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Sokka of the Water Tribe
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Avatar: The Last Airbender





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The Yuam Suo


The Last Airbender Book Four: Air

Chapter Fifteen – Sokka of the Water Tribe

The Southern Water Tribe Village loomed in front of them and Aang had never been happier to see it. Four days had passed since the group had parted with Toph and her earthbenders at Gaoling and the journey had been exhausting. Poor Appa had seemed a little slower off the ground each morning; that morning in particular it had taken him two attempts to get airborne. The Avatar sympathized with his giant furry companion and was grateful more than ever for his services. Reaching down with one hand he rubbed the bison's colossal head, eliciting a groan of approval. Behind him he could hear Sokka and Katara start to talk excitedly, both very happy at the sight of home. Zuko, on the other hand, appeared to remain pensive as he sat by Azula, who looked as out of it as ever.

As Appa descended over the village's huts, many of which were newly constructed, the sky-bison bellowed a greeting to his familiar home. All of a sudden Aang noticed a change in the landscape. The land between the village and his cliff-side home was usually barren and flat. Now, many tents of various shapes and dyes dotted the landscape, bringing color and diversity to the icy backdrop. He could see the faces of people looking up at them as they flew overhead, toward the airbender's home. Most were Earth Kingdom, although there were a fair amount of Fire Nation insignias as well; however still no sign of the Northern Water Tribe crest. Chief Arnook and his people clearly hadn't arrived yet.

His home, or rather his and Katara's, appeared unchanged since they had last left it. Appa touched down on the flat surface that topped the landlocked glacier and at once was off to the warmth and comfort of his stable. Aang had slow his friend down long enough for everyone to dismount before the bison retreated into his sleeping quarters. Getting Katara off took even longer than usual. As he gently glided her down their makeshift slide the airbender noticed the pained expression in her face.

"Are you feeling alright?" He asked her gently. Immediately Katara tried to conceal the discomfort she was obviously experiencing.

"I'm fine." She winced. "The baby's just been kicking more and more recently. Our child is going to be quite the athlete I can tell you." Aang smiled as he grabbed her hands to help ease her weight onto the solid ground.

"Yep he definitely takes after his uncle." Sokka boasted. "I can't wait to take him on his Ice Dodging."

Katara smirked. "That's assuming it's a boy." She remarked. "And assuming we let you anywhere near him." She took a few ginger steps before accepting her husband's staff to lean upon. "Besides, usually that's a father's job."

"Oh I wouldn't mind." The Avatar replied quickly. "But if it's an airbender then I don't know how well he or she will be able to sail."

"I'm sure your children will be beautiful." Azula unexpectedly commented. "Although I think they'll most likely inherit their bending arts from the father, that's usually how it works. Zuzu you and Mai should have a baby one of these days, you've been married long enough." There was a silent pause after this, during which time the Firelord closed his eyes and sighed. At length he answered:

"Maybe we day."

They moved in an awkward silence, following the carved path down from the summit to the Avatar's actual home. As the door came into view so did two people. Chief Hakoda and general Matora were both standing just outside waiting for them. As the two parties drew up to each other greetings were exchanged.

"General, good to see you. Has my family been settled in properly?" Zuko asked swiftly. The Fire Nation soldier nodded.

"The Lady and young Prince await you Sire. We have also finished setting up...accommodations for the Princess." He stated promptly.

"She will be comfortable?" The Firelord sounded almost reluctant to let his sister go. Aang raised an eyebrow. The general stepped forward to take Azula's arm.

"She will be treated with full care and respect. You are of course welcome to come see for yourself any time you wish."

Zuko nodded. "Thank you Matora, I'll do that. Right now though, I really need to see my family. I'll meet up with you guys for dinner?"

"Sure, you're all welcome back here. I can whip something up." Katara said good-naturedly. Zuko smiled and bowed, before following Matora and Azula off down the path that led below to the frozen tundra. Once they were gone the airbender turned to Hakoda.

"What have you heard?" He asked the Water Tribe chieftain.

"Rumors mostly." Hakoda replied gruffly. "A dozen sightings in various locations of this demon army. So far they've all been contained to the Earth Kingdom but I figure it's only a matter of time before they find their way here. I see your friend Toph isn't with you?"

"No, she's leading the last stragglers from Gaoling here by ship." Aang answered calmly. "What of the Earth King? Has he arrived yet? Is he unharmed?"

Hakoda nodded. "Kuei and the other refugees of Ba Sing Se arrived a few days ago along with that Air Nomad colony that was just discovered. Their leader has been asking about you every day, not the most pleasant fellow."

"He's a withered old man that's too full of himself for his own good!" Katara spat. Her father looked at her with wide eyes of shock before his face broke out in a grin.

"Ah I get it...I take it he didn't look too kindly upon your marriage to a waterbender then? It figures, he strikes me as that type." The chieftain's face abruptly grew cold again. "There's another rumor though and it concerns you," he said to the Avatar.

Aang winced. "I know what it is..." he admitted.

"I just wanted to tell you I don't believe it." Hakoda stated bluntly. "You've brought nothing but peace and harmony to this world and if anyone doubts that then, well in my opinion they've too quickly forgotten the war."

"How could anyone accuse you for what's happened?" Sokka asked bewildered. "I still can't think it."

"Glad to see we're of the same mind son." The Water Tribe chieftain said in an approving tone. He paused for a second before saying: "by the way, the Order of the White Lotus has set up their forces in the northern part of camp and there's a beautiful young girl there who's been searching the sky for you every day now. I bet she'd be delighted to see you."

"Really!" Sokka's face lit up. "That's great! Maybe Suki's there too!" The Water Tribe warrior looked at everyone's exasperated faces. "Geez it was a joke guys! I better get down there! It'll be so great to see her again." Everyone had a chuckle at this.

"I'll walk with you." Hakoda offered. "I'm sure these two would welcome some privacy in their own home for at least a little while." He looked at Aang and Katara, who both blushed but said nothing.

"You and Suki should come by for supper tonight." Katara said to her brother after a brief silence. "A grand feast that only I can cook!"

"You're cooking? Is that supposed to deter me?" The Water Tribe warrior asked haughtily.

"Har har." Katara replied, her voice full of sarcasm. "I'll make Aang make some desert too." At this the Avatar saw Sokka's face brighten.

"Airbender cakes, now that's delicious, count me in!" He yelled excitedly.

"Come along Sokka, stop bothering them, we're wasting daylight here." Hakoda called from a little ways down the path. He had started walking away as they had been discussing food.

Sokka practically skipped down the path to catch up with his father. It was like the threat over their heads had been lifted; just being home again gave him that much hope. And he couldn't wait to see Suki again. It had been a hard week being apart from her, harder than he thought it would be. He didn't really know how he felt at the moment; he just knew he was about to do something big. He didn't know how he knew it, but still he knew.

"So, you and Suki are back together." His father commented as they walked.

"Huh, oh yeah...during the Koh incident...have you heard about that?" Sokka asked, looking up at Hakoda's aged face. His father looked older than he was, the Hundred Year War had taken its toll on the chieftain of the Southern Water Tribe.

"Only a vague summary. You were attacked, then Aang engaged the spirit and killed him."

"It was Katara Dad, she was dying. Koh tried to kill her. He'd gotten it into his head that Aang was neglecting being the Avatar for her. There was no other way. If Aang hadn't killed him...Katara would be gone right now." Sokka swallowed at the last bit. He still did not like thinking about it, regardless of the fact it had been prevented. His father did not respond. For a while they walked in silence.

"I'm very proud of the both of you, you know that right?" He said at last. "I don't think there is a happier parent in the South Pole. You've grown up strong Sokka. You show a maturity that was a bit...lacking in your youth." The Water Tribe warrior blushed.

"Hey my sense of humor hinges on immaturity, what can I say? But in all seriousness thanks Dad," he said, first jokingly then in a more sincere tone.

Hakoda smiled. "There was a reason I wanted to walk with you son. I meant to tell you earlier but I just kept putting it off, something would always come up I guess." He trailed off for a bit as they continued. "Sokka let me ask you something, do you know what makes our tradition of tribal chieftain different from that of our sister tribe?"

The Water Tribe warrior scratched his head. "You're in charge here and not there?" He guessed weakly. Hakoda laughed.

"Technically that's true." He admitted, then his face grew stern. "No what really separates us is age. Look at Arnook, sixty years old and well past his physical prime but he will lead his people for the rest of his life as their tradition dictates. With us, however, we believe that our tribe's leader must be young, must carry the blood flow of the generation. I guess you could say we think that a younger leader is more in touch with the people and thus better suited to make decisions. You see where I'm going with this?" Sokka shook his head. His father smiled. "Sokka, I'm not young anymore, my time as chieftain has come to an end."

Sokka stopped walking. "What? How could you step down! You can't! We need you Dad, who else is going to lead us if not you?" His father looked at him and smiled.

"Sokka," he began. "It is your time now to be chieftain. You are the new leader of the Southern Water Tribe."

The Water Tribe warrior did a double take. "Me? Oh ha ha very funny Dad. That's a good one!'re not serious are you? Now of all times, I'm not ready to lead when nothing's happening let alone when there's a battle looming over our heads. Wouldn't the warriors feel more comfortable following you? I'm just not ready really, I appreciate it but – "

"Sokka," his father cut him off. "I would not do this if any part of me doubted you were prepared. You are an excellent warrior and a charismatic speaker, both traits very well suited to chieftain. If you have doubts that is only natural. It is the very foolish who believe they are destined for only greatness." Hakoda beamed. "I have already spoken with all the village elders. It is official as of today so there's no use complaining. Congratulations Chief Sokka."

The young Water Tribe Chieftain didn't know what to say. His father continued to grin as they walked. They were passing through the camps now and all around him he could see people of the various other three nations milling about. Then up ahead there was a new flag, the emblem of the White Lotus. Standing in rows were the masters of the Order. Pakku appeared to be heading up some kind of training lesson. Piandao had his sword drawn and was mincing it swiftly through the air, Jeong Jeong issued his arms forward in fluid motions, which caused spirals of flame to spew in front of him. Haru appeared to be siphoning rock material into weapons with the aid of Huu. And standing slightly apart from all the others, closest to Sokka and Hakoda, her twin fans whirling as golden blurs in the sunlight, was Suki.

As they approached she turned and her face broke out into a giant grin. "Sokka!" She screamed and ran toward him. Leaping, she landed in his arms and kissed him tenderly on the lips. "I just heard from Master Pakku! Chief of the Southern Water Tribe, that's quite a title! I wonder what your first official act will be?" She gave him a sly look before turning to Hakoda. "Are you sure you're going to be okay adjusting to civilian life? I can tell you it's a bit boring."

The grizzled old Water Tribe warrior laughed. "My retirement? Well I expect to at least be active in the next few days. You're going to need someday to help manage this crowd and I'll always be available for advice, should my Chief ask me for it." He rubbed Sokka's hair affectionately. "Now if you'll excuse me we have more refugees arriving by the minute and I promised Bato I would help him sort them out. I'll see you two later." He waved and disappeared off into the crowd before Sokka could raise any final objections.

Once he was gone Sokka and Suki exchanged a look. "Boy I bet this caught you by surprise didn't it?" She asked him sweetly. He could only manage a nod in response. This was all crazy, had his dad completely lost it? He didn't have the experience to lead his people into battle, especially against the demon army. "You'll be great." The Kyoshi Warrior reassured, almost as if she was reading his thoughts. "You're ready for this, even if you don't think you are. I believe you can do it."

"Thanks. I'm glad one of us is sure anyway." The young chief sighed and looked at his girlfriend. Suki, she had been willing to take him back, even after he had acted like a jerk to her for so long. She really loved him as he did her. The world could end in a matter of days, and he had never even told her how much she really meant to him. Then he had it. Sokka knew what he was going to do today that was so big: propose, he was going to propose to Suki. There wouldn't be enough time for a proper wedding with all that was going on but at least through the engagement he could tell her how he felt.

"Suki hadn't you better resume your training. A master must be ready for battle at all times." Pakku was walking over to them. The waterbender smiled at Sokka and put up a hand. "Oh hello there Chief Sokka, my congratulations to you. I hope you will make your father and the rest of us proud in the time to come?" The young Water Tribe chief gulped.

"Sure no problem," he said before hastily returning to Suki. "Hey I should go, let you get back to work, but listen Katara is having us over tonight for dinner if you'd like to come."

"I'd love to." She smiled again and kissed him on the cheek. "Try to remember what I said, don't worry too much about it. You're still my Sokka. Keep that in your head first." The Kyoshi Warrior turned back in the direction of the Order.

Oh I won't forget, Sokka thought, a grin breaking out on his face. Suddenly being the Southern Water Tribe chief didn't seem like such a big deal. He had the remainder of the day to sketch out his proposal. Supper would be the perfect time to do it, right in front of everybody. He needed something to give her; he needed the right words to say. Man this sounded complicated. Maybe Aang or Zuko could help; they both had been through this already.

There were so many people here now; it was hard to get his head around them all, Sokka thought to himself as he tried to make his way through the crowd. Coming down with his father everyone seemed to part in front of them out of respect. Now he had to struggle and weave in between civilians who were busy milling about their day. Clearly he did not have the same aura yet that his father had, that must come with time. The young Water Tribe chief excused himself passed a pair of rather large Fire Nation women before rounding a corner, only to find he had gotten lost and ended up in the Air Nomad section of camp. This wasn't on the way to Aang's house; he must have gotten turned around somewhere.

As soon as he was about to double back and try again, however, the Avatar unexpectedly came into view, talking with a familiar looking young Air Nomad woman. Upon seeing his friend Sokka raised a hand and waved. The airbender quickly noticed and waved back, leading his companion over in the Water Tribe chief's direction.

"Sokka, you remember Emiko don't you, from An Liao? Apparently she's been given the honorable task of taking me to see Monk Quanfar. I guess he has been somewhat adamant about seeing me." Aang rolled his eyes dramatically. "But at least I have good company for an escort, she was just telling me about this festival of light they held every year on the summer solstice. It sounds exciting, we'll have to put it on next year here or at whichever of the air temples they decide to settle." His friend stopped talking and regarded him critically. "Is anything the matter, you look like you're really anxious about something."

The Water Tribe chief motioned his friend close so he could whisper, before promptly yelling in his ear: "I'm going to propose to Suki tonight!" He beamed at the Avatar's stunned expression. "Oh and also my Dad made me Chief of the Southern Water Tribe but anyway I wanted to ask you –"

"Chief Hakoda has stepped down?" Emiko asked shyly. Sokka stopped and nodded to her, somewhat surprised. "Oh...he seemed like such a strong leader to me, you must be something really special for him to have made way for you."

"Er thanks, heh, I'm going to try and do my best." The Water Tribe chieftain shrugged. "But back to Suki, I was thinking of proposing tonight while everyone was over your house for dinner but I can't come up with any good ideas as to what to give her. Can you help me out?" He looked at his friend imploringly. Aang scratched his chin.

"Well, it should be something special, really unique between the two of you if possible." The airbender pondered thoughtfully.

"Yeah I know but I don't have anything like that. You really lucked out with Katara, I mean the whole necklace thing was genius!" Sokka complimented, causing his friend to blush.

"Yeah I really did luck out." He admitted.

"You sound truly happy whenever you speak of her." Emiko put in and Sokka thought he caught sadness in her voice. "She must be so beautiful, your wife."

"Oh yeah you'll have to meet her. Come by the house anytime and I'm sure she'll be more than happy to see you, Katara loves making new friends." Aang said in an offhanded way.

"Friends? She would want to be my friend? Even though she is from the Water Tribe and married to the Avatar, she would want to be friends with me?" Emiko sounded genuinely surprised.

"Sure, why should any of that matter?" The airbender sounded confused. Sokka in the meantime had sort of drifted out of the conversation, deep in thought. Aang was right, he needed something special, but what could it be? What could he possibly give Suki that would do justice to how he felt about her? And what would he say when he did it? In front of him Aang and Emiko seemed to have gotten into a serious conversation about the mixing of the nations. The more the Avatar told her about how interconnected everyone was, the more incredulous she became. Man, Sokka wondered, what had that cross old monk filled her head with down in that cave?

Still that was a question for another time, right now he had pressing business and it didn't appear that his friend could help him. There was Zuko; the Firelord now appeared to be his best bet for guidance. The only problem was that Sokka didn't have a clue as to his location. Maybe Aang would know.

"Hey buddy I hate to break up whatever you two are discussing but have you seen Zuko around anywhere?" The Water Tribe chieftain asked his friend. However the Avatar only shrugged his shoulders.

"I haven't seen him since he left my house to go find Mai and Lu Ten. He's probably with them now. Why? Don't tell me you're going to ask Zuko for romance advice. He once locked Mai inside of a jail cell if I remember. That's his idea of being caring." Sokka chuckled at the memory.

"Yeah looking back on it that was a fun time, but you seriously don't know where he is?" The airbender shrugged.

"You're looking for the Fire Nation royal family?" Emiko asked, sounding very confused by this. "They're most likely on the outer wall that borders the sea. Your master Pakku and several other waterbenders finished constructing it two days ago and since then that's where they've most often been seen."

"Wow thanks, have you been following them or something?" Sokka joked. Emiko blushed and looked away.

"I just wanted to be helpful." She whispered. Immediately the Water Tribe chief changed his tone, realizing she thought he was being serious.

"Hey now, I was just kidding. The outer wall you say, I assume that's north of here...back the way I came." The Air Nomad nodded her head.

"It's actually built out over the water, apparently designed to give waterbenders a natural advantage. I just think it looks pretty, I've never seen so much ice...or ice at all really."

Sokka allowed himself a short laugh. "Well thanks again for your help. Aang, I'll leave you to go get yelled at. See you tonight!" His friend grimaced before smiling.

"Uh huh, good luck finding Zuko. Remember what I said though, something unique!" The young chief was already weaving his way back through the tents as the airbender's voice reached him. Something unique, maybe Zuko would know.

The Firelord was indeed walking the outer wall with his family when Sokka found him. They were side-by-side, Zuko and Mai with Lu Ten riding on his father's shoulders. After quickly explaining the situation to them the Water Tribe chieftain exhaled and awaited their words of wisdom.

"Wow..." The Firelord commented at last. "Chief and husband, this is a big day for you isn't it? You sure you've given this proper thought, it's best not to rush into these things. Look at Mai and me, we waited and planned it all out carefully."

"Yeah but there's the whole impending demon apocalypse thing that you guys didn't have to worry about." Sokka countered. Mai chuckled.

"He has a point there." She laughed good-naturedly. The Water Tribe Chieftain noticed that she was standing closer to her husband than usual. Guess she must have missed him while they were apart, he thought. "You really think this idiot here can help you?" She considered in the same light tone. "Tell him how you proposed to me again, he must have forgotten that story."

"I was trying to trying to put it in letters in the sky!" Zuko shot out.

"You destroyed three zeppelins doing that I recall, or was it four? Refresh my memory." Mai cooed. The Firelord sighed.

"Six," he said at last. Above him Lu Ten laughed innocently. "Oh you think that's funny do you?" Zuko asked in mock anger. "Just wait till you're in love mister, what fun stories I'm going to get then!"

The child made a disgusted face. "No mushy time! I'm going to be a warrior like you daddy!"

"Don't forget mommy too." Mai put in softly. "Mommy could give Daddy a run for his money on the best of days." She laughed again before turning back to Sokka. "Anyway it was his uncle who finally convinced him to just put the royal ring in an empty tea cup and slide it over to me during our next meal together. He was the real romantic one."

"Yeah," Zuko admitted. "Uncle would have had the perfect solution. He always did. Sorry Sokka, I'm afraid I'm not going to be too much help."

"But you've got to have at least some idea of what the right thing to say is?" The Water Tribe chieftain pleaded. "You've done this before."

"Just say what's inside." The Firelord stated bluntly.

"Sokka nobody can tell you exactly how to propose to Suki because only you know the right answer. You're the one who's in love with her." Mai added. "Just be yourself, you're a clever guy, try doing something funny."

"Funny how?" He asked in a lost tone. Mai and Zuko looked at one another.

"Think it over." She replied. "It will come to you I'm sure." Sokka stood there puzzling. He pondered and wondered and brooded for the remainder of the day. But then, just as the evening was approaching, the young chief thought of something he hadn't before.

"Would anyone like more giant sea crab?" Katara asked as she held up a dish that had been nearly picked clean.

"Thank you but I don't think I could eat another bite." Zuko replied, patting his stomach roughly. "It was all so delicious Katara thank you." The waterbender beamed at the compliment. Aang watched this contentedly as he picked at his plate of diced tofu with wheel-nuts. All the lights were on in their home making it a place of peace and comfort in the coming hours of twilight. There had been no sightings of any approaching demons so it appeared as though everyone would be safe at least until tomorrow. He hoped so. Arnook still had not arrived yet and the Yuam Suo was waiting on him. They needed a battle plan and in order to have the most effective one, every major nation had to be present.

Monk Quanfar certainly wanted to be prepared. He had made the Avatar go over every event that had occurred in great detail since the two had last parted at An Liao. The monk had not been overly critical, as Aang had feared, just very meticulous in his questioning. There hadn't been one subject, no matter how small or trivial, that he had glossed over. In particular the subject of Azula seemed of great interest to him. Quanfar obviously did not approve of the infamous Fire Nation Princess now being kept under the same security of the rest of them but still there was an extra emotion present during that particular line of questioning, the Avatar just hadn't been able to put his finger on it. If only Toph had been with him.

Still that was all past him and now he wished only to be cheered. Like everyone else at the table he had been darting the occasional glance to Sokka and Suki, wondering when the new Chief would pop the question. So far it hadn't come up and now the main meal was winding down. It couldn't be much longer now and the airbender was giddy in anticipation. For his part Aang thought Sokka was putting on a good Pai Sho face, steady and calm with no flicker of any real emotion other than the usual enjoyment one would expect at this occasion. What had he decided to go with, the Avatar wondered to himself. He could feel not just his own tension building, but also that of everyone else in the room, with the exception of Lu Ten and Suki.

"Do you need any help over there?" The Kyoshi Warrior called to Katara, was had just winced slightly in the kitchen.

"No I'm fine thank you, Aang's fruit pie was just a little hotter than I expected. Just stay right there and enjoy yourself." The waterbender said coyly. Beside Suki the airbender saw Sokka hit his forehead in frustration. Obviously he felt his sister was letting something on. If Suki noticed, however, she did not react, merely smiling in response and re-engaging Mai in conversation.

"Matora told me on my way over here that the Earth King and Monk Quanfar have just voted on a definite time for the Yuam Suo tomorrow, regardless of whether or not Arnook has arrived yet. They apparently feel we're wasting time waiting on one man." The Firelord attracted the Avatar's attention.

"They do understand it's an entire tribe and not just one man right?" Aang pointed out. "Can't you and Sokka do anything about this?"

The Firelord shook his head. "I'm afraid not, Pakku is in agreement with them. Even if Sokka and I voiced opposition, the vote would still be three to two. The head Grand Lotus always has the tiebreaker."

"What about Aang? Doesn't he have a say?" Mai asked from beside her husband.

"No I'm afraid not." Zuko replied in an upset tone. "You see the whole point of the Yuam Suo is to be a collective form of government that bypasses the singular importance of the Avatar. Technically he isn't even supposed to be allowed into the meeting tomorrow. Although I'm sure nobody would stop you if you wished to be included." He added, clearly noticing the dip in the airbender's expression.

"I'll come only if summoned." Aang answered coolly. "I must respect this tradition's right. Besides it will give me a chance to properly examine the defenses that the Order has been installing this past week. I understand they've been doing impressive work." Suki nodded in agreement.

"Every layer of the defense is designed to enhance the abilities of a particular nation," she said. "With various key points overlooking the entire battlefield, perfect for siege fortifications and command centers."

"I think we should stop talking about Oguanga and his cronies and how badly we're going to whip their butts for one night." Sokka suggested suddenly. Everyone in the room seemed to freeze on his words. This is it, Aang thought excitedly. "There are other things happening, some of which are far more important." The young Chieftain went on.

"Yes, somebody's big new responsibility." Suki joked, still clearly oblivious.

"Not even that." Sokka cut her off. The Kyoshi Warrior's face grew more serious.

"Oh? There's something else is there? This ought to be good." She retorted in a wry tone. Aang threw a glance at Katara. She was looking at him, grinning from ear to ear, from in the kitchen. He smiled back and made a small hushed lip gesture. She nodded but starting bouncing up and down slightly in excitement.

"There is." The Southern Water Tribe stood up and face Suki. He smirked at her for a second before drawing his whalebone sword from its sheath. Kneeling down on one knee he presented it to her, hilt first before looking up and saying: "Suki, here is the one possession of mine I treasure more than any other. I see it as radiant and beautiful and perfect in almost every dimension. Yet for how magnificent it is only a sword. It just can't cut it compared to you. This sword may be my most treasured possession but you – you are my most sacred treasure. Yes I'm being corny right now I know...I don't have the sharpest wit! Ha ha get it! Cause it's a sword! And it's sharp and it's – never mind. The point is Suki that I would give this sword, even though in some ways it represents perfection, to you, because you are perfection. You are my sword, without you I am nothing. So I ask you, will you please take this sword from me...and agree to become my wife?"

Silence. Hushed, anxious, silence. Aang had his hand in his mouth, absent-mindedly biting his nails. Zuko and Mai were both extremely leaned forward in their chairs and Katara barely breathed in the kitchen. Suki looked down at Sokka, then at the sword before back to Sokka.

"Of course I will." she whispered sheepishly all of a sudden, before reaching out and taking the hilt. Then it one motion she disregarded the blade to a corner and pulled Sokka up, fully pressing their bodies together in a tender embrace. Immediately everyone broke out into applause. Katara screamed wildly and ran out to hug Suki while Zuko and Aang took turns thumping Sokka on the back and congratulating him on a job well done. Mai simply sat back and smiled contently while Lu Ten jumped up and down, boisterously clapping his hands.

"Hey, what's with all the racket in here?" Came a familiar voice from the entrance to the home. Toph stood in the doorway, a metal demon mask obscuring most of her face. "You'd never know a war was coming with all this laughter. Let me guess: Sokka finally told a funny joke?"

"Funny man and fan lady just are getting married!" Lu Ten squealed happily. Toph seemed to stiffen slightly.

"Oh..." She breathed in a clearly shocked tone. Several seconds passed with the blind earthbender just standing there. Then she threw off her mask and rushed Sokka and Suki, embracing them both. "I'm so happy for you guys." She sobbed, with tears of mixed emotion streaming down her face.

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