Sketches in Colour

Day 7

Pinch

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"Welcome to Food 101. I will be your teacher, Mrs. Wu." Katara was quivering with excitement. Finally, a class she could excel at, not like she didn't excel at her other classes but still.

The Home Ec. Room was large, ten separate kitchen units, all fully stocked and each with a complete appliance set.

Katara looked around the classroom scrutinizing the others students which seemed to consist of slackers who wanted an easy A and a few other Katara-like people. People who liked Home Ec.

"Due to the size of our class, we will have to pair up." Immediately everyone scrambled to find a partner. By the end of it, everyone was sitting beside someone. Everyone except Katara.

She raised her hand. "Mrs. Wu. I don't have a partn-" Just as she said this, the door open and the school resident failure slumped in.

"Zuko." Mrs. Wu said, blissfully ignorant of Zuko's status. "Perfect! We were just looking for someone extra. Please, take a seat beside Miss Kirima." He strode over to her, throwing himself down in a seat. Katara was leaning away from him, as though he was carrying a deadly disease.

"Okay! Everyone grab an apron and find a station. We'll start out with something easy today. I'd like you to bake a batch of chocolate chip cookies." Zuko followed Katara into the kitchen, pulling an apron off a rack and tying it around his waist.

She did the same but had trouble with the knot, her fingers kept slipping over each other, probably because she wasn't watching what she was going but Zuko instead. His reputation preceded him, the rumours of fights, numerous girls and drugs were making Katara nervous and he hadn't even opened his mouth.

"I'll get it." He said after a minute of Katara failing passed. He snatched the cords out of her fumbling hands. Katara stiffed and his hands brushed her lower back. "There." His expression had not changed but Katara could feel her cheeks tinted with a bright red blush.

"I guess we should get started." She said, glancing at Zuko who did nothing. Katara wandered over to a cupboard and pulled out a cookbook. Flipping to the correct page, her eyes occasionally flickering to Zuko, she said out, "Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees."

Zuko slid over to the oven and flicked the switched and turned the dial. He turned back to Katara as if to say, 'and?'

A few weeks passed in relatively one-sided silence. Katara would tell Zuko what to do and he would do it, occasionally asking a few questions on measurements or the temperature of the oven.

Soon, though Katara would've thought it impossible, Zuko's cool exterior began to thaw. He had been in a few fights, he told her as they made salad dressing, but that was because he was protecting a little boy from a bunch of thugs.

He had many girlfriends, he told her as they prepared a turkey dinner as a Christmas project, but they all ended on good terms. He never cheated, slept with them and had only managed –he blushed as he revealed- to kiss two of them.

He had dealt drugs once, he told her as they waiting for their pumpkin pie to cool, but he seriously regretted it. Jet Feng had convinced him to do it and it wans't a path he wanted to go down again.

And somehow, Katara found herself becoming friends with the boy she had once been terrified of looking in the eyes.

What should happen when Katara likes a boy? Well, as well all know, she becomes a bit of a flirt and boy, was she good at it.

Smile. Establish eye contact. Touch his hand accidentally. Repeat and one month after Spring Break Zuko was falling for her.

Not that he would ever admit it. He had his own tricks up his sleeve for counteracting her flirting techniques.

Do not return smiles. Do not look right into her blue eyes. Move hand quickly as possibly away from hers.

Who would win in the end? Would Zuko manage to keep Katara off long enough for her to lose interest or would her sultry ways seduce him?

The showdown happened on the day they were supposed to be making cinnimonbuns. It had started out simply. They made the buns, baked them to perfection and coated them in handmade icing.

The only thing left was a sprinkle of cinnamon on the icing. Katara read this and looked at Zuko who was holding the cinnamon. "How much cinnamon?" He asked.

She grabbed a piece of his forearm and squeezed it tight. "Just a pinch."

They stared, Katara smiling and Zuko not smiling.

"Yeah." He said and picked up the bottom of cinnamon and very deliberately sprinkled it all over Katara's top. "Just a pinch."

"Oh," she said, attempting to brush the spice off but just smearing it all over her top, "It's on." Katara seized a handful of flour and threw it at Zuko. His face was completely white until he opened his eyes wide, like an owl.

He didn't even wipe away the flour but simply grabbed his own handful and chucked it at her.

The whole class was watching them now as they threw ingredients at each other. Somehow an egg landed on the floor and as Katara went to smear Zuko's face with a stick of butter her foot slipped in it. She fell forward and with a huge crash Katara found herself and Zuko on the ground, covered in baking supplies.

The students that had gathered started laughing and Mrs. Wu was shaking her head disapprovingly.

Katara reached over, still pinning Zuko to the ground, and grabbed a tiny heap of cinnamon and sprinkled it all over his face.

"Just a pinch."


Author's note

Yes! Finally finished! Only... four months late?

sigh

I love this one, personally. It's just so cute and fun. What do you guys think?