Shop More Submit  Join Login
×

:icondestiny-smasher: More from Destiny-Smasher


Featured in Collections

Written A:TLA and A:TLOK Fan Art by kartracer57

What I Learned At SRU by tifa-lockhart55

SRU by katie-kay




Details

Submitted on
August 4, 2011
File Size
46.0 KB
Link
Thumb

Stats

Views
2,155 (1 today)
Favourites
28 (who?)
Comments
38
×


What I Learned at SRU
Chapter 49 - Twinkly

- Saturday, December 25th, 2010 - Christmas

Katara's eyes creaked open as trickles of morning sunlight poured inbetween her window's shutters. She blinked at the dust particles drifting through the calming sprinkle of rays and yawned deeply, stretching out her legs and flexing her toes. She was careful not to budge her right shoulder too much, as a warm ball of orange fur was planted over it. Katara carefully squirmed out from under her friend's head, smirking at Jane's agape mouth as her face sunk into the pillow with a snort. As she slid out from under the covers, she wrapped her arms across herself and shivered. She exchanged her socks for padded, wool ones and threw on an ugly but warm winter sweater from her closet. It had the general shape of a reindeer knitted into its material with abstract lines around in an assortment of colors that baffled. An old floorboard beneath the carpet creaked from her weight as she crossed over it, and Toph stirred a bit from a few feet away, pulling the sleeping bag over her head. Katara breathed out, expecting a cloud of vapor, but was thankful that she didn't see one. That meant someone else must've already turned the heat on. She grabbed her phone from her nightstand: [9:48am].

Downstairs was quiet and serene, the dim sunlight passing through the windows. The tree was sparkling with all of its lights on, a batch of presents nestled underneath. Korra was in a lump on the couch like usual, while Hakoda was in the kitchen, Aang sitting on one of the stools at the counter that divided it from the living room.

"Good morning," Katara greeted them.

"Merry Christmas," said Aang with a yawn.

"Ha. You, too."

"You guys sleep well?" asked Hakoda, spreading some cherry preserves on toast.

"Bleh," Aang sputtered.

"Sorry, Bud." Katara rubbed his back gently. "I slept all right."

"We're going to need to get everyone up soon," Hakoda advised. "Bato will be here soon with a certain package." Hakoda said in a hushed voice to his daughter while he gave Aang the light breakfast snack he'd prepared.

"Aha," Katara knowingly replied. "All right. I'll go wake the girls in a few minutes."

"Do you want some toast, as well?"

"Yes, please."

A few minutes of small talk later, more toast was ready for more housemates, and Katara had managed to drag the girls out of bed while Aang was struggling to get Sokka up.

"Sokka, come on. Gotta get up. Christmas-time. Presents."

"Yea, come on, Snoozles!" Toph shouted from the hall. "Get your ass outta bed!" she teased.

While Jane trudged downstairs, Katara left Toph in the hall for a moment to assist Aang.

"Here, I'll show ya a trick," she said with mischief, reaching out her hands and wedging her fingers into her brother's armpits. His body tightened and squirmed, holding back snickers. "That's right, get up," Katara taunted. Sokka suddenly burst out a laugh, popped open his eyes and breathed out a plea for her to stop. "There ya go, Aang. I give you permission to abuse this in the future," Katara slyly advised her friend as she headed back out of the room and led Toph down.

"Whyyyyyy?" Sokka gasped desperately, clutching at his sides with a yawn.

"Haha, that's what happens when you won't wake up, I guess," Aang picked. "And I won't be afraid to use this power, either."

"Grrraaahhh..."

As the girls traversed the stairs, Jane stood in the living room, gawking at Korra with some surprise. The young woman was stretching from her spot on the couch, wearing a white t-shirt with a red Canadian maple leaf on it. Jane couldn't help but notice Korra's shockingly muscular arms - she'd not seen her friends' cousin in anything but a long-sleeved shirt until now. Korra was pretty ripped to backup her boasts of being so tough. Jane found herself envious. Her muscles weren't what they had once been, and even at her leanest, she had never had such toned biceps on her own stickly limbs.

"What?" Korra grumbled with a grouchy frown at Jane's staring.

"Heh." Jane crossed her arms. "You awake yet?"

"Bah." Korra tossed her arm, scratching the back of her head. Her brown hair was in a hundred directions and she had dark bags under her eyes. "Merry fuckin' Christmas," she bid Jane with a snarky smile.

"Pff. Yea, you, too," Jane laughed. As Katara and Toph entered the living room, Jane shook her head at Katara. "Where did you get that thing?" she asked, pointing to Katara's chest.

"Huh? Oh." Katara shrugged and offered a humored smile. "Uh, yea, Uncle Bato got this for me a couple years ago."

"That man has quite some taste," said Hakoda, walking through. "By the way, ladies, there's some toast and jam in the kitchen, feel free to help yourselves." He nodded to Katara. "I'm going to go wake your grandmother."

"Sure thing."

"Oh, man," Toph cried, rubbing her stomach. "I'm freakin' starving..."

"Haha, let's go get you some food, then."

"Food. I heard it, someone said food."

"Sorry, Sokka, no meat yet," Aang eased him as they descended. "But that cherry jam is really good. I've never had it before."

"Oh, cool. I forgot we still had some of that...It'll have to make due for now."

"We'll have a proper meal after presents," assured Hakoda. "Bato will be showing up in a little bit, so we need to be ready."

"Oh right," Sokka whispered, wide-eyed. A childish glee spread over his face, and Aang raised his brow. While Sokka cupped a hand over Aang's ear and gave a short explanation, Toph was crunching down her toast.

"Haha, hey, careful, you're gonna get crumbs all over...-" Katara gave up with an amused sigh as Toph didn't heed her any mind, making a mess of her food, licking sticky preserves from her fingers when she was done. While she smacked her lips together with a satisfied grin, she flinched at Katara's calm hands sweeping crumbs from her sweatpants and sweatshirt. In her tending to her friend, she noticed the girl's bare toes were pink. "Aren't your feet cold?" she worried.

Toph shrugged.

"Maybe a little, I dunno."

"Um...Do you...want socks?"

"Nah, I'm good."

"I'm...going to go get you some socks, you goofus." Katara pushed Toph's bangs out of her face before heading upstairs. Toph lingered while the racket of the others eating filled her ears. She supposed that her feet were pretty chilly...

"So Twinkle-Toes," said Toph casually, standing in the middle of the living room. "You better not have made me a drawing, or you're dead."

"Haha..." Aang laughed off her threat, but didn't clarify.

"No son of mine is going to sleep on a chair," Gran-Gran could be heard from the stairway a moment later. "You're a hard-working man, you need your rest more than I do."

"It's fine, Mom," Hakoda put her at ease. "I'm not going to have my own mother sleeping on the floor. You can use my bed while you're here."

"If, um...If it's a problem, maybe we can let Gran-Gran borrow my bed?" Katara offered timidly from the base of the stairs, a pair of fresh footwear in hand.

"Now, now, you and your friend don't need to be throwing out your backs while you're still young."

"W-well, I didn't know Dad was sleeping on one of the chairs," Katara mumbled with some guilt. "I mean...-" She turned to Jane as she entered the living room. "Jane, would you be OK sleeping on the floor for a while?"

"Oh, erm..." Jane shrugged, talking quietly. "I-I don't mind, but...I mean, do we have enough blankets, and...stuff?"

"It's fine, we can just keep sharing," Katara whispered back, not wanting to let her grandmother know anyone was being inconvenienced. "I mean, if you're OK, I don't want you feeling weird, or...-"
"No, nah, it's-...I'm good, things have been fine." Jane nodded quickly, pushing

"You're sure?"

"Yea, yea...It's cool."

"OK," Katara called back with a louder voice as she passed socks to Toph. "Here ya go," she muttered in passing before going back to her relatives. "Yea, me and Jane can crash down here."

"What about me?" Toph muttered, rubbing her hands across the socks as if to test that they were up to standards.

"Oh, w-well, there's room for all three of us, I mean...once we get the presents out from under the tree there'd be space over there for you, if you want."

"Sure, whatever works," Toph complied as she strutted forward, blindly finding the coach and plopping down.

"Thank you, Dear," Gran-Gran expressed to Katara. "I'm sorry to be so much trouble when you have company up."

"N-no, Gran-Gran, it's...totally OK. We're...heh...we're college students, we...have slept on the floor before. It's no big deal."

"Sokka, just so you know," Hakoda began as Sokka pulled out a banana from the fridge for his snack. "You'll probably want to leave some room in that pit of yours tomorrow."

"What's that?"

"Because your gift from me is that I'm taking you out to a proper buffet downtown."

"Downtown?"

"Found a place in Toronto. It'll be a father/son trip. Sound good to you?"

Sokka grinned wide as he peeled the banana.

"Sounds like a good present to me!"

"Sooo...What're we all doin'?" Toph wondered. She could hear paper crinkling straight ahead, behind where she knew the coach sat.

"Sorting stuff out," Aang explained. He hefted a long box from under the tree, taking care not to knock anything off the pine branches.

{To: Aang}
{From: Katara}

"Whoa, what the...-?" He was baffled by its size. Definitely wasn't something they had brought with them on the way over.

"Heh, so she really did get one...I don't know what Kat was thinking," Jane skeptically mused, scratching her chin.

Aang raised a brow to her and shrugged, passing Jane the clump of gifts labeled with her name.

"Hey, you find what I got ya yet?" Toph wondered.

"Nope, not...not yet," Aang grunted, bending down to crawl under the tree. He finally found what he'd been looking for - it had gotten pushed back. The small box wasn't wrapped but had a tag with Toph's name written on it. Aang stared at it, his expression waning with doubt for a moment. He took a deep breath and got up, trotting over to Toph. By now Katara had come back and was forcing Toph to stick pink and white striped socks on.

As he waited for Toph to finish this, he glanced at Katara with a fretful look. She smiled reassuringly back at him and nodded, gesturing him to go ahead.

"Hey, er...-" Toph was sitting on the coach at this point, wriggling her toes to test the comfort of the socks. "Here's your gift." Aang placed the box right in Toph's lap and she immediately grabbed it, touching its surface with all her fingers. She popped it open and carefully poked her index into it. Squishy padding. A split-second later, she came across a smooth, dry texture. Round. She pinched it with her pointer and thumb and carefully pulled it up from the box. It was...definitely a ring. Not metal, though. She found it most curious.

"Whoa..."

"Uh, yea, it's...-"

"Wood."

"Right. I, uh...I made it."

"You made this?"

"Heh, yea...I needed some help, but, uh...Yep. I hope it's the right size..."

Toph thumbed it with care. Its surface was smoothly sanded and pleasant to the touch. She slipped it onto her right ring finger. Its shape wasn't a perfectly circular ring, but it fit snugly.

"Feels pretty good," she observed. "Wow...This is...really neat, Twinkles."

"Cool. I'm...glad you like it."

"Why wood?"

"Huh?"

"Well, like...How come you made it from wood?"

"Oh. W-well, I mean...I wanted to give you something I made, and...I dunno. For some reason, wood seemed...like a good choice."

"Grows from the earth," Toph mused.

"Haha, yea."

"I got you something I made, too."

"Oh?"

"Yea...Hey, Katara, could you...-?"

"Right." Katara retrieved a square, nearly flat package and gave it to Aang. It was inscribed with Katara's handwriting, unsurprisingly.

Aang opened it up with careful curiosity, revealing a jewel case with a cover. It was a photo of Toph frowning with a Santa Claus hat pushed over her face. The title of this album read:
{A Very Twinkly Toed Xmas}
{The Blind Bandit}

Aang burst out a laugh from the unexpected bizarreness of this present.

"Jesus," Toph sighed. "I really do look retarded in that picture, don't I?"

Katara leaned over and Aang twisted it for her to see, still slapping his leg and snickering. Katara snorted out through her nose in humor.

"Wow, Meng did...a pretty awesome job with that cover, Toph," she complimented. "Picked the perfect picture for you."

"Yea-yea-yea, it's not about the silly cover, it's about the music," insisted Toph impatiently. "C'mon, stick it in."

"OK, OK," Katara conceded with a chuckle, popping the disc in. "Little insecure there, huh?"

"Little insecure there, eh," Sokka corrected as he trotted in with a half-eaten banana in hand. "Come on, Sis, we're back in Maple-Land."

["So this is an album I made for old Twinkle-Toes."]

"What the hell?" Sokka muttered, immediately glancing at Toph while the girl's voice played through the stereo.

"Toph made Aang a CD," Katara briefed him. His brows raised and he nodded with surprise.

["Aaaand...yea. I dunno."]
["Pfffff. Tophie, you're not so good at introductions."]
["Blah...OK, hey...I got it."]
["Yea?"]
["We are the Blind Bandit, and we're here to sell-out and stuff! ONE! TWO! ONE-TWO-THREE-FOUR!"]

Sokka exploded a laugh and Aang, who was already giggling from the cover, joined him. Katara smiled and rolled her eyes as guitar chords were strummed out.

["~It's Christmas at ground zero, there's music in the air~The sleigh bells are ringing and the carolers are singing while the air raid sirens blare~"]
["rrrrooooooOOOOOOooooo..."]

"What the-...? Is that Meng making a siren sound?" Aang blurted.

"We've got a full-on professional production goin' on here," Toph gloated.

Gran-Gran rested in the recliner and raised her frail arms, snapping her fingers and swaying slowly with a dry smile on her face.

"Granny likes it," Korra observed, still bleary eyed as she bent over to her small pile of gifts. She reached for one, only to have Hakoda rush over to stop her.

"Ah-ah, you have to open yours last," he taunted as Korra observed a huge present that looked like a potato sack of sorts.

"Whaaaat?" Korra whined. "The heck is this, anyway...?" She rotated a thick, disc-shaped present from Sokka.

"You'll find out," Sokka belittled with a wink. "Have some patience, woman."

"I ain't no woman."

"Ya sure aren't a lady," Sokka countered. "Heyoooo..."

"Now, Sokka, that's no way to talk to your cousin," Gran-Gran scolded with a sneaky chortle.

"I'm sorry, dearest cousin Korra," Sokka sweetly apologized with a stupid smirk. Korra punched him on the shoulder and he laughed through the pain.

"Jane, why don't you open what me and Sokka got you?" Katara offered, handing the packages over.

"Oh, um...Cool." As Jane tore them open, Aang discussed with Toph how he had never heard this song before, while she explained how it was about nuclear fallout. "Whoa..." Jane's eyes lit up as she opened the box from Katara. A pair of tall, boot-length converse greeted her - striped black and yellow. "You're shittin' me," she said with furrowed brows and a smile. "These are rad."

"Now you don't have to wear those gloomy big boots all the time," Katara suggested.

"Whoa, dude, this is too cool," Jane cried as she lifted a metal belt buckle with a fat bee on it. "Thanks, man!" she said to Sokka.

"Pretty soon every frickin' thing you wear will have bees on it, you loon," Sokka warmly replied. "Aang, here."

Aang opened his gift from Sokka to find a classy white tie with the House of Aero logo toward the bottom and elegant, swirling lines running across it, like wind.

"Whoa, this is nice," murmured Aang.

"I figured since ya gave your last tie to Shamrocks over there, you needed a new one."

"Ha, yea...Thanks."

"No problem."

While Gran-Gran and Hakoda exchanged different articles of clothing - which seemed to be the trend this year - Katara opened up her box from Toph. It contained a black hoodie with a white section down the center, two eyeballs on the sides of the hood, and a beak pattern on the hood's end.

"Oh, wow!" Katara gasped. "A penguin hoodie? This is soooo cute. Thank you, Toph!"

"Yep. Glad you dig it. I just figured you'd want something like that."

"It's perfect, I love it..." Katara went straight to work pulling off her Christmas sweater and popping the hoodie over her pajama shirt. She then examined what Jane got her. She peered into the box, Jane staring at her with keen, narrowed eyes. Katara's face went red and she closed the box immediately.

"Jane," she whispered with amused embarrassment.

"Whaaat?" Jane reacted with a shrug. "You like penguin stuff, don't ya?" she teased with a mischievous grin. "Now you can wear penguin stuff inside and out."

"You're...you're...-" Katara waggled her finger, smiling a goofy grin, but a conclusive statement never came out.

"I sure am," Jane dismissed with a laugh.

"Oh, oh, oh!" Sokka chirped, ripping open a familiar-shaped gift. "Yesss. Thank you, lovely sister. Thank you~"

"Haha, you're welcome."

"What is it?" Jane inquired.

"Only the best film of 2010!" Sokka decreed, stuffing the movie case at Jane boldly.

"Scott Pilgrim Versus the World?" Aang guessed.

"Ehhhh, that's so close. That's second place," Sokka admitted.

"Inception?" Jane read the case with a perplexed look.

"Bluuuuu-Raaaayyyy," Sokka whispered, stroking the case like an animal. "Oh, GAWD, brilliant...You are watching this. I am going to make you watch this, Freckles."

"Sure, sure, geez...Psycho!"

"Sokka's easy to please," Korra informed Jane, leaning against the wall behind them. "Just get him movies. Or video games."

"Get Jane bumble-bee stuff," Toph announced.

"Katara collects penguin things," Sokka bellowed, just to join in.

"I guess we're all kind of easy to get gifts for, huh?" said Katara with a shrug.

"Since when did I become the jewelry person?" Toph demanded, jiggling her foot in the air. A tribal-styled ankle-bracelet with small seashells was wrapped around it.

"I think that's just a coincidence," Katara decided, looking at Sokka with a smirk, for she knew what he'd gotten her, as well.

"Well, I do like this, it's cool," Toph offered her gratitude.

"I figured that since you like to be barefoot a lot, it might look nice on you."

"Sure..." Toph tried to act aloof, but Aang could tell that she was liking the tactile presents.

"Toph won't look as nice as you will when you put on what I got you," said Sokka with a snarky eyebrow wiggle.

"Oh, God," Katara sighed as Sokka handed her a square box. She popped it open and her jaw opened a bit. "You think I'm gonna wear this?"

"Why not? It'll look good on you."

"What is it?" Jane asked.

Katara, shaking her head, pulled out a red and black plaid fedora and stuck it dully on her head. Sokka shoved over and pushed the hat around, tilted it at the proper angle.

"There ya go, much better," he commended with a pleased nod.

"Whoa! Shit, Kat, that looks awesome!" Jane complimented, offering her friend a cat-call followed by a laugh.

"What the heck is it?" Toph asked Aang, who was gawking as Katara attempted to pose her hand over the hat and pucker her lips out theatrically, only to crumble apart into a giggle.

"Oh, it's...a fedora," Aang explained. "A very...freaky-colored one."

"Probably still works on Sugar-Queen, though."

"Yea, actually."

"If she can make looking like a flightless bird 'cute,' then she can probably handle...whatever it is that hat entails, heh."

"Holy balls, this is...heavy," Sokka grunted, pulling his gift from Toph out from beside the tree.

"Haha."

"What did you get me, Dead-Eyes? How'd you even get it in the house?"

"I had some help, MeatHead."

Sokka tore open the box to find a few cases of various drinks. Not normal drinks, of course.

"Daaaaang, this is sweeeeet~" He pulled out a can of Red Bull and a can of Monster. "Hm...Which one first?" He eyeballed each before crying out, "Rawr," and going for the Monster first.

"Just don't go fuckin' crazy with 'em," Toph warned. "Don't want you running naked across campus again."

"Huh?" said Hakoda with a confused and concerned look.

"Funny story," said Katara as Sokka's face went red like a tomato. "I'll tell ya later."

Aang opened his present from Jane and smiled at the new notepad, pencils, pens, and erasers.

"Hey, Jane, thanks for the art supplies, I'll totally need these for the new semester."

"Yea, I couldn't think of anything I knew you could use, so I went for that."

"Seriously, thanks."

"No big deal."

"Oh! That reminds me! All of your guys' stuff I made you!" Aang bounced up from his seat and went to his messenger bag in the corner of the room while Jane opened her present from Toph.

"What was that you were saying about jewelry?" Jane scoffed, lifting up a pair of skull-shaped earrings.

"Ha, I asked Katara to help me find something with skulls on it. Seemed appropriate."

"Heh, well, at least I won't be entirely black and yellow, right?" Jane observed, pushing back some hair and attaching a single earring through the small piercing in her left ear. "Whatcha think?"

"Hee, it's cute," said Katara. "But we're gonna need to trim that hair down or else no one will be able to see it." She ruffled the opposite side of Jane's head. "Gettin' shaggy."

"So...What is this?" Toph wondered, waving a silver-colored card in the air she'd opened. "Some kinda gift card...?"

"Oh, yea," Jane answered. "I didn't really know what you'd want, so, erm...I got you an iTunes card. There's $25 on there, I figured there was probably some kind of, like...musician you'd wanna support, or somethin'...Since you talk about that sometimes."

"Oh, cool..." Toph whapped herself in the forehead with the card. With her current state of being relatively money-less, it'd be cool to still be able to support a fellow musician. "Yea, I think I've got some ideas. Thanks."

"What duh?" Sokka spewed, staring at a cluster of tins of strong mints.

"Altoids," Jane explained. "You talk so damn much and eat so much junk...and with all those energy drinks rotting your teeth out, ya know...I figured-"
"Heeeeyyyy."
"Haha..."

"What's this, Katara?" Hakoda asked, holding up a leather bound journal.

"That's our journal," Katara informed.

"Oh?"

"I just thought that it'd be cool if we shared a family journal. You, me, Sokka...We pass it around and all write things in it over time. Then the next generation of Kesuks will have all of our knowledge in one place, right?"

"I see..." Hakoda opened the book and noticed the first few pages were full.

"Sokka and I already got you started," Katara explained.

{12/14/2010}
{The semester's almost over, and I can't wait to head on vacation. Our college friends will get to come spend the break with us and it'll be a perfect time for our Dad to get to know them. When you have a Dad as amazing as we do, you can't help but want to share.}

As Hakoda read on, Aang showed Korra her drawing he'd made.

"I'm going to get these all framed for you guys when I get back on campus, he assured."

Korra stared at the serene, bold face of a polar bear, its black eyes stern and strong. It stood on all fours, noble and elegant despite its stature. The freezing arctic landscape rolled behind the beast, a mountain of ice far in the distance.

"Damn, Kid, you're pretty good," Korra muttered.

The next page had a bold warrior with fierce eyes standing atop a cliff, one greave planted on a rock. His head was covered by a leather helmet fashioned after a wolf's head, and his fur-edged cap rustled in the wind. He raised a glorious arm in the air, wielding a metal boomerang as he shouted a battle cry.

"Whoamaigawd, that's me!" Sokka squealed like a girl. "Freaking baller!" Aang laughed at his reaction and flipped to the next page.

An adorable creature stared at Katara with beady eyes, whiskers poking from its pointed snout. It stretched out its four arms - flippers, really - and waddled along.

"That's so adorable," Katara cooed.

"It's an otter-penguin," Aang explained. "I remembered that you said otters were your second favorite animal, soooo...I worked my magic. I think he turned out pretty neat."

"Oh, it's beautiful, Aang," Katara insisted. "You've gotten better this semester..."

"I've been drawing a lot."

"It shows!"

"All right, then, please don't tell me you drew me some creepy bumble-bee mishmash monstrosity," Jane pleaded as Aang turned the page.

"Nope."

Jane stared at the detailed shading of the girl in the drawing. The drawing stared back with dull-set brows but a hopeful glimmer in her eyes, hair thick but groomed, no signs of acne but face dotted with spots. She was smiling, her cheeks blushing just a little.

"You little creeper," Jane laughed. "You drew a portrait of me? How did you...-?"

"Remember when I took that picture a few days ago?"

"Oh-ho," she nudged his arm. "That's...I-I dunno, it...is awesome. I actually look fuckin' decent."

"Hey, you're cute, shut up," Katara scolded Jane's self-mocking comment.

"Yea, Katara's right, you have a really unique face," Aang explained.

"Oh, that's great, that doesn't make me sound ugly, or anything..."

"No, I meant...-!"

"Haha, you can't talk with Jane from an artist's perspective," Katara warned Aang. "She's too sensitive," Katara grinned and tugged at Jane's ear, causing her to blush.

"I mean that you have a face that can send off totally different vibes, it all depends on how you frame it," Aang tried to encourage.

"So, like I said," Katara jabbed, "we chop some of that hair down a bit and then people can see that leopard-spot face better."

"Psh. Thanks," Jane sarcastically chuckled with an eye roll, looking away while her pale skin flashed pink.

"Man, you need some self-esteem boostin', army girl," Korra sighed. "Lemme show ya how it's done." She glowered over Aang, knuckles on her hips, eyes narrowed. "So, Aang - Short Stuff...Am I hot, or what?"

"Errrmmm..." Aang's face went pale as he grimaced, more from fear at her beefy biceps than anything else.

"Fuckin' right, I am!" Korra cawed, smacking him on the back. "Jane, ya gotta own your look. Ya get what I'm sayin'?"

"Whatever," Jane huffed, not appreciating the limelight being shoved in Korra's direction. It was easy for her to make it seem so simple. She was clearly on the 'woman' end of the biological spectrum with curves and bosom and even fucking muscle to match. Jane was a twig who had to take pills to remind her body that it was a girl, much less a 'woman.' Damnit all...

"Hey, now," Toph snipped, leaning her head over the coach's spine. "I know lil' Twinkle-Toes here is a stud-muffin and all, but hey, back off, sisters, he's mine."

Korra frowned at this remark, clearly not so keen on such a comment given the recent history involved, while Katara smiled weakly and Jane nodded in approval, slapping Aang on the shoulder.

"Oh, don't worry, there, Gimpy, Aang's more man than I think I can handle," Jane joked. Aang shook his head dubiously at their picking, pushing his bangs so they slicked to one side, and Katara gave him a quick side-squeeze before dragging over the large present she'd gotten for him as Gran-Gran tried on large, puffy ear-muffs from Katara.

"Here." Katara scooted the gift along the carpet to Aang.

"Oh, right, super-huge-weird present," Aang reminded himself. He was picked on for having trouble opening the box but when all was said and done he managed to pull out...

"A skateboard?" Aang studied the device as if it were a pinup magazine. He rolled a wheel and smiled as it spun. He admired the design on top - black with a large blue arrow pointing forward. "Oh, sweet, the college logo..."

"I painted that on there for you," Katara told him with some pride. "You like it?"

"Whoa, whoa, since when was Aang a boarder?" Korra called foul.

"W-well, I'm...I'm not," Aang admitted. "I just...kinda was always curious about it, but...just never got around to getting a skateboard."

"You remember back in the spring?" Katara pointed to him, straightening the fedora on her head. "You said how skateboarding always looked cool to you, and if you had one, you'd learn how."

"Y-yea, I-...That does sound familiar..."

"So now you have an excuse to go out and get some exercise when it gets warm out."

"Totally! Thanks, Katara...I'll definitely use this...For sure."

Katara could see his eyes spark with a bit of ambition as he marveled at the gift. Maybe picking up a hobby like this could help him shake off some of this 'not-manly-enough' nonsense he let cling to him.

"Whoa, pretty spiffy," Toph congratulated her boyfriend. "Gonna have to watch out, you're gonna tear it up on campus when all the damn snow melts, right?"

"What do we have left?" Sokka scooped up the last two gifts that weren't Korra's.

"Hey, Toph," Sokka lightly bopped her in the head with the box before stuffing in her hands. She scowled at his brutality and opened it. Another jewelry case.

"Christ, what's giving you guys the idea I'm a jewelry person?" She pretended to be offended, but her lips hung open when she reached the actual piece - it was long, a string composed of many pieces. They had straight-cut edges, but the sides of each stone had a rough, gritty texture. It was unlike any other stone she'd ever felt. "Whoa, dang, what is this, some space rock or something?"

"Haha, I wish," chuckled Sokka. "That's a bracelet made from volcanic rock."

"Straight from the source," Toph observed with an impressed smile. "I dig it. 'Kay, let's slap this sucker on..." She felt the edges and found the clasps, then tried to wrap it around her left wrist. It was entirely too large. "Uhhh...Hey, Snoozles, did ya pick up one made for football players by mistake?"

"Oh, heheh, naw, Toph, you're, uh-...It doesn't go there."

"Say what, now?"

Sokka hesitated, but reached out and took the bracelet with care, slinging it around Toph's upper arm and connecting it.

"Damn, this thing...feels awesome," Toph squeaked, tightening her fists. "I feel like, even more bad-ass than usual now! With all this bling I've got goin' on."

"You look a bit more bad-ass," Sokka acknowledged, stroking his goatee as he squinted at her arm critically. "I do believe I've contributed my superior fashion intellect to all of you today."

"What does that make this, a fuckin' tiara?" Korra joked, holding up the present from earlier.

"Ah, right, Bato's waiting outside," Hakoda muttered to himself, closing the journal he had been reading and slipping into a pair of boots as he fled out the front door.

"Last one's for Katara," said Sokka. "It's from Dad."

"Oh. Hm." After discovering the gift, Katara held it up in the air by its long chain for all to see. It was a rustic, polished pocket watch with an embossed lighthouse on its front.

Jane whistled in awe. "Wow, classy stuff."

"Whoa, is that an antique?" Aang wondered.

"I...I don't know," said Katara.

"That was your other grandmother's," advised Gran-Gran with a sage finger. "Your father found it when he was doing some summer cleaning."

"What is it?"

"It's a pocket watch, Dead-Eyes," Sokka explained, humored by her constant inquiries.

Katara pressed the button on top to pop it open, studying the old mechanism at work, ticking the second hand along its axis of roman numerals.

"It's...gorgeous," Katara murmured with delight. Jane smiled at the childish glow in Katara's eyes. She pictured Katara in her black slacks, blouse, denim vest, wearing that odd fedora she had on, her wooden relic pipe in her mouth, suitcase in one hand, checking the time on this watch in the other. At least now it all added up - Katara collected old relative heirlooms.

"Now all ya need's a monocle and you'll be set," Jane teased.

"Huh?"

"With all the other stuff you've got, I mean. Old man stuff."

"Oh, ha, yea, I...guess it's kind of a style I like, huh?"

"Because that's not weird at all. Old-Man Style."

"Not as weird as a bumble-bee fetish."

"Uhhhh, you did not just go there."

"Pretty sure I did."

"I will punch you," Jane threatened devilishly, balling her fist.

The front door was suddenly flung open and Hakoda and Bato entered.

"All right, Korra, front and center!" Hakoda commanded.

"Psh. Yes, Sir." Korra came up to them as Bato followed inside, greeting everyone with enthusiasm. He held in his hand a large box with metal grating - the kind one carries pets in. Korra's eyes bulged wide at this sight, and she glared at Hakoda with an incredulous expression.

"Remember when we stopped by town a while back?" Hakoda explained as the rustling of newspaper could be heard from inside the cage. "Well, heh...We knew you were feeling a bit lonely by yourself, so...we thought it was only sensible to get a companion for my lonely niece."

"No way," Korra mumbled with disbelief, slapping a hand on her forehead. "No fuckin' way..."

"Oh, yes. Very 'way.'" Bato set the box down as a tiny bark escaped. Gasps and 'Awww's' filled the room.

"That sounds like a dog," Toph cried out, eager to express her vicarious excitement.

"Well? Aren't ya gonna meet her?" Bato taunted. "Shouldn't leave her waiting any longer, she's been a patient little lady this whole time for you."

Korra spun around, hand still stuck to her forehead with shock as she stared at the rest of the group. She smiled sheepishly at them - the first time either Aang or Jane had seen such a look on her face. She whirled back around and unlatched the door. She yelped out in surprise as the infant dog raced out, nearly making a dash for the crowd by the tree. Korra scooped up the precious pet with both hands and held her up in strong arms. The creature had pure white fur and bright blue eyes.

"What kind of dog is it?" Katara asked.

"A Husky," Korra breathed with awe, trying to contain the critter as she squirmed around. "I always wanted one when I was a kid, but...-"

"Never too late to make a friend," said Hakoda, petting the puppy on the head as it gawked about curiously, confused at its captivity. Korra seemed equally perplexed as to what to do with the fledgling animal, and opted to try rubbing her palm across its head. It pressed down its paws into her bosoms and leaned forward as she grimaced from the claws scratching. Some frantic licks across Korra's face and all was forgiven.

"So what's this new friend's name?" Aang wondered.

"Er, sooo...-" Korra rubbed her cheeks on her shoulders to get saliva off and gazed into the energetic eyes of this companion. "We're gonna call you 'Naga.'"

"An appropriately odd but awesome name," Jane laughed. She seemed to be surrounded by people with strange names. Why wouldn't the dog have one, too?

"Makes me think of snakes," Katara muttered to herself out of nowhere.

"So, er...Is she, like, potty trained...and stuff...?" Korra wondered with some fear.

"More or less," Bato decided. "We've had a few weeks with her to get it out of her system, aaaand...all over the carpet a few times, haha."

"Can't believe you guys," Korra grumbled with embarrassment. "I'm not five, I'm twenty-five..."

"And it's something you've always wanted," Hakoda reminded.

"No day but today," Toph chimed out.

Sokka shook his finger at his cousin.

"You are always complaining about how lonely you are..."

"Whaaat? That's not...complaining, that's...-"
"Do we need to pull up your Facebook and show you what I'm talkin' about?"

Korra glowered at Sokka with disdain, her pride chipped, as she carried her new pet over to the trio of presents in her name. Things immediately added up. She didn't even need to open them: a dish for food was the disc-shaped one, a bag of dogfood the huge, heavy one, and...probably a leash? Something like that for the last. Naga yelped out with eager energy, pushing her legs out, so Korra sunk to her knees to let the puppy roam.

"All right, geez, there ya go..."

As Naga raced across the living room like a sugar-buzzed child, Korra got back up and bashfully hugged her biological uncle and makeshift one.

"Thanks, guys..."

"Glad you came for Christmas this year, eh?" said Bato. "I'd say it's aboot time ya got yer own pet."

Korra snorted out a laugh at his exaggerated accent.

"Just aboot," she sarcastically replied.

"I can hear a puppy," Toph cried. "But it is not in my lap for to petting. Theez eez prohblem."

As Naga lost interest in Katara and went over to Aang, he scratched behind her ears and picked her up, carrying her over to Toph while Katara dialed the volume up on the stereo, which had been toned to a near mute level for presents.

["~From his beard to his boots he was covered with ammo~Like a big, fat, drunk, disgruntled Yuletide Rambo~"]

"You gotta get off the couch," he advised, to which Toph immediately slid onto the floor. Aang set the animal in Toph's lap and she laughed maniacally.

Sipping at his energy drink, Sokka glanced around the room, nodding to himself.

"I'd say that went well."

"Yea," Katara agreed.

["~And he smiled as he said with a twinkle in his eye~'Merry Christmas to all - now you're all gonna DIE!'~"]

"Wow, Taters, you sound...a little too excited singing this song."

"Heehee..."

"That look...isn't making you look any less crazy."


"Sounds like...uh...quite a time."

["Ha, you could say that."]
["May-May. Maaayyyy-May."]
["What's that, Tom-Tom? Huh?"]

"Haha, is he showing you his new toys?"

["Yea. That, emm...looks like a...fire truck."]
["Ffyyy-tuck."]
["Right. Yea."]
["Voom."]
["Uh-huh. Hey, Tom-Tom, Big Sister's on the phone right now, OK?"]
["May-May fone."]
["Yea. Go show Daddy that fire truck."]
["Daddy fyy-tuck?"]
["Right. Mm-hm."]
["Voom!"]

Zuko was smiling wide at the sound of this interaction. Mai seemed to become three times more patient when dealing with her little brother. He wondered what he needed to do to get such luck.

"So I'm going to guess he's doing pretty well."

["Yea, he's a little loopy from cookies,"] Mai laughed. ["But how are things over there?"]

"Oh, they're...eh. You know. They're all right."

["Just all right?"]

"I don't know. It's kind of awkward. Azula's on the phone with our father."

["Oh. I can...see how that'd be kind of weird."]

"She seems annoyed that I won't talk with him."

Mai sighed.

["Zuko, don't let her push you around. You have pretty good reason to not talk with him."]

"I know. I think...that Azula understands, she's just...being her."

["Heh, yea, I know what you mean..."]

"But, anyway, so...I have some good news."

["Oh?"]

"I got an e-mail from the President a couple days ago. He wants to put me in charge of a new project."

["Huh? What kind of project?"]

"Well, he...wasn't very clear, I'm waiting to hear back, but...some kind of, like...recreation...thing."

["Whhhow, so very specific."]

"Ha, yea, I-...Like I said, it doesn't make much sense yet. But I guess he said he really liked how I was campaigning for unity across all the dorms, you know? He told me he thought I'd be the right man for the job. So, I'm guessing it must have something to do with that. Or something?"

["Hm. Yea, that could be kind of interesting, I'm sure. Well, congrats, Zuko. That's pretty cool, it sounds like the President sees what I do in you."]

Zuko laughed nervously through his nose. "Thanks, Mai."

"ZuZu, are you done yammering with girlfriend?"

"Aaaand there she goes..."

["I'm not sure who has it worse off - me being a babysitter or you being baby-sat."]

"Very funny."

["You have a Merry Christmas, Zuko. I'll talk to you soon."]

"Yea, you, too. Love you."

["Love you, too."]
[Click.]

"What did you need, Azula?"

"You know, Father is very disappointed that his own son refuses to speak with him on Christmas."

"Good, let him be 'disappointed.' Kind of an understatement considering how I feel about him."

"So incorrigible," Azula muttered under her breath. "Regardless, Uncle is about to hurt himself trying to set up that gourmet coffee maker you got him. And why did you get him a coffee maker, anyway? You know he's a 'tea person.'"

"Iroh likes coffee, too," Zuko affirmed following Azula into the hall. "Just because he likes one doesn't mean he can't like the other."

"It just seems pointless to me," Azula dismissed.

"Why are you so snippy today all of a sudden?"

"What was that?"

"I mean, as snippy as you usually are. You've been kind of relaxed all week."

"Hmph. Well, I have a real business to tend to, not some mock politics. So when something goes wrong it falls to me to resolve it."

"Something went wrong at work?"

"You're the one who didn't want to be involved with it, so I'll spare you the burden."

"Uh...Okay, then..." Zuko and shrugged, letting it roll off.

"Aha, there you are, Nephew," said Iroh as they entered his kitchen. "I fear I may ruin my drink here..."

"Oh. Haha, no, no, Uncle, you...have to put the little cups-...See, these are the flavor for the drink, right?"

"Mm-hm..."

"You just put these in this compartment here, and then the machine makes it into coffee." Zuko prepared the device in a few seconds and had it start running while his phone vibrated.

"My, that's...much more simple than I expected," Iroh chuckled at his own ignorance. "Technology makes things so easy these days..."

"Heh...It makes some things more difficult, actually," Zuko muttered with a shrug as he pulled out his phone, still shaking.

[Incoming call...]
[FATHER]
[Ignore]


A/N:

A lotta references in this chapter, but I wanted to point out the prominent ones. Naga is of course the animal companion Korra will have in th upcoming series. A lot of readers originally wanted Appa to be an animal, but I just didn't see it fitting right. Appa works better as a location, which is often what he served on the show. He's like a gathering point for the characters. Plus, college students often can't have pets - not in dorms, anyway. Korra, however, isn't a college student. It just made sense. So now some of you wanting to see a little bit of an animal show up, there you go.

Toph's arm bracelet is of course a reference to the meteor rock Sokka gave her in the series. I imagine it looking like this.
farm5(dot)static(dot)flickr(dot)com/4117/4885892999_9b76465cde(dot)jpg

dragonratjewellery(dot)com/images/18%2004%202011%20IMG_1065(dot)JPG

As for Katara's hoodie, think...something like this, but with the "beak" toned down by a LOT, and only on the top part. =3
lookbook(dot)nu/look/1200285-Pingu

Sokka was originally going to give Katara a different kind of hat, but I love fedoras myself (I wear one a lot these days), and I've played a bit of Catherine, and one of the characters has one like this.
storage(dot)siliconera(dot)com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/catherine_orlando_thumb(dot)jpg
I couldn't resist. It's totally something Sokka would get his sister, and totally something that's a bit stylish but also just a bit weird, and I think this version of Katara would wear it.
And also look sexy in it. I won't deny that ulterior motive. Girls + fedoras = pretty cute.

I promise that Weird Al covers do not make the entirety of Toph's album. =P But two are, so just use your imagination and imagine guitar covers of them. xD
Youtube(dot)com/watch?v=t039p6xqutU&ob=av3e
Youtube(dot)com/watch?v=HTGlUMvbhSw

The past couple of chapters are starting to allude to things that will be tying together a lot of questions people have had, so I'm excited to start rolling out those ideas as things come around. I wanted to include New Year's in this chapter, but it came out longer than I thought, probably the longest single scene in the history of the story so far. So by the end of Chapter 50 the story will officially have hit 2011 territory. ;)

[link]<--Previous Chapter
Next Chapter-->[link]
[link]<-<--Chapter 1

Woooo lots of presents. Which means more fashion accessories. OOOOOOOHHH. =P

Me =/= a girl. I swear. Usually.

Heh, but once you hit college most of your presents become clothes. But who says that has to be boring?

And because I ought to start crediting where I get stock photos I use for the thumbnails: [link]
Add a Comment:
 
:iconcelinejoynj:
celinejoynj Featured By Owner Dec 25, 2012  Student General Artist
I am literally in love with this chapter! Agh, I'm so behind. Good thing it's Christmas break so I can catch up! Keep up the amazingfully awesometastic work!
Reply
:icondestiny-smasher:
Destiny-Smasher Featured By Owner Dec 26, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
Thanks a lot. Glad you're enjoying it. Yeah, you've got a long way to go, so I hope it's worth your time.
Reply
:iconciupakabra:
Ciupakabra Featured By Owner Sep 10, 2012
Did i misunderstand something or did Jane give Katara a sex toy?
Reply
:icondestiny-smasher:
Destiny-Smasher Featured By Owner Sep 10, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
The Christmas present? xD Haha, I intentionally made that vague, but the truth to that (which may actually be shown later in the story) is that Jane got Katara underwear that is printed with a particular pattern. ^_^;
Reply
:iconnolongerinvisible:
NoLongerInvisible Featured By Owner Jul 6, 2012
I totally approve of this chapter! My nephew calls me "May May" and I got totally psyched when Tom-Tom called Mai that, lol.
Reply
:icondestiny-smasher:
Destiny-Smasher Featured By Owner Jul 6, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
Aw, that's cute. =)
Reply
:iconnolongerinvisible:
NoLongerInvisible Featured By Owner Jul 8, 2012
Haha thanks. :P
Reply
:iconalmostliterally:
AlmostLiterally Featured By Owner Jun 17, 2012
This was a very much needed little bit of sweetness after all of that sad. :)

"Getting shaggy" Haha, my mind went straight to Scott Pilgrim here. Wonder if Jane got her last haircut before breaking up with Jet? :P
Reply
:iconmidnight4568:
Midnight4568 Featured By Owner Mar 15, 2012
Wow, great descriptions in the beginning with Katara waking up.
:XD: Sokka is ticklish.
Did you misspell "couch" as "coach"? Like, "...behind where she knew the coach sat."
:O I can imagine Jane wearing those "tall, boot-length converse" shoes.
Bee themed everything for Jane.
Hmm, based on Katara's comment about Jane's present for her, I'm guessing Jane got her penguin-themed undergarments?
Lol, Sokka WOULD be super excited over Blu-Ray.
:O I can picture Katara in that patterned fedora.
Aang sketched Korra's animal guide, Sokka's wolf warrior outfit, and the otter-penguin creature! :)
Ohh, I keep forgetting that when Aang has hair, he also has bangs.
Nice change to Toph's meteor bracelet! Volcanic rock is the next best thing.
When I read something that Korra says, I see the first letter of her name and think "Katara," but then I remember that Katara doesn't swear all that much.
D'awwww! Naga makes an appearance. I can picture that scene.

"Incorrigible," was a vocab word.

Wow, thanks for including the links to all of the clothing objects that the characters wear in this chapter. It helps me to picture them better.
Going to read the next chapter now.
Reply
:icondestiny-smasher:
Destiny-Smasher Featured By Owner Mar 15, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
Heheh, Jane did get Katara undergarments, yes. xD

Aang does have hair, but actually, literally the chapter I am writing right now, he gets his hair shaved super short.

A number of pieces of art by now depict some of those clothing articles, actually. =)
Reply
Add a Comment: