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18 August 2008 @ 11:04 pm
 

“Okay, there’s definitely something wrong with you,” Sokka said when Katara shuffled out of bed late the next morning. He pressed a hand to her forehead, giving her a scrutinizing look. “You don’t feel sick...”

“Sokka, I’m fine,” she insisted, swatting his hand away and continuing into the kitchen, where something burnt was caked onto a pan. Was it... food? “What’s that?”

“Well, since you suddenly decided to sleep for forever, I had to cook,” Sokka huffed, hands on his hips.

“It was kinda scary,” Aang said, eyes wide. “I thought he was gonna burn down the house.”

The Water Tribe boy gestured wildly to his friend. “See? See what happened when you’re not around to make breakfast? People get traumatized!”

“Maybe you guys should learn to cook properly,” Katara grumbled as she tried to scrape the burnt food (was it eggs? Pancakes? Some sort of meat?) from the pan. It proved to be a nearly impossible task. “I’m not gonna be around to take care of you forever, you know.”

“Yeah, but when that happens, I’ll be married, Toph will have her parents, and Aang can get whatever he wants wherever he is.”

She rolled her eyes, finally giving up on the ruined pan and arguing with her brother. “We should be looking for Appa,” she said to steer the conversation in different direction. An inkling of a plan began forming in her mind.

Aang seemed to deflate at the mention of his lost bison. “We’ve already asked around everywhere. No one knows anything.”

“Yeah, and they act really weird and jittery,” Sokka added. “There’s something up with that Joo Dee person.

“There’s something up with this city,” Toph grumbled.

“I know, but we should still look around. Maybe we’ll notice something that the others wouldn’t. I mean, we know Appa better than anyone else, right?”

“Yeah, you’re right,” Aang said, his familiar smile returning. Relief flooded Katara at the sight – she hated seeing him so depressed. It felt so unnatural. Still beaming, he exclaimed, “This people have never even seen a real sky bison!”

“Okay, let’s split up. I’ll cover-“

“Wait, why are we splitting up?”Sokka asked, crossing his arms and frowning. “How are we supposed to tell each other if we find anything?”

Damn it! Why did her brother have to question things? No one questioned his plans... Much.

Thankful there was a believable excuse for her suggestion, Katara said, “We’ll cover more ground if we’re in multiple groups. And we can just meet up here later to tell each other what we find.”

“Makes sense to me,” Toph shrugged, and the waterbender was infinitely grateful she hadn’t discovered her plan – she would make things a lot more difficult if she did. Because Toph was Toph and loved to make people miserable.

“Great!” Katara exclaimed, openly showing her glee. “Aang, you and Sokka cover this Ring. Toph, you cover the Middle Ring. I’ll go to the Lower Ring.”

“By yourself? Isn’t that kinda dangerous?”

“Aang, I’m a master waterbender – I can handle a few thugs.”

With a little more negotiating, the gang went their separate ways and began searching the city for the large, furry beast. Katara was amazed her plan had worked, especially since Toph had probably figured it out when she was giving everyone directions. But it had, no one argued (much – Sokka and Aang were painfully protective) and she was on her way to the Lower Ring, prepared to confront Jet about the low act of sending his friend to bribe her.

Bribing...

‘Perhaps in exchange, I can restore something you lost,’ prince Zuko whispered, his breath warm on her ear as he dangled her necklace enticingly around her neck.

She shook her head free of the memory. Odd – she hadn’t thought of that in months, not counting her freaky dream the night before.

Deciding to ignore it, she took a deep breath of Lower Ring air, then ploughed forward, taking the increasingly familiar streets to the teashop.

XxXx

“So, how do you like your uniform?”

“...”

Zuko struggled not to laugh, knowing from Jet’s glare that doing so would result in a very painful death. Still, the unfamiliar urge was hard to control when the other boy was standing in front of him, serving tray in hand and frilly pink apron in place.

“Karma’s great, isn’t it?”

“Shut up.”

The manager was at their side just then, grinning eagerly. “So, is my new waiter ready for his first day?”

“Ready as I’ll ever be,” Jet grumbled, still scowling.

“Go, go,” he urged, ushering his newest employee over to a waiting table. “The customers already love you!”

Smirking, Zuko watched as his friend approached the small group of people, reluctantly taking their orders, eye twitching when they stifled laughs at the sight of his apron.

Maybe working with the other teen wouldn’t be so bad after all.

The morning went by much faster than usual, the two waiters taking orders and cleaning tables and arguing with each other. Soon it was almost noon and the usual lunch crowd was coming in, along with a familiar blue-eyed girl.

Zuko dove behind the counter, pulling his counter with him, only slightly sorry that he couldn’t see her reaction to Jet’s uniform. At least he could hear it – she had a very loud laugh.

“What’s with the girly apron?” she giggled.

The Freedom Fighter muttered something and Zuko tried to imagine what shade of red his face must have been.

After few more giggles from her and angry mumbles from him, the firebender heard the dull thud of a serving tray being set down on a table.

“I know you didn’t come here to laugh at me, so tell me what you really want.”

“Well, if you really want to know, I came to tell you that sending your friends out to trick me into liking you does nothing to improve my opinion of you. In fact, now I think of you as a jerk and a coward.”

Zuko winced. That was a hard blow to Jet’s ego. What exactly had he done to her?

“You won’t listen to anything I say, so figured getting someone to put in a good word might make you believe me.”

“Well, it didn’t. It’s gonna take a lot more than talk to get me to trust you again.”

Cautiously, the exile sneaked a peak around the side of the counter. Katara stood with her arms crossed over her chest, glaring resentfully at Jet, who looked pathetic enough in his apron without his pleading gaze.

“What’s going on?” Iroh whispered from beside him. It was then that Zuko noticed everyone else was staring at the pair, too, like it was some dramatic, impromptu play taking place in the middle of the teashop.

“Nothing too surprising,” he whispered in response. “Jet looks desperate and Katara looks pissed.”

But then Jet did something that was surprising. He took a step forward, dangerously close to the furious waterbender, and said, “Alright, if talk isn’t going to work, maybe I should act.

Then he kissed her.
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Winter Ashby: AtLA // Jet/Katararosweldrmr on August 19th, 2008 04:42 pm (UTC)
YES!! Action will get you much farther!!! <3 Kissy.
Rachael: Toph - Victorywohitzi on August 19th, 2008 05:29 pm (UTC)
Jet's finally starting to learn. =D
Omnicatomnicat on August 19th, 2008 06:48 pm (UTC)
... I was gonna say "Yes, karma IS great; especially when you're the one dealing it out, no? ;D " ... and then Jet kissed Katara and I kinda lost my mind. In a good way. XD
Rachael: Katara - Shockwohitzi on August 19th, 2008 07:43 pm (UTC)
xD hehe. Glad it was the good way and not the bad way.