Zuko idly twirled a twig around, the flames making the shadows on his face come alive. He was deep in thought, and his lips parted slightly as he let a sigh through them. He wondered how it had all happened, what he had done to deserve this…
It had been an unusually cheerful and sunny day, with the group happily chatting with each other. Aang was busily recounting to Katara how he was improving so much at firebending with Zuko as his teacher. Katara congratulated him on his progress, smiling in genuine happiness at Aang's progress. Sokka was being a pain in the ass as usual, well to Zuko it seemed that way. He was making snide comments on the merits of firebending and Zuko's masculinity in general every now and then. Zuko, in his all forgiving patience, bore it in silence. Although one could observe that the fire he had going next to him was flaring upwards dangerously and inching subtly towards Sokka.
Teo was merrily chatting with Pipsqueak and the Duke. (Something about flying wheelchairs oddly enough.) Haru was nowhere to be found. Zuko assumed he was out communing with nature. The idiot. Suki was laughing at something Sokka had said. It was probably something crude. Hakoda was lovingly looking towards his daughter, who was now playfully swatting Sokka.
Zuko felt an unexpected pang in his chest, as he wished, briefly, that his father could have been like that. That his father would look at him with love, not disgust or hate.
And then he wondered what he would have ended up like, if his father really had loved him.
I'd have a loving family, a sister who actually cared about me, and no problems with Mai. Gods, why couldn't I have just taken her with me!? But then, I'd be under the false illusions of the Fire Nation supremacy, that's what. You know, for once, I'm glad that I had the Agni Kai with my father, that I could understand what the Fire Nation really is doing, that-
"He-ey, Zuko!" Zuko winced at the unnecessarily loud voice of Sokka, who was shouting in his face, waving his hands around. "Birds…" Zuko muttered vaguely, discombobulated (I've always wanted to use that word!), after being literally jerked out of his thoughts. "And bees!" Toph helpfully concluded in a louder than necessary voice. Which reminded him of a certain hellish, incompetent, Water Tribe warrior. No prizes for guessing who.
Meanwhile, Mr. Goo tried to escape from the clutches of the evil… Whoops! Wrong story…
After a while, the conversation moved towards relationships. Sokka was now recounting his relationships, after forcing out from Katara that she used to have a crush on Haru. And Teo. (Who blushed after Katara yelled it out in anger and embarrassment.) And Jet. And maybe Zuko. At that point, Zuko choked and stared at her in shock. Katara had looked away, angrily, muttering something about annoying brothers and decapitation. Disturbing. One could note that Aang looked a bit disappointed after the confessions.
"My first girlfriend turned into the moon…" Sokka's voice trailed off sadly, as he sighed and looked out into the distance.
"Yeah. That's pretty tough on a guy." Zuko muttered, inwardly wondering how the hell does your girlfriend manage to turn into the moon?! Was he really that bad at sex? Before he knew it, Sokka was standing up in front of him, fuming, with a red face, his fists clenched at his side, tightly.
"What's wrong?" Zuko muttered, confused.
"What's wrong?" Sokka repeated, grinding the words out through gritted teeth . Vaguely, he could hear Katara sniggering and Toph guffawing shamlessly.
"What's sex?" Aang's innocent voice broke through the moment. Zuko choked, and Sokka's face turned even redder, if possible. I said that out loud, CRAP!! and Aang doesn't know?!
"You don't know!? Aren't you like supposed to be Mr. Ancient or something?" Toph's brash voice yelled before lightly thumping Aang on the back.
"What, am I supposed to know everything there is?" Aang asked, getting the distinct feeling that that was one question he should have just kept to himself.
"Zuko can explain!" Katara's annoyingly chirpy voice rose above the others as she sported a uncharacteristically evil grin while pointing at Zuko. Zuko gulped. And cursed. And proceeded to give Katara the most deadly glare he had ever given.
Which Katara attempted to return.
Alas, she was no match for a glare that has proudly been patented and developed centuries ago by the first Fire Nation leader and passed on through the generations. So she gave up and snarled, "Glare at me all you want, Flamester, you still gotta' give Aang that 'Birds and the Bees talk."
Zuko growled at the nickname. It was just as bad as Aang calling him Hotman! Really, where did he learn Fire nation terms. History books from two centuries back?! Kinda makes you wonder how the hell they survived incognito through the Fire Nation for longer than two hours.
"What? What's so bad about that, can't you tell me Katara? What about this 'Birds and Bees' talk, huh?" Aang asked, thoroughly confused and looking back and forth from Katara to Zuko.
"Uhhh…Wow? You really are innocent." Sokka groaned and looked at his father. "Who do you think should give Aang the 'Talk', Dad?"
"Why are you asking me?"
"Cause you know everything since you're my dad!"
"Uhh, well I guess either Katara or you can do it. Maybe Zuko. I don't know…" Hakoda replied, looking uncomfortable. He was never good at recommending someone to give sex ed to the Avatar. Come to think of it, probably no one ever did that in the whole history of Avatars. Made him feel so special.
"Or maybe you could, old man…" Zuko muttered resentfully under his breath, still shooting everyone dirty looks for even thinking he could teach the Avatar about sex. Sure, he taught him firebending, but really, they were two very different things. One was sex, the other was fighting. One was guaranteed awkward-ness for days on end, the other resulted in happy pre-teen boys and burnt rocks.
"That's it! Zuko's gotta' give Aang the 'Talk'!" Katara yelled triumphantly. Zuko came to and looked around. Everyone appeared to have a finger on their nose. But him. Katara was grinning madly at him and the rest were looking at him in a range of emotions, from pity, to victory.
Zuko opened his mouth to say one word, before it was too late.