And Other Fairly Stupid Tales
(Body Swap Part 4)
Lunch was awkward. Well, for them, anyway. It didn't seem like Suki had told anyone, but she kept sneaking them secretive glances and knowing smiles, and they felt it was only a matter of time before she opened her mouth.
When they made it through lunch incident free, Katara thought they might actually have dodged an arrow. That is, until her brother strode up to her with an odd glint in his eye and said, "Zuko, I need to talk to you."
Katara exchanged a quick, fearful look with Zuko before resignedly following her brother out of the dining room.
"So," Sokka said as soon as they were out of earshot of the others, throwing an arm around her shoulders, "What did you and Katara do while we were out?"
"W- what do you mean?" she asked, playing ignorant.
When he spoke next, it wasn't what she was expecting to hear. "Well, you both seemed rather adamant about staying behind, and you've been spending a lot of time together today... I just thought you might've finally made your move." He wiggled his eyebrows suggestively.
"What are you...? My move?"
"You know, on Katara. You may remember her as the girl you're desperately in love with."
Katara took a swift step back and looked at her brother incredulously. "Zuko's not– I-I mean, I'm not in love with Katara! What are you saying?"
Sokka raised a skeptical eyebrow and crossed his arms. "So now you're back to denying it? I thought we'd moved past this."
"We... what?" Katara said, feeling utterly lost.
"In any case, that's not what I brought you out here to talk about."
"Nope. See, I found something very interesting while digging around in one of the second story closets earlier, and as a fellow man, I thought you deserved to share in this wondrous discovery."
He lead her to his room and gestured to two piles of scrolls resting on his bed, all neatly tied with crimson string and stamped with black crosses. "This one's mine," he said, gesturing to one of the piles. "The other is all yours, bro. I'd give some to Aang, but I don't think he's quite ready yet, if you know what I mean."
Katara did not. Was there some significance to these scrolls that she was missing? To mask her ignorance, she nodded and said, "Yeah, Aang's not, uh, manly enough?"
Sokka winked and deposited the second pile of scrolls into her arms. "This will be our little secret." Then he shoved her out the door with a final, "Enjoy."
Katara stood outside the door for a long moment, just holding the scrolls in confusion. What was that about?
Her curiosity overtook her, and she carried her bounty back to Zuko's room to inspect. What was so special about these scrolls, that Sokka would act so secretive? Were they sappy romance scrolls that he was embarrassed about the others finding out he read? But if that were the case, why would he give them to Zuko? Were they both closet sappy romance fans or something?
She laid the scrolls on the bed and proceeded to untie one of them. Sure, Sokka had been clear that this was between him and Zuko, but she was the one he gave the scrolls to. And technically, she was Zuko at the moment...
Her eyes nearly popped out of her skull when she saw the contents of the scroll. It was a highly detailed drawing of a busty young woman lying provocatively on the ground with her legs spread wide, completely nude.
Disgusted, she rolled the parchment back up and tossed it away from her. What was her brother...? Did Zuko look at stuff like this? Was that how the two of them got their jollies? She shook her head, trying not to get too worked up. From the sounds of things, Sokka just discovered these, and she knew her brother wasn't carrying anything like this around with him during their travels. And Zuko really didn't seem like the type... although, what did she know about his tastes, anyway? He was the one group member whose stuff she didn't help manage. His pack could be full of distasteful paraphernalia.
No, Zuko was many things, but a pervert wasn't one of them. Had he even had a girlfriend? He didn't seem very interested in girls or dating.
You know, on Katara. You may remember her as the girl you're desperately in love with.
She shook her head again. Sokka was imagining things. She and Zuko were just friends. Zuko certainly didn't think anything more than that of her, she was positive.
So now you're back to denying it? I thought we'd moved past this.
Despite herself, she reached for another scroll and tentatively unrolled it. This one depicted a man and a woman artfully painted on top of a mat, their clothing askew in such a way that everything was visible. The man was holding one of the woman's... chestular assets from behind with one hand while the other held her thighs open for his rather exaggeratedly proportioned... part's ease of access. It was disgusting and indecent, but at the same time Katara couldn't pull her eyes away. It was like a magnetic force and she was helpless before it's bawdiness.
She made to shift her position, and that's when she noticed that a rather distinct part of Zuko's anatomy had begun to react to the pictures. Katara froze in horror, the scroll still hanging from her hand. Oh spirits! Oh spirits! Oh Tui and La! She tossed the scroll back into the pile without even bothering to roll it back up snatched a pillow from the head of Zuko's bed. She then proceeded to shove her face in it and make a completely unmanly squealing noise.
Zuko was concerned. What had Sokka wanted to talk to him about? What was he telling Katara right now? Whenever the other boy pulled him aside, it was usually to discuss...
He felt the blood drain from his face. Oh no. What if Sokka wanted to talk about–
Zuko looked up from where he'd been unconsciously clenching his hands on the tabletop and saw Aang bouncing somewhat nervously on the balls of his feet next him. "Yes, Aang?"
"I was just wondering... do you maybe want to go waterbend with me?"
Zuko tried not to make a face at that request. "I uhh... don't think I'm up for it right now," he said apologetically. "I didn't sleep well, and all."
Aang looked disappointed for a brief moment, then he perked up again and said, "Well, how about just playing on the beach, then? I've been working on my sand sculptures. I can make a pretty good Appa."
The young airbender looked so hopeful, Zuko couldn't find it in himself to say no. "Sure. Let's go build sand bison," he said resignedly.
They walked out onto the beach and Aang chattered cheerfully, impelling Zuko's involvement by finishing his sentences with tag questions like "right?" and "don't you think?" Zuko wondered what had gotten into his young friend. Aang wasn't usually like this... attention seeking.
They found a spot near the ocean, and Aang immediately busied himself by bending heaps of wet sand into a large, bison shaped mound. Zuko watched as he used his hands to pat it down and shape the finer details. When he was done, he turned back to Zuko and put his hands on his hips proudly. "What do you think?"
Zuko had to give him credit, the sand-sculpture was quite good. "It's great."
Aang puffed up his chest proudly. "See, that's one of the things I like about you, Katara. You appreciate fine art."
Zuko blinked and scratched the back of his neck. "Er, yeah."
The younger boy blushed then and clasped his hands behind his back, looking up at Zuko bashfully. "Actually, there are a lot of things I like about you," he confessed. "You're pretty and smart and nice and a super good friend..."
Zuko paled as he realized where this was going. Oh no. Oh no no no.
"...And I just thought you should know that I think you're really special."
Aang took a step forward and Zuko responded by taking a step back. "Um, thanks, Aang. I really appreciate that but–"
He was cut off by Aang's mouth rising to meet his.
Zuko's eye's widened and his whole body stiffened. His brain fzz'd a few times and then went blank briefly before coming back online in overdrive. Aang kissing... kiss... man... kissed by a man. Oh Ran and Shao. Oh spirits.
His mental faculties returned and he shoved Aang roughly away. "What are you doing?" he screeched, his whole face and neck burning.
Aang looked surprised and a little hurt. "Kissing you."
"I know that!" Zuko exclaimed, wiping his mouth on his arm, "I just... you..." he struggled to find the right words. "You can't do that!" he said finally, before turning on his heel and running off back toward the house.
Aang watched him go, stupefied. "What's up with her?"
Zuko did what any teenage girl would do after having a kissed forced on her, he ran to his room.
He soon realized that he was not alone. The moment he opened the door, he heard a yelp from his bed, and he looked over to see himself lying on his stomach on top of the covers amidst a scattering of scrolls, a pillow pressed into his face.
"Katara!" Zuko shut the door behind him and hurried across the room to share his tale of woe with her.
"This isn't what it looks like!" she cried as he approached.
That stopped him. Wasn't what what looked like? He took a moment to digest the scene in front of him, Katara lying on her stomach, the pillow, the scrolls... He picked up one of the scrolls, despite Katara's desperate pleas of "wait!" and "don't!", and unrolled it.
He dropped it a half second later, horrified.
"I told you not to," Katara groaned from behind his pillow.
"Katara, what on earth? Where-?"
"Sokka found them and gave them to me. I was curious, so I looked, and now..."
"And now, what?"
She pushed her face even harder into the pillow, but Zuko could see that tip of his good ear was bright red. She shook her head and said, "...Never mind."
Suddenly it clicked; her position, her blush, her hesitancy to talk about it, he had gone through all of that himself, back when he was first entering adolescence.
Oh, for the love of... Could this day possibly get any more embarrassing for him?
There was only one way to deal with this. The same way his uncle had helped him deal with it when he was going through it for the first time.
He sat down on the edge of the bed and put hand on Katara's shoulder in what he hoped came off as an understanding gesture. "Listen Katara," he began, "I know what you're going through right now, and it's perfectly natural..."
"Nothing about this is natural."
She had a point, there. "Okay, well, if you were a boy this would be perfectly natural," he amended. "And you have to understand that there's nothing wrong with you. This reaction can be very hard to control. You will encounter plenty of pretty girls during..." he trailed off as he noticed the look Katara was giving him from around the pillow. Right, perhaps delivering his uncle's speech verbatim wasn't entirely necessary. He cleared his throat awkwardly. "Anyway, uh, it's nothing to be embarrassed about, and uh..."
"Just tell me how to fix it, Zuko," she said exasperatedly.
"Well, uh, there are a number of ways... but, um, most of them probably aren't going to appeal to you."
"Then give me the ones that will."
"There's really only one," he admitted, "You have to get turned off."
"How do I do that?"
He shrugged. "I don't know, think of something that repulses you. Something as unsexy as possible."
"Like Sokka's dirty socks?"
"Sure. Whatever works."
Katara screwed her–his–face up in concentration, and Zuko tried his best not to think too much about what she was attempting to do. Of all the people to give the puberty talk to... he sighed and absently rubbed her shoulder.
"Um, could you stop that?"
"Touching me. You're kind of making it worse. Somehow."
Zuko blushed and hurriedly removed his hand from her shoulder. She was getting turned on by him? But he was in her body... Wait, could it be his own body's natural reaction to hers? Agni knew how much trouble he had controlling himself around her on the best of days.
A couple moments later, Katara looked back up at him and said, "I think it's fixed."
Fixed. She made it sound like he was broken. "Yay."
"Anyway, what was it you were going to say before?" she prodded, finally sitting up to talk to him like a normal person.
Memories of Aang and the beach came flooding back. Zuko blushed and glanced back at the door cautiously. Satisfied that nobody was on the other side and he wouldn't be over heard, he turned back to Katara said, "Aang kissed me."
She looked back at him blankly. "What do you mean, kissed you?"
"I mean he stuck his face in mine and kissed me!" he responded, wondering what other meaning there could possible be.
Katara's eyes traveled down his face to rest on his lips briefly, and then back up to his eyes again. She brought a hand to her own mouth and let out a snorty sound.
The sound was followed by another, and then another, and then she was laughing. Holding her arms and laughing at him like a tickled hyena-dog.
Zuko scowled at her. "It's not funny!"
Katara forced herself to stop, putting a hand on his shoulder to steady herself. "I'm sorry, Zuko," she said, wiping a tear from her eye, "I know it's no fun when a person kisses you against your will. It's just.." she looked at his face and giggled again, slapping her palm to her mouth to stifle the noise. "Aang kissed you."
Zuko was about to say something snippy back, but then her words registered in his brain. "Wait, you know?"
His frown deepened as Katara blushed and looked down at her lap. "Aang kissed me before. On the day of the invasion."
Zuko felt his heart sink in his chest. "He... he did?" Why had nobody mentioned this to him? Why hadn't Sokka...? Sure, he knew Aang had a crush on her, but to think he'd already gotten there first... Zuko's jaw tightened.
"Yeah. Right before he flew off to find your father. We haven't really talked about it at all since then, and I kinda thought he'd forgotten about it, or gotten over it, or something."
Zuko felt a spark of hope ignite within him. "So... you're not together?"
She shook her head.
He sighed in relief.
Katara bit her lip and looked at him like she wanted to say something, but when she spoke, it was to ask, "What did you do? When he kissed you, I mean."
He ran his hand through the hair at the back of his head and looked away from her embarrassedly. "...I ran away."
"You didn't say anything?" she prodded.
"I told him he couldn't do that."
Katara sighed and pinched the bridge of her nose. "Not how I would've handled it, but I suppose it's for the best. Someone was going to have to say that to him eventually. I just hope he didn't take it too hard."
Honestly, Zuko didn't know how he'd taken it. He'd run off too quickly to find out. He felt a little bad for possibly putting Katara in an awkward position with Aang, but he didn't think his reaction was that unreasonable. You don't just kiss someone out of nowhere, especially when you don't even know how that person feels about you. Zuko would never do that.
Unbidden, an image of Katara looking up at him with a sweet smile entered his mind, her cheeks flushed from bending practice and her lips pulled up enticingly. Okay, he would probably never do that.
At least, he would try not to do that.
Switching topics, he pointed at the pile of naughty scrolls, "What are you going to do about those?"
She turned to look at them as well. "What do you mean me? They're your scrolls."
"I don't want them," he denied.
"Really? Because Sokka seemed to think you'd be very interested in them."
"I don't want them," he repeated insistently, blushing at her insinuation.
"Then what are we going to do with them?" she asked, raising her arms inquiringly.
Zuko thought for a moment and then smirked slightly.
"Ready for some more firebending practice?"
There it is, Body-Swap part 4. A big thank you to ShoeNinja for providing me with so many wonderful ideas for this chapter.
I hope you all enjoyed this chapter. It's extra long, to make up for making you all wait so long. I still want to continue this, but I can't tell you when the next part will be up. TCA is my number one priority, and I've been neglecting it for too long.
Yeah, I know I skipped Wonderland. I probably could've written something pretty good for that prompt, but I would've felt bad making you all wait even longer.
Till next time!