Title: Ember Island Truths
Word Count: 1,611
Pairings: Eventual Zuko/Katara, Toph/Aang, Sokka/Suki, and Mai/Ty Lee.
Summary: After the Team Avatar experiences some really bad breakups one right after another, Aang and Sokka devise a way to win back the hearts of their girls: A love potion, of course! Unfortunately, things don't go as planned, and an unexpected effect of the potion may cause some real feelings to get reveled.
A/N: THANK YOU JADE FOR BEING A COMPLETELY AWESOME BETA! Without her this fic would be much harder to read because I fail at grasping things like simple grammer.
One year after the final battle…
Aang blamed Zuko and Mai for starting it. If their relationship hadn't been so rocky, if their relationship hadn't always been so rocky, then maybe none of this would have happened in the first place.
But no, Zuko and Mai just had to break up. For good this time. (They had been on-again/off-again for a year now, but this time they both swore it was for good.) Because she didn't care that the peasants were starving, and he did. Oh, he cared that the peasants were starving, enough to miss their anniversary, their public anniversary, which was enough to humiliate Mai in public, which was enough for Mai to put forth the effort of yelling at him, which was enough for Zuko to yell back, and by the end the day they hated each other's guts and wanted nothing to do with each other.
If only it had ended there.
But no. Mai and Ty Lee were friends, so as soon Zuko and Mai were officially done for, Mai traveled all the way to Kyoshi Island to talk to Ty Lee. By talk, they obviously meant "bitch about every creature with a penis," because that's what obviously happened. By the end of the night, the island itself was breakup central, due to the excessive hatred of The Men and how they just didn't have Feelings and how they never understood how Important Anniversaries Are.
If only it had ended there.
But no. Ty Lee was a Kyoshi Warrior now. And you know who else was a Kyoshi Warrior?
And while Suki didn't take part in the nightly discussions of Man-Hate, she did overhear a lot of them. She ignored it for the most part—those poor girls didn't have the luxury of having Private Wang Fire/Sokka of the South as their boyfriend. And then the worst thing that could possibly happen at that point in time, happened:
Sokka forgot to write to her.
At first, she brushed it off. Then, after three weeks of no contact, she started to tear up a little (does he not like me anymore?) and at that point, Ty Lee walked in to see Suki crying. Any other point in time, Ty Lee would have given Suki some logical, feel-good pick-me-ups. His letters just got lost. He must be busy.
But since the entire week had been dedicated to Hating the Men and We Don't Need Them and Their Stupid Boy-Parts, Ty Lee instead called up her friends (re: every female on Kyoshi Island + Mai) and they had an obscenely large girl's night. By the end of the evening, Suki was so cheered up that she decided that if Sokka couldn't bother to write to her, well, she would just have to put forth the effort to write to him. And by write to him, she clearly meant dump him, because that's what happened.
If only it had ended there.
But no. What kind of girl breaks up with a boy without first consulting his sister? So Suki traveled to the South Pole, hell-bent on Breaking Sokka's Heart (which she did) and having a nice cup of tea with Katara. Here's where the details got a little fuzzy, because the only people who knew the details of that conversation were, in fact, Suki and Katara. But Aang reasoned that it couldn't have been a very pleasant conversation, for the very next time he and Katara saw each other, their conversation went about like this:
"I think we should see other people."
What. The. Hell? "What? Why?"
She fumbled a bit with her hair, which he noticed was in Fire Nation style once again. "I just--I feel like our relationship isn't going anywhere, and while I do care about you, I don't think I feel the same about you as you do about me, and I think we should see other people
He blinked at her. "But—but I've done nothing wrong! But…No! We aren't breaking up! Why are you doing this?"
And then he kissed her, hoping it would somehow make everything better.
Then she snapped.
"OH GOD WHY DO YOU ALWAYS DO THIS?!" she screamed at him. "EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. I WANT TO DISCUSS TO SHORTCOMINGS OF OUR RELATIONSHIP, YOU SEEM TO THINK A LITTLE KISSING MAKES EVERYTHING BETTER! WELL I'VE GOT NEWS FOR YOU! IT DOESN'T! IN FACT, ALL IT DOES IS REMIND ME OF HOW IMMATURE AND SELFISH YOU CAN BE!" She threw something at his face. "WE'RE THROUGH!"
He frowned. "B-but Katara! I love you!"
If she had been a firebender, steam would have been leaking out of her nose. "If you really loved me, you'd respect my opinion and treat me like a human being, not a prize that you won."
She then slammed the door in his face, and that was that.
This brought them to the current point in time, which involved Toph laughing her head off.
"Why are you here again?" Sokka asked gloomily. "Shouldn't you be with the girls, talking about how awful we are?"
"Oh, I tried." Toph continued laughing. "But apparently since I'm still single and haven't broken up with a guy recently, I just don't understand the heartbreak they're all going through. It's probably 'cause I defended Sokka."
Sokka sniffed. "Thanks, Toph."
Aang blinked. "But you didn't defend me?"
Toph shrugged. "Nah, I figured you deserved what you got. Sugar Queen deserves better than your pansy-ass."
"Gee, thanks Toph." He scowled bitterly. Was the entire universe against him?
"As tragic as your stories may be," Zuko interrupted. "I'm still not getting back together with Mai."
Sokka dropped his cup of tea. "But don't you get it? It's all your fault! You and Mai broke up, so me and Suki broke up, so Aang and Katara broke up! We're like, tied together or something! We're a matched set!"
Zuko snorted. "Maybe we should try different pairs."
"Yeah," Toph agreed. "I mean, I'm not in your little matched set, and I think we'll all agree that I'm the most important person here, you know."
"Either way," Zuko continued, "your theory is flawed. Mai and I have nothing to gain by being together. Maybe you should analyze the problems with your own relationships before assuming that it's all my fault."
"So you aren't going to help us?" Aang pleaded.
"Nope. Sorry, but you're going to have to solve your own problems."
Toph smiled. "I agree with Sparky. Sorry guys, I'll catch you later!"
And then they left, leaving Sokka and Aang alone, which was probably their first mistake.
"They just don't get it." Aang said softly. "We love Katara, and Suki. And I'm sure deep down--"
"I kinda doubt that."
"--really, really, deep down, Zuko loves Mai, too!"
"…Really, really doubting that."
Aang huffed. "The point is, we can't let this little…stumbling block ruin our relationships for good! We need to do something! Something to make our girls fall in love with us again!"
Then the wheels began to turn, and suddenly Sokka Had A Plan.
The plan was fundamentally simple. Buy a love potion—just a small one. Then, throw a party inviting all of their friends together, obviously on Ember Island, because that was where all the best parties were to be had. Pour the love potion in their drink. Then, strategically place all of their friends so that they sat across from their partners so that when everyone drank the potion, the first person they saw (or heard, in Toph's case) would be their love interest. Then, by the time the love potion wore off, everyone would be back together with their partner and everyone would be happy!
It would have worked, maybe, if a couple of people hadn't gotten there early.
"Oooh, is that fruit punch?" Zuko said before grabbing the glass straight out of Aang's hand. "Let me take a drink of it."
Zuko stopped with the glass mid-way between the air and his mouth. "What?"
Aang was suddenly faced with a moral dilemma. Either reveal their plan, of which Zuko would not approve and the entire thing would be ruined, or allow Zuko to fall in love with someone other than Mai.
"Uh, it's my glass?" Aang said weakly. "I've already drank out of it?"
Zuko snorted. "Whatever. I don't care about getting your germs."
Zuko then gulped the entire thing in one drink.
Aang held his breath.
"Zuko!" the voice of an over-enthusiastic waterbender called out. Zuko turned and looked straight at her as she ran towards him to envelope him in a hug.
Aang imagined how it must have looked from Zuko's point of view. How, when she ran, her loose hair flew around her just so. How the lighting from the open windows highlighted all of her wonderful features. How her soft curls bounced softly like koala-sheep fur. How her eyes sparkled like the deepest blue diamonds. How her skin was always the color of that ridiculously sticky candy Bumi gave him that one time. How everything felt as though it was moving in slow motion, up until the point where her arms circled around his neck.
Aang observed Zuko carefully. He watched how, when Katara pulled away from the hug, there was a spark in Zuko's eyes, like he just now realized how wonderful a person Katara truly was.
Aang felt a little crushed, and stomped away to find Sokka.
"We have a problem," he said, bursting his way into the kitchen. "Zuko drank the potion, and is in love with Katara."
Sokka snorted. "So? What's the problem?"
"I'm in love with Katara!"
"And?" Sokka laughed. "The potion only lasts 24 hours. All that's going to happen is Zuko's going to follow Katara around for the night, and then when he wakes up in the morning, he'll think of her as a friend. Besides, this is Zuko we're talking about. He's not going to do anything major."
Aang frowned. "I hope you're right."
"I'm always right." Sokka smiled, before wrapping his arm around Aang. "Besides, we're on Ember Island. What's the worst that could happen?"
The worst was only yet to come.
"So, Zuko, uh, how are you?"
The older boy shrugged. "Fine. Have you seen Katara?"
Aang's left eyebrow twitched. "Why do you want to see Katara?"
Zuko shrugged. "I guess I just wanted to talk to her. She looks really pretty tonight."
Jealously stung a little. "She's looks pretty every night."
"Yes. Yes she does." Zuko laughed. "But tonight she's beautiful, and I don't know why."
He had to stop this before it got out of hand. "Wait. You shouldn't talk to her. She and I just broke up—"
"I'm not going to marry her!" Zuko, yes, Zuko giggled. "I just want to talk to her. Though marrying her doesn't sound all that bad…"
Aang shuddered at the thought. "What are you talking about?"
"I use to have a crush on her, you know?" Zuko said, smiling. "Back, when we first met, after Ba Sing Sei. I hurt her so badly—I wanted nothing more that to earn her forgiveness. I would have jumped through hoops if it meant she forgave me."
All was quiet for a moment.
"You aren't--you aren't still into her, are you?"
Zuko laughed in a way that seemed entirely too fake, even for Zuko. "What? Of course not. I mean, I know you like her, and…I won't do anything, I promise. I mean, I'm waaay over her, that was just a crush, and…Well, it doesn't matter. It was just a crush."
As happy as Aang was to hear that, it didn't sound right.
"Hang on, I forgot, I have to go ask Sokka something…"
Zuko shrugged. "Sure. I needed to talk to Katara, anyway."
Aang flew until he found him. "SOKKA!"
"What?" the warrior asked, irritated that Aang had interrupted his conversation with the ever-flirtatious Ty Lee. Aang ignored Ty Lee and grabbed Sokka by the arm.
"We need to talk."
"But I was just—"
The two boys slunk back to the kitchens in a hurry.
"What's the problem, Aang?" Sokka asked, yawning. "Has Zuko started making out with Katara yet?"
Aang frowned. "That's just the thing, Sokka, I'm not sure if we got a love potion after all."
"What do you mean?"
"I mean—" Aang began sourly, "that I've been following Zuko around all night, and he's been…different."
Sokka seemed unimpressed. "That's 'cause he's in love. He'll get over it in the morning."
"You aren't listening to me!" Aang argued. "He kept talking about how he use used to have a crush on Katara, but how he never acted on it. It was almost like the potion reminded him of how he used to like her."
Sokka sighed mournfully. "You aren't going to let this go, are you? Fine, let's go look at the potion…"
The latest in potion technology, this is a love potion unlike any other! Rather than forcing your beau to fall for you, why don't you remind them of why they fell for you in the first place? When your chosen partner drinks the potion, they will suddenly be reminded of any positive attractions they have for the first person they see or hear. All subconscious or suppressed feelings will suddenly be revealed!
Warning: Side-effects include dizziness, irrationality, hyperactivity, nausea, headaches, erectile dysfunction, and schizophrenia. Use only as directed. One dose is good for up to twenty-four hours.
"Well, the lady at the store said it was good."
Aang pursed his lips. "Huh. I guess it works for what we need, I was just expecting something more…instantaneous."
"Yeah, but it works, too, because unless they have some sort of hidden feelings for someone, it won't do anything," Sokka said cheerfully.
Aang nodded. "Yeah, I mean, the fact that Zuko use to have a crush on Katara is just a fluke--I mean, who would have known Zuko had a crush on her?"
"Oh, I knew that." Toph jumped in, scaring the two boys.
"Toph!" Sokka yelped. "W-what are you doing back here?"
The Blind Bandit shrugged. "I was going to see if there was any more fruit punch."
Aang and Sokka stared at one another. "Wait--the fruit punch on the table in here?"
Toph rolled her eyes. "No, dipshit, I drank the one on the floor. Of course I drank the one in here, silly!"
Aang and Sokka held their breath. This could not be good.
"Do…Do you feel any different, Toph?" Sokka asked wearily.
"Yeah, I feel fine." The girl shrugged innocently. "Though is Twinkletoes alright? His voice sounds different. It's all deep and manly and stuff. It's kinda sexy."
A/N: This was written because Nick is publishing a book called Love Potion #8. Unfortunately, it seems Kataang-y, and that's just not the way I roll. If you're going to do a love-potion book, you need to do it the right way: With Zutara! Because that's the way I roll.
"We have a problem," he said, bursting his way into the kitchen. "Zuko's in love with Katara."
Sokka snorted. "So? What's the problem?"
"I'm in love with Katara!"
"And?" Sokka laughed. "The potion only lasts 24 hours. All that's going to happen is Zuko's going to follow Katara around for the night, and then when he wakes up in the morning, he'll think of her as a friend. Besides, this is Zuko we're talking about. He's not going to do anything maj--"
"MY HEART BURNS FOR YOU!" And then there was Zuko, standing in the center of the table, shirtless, with a flaming heart over his head. "I LOVE YOU, KATARA!"
Sokka's jaw dropped. Aang's brain melted.
So much for that excuse.
(for real this time)