POST FBM? Actually, it's unclear just when these drabbles take place. It doesn't really matter, they're just for fun C:

Rated T for language later on and mild innuendos -cough- I hope you guys enjoy and don't forget to review! I'm always open to suggestions for other points and tips Sokka should give to Zuko.

This fic is the first of three installments: Dealing With Women, So She Choked on the Ring, and Attempting Murder Yet?

They are all under the Sokka's Field Guide Series.

Obviously it's Zutara, and will follow the progression of their relationship through the years. It's meant to be light-hearted and silly, so don't really expect much of a plot.

I know I'm not finished with my other Zutara fic, Acquiesence, but the idea came to me while I was sitting at church ( I know, of all the places...but hey, my mind wanders o o; ) and demanded to be written, so here I am, with the first chapter of Dealing With Women.

Enjoy C:

(The grass is green, the sky is blue, me no own, so you no sue. Thank you for your time.)


SOKKA'S FIELD GUIDE

A Three-Part Series

Part I : Dealing With Women


LESSON ONE : TEASING

'Girls love a challenge. They love boys who seem like they are not interested. Be a challenge. Don't be so submissive or eager. Bicker with her a little. It's not fun talking to someone who always agrees. Teasing is the perfect way to get to know a girl, and it's fun for you both.'

— Sokka's Field Guide


"You should be proud," Katara commented as she settled down beside him, a bowl of freshly picked fruits held between her hands. "Aang's gotten so much better at firebending…you're doing a wonderful job with him."

Zuko heard her approach, but did not shift his position to greet her, nor did he even bother opening his eyes. He was meditating, afterall, didn't she know that? Couldn't she tell? His legs were folded beneath him, and he sat up straight, taking deep and even breaths. Not to mention he always meditated after breakfast and dinner.

And now it was after dinner.

She couldn't have possibly forgotten, he's kept this very same routine for the past month and a half they've been traveling together.

The prince cracked an eye open. "I'm meditating."

She smiled, and he found it was much harder to shut that eye.

"I know," the waterbender said hastily, fiddling with the bowl resting on her lap, "I just…"

He waited for her to continue, but she only looked away, hiding behind a curtain of rich brown curls. Zuko let a faint scowl cross over his features, before closing that same eye and returning to his meditation--

"Now is the only time that I could get you alone."

What?

The prince stiffened, relaxing immediately, and turned to her with peaked curiosity. "So you caught me. What is it?" He asked, knowing that even trying to meditate now would be pointless. Not that he minded much, talking with Katara was by-far more intriguing. Well, when she wasn't yelling at him for something or other.

Her hand traced the edges of the bowl, fingers gliding along the smooth clay pot. "I just…"

"Yeah…?"

"I just…"

Here they go again.

"Just spit it out already," Zuko demanded, telling himself not to think of her cascading hair and those slender fingers and her luscious lips and bright blue eyes and—

Dammit, the prince mentally swore, banishing such fantasies from his mind.

Katara blinked, jerking her head to the side to give him a withering glare. "I'm trying to be nice here," she growled, affronted.

"And I'm trying to listen to you being nice, but it's hard when you keep stopping in mid-sentence like that," her counterpart replied tersely.

The waterbender's eyes flashed. "I'm trying to find the right words."

"You don't know what to say? Hell must have just frozen over." Curse his quick tongue and unmatched temper! The prince reeled at his own insult, shaking his head once the words left his lips. "Wait, I didn't--"

But it was too late, the figurative hat was dropped.

"Has it? From what I hear the Fire Nation's still very much in tact."

Zuko started – no, he had no attachments to his old home, but she should not critique the entire nation itself. The people, yes, but the country? His physical homeland? "The Fire Nation is beautiful." He countered abrasively, and added in retribution a curt, "It's not some barren icy wasteland."

Katara's mouth fell open in response to his jab at her home. "How dare you--!" And she went on with a list of insults and name-calling. Really, it wasn't difficult to tune her out, but even though Zuko couldn't make out her words, there was still that dull buzzing noise that told him she wasn't finished talking—yelling—nagging.

Meditating was obviously not an option, and what a wasted effort those first fifteen minutes were – he was wound up again because of some prissy little bender with hypersensitive emotions. Women. He lifted a hand to her flapping lips and suddenly there was a relative peace. Her eyes suggested otherwise.

"Did you come here to argue with me?"

The girl scoffed, brushing away his hand – that was warm and oddly comforting. "No, but you're just such a jerk, it's hard not to."

Zuko sighed, raking his fingers through his hair and convincing himself over and over that he did not lament the softness of her lips against his palm. "Alright I'm sorry, now what was it that you wanted?" He repented.

She surveyed him suspiciously, eyes calculating and judging, deciding if it was worth telling him, asking him, whatever-the-hell she planned. Zuko took her moment of silent study to appraise her with his own scrutinizing gaze.

Katara was strong, beautiful and opinionated – she was a fortress and was the matron of their group. She took care of them all, of him. She was cool and collected (for the most part) and organized. She loved to help people and was compassionate and forgiving (also for the most part).

And she hated him.

Zuko deflated at the thought. Katara was the only one who refused to accept him as part of the group. She was so dead-set against having him join that it crossed the boundaries of expected right into wounding offense…

Arguing with her all the time did nothing to remedy it.

But she just made it so easy, always on about this or that, and there was only so much nagging and biting one man could take! Even from an attractive bender with the bluest eyes he's ever seen.

"I wanted to apologize," she said at last, eyes lowering to the bowl of blueberries sitting on her lap, "for everything."

He blinked, taken aback.

A moment of silence stretched between them, during which Katara lifted her eyes to look at him, the makings of a smile slowly crossing her lips.

Zuko decided that he liked her smile.

He nodded, letting a lopsided grin tug up a corner of his mouth, "Apology accepted."

Her smile froze. "What?"

The prince hesitated, confused. "I…forgive you…?"

Those were clearly not the words she wanted to hear - Katara was not appeased. "You forgive me?!" She exclaimed, "You should be the one apologizing!"

Now Zuko was at a complete and hopeless loss. "Me? What for?" He had already apologized a trillion times over for what he's done in the past, what did he do wrong now?

"FOR—FOR BEING A SUCH A JERK!" The waterbender shrilled, eyes raging with suppressed fury.

He scowled, trying to make sense of things – of her claims, her actions, her mood-swings…and found that he had no idea what she was on about.

"You're the one who came over here to yell at me."

In one fluid motion, the bowl of berries was smashed into his face and Katara stormed away in a fuming fit.

Sokka stopped by after, having watched from lift-off to crash-landing, and looked pityingly down at the prince. Zuko had an excuse prepared on his tongue, but the warrior spoke up first,

"Aww, those were supposed to be for desert."

-

-

Sokka awoke the next morning with a black eye.


'But be wary of when you tease and bicker. Though most of the time it is successful and will create chemistry and laughs, there is a line between teasing and fighting, one that doesn't even exist if the girl is on her monthly cycle.'

— Sokka's Field Guide