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holding hands over pizza? you sad sap, you fool,

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the universe has a weird and strangely awesome way of making not only good things happen, but sometimes exactly the way you'd want it to.

or so sokka would say, if he wanted to ruin his rep as a No Nonsense Science Guy. but he didn't need to say it, to believe it... only a little, and only when things like this happened.

for example.

he stares at the chalk art on the special's board at Momo's, which says - in a nauseating shade of orange, "Free Pizza For Couples, offer valid until 8PM!" there are cute little hearts and flowers around that, and some explanation for the occasion, probably, but sokka has his eyes on the prize.

or well, the opportunity. the universe can only do so much.

the thing is - see, he's on his lunch break before attending an extremely long and boring lecture; and he forgot to break fast that morning because he was preoccupied, because he gets like that sometimes. so he wants to eat, and eat well - forgetful he may be, but passing on food in general is just not done.

the second thing is, he's on the break with zuko. who's his best bro in the whole wide world, not to be dramatic or anything, but perhaps sokka would admit to maybe having a bit of a Jenny situation with him. y'know, 'wanna ruin our friendship, be lovers instead' kinda deal. he doesn't let himself think too hard about it, his past in the Nile river is firmly in the past and he has accepted that these things just happen.

now. how to ask him in a diplomatic and non-ridiculous way to pretend (for the sake of delicious pizza,) while simultaneously gauging his reaction to said situation (only a little, sokka's an opportunist after all.)

"are you seeing what I'm seeing?! bro, hold my hand." he whisper-shouts.

okay, so sometimes straightforward (hah) is a good enough approach. he's not above admitting he can get carried away sometimes. it's fucking free pizza.

zuko just looks at him like he's grown weird and gross things on his face. but it could definitely also be just Exasperation (it's a little dicey, the zuko language - he's more than decent at it, but aims to be fluent.)

"what. no way."

okay, if he's not receptive because he doesn't even want to fake-entertain the possibility of - whatever, sokka can handle getting (figuratively) punched in the lungs a little!

he takes a breath anyway. eyes on the main goal here, then.

he employs his Conspiring Voice, because it makes zuko do the tiny half-smile/mouth-curl thing, and because it's a shameless attempt to lean in -

"dude c'mon. you're not seriously giving up an excellent opportunity for free fucking pizza, are you?”

zuko squints at the board. "I don't want pizza, though. especially if we're sharing - I can't stomach the pineapple."

"um, one - pineapple is a beautiful topping that your tastebuds are just too cowardly for, and two - we don't have to get that then! let me reiterate - free food."

"my tastebuds are fine, you're just... obscene! and it's a ridiculous plan. pass."

sokka wondered why zuko wasn't even looking at him.

"bro it's just holding hands and calling each other gross flowery names at the counter. we can get creative! look, it's not that -" sokka hesitates at zuko's rapidly reddening cheek, then stubbornly goes on, "please don't No Homo me in a time of need. I don't have much change on me either!" (a white lie, but now he'd rather spend it on something else.)

"yeah, so... I'll get you your pizza, just don't. look, how do you know if they're gonna even believe it." zuko's tone was getting flatter, and his face redder. sokka hadn't seen that combination before, so he was stumped.

but it wasn't enough to deter him, no, he was getting frustrated at the refusal for such a harmless little ploy, and really now, this was ridiculous -

"zuko just hold my fucking hand!"

"no! fuck off!"

in their heated whisper-shouting, neither had noticed someone come up at their table.

"um, hey guys, if you're -"

both of them startled, and sokka turned around to find -

"aang! you - how come you - you work here?"
aang scratched the fuzz on his head sheepishly, smiling. "just recently. it's... well, it's kind of a long story," he straightens up then, all business, and asks them again if they're ready to order.

zuko sends sokka a Look. his cheek isn't red anymore and his eyebrow's raised, but he's biting his lip (very slightly, almost unnoticeable. except to one (1) lovelorn idiot, of course.)

it's definitely a Smug look. one that says 'well, now that one of our friends work here, the jig is obviously up.'

sokka sighs.

"a medium Hawaiian, thanks." he sticks out a tongue at zuko's nose-crinkly expression, because, ugh. let him be petulant.

later, when he's washing his hands in the corner, aang sidles up to him and whispers, very slyly, "I thought you might try to make use of today's offer. is everything okay with you guys?"
sokka shoots him a Look, and there's no confusion in his Looks - because aang gets the message of 'why the fuck would you ask me that' pretty clearly. unfortunately, that doesn't faze him. he's one of sokka's best bros too.

"I only meant -" he starts, glancing back at where zuko's paying his share at the counter, "you both have been. dunno. katara thinks you're totally dancing around each other."
sokka knows. this is not the first time he's heard it.

he wishes he could find a new and more effective way to tell them to fuck off. because seriously, not helping.

"yeah okay." he doesn't bother arguing, because he knows his feelings are probably very visible to everyone, and now that his hunger's sated, he doesn't want to spoil his mood. he's still huffy about the offer, and zuko's stupid... stupid. ughhhh.

zuko is uncharacteristically silent, even for him, as they walk out. sokka thinks he might know why.

"hey... listen I'm sorry about the," he waves a hand (keeping it nonchalant, good going,) "back there. if it made you uncomfortable or anything."

zuko snorts, acerbic. it's very soft.

"no you're not. and I wasn't. uh, uncomfortable, that is."

it's only then, that sokka notices a foreign weight in his left hand. it's warm and soft and he can feel calluses. it's tentative, as if...

zuko's holding his hand. zuko's holding his hand. sokka stares at him a very brief moment, and sees that tiny mouth-curl/smile (the one that makes him want to kiss zuko until both of them are breathless.)

and then completely, embarrassingly, loses his shit.

"you - yOU! FUCKER. You Fucking Goddamn Gigantic...  Peebrain!"

zuko jolts, wide-eyed, and starts to take his hand away, but he's obviously misinterpreted sokka's crazy reaction for rejection - so sokka grabs his hand and keeps it the fuck there.

zuko smiles at that, turning red again (oh.) and then he fucking laughs. it sounds more like a laugh of relief, rather than smug or anything. but still.

"you snivelly little - how long?!"

"actually, aang cornered me. I was going to ignore him, but I figured... I wasn't sure if you just wanted free pizza." he's biting his fucking lip again.

sokka can do that for him.

"just so you know," he leans in, zuko already tilting his chin up, (fuck fuck fuck) "you're going to make me several minutes late for my lecture."

and so he does.

after what possibly feels like five minutes but is probably closer to fifteen, they pull apart.

sokka hates that he can't afford to miss out on this class.

but they're still smiling, and zuko looks a little cross-eyed, and he's just so pretty. sokka's feeling terribly ick with how sappy and gone he is.

sokka concedes he can forgive the universe this one time, because sometimes even an opportunity taken, doesn't work out the way you think it will. and it's definitely weird and strangely awesome that it does.