans for the day?" Kya asked, stirring around her food.
"Honestly...I'm not used to having days off. Usually I would go into the station and catch up on paperwork." The Waterbender's disapproving gaze said more than a thousand words. It made her frustrated and angry but Lin knew Kya was right. "Saikhan usually forces me to go home once he finds me there. But I manage to get in a few hours in the morning before he catches me." There's a long pause before Lin clears her throat. "What about you?"
"I wasn't supposed to come in for another week but Tenzin asked me to be a healer at the evacuee camp. Once that's set up at least."
"Should be set up by Monday. I've got Song on security there."
"But, he's a Lieutenant?"
"He's a Captain now. Xen retired."
"I'll have to congratulate him when I talk to him on Monday. Happy he finally moved up. I bet his wife appreciated the pay bump."
"She does. They just had another baby." Lin said, finishing her last bite.
"I bet Li-Yang is happy to be an older brother."
"He won't shut up about it when they come by the station. You finished with that?" Lin nodded toward Kya's empty plate.
"Yes, thank you."
The Earthbender gathered their plates and began to rinse them in the sink. The sound of the water hitting the ceramic seemed almost deafening in the completely silent apartment. Why did this have to happen now? Why did it have to be awkward? Kya stepped to her side and grabbed a hand towel from the nearby ring.
"You dry, I wash?" She asked before bending the water against the dirty dishes. They worked in silence for what felt like hours but Lin knew it was only a few moments. They didn't create very many dishes. Occasionally she would catch the Waterbender looking over at her with a small frown that made her heart ache.
"Lin. I think I should go." Kya said drying off her hands. "I'm making you uncomfortable.'
"I'm fine." Lin said, crossing her arms against her chest tightly.
"Your aura is all over the place and my presence here isn't fair to you." Kya says, stepping out of the kitchen.
"Damn it, it's just hard."
“We can talk if you need.” The Waterbender nodded toward the couch which they both sat on. Kya clasped both her hands in her lap seemingly waiting for Lin to speak first. The Waterbender knew that emotions were difficult for her to process let alone express. But she was patient and Lin appreciated that. Drawing in a long breath she sighed and attempted to sort through her thoughts.
“I’d like to apologize once more for how I reacted 3 years ago.” She paused and Kya simply smiled and nodded for her to continue. “After everything with Zaheer I was under immense pressure but you were too. I overreacted and didn’t listen to you. That wasn’t fair to either of us. Where we are now isn’t far to either of us. Kya...I’m not sure what I want us to be anymore.”
“I understand if you’d like to be just friends. We were that way for decades.” The Waterbender gripped Lin’s hands tightly. “No matter where we stand romantically, Lin Beifong, I will always be your friend.”
“I know...But now I don’t know what I want us to be. Friends? Ex-lovers?...current lovers?” The last part made her heart flutter but also ache.
“Then let’s not define ‘us’ just yet. If you still have romantic feelings for me, then we can explore them at your own pace. If you would like to not explore them, then we won’t.” The Waterbender stood and flipped on the radio which filled the room with a soft jazz song. Reaching out her tanned hand she smiled down at the Earthbender. “May I have this dance, Chief?”
Lin took in the smiling Waterbender above her. Was she ready to commit to a relationship with her once more or would that risk another heartbreak. She cursed herself for never picking up on truth seeing like her Mother but she trusted Kya. The Earthbender laced her fingers into the outstretched hand and felt herself be pulled forward. The two of them worked their way to the middle of the living room, being careful to not stumble over the coffee table. The music filled the room as Lin placed her hands on the Waterbenders shoulders. Two hands were placed on her lower back, respectfully and they began to guide her around the open area.
The two had danced together many times over the years, as friends, lovers, betwixt and between. But this time it felt different. They were both hesitant, distant yet longing, avoiding the others gaze as to not be lost in loving eyes. Their chests rising and falling like a crescendo destined to bring them closer, destined to let them fall once more. Lin hadn’t realized the distance had been growing smaller and smaller with each step until they hovered close enough for their breaths to mingle. The Waterbenders warm breath danced along her surely pink cheeks as Kya pressed their cheeks together. Letting out a shaky breath Lin naturally laid her head on the taller woman’s shoulder taking in her signature perfume. Patchouli and orange with a hint of rose at the heart of it. A scent that brought back a flood of memories and feelings she feared to truly let go. The dance ended as quickly as it started and they pulled apart still hand in hand.
“Thank you.” The Waterbender squeezed her hand before letting go. “I have to go to the refugee camp today but I’ll be at Air Temple Island later.”
Kya began to gather her things that were sprinkled around the apartment and threw on her day old clothes. Lin didn’t want her to leave but knew her duty as a healer was far more important than her current emotional turmoil. It wasn’t until the Waterbender was standing in the doorway that the weight in her chest settled into place. She let out a long sigh as Kya pulled her into a tight hug.
“I’ll see you tomorrow, correct? I wasn’t sure if you’d be at the refugee camp.”
“Song is the Captain over the camp but I will be checking the status tomorrow evening.”
“Until then, Chief.”
The Waterbender turned and Lin watched the elevator doors close behind her before closing her own door. That was it. She was gone. The Earthbender made her way back through her eerily quiet apartment in search of something, anything to keep her mind away from her emotions. She had a few case notes she could look over and an endless collection of novels she could read. But it seemed nothing could keep her mind off her previous lover. Especially not the blue silk nightgown laid on the edge of her bed. It was the softest material she had ever felt as she rubbed it between her fingers before bringing it up to her face. Drawing in a long breath she let the Waterbenders perfume fill her senses as a tear struck down her cheek.
Until then, Chief.
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Enough | Sokka
based on this request: You want requests? I have an idea/request if you don't mind and are still accepting them, if not I’m sorry. Maybe “friends to lovers/teammates to lovers” where Reader joins the team from Ba Sing Se and while they’re preparing for the invasion, or beyond, Sokka and Reader fall in love, or start to fall in love? I hope that makes sense. Thanks! Your writing is all wonderful! <3
word count: 3.6k
The last thing you'd expected was for the Avatar to break into your house.
You'd been upstairs in your room when you'd heard a ruckus from down below, drawing you to your feet with nervousness and light footsteps. Who was it, burglars? You made your way down the stairs, body pressed against the wall. You heard muffled whispering.
"We can't just break into random houses, Sokka!"
"Well, what else are we supposed to do?! Do you have any better ideas?"
"That's what I thought, Aang. Just trust the process."
You peered over the corner, catching sight of the intruders. A boy, a bit shorter than you, stood awkwardly in the corner of your living room. He was dressed in yellow and orange robes, his head decorated with a blue arrow. Huh. Beside him, pulling the curtain back cautiously to scan outside, was a boy seemingly about your age. He was tall, tan skin and dark hair, dressed in a sleeveless blue tunic. You didn't peg these guys as particular threats, so you stepped down.
They spun around with a yelp, assuming defensive positions. The taller boy held something in his hand - a boomerang? He narrowed his eyes at you.
"What are you doing here?" He demanded.
"Um, this is my house? Who are you?"
He lowered his arm, glancing around sheepishly. "Oh, uh, sorry. We needed to hide."
You raised an eyebrow. "Hide? Hide from who?"
The younger boy spoke up. "The Dai Li."
You furrowed your brows. "The Dai Li?" You questioned, confused. "Why would you need to hide from them? Did you, like, break the law?"
The older boy crossed his arms. "What? No!"
"Then why are you hiding?"
"Because they're after us!"
"Why would they be after you if you didn't break the law?"
"Because!" He was flailing his arms now, and you almost chuckled with amusement. "They - they're bad guys!"
You looked at him flatly. "That sounds like something a criminal would say."
He groaned. "Ugh, ok, ok. Once we know they're gone, we'll leave."
"Are you sure? I was gonna invite you for some tea and cookies," you teased. He glances back, as if seeing if you were serious, before turning back grumpily.
The younger boy scratches his head awkwardly. "Um, anyway, thanks for not kicking us out. I'm Aang."
You chuckle. "Yeah...no problem. I'm Y/n." You aren't quite sure why you're having a conversation with the guys who just broke into your house, but they seem nice enough. The older one's a little grouchy, but for some reason you feel safe.
Aang smiles brightly. "Nice to meet you. This is Sokka," he says, nudging his shoulder.
Sokka glances back at you. "Hey." You offer him a wave.
"So...why are you hiding in my house?"
Aang glances at Sokka, and it seems like a silent argument passes between them. Sokka shakes his head, Aang gives him an imploring look, and Sokka glares. Then he throws his hands up, mumbles a "Fine", and Aang turns back to you with a grin.
"Well, you see, I'm the Avatar," Your eyes grow wide. "And we're trying to get some important information to the Earth King. But the Dai Li don't want us to, so they're kinda chasing us."
"You're the Avatar?" You breathe. He nods cheerfully. "Wait - so, why are the Dai Li chasing you? Shouldn't they be helping?"
"Yeah, they should," Sokka says. "But they decided to, you know, not."
You're confused. The Dai Li are the highest level of protection for the people of Ba Sing Se. Why wouldn't they help the Avatar? You look around the room, spotting the closet near the door. An idea pops into your head.
"I can help." They both turn to you, looking skeptical. "I mean I can help you get out. Without being noticed."
They look at each other, hold their gaze, then turn to you and nod.
"I look ridiculous."
You stifle a laugh, taking in Sokka's appearance. "I think you look great. And it'll help you get by unnoticed, so that's what matters."
He's dressed in your father's trench coat, a heavy, brown beast of a thing that's so long it pools at his ankles. He's also sporting a dashing top-hat; the brim so wide it effectively shelters his face. He glares.
Aang comes bouncing in, dressed in a hooded cape that provides coverage for his tattoo. He stops short when he sees Sokka, doubling over in laughter. "Oh, you look great, Sokka."
Sokka groans, slumping over. "Let's just get out of here."
You lead them out the front door, scanning the road for any sign of threats. You step out, the boys following in tow, and walk as confidently as you can past the agents lining the street. Eventually, you successfully make it out of the middle ring. Sokka immediately sheds his disguise.
"Well, here you go," you say, looking around. Although only one ring above you, the Upper Ring is much nicer than you're used to. "Good luck with the Earth King."
Aang's eyes grow wide. "Wait! You should...you should come with us!"
You tilt your head. "Come with you where?"
"Back to our place! You could meet our friends!" He nudges Sokka, who appears disinterested. "Right, Sokka?"
Sokka's eyes snap to yours. "Oh, uh, sure. I guess."
You're about to politely decline, but Aang is staring at you so hopefully that you can't turn him down. You smile softly. "Sure, Aang."
"Awesome! Let's go."
You're led through the cobblestone pathways, eyes trailing after ornate carriages and towering buildings. Soon, you reach their house. The home of the Avatar. Sokka walks up and turns the knob, jumping back in surprise. In front of him stands a girl, not much younger than you, with her hands on her hips and her eyes bright with anger.
"Where have you been?!" She demands, dragging him inside by his collar. "We've been worried sick! I mean, you didn't even leave a note, didn't say anything-"
"We're sorry, Katara," Aang intervenes, hands raised in peaceful greeting. "We got caught up."
It's then that her eyes fall on you, gaze softening into uncertainty. She looks at Sokka expectantly.
"Oh!" He exclaims, stepping back and gesturing towards you. "This is Y/n. She helped us get away from the Dai Li."
The girl, Katara as she'd been called, offered you a slight smile of gratitude. "Thank you for helping my idiot brother."
You chuckled, grinning at the look of betrayal Sokka gave the girl. "It was no problem."
She nodded, extending her arm. "Do you want to come in?"
You glanced towards Aang, who was smiling excitedly. "Oh, yeah, sure."
You stepped inside, feeling a bit awkward. You didn't really understand why Aang wanted you to come so badly, but it was a kind gesture nonetheless. You scanned the interior; emerald walls adorned with gold plating that was probably more expensive than your whole apartment. You fidgeted your fingers, standing by while Katara and Sokka bickered about responsibility. A slam startled you out of your thoughts.
"Who's this?" A girl stepped out of the - hole? Yeah, hole, she'd just kicked a hole in the wall. Katara paused her lecture.
"Toph, this is Y/n. She helped Sokka and Aang with the Dai Li."
"Cool." She yawned, walking past you and plopping on the couch.
"We need to get to the Earth King," Sokka said, assuming a demeanor of focus and determination. "If the Dai Li aren't going to help us get to him, we'll have to do it ourselves." He briefly explained his plan, something about breaking into the fancy party that was happening later that night. They came up with roles, with guidelines for what each person should do, working together like a well-oiled machine. You felt out of place, you didn't know what your purpose was here. Aang turned to you, smiling softly.
"Y/n, you in?"
You stared. You couldn't comprehend the reason this boy had so much faith in you, the reason these kids were so willing to let you in on their scheme after just meeting you less than an hour ago. You didn't understand why you trusted them, either. You smiled.
That was your first mistake.
When you'd agreed to break into an Earth Kingdom party with the Avatar, you didn't think you'd end up having to flee your home. You sat upon Appa's back, knees pulled to your chest as Ba Sing Se grew smaller. Sokka was steering, and the rest had their heads tucked into their hands. Except for Aang, who was lying unconscious next to Katara.
You'd remained in the city with Katara as the rest of the group separated, happy to spend some time with your newfound friend. It was then that things got messy; you found out the Fire Nation had infiltrated the government, the local tea-boy was actually a banished prince, and you found yourself in the crystal catacombs as a battle went on around you. You'd been there with Zuko and Katara, and you weren't sure exactly what'd gone down between them but it was obviously something serious, and you'd been there as he joined his sister - Azula. She was pretty scary.
You fought the best you could, your unpracticed earth-bending not doing much damage against the Dai Li agents, before Aang was struck by Azula's lightning. Now, you sat atop his sky-bison, mind racing and body numb from the shock of it all. You were in way over your head.
The five of you met up with Sokka and Katara's dad after dropping off the Earth King, because, you know, he was just casually there, too, boarding a Fire Nation ship as a means of disguise. Sokka introduced you to his father, Hakoda, who welcomed you with a warm smile and a firm handshake.
"It's a pleasure to meet you, Y/n. Sokka's told me a lot about you. You two must really get along well," he said when Sokka was out of ear reach, voice laced with mirth. You flushed when you registered what he was implying; the mischief gleaming in his eyes. You frantically tried to put a sentence together.
"Oh, we're not - he doesn't...I mean we do, but not like-" He cut you off with a chuckle and a friendly pat to your shoulder.
"I'm just teasing. Come on, let's join the others."
You sat with your friends and the Water Tribesmen aboard the steely deck, huddling with Toph and Sokka for warmth. Katara went downstairs to heal Aang, who had yet to wake. Your meals mainly consisted of rice as it was too risky to stop and buy more supplies. You were still dressed in your Earth Kingdom clothes; green-tinted pants and a tunic, feet clad in worn-down boots. Not ideal for posing as a Fire Nation soldier.
You were still in shock, you supposed, at how quickly things changed and how fiercely your life was ripped from you. I mean, just a few days ago you were a normal kid living in the middle ring of Ba Sing Se, where nothing remotely exciting ever happened. Then, the Avatar and his friend had broken into your house and now everything was different. You weren't upset, it was just a lot to process. You were worried for Aang and a bit overwhelmed at the reality that seemed to be your new friends' normal. So when everyone else returned to their rooms for sleep, you made your way to the overlook.
The moon beamed down over the sea - ivory light caressing the waves and kissing the surface. You breathed deeply, inhaling the cool night air that smelled of salt-water and a freedom you'd never experienced. You sat there, slightly chilly from the cold, when a warm presence took place by your side.
You glanced up, seeing Sokka's skin glowing under the starlight. Woah, had he always been this pretty? It was probably just the moon...that and your sleep deprivation. Yeah, that was it.
"What're you doing up?" He questioned, eyes cast out to the horizon. His hair was loose from its usual ponytail - wolf-tail, as he'd passionately pointed out to you days earlier - the dark locks flowing freely about his face. You tore your eyes away, following his stare.
"Just couldn't sleep," you glanced over. "You?"
He sighed, leaning against the metal. "Me neither. Just worried."
You turned to face him, face softening into concern. "About what?"
He ran a hand through his hair. "About Aang. About the Earth Kingdom...just...everything."
You moved closer, resting your forearms against the edge of the ship. He pressed his shoulder against yours.
"I get it. I am, too. Everything that's happening is just...crazy. There's no way I could've even imagined it."
Sokka tilted his head towards you, blue eyes glimmering with compassion and softness. "Yeah...how are you doing? I haven't really asked, I mean, this must be kinda shocking for you."
You snorted, nodding your head. "Well, yeah. But it's ok. I'm not the one who has it worst right now."
"Sure, but you can still talk about it. You can talk to me...if you want."
You smiled up at him, his face shadowed by the abyss of the night. "Thanks."
He offered you a grin before staring up at the sky. "You know, that's my first girlfriend," he said, pointing at the moon.
"The moon?" He nodded. "That's...rough."
It was finally here. The day of Black Sun.
You'd be lying if you said you felt totally prepared, but with some rigorous earth bending lessons from Toph and sparring with Sokka, you felt more confident in your abilities.
A finger poked your cheek. "Hey, are you listening?"
You glanced at Sokka's teasing grin, scratching the back of your neck sheepishly. "Uh...yes?"
"Really," he said, moving to stand in front of you. "What did I say?"
He laughed, shaking his head. "It's ok, I'll tell you later." He looked behind him, taking in the sight of the preparing fighters and looming submarines. He took your hand in his. "Are you ready for this?"
You sigh, squeezing his fingers between your own. "Ready as I'll ever be."
He smiles down at you, and the look in his eyes is pure adoration. He reaches to tuck a stray piece of hair behind your ear. "You know, I'm glad I broke into your house."
You snort, swatting his hand away. "Yeah, yeah. Thanks a lot, nerd."
He chuckles. "Hey, I know you're glad, too. Otherwise, you never would've met me and would've been miserable and bored your whole life."
You laugh, but it's probably true. You and Sokka had grown much closer over the past weeks, days spent in playful conversation and evening strolls, in play-wrestling and heads rested on shoulders. You were the one he came to when his mind was troubled, when his energy was too spent to conjure any jokes. Yeah, you were glad, too.
You were called into the submarines - Sokka's invention, something you were unfathomably proud of - and off you went. Into the Fire Nation. Your arrival went mostly smoothly, disregarding the few punctures in the submarine walls, and you ran out of the carrier with the earth at your fingertips. Aang had flown off to fight the Fire Lord, and it was up to the rest of you to deal with everyone else. Your heart pumped loudly, blood rushing in your ears and adrenaline flowing in your veins. You raised your arms, summoning the ground upwards to knock out a few soldiers.
You turned around just in time to see Katara swoop down on Appa, Sokka and Hakoda climbing up with her. "Come on!" she yelled. "We're going to take out the soldier's battlements."
You nodded, running towards the bison and pulling yourself atop the saddle with help from Sokka. Appa lifts off, reaching between the battlements.
"Katara and I will take the one on the right," Hakoda said, his voice one of a true commander. "Sokka and Y/n, the left. Let's go."
You climb the battlement, hoisting yourself inside through the window before scanning the room. Pointed outwards is a sort of cannon, aimed perfectly towards the group of fire benders that were advancing towards your friends. You step forward, trying to figure out the mechanics while Sokka climbs in. "Oh-ho," he says, taking note of the projection of the cannon. "This thing is just begging to be fired."
You nodded, toying with the controls. Sokka stepped behind you. "Here, I'll show you."
He placed his palm over your hand, guiding it to where it needed to be. From his pocket he pulled a match - where did that come from, anyway? - and nudged it between your fingers. "Light it up, Sunshine."
You place the tip to the ignition, Sokka aiming the cannon. He pulls you back against him, arms wound tightly around your waist, and you cover your ears. The canon booms, sending out a flurry of smoke. You rush forward, fearful of the damage you might have just inflicted, breathing out when you see that it only landed between the soldiers and your friends. It didn't hit them, something you were a bit grateful for, but it allowed the fighters to evade the onslaught. Sokka chuckled in your ear.
"Not bad, not bad."
"You did all the work."
"That's not true! You were vital."
You shake your head, fighting off a grin. "Ok, we should probably get rid of this thing now."
You climb back out the window, jumping onto the ground with a thud. Breathing deeply, you concentrated your mind on the earth that lay below the battlement, and with a flick of your wrist, it crumbled. From the cliffside it fell, effectively ridding you of one other thing to worry about.
Sokka let out a low whistle. "Impressive."
You turned to him, out of breath. He stepped closer, brows knitted in slight concern as he lifted your chin with his knuckles. "Hey, you ok?"
You nodded, swallowing and trying to rewatch your breath. "Yeah, still a little new to this."
His thumb stroked your cheek before he moved his arm, placing it over your shoulders. "Come on, just stay with me."
You did, gladly.
So...things didn't exactly go as planned.
It turned out that the Fire Lord knew all along about the invasion, and Aang never had the chance to fight him. You'd come face-to-face with Azula again, something that made your blood boil. You'd had to leave - leaving the adults behind while the kids climbed aboard Appa's saddle. You were all exhausted, slumped over and falling to your knees when you finally reached the Western Air Temple.
You tried to mull your sadness; that guilty feeling that it was you who should've been left behind instead. You knew everyone was hurting - some in ways you couldn't really fathom. Aang felt like he had failed - again - and he went to bed that night with a half-hearted side hug and tired eyes. Toph felt weak, something she hated more than anything in the world. And Sokka and Katara...they'd lost their dad again.
So when you saw Sokka on the mountainside, head held in hands, you felt that he was more important. You plopped down next to him, his eyes snapping up and softening when they laid on you. No words were spoken; they didn't need to be. Instead, he sighed, pressing his cheek against your shoulder. You ran your fingers through his hair, soothing him with your touch. You only halted when he laced your fingers with his own, pulling your hand to his lap and tracing patterns across your skin.
"It's not your fault, Sokka."
He nodded against you, but you heard his sniff. You straightened up, his head begrudgingly lifting from its place against you before you cupped his face with your palm. "It's not," you implored, desperate for him to stop feeling so down on himself. "None of us could've predicted that they knew. And with Azula...she knew what she was doing. None of this is because of you."
He glanced away, blue eyes brimming with the tears he'd fought so hard to keep at bay. He dipped his head in silent acceptance, nuzzling against the warmth of your palm. You smiled sadly.
"It's not over, Sokka. There's still hope, now more than ever. And I know we'll figure it out."
He raised his gaze, and it seemed like his soul was carried in his stare. Slowly, enough so that you thought you imagined it, his eyes drifted down to your lips. He leaned in slowly, bringing his calloused hand to brush back your hair. You were frozen, as if one wrong move would shatter you from this dream. His palm was warm against your cheek, and his nose bumped your own. Your eyes met his, close enough together that it was a bit funny to look at, and he offered you a silent question. You answered with your lips against his.
He breathed against you, fingers carding through your hair. His lips were warm and oh, so soft, and they moved against yours with ease. You wound your arms around his neck, bringing him closer. He was warm, and he was familiar, and he was safe. You pulled apart when your lungs ached for air, peeling your eyes open with effort. He was looking at you, and you were looking at him, and suddenly a grin broke out across his face. He laughed breathily, nudging his head into the crook of your neck. You laughed with him, holding him tight. You sat there together for who knows how long, melted in each other's embrace under the light of the moon. He pressed soft kisses against your neck and whispered thanks into your ears. You responded with a peck to his tanned cheeks. You were right, he knew. It wasn't over. There was time left, and there was hope. Wrapped in your arms, he was sure of that.
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