DISCLAIMER: I do not own Avatar: The Last Airbender.
CHAPTER 29: Party Planning
Katara paces back and forth in the entire length of her small bedroom, worrying her bottom lip and staring at her phone.
This is ridiculous, she thinks, but she still cannot bring herself to call who she needs to call.
She doesn't know why she is so worried, anyway— it's not like Zuko would magically know about her conversation with the girls a few nights ago (she had even bribed Toph not to breathe a word to him)— but it still seems incredibly awkward to just call him up and ask him to coordinate with her about Suki and Sokka's bachelor/ette parties.
Don't be stupid, she chides herself, Nothing has changed. You're still friends. And you have to set the date now because Suki's schedule is so tight.
She takes a deep breath, taps Zuko's number on her phone, and closes her eyes tightly.
He answers on the first ring.
"Hello, Zuko here," he answers in what she has learned is his normal way of over-the-phone greeting.
"Uh, hey, I just called to— uh—" Katara scrunches her face and slaps a hand to her head. She tries not to rush through her next words. "When are you planning to have Sokka's bachelor party?"
There's a scuffle on the end of the line— she hears Iroh's indistinct voice before it's suddenly drowned by sounds of traffic— then Zuko replies, a little gruffly, "I thought Aang was in charge of that."
"He was, but he's not replying to my texts or taking my calls," Katara explains with an impatient huff. "And I need to know if you're doing a surprise thing or whatever, because I'm doing that and I can't have the guys around for a bachelorette party."
"Well, seeing as I haven't even thought about it yet, I'm not sure how I could help."
Katara groans and runs a hand down her face.
"Ugh, great," she mutters. "Suki's schedule is closing up and there are still so many things to do—"
"Why don't you just tell me when you're doing the thing and I'll try to plan around that?" suggests Zuko.
Katara hums and sits down on the edge of her bed.
"That— that could work," she says slowly, wondering why she hasn't thought of adjusting Sokka's party to her schedule. She looks over at the calendar hanging by the end of her bed. "Okay, I was planning on doing the bachelorette party about a week from now— I'm gonna tell Suki it's my birthday dinner—"
"You're gonna have a party for someone else on your birthday?" Zuko asks incredulously on the other line. Katara sighs.
"It's not actually my birthday," she says, before pausing slightly.
Should I tell him? Why shouldn't I tell him?
"My birthday's actually the day after," she adds, picking at a piece of lint on her sweater. She wonders how he would react.
"So you're going to spend your birthday hungover," infers Zuko. Katara's jaw drops in indignation.
"Excuse me, I don't get sloppy drunk at every party I go to!" she exclaims. "I'm not Toph!"
Zuko chuckles a little on the other line and the sound makes Katara smile.
"Fine. Just text me what your plans are, and I guess I'll start, uh, planning stuff, too."
Katara pauses, hesitating to end the call. Zuko clears his throat and Katara scrambles for something to say.
"Was there anything else?" Zuko asks. Katara swallows and draws patterns on her bedspread before shaking her head.
"No, no, that's all. Thanks. Have a good day, Zuko."
"Okay. You, too. Bye."
Katara stares at her phone for a solid minute before flinging herself back onto her mattress and covering her face with her hands.
She decides to place all the confusing Zuko-related feelings aside for now— at least, until she's done planning Suki's party— because it is simply distracting and she just doesn't have the time.
She still finds herself wishing she hadn't ended the phone call so early, though.
"How the hell do I even start planning a bachelor party?" asks Zuko in frustration, slumping on the couch. Toph languidly shifts beside him and plops her bare feet in his lap. He wrinkles his nose but doesn't push her away.
"Snoozles would prolly be okay with steak and whiskey," Toph tells him, hands tucked behind her head. "He doesn't like strippers— gives him the 'oogies'."
"I wasn't planning on getting strippers," says Zuko, slightly mortified. "But— how do I— do I surprise him, or something? Katara said she was surprising Suki."
"Tha's up to ya," drawls Toph, lolling her head to his direction lazily. "Y'know you can just ask Madam Fussy how she's gon' do it, right?"
"I know," Zuko says, feeling the heat creep up from his neck to the tips of his ears. "Has she— did she say— what did she—"
"Not gonna tell ya anything, Sparky," Toph replies for the third time since she came home from their appointment with the tailor. She frowns at the ceiling. "Koh's balls, you two are such overthinkers."
"What's that supposed to mean?" asks Zuko quickly. Toph just smirks secretively at him.
"It means you should get off your ass and ask her about Snoozle's party," she replies with a yawn. She gets to her feet and ambles towards her room. "I could practically hear you pining, y'know."
Zuko glares at her retreating back until she slams her bedroom door shut. Then he pulls out his phone and deliberates calling Katara.
He snorts at himself. He used to dislike calling people or taking calls— with the exception of Uncle and Kiyi— but with him and Katara planning Sokka and Suki's wedding, it has become a new normal that he can't see himself letting go of.
He checks the time— half past eight, just after her dinnertime— and decides to just send a text instead.
"I don't know how to plan a party."
His phone buzzes almost immediately.
"I figured. What ideas do you have?"
Zuko's pulse races as he types.
"Can I call?"
It only takes her a few seconds to reply, but they drag out for Zuko all the same.
He swallows, takes a deep breath, and taps on her number. He measures out the time before she picks up with his heartbeats— one, two, thr—
"Hi," she answers. There's an almost shy note to her voice that Zuko can't quite decipher, but the second he hears her, a smile creeps up on his face.
"Hey," he greets, before suddenly remembering that he has an actual reason to call other than to hear her voice. "Um, about Sokka's party—"
"Oh, right!" she exclaims, like she also forgot why he called. "What were you thinking of doing?"
"Toph said steak and whiskey would be enough for him," Zuko replies, relaxing on the couch. "I just don't know— I don't know if it should be a surprise, or— or where the venue is or who to invite—"
"Well, knowing my brother, you better make him choose the restaurant and the after-dinner thing," Katara says, and he could just imagine her tapping her chin with her finger with that thoughtful look she gets when she's planning something. "He's really specific about steakhouses— he keeps a mental log of all the steak he's eaten, y'know."
"Your brother is crazy," sighs Zuko. He hears Katara giggle on the other line.
"Yes, he is," she laughs. "So that rules out surprising him— unless you can find a way to ask him about the definitive list of the top ten steakhouses in the city without making it weird."
"I can't," he answers honestly. Katara snorts.
"Who do I invite, then?" asks Zuko, cradling the phone between his ear and his shoulder as he lies down and gets comfortable. "I have no idea who else Sokka is friends with. I haven't seen the guestlist yet."
"That's because they haven't gotten all the RSVPs yet!" exclaims Katara in frustration. Zuko chuckles as she continues, "I mean, how inconsiderate can some people be? It's just good sense to respond to an invitation as soon as you get it!"
"I usually wait two weeks before I send it back," he admits. Katara is silent for a few moments and he could almost see her bristling. He smirks.
"You know, I think I just lost a tiny bit of respect for you," she replies, light enough for him to know it's a joke. "Why would you do that?"
"Well, back in— back in my old work, you never knew what business would come up," he explains, stumbling over the words First Sozin, "So I usually wait until I was sure both Mai and I were free. It's rude to cancel at the last minute."
"Huh, that was surprisingly thoughtful," muses Katara. "Fine, that's one reason. I still think people should be punctual when responding. I mean, c'mon! The wedding is, like, one and a half months away!"
"Suki doesn't seem to mind," Zuko points out.
"That's because Suki is as bad as Sokka with time management," complains Katara. "She keeps telling me to just relax 'cause it'll all work out, but the caterer's been asking for a headcount for a week now, and I can't keep making up excuses. It's so frustrating how easy-going Suki and Sokka are about their own wedding!"
"They have the luxury to be easy-going because you're doing everything for them," Zuko reminds her.
He's met with silence and he freezes in panic— had he gone too far?
He hears Katara groan and laugh on the other end of the call.
"Ugh. You're right." she says. "Maybe I should ask Suki how she wants her bachelorette party to go instead of making it a surprise."
He frowns at her too-casual tone.
"You still wanna do it, though," he surmises. Katara groans again.
"You know me too well," she grumbles. "It's just— Suki loves surprises! And I'm pretty proud of what I had planned."
"What do you have planned?" asks Zuko curiously.
Katara's snigger reminds him a little bit of Toph's, and it makes him grin.
"C'mon, tell me," he urges her.
"Okay, but do not tell Toph anything, 'cause I wanna test it out on her first to see if they're fun," she tells him, her tone full of mischief. "Because… well, let's just say some party games will be centered around— hmm, what's a delicate way to phrase this— items shaped like male genitalia."
Zuko chokes on his own spit and his cough quickly turns into laughter.
"You're gonna have the bridesmaids do what, exactly?"
Katara giggles and it just makes him laugh harder.
"Well, there's the inflatable banana— stop laughing!— the inflatable banana ring toss," she says over Zuko's snickers, "Then there's this thing with chocolates that I saw when I was researching games— and, well, of course I have some classics like Never Have I Ever."
"You're only including that because you know you'll end up the least drunk," teases Zuko. Katara snorts.
"How do you know I haven't done more stuff since the last time we played?" she challenges. "Maybe I've beaten up someone since then."
"And who would that be, Sokka?" asks Zuko amusedly.
"Oh, shut up, jerk," she says in a tone that implies she's sticking her tongue out at him. Zuko huffs in amusement. "Oh, that reminds me— can I come over to your place tomorrow after work? I forgot to ask Toph and I'm assuming she's already gone to sleep."
"Wow, this must be the first time you'd come over with my permission," he answers dryly.
"Yeah, I know, there's a first for everything," she replies just as dryly.
"Why do you need to come over, anyway?" He asks, stifling a yawn.
He hears Katara yawn too on the other end before answering.
"It's for the game I researched," she replies a little sluggishly. "I need granite counters for the chocolate part."
"Alright, I'll tell Toph to wait for you," he tells her. "I gotta do inventory tomorrow night."
"Oh, that's too bad," Katara says, before suddenly rambling, "I— I just mean— it's too bad you have to work tomorrow night! But I do need Toph around, because this is one of those things I need to test out on her— I don't know if it's totally lame or too lewd or if it's not funny at all—"
"I'm sure it'll turn out okay," he assures her.
"I hope so, otherwise I spent an inordinate amount of money on chocolate and cream," replies Katara, yawning again.
"You should go to bed," Zuko advises.
"I'm already in bed," she informs him. Zuko pushes away the inappropriate images that automatically pop up in his head.
"I meant," he says, "You should go to sleep. It's a school night."
"You make it sound like we're in high school," she tells him. "But yeah, maybe I should sleep soon."
She doesn't hang up, though. It makes Zuko think that, maybe, possibly, she doesn't want to end this call as much as he does.
"Uh— how are— how are things at the preschool?" he ventures. "Is it still flu season?"
"Yeah," she answers, drawing out the word with a sigh. "The whole place is filled with sniffles and snot."
"Must be fun," comments Zuko sarcastically. Katara huffs.
"Oh, sure," she matches his tone, "I'm covered in stickers and pee all day— why not add a bit of gooey mucus on top of all that, right?"
"Good thing you haven't caught the flu yet."
"It's only a matter of time," says Katara. "Some of the other teachers have already caught it."
"I would complain, but so many kids are out sick that it's no problem integrating some of the other teachers' students with my class," she explains wearily.
She lets out another yawn that sets off Zuko, too. She giggles.
"Yeah, we really should get to sleep."
He waits for her to say good night, like she always does, but all he could hear is her even breathing. He smirks.
"You know you have to hang up first before falling asleep, right?" he asks quietly, just in case she did fall asleep already.
There is a long moment of silence before she mumbles blearily, "Don't tell me what to do, Sparky."
"As you wish, Sweetness."
"Ugh, Toph's nicknames are the worst," grumbles Katara.
"Good night, Zuko."
"Good night, Katara."
"You know Suki doesn't like strippers, Toph, and besides, you can't even see them anyway!" argues Katara exasperatedly, setting down her chocolate experiment on the counter. "So, absolutely no strippers."
"How can you have a dirty ass bachelorette party with no strippers?" Toph retorts incredulously. "It's gonna be so lame! Count me out."
"Not even when you hear about the game I planned so we could mess with the other girls?" asks Katara slyly.
Toph purses her lips and climbs up a kitchen stool closer to Katara.
"Gonna give ya one chance, Sugar Queen."
"I know it's not what you usually like, but…"
Katara plops her prototype into Toph's hands. She fights back a giggle as Toph sniffs it.
"Is this… chocolate?" Toph asks, venturing a tentative lick on the object and feeling out the length of it. Katara bursts out laughing the minute Toph realizes what it was.
"SICK! Did I just have a chocolate cock in my mouth?!"
"The one who licks her way fastest to the cream-filled center wins," supplies Katara helpfully.
Toph laughs maniacally.
"Oh, Sweetness, I love your mind!" She sniggers and takes a huge bite out of the shaft. "Damn, if cocks tasted this good I might actually think about becoming straight."
"You know you can't bite an actual penis, right?" Katara says amusedly, smoothing chocolate into her mold.
They both turn at the sound of the door unlocking. Katara jumps and busies herself with the cream while Toph waves her half-eaten chocolate penis as Zuko walks into the apartment.
"Hey, Sparky!" greets Toph. "Gramps let you out early?"
Zuko pops his head into the kitchen and blushes beet red at the sight of the phallic candies on the counter.
"What are you doing?" He asks, horrified.
Katara bursts into hysterical giggles at his expression.
"I told you the party games involved items shaped like male genitalia," she reminds him.
His eyes bug out of his head.
"So you're gonna make the bridesmaids eat those?"
"They taste real great," Toph tells him through another mouthful of chocolate. "Sweetness has a way with cocks."
Katara slaps a hand to her forehead, accidentally smearing chocolate on her nose. She wipes it off agitatedly while reprimanding her friend.
"Toph, could you please reserve some crassness for the party?"
"Mmm, nope," declares Toph. She offers half her candy to Zuko, who is still standing stock-still and flustered in the kitchen archway. "Hey, Hotpants, wanna lick Sugar Queen's candy?"
Katara groans and Zuko starts sputtering.
"No," he manages to choke out. Toph cackles.
"Y'know, it's very insulting not to taste a woman's cooking," Toph fake admonishes in a tone that sounded remarkably like Iroh. Katara sighs.
"Toph, don't manipulate him," she chides, then plucks the quarter of a chocolate penis from her fingers. "No more chocolate until you rein in the dirty comments. You're making Zuko uncomfortable."
"Shut up. You're not my real mom," Toph says, sticking out her tongue at her. Katara laughs at such a familiar interaction— this kind of conversation has certainly happened too many times when they were growing up.
"Tell Zuko you're sorry first," she counters.
"I don't really— uh, I don't really mind that much," mutters Zuko, still red in the face. Katara raises her eyebrow at him and he shrugs. "Really, I'm used to Toph's potty mouth."
"See! He's used to it! Gimme!" exclaims Toph impatiently, feeling around the countertop for her candy. Katara rolls her eyes and plunks the chocolate shaft into her waiting hands.
"Fine. But there's limits to teasing people with sexual innuendos," Katara tells her, but Toph just rolls her eyes and flips her off. Katara sticks her tongue out at her uselessly and turns to Zuko. "You have to tell her when you're uncomfortable, otherwise she won't stop."
"She already knows when to stop," Zuko says, crossing his arms over his chest. "You have to let her do her thing— she gets tired of it after a while."
"Jeez, chill out, Mom and Dad," snarks Toph, finishing her candy. Zuko looks mildly disgusted as she wipes her dirty fingers on her shirt.
"You know, I never pegged you for a sweet tooth," he comments. Katara snorts and Toph grins widely at him.
"I'm full of surprises, Sparky," Toph says, wiping her mouth with the back of her hand.
"She only likes the candies that I make," Katara whispers to Zuko conspiratorially.
"You actually make candies?" asks Zuko curiously. "I thought this was your first time."
"Oh, she used to sell caramel things for pocket money," explains Toph. Her eyes take on a malicious glint. "Don't worry, Hotstuff. It's not Sugar Queen's first time handling—"
"Limits, Toph," Katara reminds her firmly, before opening the fridge and popping her mold in the freezer. She turns back to the counter and starts clearing the melting bowl and the plastic spatula she used. "That's my last batch; I'll just put in the filling and seal it up and I'll be on my way."
"So soon?" asks Zuko, disappointment evident in his tone. Toph snickers and Katara catches him scowling at the blind girl before he continues. "I mean, don't you have other, uh, party stuff to— to set up?"
Katara fights back a smile as she soaks the kitchen utensils in the sink.
"Oh, everything's been planned," she tells him over the sound of running water. "I even invited some of Suki's other friends from the squad."
"Giggles is gonna be there, right?" Toph calls out. "Ty Lee really liked her. She wants to set her up with some dude from the squad."
"Do I invite the guys from Sokka's squad?" Zuko asks suddenly. "Are they even invited to the wedding?"
Katara sighs, loads up the dishwasher, and dries her hands before turning back to them.
"Yes, Toph, Jia will be there," she tells her, leaning one hip against the counter, "And, yes, Zuko, the guys are invited to the wedding, but you better ask Sokka which ones he likes well enough to invite to the bachelor party, because he doesn't like most of the guys from the squad. You might end up inviting Hahn, and that's just a natural disaster."
"Okay, so my job's easy— I just basically let Sokka plan his entire party," concludes Zuko. "Who's Hahn and why do I have to avoid inviting him?"
"Hahn was Yue's high school boyfriend before Snoozles went to Northern and charmed the pants outta her," Toph explains. "He's a dick, though, so it's okay."
"And he's in the force with Sokka here in the Earth Kingdom because…?" Zuko asks, trailing off in confusion.
"Either it's pure coincidence or the universe is conspiring against Sokka or he deliberately followed him here to make his life miserable," Katara says, rolling her eyes as she wraps up the other candies on the counter. "Sokka's so dramatic about it. He keeps saying Hahn is his nemesis or mortal enemy or something. It's a good thing Captain Piandao favors Sokka, otherwise they'd probably have pissing contests over who's manlier."
"Should I add that as a party game?" Zuko says wryly. Toph laughs and claps her knee and Katara snorts.
"Hey, what you guys do on your own time…" says Katara laughingly, before she is interrupted by her phone's timer. "Okay, one last penis-shaped chocolate and I'm out of your hair."
She sets about removing the two halves from the mold and filling it up with cream. She is sealing up the edges with leftover chocolate when Zuko clears his throat and excuses himself. Katara furrows her brows when she hears his bedroom door slam shut.
"What's up with him?" she asks. "Did I do something wrong?"
"I'm pretty sure it's just because you have a dick in your hands, Sweetness," she guesses, and Katara blushes and sets down the finished candy delicately on the counter.
"Oh," she says. "I guess I'm making him uncomfortable, too, huh?"
"Nah, I think the problem is that he likes it way too much," chuckles Toph. "How's the whole 'not gonna date him til I'm sure' thing going, by the way?"
"I…" Katara glances at the kitchen archway and lowers her voice. "I actually think I'm… getting there."
"He fell asleep on the couch last night," discloses Toph, grinning mischievously. "Did you keep him up with something?"
Katara tries to suppress the smile that makes its way to her lips.
"We just— we just talked about a bunch of things," she shares, wrapping up all the chocolates in foil. "I don't think either of us wanted to stop. I almost fell asleep on the phone."
Toph rolls her eyes.
"Ugh, you two are so PG-13," she groans, throwing her hands up in frustration. "What're you gonna do next, hold hands? Are ya gonna wait a year before you even let him kiss you on the cheek?"
"For your information—" Katara starts defensively, but she stops herself when she sees Toph's grin widen.
"Oh, care to enlighten me on something, Sugar Queen?" she asks, drumming her fingers on the countertop.
"Nothing— it's nothing!" squeaks Katara, but Toph has already latched onto her words.
"I can tell you're lying," she singsongs loudly, and Katara shushes her in panic.
"Alright, alright!" she hisses, dragging Toph unceremoniously to the balcony and sliding the door shut. She shivers at the sudden cold and decides to make it quick. "I kissed him. On the cheek. Twice."
"You kissed him?" asks Toph, pointing at a spot near Katara's left shoulder. "What the fuck are you doing to Zuko?"
"I'm not doing anything!" exclaims Katara, flabbergasted.
"You are!" Toph retorts accusatorily, stomping her bare foot on the chilly floor. "You said you didn't wanna play with his feelings, Katara! What the hell? No wonder he's so hung up on ya!"
"The first time I did it, he had just told me about his scar! I was caught up in— in— in comforting him!" Katara tries to clarify, but Toph narrows her eyes and frowns at her.
Katara sighs and resigns herself to this interrogation. She slides down to the dusty cement floor of the balcony. Toph squats down beside her, hands on her thighs.
"Okay," Katara finally says, hugging her arms close to her body in an effort to stay warm, "I think I might've done it for another reason. I've been thinking about it a lot recently, and— well, back then, I only saw him as this gruff, sort of angry, awkward person who I couldn't really understand, and when we were at Roku's for my interview, we ran into his ex, and— and he just seemed so upset about it, and, well, you know me! I just— I wanted to know how I could make things better for him because I felt like he needed someone to talk to—"
"So you kissed him?" interrupts Toph disbelievingly.
"No," replies Katara vehemently. "Well, not yet. We started talking about his family and— and suddenly he was opening up to me about his dad and his sister and how he got his scar and— and— I realized how wrong I was about him, Toph! I never would have thought he'd endured so much and I couldn't believe he couldn't see just how amazing he was for what he did and I just wanted him to know how brave he was for standing up to that— that monster—"
"Katara," interrupts Toph again, but in a softer, more somber tone this time. Katara stops rambling and Toph sighs. "You wanna know why I set you two up?"
"Yes," answers Katara, curiosity piqued. Toph takes a huge breath and lets it out slowly.
"You're both tough as nails and you both survived the tremendous amount of bullshit you went through," Toph says seriously. "You both know what it's like to lose someone important in your life, and yeah, you're both real stubborn and huge pains in my ass, and— well…"
Toph sits herself down beside her, huddling closer than she usually does. Katara wraps her arm around her and tucks her close to her side.
"You were the first one who went looking for me when I ran away in high school," Toph mutters, features pinched. "Not even my fucking parents noticed, but you were nosy enough to care even though we barely knew each other then."
Katara frowns slightly at that, but Toph continues belligerently.
"I just thought… maybe Zuko needed that kinda touchy-feely shit, y'know? He was as lost as I was," she says with an uncomfortable shrug. "And he kinda reminded me of you, y'know? Always tellin' me to eat proper food and wash my hands and all that crap. I guess— I guess that's your special way of saying that you care. Both of ya. So I felt like you two would hit it off."
Katara sits in silence as she digests this. Toph fidgets with her fingers as they sit together out in the cold.
"Thanks, Toph," Katara finally says, squeezing her tight. Toph squirms in her grasp, but Katara continues, holding on tight. "I guess I get it now. We just seemed so different when we first met that I thought it was your idea of a joke. But I know him so well now… and… honestly, I can't believe how easy it is to fall in love with him."
Toph shoves her away with an exaggerated gagging sound. Katara giggles and attempts to hug her again.
"Don't get all gooey and lovey-dovey on me, Sugar Queen!"
"Oh, I will! You wanted this, right? You wanted all the details of this lovey-dovey thing you set up—"
The balcony door opens and they almost fall back into the living room under Zuko's confused stare.
"What are you doing out there in the cold?" he asks bewilderedly.
"Oh, we're just bonding," Katara smiles slyly at Toph and laughs as she dodges the blind girl's surprisingly accurate kick. She stands up and pulls Toph along with her. "Nothing like a heart to heart in the middle of a freezing balcony, huh?"
"Ugh, you make me sick, Sweetness," says Toph, punching her in the arm half-heartedly. Zuko looks bemusedly between the two of them before turning to Katara with a slight frown.
"You're really asking for that flu, huh?"
Katara crosses her arms over her chest and frowns back at him.
"Well, I figured if I'm gonna get it anyway, why not speed up the process?" she answers sarcastically.
"If only you sped up other stuff in your life—" she starts, but yelps when Katara quickly pinches her ear. She swats her away as Katara smiles sheepishly at Zuko, who had raised his brow at the interaction.
"I better go," Katara says, finally letting go of Toph's ear. She quickly gathers the foil-wrapped party props and dumps them in a reused gift bag. "Gotta catch the night bus. Bye! Good night!"
She gives them a little wave before hurrying to the door and closing it behind her. Zuko blinks at the suddenness of her exit.
"Bye, I guess," he mutters in confusion. He looks at Toph for an explanation, only to see a pensive look on her face. "What's wrong?"
"Nah, it's no sweat off your ass, Sparky," she replies blithely, shrugging.
"Okay…" says Zuko uncertainly. "I'm gonna go to bed, then. Night."
He turns away but Toph's voice stops him.
"Hey, Zuko?" She asks in a small voice. "We'll still be friends even if you and Katara hook up, right?"
"What—" he whips back around, heart in his throat. "What makes you think she wants to—"
"It's just hypothetical, jeez," she quickly replies with a roll of her eyes. She frowns at the floor and scuffs her bare feet on the carpet. "Whatever. I don't care what you do with your life."
Zuko smiles and places a hand on her shoulder.
"Of course we'll still be friends, Toph," he says quietly. "No matter what happens. Promise."
Toph manages a small smile before reaching out and jabbing him on the shoulder.
"You're as bad as Sweetness sometimes, ya know?"
Zuko snorts and ruffles her hair playfully. Toph growls and tries to shove him out of her way to her bedroom.
"Quit it!" she complains. "Jeez. Just hook up with her already so the two of ya can finally stop bugging me."
"Right. 'Cause Katara's so eager to get together with me," says Zuko sarcastically. He drops the dry tone to mess with Toph. "Hey. Is that what you were talking about? Is there a reason why… why she can't return my feelings? Is there something wrong with me?"
"Fucking hell, Sparky, I can't do two heart to hearts in one night!"
Toph throws her hands up and stomps to her room. Zuko chuckles to himself, turns off the lights, and heads to bed not soon after.
A/N: And that's Chapter 29! I might have to up the rating because of the language, but idk, they seem harmless enough to me lol. I hope Toph wasn't too OOC in this chapter. I'm basing all the interactions on her line in the series, "Do you really think friendships can last more than one lifetime?" Anyway, what did you guys think of this? Feedback is always welcome!