Disclaimer: I don't own Avatar.

Hey yo! It's Mika-chan! This might seem dull, but it's kinda important for later. On with the deadly tale!

This is what I brought you, this you can keep. This is what I brought, you may forget me. I promise to depart, just promise one thing. Kiss my eyes and lay me to sleep.

About twenty minutes later, the class was taken to the studio where they would record the day's announcements for the TV broadcast. After a quick lesson on how to work the equipment, the teacher, June-sensei, allowed the students to get to work. Zuko, wanting to be behind the scenes rather than in the action, made his way to the second camera in the room.

It was unusual to see things through such a small screen. June-sensei had told the class that only the things inside the white cross could be seen on the TV. Noticing that there was a TV next to each camera, Zuko turned his on and waited for the switcher to put his camera on broadcast.

Zuko hadn't expected the camera to be zoomed in so far. It had been facing the mural of Tokyo on the back wall, so all Zuko saw in the viewfinder was a large patch of city lights. Zooming out drastically, Zuko focused his camera on the two anchors.

"This is such a pain."

Looking over to his left, Zuko saw the mysterious girl standing next to him, untangling the cords for the headsets.

"What do you mean?" Zuko asked.

"This stupid headset." The girl sighed as she finally freed the cord from the plethora of knots. "Are you going to use yours?"

"My what?" Zuko cocked his head in a confused manner.

"Your headset." The girl pointed to a headset that was lying on the nearby table.

"Am I allowed to?" Zuko asked.

"You're a first timer, aren't you?" the girl assumed.

"I just moved here, so…yeah." Zuko knew he sounded like an idiot, but what else was he supposed to say?

"Camera guys and the floor manager get headsets so we can talk to the director in the control room." The girl said, obviously annoyed about the fact that she was explaining something so simple.

"Oh, okay." Zuko said as he picked up the headset.

The two didn't talk to each other during the remainder of the class. Ty Lee, the director for the day, told Zuko when his shots were off, so there was no need to talk to the strange girl next to him.

After first block was done, Zuko went to second block, AP Psychology, where he received his locker. Since the teacher, Kyoshi-sensei, had allowed the students to find their lockers, Zuko used this opportunity to do just that.

The lockers were an unusual shade of red that contrasted oddly with the purple tile floors and navy blue walls. Zuko had never seen a more oddly coloured school in his life.

"God, this looks so weird."

"You complain too much, Akurei. And I think it looks nice."

"You're kidding, right?" Zuko thought as he shoved his unneeded binders in the vertical locker.

"What if I wasn't?"

"You'd go slit your wrists."

"How do you know I would?"

"You're very predictable, Kuroyami."

"Are you even listening to me?"

Zuko looked to his left and saw a boy standing impatiently next to him. His brown hair was in a sort of Mohawk style and the icy blue eyes looked annoyed.

"I'm sorry, I was thinking to myself." Zuko apologized.

"Well, I was asking if you're new here." The boy wondered. "I haven't seen you here before."

"I just moved from Kobe." Zuko said.

"It's nice there, isn't it?" the boy stuffed several textbooks in his locker.

"You've been there?" Zuko wondered.

"Just on vacation." The boy shook his head. "I'm Sokka Shirotaki, by the way."

"Zuko Kanashii." Zuko replied.

"You in the guitar class?" Sokka nodded toward the guitar case propped against the row of lockers. Zuko had almost forgotten he had it; he'd picked it up that morning without even thinking about it.

"For third block, yeah." Zuko answered.

"You'll have my sister, Katara." Sokka said simply. "She's a pain in the ass."

"She probably says the same thing about you." Zuko shut his locker and walked back to their classroom.

"Oh, I know she does." Sokka said, walking back to his seat, which happened to be next to Zuko's. "So what about you? Do you have any siblings?"

"I live with my cousin, Azula." Zuko replied, tapping his pencil on his desk. "She's in sixth grade this year."

"Katara's a year younger than me." Sokka said, leaning back casually back in his seat, hands behind his head.

"That has to be annoying." Zuko felt odd having a conversation with someone other than Iroh and Azula, but he liked the feeling.

"We don't hang out very much. I'm usually with my girlfriend." Sokka said.

"Is she in this class?" Zuko asked.

"No, she's in the class next door." Sokka said. "Hey, let me see your schedule. I'll tell you if you got any good teachers."

Zuko fished his schedule out of his bag and handed it to Sokka, who made comments about the teachers and the subjects. Besides having his guitar class with Katara, Zuko also had fourth block Sociology with Sokka and Aang, a boy Zuko hadn't met yet.

"Oh, you have first block with Mai?" Sokka noticed. "Good luck with that one, man."

"Why?" Zuko frowned. "Who is she?"

"She's this gloomy chick who never smiles. Really depressing." Sokka explained. "She doesn't have any real friends besides Ty Lee, this other chick. They're polar opposites."

"I met Ty Lee, but I don't think I met Mai today." Zuko said.

"If we see her, I'll point her out." Sokka said. "You can't really miss her."

Their conversation was ended, however, which Kyoshi-sensei called class to order. Zuko had never wanted to take AP Psychology; Iroh just thought that it would be a good class for Zuko to take. Now he was glad he was in the class. He'd met someone that he could get along with.

But was that such a good thing? There was always the chance the Sokka could find out about Kuroyami and Akurei.

"I'm bored, Zuko."

"What do you want me to do about it?"

"Do something."

"Can't really do that, Akurei."

"Just think about something."

"Oh yeah? Like what?"

"Quit fighting! I need to pay attention."

After that, the two personalities stopped their arguing, though Zuko could tell that Akurei was still fuming.

"So looking forward to meeting the gang?" Sokka asked forty-five minutes later when they were on their way to lunch.

"The gang?" Zuko repeated.

"Yep." Sokka replied. "What? You're not nervous, are you?"

"Nah." Zuko was grateful that he was a good liar.

The cafeteria in this new school was like the one in Zuko's old school. The circular tables were scattered throughout the room with colourful chairs around the edges. Many of the students in the lunchroom looked happy that they were out of class.

"There they are." Sokka pointed to a group of teens at the far end of the cafeteria.

They were the strangest group of people Zuko had ever seen. He picked out Sokka's sister right away, but he didn't recognize the other three. The boy was bald, but he had a blue arrow tattooed on his head and arms. One of the girls was about the same size as the boy, but her emerald eyes looked hazy. The second girl was completely different from the other two. Her brown hair was cut ruefully short and she looked like she could have been a black belt in martial arts.

"Who's your new friend, Sokka? The boy asked.

"Guys, this is Zuko. Zuko, these are my sister, Katara, and Toph, Suki and Aang." Sokka pointed to each respectively.

"New here?" Suki assumed.

"Just moved from Kobe." Zuko said.

"Are your parents in the military?" Katara asked.

"I live with my uncle and my cousin." Zuko said, not really wanting to talk about the subject.

"So…" Aang had tried to say something, but Toph gave the teen such a glare that he stopped midsentence.

"Hey Zuko, that's Mai." Sokka pointed to a girl at the next lunch table.

It was the same girl from Zuko's first block class. The girl who hardly ever spoke, yet spent most of her time with Ty Lee, that annoying girl who seemed to chatter instead of talk. The girl who seemed like she was never happy about anything.

"That's her?" Zuko asked incredulously.

"Why?" Katara wondered. "What about her?"

"Zuko has her for first block." Sokka explained.

"Ouch." Suki winced. "Tough luck, man."

"She didn't seem that bad, though." Zuko said, sneaking a glance at her before resting his eyes on Aang.

"You haven't known her long enough." Toph said. "She'll get on your nerves after a while."

"What, is she annoying?" Zuko wondered.

"No, she's just so depressing!" Sokka exclaimed. "And she makes everyone around her feel depressed, too!"

"Gee, who does that sound like?"

"I'm not that bad, Akurei."

"Oh, really?"


Zuko looked over at Aang, who was glaring at the ochre-eyed teen and said, "What?"

"I asked you if you thought she was that depressed." Aang questioned. "I don't think she's that bad."

"She just ignored me most of the time." Zuko replied. "I think she was trying to pretend that I wasn't there."

"Well, that's typical." Katara said.

"Then she went off with Ty Lee after a while." Zuko continued.

"I swear I can't understand what that girl's saying." Toph scowled.

"She acts like she's on a sugar high!" Sokka exclaimed.

"Nah, more like she's had a dozen espressos." Suki shook her head.

At that moment the bell rang, signalling the start of third block, which was Zuko and Katara's guitar class. There were no desks; instead, chairs were set randomly across the room. After going over class rules and the like, the teacher allowed the class to play some songs in pairs. Katara offered to partner up with Zuko, knowing that he'd feel a little awkward being by himself, so the two pulled two chairs over to the far wall and started to play.

"So do you like it here?" Katara asked as she started on Sweet Child O' Mine.

"It's okay." Zuko was still tuning his guitar. "I'm just not used to it yet."

"It takes some getting used to." Katara assured him. "It's an odd school."

"Yeah, that's for sure." Zuko nodded as he finished tuning and launched into The Closer.

So he continued his conversation with Katara as they learned about the other's favourites; colour, song, band and the like. It felt unusual for Zuko to be talking to people so casually. He knew that he shouldn't be making friends: it would be that much harder to explain if one of them found out about Akurei and Kuroyami. But maybe it would work out. Maybe things would turn out for the better.

I hope it's not boring. reviews equal love!

next chapter: the gang at the Jasmine Dragon isn't a good thing