Despite all appearances, I seriously am writing. Mica and claudiapriscus on AO3 kind of got me doing it all over again for He Said, She Said. Take a look:
“So what did you think of the play?” mumbled Toph around the stick of barbecued banana slices that was currently in her mouth.
“Two thumbs up,” said Zuko. “The director’s thumbs, I mean, since I’m going to cut them off and shove them up his ass.” He demonstrated his pique by kicking down a banner pole whose sign read The Life and Death of the Prince of Ill Luck.
Sokka snorted at Zuko’s answer. “Hello, jerkwad, did you not get the memo about not being a bad guy anymore?” Sokka kicked down another banner pole, not because he hated the play but because as a good boyfriend he felt obligated to act on Yue’s behalf when the play was a blatant plagiary of her novel. Also he liked kicking things.
Zuko punched a hole through a backdrop showing some icebergs floating on the sea. “Me, not a bad guy anymore?” he asked. “Says who? I never promised anything to anybody. Anyway, who says good guys can’t cut off the thumbs of people they don’t like? What, are the good guy police going to arrest me for that?”
“Uh, yes, and they’re actually just the regular police,” said Sokka as he tore apart a set of red Fire Sage robes.
“For the love of crap, can you two just make out already?” interrupted Toph. “I swear, you can cut the sexual tension with a knife.”
Sokka turned to Toph in annoyance. “You know, Toph, life isn’t one of the borderline gay romance stories you pay people to read to you. Just because two people argue with each other doesn’t mean they’re secretly in love. Almost one hundred percent of the time it means they genuinely disagree with each other.”
Toph was too busy enjoying her banana slices to give a properly derisive jeer to Sokka’s pronouncement and in fact all she could manage was a sarcastic roll of her eyes.
“Hey, what are you kids doing backstage!” demanded an angry bearded man who Zuko assumed was the stage manager or something. He didn’t bother to find out but instead smashed the chair he was holding over the man’s head instead of smashing it on some Ba Sing Se palace scenery like he originally intended. Taking the man’s intrusion as a cue, he sauntered casually out of the back door whose lock he had bashed open with a rock – this was only after listening to ten minutes of fumbling and cursing from Sokka before the other boy admitted that he couldn’t pick the lock (and only after Zuko had broken the lock did Toph reveal that she could have used her metalbending and saved everyone the trouble).
Much later, on their way out of town and back to their camp site Sokka observed, “You know, for a play that’s supposedly about the ‘Prince of Ill Luck’ the majority of the story revolved around the whole Katara forbidden love angle.”
“Yeah,” agreed Zuko as he walked along swinging a wooden sign that said Colonel Kinjo’s Travelling Players, “It’s like they wanted to make a stage adaptation of Thunderstorm but kept getting forced to make a straight propaganda piece instead.”
“What kind of propaganda piece makes you feel sorry for the bad guys?” asked Toph as she finished her snack and began cleaning her teeth with the barbecue stick she’d been eating from. “Zuko’s supposed to be the traitor but the play ends with Katara crying her eyes out and promising to avenge his death.”
“Good point, it gets kind of weird near the end, doesn’t it?” said Sokka. “But can we agree not to tell Aang that he spends the Battle of Ba Sing Se screaming and hiding under a blanket?”
“No, we can’t, because I’m going to tell him that as soon as we see him,” promised Toph. “I even memorized the lines his character was shouting at Azula: ‘Take Sokka, he’s stupid and ugly and no one likes him.’”
Sokka huffed in annoyance and stuck his hands in his pockets. He should have known Toph would remember that line. “You know, Toph, maybe we really should come clean to Katara about where we’re getting our money from,” he threatened.
“Maybe we shouldn’t,” said Toph as she threw her skewer at Sokka’s head.
“So you’re cheating at crooked dice games,” said Zuko. “You’re just doing the same to those gamblers that they were going to do to you. How can that be wrong?”
“Exactly,” said Sokka.
“For sure,” agreed Toph.
They were both glad that Zuko had been too distracted by seeing the advertisements for the play that he didn’t ask how they’d scored same day tickets for what was obviously an incredibly popular show. If he had known they’d scammed the tickets from some rich jerkoff then he would have probably thrown a hissy fit about them risking the mission or something.
Honestly, for a firebender Zuko could be a complete wet blanket. No wonder he and Katara got along so well. All Toph and Sokka did was trick money out of people who had too much of it. What could possibly go wrong with that?