This is like, the third one I send you. Zukka + they're filming a movie about a marine biologist AU
anon pls know how much i cradled this ask to my heart this past week lol
This time, Zuko doesn't care about politeness or manners. He keeps his hands buried deep inside his warm coat pockets and firmly ignores the impish cheer in the man's wave as he approaches.
"Hello," he says, just short of a snarl. "Again."
"Howdy," he man responds lightly, eyes flicking down to Zuko's pockets before back up to take in the crew and film equipment also milling about. "Wow, I really didn't expect you to still be here. Don't you guys at least have a hotel or something downtown you could've killed time at?"
Irritation flares in Zuko's chest. "You were the one who said could bring him over. This is ridiculous, we're running out of daylight at this point—where is he?"
He gets a hearty chuckle in response, and Zuko briefly contemplates punching him.
"Bring who over?" the guy asks as he weaves his way through the now-grumbling crew, and Zuko decides the charges may actually be worth it.
"Bring—" At this point, he's just waiting for him to get within arm's length. But the man must read the idea on his face because he manages to easily circumvent Zuko to instead head up to the house behind them. "You—what the hell was the point of messing with us? Aang said you'd be helpful!"
The guy stops in getting his keys out. After a moment, he turns to look back over his shoulder. "You talked to Aang?"
Zuko's head hurts from how hard he rolls his eyes. "Yes, he was the one who sent us your way!"
"Huh," is all the guy says in response, before he turns back to the house, unlocks the front door, and walks inside. Right before shutting it, he pops his head back out and levels Zuko with a long, amused look. "Well, you could always try knocking."
Then, with a wide grin, he closes the door on them.
Zuko stills, mouth falls open. Because there's no way. It can't be. Nothing in the pictures suggest—
He barely wastes a second before stalking up to the door and knocks hard against the wood.
It opens again, and then—there's Sokka, the man who gave Zuko the run-around for the past three hours, the same man who is the sole reason why Zuko is even here, just casually leaning against the door frame.
"You were expecting the beard weren't you?" Sokka laughs, rubbing at his chin. "Yeah, being in the Arctic without a razor for a few months always leaves me pretty hairy. Wasn't expecting the photo op as soon as I got out of the water, so I didn't have the chance to shave beforehand."
That had admittedly been what Zuko was expecting—but he's just as equally blindsided by how...attractive Sokka is, in a sweater the color of the abyssal plain and crinkling eyes as blue as the bioluminescence on the newly-discovered giant octopus-whale from his expedition.
It's a far-cry from how he looked in the now-famous pictures, buried in sodden winter layers and on the brink of death.
"So are you here to ask about the 'amazing discovery of the biggest creature ever yet found' thing?" Sokka asks, smirking just for a second before his mouth tightens. "Or about what happened along the way?"
If Zuko was smart, he would've went with the arguably better answer; pick the thing that would guarantee him critical acclaim, rocket him from being some nobody producer to being one of the greats.
"Octopus-whale." he says instead, because his inexhaustible curiosity has never been good at following that kind of drama for his documentaries.
Sokka's brows shoot up in open approval, and the small smile he gives as he steps aside to let Zuko in is enough to let him know he unexpectedly made the right choice—as well as send his heart fluttering, just a little.
"You should probably congratulate yourself on being the only person who's going to get this story, you know," Sokka murmurs.
Zuko reels, then scoffs. "I'll wait to do that until I've finally learned how to pronounce that...imaginative scientific name you gave the creature."
And—oh, the pictures definitely did not prepare him for how nice Sokka's laugh sounds either.
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