Captain Boomerangman and the Smoothie of Life
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 …
They had all reunited for a celebratory cup of tea at Iroh's Jasmine Dragon. Most were sitting around Aang's table, listening as he detailed his epic battle with Ozai for those who'd missed seeing it firsthand.
Sokka sat at a desk across the room, doing a sketch of the gathered friends and allies. Suki stood nearby, occasionally murmuring an encouraging word or a bit of editorial advice. She rather thought Mai woild approve when she stopped him from adding a firebending fumarole over the dour girl's portraiture. She was also absentmindedly playing with the kerchief Sokka had given her just before moonset at the end of their battle, her finger twirling it back and forth by one of the eyeholes it bore.
The motion caught Katara's eye. She thought it was a good sign that her brother had parted willingly with some part of his alter ego. Perhaps with the war over, they had seen the last of Captain Boomerangman. She thought he made a more dashing figure with his new hat. A tricorner like the one that horrible pirate captain they'd met had worn, it was decorated with a crescent-cut moonstone pendant, holding a hawkdragon feather at a rakish angle on one side. The feather reminded her to look up.
Hawkey and Momo were keeping to their sides of the room, chirping back and forth at each other uneasily from over their respective owners. Their truce was no doubt in large part to Sokka and Aang's behest, though the obvious blade laying across her brother's former fencing teacher's lap was surely a deciding factor in the two animals' behavior. Even with Katara's expert healing help, Piandao would be in a cast for several weeks still. He was sitting further towards the back of the room with Iroh, being doted on by his new girlfriend Jin.
Noticing that had Katara looking around the tea shop, counting off all the other happy couples present. There was herself and Aang, of course, Sokka and Suki (which she thought went a long way towards explaining her brother's mellow outlook today,) Zuko and Mai (the reason behind Iroh's perpetual grinning,) Mai's friend Ty Lee and Hahn (Yue's ex-fiancé, who the hyper acrobat had met in Firenation prison along with the rest of the Kyoshi warriors,) and the most recent arrivals, King Kuei and the bounty-hunter June, sitting across from Iroh, Jin, and Piandao and murmuring sweet nothings to each other. The only unattached one in the room was Toph, and young as she was, Katara could tell even the Blind Battler wasn't oblivious to the lovey-dovey vibe that permeated the room. Though if the glares Haru and Teo had been trading behind her back at the new airship docks earlier today were any indication, Toph didn't have far to look for a 'forever friend' of her own … though she may have to sit through an unscheduled Earth Rumble Eight for the boys to finish vying for her affections. The thought, and the thought of what tough Toph's reaction to that would probably be, made Katara smile.
Just as Aang's tale was winding down, there was a commotion at the door. "I'm sorry, we're closed for a private party!" Iroh bellowed in a friendly voice. "We'll be open at our regular time tomorrow!"
"That's okay, I have my own key," came a querulous voice from the other side. Then the wall around the door swung open on an invisible earthbending hinge of the voice's making, to reveal a beaming Bumi, an unashamedly happy Hama, and a cart full of fruit, barrels, and ice. "Hey, Kuei, we brought the smoothies!" Bumi cackled, and led Hama in.
Katara and Piandao were both on their feet, looking at her with dire intent, which she just ignored in favor of turning back towards the door. "Straight through to the kitchen," she said, and the cart started across the room, seemingly on it's own. Only when it was well inside, and Bumi had closed the hole in the wall, did the others in the shop see the pair of people straining with the cart.
"Well, that'll never do, eh, Toph?" Bumi said in an undertone only the young girl heard. With a wicked grin, she nabbed a sleeve of each of the couple. When they stopped, perplexed, she winked at them, and with a tap of her foot and a flick of her fingers, the wagon was pushed the rest of the way into the kitchen at the back of the tea shop. It was after they had all turned back to get a better look at Bumi's helpers that all the Firenation citizens exclaimed, almost as one entity.
"Lady Ursa!" most of them cried. The woman who'd been on the left side of the cart smiled sheepishly, bowing her head in this roomful of longtime friends and family. Then she saw him; tall, wiry, with a scar covering one side of his face, and she gasped.
"Mother?" Zuko murmured, wondering. He was aware Mai had his hand in a deathgrip, and was pretty sure he was holding onto her just as tight, if only to keep from running either to or from this apparition from his agonizingly-more innocent childhood.
"Zuko?" Ursa asked, tears starting in her eyes. She'd heard, all this last year, the wildest rumors about her son and his madcap pursuit of the Avatar across the whole of the world, but never in her wildest imaginings had she expected to see him in Ba Sing Se, even after she'd heard he was there at the city's fall.
"So this is the boy you've been telling me about, dear?" the other cart pusher asked, looking Zuko up and down himself. "Fine strapping young lad you've got there, Urs. He'll make a heck of a cabbage farmer, he will." The older man beamed proudly, and held his hand out to shake. Zuko looked over at him blankly, then back to his mother, and over again, while Bumi cackled and the rest of the room just … stared. Most of them had met him, one place or another, over the course of their recent travels. The infamous cabbage vendor, who seemed to always be running into trouble, but always came back from it undaunted.
"Er, I've got a job already, actually …" Zuko started, tentatively shaking the stranger's hand. Sokka looked up from his sketch, still trying to add details these new people were blocking his view of now, when their conversation finally registered with him as well.
"Wait … I thought your mom was married to King Flamey-pants Ozai?" he asked Zuko bluntly. The newest Firelord groaned, hand slapping against his forehead, while the rest of the room broke up into uneasy chuckling.
"I'd like to think banishment counts as a formal declaration of divorce," Ursa deadpanned, blushing. She turned to Zuko again. "This is my second husband, Juan Xincai." Iroh came forward, pulling his onetime sister-in-law into a warm bearhug.
"Let me be the first of us to congratulate you, sister mine," he said gruffly. "This calls for tea." He turned to Katara and Jin, his two most adept assistants. They nodded, and disappeared into the kitchen ahead of him. Iroh shook Juan's hand. "Welcome to the extended family," he said, and went into the kitchen quickly, mostly so the others wouldn't see him crying freely like the sentimental old fool he was.
"Actually, I think this calls for more than tea," Kuei said, giving June a nudge. She grinned back, and followed him into the kitchen as well. Various crunching, scraping, and pouring noises could shortly be heard from behind the door. Bumi cackled merrily.
"Don't forget the starfruit!" he called through the door, then showed Hama to a seat nearby to sit and watch the little drama he knew was coming.
"Let me see if I get this right," Zuko said, rubbing the bridge of his nose and staring at his mother. "You got yourself banished by your husband the Firelord, for an unknown incident no one will talk about, and went to the Earthkingdom and married a cabbage vendor?" He did his best to ignore the rest of the roomful of his former friends as they burst out laughing at his belated indignation.
"Way to go, lover," Mai murmured in his ear soothingly. "That'll show her." He groaned again, looking at her beseechingly with an expression that clearly asked, 'Whose side are you ON?'
Ursa smiled. He'd never change, her so-proper son. "Well, I didn't run straight into Juan's arms, if you're asking, Zuzu." She started at the cringe he gave at hearing Azula's nickname for him, especially from her, of all people. "I didn't meet him until about a year ago, right outside the gates of Omashu. He was trying to fix his cart from when the guards denied him entry at the gates with unnecessary force …" The laughter from around them got louder, and she turned curiously to Juan. "Am I missing something, dear?"
"Oh, we've some of us bumped into each other before …" he coughed, looking pointedly at Aang and Bumi, who were helplessly gasping in mirth at this point. Hama gave Bumi an inquisitive glance when his gaze next rolled her way, and he mimed one hand steamrollering another over after a downhill slide, whereupon he and Aang were off again, along with Sokka and Katara this time.
"Good times, good times," Sokka finally managed after a moment, and Suki gave him a poke in the ribs.
"You'll have to fill me in later, Captain," she said with a grin.
Katara and Iroh came back out, him with a tray of hot cups of tea, and her with a chilled tray covered in tall glasses letting off little puffs of cold steam. "Hot or cold?" they both asked, as their other three helpers followed, pushing a small serving cart with additional cups of each beverage on it.
The smoothie aficionados in the crowd, including Juan and Ursa (who'd been introduced to them by Bumi on their shared trip back from Eyu Chengzhen,) tried to get the others enthused over their new favorite beverage. Sokka, ever the curious one, accepted the challenge, as did Aang the adventurous Avatar at Bumi's urging. Several minutes passed while everyone drank in companionable peace, then, Sokka, taking some hot tea to rinse the cloying fruit concoction from the roof of his mouth, spilled some into his mostly-empty smoothie glass. Taking a judicious sip of the new mixed beverage, he smacked his lips, and offered it to Suki. She gave him a wondrous grin afterwards, and the pair wordlessly took to the kitchen, stealing June along the way again with a whispered word.
Everyone watched curiously at the door while fresh sounds of industry came out, then Sokka and the two women reentered, passing out teacups full of their newest invention wordlessly, grinning madly. 'Trial samples, first," the young warrior smiled, as he handed one cautiously to Hama. He'd hate to think what she could do to him if she hated it …
"What is this?" Ty Lee asked wondrously, smacking her lips with gusto. When Hahn gave his a judicious sip, shuddered, and held it away, she nabbed his too and finished it off.
"Smoothies with green tea," Suki beamed, giving her genius boyfriend a kiss on the cheek. Katara gave Sokka a single horrified glance, and hastily grabbed Aang's cup away from him.
"Hey! I was only half done!" the young Avatar griped, then sulked … for about ten seconds. Just as the others were getting the courage up to ask what was up with Katara and her boyfriend, Ty Lee giggled. Hahn and Mai whipped back her way, both realizing what was happening to her, AND Aang. Hahn fairly scrambled out of his seat as Ty Lee seemed to sort of bounce in place, giggling on a simultaneous sugar and caffeine high. Her giggle was answered by one from Aang, and Bumi started laughing at the top of his lungs, as the two most hyper individuals in the Woorld both disappeared out the windows next to them, and a second later, mad scrambling could be heard on the roof of the Jasmine Dragon. "Tag, you're it!" they all heard Aang call, and there was a shift in the noise on the roof, as one teen clearly was now chasing the other.
"Hey, no fair! I can't bend!" Ty Lee yelled next, and Ursa started laughing as hard as Bumi.
"Oh, if I'd had a silver for every time she and you two used to yell that at Azula when you were kids!" she managed to gasp in Mai's exasperated direction. Mai sighed, her characteristic one-sided smirk showing.
"Oh, yeah," she chuckled. "And then we'd go and get her brother here," she added, wrapping a possessive arm through Zuko's, "to even the odds."
"Don't remind me," Zuko groaned. He was grinning while he did, though.
"Uh, should we go and get them?" Jin asked uncertainly, looking up. Zuko, Sokka, and Katara looked at each other, and played a hurried round of boulder, parchment, sword. They all came up boulder, and after a second's confusion, turned to Toph.
Aware of their movement in her direction through her tremorsense, she just frowned. "Nuh-uh," was all she told the trio. "You don't want me getting 'em down the way I'd do it. I kinda think you'd like 'em back alive. Besides," she added with a wicked grin. "I think Iroh likes his roof."
"That goes without saying," Iroh said pompously, and the others laughed around them. They all settled in to talk and drink the afternoon away, while Ty Lee and the Avatar chased each other around the block until their buzzes wore off several hours later.
Author's note two: Well, there you have it, faithful readers, Day seven of the Crack!ship challenge. I'd like to thank the academy (and Machete227) for this fun opportunity to mess with the Gaang and their friends. Fear not, the likes of Captain Boomerangman and their cohorts will not go gentle into that good night. I've already got several new stories in mind, for these and other crazy couples across the face of the Woorld of Avatar: the Last Airbender. Don't forget to read and review, and we'll catch ya on the flipside, so don't get caught in the downslide, A J and friends. ;D