Not much left here. Maybe one or two more chapters. What I wanted to do with this story has been achieved. This is a tiny little chapter, I know. But I wasn’t actually planning to upload anything this week. I have been a bit under the weather. But then, inspiration struck and I typed this all out in one sitting. Hope you have fun with this little, but fun chapter.
“Uh… Sokka… this… this isn’t what it looks like,” Zuko says, feeling his face heat up.
Sokka raises his brows and crosses his arms. “You mean to say you’re not sleeping with my sister?”
“Oi, Zuko!” Katara snaps. “We’re not sleeping together.”
“We technically are.”
“What does that even mean?” Sokka asks. “And how come you’re in Katara’s room?”
“I’m in her bed, which is kind of in her room.”
“What do you mean technically?” Sokka yells.
“Sokka! Why are you even in my room? Don’t you have anything else to do?” Katara shrieks.
Zuko runs a hand over his face, trying to think over the shouty siblings. “Stop!” he screams. “God, I can’t hear myself think! Katara, one second. Sokka, I’m in her room because we are both insomniac.”
“What does that have to do with anything?” Sokka asks.
Zuko shakes his head, “Sokka… can I at least freshen up and drink a cup of coffee? I’ll explain when I’m a bit more awake?”
“Uh no. I want an explanation now.”
“No,” Katara says as she stands up. “Here’s what’s going to happen. You are going to go down and fix both of us nice steaming cups of coffee. We are going to freshen up and then come down. There we will talk. About boundaries. And then, if and only if you understand it properly, will we have a conversation about what’s happening here?”
“Boundaries? You’re talking about boundaries? You who reads my mails on a regular basis? That’s rich,” Sokka replies with narrowed eyes.
“Not my fault that you never sign out of a single computer and keep like a thousand tabs open at all times.”
“So just close the damn tabs!”
“Close the damn tabs!” Katara mimics, “You had porn going on in one of those tabs. I wanted to pour bleach on my computer that day.”
“Okay! TMI,” Zuko says, pushing himself off the bed and standing up. “You don’t discuss a guy’s porn in front of another guy, Katara.”
“Yes, thank you. But, you’re both dressed,” Sokka says, pointing at both.
“Astute observation,” sarcasm drips heavy from Katara’s voice.
“But Zuko said you guys were sleeping together?”
“Yes, sleeping,” Zuko replies. “Just sleeping. If you would stop thinking about the euphemism and think in literal terms, it would make sense to you.”
Katara looks heavenward, and throws her arms up, “Can we please have this conversation later? Sokka, down. Coffee. Now.”
“Whatever,” he says with a handwave and walks out.
“Sorry you had to see that,” Katara says. “Sokka is a weirdo.”
“It’s fine,” Zuko says, sniggering a little. “It was funny.”
“My interactions with my sibling are… strained. Azula and I don’t have a very good relationship. It is wonderful to see a normal sibling relationship.”
“Zuko,” Katara says, tying her hair into a bun, “Siblings are a pain in the ass.”
He simply chuckles. “So, what are we going to say downstairs?”
Sometime later, Zuko and Katara sit across Sokka, Hakoda, and Iroh with cups of coffee in their hands.
“What are you doing here, Uncle?” Zuko asks.
“Why don’t you tell me?” He asks. “Why were you in this young lady’s room?”
Zuko takes a deep breath. He can deflect everyone else, but not his Uncle. He needs to speak the truth. He casts a look at Katara, who gives a small nod, and then he begins, “We are both insomniacs. We have spent nights upon nights just staring into the dark. It gets lonely. Exhausting. And frankly, depressing.”
“Nights get even more oppressive when we can hear other people in the house sleeping,” Katara adds, “Which is why we both spent a lot of time in the terrace. That’s how we met each other.”
Zuko licks his lips and continues, “I won’t go into detail about what happened, but we ended up spending a lot of time together. It just so happens that we discovered that when we are together, we can sleep.”
“For the first time in years, we are sleeping,” Katara says, looking straight at her father. “I can’t explain what a relief it has been. For both of us.”
“I’m sleeping in a bed. For the first time in years,” Zuko adds. “She is not scared of the nights. For the first time in years. I’m not going to apologize for that.”
“Me neither,” Katara answers. “I like Zuko. We are dating and I’m not apologizing for that either.”
Their proclamation is met with silence. As the three stare on, Zuko feels his confidence falter.
“You guys totally rehearsed this speech, didn’t you?” Sokka says after a while.
Katara gives a half-smile, “Yes, we did.”
Hakoda gives a weary sigh, “Katara, I don’t have a problem with you dating anyone. And Zuko is a perfectly nice boy. I do have a problem with him coming into my house without me knowing about it, though.”
“But dad –“ Katara begins, but Zuko holds her hand, making her stop.
“You’re right, Sir. That was wrong of me. And for that, I would apologize. I am sorry.”
“As for you both dating,” Sokka says, “We’ve known about it for a while.”
“What?” the two of them echo.
“Nephew,” Iroh asks with a gleam in his eyes. “Did you forget about the security camera that you had installed in the terrace when you moved in with me?”
“Why do you think Katara was in Jasmine Dragon to begin with?” Hakoda asks.