SINCE THE JEANS
A Zutara AU
A/N: Ok, so i've been inspired to write a Zutara AU! Wish me luck! Theme for this AU is: A Thousand Miles by Vanessa Carlton
Oh, and I've given everyone AU translated names (Don't hate me for it!! I was just craving some new names!!): Katara is Kade, Zuko is Zane, Jet is Jace, Suki is Sammi, Sokka is Seth, Aang is Alexander Jackson (A.J), Toph is Tameron, Azula is Aeva, Haru is Holden, Iroh is Uncle Isaac (Uncle Ike) (more may come, and they'll be explained) Kade is 16, Zane is 17, Jet is 18, A.J. is 14, Tameron is 14, Aeva is 16, Holden is 17, Sammi is 16, Seth is 17, Ike is 62. ALSO: Gran Gran and Pakku are married in this one, just devorced- also, Aang is Suki's little brother
Thanks for reading guys!!!!!!! I hope you like this, reviews are cookies!!!!!!!!
Disclaimer: All characters except for Mika and the Chocolate Bros and a few extra doctors are inspired by the characters of 'Avatar: The Last Airbender'. I own none of those characters, Mike and Bryan do. A few plotlines are also inspired by the anime series, and I don't own those either. (e.g. Jace's role) The jeans concept is my own, as are the AU character names.
1: SCHOOL BOUND
Car exhaust seems to be this city's best-selling cosmetic. And literal rush hour is their new box-office smasher.
Maybe that's what you get when you move from Midway, Utah to San Diego, California.
I never longed to move here in the first place, but... I guess since Dad's in the military and Mom's dead, Gran's place is where my big brother Seth and I are going.
So that's how we got here.
Originally, she was going to hook us up with our Grandpa Paul, who divorced from Gran about ten years back-- he lives in Seattle, Washington. I'd love to go there-- so much rain! I just die for rain. And how often does it rain in San Diego? Yeah, notta. But I guess Gran checked out the best with the government when they were deciding where to send us: Grandpa Paul's place is one of those built-in condos above his own grocery store, whereas Gran just struck a good deal with a beach house. She's an artist, and a recent painting she sold skyrocketed with these really wealthy people who live just up in San Francisco. So she was able to rent this beach home just for me and Seth's stay. I'm happy with that: if I don't get rain, I'll get the ocean.
But the beach house is just where I sleep and listen to music: three fourths of my life aren't there, but at school. Past all the chaotic streets, through the maze of sky scrapers...
So that goes back to the car-exhaust comment. Yes, I happen to take pride in my smart-mouth, at least on occasion. Once you enter the city, you've entered a city.
When Seth called me from downstairs, I was half startled. I glanced at the clock-- seven a.m.? Had I really woken up this early just... for no reason at all? Hm. Well, I still took my sweet time lugging my three-pounds-heavier-in-two-months butt off the bed, throwing some outfit together, running blue-polished fingernails through my disaster hair, and then braiding it down the side as I stumbled over the carpeted stairs.
It was light out: March was when the behavior of spring was kicking in. Though through the window I could see that dying frost had collected: maybe spring wasn't coming as fast as I expected. And the fact that today was the first day Seth and I would step into our new school sort of brought the 'peek-of-autumn' feeling about.
Gran was in her awesome baby-pink robe-- Mom had given it to her so many years ago, and Gran had managed to keep it in good condition all this time. It still glimmered, like it was fresh out of the package.
Seth was at the fridge with her when I plopped down on a stool at the kitchen bar.
"Seth-- Seth, use a cup, please-- or just totally ignore me, that's fine."
Gran rotated her wrist in surrender, turning away, as Seth lowered the milk carton from his lips, grinning. After capping it, he draped an arm around Gran's neck from behind and kissed the top of her gray head.
"Congratulations, you've just received a milk kiss."
"Fabulous, maybe now I'll win the lottery," she mumbled. Seth and I both chuckled into our sleeves-- Gran had gotten this guilty addiction to the annual lottery sponsored every year by her favorite hair product company. If you thought it was amusing to see fat guys slopped in pizza and root beer jumping and screaming over the Super Bowl like little girls, then you need to see a hunched, little old woman in her curlers, robe, and fluffy pink slippers cuss and scream at a lottery show. Now that is funny.
Seth wiped the milk mustache from his lips, and I took a good look at him. For a seventeen-year-old, he was quite tall. He towered over Gran; and sitting in that stool, he made me feel officially dwarfed. But I knew the secrets, the man behind the mask-- I knew his skinny arms weren't about to bully some little kid, or stand up to a two-hundred-pound linebacker.
I grabbed an orange and began peeling it for something to do-- I wasn't really hungry-- while I watched him fix his honey-brown hair in the reflection of the silver freezer door: it was shaven but for the top, like a hairy brown cap the horse-racers on television would wear. It was messy, some attempt at a mohawk that would just make him look stupid, but he seemed to pull off a rather stylish look with the help of some gel. Multiple piercing lined his ears: so Seth. Gran had shrieked when he had shown her the two new ones since moving in with her. Already she had phoned my dad about Seth having far too many, but my dad had blown it off with a smile. I just remind Gran to be grateful he's not crazing over tattoos too.
Seth finished admiring himself, wetting his hands in the sink to better sculpt the aimless points of his hair, then turned and made his way towards me. I knew what was happening, but I'm never fast enough to wiggle free-- He grabbed me in a crude headlock, ruffling my hair despite my struggles, wiping his wet hands all over my face and head. Again, so Seth. When he finally let go, I threw my fists at his back like some martial artist, watching smugly as he yelped in pain and stumbled forward, laughing, retreating to the couch.
"Seth?" Gran called from the parlor; she had hobbled back there whilst the two of us had been distracted by our food and our do.
aren't you and Kade on a tight schedule?"
"Oh, yeah!" Seth jumped over the leather sofa headfirst, tucking his chin and summer-salting onto the carpet in front of the plasma screen T.V.
jumping over my sofa again?"
"Why, Gran, maybe on the lottery you'll win psychopathic powers!"
yeah, now get goin'."
We chuckled in response, Seth moving around the kitchen, now with his backpack that he had retrieved from the sofa, picking up objects from the counter and table, stuffing them in random pockets... I watched him, growing amused, and decided to take my chances.
"You're a little jittery."
He snorted. "So spread me on a piece of bread and have me for breakfast."
"I don't see you getting ready. It's the first day of schoooooool!" He wiggled his fingers like an idiot at his cheeks. "New hot boooyyyyys, and you haven't even looked at your haaaaaaaiiiirr..."
"Because boys who only look at hair are stupid..." Despite my standards, I ran fingers through my bangs, fixing the braid that Seth's playfulness had undone.
such a professional, I can do it blind," I said.
He snorted again. "Says you."
Kade! Come give your Gran a kiss good-bye!"
"My, my, you're insistent," Seth said, setting down his backpack and making his way to the parlor door in a few strides of long, teenage legs. "I mean, I knew you wanted us out of your house..."
"Oh, shush. You're so like your dad, it's nauseating."
I heard her muttering warnings under her breath as they embraced. After a moment I followed Seth's tracks slowly, half my mind still fixing my hair, and nearly ran into Seth's chest as he turned to come back into the kitchen.
so are you!" he observed with wide eyes. "Trying to knock me off
the balcony now, are we?"
"It could happen on accident," I replied dryly, "if you don't move."
As we passed, I bent low to kiss Gran's cheek and embrace her all but nonexistent neck.
yah later, Gran."
"You be smart at that school, kiddo," Gran said seriously. "Bad kids runnin' around these days... and too many shirtless boys. You look out on that beach! Far too many of them, all boys, all running around half-naked like it's the Garden of Eden!"
"Okay, thanks, Gran..." I rolled my eyes, turning back to enter the kitchen. "I love you."
"You mind those boys, now! Buh-bye, sweetie."
Seth was now finishing his shoes. I slipped on my flip-flops, pulling a sweater over the stain on my shirt and moving into the bathroom to apply some make-up.
It was surprising, how not nervous I was. While I dorked around with the mascara like the fasion diva I am, ha, ha, I thought about what today really was-- new teachers, new school, new classrooms, new halls, new schedule... new kids. That was the biggest one of all. New friends? Pff, yeah. As if I was good at making friends.
I just hoped this wouldn't be the same Kade, The Girl That Sits Back And Reads While The World Passes By kind of year. I was ready for a change-- I tried to click myself into that gear, though it was a hard habit to break, indifference.
When I finished eyeliner, I threw the rest into my purse incase I felt like it later and then stepped back from the sink to look at myself. From any standpoint, I looked like just the average girl.
Which was a good sign, as far as I was concerned.
"Yo! Kade, check this out!"
I sighed, throwing my purse around my shoulder, and went to Seth who stood at the kitchen holding a magazine. Peering over his elbow, I could see the picture of a motorcycler flying about fifty feet from the ground, doing some kind of suicidal back-flip with nothing but his thighs holding the bike above his head, his arms out in free-for-all like he was immortal or something.
you think the human race has advanced."
"But you gotta admit, that's pretty sweet," Seth said. "Look here... this guy's supposed to be the champ of this year's rookie tryouts. He and his other qualifiers will start their first competitive season next week. Cool, you wanna watch that?"
"Sure, when I feel like a good laugh."
such a girl."
"Why, thank you. Nice to know someone recognizes intelligence when they see it."
He set down the magazine, and I stole a last glance at the picture before shrugging it off and following him to the front door, picking up my backpack from the counter as I went.
"See yah, Gran!" Seth called, opening the front door, and he and I filed out into the fresh morning air.
The school wasn't as I expected, at least the outside, as I stepped from Seth's car and slammed the door shut. I was unimpressed, and visibly, because Seth made vocal notice of it.
you've already decided this place sucks?"
I chuckled, incredulous.
I just... it looks like the ones back in Utah."
"Well, I think it sucks," Seth said, shrugging, and he and I started through the parking lot towards the double entrance doors.
The front grounds were littered with students, all of which, I noticed instantly, were clearly sorted into definite cliques. I wrinkled my nose at the concept, already feeling my stomach sink. Great. Just another judgment day. I could see it now, the pounding of a court room, some blonde diva atop a high desk peering down at me through outrageously long eye lashes, deciding my rep's fate. Nice image for the first day at a school.
As Seth and I approached, we caught obvious attention-- Our different, country-folk clothing, our facial expressions of unfamiliarity... I guessed the clothing part could be coped with-- no doubt everyone here except the super divas and their boyfriends fell farther out of fashion every ten seconds, and since there were more of those average kids than the outrageous ones, I was starting to feel a little more in-with-the-crowd.
However, it was clear that it would take a while to settle down with this bunch as a whole: they all seemed wary of their world, far too conscious of it, like they were being watched every second by some Cool Monitor. And so, the cool thing to do, as we all know, would be to stare at the new kids like they were giant insects from another planet. But Seth and I were sort of above that, as far as maturity goes-- we managed to get to the front doors without being analyzed to death. (Which was another strange thing: obviously no one here enters the school before the bell rings-- that, I can understand. Who would want to? If you thought the cliques were bad... yeesh. Wait until you meet the administrators.)
Down the halls we went, practically blind, but finding our way pretty well. The halls were large, broad, and long, and I was thankful for that: a junior high I had attended two years before in Utah had been like a maze to navigate through.
To make a long story short, we found the main office. A lady sat at one of the two desks, looking like she was ready to set a crocodile on someone. Her pudgy, wrinkled face reminded me of a toad, something to spice the image of her long, Wolverine fingernails plucking at a rubberband. The false nails were painted bold scarlet, the same with her puckered, scowling lips. She looked more ancient than the U.S. Constitution, and as we approached, her eyes narrowed harshly.
"Haven't seen you two before..." she said slowly in a wheezy, suspicious voice. Another thing I could recognize instantly: the administrator knack of labeling all unidentified teenagers as hopeless hooligans.
"We're new here," Seth said, and I was relieved he had taken over.
"Hmmm..." She pulled her wireless keyboard closer, her long fingers getting ready to type.
"Names?" she said, her pinched, clammy voice reminding me something of the witches in old movies.
"Seth and Kade Waters," Seth said.
"Hmm..." she typed like she was stabbing a voodoo doll, and then rested her chin on her knuckles as her other hand commandeered the mouse.
"Well, it seems we do have schedules for you two. One moment, please..."
Seth turned to lean his back against the counter, throwing me a Holy cow! look that I returned with raised brows. Sighing, I turned around to study the rest of the office--
Someone rammed into me, hard, like they had meant to.
"Sorry--" a voice muttered.
It was a boy's voice, halfhearted, hushed, and hoarse. I was too shaken to catch his face, trying to blink my balance back, but I noticed something-- was it pink?-- on his face, almost obscured by long black bangs, before the boy fully averted his gaze and kept on hurrying out of the office. He was as tall as Seth, wearing a tight, gray hoodie, the sleeves rolled up to his elbows, and regular jeans frayed badly at the ends. Other than that, it was all I got of him before he swung the glass door open and turned into the hall, gone, like a wraith.
I shrugged, fixing a clip that had fallen loose from my hair, and turned back to Seth and the secretary. Her exaggerated nails were now drumming the surface of a printer, from which, after a moment, two papers slid. Slipping them from the printer's tray, she handed them both to Seth.
"There you go, honey."
"Thanks..." Seth turned away quickly, looking repulsed at what she had called him, and I followed him quickly from the office. Right as we were leaving, a man entered from a door on the opposite end of the room, one that lead into other office departments, and the last thing I heard was his voice:
"Oh, Lois, did Zane just leave?"
Seth and I made our way down the hall until we found a suitable sitting area-- large, long steps fashioned for groups of kids to gather and chat during lunch hours. Sitting beside him, I took the paper he offered me. Atop it was my usual school information: name, I.D., grade, stuff like that. Below, I saw the list of classes: on A days, I'd attend United States History, Advanced Literature, Recreational Bowling, and then Pre Caluclis. On B days, I'd have Biology, then be a T.A. for a Mr. Kohlan in room 157, then Drawing 1 (for the laughs), and lastly Animation in the computer labs (for more laughs).
"Man," Seth said over his own, "this is gonna be one semester for hidden Nanos and note-passing."
"You sure you won't get electrocuted, all those piercings stabbing the ear phones?"
He shot me a long, bored glance and I laughed, looking away.
"Well, I think I might enjoy this semester, whatever's left of it, anyway."
A five-minute warning bell rang. The talking of kids began to rise in the halls-- Seth glanced at me, lifting an eyebrow.
"Give 'em kindergarten," he said.
"Right," I said, "More immaturity is exactly what these poor American educators need."
He nodded in agreement, and I watched him melt into the slowly growing crowds of the halls.