summary: Of all days, the day Zuko is inaugurated as Fire Lord (in front of practically the whole world) he finds a zit, sitting there on his face. And it's extremely far from subtle.
a/n: My friends From Spark To Flame, Miss Mary Sue, and larrythestapler started this little series, and then asianangelgirl and I decided to jump in! Together, the five of us wrote and made up -drumroll- The Zit Series! -scattered applause- Yes, I know it's awesome. (; So, after you read (and review!!) this, go check out their stories:
Draco's Gigantic Imperfection, From Spark To Flame
Tamaki's Greatest Dilemma, Miss Mary Sue
Edward Learns About Acne, larrythestapler
Sasuke's Sticky Situation, asianangelgirl
disclaimer: Avatar does not belong to me.
Do You Use Moisturizer?
: : : :
Zuko walked past one of the guest bedrooms in the Fire Palace. His hand was placed gently over his bad cheek. Involuntarily, he looked through the open doorway, and he saw Suki sitting at a vanity.
An idea struck him, and without really thinking, he knocked on the door with his free hand.
"Come in," the Kyoshi Warrior called over her shoulder. She turned around on the chair. Her face was covered with white make up. "Oh, hey Zuko."
She was surprised to see Zuko of all people. They rarely talked.
"Hi, um, Suki," Zuko said. "You're a girl, right?" he questioned stupidly.
"I'm glad you noticed," she teased.
Zuko's face turned red. "What I mean is…" He trailed off, beginning to realize whom he was talking to. "What am I doing? I hardly even know you!" He stomped out of the room, leaving a confused Suki.
She shrugged and began to get ready for the important day.
: : : :
Technically, Zuko became Fire Lord a few hours ago, but his actual inauguration was not until well after noon. But because he was—technically—Fire Lord, his friends were already hanging around the palace. Which meant Sokka and Toph were lounging around in the dining room, making a mess of everything. And that's when Zuko, with half his face covered and his forehead creased, came walking in.
"I could have pulled you up, y'know," Sokka was saying, downing a glass of juice.
"Oh, suuure, you could have." Toph rolled her eyes.
The pair was sitting at one end of the long table, their feet were propped up and their chairs were titled back.
"My leg hurt, alright?!!" Sokka huffed. "Now"—he tapped his cast with a cane—"I can perfectly lift you up without a pro—Hey, Zuko!" Sokka patted the chair next to his.
"Hey," Zuko said, sitting down, propped his elbow on the table, like he was bored, still shielding his face.
Toph's chair swung back in place and she looked in Zuko's general direction. "What's up, Blaze?"
"Yeah, right, and I couldn't hit you with a rock right now," the blind earthbender said. Just to prove her point, she pounded a foot to the floor, thus making a rock from one of the plants' pots fly into Zuko's side.
The rock hit its target, resulting in Zuko yelping and both his hands flew to his stomach, revealing his unsightly face.
"OH MY SPIRITS!" Sokka exclaimed, falling backwards on the chair. He scrambled to his feet and examined the Fire Lord's face.
Right underneath his bad eye, there laid an ugly zit the size of a small coin.
"What happened to you?!!" the Water Tribesman questioned, his finger about an inch away from Zuko's zit.
Zuko snatched his hand swiftly, making Sokka jump.
Letting go of Sokka's hand, Zuko sighed. "I don't know what happened. I was, erm, talking to Mai, and then she pointed… IT out."
"Gloomy Girl?" Toph said, trying to piece things together, since she couldn't actually see Zuko's face. "What were you doing with her?" She grinned.
"Nothing," Zuko replied trying his best to maintain his heartbeat, he knew exactly what Toph was up to. But it didn't fool the walking lie detector.
"Riiiight," she said sarcastically.
"Your crowning ceremony is this afternoon!" Sokka pointed out. "What are you going to do with that?" He pointed at Zuko's blemish like it was a cross between a platypus-bead and a moose-lion.
"I don't know!" Zuko threw his hands in the air hopelessly. "Help me!"
"You could call it off," Toph offered.
"You could wear a mask," Sokka suggested.
"Tell them to have it in a dim room so no one will see you."
"Or grow another zit on the other side of your face, that way it'll balance."
"Yeah, isn't that how zits come on your face?"
"Then, tell me—just how do they appear?"
"Why are you asking me—go ask Katara!"
"Why would I ask Katara!?"
"She's a girl! She has special lotions and creams. She knows about this stuff."
"So? She knows how to treat pimples and stuff, but does she know how they get on your face?? And you're a girl too! Why don't you know about zits and stuff?"
Zuko stopped listening after special lotions. He got up from the chair and walked out the door.
Sokka called after him, "You're doomed!"
: : : :
Zuko searched the palace for the master waterbender, coming up short. She was not in any of the guest bedrooms or outside near the turtle-duck pond or in the arena. Zuko was about to give up, when he found the Avatar in his room.
"Hey, Aang!" Zuko beamed, hoping the boy could help him find Katara.
"Oh, hi, Zuko," Aang replied with a smile. He was laying his newly made robe out on the bed. The inauguration was going to start soon and he needed to get ready. "Why aren't you dressed in your fancy Fire Lord clothes?"
Zuko waved the question away. "Never mind that—do you know where Katara is?" he asked urgently.
Aang's eyes widened a little. He wondered why Zuko was looking for Katara. He hoped it was because of something not related to relationships of any kind; the war was over, and there wasn't anything world threatening between Aang and his love. He didn't want Zuko revealing any romantic feelings towards Katara—because he was older (and didn't older guys get the girls more often the younger boys?) and he had that whole I'm-Bad-And-There's-Nothing-You-Can-Do-About-It thing going for him (and aren't girls more attracted to the bad boys than the good guys?). But what if he did need to confess his feelings to Katara? Where would that leave Aang? He would turn into the first severely depressed airbender and—
"If my idea is so crazy, let's hear yours!" Sokka challenged Toph. The duo was passing by the door.
"Mai broke out of prison and she reunited with Zuko. The end."
"That's soo boring!"
"Well, that's what happened!" Toph stepped into the doorway. "Isn't that right, Fire Lord Spark-o?"
Zuko groaned. "Shut up, Toph!"
Sokka and Toph laughed and left the room.
Aang's eyes brightened at Toph's news. If Mai was back, that meant Zuko was tied up with her—that meant Katara was still his! … If she liked him like that. Suddenly, all color drained from the Avatar's face.
What if Katara didn't want to be with Aang? That would make sense—she was at the mature age of fourteen while he was a little twelve-year-old. What if she met someone else!? Like one of Zuko's guards?! What if she didn't like him in the first place?!!
"Aang?" Zuko interrupted his frantic thoughts.
"Huh?" Aang shook his head as if to rid his mind of such ridiculous thoughts.
"Do you know where Katara is?" Zuko began to rub his temple, thus removing his hand from his face.
"I think she's with the doctor helping—Woah, what happened to your face?" The young Avatar forgot all his troubles and zoomed in on Zuko's.
The Fire Lord immediately placed his palm over his cheek and grumbled, "Nothing. Thanks. Bye." He swiftly walked out of the room and towards the healing hall.
: : : :
Zuko mentally scolded himself for being so oblivious; he should have known Katara might be assisting the physicians. That's just like her, lending a hand even when she did not have to. He scolded himself for not going to Katara in the first place—he even went to Suki before her.
Just like Aang said, the waterbender was in the healing room. She was showing one of the interns how to stitch up a wound without using her healing abilities.
"And that's how you do it!" Katara clapped her hands together.
"I can manage that!" the chipper intern replied. "Thank you, Miss Katara!"
She spun around. "Hey! Mister Fire Lord!" She teased playfully.
He smiled, but it looked awkward because his hand had become permanently attached to his face.
"Fire Lord, Sir," the intern bowed respectfully, scurrying out the door.
Katara clearly saw the palm covering his scar, and she thought he was feeling insecure—for a completely different reason than the truth.
"Are you okay?" she asked gently, resting her hand on his shoulder.
Zuko's face turned red. "I—uhm—well." This was harder than he thought it would to be.
Katara didn't pressure him
He took a deep breath before saying, "Actually, I'm not okay. I need your help with—"
"What's wrong?" the waterbender interrupted, expecting the worse. Her hand tensed on his shoulder.
Zuko shook his head. "No, don't worry, nothing's like that has happened."
Katara relaxed. "Then what's up?"
He inhaled and bravely removed his hand from his face. He braced himself for her reaction.
"I don't understand—what is it?"
Zuko thought she was making fun of him. He was about to lash out at her because he was tired of everyone laughing at him, but the expression on Katara's face was genuinely dumbfounded.
He raised an eyebrow. "What?"
"What's the big deal?" Katara repeated.
"Are you serious?" he gaped, his mouth forming a perfect O. "It's right on my face!" With his finger, he pointed to the horrible zit under her scar.
Katara squinted. "Oh—that little thing?" As she got a better look at Zuko's face, Katara grimaced.
Zuko caught her in the act.
"Little thing, huh?"
She laughed and pushed him playfully. "Is that what you're so worked up about? It's just a little pimple."
He threw his hands in the air. "It is not 'little!' And—if you didn't know—I'm being crowned this afternoon!"
Katara looked at him like it wasn't a big deal.
"In front of practically the whole world!"
Zuko groaned. "So! So! So?!" He began to pace and Katara began to laugh even more. "So! I'm going to look unkempt!"
"AND!" Zuko stopped in front of the waterbender, putting his hands on her shoulders. "Help me!" he squeaked desperately.
She giggled. "How am I supposed to do that?"
Suddenly, the Fire Lord of one day's face changed from stressed and hopeless to completely blank. He was starting to get fed up with the girl.
He closed his eyes and breathed slowly.
He heard Katara giggle.
"Toph said you had some kind of special lotion," Zuko clarified, when he opened his eyes. "Do you? And can I use some?"
Katara cracked a toothy grin. "Yes, you may use some."
Zuko sighed in relief.
"Even though it's not that big of a deal," she finished in singsong.
"Just give it to me."
Katara looked out the open window, seeing how high the sun was in the sky. It was almost time for the inauguration.
"It's in my room," she said, "You go get dressed and I'll bring it to you. Alright?"
"Okay," Zuko replied, with a grateful smile. "Thanks, Katara."
"No problem." She smiled.
: : : :
The Fire Lord pulled his hair back into a tight bun on his head. He was happy he found Katara, otherwise, he would not have anything to hide behind, not even his own hair. He would have been humiliated in front of the entire world. He would have been known as the Fire Lord with the worst hygiene. It would have been horrible.
"Knock, knock," a voice came from the door. Katara grinned, handing the Fire Lord a small tube. "Just squeeze it out," she instructed. "Don't use too much. That's the last of it."
He nodded and turned to the mirror. Zuko pinched the container softly, watching a sliver of white creamy substance fall on his index finger. He rubbed it on his blemish. Zuko watched the mirror in amazement as the ugly zit camouflaged into his skin.
He released the breath he was holding. "Whew." He passed the lotion to Katara. "Thanks," the Fire Lord said.
Katara waved her hand, like it was nothing. "Anything for you, Fire Lord." She bowed, holding in the laughter.
Zuko rolled his eyes. He followed Katara out side his room, where—to his surprise—Suki, Sokka, Toph, and Aang were standing with huge smiles on their faces.
Katara joined the half circle around the firebender, while he groaned, because he just knew they were going to poke fun.
They all opened their mouths simultaneously, collectively saying, "Congratulations, Zitty Zuko!"
With his face slightly flushed, Zuko stomped off, leaving a group of grinning "supporters."
: : : :
a/n: You don't have to tell me, I already know the ending's so-so. (: So, you've read my part of The Zit Series, now you review...! Then go on over to my friends' parts and read and review theirs too! Thanks! :D