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The Next Evening

A delicious smell wafted around the campsite and into the woods, filling every nook and cranny with the scent of sautéed vegetables and meat cooked to perfection. Sokka was busy chopping wood in a secluded area of the forest. It really was unbelievable how much wood Zuko had asked for, and how much tiny titan Toph had made Sokka chop and haul back to the site—all of it. It was a clear night, moonbeams falling onto Sokka and painting him an eerie bluish glow. He raised his boomerang high, and was about to swing down with incredible force when a smell tickled his nose.

Sokka paused, letting his arms drop to his sides and lifting his nose into the air. He was delighted and surprised to find that he, for the first time in three days, inhaled something that actually smelled edible.

Actually, the smell of food being carried teasingly through the camp on a stray wind smelled more than edible. It smelled terrific.

Sokka stuck his nose higher into the air, twisting this head this way and that, spurring himself onwards. He at last found his way back to camp, somewhat surprised to see the other members of the gang dreamily breathing in the scent of dinner.

Zuko lifted his head, closing his eyes and shouting, as loud as he could,

"DIN-!" Of course, halfway through the word, Zuko took notice of the avatar, a diminutive earthbender, a bossy invalid and an unlucky fool with a ponytail standing blissfully at the edges of the firelight. So, the overall sentence went something like this:
"DIN-ner. Oh, um. Dinner."

Zuko found that he didn't have to have called them. The foursome came and sat down, chatting animatedly. Aang naturally took a seat by Katara, and Zuko couldn't restrain a tiny smile. They were kind of cute when they flirted with one another without even knowing it.

"Hey Katara," Aang said with a smile, gray eyes shining. "You're looking much better than yesterday, and I've noticed you're walking."

It was true. Just yesterday, Katara had been unable to move without getting dizzy. She got in the way of productive activities, and the gang had at first moved the responsibility of watching her from person to person before settling on Sokka as the appointed caretaker, much to his dismay. Thus, Katara had been carried around by the unwilling Sokka, which she seemed to have enjoyed—but then again, her laughter might have been sniffling. Nobody could be sure. Her face remained sallow and greasy, though her hair was a little better than yesterday. She had bags under her eyes and when she spoke, her voice still was difficult to decipher.

"Iz drue. I cad walk dow."

"Sparky," Toph cut in, fixing Zuko with her chilling, fishy stare. "Let's cut to the chase, eh? I'm hungry."
"Yeah, me too!" Sokka attested, his stomach letting out a large growl. Aang, who hadn't been paying attention, straightened a little, asking the assembly,

"Guys, was that Appa yawning?"

"See?" Sokka whined, aiming his words at Zuko. "I need fooood. Little Appa-in-mah-belleh is hungry."

"Alright, alright." Zuko said, filling up those four same blue bowls and passing them out to the group. "Here. Now, I know it's not the best, but—"
"Holy MACKREL! What are you talking about, Zuko?!" Sokka said, shoveling food into his mouth as fast as possible. "This is amazing!"

"Whud iz it?" Katara asked suspiciously, glowering at the chef.

"Oh, nothing. Spinach sautéed in onions, sesame seeds and olive oil, and ginger duck with an orange glaze." Zuko shrugged, and the rest of the gang looked at him blankly. The food terminology whizzed straight over their heads.

Slowly but surely, Toph and Aang began to eat. They quickly discovered that the food was delicious, and soon joined Sokka, their mouths stained with orange glaze and sesame seeds. Katara was the last to eat, gently taking a nibble of the spinach. She quickly discovered that she too loved it, and ate as much as she could while retaining a healthy glare at Zuko.

After Dinner

The blue bowls were tossed at random places around the fire. The gang sat back, stomachs full to nearly bursting. Sokka seemed the most pleased out of everyone—it was really him who'd devoured pretty much all of the duck.

Toph let out a loud burp. Katara made a face, while Sokka and Aang gave her a small round of applause. Toph held up her hand, and the appreciation ceased.

"So, Sparky, why didn't you tell us you were such a good cook, huh?" She asked casually, swaying her feet back and forth in the dirt. Zuko looked at her with sort of a funny look.
"I actually hate cooking." He said simply.

"But you're so good!" Interrupted Aang. "All that talent…!"

"Yeah, I know," Zuko said, resting on his elbows and looking up at the midnight sky, speckled with gleaming stars. That was one thing he liked about travelling—being able to see the sky. In the Fire Nation, the sky was blotted out by smoke and smog. Out here in the quiet country, you could see everything. "But it's really a pain, and nasty, too. Handling raw meat and all that mess?" He shuddered. "I don't like it."

There was a pause of quiet contemplation, and it was, of course, broken immediately by Sokka.

"I vote Zuko's our new chef!"
"WHAT?!" Zuko thundered, sitting up immediately.

"I mean, come on," Sokka went on, patting his full belly. "He's waaaaay better than Katara!"

"WHUD?!" Katara bellowed, sitting straight up and shooting lasers at her brother.

"Um, Sokka?" Aang said innocently.

"Yeah, Aang?" Sokka said, spinning to face his friend.
"Maybe you should just stop talking."

And so it ends! Thanks to all who've read it! REVIEW AND LEMME KNOW YOU EXIST! (Just kidding. You know you don't have to. ;) )

Love ya,