Bar Wars

Avatar Crack!fic by: A J

For Machete227's Crack!fic Challenge

Standard Disclaimer Applies

Author's note: I hope I'm up to this; Seven crack!fic one-shots in as many days. For full details, please see Machete227's author page. To anyone else trying this as well, Lots of luck! Catch ya on the flipside, A J. On with the story …

Warning: OOC-ness ahead!

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"There it is, stranger, Eyu Chengzhen. You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy." With that, Kuei's guide sidled back off into the nearby woods, headed home with a clear conscience and many of Kuei's gold coins. 'Poor fool … He'd have been better off fleeing to Ba Sing Se like all the other refugees.'

"What a nice fellow … GOOD BYE, HAHN! GOOD LUCK ON YOUR TRIP!" Kuei called after his guide, then entered the seedy town on the edge of the Great Swamp. "First things first … something to drink. And I must remember to get something for Bosco, he's been so patient staying out of sight these last couple days." Decided, he steered himself towards Er Ni's Gym and Juice Bar. As he entered, he was forced to duck under a man who went flying involuntarily out the door.

"All right Jun, I know you're proud of that new trick, but no more 'free lessons' today," the overweight proprietor said to a lithe woman dusting off her hands on the tatami mat to the left of the door.

"Hey, Er Ni, he asked for that one 'specially," she said, sweeping her hair behind her with one hand. "If Lugu would learn to keep his hands to himself, I wouldn't have to keep teaching him all these other techniques the hard way." She looked over her shoulder at the glandularly challenged fellow still in that corner of the room. "How 'bout you, Qiqiu? Had enough instruction for one day?"

He held up his large hands in surrender. "Yeah," he gulped "I'm good." He fled out the door past Kuei to safety, and to see to his friend.

Kuei stepped towards the bar. "Good sir Er Ni, I'd be much obliged if you could supply me with something refreshing to drink, and a pound or two of fresh fruit."

"Shouldn't be a problem," Er Ni said, grinning. "Though I'll warn you, all my fruit is already chopped up for smoothies for the day."

"Oh, the condition is fine, it's the amount that's important," Kuei started to say. Then, "Uh, what's a … smoothie?"

"Give him one of my usuals, Er Ni, and another for me," Jun chuckled, sitting next to him at the bar. Er Ni nodded, and turned to see to the drinks. "You'll like this," she told Kuei.

"I've never been this far south before," Kuei told the two, as he fished three silver out from his remaining money. He put it on the counter as Er Ni set a glass before him, and another in front of Jun. Kuei picked up the frothing cup of viscous, pink-and-purple swirled fluid. "What is this?" he asked, tilting the cup slowly. The contents shifted slowly, defying gravity momentarily as they clung to the cup.

"Er Ni's best berry smoothie," Jun sighed, tilting her own glass up and swallowing some of the concoction thickly. "Mmmm, this is even better than yesterday's, Ern."

"Fresh yogurt shipment this morning," Er Ni said with some satisfaction. "My supplier said something about mixing sabertooth mooselion milk in, to counter the too-sweet koala-goat taste. It shows, doesn't it?"

"Hmm," was all Jun could manage, as she finished hers off. "Whatever it is, it works. Shir-shu leaps and bounds better than firewhiskey any day," she sighed.

"Mooselion milk?" Kuei wondered quietly, still eyeing his cloying drink suspiciously. It smelled good, he'd grant Er Ni that. But this was why he was out here, after all: to learn more about his people firsthand. He held his breath, and took a large slow-moving gulp. "Oh, MY!" His eyes flew wide at the delightful creamy taste, and he quickly finished his off as well. Er Ni and Jun chuckled at his enthusiasm. "But … this drink is amazing!" Kuei exclaimed. "Why have these never made it as far as Ba Sing Se?"

"Well, first, they're my own invention," Er Ni said, grinning. "Second, the only guy I trust for decent yogurt is from the next village over. It makes it okay that far, but yogurt'd never survive the travel-time to the Capital. It'd just take too long."

"You sellin' more a' that slop to innocent thirsty travelers, Ern?" a harsh voice accused from the door. "You want a REAL drink, come down to Miki's Tavern, bub." Kuei turned to see a large man taking up the whole entrance. "And as for you, missy," he swore, pointing at Jun. "Why's one of my best customers consortin' with the enemy, and roughing up my sons in the process?"

"Juren, if I'd have known those two juvenile delinquents were yours, I'd have charged them for the privilege of kicking their behinds. Both of them have the manners of a badgermole where women are concerned," she accused, implying the 'learn-by-feel' introductions she'd received. Er Ni snickered, and Juren's puffy face grew blotchy with rage. "And as for consorting, I've found the drinks – and the company – better here than I ever did at your boss' place."

"If this is slop, then call me a hogmonkey," Kuei added, tilting his glass up and waiting for the dregs to crawl out. "I can't remember when I've had something that satisfying to drink." Juren made a dismissive noise, and stomped away. "Another round, Sifu Er Ni of the Smoothies," Kuei said, smiling, "and please, join us! I have the feeling this is the beginning of a wonderful relationship!"

"More than one," Jun laughed, raising her original empty cup in a toast. "To smoothies!" Kuei readily agreed, 'ting'ing his glass against hers.

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Another Author's note: Hey, brave readers, A J here. The challenge this came out for is for one-shots, but I have lots more for this story if anyone's interested. Let me know after the week's out, and you'll see additions for all the crack!fics that clamor for enough follow-ups. In the meantime … Catch ya all on the flipside, so don't get caught in the downslide, A J.