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He sees him in a Starbucks, because of course he does.

 

Zuko orders without thinking, something extremely bitter and extremely caffeinated that will hopefully keep him awake for the next seven or so hours until he can go home and crash. He feels like he hasn’t slept in a week but really, it might be more like three and a bit or a catnap every twenty or so hours. Between the gallery opening coming up and his upcoming series of workshops, he doesn’t have time to breathe, much less sleep.

 

“Sure you don’t want some sugar in that, bud?” 

 

Zuko looks up from the cottony fog of his brain and stares.

 

The barista is beautiful. Maybe not objectively, or universally, but Zuko spends his life looking at line and shape and color, and this person…

 

Zuko loses all of his goddamned breath.

 

“Uh—“ he says tiredly, stupidly, because accidentally falling in love was not what he had planned for his afternoon. “What?”

 

“Sugar,” the barista says, looking suddenly concerned and leaning forward to eyeball Zuko. His name tag says ‘Sokka’ on it. “Would you like some? Looks like you need it.”

 

Zuko will give him literally anything he asks for or take anything he offers.

 

So, he nods and shifts his bag on his shoulder. All he’s done for the last week is plan and prep and if he doesn’t put something on paper right the fuck now, Zuko feels like he might die.

 

“Can I draw you?” Is what comes out of his stupid mouth instead of a real answer because Zuko is sleep deprived and also an idiot, and has been told on more than one occasion that his life would be much easier if he could just learn to shut up.

 

“...What?”

 

Zuko squeezes his nose until he sees sparkles and wishes desperately, not for the first time, that he was anyone other than himself.

 

“Can I draw you?” He repeats with a helpless little desperate shrug. “I promise I won’t be creepy about it, and you don’t have to do anything, but—“ How can you just tell someone that they’re possibly the most gorgeous person you’ve seen in your life, and that if he says no, Zuko’s heart might just shatter right there? “You’re beautiful.”

 

The barista (Sokka) stares at him and begins to go red all the way down the collar of his button-up, underneath the dark apron that ties around his waist.

 

Zuko is absolutely, 100% useless and he knows this.

 

“Uh...um. Sure, I guess,” Sokka mumbles. “Oh my god,” he whispers under his breath, so quietly that Zuko almost doesn’t hear, and oh god, he tried really hard not to be creepy, and he’s definitely being creepy. Fuck. 

 

Zuko’s hands shake a little and he fumbles his credit card in the reader, and he’s not sure if it’s because of his own embarrassment or because of sleep deprivation. Maybe both.

 

He pays for his coffee, grabs it off the counter faster than the other less-gorgeous barista can say his name, and flees to the table in a corner that faces the right way and has half decent lighting.

 

It takes a good while for Sokka to get distracted enough to stop gaping at him from across the room but once he does, Zuko’s pulling out his journal and drawing supplies and travel palette.

 

Line and shape and color are easy for him, but Sokka is like, the best of all of them, and it feels like forever since he’s felt that pull that demands creation. Zuko thought that relative success had killed that in him, and it’s a shock to be found wrong but he doesn’t dislike it.

 

On the contrary, Zuko burns.

 


 

Hands land on the table, and Zuko looks up blearily to see Sokka standing in front of him, apron folded over his arm. The lines of his waist are even prettier without it.

 

God, Zuko needs sleep.

 

“Uh, shift’s over,” the man says quietly. “You’ve been sitting here for like...five hours.”

 

Has it only been five hours? Or already five hours.

 

“...Oh,” is all he manages. “O-okay.” Idiot.

 

Sokka straightens, the look on his face going from nervous to determined. God, but Zuko wants to paint that, too.

 

“If, uh, if you don’t mind,” he says, “Could I see what you drew?”

 

Zuko scrambles for his journal before he can slow down and think and flips it open to a relevant page; Sokka leans forward to look and his mouth drops open.

 

They’re nothing special, Zuko knows. Barely sketches with some dark, fine pen lines for accent and soft washes of watercolor that don’t hold a candle to the real thing, but the way the other man looks at them makes Zuko’s heart pound a hard drumbeat in his head. For a moment, he wonders if he’s made a mistake by showing him.

 

Blue eyes, the bluest he’s ever seen, lock onto his; Sokka reaches out and touches the page like he can’t help himself.

 

“...I don’t look like that,” he says, finally. “That’s some serious creative license, there.”

 

“No,” Zuko breathes. He can’t look away. “No. You do. That’s what I see.”

 

Sokka swallows hard, and Zuko’s fingers itch.

 

“Um. Oh. Okay. Wow.” He licks his lips. “Um. Do you…would you like to come back to my place? With me.”

 

It’s like one o’clock in the afternoon. Zuko needs to go to bed and he needs to go to sleep but there isn’t a force on Earth that could make the word no come off of his tongue.

 

Yes.”

 




Sokka doesn’t live more than a block away from the coffee shop and when he and Zuko leave together, he grips onto Zuko’s arm with a firm grasp. It’s cold and Zuko shivers into his scarf, twists his arm to grab at fingers instead.

 

“Shit, you’re freezing,” Sokka grumbles and squeezes at his hand, fumbles at his keys with the other. When he manages to get it open, Zuko pushes him up past the threshold, noses reverently into his throat and breathes in deeply. “Hold on a sec, my roommate should be out but I should probably— ah, make s-sure.”

 

Zuko accepts this and pulls away but not before nipping the underside of Sokka’s jaw in the process.

 

All he wants to do is put his hands all over him.

 

“We’re good,” Sokka says and kicks the door shut with a click. This time Zuko is the one who gets pushed, until his back hits the wall with Sokka’s whole body following him. “Shit, shit. I don’t even know your—“

 

“Zuko, I’m Zuko,” Zuko breathes and wraps a hand around the back of Sokka’s neck to reel him in closer. Kissing him feels like good and right, and scratches something that Zuko hadn’t known had itched. 

 

Sokka groans into his mouth and then pulls away, grins a little when Zuko scowls at him.

 

“Chill out, I just don’t wanna do this in the hallway. Shenanigans deserve a bed.”

 

Bed is an excellent idea, Zuko thinks, and follows when Sokka takes his hand and drags him into his bedroom, pulling his shirt off along the way and showing off planes of beautiful dark skin and muscle that Zuko desperately needs to touch and kiss and suck.

 

“Do you even see yourself?”

 

Sokka turns to face him and grins. That grin widens when Zuko pushes him onto his back onto his mattress and finally, finally gets to run his hands up his waist to feel the contours of his ribs, up to broad, dark shoulders. Sokka has a tattoo—a black tribal-looking band around his upper arm.

 

“I still think you’re blind,” he quips back. Zuko shivers when Sokka runs his hands up his back, underneath his shirt. “And wearing too many clothes. Maybe you should fix that.”

 

Zuko yanks his t-shirt over his head and drops it to the floor, straddles Sokka’s hips and proceeds to suck a bruise into his collarbone. The whining hiss the other man makes burns itself into Zuko’s brain.

 

“W-What do you want?” He asks, and lifts his head to cradle Sokka’s jaw in his hands. Sokka’s blue eyes are wide and blown out and beautiful. “What can I do?”

 

“Anything,” Sokka breathes, “Jesus, anything, you can do anything you want.”

 

“Can I blow you?”

 

“Oh my g— fuck, yes, yes, please do that.”

 

Zuko grins, sharp and eager, and bats Sokka’s hands away from his waistband with a shake of his head.

 

“No, let me,” he says quietly and scoots down, undoes the buckle of Sokka’s belt and the button on his jeans, slides them down his hips. Sokka’s already hard and straining against the fabric of his black boxer briefs. Shit, he’s gorgeous like this too, and Zuko can’t help but spend an unnecessarily long time running his thumbs just under Sokka’s waistband, long enough that Sokka ends up reaching a hand into Zuko’s ponytail, wrapping long strands around his fingers and pulling very, very gently.

 

Zuko hisses anyway and looks up, his own heart pounding hard to see the pleased smile curling over Sokka’s lips. His mouth is meant to smile, Zuko thinks, unlike his own with its natural scowl.

 

“Let it not be said that I don’t appreciate being thorough—but I think I’m gonna die.”

 

“You’re not going to die,” Zuko informs him, but gives in to Sokka’s demand and pulls his underwear down to release his erection, presses a featherlight kiss to the very tip. “You’ll suffer but you won’t die. Maybe.” 

 

Tease.

 

Zuko’s gold eyes glitter and without warning he pounces, takes Sokka’s cock down his throat all the way to the hilt, presses Sokka’s hips down hard into the mattress when they jerk upwards.

 

“Holy shit, holy shit,” Sokka says directly to the ceiling, both of his hands clenched in the sheets, “Fuck, Zuko, your mouth is amazing. You’re amazing. Oh my god. You’re fucking awesome.

 

Zuko tries to hum his appreciation, but the praise hits something unexpected inside him and a loud, startled whimper comes out instead. 

 

Sokka’s staring at him and Zuko feels his cheeks burn. He would almost be impressed at his own ability to mortify himself with a mouthful of dick but he’s too embarrassed to even move. 

 

Or so he thinks until he pulls off just long enough to mumble, horrified, “Oh my god.”

 

“...It’s like that, then?” Sokka asks gently and rubs a hand over Zuko’s dark hair, half falling out of its ponytail. He doesn’t look like he thinks it’s weird, and the harder Zuko looks at him, the more he looks...happy? Happy and aroused. “It’s fine if it is, man. I think everybody likes being told that they’re good.”

 

Zuko is pretty sure that most people probably don’t have the reaction that he has to it.

 

Sokka grins at him and wiggles his eyebrows.

 

“Can you keep going, please? You really are amazing at that.”

 

This time Zuko doesn’t try to suppress the shudder that rocks through his body at the praise and swallows Sokka down again, running his tongue teasingly up the shaft. This is something he enjoys doing. Zuko already knew this about himself but it’s even more satisfying to catalogue Sokka’s reactions, see what he can draw out and find out what makes him whine and gasp and shiver. He’s just as beautiful like this as he is making coffee.

 

“So good, so good,” Sokka murmurs, brushes Zuko’s bangs out of his eyes. “Still think you’re blind though. Fucking gorgeous.” He presses his hand to Zuko’s pale cheek, strokes his thumb across his bottom lip.

 

Zuko swallows hard and relishes the sharp hitch of breath he gets for it.

 

“Not gonna last long if you keep at it like that,” Sokka warns him but doesn’t look all that upset about it. His blue eyes are locked on Zuko’s face like he’s never seen anything like him.

 

Zuko wants to know what he looks like when he comes, suddenly, more than anything in the world. He grins and grips Sokka by the hips, digs his thumbs into pressure points that curl his toes, and sucks with a vengeance.

 

“Fuck, fuck, baby,” Sokka suddenly gasps with urgency, “I’m really close, move off if you don’t want me to—oh, god—“ Sokka comes with a sob and spills down Zuko’s throat, and then loses all of his breath when Zuko swallows. “Oh my god.” He flops back against his pillows, boneless and comfortable and warm.

 

Zuko pulls off and rubs at his eyes. His whole body, despite his own persistent arousal, feels heavy and syrupy, and he finds himself scooching up to curl into the curve of Sokka’s arm, tucking his face into his shoulder and sighing deeply. His eyes drop shut and he’s just coordinated enough to trace a finger over the patterns of Sokka’s tattoo.

 

He’s so warm and feels so good and is so tired.

 

Sokka pets his head quietly for a few minutes, long enough to get his brain put back together, and props himself up on his elbow.

 

“Alright, gorgeous, it’s your turn—“

 

Sokka goes very still.

 

Zuko doesn’t hear a word of what he says because Zuko is asleep.

 

“Wow,” Sokka mumbles quietly, so as to not wake him, “Wow, okay.” This is Sokka’s life, now.

 

For a while, all Sokka can manage to do is look at him, loose and pliant and cuddly. Zuko is exquisite like this, and Sokka is spellbound. He’s never not been pretty, but he likes this softness he gets to see in Zuko now, all the edges smoothed over in sleep. He looks sweet like this.

 

Eventually, though, a yawn of his own cracks out of him and Sokka gives up on any notions he may have had about being productive in favor of tucking Zuko into his chest and pulling his blanket over the both of them.

 


 

Sokka naps for two hours, and Zuko ends up sleeping for a solid thirteen.

 

Sokka wakes up around four o’clock and is initially super confused as to why he’s not alone in his bed. And then remembers.

 

And then proceeds to have a very small, and very quiet, existential crisis in his own bed. It’s hard to do when you’re being relentlessly cuddled by the most attractive person you’ve ever seen in your life, so Sokka eventually slips out of bed, heads for the kitchen, and proceeds to melt down spectacularly.

 

“You’re very upset about this,” Aang points out, “I don’t know why. You think he’s pretty, you had fun. What’s the problem?”

 

“...You don’t see a problem,” Sokka says flatly and does a very good job at keeping his voice down.

 

“Nope,” Aang tells him. “I’m more confused why you have a problem.”

 

“Don’t analyze me, nerd.”

 

Aang perches himself on the stool by the bar, spins it, and waits. Finally, Sokka scowls at him.

 

“I don’t do this shit, man. What, one guy calls me pretty and I fall at his feet? What is that?”

 

Aang crosses his arms over his chest.

 

“Question one: did you think he was pretty?”

 

“...Yes.”

 

“Question two: did he think you were pretty?”

 

“Allegedly.”

 

“You said he called you beautiful so that’s definitely a yes. Okay. Question three: did you have fun bringing him back here?”

 

“Yes, but that’s not the point!”

 

“That’s exactly the point!”

 

“Keep it down, you’ll wake him up; he seemed like he needed a lot of sleep,” Sokka snaps. “I just...I don’t do shit like this, okay? It’s only been—“

 

“You’ve been single for six months,” Aang points out. He’s got a lot of nerve considering that he hasn’t been single in about six years, the dick. “You thinking you’re not allowed to be over it makes way more sense than you being mad that someone you thought was pretty thought that you were pretty. Just...enjoy it. It sounds like you’ve found an unexpected blessing!”

 

Sokka makes a face. Sometimes it’s really easy to tell that Aang grew up in a monastery.

 

“I told you not to analyze me.”

 

“Sorry,” Aang says, not sorry at all, “Trick of the trade. Did you think he was lying to you?”

 

Sokka flinches a little bit because that one landed on a soft spot. Eventually, he shakes his head.

 

“No, not lying.” Because no one who could draw him looking like could possibly be that good of a liar. “A little deluded, maybe.”

 

Sokka.”

 

“Okay, so maybe not deluded. Maybe just desperate?”

 

Sokka!”

 

Sokka sighs a little and leans on the countertop in the way that Katara hates.

 

“I just...okay. Like I know you’re not super into dudes, okay, but you can acknowledge when someone’s attractive, right?” Aang nods and mercifully does not go on a spiel about how it’s not that he’s not not into dudes but that he’s just very into Sokka’s sister, which is one hundred times worse than anything else he’s said so far. “This guy is like...the most gorgeous person I’ve ever seen. And I dated Yue for a little bit so, you know. It’s not like I’ve never seen somebody pretty before.” Sokka tries to smother himself by burying his face in the counter. “I just don’t understand.”

 

“You don’t have to understand. Just enjoy it. And get out of my way. While you were having an afternoon delight, I’ve been starving to death in class trying to be ready for Iroh’s art history exam next week. You think your afternoon snack would want some pancakes?”

 

Sokka very much doubts that Zuko will be awake anytime soon to enjoy Aang’s pancakes, as good as they are. When Sokka left his bed, he was still sleeping like the dead.

 

Aang waves a spatula at him.

 

“Go on, then. I know you’ve got the rest of today and tomorrow off, anyway. Go get cuddles and stop stressing yourself out over nothing.”

 

And Sokka really can’t think of a good reason to protest. Zuko’s upstairs, warm and snuggly and sleepy, and Sokka’s down here being a self-acknowledged butthead.

 

Zuko hasn’t seemed to have moved at all since Sokka left, so he just toes off his hastily thrown on jeans and slides back in under the blankets, feeling instantly warmer and toastier. It’s easy, then, to wrap an arm around Zuko and pull him in close to tuck his head underneath his chin. It’s so easy, and it’s weird that it’s so easy.

 

Sokka’s a tactile guy. He likes to touch and he likes to be touched, but he doesn’t have much experience with bed sharing, and certainly not after having what Aang would refer to as casual relations

 

But for some reason, it’s easy to reach out and hold him, and nuzzle his nose into Zuko’s dark, messy hair and take in deep whiffs of his shampoo, and run patterns over pale skin with his fingertips.

 

It’s easy to lay there with him and watch Netflix quietly on his phone while Zuko sleeps, even though there are other things he could be doing, cuddled up close.

 

Maybe, Sokka thinks with a good deal of hope, when he wakes up, Zuko will up for another round.

 




Zuko sleeps for nearly thirteen hours and when he wakes up, he’s disoriented and has no idea where the hell he is. Until, of course, he turns his head and realizes that he’s not alone in this strange bed, that there are warm, heavy arms wrapped around him and someone nosing into the nape of his neck, and he remembers

 

As quietly as he can, Zuko turns over to face Sokka. 

 

His sleeping face is soft and gentle, and Zuko finds that he’s just as beautiful now as he was before, in the coffee shop, and it makes his heart hurt in a way he doesn’t dislike. A good hurt, like working a muscle that hasn’t been used in a while. 

 

Zuko remembers dropping his bag by the bed when they entered the first time, and he’s grateful that nothing has since spilled out. The lighting is bad because the room’s being lit only by a dim desk lamp that Zuko can’t reach, and outside from the window it’s dark, the sky inky black and speckled with stars.

 

No matter.

 

He can’t help but grab his journal and a pencil and take a sketch down. Who knows when he’ll be able to see this again? Who knows if, when Sokka wakes up, if he won’t just want to tell Zuko to get the hell out? He wouldn’t be surprised and it wouldn’t be the first time, though it probably hurts way more when it’s your boyfriend of three years than someone who takes you home after a shift at work in the middle of the afternoon.

 

Jet never looked like this, though, even at his best, and a good year of therapy and some self-imposed celibacy has finally gotten into Zuko’s brain that he’d never treated him properly either, emotionally or in bed. Zuko would like to think that his judgement has since improved.

 

Maybe.

 

He takes down a few scratching details, and when he looks up it’s to curious blue eyes watching him.

 

“Oh, god,” he mumbles and shuts his book with a snap, only to have dark fingers cover his own and squeeze.

 

“Were you drawing me again?”

 

Sokka’s voice is warm and quiet, with no hint of the testy, irritated edge that Zuko may have expected. That softness is what lets him open his journal back up and turn it around to show.

 

Sokka drags in a breath.

 

“I don’t know how you do that,” he says. 

 

“I just draw what I see.”

 

“I’ve never seen that in my life.”

 

This time, Zuko closes his book for real and sets it back down next to his bag, props himself up on his elbow to look Sokka in the face.

 

“I think you just haven’t been looking,” he says, and leans in for a kiss. It’s a really good kiss, Zuko decides, and can’t resist running his hands through Sokka’s hair. He’s taken it down, sometime while Zuko was sleeping, and it feels good to seamlessly rub up the short buzz of his undercut to the longer parts that fall past his ears. “I know I said it earlier,” Zuko whispers into Sokka’s mouth when he can make himself pull enough away, “But you are gorgeous. I could look at you forever and never get bored.”

 

Sokka grins at him, bright and promising.

 

“Who said anything about just looking?” He asks and playfully tweaks one of Zuko’s pink nipples when he’s too distracted by his mouth to pay attention. “I was hoping that you’d want to play a little bit more.”

 

Zuko goes embarrassingly weak at that tone, stomach turning to liquid and bones to honey, and all Zuko can do is kiss him again, hot and wet and messy, licking into his mouth and hoping that his relief isn’t hugely obvious. When he pulls away, Zuko’s left Sokka’s lips red and well-kissed.

 

“You took good care of me earlier,” Sokka whispers. His voice is deep and aroused, and Zuko shivers a little at the approval that drips off his that tone. “You didn’t get yours.”

 

Honestly, Zuko had been so eager and excited to get Sokka in his mouth that he hadn’t even cared all that much about it before he was passing out asleep, but his dick definitely cares now. A spike of warm lust shoots up Zuko’s spine and he sits up, palms himself through his pants.

 

Sokka watches, heavy-lidded, and the groan that comes out of him makes Zuko twitch.

 

“W-what did you have in mind?” Zuko’s curious, so, so curious what he might suggest. 

 

Sokka licks his lips.

 

“I could blow you,” he offers, “I’ve got it on good authority that I give excellent head. But honestly, I was hoping that you might want to fuck me instead.”

 

Zuko looks away.

 

“I’ve...uh. I’ve never topped before. I’ve been with men before but never—uh.” He winces and tries really hard to hold back the wave of shame and old feelings of never good enough that he thought he’d left behind in therapy. Subconsciously his body curls into itself, away from Sokka, like he can somehow hide from this.

 

Maybe this whole thing was a mistake.

 

Zuko waits for Sokka to scoff or roll his eyes, or tell him to grab his things and go.

 

That doesn’t happen.

 

On the contrary, blue eyes light up and Sokka grabs him by the hand before he has the chance to pull away.

 

“Oh my god. Really? That’s…” his voice goes breathy, “That’s pretty hot, Zuko. You know that? That’s really hot. I can walk you through it! I mean, if you don’t want to that’s fine. But if you want to, I want to.”

 

Zuko wants.

 

He wants so much that he feels like he’s going to burn up.

 

“...I want to,” he says, finally. “I really want to.”

 

“Then come here, baby, and I’ll help you out.”

 

Sokka beckons and Zuko goes, slots himself into the v of Sokka’s legs, and immediately hands are going down the back of his pants to squeeze his ass.

 

“Been wanting to touch this ever since you turned around,” Sokka mumbles at him, accentuating his words with another squeeze of his hands and a sharp little nip to Zuko’s pulse point. “Lose the britches?”

 

Zuko doesn’t even think twice before he’s shimmying out of them, leaving him just in his red boxer briefs. For a moment, all he can do is stare at Sokka, totally bare and leaning back against his pillows, expression open and warm with lust. Zuko’s felt excited but never really felt safe in bed with someone before, but he does right now. Sokka’s naked erection bumps against his thigh, and Zuko gives it a tentative stroke, validated when Sokka’s eyes drop closed and he drops his head back.

 

“Not too much of that,” he murmurs. “This is gonna take some time and I don’t want to come again until you’re inside me, okay?”

 

“Oh my god,” Zuko breathes, “Keep saying things like that and I’m not going to make it.”

 

“Maybe if you have enough fun with me for there to be a next time, I’ll try and talk you off. See if you can do it.”

 

The idea of there being a next time is soothing and arousing by turn, and something that Zuko didn’t realize was tightly wound uncoils at the thought that maybe this doesn’t have to just be a one time thing. The way Sokka talks, he acts like it’s all up to Zuko.

 

If it’s all up to Zuko, he’s not sure if he’ll ever want to leave Sokka’s bed.

 

“Here,” Sokka hands him a bottle of lube. “Don’t worry about using too much. Seriously. If we make a mess, there’s a shower and the laundry room is down the hall. Too much is way better than not enough.” He spreads his legs a little wider and the way he arches his back makes Zuko’s mouth go dry. “You ever prepped yourself?”

 

“Um. A little bit.”

 

Sokka grins at him.

 

“Here. Just lube up and start easy . Don’t rush and don’t worry, I’ll let you know if it’s too much.” His smile goes sharp. “And I’ll let you know when I need a little more, too.”

 

Zuko is 100% going to die today. He’s definitely nervous, but Sokka’s lack of stress about it is making him feel better, and he pours some lube into his fingers, working it a little to warm it up. He’s gratified by the quiet little hiss of pleasure that leaves Sokka’s mouth when he reaches down to rub a fingertip against his entrance. It’s a motion that Zuko personally enjoys, and he’s gratified that Sokka likes it, too.

 

“Oh, you are good,” he breathes, hooking his ankles around Zuko’s hips. “That feels really nice. Keep doing that.”

 

Zuko is good at following instructions and keeps doing that until Sokka’s relaxed enough that his fingertip slips in by accident. He nearly apologizes for it, except that Sokka lets out a breathy sigh and wriggles his hips like he’s trying to get closer.

 

“You can give me more, Zuko,” he says, “I’m good for it.” He cracks an eye open when Zuko obeys, then wraps a hand around Zuko’s neck and pulls him in to kiss him. It’s a bit of a stretch to make it, but Zuko would rather die than give any of it up, and gladly takes the awkward position to let Sokka suck on his tongue.

 

“I, uh, I like it when you call me the, um…the other stuff, too,” Zuko admits quietly, and Sokka goes so still that he thinks at first that he’s done something wrong. 

 

“Oh my god. Oh my god. Can you be any more fucking perfect? You like it when I call you baby? Sweetheart? That kind of stuff?”

 

Zuko does like it. He likes all of that and says so, and his face feels like it’s burning but the smile Sokka gives him is so soft and dopey that he thinks he’ll die if he doesn’t get the chance to see it again.

 

“Oh, baby,” Sokka kisses him again, “Baby, baby. You’re doing so fucking good.”

 

Zuko’s definitely going to die, regardless of what happens. He feels untethered and unmoored, like he could fly away at any moment without anything to anchor him down. It’s so good but so different that it’s almost scary. He laces the fingers of his free hand in Sokka’s to steady himself.

 

His breathing goes hard and ragged, and he’s grounded by the squeeze of Sokka’s fingers around his and secured by Sokka’s ankles around his waist.

 

“Another, please,” Sokka pleads into his mouth, “God, I love your fingers. They’re perfect.”

 

“I’m going to paint you,” the words spill out of Zuko’s mouth before he can stop them and he drinks in the look on Sokka’s face when he crooks his fingers inside him, rubs at a spot that he can never properly reach on himself. “I’m going to paint the shit out of you until you can see you the way I see you. Please let me.”

 

“Sweetheart, I’ll let you do anything you want.”

 

“Don’t say that; you don’t know what I—”

 

“And I’m saying I don’t care. Anything, I promise, anything.”

 

Zuko feels like he could fucking cry, like someone’s taken a pickaxe to his heart and handed him the pieces and all he wants to do is thank them for it.

 

It’s a beautiful, slow eternity before Sokka looks up at him and grins, syrup-slow and hazy with pleasure.

 

“I’m good to go. Are you gonna give it to me?” Sokka reaches out a hand and grips Zuko’s erection through his underwear. He’s harder than he thinks he’s ever been in his life, and when he pulls his fingers out of Sokka, the noise he makes is unholy. Zuko is out of his shorts in record time. “You’re gonna give me this, right, baby? I want you inside me, like, yesterday.”

 

“Do you have a condom?” Zuko blurts out suddenly, flushing pink all the way down his neck. “I wasn’t...prepared for this. It’s been so long since I’ve—I don’t carry them anymore.” He sure as hell will be starting again.

 

“Boo boo, I got you,” Sokka says and reaches into his side drawer to pull out a condom and toss it at him. 

 

Zuko somehow manages to not shake as he lines himself up and presses inside more gently or slowly that he can remember ever happening to him. He leans over and wraps his arms around Sokka and holds him tightly because he’s still terrified to break him. Sokka smooths Zuko’s hair out of his face and cradles his cheeks with both hands, pulling him in to pepper him with kisses.

 

“Oh my god, oh my god, baby,” he whispers and now Sokka sounds like he’s the one about to die, “You feel so good. You’re perfect.” Someone makes a hoarse, throaty noise and it takes a second for Zuko to realize that it came from him. Sokka grins against his lips. “Perfect hands, perfect mouth, perfect dick.”

 

Zuko shudders and has to stop himself from pushing in all the way, because Sokka’s tight and hot and perfect, and the last thing that Zuko wants to do is hurt him. His hips stutter and he forces them still to relish in the strangled sounds of pleasure coming from his partner.

 

“Slowly, sweetheart,” Sokka mumbles to him, reels in Zuko’s hips with his feet, “Slow, that’s it. You’re fine, it’s okay. Slow. That’s it, that’s perfect. God, I wanna take you apart.”

 

Zuko would let him. He’d let him in a heartbeat.

 

Finally, after what feels like forever, Zuko’s inside to the hilt. He lets out a shuddery hiss of appreciation and sags a little, dropping his face into the soft juncture where Sokka’s neck meets his shoulder.

 

“Tell me when I can move, please,” he whispers, “Please, please, please.”

 

“Shhhhh, shhhh, it’s okay, you can.” Sokka’s hands are in his hair again and Zuko stiffens when he feels the gentle tug. “Not okay?”

 

“Please don’t pull.” Zuko doesn’t like it. “You can hold but don’t pull.”

 

“Okay,” Sokka says and doesn’t ask him why, “I won’t.” One of his hands moves down to wrap around Zuko’s back but the other stays in his hair. He’s true to his word and the yank doesn’t come, and slowly Zuko relaxes back against him. “Please move for me, sweetheart.”

 

So Zuko does and sets a slow, steady rhythm that has Sokka gasping quietly into his ear. He feels good, so good that it almost hurts, and he’s never felt so out of control and so very safe at the same time, wrapped up in Sokka with no sense of time.

 

And it feels like he’s falling apart in no time at all, and he pulls away enough that he can reach between their bodies and grip Sokka’s cock and stroke firmly, relishing in the fact that somehow, he’s managed to render him wordless with pleasure.

 

Not wordless enough or for long.

 

“Fuck, Zuko, fuck,” He says, staring into Zuko’s eyes like he doesn’t know how to look away, like Zuko’s some gorgeous, ethereal thing. “If you could fucking see yourself right now. So pretty.” 

 

“Keep talking and I’m done for,” Zuko grumbles at him, but can’t manage grumpy when he’s quietly going to pieces. 

 

“I just can’t wait to see your o-face.”

 

“Not before you,” Zuko insists, “You first and not before then.”

 

Sokka’s cock twitches in his hand, like Zuko’s words have done anything remotely close to what Sokka does to him whenever he opens his mouth, and Sokka whines a little bit.

 

“I want it, baby, I want it so bad,” he says, and pulls Zuko down again for an absolutely filthy kiss that leaves him shaken and wide-eyed. “I want you to come in me, honey, please, sweetheart, please.”

 

“Not. Before. You,” Zuko grits out, determined, with a particularly deep thrust that has Sokka seeing stars. “Like that?”

 

“Oh god, definitely like that.”

 

He repeats the motion and that, combined with his increasingly shaky hand on his cock finally tip Sokka over the edge, and his orgasm is the only thing that renders him truly silent. Zuko has only a moment to watch him before the wave of his own is crashing over his head and pulling him under.

 

Zuko doesn’t think he’s come so hard in his goddamn life.

 

He has just enough time to pull out, remove and tie off the condom before Sokka is wrapping both arms around him, rolling over onto his side, and cuddling Zuko into his chest.

 

“Holy shit,” he says, “That was amazing. You’re amazing.”

 

“You’re pretty great too,” Zuko mumbles into his neck and can’t resist putting his lips wherever they can touch. “Burnt umber.”

 

“What?”

 

Zuko props himself up and runs his finger gently over the skin of Sokka’s slightly sweaty shoulder.

 

“When I paint you,” he elaborates, “Burnt umber mixed with a little red earth.” He moves to tap that same finger to Sokka flushed cheek, “Perylene maroon and deep scarlet.” Brushing over his eyebrow. “Van Dyck brown.” 

 

“Oh my god.”

 

Up, to the corner of his eye.

 

“Cerulean blue.”

 

Sokka colors and suddenly buries his face in Zuko’s middle.

 

Oh my god , you can’t just say shit like that!” The words are muffled into pale skin. Zuko smiles down at him; he’s charmed out of his mind. “Who says that?”

 

“I do,” he replies, leans down and presses a kiss into Sokka’s hair. “Do you hate it?”

 

“No, I fucking love it, you ass.” Sokka peeks up at him. “I just wish I could do it to you.”

 

“You could,” Zuko says with a shrug. “I know what I look like.”

 

Sokka twirls a piece of Zuko’s long hair around his finger, very careful not to pull.

 

“Here?”

 

“Van Dyck brown and lamp black.”

 

Over his ribs.

 

“Here?”

 

“Raw sienna and brown madder.”

 

Brushing over his nipple.

 

“Here?”

 

“Raw sienna, brown madder, and permanent rose.”

 

Up, towards his eyes.

 

“Here?”

 

Zuko can’t help but smile, enamored and feeling so lucky he can barely breathe.

 

“Quinacridone gold.”

 


 

Sokka convinces Zuko to stay for breakfast.

 

It doesn’t take all that much convincing, he literally just has to ask him.

 

It’s so easy to fall asleep with him that it’s cosmically unfair, especially in Sokka’s glorious, post-orgasm glow, and he passes out almost immediately. Zuko is one of those gross morning people, though, and when Sokka wakes up, it’s to the soft sound of pencil on paper and a hand occasionally stroking through his hair.

 

Ugh. Gorgeous, possibly the best lay of his life, and romantic in ways that Sokka didn’t even know was possible? 

 

Sokka is doomed.

 

Aang’s got his ridiculous 7am class, so Sokka makes the two of them French toast while he’s out. He might not cook regularly, but he is an expert in the post-sex breakfast. Zuko appreciates the effort, if the way he stands behind him and cuddles his back the entire time is any indication.

 

Sokka pats his lap at the table mostly to be a smartass, but Zuko calls his bluff and parks himself right on top of him and they both eat off of Sokka’s plate.

 

Sokka is completely incapable of keeping his hands or his lips to himself.

 

Zuko doesn’t seem to mind. Like, at all. He indulges Sokka’s kisses between bites of French toast with a charming sort of shyness that Sokka finds completely unbelievable.

 

Jesus, you’re so fucking cute.”

 

“Oh my god.”

 

That didn’t come from Zuko and both of them freeze and look to the door.

 

Aang is standing in the doorway, his bag hanging off of his shoulder. His keys are held in a slack hand and his eyes are massive with shock.

 

“Oh my god. Zuko?!”

 

Zuko swallows his bite of French toast and waves. Sokka is statue still underneath him. This is the nightmare scenario.

 

“‘Sup.”

 

“Uh. Um.” Aang stammers. “Not...much. What’s up with...you?”

 

“Your paper for Uncle is a fucking mess,” Zuko tells him flatly and takes another bite of toast. “Did you write it in your sleep? I left you some comments in the doc portal. I would look them over before you submit your next draft.”

 

Aang swallows hard.

 

“Yeah,” he says. “I’ll...I’ll do that. Right now. Maybe for the next twelve hours or so.” And then he flees up the stairs and into his bedroom, closing his door with a sharp clatter.

 

Sokka stares.

 

“What the fuck just happened?”

 

Zuko shrugs.

 

“Aang is one of Uncle Iroh’s students,” he says like that is a thing that is normal and makes sense and happens all the time, “I help him out when he needs it, sometimes. It’s mostly grading, a subbed class here and there. No one cares as long as I actually teach and nobody complains about me.”

 

“I...okay.”

 

Zuko frowns.

 

“Is it a problem?” His voice is suddenly very soft, and Sokka somehow recognizes the sound of stress in it. That’s not acceptable, not after the last twenty-four hours.

 

“Not a problem,” he says firmly, wrapping an arm around Zuko’s waist and squeezing, “Just a shock. Not bad, just startling.”

 

Zuko twists in his lap and kisses him. It’s short and sweet and not overtly sexy, but Sokka manages to find it sexy, anyway.

 

“Do you work today?” Zuko asks.

 

Sokka shakes his head. 

 

“After breakfast, do you want to go see how long it takes for Aang to run away?”

 

“You look awfully cute but you’re actually kinda mean, aren’t you?” Sokka asks but can’t stop the grin that spreads quickly over his face. The look on Zuko’s face is diabolical.

 

“That’s not a no.”

 

“It sure as hell isn’t a no,” Sokka confirms and gives the ass on his lap a quick, affectionate squeeze. “Before that, though, you’re giving me your phone number and sending me a selfie for your contact info, and you’re letting me take you out to dinner sometime.” 

 

Zuko kisses him and this time it’s not chaste at all.

 

The French toast goes forgotten.