[Misc] Double Trouble

“So you’re made of metal?”

“Yes.”

“But you’re alive.”

“… Yes.” Sideswipe pauses, reconsiders. “In a matter of speaking. We’re not organic like you. But we’re not machines either.”

Sokka taps his chin with his finger as though earnestly contemplating the same facts they’ve gone over time and time again. “That… is seriously cool.”

Despite himself, Sideswipe preens. “I know.”

“No, I mean, that is very, very cool,” Sokka says, and leaps to his feet, pacing back and forth, arms waving wildly. “You’re metal. But you move. And you’re like thirty feet tall.”

“More like fifteen.”

Sokka waves a hand dismissively. “The point is: You. Are. Awesome.”

Sideswipe rocks back and forth on his wheels, feeling like his twin the way pride emanates from his frame. Slaggin’ Sunstreaker, affecting him like this. “Of course I am.”

“I’ll bet you’re smart, too,” Sokka continues, pacing back and forth, only to pause and stare at Sideswipe’s knee or Autobot emblem or wheel or really anything he can look at with awe. “And fast. And strong. And–”

“–seriously bored,” Sideswipe chimes in. Because as fun as it is to hear Sokka complimenting him, it would be far more amusing to slag some Decepticons.

Sokka pauses, mid-step, and whirls his body to face Sideswipe, planting his hands on his hips. “What do you do for fun anyway?”

Sideswipe rolls his shoulder with a creak of metal and a scrape of gears. “Games. Races. Beat up some ‘Cons.” He pauses, and grins. “Pranks.”

An evil glint appears in Sokka’s eyes, one that Sideswipe recognizes easily. “Really?” Sokka says with a cackle, rubbing his palms together. “Sideswipe, my man – I mean mech – I have a feeling we’ll get along just perfectly.”

And somewhere, on the other side of the camp, both Prowl and Katara feel a simultaneous, eerie chill of dread creep over them.

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[AtLA] Better Red Than Dead

His skin itches. Crawls really. He feels all too exposed. Wearing the livery of the Fire Nation makes him feel dirty somehow, as though he’s betraying everything his family has fought for, his own people have died for.

Disguising themselves as legitimate members of the Fire Nation is a good idea. It’s one that will keep them alive, enable them to travel freely through the Fire Nation. Yet, Sokka does not like it. And he won’t ever like it.

He knows that Katara probably feels the same way. They are both smart enough to recognize a good plan when they see one, but still… this isn’t easy.

Aang is practically giddy. The pacifist probably sees this as a closer step toward a worldwide peace that he’s been dreaming of. Small steps, baby, small steps.

Toph… well, it’s always hard to read Toph. She can’t see what colors she’s wearing anyway, so she probably doesn’t care. She doesn’t carry the same level of dislike for the Fire Nation as Sokka and Katara anyway.

His skin itches again. Sokka casually drags his fingers over his neck where he’s itching. Then his arm. Then his right side. Then his elbow. Gah, itching everywhere.

It’s too much. He understands, but still… it’s like everything the Fire Nation has threatened is being experienced right now. Because isn’t that what Ozai is trying to do? Take over their entire world, turn everything to Fire Nation red, wipe out what exists of the Water Tribes and the Earth Kingdom. He’s already succeeded with the Air Nomads! Their temples have been covered in Fire Nation victory flags, Fire Nation livery, red everywhere.

And here Sokka is. Here is Team Avatar. Dressed up like the very thing they are trying to fight. It just… ugh. It has to be done, but deep inside, Sokka loathes this with every portion of his being.

His knee itches again. And around his collar. The small of his back. His wrists and his ankles get treated to a scratch, too.

“Sokka!”

“What?” he demands, looking sourly at Katara, who’s giving him a perplexed expression.

“Stop scratching,” she says. “There’s nothing wrong with you.”

Sokka sighs. And obeys. Katara’s right after all. He doesn’t really itch; he just thinks he ought to. But, he supposes, better a little red than a lot dead.

[AtLA] Hero Worship

It’s twelve years later when the dark-haired, gold-eyed child shows up in the middle of the Water Tribe’s village. When a distinctly Fire Nation ship pulls up to the shore, waving a proud banner that no longer provokes an intense surge of fear and hatred. There’s still wariness, a touch of lingering doubt, but the immediate urge to flee is gone.

The young man who steps off said ship is really just a child. A bit older than Toph had been all those years ago. There’s an innocence in his eyes, however, a certain naivete that Toph had never carried, which always made her seem older. Aang had that same older, wiser look in his eyes. This child, flanked by two stern-faced men who are obviously protectors of some kind, does not have a single wary glint to his gaze.

He asks for Sokka.

No one is surprised. Sokka, after all, is one of the Water Tribe’s great heroes. He is known and beloved by all. Many a well-wisher and fan have come to the south just to meet him, or shake his hand, or hear his stories about the battle against the dreaded Phoenix King.

He is pointed in the proper direction, to the second biggest hut in their village. The first being reserved for Chieftain Hakoda with enough space to host council meetings.

The young boy, obviously of Fire Nation heritage, arrives at the hut and tells his bodyguards to remain outside. They obey with much scowling. Some curiosity is born from this exchange, and slowly, a crowd of Water Tribe residents begin to form outside the famous Sokka’s tent.

This, of course, is when the boy chooses to speak. “Sokka!” he calls out, hands cupped around his lips, voice a bit shrill. Poor thing. It doesn’t appear puberty has struck yet.

A moment of anticipatory silence sweeps through the village. Then, the heavy fur over the doorway sweeps aside, revealing their hero Sokka and his ever-present, equally heroic wife Suki. They blink in stunned confusion.

“Uhh… do I know you?” Sokka asks, scratching at his bearded chin. (The beard had been a late addition and an absolute must as he never lost his fondness for the fake face hair he’d donned while undercover in the Fire Nation.)

The kid’s eyes light up upon sight of Sokka and he lurches forward, managing to startle both Sokka and Suki in the process, causing them to shift into defensive stances. Instead of an attack, however, Sokka finds himself embraced heartily.

“I’m Tom-Tom!” the boy gushes. “Don’t you remember? I want you to be my teacher!”

Sokka’s jaw drops and Suki laughs herself silly.

[AtLA] Shocker

The silence in the room makes Toph shriek with laughter, though Zuko is understandably mortified. She knows he’s struggling to tug the blankets up around his body, while Toph doesn’t give a whit. She just grins, laughs all the louder, and lets them stare. It’s their fault for walking in uninvited.

“I can’t even see your faces but I can imagine what they look like,” Toph says, between one breath and the next, her belly hurting from the force of her amusement.

Katara probably looks like she’s swallowed a whole basketful of lemons. Sokka’s about to faint, he’s such a freaking girl for crying out loud. Aang’s grinning like a fool, Toph will bet, and shooting thumbs up Zuko’s direction. Though he’s also studiously looking away from Toph’s nudity. Oh, and is that Suki here, too? Even better!

Toph’s waves a hand at them. “Really, guys, you can say something. I promise not to bite. You at least.” She bares her teeth pointedly, and behind her, Zuko groans out of sheer embarrassment.

He coughs into his fist, and there’s a rustle of blanket as he tries to hide, fruitlessly Toph might add because she’s used just a teensy bit of Earth-bending to snag the end of the blanket and prevent him from pulling it up too far.

“I…” Katara coughs politely, clears her throat like the Sugar Queen she is, and tries to sound like an adult. “I thought you were with Mai, Zuko.”

Toph knows, without being able to see, that her poor lover is probably flaming scarlet and not in a good Firebender-y way. “That’s a long story and frankly, I don’t think any of you are up to hearing it right now.”

“For the love of – Toph, put on a shirt or something. Please!” Sokka pleads and splutters, sounding like he’s choking on each word, or maybe his own spit. His arms are waving everywhere, and it’s kind of like half a decade ago and they’re nothing but a ragtag bunch of kids again. “You’re all… naked!”

Toph feels an evil laughter bubble up inside of her. “Yeah. People usually like to be undressed when they have sex. Or didn’t you notice?”

“Toph!” A chorus of chastising voices nearly deafens Toph’s senses.

Behind her, Zuko facepalms. Interestingly enough, Sokka does much the same seconds later.

Toph smirks. “What?” she asks innocently. “You can’t honestly tell me you didn’t see this coming, can you?”

[AtLA] Induction

“Have I mentioned how adorable you look in your new uniform?” Ty Lee says in what she probably thinks is a whisper but Sokka is sure that everyone in the dedication room, along with the entire Earth Kingdom, heard her anyway.

He resists the urge to facepalm, folds his hands behind his back, and thinks very mature and responsible thoughts. Thoughts that do not include whispering compliments to his fellow inductee in the middle of their induction ceremony.

“So I noticed how you didn’t come with Suki today…”

Sokka grits his teeth. That is a matter which is still a point of contention for him.

“Does that mean you’re single?”

“No,” Sokka says through a clenched jaw, a low hiss that he hopes goes no further than the two of them. “For your information, we are on a break.”

Ty Lee tilts her head to the side, lips forming into a moue of confusion. “Does that mean you’re free to see other people?”

Sokka wants to shout a definitive negative, but he distinctly remember Suki saying that the point of the break is to see if they would be more interested in someone else.

“Because, you know, I’ll bet Suki is seeing other guys,” Ty Lee says, and with her hands clasped behind her back, she swings her body toward him, her smile bright and sparkling.

He opens his mouth, ready for another snarky retort, when a shadow falls over both young adults. Sokka looks up, reddens, realizing he hasn’t paid the slightest bit of attention to the ceremony. For that matter, neither has Ty Lee.

Sokka looks up at Iroh and grins uneasily. “Umm… yes?” he says, both a statement and a question, hoping that they are all looking at him because they want an answer.

Someone in the background giggles. Sokka’s sure that it was Katara.

Iroh, instead of looking thunderously angry, just grins in that amused way of his and winks at Sokka. “The perfect answer,” he says, and lifts his arms, encouraging everyone to clap.

Sokka breathes a sigh of relief, and for once, not even Ty Lee’s giggling annoys him. In fact, there’s something just a bit charming about that sparkle in her eyes.

Suki, eat your heart out.