A/N: So… I decided that I would update for Valentine's Day! I know this episode was just a filler in the real series, but I thought that this episode could be how Sakura could learn about the Avatar and their past adventures. Thank you to everyone who reviewed in the last chapter! This is all for you!
Sakura dragged the back of her hand against the soft, red silk of Azula's covers. She had been the only member okay with sleeping in the Fire Nation's princess's dorms. Sighing at the touch of the smooth fabric, Sakura started to raid Azula's closet. Zuko had already given everyone permission to change clothes if they'd like, but Sakura was the only one who needed new clothes. Her kimono top was made for cold temperatures, and she was burning up every day.
Her new outfit consisted of a dark red top that tied around her neck like a halter top and stopped at her midriff. The bottoms consisted of dark red capris with a slightly lighter red armored skirt covering the sides of her legs. A ribbon tied around her waist as a belt, tying in the middle inside a gold circle while the rest of it fell in between her legs. For accessories, she had two dark red bands on her upper arm and armor that went from her wrist to slightly below her elbow.
Exiting the room, she found Suki in the living room by herself. The Kyoshi Warrior helped Sakura with her hair. Suki carefully styled the ninja's hair, wrapping it in two buns, one on either side of her head with pink strands slightly sticking out. Suki added in two long ribbons, tying it around each bun with the ribbons dangling near her neck.
"Thanks," Sakura smiled gratefully and Suki smiled back.
Walking outside, her heart clenched when she saw Katara sitting on the patio, blue eyes focused on only one thing: A Shirtless Zuko.
Sakura leaned against a support beam, watching Zuko and Aang practice their newly earned firebending. Glancing at her fingernails, Sakura pulled out a kunai and starting filing them.
Aang and Zuko finished their routine with a bow and Aang plopped unceremoniously to the ground while Zuko stretched and flexed unintentionally. Katara rushed forward with a white towel, smiling, and Zuko smiled awkwardly back and wiped his forehead with it. Katara smiled goofily and Aang suddenly appeared in the background, gaping like a fish.
"You looked really good out there, Zuko," Katara praised and Aang glanced back at Sakura with shock. Sakura scowled at Katara's back.
"You looked great too Aang," Sakura told the bald boy reassuringly, patting his sweaty head. Zuko couldn't help but stare back at her. It was Sakura who was supposed to be gushing all over him; it was supposed to be Sakura inspecting every inch of his body, looking for wounds. And it was supposed to be Sakura who jumped in surprise when Sokka and Toph stormed through the back gates.
"You'll never believe what we found!" Sokka exclaimed. He threw a parchment of paper open and Toph rolled her blind eyes.
"He still refuses to tell me what it is," Toph pouted.
"Well now that everyone's here," Sokka said, "Then I'll only have to say it once."
"No, because everyone can read it for themselves while I need someone to read it to me!" Toph argued.
Sokka paused. Shaking his head, he pointed to the poster again, "Well anyways, look! There's a play… about us!"
"Not … all of us?" Katara asked, sparing a glance towards Sakura. Said girl gave her a tight lipped smile.
Sokka and Toph paused, feeling the tension in the air. Toph roughly jabbed him in the ribs.
"Oh right!" Sokka jumped, "The uh… The poster reads, 'The Boy in the Iceberg' is a new production, brought to you by the critically acclaimed 'Ember Island Players'."
Zuko groaned loudly, alerting everyone as he complained, "My mother used to take us to see them. They butchered 'Love Amongst the Dragons' every year."
As Katara gave a smart remark, Sakura wrapped an arm around Aang and steered him back into the house, keeping him from looking back.
Toph complained loudly when Team Avatar climbed up the endless stairs, finally settling on two private booths in what Toph would call it, the 'Nosebleed Section'. Declaring that it was useless that she was watching a play when she couldn't see, she took a seat next to Sokka and Suki in the second booth while Zuko sat himself in one of the middle seats in the first booth. Katara took the end seat next to him while Sakura sat to his left. Aang glanced at Katara before sitting next to Sakura.
The red curtains rose dramatically to reveal two characters pretending to canoe through the icy seas. There was a girl and boy, slightly resembling Sokka and Katara.
Sokka's character was tall and lanky with the signature ponytail and Southern Water Tribe clothes. Katara's character had a chest that could rival Hinata's while she had huge blush marks on her cheeks and a HUGE head.
Figures, Sakura snickered.
Except for the huge chest part.
Actress Katara spoke dramatically, "Sokka, my only brother, we constantly roam these icy seas, and we never find anything …fulfilling."
"The only thing I want to fill is my stomach," Actor Sokka joked.
"How can you only think of food? Is food the only thing on your mind?" Actress Katara cried dramatically.
"Well I'm trying to get it out of my mind …and into my mouth! I'm starving!" Actor Sokka grinned, throwing his arms in the air for emphasis.
"That's so pathetic, my jokes are waaay funnier than this!" Sokka cried, leaning against the frame of the front bench.
Actress Katara stood up from the canoe, crying dramatically, "Every day the world awaits a beckon to guide us, yet none appear. Still, we cannot give up hope, for hope is all we have …and we must never relinquish it! Even… even to our dying breath!"
Sakura stifled a giggle. W.T.F.?
Suddenly, a giant glacier appeared, the shadow of a body in it.
"What is it?" Actor Sokka asked.
"It appears to be someone frozen in ice …for perhaps a hundred years!"
"But who, who is the boy in the iceberg?"
Sakura huffed. Their acting was sooo stale.
"Water bend, HI YA!"
Actress Katara karate chopped the glacier, and it split in half. Waves of fog surrounded the stage, before a delicate body sprung out, doing a front flip in the air, before dainty feet landed soundlessly on the wooden floorboards in front of it.
"Who are you, frozen boy?" Actress Katara asked as a large gust of fog surrounded them.
When the smoke started to clear, red lips pulled into a bright smile as a very feminine voice called out, "I'm the Avatar silly! Here to spread joy and fun!"
This time, Sakura did burst out into laughter.
"Oh my kami…" Sakura gasped, grasping the railings for support as she tried her best to stifle the laughter that threatened to shake the entire building.
"Shut up!" the naturally kind hearted and gentle Avatar hissed. Wow, Sakura mused while she clamped her hand over her mouth, if Aang was this riled up, then having a female actress to play him must have been a blow below the belt.
"Sorry Aang," Toph piped in from behind them, "but you do seem to be more in touch with your feminine side…"
The scene changed to show Actor Zuko, with a long ponytail at the top of his head and a man who resembled the picture of Zuko's uncle, but this one looked too silly compared to the gentle but determined, strong, and confident features of Zuko's real uncle.
"Prince Zuko," Actor Iroh said in a gangly voice, "you must try this cake!"
Actor Zuko had a hoarse voice as he yelled, "I don't have time to stuff my face! I must capture the Avatar to regain my honor!"
"Well, while you do that, I'll capture another slice!" Actor Iroh announced. Sakura grinned at the cheesy joke.
"You sicken me," Actor Zuko shouted in a hoarse voice again.
"You weren't that uptight, were you?" Sakura whispered to the real Zuko, cursing her friendly nature and natural attraction to him. She was supposed to be mad at him!
Zuko had a soft look in his eyes as he addressed her, which contrasted greatly with the 'harsh' words he muttered, "What are you talking about? I thought that you knew me as a sweet… sensitive… and devilishly handsome young man."
Katara snorted from his right, "Oh yeah. You were just a doll, whenever you tried to capture us. This actor is pretty spot on if you ask me."
Zuko snapped towards her, the soft look gone replaced with a glower, "How could you say that?"
Sakura paused, analyzing the situation. His eyes were soft when he spoke to her… And he was being loose with her again. Was there really something between him and Katara? Or had she just imagined it just like she had imagined that 'fate' had put her and Sasuke-kun on the same team in their genin days…
Sakura huffed and sat back, intent on enjoying the play.
"Let's forget about the Avatar, and get massages!" Actor Iroh tried convincing the fake Zuko.
Actor Zuko glowered at his uncle, snapping, "How could you say that?"
Aang was reassured by the fact that this time, Sakura's laughter was twice as loud compared to the appearance of the female him.
For the next twenty minutes, Sakura had fun watching the adventures of the Avatar gang, ranging from when they went to the Air Temples and found Momo, to the Kyoshi Island, the adventures with King Boomy, and when Katara stole a water bending scroll from the pirates.
The scene changed so Actress Aang was chained by her ankles and wrists on a large pedestal, and ten guards, five on each side of the pedestal, supported Actor Zuko as he announced, "The Avatar is mine!" He paused, "Wait, who's coming?"
A man danced in with a large white and blue facial mask that covered the upper half of his body while he wielded two, cardboard broadswords.
"I am the Blue Spirit, the scourge of the Fire Nation, here to save the Avatar!" it cried as it danced and all the guards and Actor Zuko fell over.
Actress Aang slipped her wrists and ankles free of the chains and hopped onto the mask's head, squealing, "My hero!"
Next to her, Zuko and Aang tensed, sending awkward and horrified glances at each other.
It didn't take Sakura long to put two and two together.
The next interesting scenes were when Aang, Katara, and Sokka reached the Northern Water Tribe. There, Sokka fell in love with the Princess Yue who turned into the moon, Katara learned water bending and became a master, and finally the Fire Nation launched an attack on the village and Actress Aang turned into the Avatar State, which Sakura never witnessed the real Aang doing, but this one looked like a pathetic replication, a blue fish like costume over the Actress's slim body, and she crushed small miniature ships, and in the process, tripped and fell on her butt. The curtain slowly closed and the crowd cheered.
Sighing, Sakura and the rest got up and exited the theater to sit out in the hall instead.
Huffing, Zuko sat on the steps next to Sakura and announced sulkily, "So far, this is the best part of the play…"
"Apparently," Sokka scowled, the first to start the complaining, "the playwright thinks I'm an idiot who tells bad jokes about meat all the time!"
"Yeah, you tell bad jokes about plenty of other things," Suki teased. Sakura snorted her agreement.
"At least the Sokka actor looks like you!" Aang cried out, ignoring Suki, "I'm being played by a lady! A short, busty, and completely female lady!"
"Wow, you are riled up about this," Sakura said, eyebrows in her hairline. Shut up? Busty? What was this play doing to this sweet little boy Sakura had thought he was?
"Oh relax Aang," Katara sighed, leaning against a wall, "This play is so stupid! I mean, it's not like I'm this preaching crybaby who only talks about hope."
"Suuure," Aang drawled sarcastically, "That's not you at all…"
"Come on guys," Toph interjected, "I know it hurts, but what you see down there on stage is the truth."
The seven filed back into the theater, taking their original seats and settled down to watch the second part of the play. The Avatar gang arrived at the Earth Kingdom, and Actress Aang announced giddily, "I better look around to see if I can find an earth bending teacher!" A long wire attached to her back as she flew around the theater, waving to the audience, but she flew back to her original spot, saying in a depressed voice, which didn't fit her appearance or personality at all, "I flew all over town …but I couldn't find a single earth bending master!"
"Here it is," Toph nearly squealed, leaning in between Sakura and Aang's head, so cozy that she was cheek to cheek with the bald air bender. Sakura noticed Katara slightly stiffening.
"You can't find an earth bending master in the sky…" a burly voice chuckled, "You have to look underground!" A large boulder prop was hurtled towards the backstage and a large, buff man with rippling muscles, wearing a funny black wig that covered his eyes and a green earth bending outfit Toph usually wore, was slowly lifted on the stage by a moving set and he grinned arrogantly.
"Who are you?" Actress Aang gasped.
"My name's Toph, cause it sounds like tough, and that's just what I am," Actor Toph announced, pounding his chest.
"Am I… It sounds like I'm being played by a guy," Toph said appallingly, "a big… musclely guy!"
"I know," Katara 'tsked', "It hurts, doesn't it?"
"Are you kidding me?" Toph asked with a big grin on her face, matching the one that her actor was wearing, "I wouldn't have cast it any other way! I mean… it's way better than being played by a bald lady." Next to her, Aang glared.
"So you're bliiind?" Actress Aang asked, drawling the 'i' in blind to make it sound cute. Which it did, just not to the real Aang.
Actor Toph let out a hearty chuckle as he said in his deep voice, "I can see everything that you see, although I don't see it like you guys do. I release a sonic wave from my mouth." Actor Toph turned towards Aang, and he let out a mighty howl. It was a screech, louder than Sakura's laughter, and it shook the building, threatening the very foundations. The real Avatar gang sat in silence, all gasping, except for Toph who was sporting a large grin.
Finally, after another minute, Actor Toph said casually, as if he had not just let out a rumbling screech, "There, I got a pretty good look at you."
The next scene, which showed Iroh and Zuko parting ways because they disagreed on the length of Zuko's hair, Sakura already knew what happened from when he told her after the whole Boiling Rock incident. So she sat back and watched the next scenes of the Avatar gang, and Zuko and his Uncle all beating up on Azula, Azula trying to drill into the city of Ba Sing Seng, and Jet, from before who had been another one of Katara's love interests, had turned loony and he was crushed by a cardboard rock prop.
"Wait, so did he die?" Sakura asked, cocking her head to the side. Sokka agreed with her "It was really unclear", but she didn't hear that as green eyes narrowed in on the next scene.
Actor Zuko and Actress Katara were trapped in crystal caves, a scene which the real Zuko had never mentioned to her…
"I have to admit, Prince Zuko, I really find you attractive," Actress Katara purred. Oh yeah, and he forgot to mention that too.
"You don't have to make fun of me," Actor Zuko sulked with that hoarse voice of his.
"But I mean it," Actress Katara continued, fluffing her hair suggestively, "I've had eyes for you since the day you first captured me…"
Actor Zuko shrugged away the hand on his shoulder as he exclaimed, "But wait! I thought you were the Avatar's girl…"
Next to Sakura, Aang nodded fiercely. If Sakura weren't so heated right now, she would have thought it was cute …but kind of freaky (because it was).
"Hah, the Avatar?" Actress Katara mock laughed, "Why… he's like a little brother to me! I certainly do not think of him in a romantic way…"
Pressing herself to Actor Zuko's side, she breathed, "Besides… how could he ever find out, about this?" And the two cuddled. The curtain slowly closed and Aang and Sakura's eyes were slits.
Aang stood up abruptly, and Sakura glanced back at him. Should she go vent too? No, Sakura shook her head, she can't miss any more of this play. It was providing her with information she didn't want to know, but was beneficial all the same.
The next scene, Actor Zuko was in between Actress Azula and Actor Iroh. Actress Azula announced, "Well, my brother, what is it going to be? Your nation …or a life of treachery?"
"Choose treachery," Actor Iroh said in a silly voice, "it's more fun!"
Actor Zuko walked towards Actor Iroh, while Actress Azula gasped, "No way!" before Actor Zuko pushed his fake uncle down harshly.
"I hate you, Uncle! You smell, and I hate you for all time!" And with that, Actor Zuko left and the curtain slowly fell.
All immense resentment for Zuko evaporated as Sakura couldn't help the softening of her eyes and the tug at her heart strings.
"You…" Sakura swallowed down the rest of her rage, "You didn't really say that to him…, did you?"
Zuko lowered his eyes, shoulders tense as he murmured, "…I might as well have…" Sakura felt her affections for him win over against the dislike, and hesitantly took his hand in her own. Zuko glanced at her in shock, before warmth spread in his eyes and he curled his fingers around her own.
When Actress Aang turned into the Avatar state, Actress Azula shot him with lightning. Actress Aang fell to the ground, and Actress Azula announced, "The Avatar …is no more!"
The crowd cheered loudly, and the Avatar gang filed out of the room again for the second intermission.
Immediately, Sokka and Suki retreated to sneak into the backroom to talk to the Actor Sokka, Katara left in pursuit for Aang, and Toph ran away to get more snacks. Sakura and Zuko sat down on the ground, leaning against the wall. One of Sakura's legs was extended in front of her, and the other was bent slightly. Zuko had his knees slightly drawn to his chest as he stared down at his fists which were slowly clenching and unclenching.
"Hey," Sakura said quietly.
"Hi," Zuko said equally. He sighed long and loud and turned to her, determination flashing in his gold eyes, "Sakura, what are we doing?"
Sakura froze, pulling her legs to her chest in a submissive position as she whispered, "I don't know Zuko…"
"Sakura… I promise, I'll be honest with you about everything that's happened, as long as you be honest with your feelings," Zuko pledged, taking one of her hands in his own.
Sakura sighed, long and hard. "Zuko," Sakura paused, "I care about you, I really do. The feelings I have for you, are the strongest I've felt for anyone, and it just hurts when I think about you having feelings for someone else… I know that everyone has past lovers, but it's like… there's this gong in my stomach, and when you get closer… someone rings the gong and suddenly I'm aware of your presence. Zuko, you're doing things to me that I'm slightly scared of."
Zuko smiled, soft and full of emotion as stroke her baby soft cheek gently.
"Sakura, I swear that nothing ever happened between me and Katara. When you walked in on us, we were just having a revelation, but nothing more. Then, she's only gushing over me because while we've been rivals for so long, the fact that we're now friends is slightly overwhelming for the both of us, and we're just trying to be friendly. Nothing more, nothing less. There's only one girl I really care for in a romantic way, and her skin is much lighter, hair color unnatural, and beauty incomparable," Zuko admitted.
Sakura grinned, leaning into his touch. "I knew it," she mused, "I'm always coming up with the most absurd assumptions."
"So what does this make us?" Zuko asked
"I guess…" Sakura breathed.
"What are you guys doing?" Sokka cried, "The play's about to start and my Sokka actor is going to get a lot funnier!"
Zuko clenched his eyes shut, before shooting a hate filled glare at Sokka. Suki quickly retreated as Sakura clenched down on the wooden floor boards, one crumbling into dust under her chakra infused grip.
"We're coming," Sakura said shortly, standing up as she took Zuko's hand to help him up. The two stared at each other, before Katara scurried past them into the theater. Sakura's eyebrow cocked, slightly forgetting about her almost kiss when she saw Katara's eyes slightly dilated and lips swollen. Sakura scowled. Well Katara got a kiss, why didn't she?
While the scenes played, Sakura felt no interest in them as Inner Sakura cursed Sokka and Katara with malicious threats that Sakura didn't even know that Inner knew! And Inner was a part of her! So far, the group went to the Fire Nation, Aang got better, Katara was the painted lady, Sokka got a sword, and some guy who could shoot lightning out of his head died. Finally, Aang came back, a little disgruntled, but his lips slightly swollen as well.
Turning her attention back to the play, Actress Katara and Actress Aang stood on top of some metal ships, Actress Katara announcing dramatically, "I just want to let you know, Aang, that I'll always love you …like a brother!"
"I wouldn't want it any other way," Actress Aang nodded, and the two shared a nifty handshake.
Actor Sokka stepped forward into the stoplight as he addressed Actor Toph, "Hey Toph, would you say that you and Aang have a …rocky relationship?"
The audience laughed and Sokka grinned boldly, slapping his thigh as he laughed loudly into Suki's ear.
The scene changed to Actress Aang standing in the palace, saying to herself, "I finally made it to the royal palace …but no one's home!"
"Actually," Actor Zuko's hoarse voice rang out, "I'm home! And I want to join you!"
Sokka made ready to stand, whispering to the others, "I guess that's it, the plays caught up to the present."
"Aw," Sakura pouted, "but I didn't even appear once…"
Suki smiled, "Well it would have been hard for the playwrights to find a pink wig…"
"Wait," Zuko paused, "I don't think that's it…"
"But how could they have found out about anything past that?" Sokka asked, "…unless this is the FUTURE!"
Suki slapped him over the head and the gang returned their attention to the play.
A regal looking man stepped out on stage, wearing fancy armor and his hair done in an elegant bun. A bright, orange, cardboard comet flew over head and the man announced, "With the energy harnessed from that comet, no one will be able to stop the Fire Nation!"
Ah, Sakura mused, the Fire Lord.
"Father," Actress Azula ran from behind the curtains and bowed in front of her fake father, "Zuko and the Avatar are at the palace. They are trying to stop you!"
"You take care of Zuko," the fake Fire Lord said, "I shall face the Avatar, myself."
The two disappeared and Actress Aang and Actor Zuko stood in the clearing. Actress Azula emerged again, wearing a haughty smirk on her face.
"Aang, you find the Fire Lord! I'll hold her off," Actor Zuko announced.
"You are no longer my brother," Actress Azula sneered once Actress Aang was gone, "You are an enemy!"
"No!" Actor Zuko shouted, "I am the rightful heir to the throne!"
"We'll see," Actress Azula hissed dangerously. Sakura shivered slightly. Even the fake Azula was scary…
Actress Azula pulled out two long blue strips from her sleeves, and flung them at Actor Zuko. Actor Zuko pulled out his own red strips, and in a flash of acrobatic flips, the two landed about twenty feet away. Actress Azula raised her fist, and cloth fire raised throughout the stage, before one finally reached Actor Zuko and fell over him.
"Hooooonor!" Zuko shouted and he disappeared from the stage.
The real Zuko winced and everyone stared at him in shock while the crowd cheered louder than they had before.
The scene switched abruptly, to Actress Aang facing off with the Actor Fire Lord.
"So you have mastered all four elements?" Actor Fire Lord asked mockingly.
"Yeah," Actress Aang sing-songed, "and you're going down!"
"No," Actor Fire Lord maliciously said, "it is you who are going down!" He stepped down from his throne and announced, "You see, you are too late! The comet is already here, and I'm unstoppable!"
Actress Aang pulled out light blue, bordering white, long strips of paper and she fought against the Actor Fire Lord with his hot red strips. While Actress Aang flipped in mid air, Actor Fire Lord shot his hand out, and a large cloth of red circled around the stage before wrapping around Actress Aang's delicate body.
"Noooo!" Actress Aang cried and the wires attached to her slowly lowered her to the stage safely.
"It is over Father," Actress Azula yelled, "And we have done it!"
"Yes," Actor Fire Lord shouted, "We have done it! The dreams of my father and my father's father, are now being realized! The world …is mine!"
The crowd stood up on their feet, hollering their praises and giving a standing ovation. Aang had a horror stricken look on his face and his milky complexion was paler than usual.
"That wasn't a good play," Zuko said as the seven walked home.
"I'll say," Suki snorted.
"Horrible," Katara shook her head.
"Why did we even go?" Sakura rolled her eyes.
"You said it," Aang nodded.
Sokka paused. "But the effects were decent…"
So I hope that you liked it, please review if you did! Happy Valentine's Day to everyone and I hope you ended up with your special someone :)