A/N: Hi! So yeah, kinda got this idea for a one shot and just went for it! Whether it's good or not is up to you, but it was at least fun to write!

"We're back!"

The attention of pretty much the entire camp was caught upon hearing the booming declaration from Sokka, whose voice was still a little way's off in the distance.

Accompanying the Water Tribe warrior back to camp was Aang, the two of them returning from a vital supply run.

"Oh, finally…" Katara smiled, beginning to approach the two of them as the Avatar patted Appa's shoulder, praising him on a job well done for flying them to their destination. "Could we afford all we needed from the nearby village?"

Now noticing her boyfriend and the Avatar's return, Suki exited her tent to stand beside Katara in welcoming them back.

"Oh, we could afford it alright…" Sokka's neutral expression began to falter, holding back a mischievous smirk. "And maybe a little extra."

"What do you mean?" Suki cocked a brow.

It was also by this point that the group heard the sound of stone shifting and moving, with Toph exiting her Earth Tent with a yawn, having been taking a nap while they were gone.

"Okay, Snoozles… What's the big idea?" Toph spoke in a hushed, still groggy tone. Sokka's loud declaration of return is what had woken her up to begin with, and besides that, it was obvious he was hinting towards something.

Sokka looked around the camp, noticing that one of them was absent.

"Where's Zuko?" The Water Tribe warrior questioned, apparently wanting to hold off so he could break the news all at once.

"He went out to get some wood for the-"

"I'm here." Zuko's voice cut in, as he exited the nearby woods with a stack of wood in both hands.

"-fire…" Katara finally finished her statement, as the Firebender dropped the wood to the ground, dusting the dirt off of him.

"Nice of you to join us, Sparky." Toph grinned, having already heard him coming upon waking up.

"Okay, nice!" Sokka's grin returned. "So now that means everyone's back."

"Uh, yeah it does…" Toph cocked a brow, now growing more curious than ever.

"What are we talking about?" Zuko finally walked over to join the group, as did Aang after making sure Appa was comfortable again.

"I don't know." Katara answered honestly, glancing at her brother. "Sokka, why don't you enlighten us? Clearly you're dying to say something…"

"Yeah. What did you mean about 'getting a little extra'?" Suki wondered.

Aang already seemed to know what it was, and he glanced off to the side, seemingly wanting no part in the inevitable blame that was to come.

"Check it out!" Sokka grabbed a nearby crate off of the ground nearby, which had been unloaded from Appa. The sounds of glass clinking together was heard as he moved it, almost like bottles.

"Wait…" Katara's eyes began to widen. "Is that-"

"Yep!" Sokka beamed. "Alcohol! What a score, right?"

"Alcohol!?" Katara began to freak out. "Sokka, are you insane? We can't drink that!"

"Why not?" Sokka protested, folding his arms. "A drink is a drink… And besides, it may even help with the stress."

"The only thing causing me stress is you…" Katara sighed, before her glare turned to the Avatar. "Aang, why did you let him get this?"

"Hey, it wasn't my fault!" Aang defended. "I tried telling him, but he swiped it anyway."

"Swiped it?" Suki's eyes widened.

"You stole it!?" Katara seemed to freak out even more.

"Hey, just ask Aang! The vendor guy selling it was a real jerk!" Sokka attempted to justify. "He was harassing some local girls and we handled it! I'd like to think of it as a repayment."

Zuko by now had started to approach the crate Sokka held in his hand, before pulling out one of the bottles.

"'Fireball Ozai Whiskey. Made in the Fire Nation'." Zuko read the bottle, before frowning with uncertainty. "Sokka, this is hard liquor…"

"Uh, yeah. Exactly." Sokka grinned.

"Huh…" Toph went into thought. "You know, I always wondered what alcohol tasted like."

"Absolutely not!" Katara shut that idea down. "Toph, you're only 12. You're not drinking this alcohol, and neither are we!"

"13 now actually…" Toph shrugged.

"Well, my point still stands…" Katara crossed her arms. "Suki, Aang, Zuko… Someone back me up, please."

"I don't know, Sokka…" Aang was the first to speak up. "Are you sure it's a good idea?"

"Aang, it's literally a drink…" Sokka sighed, not liking being in the minority. "You all act like it's poison. Come on, guys. Live a little! It's already here anyway, and besides… don't tell me you aren't at least curious…"

There was silence for a bit after that, with Katara shaking her head.

"Nope… Not curious." She reinforced her stance. "It's a bad idea."

Toph immediately smirked, knowing she immediately had leverage.

"Someone's lying…" The blind Earthbender called out.

"What? No! I'm not!" Katara nervously defended, forgetting about Toph's lie detecting abilities in the moment.

"There's another one." Toph held out two fingers, as if counting the lies.

"Ugh!" Katara growled in frustration.

"I think it could be fun, well, maybe…" Suki sounded uncertain in her words, but decided to be honest. Upon noticing Katara's glare, she made sure to add, "As long as we don't overdo it."

"Alright, Fangirl!" Toph chuckled, calling Suki by the nickname she gave her. "Looks like that's three of us on board."

"Zuko! You're the oldest of us here…" Katara acknowledged, though turned back to Aang. "Technically speaking…"

The Waterbender now motioned towards the crate of alcohol, her face looking firm once more.

"Tell them it's a bad idea." Katara was practically begging for some support.

Zuko quickly held a hand up, shaking his head.

"I'm not getting in the middle of this… This is a common ground you'll need to work out for yourselves…" The prince tried being neutral.

"Ughhh…" Katara sighed. "You know what? Fine… Go ahead. Just don't expect me to heal your hangovers the next morning."

She then began to walk back towards the campfire, freshly lit by Zuko just earlier upon his return, so that she could get started on preparing dinner with the rest of the supplies that Sokka and Aang bought.

"How do you intend on drinking this, anyway?" Zuko asked, before quickly elaborating. "I mean, you don't happen to have any shot glasses, do you?"

"As a matter a fact…" Sokka grinned, kicking his foot against another box containing supplies. "I do! Ten of 'em. That's more than enough."

Reaching into the box, Zuko cocked a brow, beginning to examine the shot glasses in question.

"Toph, I think you'll appreciate it." Sokka continued. "They're made of stone."

"Oh, sweet!" Toph beamed, Zuko handing the glass he was examining to her. The touch of it was very smooth in her hand, and she could spot every mineral of earth hidden within. If she wanted to, she could bend this stone cup into anything she wanted.

"Which leads me into my next point…" The Water Tribe warrior grinned, apparently still with an idea in his head.

"You didn't steal a crate of pipes to smoke too, did you?" Suki chuckled in amusement.

"No." Sokka confirmed, shaking his head. "Just had a bit of an idea. It could make our night of drinking… more interesting."

"I already don't like where this is going…" Katara sighed, still very much listening to the distant conversation.

"I thought you were cooking!" Sokka exclaimed, to which his sister stuck her tongue out. "Oh yeah, real mature…"

"Well, what is it, Sokka?" Aang questioned.

"You guys ever heard of a game called 'Never Have I Ever'?"

Sokka's question seemed to catch Zuko and Suki's attention first, the two of them definitely familiar with the rules.

"Yes…" Zuko answered honestly.

"What's that?" Toph wondered, cocking a curious brow.

"Okay, so basically… one of us lists an experience that they've never done, and if anyone else in the circle has done that thing, they take a shot. We go around the circle so everyone gets a turn, and yadda yadda…" Sokka explained the rules.

"Hm… okay. Sounds simple enough." Toph shrugged.

"How long do you play?" Aang asked.

"Until we're stupid drunk!" Sokka laughed.

"I'm so on board…" Suki smirked, now liking the sound of this a lot. Maybe Sokka was right. Maybe they did just need one night to simply… relax, and take their mind off of the stresses of the war.

"Me too!" Toph followed suit, before sensing where Zuko was based on his heartbeat and breathing. "You playing too, Sparky?"

Zuko looked at the blind Earthbender for a second, before he exhaled softly.

"I don't know…" He answered honestly.

"Come onnn." Sokka nudged him. "If anything, you're the one who needs to loosen up the most! Well, except maybe my sister."

"I heard that!" Katara exclaimed.

With a sigh, Zuko spoke again,

"I still don't know…" The Firebender looked to Aang. "Shouldn't I be training Aang?"

"Aang looks pretty good at Firebending to me…" Sokka shrugged. "It's just one night… Then tomorrow we can get right back on that 'saving the world' stuff."

"Maybe he's got a point…" Aang shocked everyone by saying.

"What?" Katara and Zuko seemed to question at the same time.

"Aang, what do you mean?" Katara pressed further, walking away from the campfire.

"Well, maybe it could be fun…" The Avatar shrugged. "All I've done since we began our journey is train… Sure, we've had some mini vacations and even 'Zuko field trips', but I can't remember the last time we spent a night just… unwinding."

Everyone was silent. Honestly, they didn't remember such a day either.

"So… yeah, I don't know. I guess I'll play, Sokka." Aang forced a grin.

The Water Tribe warrior was stunned at first, but then a grin settled on his features, reaching for another shot glass.

"Well alright." Sokka sounded proud of Aang. "That's the Avatar on board! What about the Prince?"

Sokka waved another of the stone shot glasses in front of Zuko, who stood there in silence with folded arms. After a few moments, Zuko sighed, deciding to just give in.

"Fine…" Zuko conceded, taking it. "But we really need to resume training tomorrow!"

"I couldn't agree more…" Sokka kept his grin, now turning towards the only one who still hadn't agreed to play. "Katara?" He held out a stone shot glass.

Katara stood there in silence, before she looked at Aang. His response shocked her, and honestly… as annoying as Toph's abilities could be at times, she had been right. She was curious…

And so with a heavy heart, she relented too.

"Just… give me that." Katara groaned in defeat, taking the cup.

"About time, Sugar Queen." Toph giggled.

"Okay, so, first things first!" Sokka wanted to get the ball rolling. "Everyone sit in a circle."

The group quickly began to comply, with Sokka sitting next to Suki. Sitting to the Kyoshi Warrior's left was Katara, Aang making sure to sit on her other side. Finally, to Aang's immediate left was Toph, with Zuko sitting in between her and Sokka, completing the circle.

"Next, everyone hold out your glasses." Sokka spoke, standing up temporarily and popping the cork off one of the bottles.

Pouring the perfect amount for a shot in everyone's cup including his own, Sokka sat back in his spot, making sure to put the bottle in a secure spot close by.

"After each shot, we'll have the bottle on standby to fill it up again." The Water Tribe warrior announced, his grin only making his excitement more prominent. With all the rules and set-up out of the way, it appeared as though they could finally begin.

"So… who's up first?" Aang wondered, as Toph began to sniff inside her glass.

"Wow…" She had to comment, scrunching her nose in surprise. "It smells… really strong."

"Uh, yeah… It's hard liquor." Zuko stated matter-a-factly. "It's supposed to be strong."

"Hey, I'm just making an observation." Toph gave a shrug.

"You still don't have to do this, Toph…" Katara reminded her in her usual maternal tone. "You know that."

"I appreciate the concern, 'Mom'…" Toph smirked cheekily. "But I'm not backing down."

Katara could only sigh.

"Fine… Have it your way." The Waterbender finally relented.

"Can someone answer Aang's question?" Suki reminded. "Who's first?"

"I guess I will." Sokka smirked. "After all, I was the one who snagged us the goods…"

"By stealing." Katara rolled her eyes.

"I prefer the term 'high risk trading'." Sokka winked, reusing Katara's excuse she had when she stole the Waterbending scroll from the pirates.

Him, Katara and Aang all shared a laugh at that, while the other half of the group merely stared in confused silence.

"I don't get it…" Toph blinked.

"Me neither." Zuko admitted.

"Well, anyway…" Sokka sighed after sharing that moment. "I'll go first, then we'll go this way." He pointed in Suki's direction.

"So Suki goes after me, then Katara, Aang, Toph, and finally Zuko before it resets. Sound easy enough?" Sokka questioned, to which they either shrugged or nodded their heads.

"Go on, then." Katara sighed, trying to get the game going.

"Hmm…" Sokka went into thought, wondering what a good ice breaker would be. "Never have I ever gone penguin sledding."

"What?" Aang seemed to gasp. "Really? Not in your entire time of living in the South Pole? There's no way that's true."

"Actually… He's being truthful as far as I know. He's always been too afraid of penguins as a kid to ever do it." Katara explained, causing everyone to laugh.

"I wasn't scared…" Sokka rolled his eyes.

"Liar." Toph pointed out, much to his annoyance.

"Okay, so maybe a little bit! I just didn't trust them… They can get really mean if you aren't careful." Sokka defended.

"I still can't believe that, but… Wow." Aang chuckled.

"So… I guess I have to drink, since I've done it, right?" Katara cocked a brow.

"Yep!" Sokka grinned. "Aang too, I know for a fact… Don't know if anyone else has, though."

"I haven't…" Suki answered.

"Not me…" Zuko shook his head.

"Does it look like I've done that?" Toph teased, intentionally making her voice firm.

Aang and Katara seemed to understand what they had to do, and they glanced at each other.

"Well, bottoms up, Sifu Katara." Aang and Katara clinked their stone cups together, before downing the liquid.

"Eugh!" Katara stuck out her tongue, finding the liquid too strong for her liking. "Wow! That is some strong stuff!"

"My throat burns." Aang coughed lightly. "Is that normal?"

"Oh yeah." Sokka chuckled, grabbing the bottle and refilling their cups. "That means it's working!"

Zuko chuckled at the sight of them, much to everyone's surprise.

"I just find it funny…" The Prince decided to explain before he was asked. "Never in a million years would I have envisioned myself participating in some drinking game with the Avatar and his friends… Life has a strange way of remaining unpredictable."

"Yeah, it is kinda weird, isn't it?" Toph giggled. "Oh man, if my parents knew what I was doing, they would flip!"

"And… that doesn't bother you?" Suki questioned.

"Pft…" Toph rolled her sightless green eyes. "Nah. All the more reason I wanna continue! It's like Snoozles said… we gotta live it up and have some fun, even if it's just for tonight."

"Your turn, Suki." Sokka reminded, not wanting the momentum to slow down too much.

"Right…" Suki went into thought. "Never have I ever stolen anything."

"Wow, Suki… Wow." Sokka chuckled, feigning betrayal.

Sokka, Katara and Zuko all drank.

"Do my scams as The Runaway count?" Toph questioned.

"Hmm…" Sokka thought as he tasted the whiskey on his lips. "I don't know, actually. I guess you could count it."

"Good enough for me." Toph smirked, as she downed her own shot.

"You were The Runaway?" Zuko cocked a brow of interest, genuinely surprised and intrigued.

Toph coughed a bit like Aang did, instantly feeling the kick of the alcohol. She held out a finger towards Zuko as a sign to 'wait a minute'.

"Wow! That is strong!" The blind Earthbender declared. "Tastes a lot like cinnamon."

"Well, you'd be right." Sokka tapped on the bottle. "That's what it says right on the bottle."

"Yeah, Sparky, I'm The Runaway." Toph now confirmed, Sokka pouring more whiskey in everyone's glasses who took a drink.

"Huh…" Zuko looked down in reflection, before looking back at her. "Now that I think about it, I do see the resemblance from the wanted posters."

"Right?" Sokka chuckled.

"Okay, so we know that Sokka stole the liquor…" Toph pointed out, going through everyone who had taken a drink. Due to the cups being made of stone, and everyone else being seated on the ground, it was easy to detect who took a drink and who didn't for Toph. "Katara, you stole a Waterbending Scroll, right?"

"'High risk traded'." Katara laughed, prompting everyone else to do the same, even those who didn't fully get the inside joke.

"Right…" Toph glanced to Zuko. "Sparky, you mean to tell me you're a thief too?"

"Was." Zuko immediately corrected. "It was dishonorable, and honestly… isn't something I'm proud of… But I was forced to. I did what I had to so that Uncle and I could survive as refugees."

"Okay, so… What did you steal?" Suki asked.

"Food, medical supplies, other items…" Zuko trailed off on that last thing.

"What kind of 'other items'?" Toph grew interested.

"…A tea kettle." Zuko muttered.

"A what?" Sokka responded, not sure if he heard it right.

"You stole a tea kettle?" Aang's eyes widened, a bit surprised. "I thought you hated tea."

"It was for my Uncle…" Zuko sighed. "I… thought he would like it."

"Awww…" The three girls' hearts appeared to melt at Zuko's confession, while Aang and Sokka smiled in an endearing way.

"That is very sweet…" Toph smiled. "Your Uncle's lucky to have you. Just as you're lucky to have him."

Zuko sighed, as he remembered just how untrue that statement might be. The last he saw of his Uncle Iroh, he was locked in a prison… He had gone to bust him out on the Day Of Black Sun, but when he arrived… he was nowhere to be found.

He had betrayed his Uncle when he needed him most, back in Ba Sing Se… And that was something he would forever regret and have to live with.

He just hoped that his Uncle was okay… wherever he was. And he just hoped that somewhere in his heart, maybe he could forgive him someday.

"Yeah…" Was all Zuko could say, letting out a sad sigh.

Feeling a hand suddenly rest on his shoulder, Zuko winced on instinct. Now looking to his right, he saw that it was Toph, who was frowning sympathetically.

She had met his Uncle too, and knew more than perhaps anyone here how much they meant to the other. So she could really understand why Zuko would feel guilty and miss his Uncle dearly.

Zuko did nothing, instead allowing the gesture to continue as he slowly spun his glass around, causing the liquid inside to swirl.

"Okay, who's up?" Sokka spoke, obviously sensing that things were slowing down. He intended on keeping the momentum faster paced and fun, rather than have it grow stagnant by reflecting on their problems.

"I think it's me." Katara said, thinking up one. "Never have I ever fought with a melee weapon."

"Really?" Sokka groaned, taking a drink.

Suki took a drink in silence, as did Aang with a bit of a grimace.

Zuko let out a sigh, before downing his next shot as well.

"So Snoozles has his Space Sword, Fangirl her… well, fans, Twinkletoes his staff, and Sparky his dao swords, right?" Toph listed off all the melee weapons she could remember being used in the group.

"Yep, I'd say that's pretty spot on!" Sokka nodded.

"Go, Aang." Katara encouraged the Avatar, the momentum definitely picking up again.

"Never have I ever gone skinny dipping." Aang smirked.

Everyone seemed surprised by that one, but also looked just as amused. It appeared the alcohol was beginning to loosen everyone up a bit.

Sokka, Suki, Katara and Zuko all drank.

Aang gasped in shock, looking at Katara.

"Katara!?" He seemed surprised.

The Waterbender's cheeks flushed pink, as she looked away in slight shy embarrassment.

"When did that happen?" Toph chuckled.

"It was… after the night I confronted my mother's killer." Katara admitted. "I just felt so… free after that. I finally had a sense of closure. One thing led to another, and… well… I stripped down and jumped right into the lake."

"Wow… I had no idea." Aang breathed in shocked awe.

"Probably for the best…" Sokka couldn't help but tease, much to Aang's further embarrassment.

"You went skinny dipping, Zuko?" Suki seemed surprised.

"When was that?" Toph's sightless eyes widened.

"It was before I even discovered Aang was still alive." Zuko admitted with a sigh. "My ship was docked on some small island one night so my crew could catch a bit of a break. I had all this… pent up stress and aggression, not knowing what to do with it. It was kind of the opposite of Katara. I didn't feel free at all. I felt more trapped than anything. So… I don't know. I guess I did it to at least attempt and unwind, like my Uncle kept telling me."

After some silence, he quickly made sure to add,

"I did it alone of course, when I was certain no one would see me."

"Oh don't worry. I can believe it…" Toph giggled, slugging him in the shoulder. "Damn prude."

"I am not a prude!" Zuko scowled, rubbing his arm where he had been hit.

"Hey, I'm just saying…" Toph continued, before readdressing the topic. "You wouldn't find me anywhere close enough to water where you'd ever catch me doing that… Blindness and swimming? Not exactly a good combination."

"Isn't anyone gonna ask where me and Suki went skinny dipping?" Sokka brought up with a smirk, causing the Kyoshi Warrior to facepalm.

"Hmm… No, I'd rather not." Katara quickly denied.

"Besides, it's kind of obvious. You two sneak away from camp often, in the direction of the nearby lake. You're not exactly very sneaky." Zuko spoke.

"Hey, I can be very sneaky!" Suki pouted with folded arms. "I'm a Kyoshi Warrior!"

"Just not when you're with Sokka." Zuko bit back.

Suki opened her mouth to protest, but she knew she couldn't counter that argument.

"My turn, huh?" Toph began to think. "Never have I ever kissed anyone."

Everyone drank on that one.

But even still, there was surprise from others.

"You never kissed anyone, Toph?" Katara cocked a brow in questioning.

"Well, hey, you did kiss me." Suki recalled with a bit of a grin. "Back at the Serpent's Pass."

"Wait, huh?" Sokka's eyes nearly popped out of his head.

"I didn't think it was you!" Toph reminded. "And besides… that wasn't even a real kiss. I don't mean a kiss on the cheek or something that you give to your parents or a good friend. I mean… a romantic kiss."

"Well, me and Suki have obviously kissed lots of times…" Sokka began to guess who everyone had kissed. "Aang, have you been making out with my sister?" He crossed his arms with a firm expression.

"Uhh…" Aang began to blush.

"Leave him alone, Sokka…" Katara rolled her eyes.

"Oh relax…" Sokka chuckled. "I'm just kidding."

"Who have you kissed, Zuko?" Suki asked, though had a pretty good idea based on what happened at the Boiling Rock.

"His gloomy girlfriend, Mai, I'm pretty sure." Sokka guessed.

"She used to be my girlfriend…" Zuko corrected. "But yes, it was her."

"Hmph…" Toph looked with a downcast glare, muttering under her breath. "Figures…"

"What?" Zuko responded, not hearing what she had said.

"Oh, nothing…" Toph waved it off, though with a firmer tone than she did not long ago. "I believe it's your turn."

Zuko cocked a brow, taking note of this response. Did Toph seem… annoyed about something? That was strange… Then again, she did basically admit she hadn't kissed anyone, while everyone else in the group already has. So it was an understandable reaction, the more he thought about it.

"Okay…" Zuko looked down, trying to put that aside and think of one. "Never have I ever killed anyone."

"Wait… really?" Sokka's eyes widened. "Never!?"

Zuko shook his head in confirmation.

"Nope." He confirmed.

"But… how is that possible?" Katara spoke almost breathlessly, the entire Gaang staring at the prince with shock. "I mean… I was certain that you would have. You know, since you're-"

She trailed off.

"Because I'm Fire Nation? The Fire Lord's son?" Zuko answered for her, a hint of hurt evident in his features. Only… it wasn't bitter hurt, but a more understanding one.

Katara sighed, but didn't bother to respond to that directly. Before he helped her find closure about her mother, she wouldn't have cared about being blunt with him about it. But now, she didn't want to intentionally or unintentionally hurt him either one. He had proven his loyalty to everyone by now.

"It's okay…" Zuko sighed, acknowledging the Gaang's silence. "You don't have to explain. I understand, and probably deserve it…"

"No, no… That's ridiculous! You don't deserve to have assumptions drawn about you. It was wrong of me." Katara apologized in her own way.

"Yeah…" Toph agreed, her sightless eyes almost glimmering. "You're one of us now. Whether you're the son of Ozai or a lowly Cabbage Merchant, you're our friend… You're my friend. So don't feel so down on yourself…"

"I'll drink to that." Sokka held up his shot glass, smiling in agreement, before downing the liquid regardless of what Zuko had said.

Everyone else in the Gaang followed suit, leaving them with empty cups.

Zuko couldn't help the smile that curled onto his lips, as he looked down into his own glass. He may not have felt like it at first, but… they were right. These were his friends now… His family. He belonged, and they were there for him just like his Uncle Iroh was during his journey of self discovery.

And he was certainly gonna be there for them too… He would help Aang defeat his father! He would help return balance and peace to the world!

He swore to Agni he would…

Downing his own shot, a rowdy cheer from Sokka followed, and then laughter from the whole Gaang. This was nice… Nicer than any of them could have hoped.

What started out as another ridiculous idea from Sokka… had ended up being the highlight of their evening. And honestly? It was enjoyable. They would even dare say… fun.

"Alright! Reset time!" Sokka chuckled, filling everyone's glasses back up, no one wanting the night to ever end.


Everyone had gotten drunk after a couple revolutions around the circle; drunk enough to freely speak their minds and enter a state of temporary euphoria. The evening had been a blast for the entire group, but as the night dragged on, the alcohol started to wear off, with drowsiness replacing it.

Empty bottles and stone cups lie on the ground, the campfire still burning, though not as strong as it once was. The camp was all but silent at this point, save for the loud snoring of a certain Water Tribe warrior, sleeping soundly in his tent beside his girlfriend, Suki.

Suki lie there, her arms wrapped around Sokka's well toned form, leaning her head on his chest with a content smile. She had grown used to Sokka's sleeping habits, so she was out like a light as well.

Aang and Katara were busy cuddled up on top of Appa's saddle, also in the midst of a deep slumber. When they awoke, they wouldn't remember just how they got up there, but it would be a funny story in any case.

Two Gaang members remained, and surprisingly, they were both still awake. But just barely.

The two of them laid down in Zuko's tent, neither of them saying a word. Zuko merely looked up at the tent's ceiling, wondering when sleep would eventually take him, while Toph listened to Zuko's breathing and heartbeat.

Toph had one of her legs draped over the top of his, the Earthbender and Firebender alike enjoying their shared silence.

But after awhile, after realizing they weren't tired enough to sleep just yet, one of them finally broke the silence.

"Did you really mean what you said?" Toph questioned.

Zuko blinked a couple times, before he yawned, thinking on what that could have meant.

"What?" Zuko asked.

"Did you actually never kill anyone ever? Even as Fire Nation?" Toph was more specific.

Zuko frowned on instinct, though it didn't last for very long. He knew she didn't mean anything by that. Hell, she was probably as tired as he was. This entire conversation was likely on auto-pilot.

"Yes. It's true." Zuko confirmed. "I never have directly taken another life."

"Oh…" Toph yawned. "Cool."

"Yeah…" He replied in just as groggy a voice.

The two laid there in silence for another full minute, before it was Zuko this time who broke the silence,

"Have you really never kissed anyone?"

It was Toph's turn to frown, before she let out a sigh.

"No…" She admitted again, her tone sounding almost defeated. "Never."

There were a couple seconds of silence as Zuko gauged his response.

"I'm sorry…"

The blind Earthbender tilted her head towards his.

"Why are you apologizing?" She asked.

"I don't know…" Zuko yawned again. "I'm not. I'm just… sorry."

Toph chuckled, slugging him playfully in the arm.

"You're so weird…"

Zuko could only chuckle lowly.

"So I've been told."

As they went silent again, Toph propped herself up onto her elbow, readjusting herself so that she was in a more comfortable position, before laying back down.

She had more on her mind, but wasn't quite sure how to express it… So she decided on doing it the 'Toph' way: facing it head on and directly.

"Do you think I'm pretty?" She vocalized just above a whisper.

Zuko didn't move for a couple seconds, almost as if her question stunned him in place. He finally found the will to roll over onto his side and look at her.

"What?" He wanted to be sure he heard that right. Since when did Toph Beifong care about looks?

Toph sighed, almost wanting to just forget about it, but she had already gone this far… No sense in backpedaling now.

"I'm not… you know… ugly, am I?" She frowned, trying to resist the urge to tear up like she did in Ba Sing Se. "I mean… it's not that I care or anything. I don't need anyone's approval. I don't need to live up to anyone's expectations for how I look. It's not like I can see myself anyway!" She spoke more firmly, clearly trying to maintain her tough exterior.

"But…" She continued after a lengthy pause. "Sometimes… I can't help but wonder. I wonder… what even is beauty anyway? Why do people care so much about it? What do I even look like? But maybe… it's just beyond my understanding. Maybe I never will get it… I know I'll never be as attractive as someone like Katara or Suki supposedly are, but-"

"Toph…" Zuko's voice spoke lowly, yet firmly, causing her to cease. Golden eyes looked directly into sightless green ones; and though she couldn't see them, he did so anyway to make a point. "Stop…"

A stinging pain went through her chest, tears threatening to present themselves as her face transformed into a scowl.

"Stop? Stop what? Telling the truth?" She demanded. "I'm only trying to open up to you, because this is very important to me! The least you can do is-"

"You're pretty." He stopped her in her tracks, her scowl vanishing almost instantly.

"…What?" She breathed.

"You are pretty, Toph." Zuko emphasized, speaking in a firmer tone than usual. It was clear he didn't like seeing her beat herself up like this, and he intended to put a stop to it. "You're not ugly. Far from it… You might not be able to see it, but I do… and many others I'm certain do as well."

Toph's hand lay rested on the tent's floor, trembling with uncertainty as she searched for an answer… an answer to if he meant that or not.

He wasn't lying…

"Sparky… I-" She breathed, but he cut her off again.

"Anyone who judges primarily off of physical appearances are shallow and pathetic. Sure, it's a nice addition… But it's the attitude that makes the person." Zuko stated. "You are Toph Beifong… And that's all you'll ever need to be. Don't let anyone tell you any different."

A tear rolled freely down Toph's face, as she wiped it away with a smile, her heart completely gushing. Forcing a tearful chuckle, she punched his arm one good time.

"You're so mushy…" She sniffled, now regaining some confidence in her voice. "You know… for a Jerkbender, you really are a big softie!"

Zuko could only roll his eyes, folding his arms.

"I'm not a 'softie'…" He protested. "I just got tired of seeing you beat yourself up so hard when you didn't deserve it."

"That's literally the definition of 'softie', just with more words." Toph laughed, the tears all gone by now.

"Hmph…" Zuko rolled over, closing his eyes. "Whatever…"

Toph's smile remained, as she laid back down. It was… nice to hear some encouragement from someone regarding her appearance. And who would have thought it would come from the one who was supposedly a 'bad guy' not that long ago?

Funny how things worked out sometimes…

"Hey, Sparky?" Toph spoke up after a bit.

"Hm?" She heard a grunt of response.

"Thank you…" Toph leaned into him, giving him a thankful hug while his back was turned.

His golden eyes shot open, as he turned around not long after she let go.

"Goodnight, Sparky." She yawned, rolling over.

"Is there something wrong with your Earth Tent?" Zuko frowned.

"Yeah…" Toph answered immediately, not even bothering to turn back around. "It's warmer in here."

Zuko was about to protest further, but another yawn escaped him.

'Oh screw it…' He thought.

Who honestly cared?

Laying back down, he accepted her last minute decision to remain in his tent, before he closed his eyes.

"Goodnight…" He spoke, before his world was quickly overtaken by a good night's rest and pleasant dreams.