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7am Shortcake

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5:05 am

 

His favorite time of day - when the world had yet to wake up and there was nothing but the soothing tunes of Cavetown's Lemon Boy album to get in between him and his work. Sokka hummed softly as he unlocked the front doors of Si Wong Deserts and flicked on the back lights, a soft smile on his face as he watched the small bakery come alive before moving to his work station. A quick transfer of music from his headphones to the store sound system and he was ready to go, time fading away as he settled into the easy rhythm of flour, kneed, rise, roll, shape and bake completely uninterrupted.

 

By the time he'd prepared enough sweets to stock the shelves for the morning, the time had ticked over to 6:30 am - the sound of soft shoes making their way to the kitchen and featherlight kiss to his temple alerting him to that fact. "Morning, Suki," he hummed, wiping his hands on his apron as he turned to face his girlfriend of two years with a fond smile. She hummed softly, pressing a venti iced coffee in his hands and taking a sip of her own tea before speaking.

 

"Morning, Sokka," she returned, green eyes drifting over the man's face curiously and making him squirm. Time suddenly seemed to drag as he waited for her to finally speak again, though he was unsure what he wanted her to say. "Are you going to talk to him today?"

 

Not that..

 

Sokka knew exactly who she was referring to and he knew that she knew that, face flushing and blue eyes darting away as he pulled off his apron and hung it up in an attempt to stall - fussing with the folds absently. "I talk to him everyday, what do you mean?"

 

"You know exactly what I mean, sweetheart, and it isn't that," she replied almost immediately, setting down her cup to rest an hand on his arm - stopping his flustered movements. He turned his head just slightly to meet her eyes, the playful yet serious attitude that he loved so much shining deep.

 

"Why do I have to ask?" he pouted slightly, shoving his hands in his pockets to keep himself still. "You're the lead in this relationship, anyway, so shouldn-"

 

She stopped him with a finger on her lips and stern glare. "No. Absolutely none of that," Suki said firmly, moving her hand from his lips to cup his cheek and make sure he was looking at her. "We are partners in this relationship, Sokka. I may be your domme in the bedroom but we will always be partners . Understand?"

 

"Yes.."

 

"Repeat it so I know you're listening to me."

 

"We're partners," he mumbled softly, unable to keep himself from pressing into the touch on his cheek. Suki's expression smoothed out and she let a thumb drift over his skin for a moment before pressing up on her toes and dropping another kiss to his nose.

 

"Good boy. Now, go stock the shelves, it's almost time to open."

 

"Yes, ma'am," he answered softly, a light smirk appearing on his face as he shifted out of her reach and grabbed the morning's pastries - leaving Suki to glare at him fondly as he all but ran away. She rolled her eyes and shook her head before tying her hair up and grabbing cleaning supplies, wiping down the tables and handles before flipping the front lights and open sign on.

 

Other workers streamed in steadily afterwards and set up their stations, giving time for Sokka to finish his stock and wash his hands just as the time ticked over to 7 am . He took a calming breath as he stepped behind the register and let his eyes drift over to the door, looking forward to his second favorite time of day.

 

And it came like clockwork as it always did every morning, the bell above the door jingling and marking the arrival of Zuko - shortcake lover and the current supporting cast member in Sokka's fantasies.

 

"Morning, Zuko!"

 

Amber eyes met blue as Zuko looked up at the sound of Sokka's voice and smiled softly, sliding his headphones down to rest around his neck as he stepped up to the counter. "Morning, Sokka," he returned, dipping his head before glancing up at the menu. He got the same thing every morning - shortcake and pai sho rolls - but that didn't stop him from looking.

 

Sokka didn't mind the wait as it gave him time to check out Zuko's outfit of the day without it being awkward. A simple black mesh crop-top covered most of Zuko's torso, matched with a flowing black skirt and stockings combo and finished with black converse. His hair was pulled into a loose top knot and his face had a simple makeup - eyeliner (only on the right eye. Zuko never touched his left eye as the burned skin - though healed over - was very sensitive) and smudge-free black lipstick only gracing his top lip.

 

The look was simple but perfect, as well as completely distracting and Sokka didn't notice Zuko trying to get his attention until Suki came up behind him and cleared her throat, startling him out of his thoughts as she spoke. "Morning, Zuko. Trying something new today?"

 

"No, I think I'll stick with my usual," he answered, turning his attention to Suki easily and giving Sokka the time he needed to stop blushing and compose himself. He turned away from the register to make Zuko's shortcake fresh - as he always did - simply to have something to do with his hands as Suki took over the conversation, asking about Zuko's Uncle Iroh and his cat, Druk, until Sokka had calmed.

 

"Here you go," he hummed, setting the bag on the counter and tapping the register screen to send the price to the card reader. Zuko pulled out his card and slid it into the reader easily, chewing on his lip as he waited for the transaction to go through.

 

"You know," Sokka hummed softly as he rung up the raven-haired man in front of him. "Your love of strawberry shortcakes doesn't really match your aesthetic.. but it's still pretty cute."

 

The silence that met his words prompted Sokka to look up, confused amber eyes staring directly back at him. "What?" he asked, lips curling up with a nervous smile.

 

"Did.." he started, voice shaking slightly as he resisted the urge to look around and make sure Sokka was actually speaking to him. "Did you mean to say that out loud? And to me?"

 

"Yes.. and yes," Sokka replied, blushing slightly and shifting his weight towards Suki. Her hand drifted to his lower back in support but she stayed silent, letting Sokka do the talking. "You're kinda the only one here, Zuko."

 

"But.. I-um, what about Suki," he stuttered, eyes darting to the other baker nervously. 

 

She smiled and reached out to gently touch his hand. "Sokka has two hands, sweetie. So do I and so do you," she explained softly, looking directly at him and making it clear that they weren't messing with him. "Who said love has to stay between two people? Sokka and I have talked about this and we both care for you, so this is your decision. If you say no, we'll understand and never talk about this again, okay?"

 

Zuko nodded numbly as he looked between both bakers, nearly shocked into silence as he tried to process his two objects of affection saying his feelings were mutual. Unfortunately for him, Suki was very insistent on vocal confirmations and gently squeezed his hand to draw his attention back to her. "I need you to say you understand, Zuko."

 

"I, um, y-yeah," he whispered, swallowing hard and clearing his voice before trying again. "Okay."

 

"Okay?" Sokka asked, lifting his eyebrows hopefully.

 

"Yeah.."