Here is Day #4! And I'd like to say thank you to margaritanightly, who came up with the food Ty Lee was trying to make. I havent included all the ingredients mentioned, but it is apparently a prawn soup with mushrooms, leaves (that weren't named) chili peppers and chili oil. So, let's see exactly how Ty Lee turned this broth into dynamite, shall we? (Oh, and I guess we can have more Sheming!Toph, Totally On Board!Suki, Protesting!Sokka, and some Zutara tension, if you really want it...but I'm pretty sure you all just came here to find out the story behind Ty Lee's adventures in cooking)
Disclaimer: I don't own Avatar.
Note: I have absolutely no idea as to why Zuko and Katara are making fruit pies. If you want to know so badly, you can come up with the story behind it for yourself, becasue I still have three more prompts to get through.
Prompt" Poor Some Sugar On Me
" So wait, remind me again why we're doing this?"
" I told you, because those two are too dense and stubborn to fix this for themselves!"
" So why do we have to fix it?"
" Because why?"
" Because I said so, that's why!"
" That's not-"
" Sokka, give it up. You know you can't win."
" C'mon, Suki, have some faith in me."
" She does, Snoozeles. She has faith that you'll lose."
" Why does no one ever believe in me?"
" I believe in you Honey."
" Thank you, Suki."
" I just believe in Toph more.
" Thank you, War Paint."
" Suki, why are you taking her side?!"
" Because she's absolutely right. There's no way they'll fix it for themselves, so it falls to us."
" I knew I liked you for a reason, War Paint."
" …This is one of those sisterhood things I'll never understand, isn't it?"
" Yeah, basically."
" Pretty much, Snoozeles. Now, get up and help me."
" If you have so little faith in me, why did you insist that I help you."
" Isn't it obvious by now, Sokka?"
" We're going to need a fall guy we can pin everything on in case the plan falls through."
" Plus, Toph likes kicking you around, and seeing as how Phase One involves spying, she'll get to do that a lot, because let's face it, you just can't be stealthy."
" I'm the fall guy?!"
" It's a hard truth, Snoozeles, live with it."
" How could you guys do this to me! Give me one, good reason why I should go along with this plan!"
" Because, Hun, if you do, I promise I'll…"
" Oh gross, I'm standing right here!"
" …You've convinced me."
" I'm going to have to go and wash my feet all over again!"
" Anytime, Sokka, anytime."
" You do not do that kind of thing in front of other people!"
" Anytime, really?"
" That's it!"
" Hey, hey Toph, let go! Where are you taking me?!"
" Snoozeles, come with me. We've got spying to do! War Paint, you're in charge of distracting the significant others! We rendezvous here in two hours, am I clear?!"
" Ma'am, yes Ma'am!"
" Now that's the attitude I want to see! Snoozeles, you picked a fine woman."
" You're telling me."
" …Wipe that stupid grin off your face and look alive soldier!"
Toph turned to look in the direction of the kitchens.
" We've got a mess to clean up. Cleaning Brigade, move out!"
" …Do I even want to know why we're called the cleaning brigade?"
" Don't question the Melon Lord!"
" And we're back to that…"
" Did you hear Toph shouting at Sokka just now?" Katara asked as she measured the flour in wooden cup. The cup was marked at different intervals with deep notches, and Katara frowned as the amount she'd put into the wooden container leveled out a few centimeters over the line it was supposed to be at. Huffing a little, she picked up a small wooden spoon that was resting on the counter, and started scooping out the flour, little by little.
" Toph's always yelling at your brother." Zuko said from somewhere beside her, measuring spoons in one hand and one of his dual swords in the other. " It's her favourite pastime." He noticed her scooping. " Too much?"
" Just a little bit." Came the concentrated answer. " Keep talking, I can multi-task."
" Can you now?" Zuko teased as he set to chopping up the mangos Aang had acquired for the fruit pies.
" I'm a woman." She replied, a trifle smugly, and he could hear her set down the measuring cup. " It's something we know instinctively how to do. Even your sister would probably be good at it."
" Oh, she was." Zuko shuddered slightly as he thought of Azula. " Pass the sugar." Absentmindedly, Katara handed him the small sack of white powder, her fingers just barely brushing his palm. He shuddered again, and this time it wasn't from anything unpleasant. " Azula could shoot lightning at someone while burning their limbs off one by one, and laugh while doing it."
" That's a nice image for me to have in my head as I'm eating." She'd moved onto rising powder. " Thanks Zuko, you always know just what to say."
" I can be tactful." He argued, dropping the diced mangos into the waiting pot to his left, and sprinkled some sugar on them. " It's just with you, I don't have to be."
" And why is that?" She asked as he heard her pour the rising powder into another measuring cup.
" Because you know me so well." He grinned, and turned to face her. " You'll hear what I'm saying even if I don't know how to say it."
" That made about as much coherent sense as the time Sokka tried to attract a tiger seal to the land by using a mating call – when they were out of mating season."
Zuko blinked, and watched her pour both the rising powder and the flour into another large, dark wood bowl, and reached for the salt. He watched a strand of hair tumbled down over her shoulder and opened his mouth.
" … On second thought, I don't want to know."
" Trust me, you don't." Katara's laughter was soft, and Zuko tried very hard to put a lid on the beginnings of the fluttering in his gut. Impulsively, and before he had any chance to stop himself, he reached forward and tucked the loose strand behind her ear, brushing his fingers over the warm skin of the shell of her ear. With a startled breath, she turned to look at him, her blues eyes wide and a dusting of pink on her cheeks. A flush spread on his own as he became acutely aware of how close she stood, how the light played over her dark hair, how her mother's necklace gleamed in the cozy, homey kitchen (she was still wearing that necklace, so that was a good sign. Why it was a good sign, he didn't dare try to understand, but it was a good sign nonetheless, because it meant…it meant…what did it mean again?)
" S-Sorry." He felt so awkward. " Didn't want it to get in…in your way."
" Yeah. Thanks." She sounded confused, lost and helpless, and for the life of him, as much as he wanted to write it off he couldn't, because he was the one sending mixed signals, he was the one always touching her (although, she had thrown her arms around him in that hallway after she'd slipped. He banished that thought, because thinking of that encountered never led to good places. …Well, morally good places, anyway), and he was the one who went from…from…holding her…like that, to pretending it didn't happen, and he was the one who…who kept…who…he was the one who wanted…
" So how exactly did Ty Lee manage to blow up a building?" She asked, turning back to her bowl and starting to mix the contents, as normally as if nothing had just passed between them (given the number of times things had passed between them, perhaps this was normal), but Zuko could see that the knuckles of the hand that gripped the stirring spoon were much paler than the rest of her skin.
" From what I heard," Zuko picked up a peach, and tossed it into the air, " She was making fruit pies, like we are now."
" Yeah, I knew that much."
Zuko whipped up his other sword from where it lay resting against one of the walls in the medium sized room.
" And she was also making Tom Yum Goong." He whirred his swords through the air. " It's a dish that's popular back home."
" Is that what we had the first night?"
" Yeah, that's the stuff."
" It was good, I liked it."
" Glad to hear it. I'll make sure the chef prepares some more when we get back." Zuko pulled his swords down, and balanced one, perfectly flat, on his forearm. " Anyway, she had made some chili oil, but she put in the wrong ingredient."
" What ingredient?" Katara reached over, and cracked an egg into another small bowl, whisk ready beside her.
" She was supposed to add chili peppers." The peach landed, round and untouched, on the tip of his sword. " But instead, she grabbed the little 'pepper bombs' Duke and Teo sent her."
" Let me guess…"
" They reacted to the chili oil, because apparently, it contains something that makes the Pepper Bombs-"
" Explode?" Katara asked, as Zuko spun on his heel and held the peach over the pot of diced fruit. The peach split into twelve even little crescents and fell into the waiting pot. Zuko spun again and took a deep bow, smirking smugly. The light giggle and soft clapping made him look up in surprise.
" Cute Zuko." Katara put her hands on her hips. " Do you do children's parties as well?"
" Are you making fun of me?" He kept his tone light.
" Maybe I am." Her smile slowly curled into smirk. " And just what do you plan to do about it, Fire Lord?"
" You are making fun of me." Zuko righted himself. " And, as Fire Lord, I simply can't let a peasant like you get away with that."
" Playing the peasant card right away?" Katara's eyebrow raised itself. " That's low."
" So is mocking my attempt to entertain you."
Katara took a step forward, her eyebrows still raised, and a challenging look in her blue eyes. Zuko swallowed slightly, trying to remember how to breathe as she advanced on him, the friendly girl suddenly replaced with the warrior who'd stood against him at the North Pole. Something in him tingled, and heat raced through his veins as he remembered the way her body had spun under the light of the full moon, her braid whipped out behind her and the water twisting over her, the smirk on her face as she encased him in ice identical to the one she was wearing now.
" Bring it on." Her voice was a whisper, but it carried throughout the entire room.
Something in him spazzed. The air rushed out of his lungs and the blood in his body sang with heat as he met her stare. The girl in blue (her outfit was different, he could see the mocha skin of her arms, and it made his heart thunder), her braid long since undone (wild, dark brown waves tumbling over her almost bared shoulders. He remembered her embrace and the scent of salt-soaked seas and rain drenched grass, and it made his hands itch), and her eyes sparking as hotly as any firebender's, (those hadn't changed. They'd been just as temperamental, just as spiting, just as enthralling as they had been that night under the moon, when she'd thrown him against snowy cliffs and trapped him in a globe of ice and bound her destiny to his. And it drove him wild with something he wasn't allowed to name) tipped her head up to stared into his eyes, and the light pouring in from the window hit her face at such an angle that a pale halo was cast over her one brow, as the other lay hidden in shadow. With sweaty palms, and a jolt, Zuko realized the side of her face that was thrown into bright relief was the same side that he bore his scar on.
(A cave lit only by jade crystals. A flicker of blue as her skirt shifted with her movement. The sound of silence, the ringing 'I'm sorry' that echoed through the air as he forgot his honour, forgot his throne, and forgot the destiny he was trying desperately to reclaim, and let a pretty girl who'd suffered his heartbreak as well reach up and run her fingers over his scar. His heart thundered in his ears, and the warrior and the enemy from the Pole melted away to reveal the little boy who only knew dreams, and the little girl who only understood hope.)
Zuko smashed a ripe peach into her hair.
" Oh, I intend to…" He leaned down just a little, and parted lips never looked so much like temptation itself.
His answer was a bag of sugar to the face, and a smirk that made his knees weak.
" You know I'll never give into you." She grinned at him, and he yanked her close, bending her over and grabbing the pot of chopped fruit.
" Want to reconsider?" He asked huskily.
" No." She was looking at him, and there was a heat in her eyes that he desperately wanted to answer.
" You won't surrender?" He shook the pot, where the sliced up pieces of fruit splashed with their leaking juices up against the metal sides.
" Never." She whispered, and Zuko was caught between dumping the pot over her head, and kissing her senseless.
The memory of golden eyes and pale skin made his decision for him.
Katara squealed as he doused her in pieces of fruit, laughing the whole time.
" What happened to you guys?"
Aang looked at his girlfriend and friend in shock as the two emerged from the kitchen, two fruit pies in hand, but covered, from head to foot, in ingredients. Katara's dark hair was matted to her head, sticky and wet with a mango slice or two stuck by her ear. She had juice stains down her front, and her skirt was sticking to one of her legs. There was flour running from her wrist to her elbow on one arm, and sugar on the other. A whole peach was smashed on the top of her head, tilting jauntily like a crown on her flattened hair.
" We got a little…" Katara bit her lip and searched for the right word, " …distracted."
" We got into a food fight." Zuko grinned as he wiped some sugar off of his face, letting the small white crystals fall onto his already whitened shirt, hints of red peaking through the combination of flour, rising powder, and squished straw-blueberries, their purple juices slithering down his arms. " I've never had one before. That was fun."
" You…really didn't have a life before you met us, did you?" Sokka asked, eyeing the Fire Lord.
" I had Ozai for a father."
" Good point."
" Anyway, we managed to make two pies." Katara pushed the one she was holding towards Aang. " Mango-Peach, just like you asked." She nodded to Zuko. " And he's got the Straw-Blueberry Cream."
" Thanks Katara." Aang grabbed the pie and made to kiss her. But she held up her hand, smiling sheepishly.
" Sorry, but I'm all sticky, and I don't want to get you messy too." She looked at him with a smile. " Can it wait until after I've clean up?"
" Sure." Aang returned her smile, and missed the swift glance she threw at Zuko, as he picked off the straw-blueberries from his shirt.
" Let me help." She murmured, and plucked one off before popping it in her mouth. " You're wasting good food." She took another one. But Zuko grabbed her wrist and pulled her hand up to his face. Faster than a blink, while Suki was testing the filling of the pie in Aang's hands, Zuko took the partially squished berry from her fingers in between his lips and chewed it. She looked at him with burning eyes, her face flushing and her fingers trembling in his grasp. If the heat slowly coiling in his stomach (and lower, but he was pretending really hard that the heat didn't even existed) was anything to go by, he was seriously pushing his limits, both with her and with himself. But the sight of her eyes, suddenly widening as what he had been telling her all along finally struck home, he just couldn't bring himself to regret the slight betrayal.
" I've never been fond of straw-blueberries. He whispered, and this time, not even he was sure of what he was saying. " But I've started acquiring a taste for them."
" In the past year?" Her voice was barely louder than the breeze around them.
" Something like that." And he moved away, well aware that he would have to face up to this at some point.
" I can't believe it." Toph hissed from where she stood next to Sokka. Suki wandered over, looking pensive and slightly irritated.
" I know." She shook her head.
" All that fantastic tension, and not one kiss?"
" We have our work cut out for us."
" So it would seem."
" …You two are really starting to scare me."
" …Shut up Sokka/Snoozeles."
And that's that one done. Now, on to the next drabble. (And I feel it's only fair to warn you guys: It's gotta hurt to heal).