The Breakfast Club-Avatar - Chapter 1

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The Breakfast Club-Avatar

by PitaBread

Libraries: Drama, Humor, Misc TV Shows, Romance

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The Breakfast Club, told with the Avatar kids as the characters. I'm doing this as practice/just for fun, so be nice!

Untitled

The Breakfast Club, Avatar style.

Author's Note: I'm doing this JUST FOR FUN. It's not creative in anyway, because the script/plot belongs to Paramount, and the characters belong to Nickelodeon.

Katara as Claire Standish, the `Princess'.

Aang as Brian Johnson, the `Brain'.

Sokka as Andy Clark, the `Athlete'.

Zuko as John Bender, the `Criminal'.

Toph as Allison Reynolds, the `Basketcase'.

Ozaias Mr. Vernon, the Principal.

Iroh as Carl, the janitor.

The gAang will be @ Shermer High School, just like in the movie. I'm going to change a few things to fit their personalities and whatnot, but mostly, this is for my pleasure. (For instance, I'm making them drink instead of smoke pot and I've changed some dialogue, and believe it or not, I tried to tone some of the sexual stuff down) I just happened to be watching TBC the other day and said to myself, “Zuko is just like Bender. Bad relationship with his father, so he becomes bad in the process, but he's not really bad, just misunderstood. And Katara is kinda like Claire - a little stuck-up and tries too hard.” Some parts of Claire would be better suited for Azula, but I didn't want Zuko and Azula winding up together at the end, LOL. I hope you like! This will be my first exploration of the Avatar characters, and I hope it'll help me write for them a little easier. (This is also a tribute to both Bender and Zuko. XD ) Don't take this seriously. I'm only messing around with some of my favorite characters and one of my favorite movies. It's an experiment. And FYI - this is Zuko when he's conflicted: shaggy, black hair and not sure which side he's on.

PART ONE

Saturday, March 24th, 1984. Shermer High School, Shermer, Illinois. 60062.

`Dear Mr. Vernon,

We accept that we had to waste a whole Saturday in detention for whatever it was we did wrong. What we did was wrong. But we think you're crazy, trying to make us write an essay telling you who we think we are. What do you care? You see us as you want to see us. In the simplest terms; the most convenient definitions. You see us as a Brain; an Athlete; a Basketcase; a Princess; and a Criminal. Correct? That's the way we saw each other at seven o'clock this morning. We were brainwashed.'

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Katara shrugs as Sokka points to a chair near her, Aang already organizing his things a few tables back. Zuko walks in scowling, knocking over a pencil holder as he passes by a librarian's desk and stealing a pad of hall passes as he does. He checks out those that are already sitting, intimidating Aang into moving to the next row of tables with a glare. Aang scurries to move away, and Zuko sits. As Toph hurries in, everyone watches the enigma as she moves to the back, in the furthest seat away. Zuko puts his feet of on another chair as Katara and Sokka laugh quietly to each other about the odd addition to their punishment.

Ozai walks in and eyes the five students condescendingly. “Well, well. Here we are. I want to congratulate you for being on time.”

Katara meekly raises her hand. “Excuse me, sir?” Ozai frowns at her, obviously not having given her permission to speak, but curious to what she is about to say anyways. “I think there's been some kind of mistake. I know it's detention, but I don't think I belong in here.”

Ozai ignores her and looks at his watch. “It is now seven-o-six.” Aang looks at his watch, attempting to match up the times. As he continues to speak, Sokka gives Katara a pointed look for her comment, to which she replies with a non-committal shrug, and Zuko ignores everyone, playing with a string on his clothes. “You have exactly eight hours and fifty-four minutes to think about why you're here. Ponder the error of your ways. You will not talk,” he looks at Katara, knowing her to be chatty, “you will not move from these seats,” he says, as Aang tries to get into an adjacent seat, then moves back, “and you-” He pulls the chair out from under Zuko's feet, earning a glare from the boy. “- will not sleep.”

He steps back to look at all of them. He has a stack of papers in his hands which he now passes to each of the delinquent students. “All right, people. We're going to try something different today. You're going to write an essay. No less than a thousand words.” He gives them all pencils as well. “Describing to me who you are. One of you can help the blind one.” He said it as if she had a disease.

“This a test?” Zuko says sarcastically. When the principal starts to speak again, he puts his feet up on the table.

Ozai ignores him. “And when I say essay, I mean essay. I do not mean a single word, repeated a thousand times. Is that clear, Zuko?”

Zuko looks away. “Crystal.”

“Good. Maybe you'll learn something about yourself. Maybe you'll even decide whether or not you'll return.”

Aang raises his hand and stands as he stammers to the adult. “Uh, I can answer that right now. That'll be a `no' for me… because I-”

“Sit down, Avatar,” Ozai says with a scowl.

“Thank you, sir,” Aang says compliantly as he sits.

“That's my office, right across the hall. Any monkey business is ill-advised. Any questions?” He points out the large, heavy, wooden double-doors to a little lit-up room.

They all look away from him, most afraid to speak, others not caring. Ozai begins to turn, preparing to go back to his office, but Zuko speaks up, not able to pass up a chance to taunt the principal.

“Yeah. I got a question. Does Barry Manilow know that you raid his wardrobe?”

Sokka smirks to himself as Ozai points at Zuko and gives the boy his answer. “You'll get the answer to that question next Saturday, Zuko, in detention. Don't mess with the Fire, boy, or you'll get burned.” He finally leaves through the propped-open spring-loaded doors, a bolt making it impossible to close it.

They begin to accept their fate for the next several hours. Sokka opens his parka, Zuko swings his feet around, Katara huffs silently. Then Aang hears something behind him and turns to stare at Toph, who had been unnoticed until now. As the next closest, Zuko turns to stare incredulously at her. Soon, Sokka and a disgusted Katara are watching as well. Toph is biting her already-short nails - rather noisily. She finally glances over to find everyone staring at her, Aang with his jaw dropped in fascination. Toph can feel everyone's eyes on her; as if to annoy them, she looks at them and continues to chomp down on her fingers.

“You keep eating your hand, you're not gonna be hungry for lunch,” Zuko tells her.

She glares in his direction before biting off a good-sized piece of fingernail and spitting it at him.

“I've seen you before, you know,” he tells her. But he doesn't get to finish whatever he was going to say because Principal Ozai leans sideways over his desk to look at the kids. Zuko smirks and settles deeper into his chair. Ozai finally straightens, going back to his work.

Aang, bored, takes one of his pens and puts his bottom lip between the clip. He begins to talk to himself while the top portion of the pen is in his mouth, entertaining himself. Zuko looks on, stupefied. Aang eventually gets the top part of the pen in his nose, then realizes he's being watched. Zuko gives him a cold stare, and Aang, embarrassed, takes the pen out of his mouth. Aang tries to ignore him, but at the same time, Zuko begins to take off his heavy winter coat and Aang begins to remove one of his robes. When they notice, they freeze. Aang stops, leaving the robe halfway down his arms as Zuko removes his coat completely, still staring at the younger boy. Aang tries to say something to the intimidating, well-known troublemaker of the school, but Zuko ignores him, turning to face the back of Katara. Crumpling up a piece of paper, Zuko throws it so that it flies between Sokka and Katara. Sokka turns partially to look at Zuko, but decides it's better to ignore him. Bored and attempting to make something happen, Zuko begins to hum to himself.

Katara rolls her eyes at the singing boy behind her. “I can't believe this is happening to me,” she says haughtily.

“Shit!” Zuko exclaims, getting everyone's attention. “What're we supposed to do if we have to take a piss?” It's obvious he's said something just for attention. Katara rolls her eyes again, turning back around. “If you gotta go, you gotta go,” he said, acting like he was about to relieve himself on the floor.

Sokka turns, angry. “Hey man, you're not gonna pee in here…”

“Hey, don't talk! If you talk, I can't do it…” Zuko jokes.

Sokka scowls at the shaggy-haired boy. “Hey, you do it and you're dead before a drop hits the floor,” he says.

Zuko glares at the athlete. “You're pretty sexy when you're angry.”

Sokka ignores him, and Zuko is met with silence once again. After huffing, he turns to Aang. “Hey, you,” he says.

Aang, stunned, turns to look at him.

“Why don't you go close that door,” he starts, nodding towards the heavy door that made it possible for the principal to watch over and hear them, “and we can have the prom queen.” He nodded towards Katara, who turned to glare at him. “It should be easy, with your powers.”

“Hey.” Zuko turns to the pony-tailed jock who was calling to him. “Hey. If I get mad, you're totaled, man.”

Zuko, both insulted and incredulous, looked at Sokka dubiously. “Totaled?”

“Totaled,” Sokka repeated, glaring.

“Why don't you just shut up? No one here is interested,” Katara finally said, looking down at the scarred boy.

Zuko tried to look wounded, failed. “Well, hey, `sport-o', wha'd you do to get in here?” he asks the athletic boy.

“Guys, maybe we should just write our papers,” Aang said, trying to cool things down.

“Hey,” Sokka turned to the always-angry boy, “just because you like, live here doesn't give you the right to be a pain in the ass, so knock it off!”

“Well, it's a free country,” Zuko quipped.

Katara turned to Sokka. “He's just doing it to get a rise out of you. Just ignore him,” she told him.

Zuko smirked. “Honey, you couldn't ignore me if you tried.”

Katara glared daggers at the dark-haired boy, but turned away.

“So… So! Are you guys, like, boyfriend-girlfriend? Steady dates? Lovers… C'mon, `sport-o', do you slip her the tongue…”

“Get lost!” Katara cried angrily.

“Enough!” Sokka yelled at the same time. Hardly anyone knew their true relationship, since they belonged to different cliques.

“Hey!” Ozai called from his desk. “What's goin' on in there?” He waited a few moments, but there was no answer, so he went back to reading his newspaper. “Stupid kids…” he muttered to himself.

They all looked at one another, the tension still thick in the air.

“Whadd'ya say we close that door…” Zuko was already up and walking in the direction of the heavy door that gave away their presence. “We can't have him checkin' us out every five seconds,” he told them casually.

“Well, the door is supposed to stay open,” Aang reminded him innocently.

“So what?”

“So why don't you shut up?” Sokka said. “There's more than just you in here…”

“Ah, see? I knew you were too smart to just be able to handle a boomerang and sword,” Zuko said, antagonizing the other boy.

“Who are you to judge anybody, anyways?” Sokka said, turning away.

“Ha! Really,” Katara added.

“You know, Zuko, you don't even count. If you disappeared, it wouldn't even make any difference. You may not even exist.” Sokka was calm, but his words had an edge to them that were sharper than his sword.

Zuko looked away but came back with his own insult. “I guess I'll just have to join the Water Tribe, then.”

Sokka and Katara laughed to themselves, finding this idea humorous.

“Nah, they wouldn't take you,” Sokka said calmly.

“Oh, I'm hurt,” Zuko said, feigning sadness.

“You know, guys like you knock everything, but you're just a big coward,” Katara told the exiled Fire Nation boy.

“I'm an Air Bender,” Aang said, hoping to diffuse the situation. They all ignored him.

“You're afraid they won't take you and that you don't belong, so you just have to make fun of everyone,” she continued.

“Well, that's because you're all assholes.”

“How would you know?” she countered. “You don't even know any of us…”

“Well, I don't know any Sky Bison either, but I'm not gonna go fucking join them, either.”

“Watch the mouth, huh?” Sokka warned him.

“I'm a monk, too,” piped Aang.

“What?” Zuko said, not understanding.

“Well,” Aang explained, “what I was trying to say is that I'm an Air Bender, a monk, and the Avatar.”

“Hey, missy,” Zuko called to Katara, “are you a monk, too?”

“I'm Water Tribe, idiot,” she said.

“So?”

“So monks are only Air Nomads,” she explained.

“So you're not good enough to be a monk?” He turned to Aang. “Hey, what do you do as an Air Bender?”

“Um…” the hairless boy said, uncomfortable with being pulled into the conversation, “we… bend Air.”

“See? You both bend. It's not the same element, but it's sorta the same, right?”

Katara gave him a withering look.

“I mean, I guess you could call it similar. They move kinda the same… air and water. But they're also different, because…” Aang continued to babble, but no one paid attention. Katara and Zuko were busy glaring at each other, and Toph mocked sending a boulder to crash onto Aang's head to shut him up.

“Look, you guys keep talking and Ozai is gonna come in here. I've got a swordfighting match next Saturday and I'm not gonna miss it because of you guys.” Sokka was speaking to all of them, although he was looking at Zuko.

“Aw, we wouldn't want you to miss your little swordplay, now would we?” Zuko taunted.

“What would you know about it?” Sokka countered, angry again. “You've probably never had to hold a sword in your life!” They all knew the exiled Prince's story.

He didn't need to reveal his skills. “Oh, I'm all empty inside,” he said, an expression of mock hurt on his face. “What would I do if I couldn't use swords?” He lifted his palm, letting a small flame hover there.

“Please. You don't have any goals,” Sokka said, turning away.

“Oh, but I do. I wanna be just like you. All I need is a lobotomy and a boomerang.”

They glared at each other before Aang joined in. “You use a boomerang?” he asked Sokka innocently.

“It's all I had before I learned to use a sword,” he groused to Aang.

Just then, Ozai started to move in his office, getting up and standing in front of his own doorway. Smirking, Zuko squeezed himself in between Sokka and Katara. But Ozai didn't pay them any attention. He left his room and began walking down the hall. After a few seconds, Zuko got up and jogged over to the big door that was propped open.

Knowing what was about to happen, Aang spoke up. “Um, there's not supposed to be any `monkey business', he quipped.

Zuko turned, walking backwards and pointing to the Airbender. “Young man, have you finished your paper?”

Aang didn't bother to reply. They watched as Zuko cautiously poked his head out the doorway, looking left and right for Ozai. But there was no sign of the principal. So he began to work at the bolt that held the door open.

“Zuko, don't mess around,” Sokka called.

“What are you doing?” Katara asked.

“Dropping dead, I hope,” Sokka said.

“Um… that's school property,” Aang chided. Again, everyone ignored him.

Zuko walked away and the door began to close rapidly. As he reached his seat, it slammed shut and Sokka turned to him. “Very funny, Zuko. Now go fix it.”

“You think I can fix it? What am I, a genius?” Zuko retorted.

“No, you're an asshole!” Sokka said.

They began arguing back and forth, but Zuko began trying to calm the warrior. “Ssh, ssh! Shut UP!”

The principal, who had been walking around the school, came near the library and heard the boys' heated exchange. He stopped in his tracks. Then he walked purposefully into the library, angrily pointing at the door as he entered and yelling at the kids. “Why is that door closed?” He asked again as he neared the first table, at which sat Sokka and Katara, but he looked at Zuko while raising his voice even louder. “Why is that door closed?”

Zuko didn't look at the man as he answered. “How are we supposed to know? We're not supposed to move, right?”

Ozai eyed them. Looking to Katara, who jumped when he yelled, he asked, “Why?

“W-we were just sitting here, like we're supposed to,” she stuttered, obviously afraid.

He was taken aback, considering her answer. He assumed that if the school's beloved Waterbender was that afraid, she wasn't likely to lie. “Who closed that door?” he asked Aang, who looked startled and unsure.

Knowing the Avatar to be the weakest link, Zuko spoke quickly. “I think a screw fell out.”

“It… just… closed, sir.” Sokka joined the talk-to-Ozai-without-looking-at-him club.

“WHO?” Ozai demanded.

Toph, amused and excited, squeaked at his tone and lay her head down on the table.

Zuko looked at her. He turned back to Ozai to explain, “She's not just blind - she's mute, too, sir.”

“Give it to me,” Ozai said, looking at Zuko.

“I don't have it.”

“You want me to yank you out of that seat and shake it out of you?”

“I don't have it. Screws fall out all the time. The world's an imperfect place,” he said calmly.

“Give. It. To. Me.”

“Excuse me, sir,” Katara spoke up, feeling that it had gone on long enough, “but why would anyone want to steal a screw?”

“Watch it,” Ozai warned as he turned to approach the door.

Zuko looked over at the girl, who just looked at him in warning.

The principal tested the door a few times, but when it wouldn't stay, he attempted to put a small, metal, folding chair in the doorway to prop it open.

“The door's way too heavy, sir,” Zuko warned condescendingly.

Ozai paused to look at him, but continued in his task. He finally let go of the door, but it only sprang closed, shooting the chair down the hall. The children laughed as the man outside swore. He came back inside, staring at the delinquents. After a minute, he called to Sokka.

“All right, get up here. Front and center.”

Sokka stood and walked over to where the principal was examining a small magazine case.

“Hey, why does he get to get up?” Zuko asked sarcastically. “If he gets up, we all get up… it'll be anarchy…”

Ozai and Sokka moved the magazine rack so that it was in front of the door, attempting to prop open the heavy wood. But when Sokka tried to get back into the library, he slipped and fell, ruining several magazines and was stuck. Ozai attempted to pull him into the library.

“That's very clever, sir,” Zuko called, “but what if there's a fire? I think violating fire code and endangering the lives of children would be unwise at this time in your career.”

Ozai sighed quickly before turning his wrath unto Sokka. “Okay, what are you doing? Get this thing outta here!”

“Well, you know,” Aang chirped, “the library has other fire exits…”

A look from Zuko silenced him.

The magazine rack was back in place and Sokka was sitting when Ozai addressed him. “Sit down. You know, I expected more from a Water Tribe warrior…” The he looked to the scarred boy behind him. “I've got my eye on you, Zuko. The next screw that comes out will be you.”

“Eat my shorts,” Zuko said quietly, leaning back in his seat.

“What did you say?” Ozai seethed as he approached the fiery youth.

“Eat. My. Shorts.”

“You just got yourself another Saturday in here,” Ozai threatened.

“Oh, I'm crushed,” the boy joked.

“There's another one right there.”

“Why don't we go for another one after that? But beyond that, I'll have to check my calendar,” Zuko said angrily.

“Good, because it's gonna be filled. You want another one? Say the word. Just say the word. Instead of going to prison, you'll come here. Are you through?”

“No.”

“I'm doing society a favor.”

“So.”

“That's another one. I've got you for the rest of your life. You want another?”

“Yes.” He scowled at the man, his arms crossed.

“You got another one right there! That's another one, right there.”

“Cut it out!” Katara cried, garnering Zuko's attention. `Stop', she mouthed to him.

Eyes wide, he turned back to the principal.

“You through?” Ozai asked.

“Not. Even. Close. Bud…”

“Good,” Ozai threatened, “you got one more right there.”

“You really think I give a shit?” Zuko asked.

“That's another. You through?”

“How many is that?” the ex-Prince asked calmly.

“That's seven, including the one when you first came in and you said something about Barry Manilow and his closet,” Aang piped in helpfully.

“Now it's eight,” Ozai said. “You stay out of this,” he said to the Air Bender.

“Excuse me, sir, but it's seven,” Aang corrected, showing the man his fingers on which he had counted.

“Shut up, baldy,” Ozai threatened.

Aang just nodded.

Ozai let a flame appear on his palm and it flicked hungrily, reminding Zuko of the earlier threat from the man. “I've got you for two months,” Ozai told him.

“What can I say,” Zuko spat, “I'm thrilled.”

Ozai scoffed. “Oh, I'm sure that's exactly what you'd like them all to think,” he said, pointing to the other kids. “You should spend more time trying to improve your Fire Bending and less time trying to impress others. You might be better off,” he warned, turning to leave. “That's it,” he said, giving one last warning. “Next time something funny happens in here, I'm bringing out the Lightning.” With a flare of fire, he was gone.

As the door slammed shut, Zuko released his tension. “FUCK YOU!”

But it went unheard by the older man, with the large, heavy door shutting. Ozai walked down the hall, his mind already elsewhere.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

It had only been forty-five minutes. Bored, the kids' attention floats to wherever it will…

Zuko, a cigarette in his mouth, calls forth a flame on the tip of his finger. He has his feet up on the desk, lounging. He reaches for his boot and put his little fire up against the edge of the boot so that the rubber catches fire. Bending forward, Zuko lights his cigarette.

Katara watches him, bewildered. She is enthralled, holding her face with an elbow on the table.

Aang fidgets, not quite sure what to do with his time. He folds his arms up eventually, and lays his chin on them.

Sokka plays with the strings of his parka.

Toph finds a string on her outfit and ties it tight around her finger, feeling the sensation of her blood flow slowing.

Zuko slaps the fire on his shoe, snuffing it out.

Toph tries her hand at drawing, but she knows it won't come out right. Finally frustrated, she just randomly scribbles.

Sokka fashions a football out of paper and plays, but it loses its amusement quickly.

Soon, all of them have run out of things to do, and they all begin to fall asleep. Katara's face slowly drops towards the table, and she puts her cheek on her arm; Zuko leans back further; Toph shuts her eyes, already in the dark; Aang's head was already down, so he slowly begins to close his eyes; Sokka fights it, but succumbs.

Ozai stands before them, glaring at their impudence. How dare they fall asleep when they are to be punished! “Wake up,” he says loudly.

The five students remain still.

He surveys them shrewdly. He makes a decision. “Who has to go to the lavatory?”

Without opening their eyes, every one of them raised their hand.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

It's now 10:21. Over three hours have passed, and the kids, unsupervised, have grown bolder. Sokka is stretching on a metal rail. Katara, next to him, still sits. Zuko is ripping a book apart, setting them on fire as he tears out the pages. Aang is near him, watching.

“You know, that's real intelligent,” Sokka says, annoyed.

“You're right,” Zuko says in a bored tone, “it's wrong to destroy literature.” Sokka glares at him, but the Firebender continues to rip and burn. “It's such fin to read. And…” He stops to look at a part of the book, his eyes catching a word. “… `Ten-eyes-son' really stokes my fire.”

Katara manages a smile. “It's Tennyson,” she tells him. He stares at her, incredulous. Her grin widens.

“I love his work,” Aang supplies.

Zuko throws a bunch of pages at him, still on fire. Aang dodges them and easily puts out the flames with a gust of air.

Katara, still smiling, turns away.

Zuko puts what's left of the book down and picks up a row of the card catalog. “Nothing to do when you're locked up,” he says.

Sokka challenges him. “Speak for yourself, Firebender.”

“Do you think I speak for you?” Zuko says, narrowing his eyes. “Because I don't even speak your language.”

Sokka turns away, watching Katara. “Hey,” he says, catching her attention. “You grounded tonight?”

Katara looks up at him. “I don't know,” she replies sullenly. “Gran Gran says I am, but dad said nevermind.”

Sokka looks back at Zuko reluctantly, not wanting the older boy to figure out their relationship. Zuko looks at him as he pulls cards from the long box and puts them in random places, mixing them up. Sokka turns back to the brunette. “Big party at Teo's. His dad's in Europe. Supposed to be pretty wild.”

“Oh yeah?” she asks nonchalantly.

“Wanna go?”

Zuko watches them interact, still misplacing the cards.

“I doubt it,” she says, shrugging.

“How come?”

“Well, if I disobey Gran Gran, it's because dad said it was okay, and it turns into a huge thing. It's awful. It's like any minute, one's gonna leave for the Northern Water Tribe.”

Suddenly, Zuko cuts into the conversation. “Who do you like better?”

“What?”

“Do you like your Gran better, or your dad?”

“They're both family.”

“What if you had to choose between living with one or the other?”

“I don't know,” she says, shrugging. “I'd probably go live with my brother.” She glances at Sokka, then back to Zuko. “They kinda fight over me, on who raised me better, since mom died.”

“HA!”

Everyone turns, alarmed. They had all but forgotten about the tiny blind girl in the back. But Toph doesn't explain her outburst, she just blows her long, shaggy, black bangs out of her eyes and stares back at the other girl.

“Shut up,” Katara says, taking offense.

“You're just feeling sorry for yourself,” Sokka tells her.

She turns to glare at him. “Well, if I didn't, no one else would.”

“You're breaking my heart,” he says, turning away.

“Sport-o?” Zuko flings whatever cards he had in his hand over his shoulder onto the floor. He jumps down off the cabinet he was sitting on, approaching the blue-eyed boy.

“What?” Sokka is weary by now.

“You get along with your parents?”

“Well, if I say yes, I'm an idiot, right?”

Zuko jumps over the banister dividing them and comes face-to-face with Sokka, standing at least six inches taller than the other boy. “You're an idiot anyway.”

Katara tries not to smile and fails.

Zuko continues on his evaluation of the Jock. “But if you say you get along with them, you're a liar, too.” Then he turns and walks past him.

Sokka stands for a moment, angry. Aang watches, almost hiding from the tension he can't diffuse. Sokka then turns and walks briskly after the Firebender to confront him. When he catches up, he pushes him hard on his back. “You know what, man?”

Zuko turns slowly to face the smaller, muscular boy. Fire burns in his amber eyes.

“If we weren't in school,” Sokka continues, “I'd get rid of you.”

“Do you see this?” Zuko says, making a small flame appear in his palm. “Would you like me to turn it up?” He concentrates, and the flame bursts to life, becoming a fireball.

Aang gets between them, putting a hand on both of them. They both slap his hands away, but he persists. “C'mon, guys. I mean, I don't even have parents.” Sokka bumps his shoulder on his way past. “I-I-I-I-I-I was raised by monks, and you should see their idea of compassion, especially for me,” he stuttered, trying to diffuse the situation.

“Avatar,” Zuko said, “you're every parent's dream.”

“That's the problem,” Aang muttered.

Zuko sighed as he turned toward the much-younger boy. “Look. I can see it gets annoying, with the `Avatar, you must train. Avatar, you must help the world' crap. But let's face it: you're a goody-goody, helpful, one-with-nature smarty-pants. What would you be doing if you had just stayed a monk?”

“Why do you have to insult everybody?” Sokka said, his brows drawn into a frown.

Zuko looked annoyed. “I'm being honest, asshole. I would expect you to know the difference.”

“Yeah? Well, he has a name,” Sokka told the golden-eyed boy.

“Oh yeah?” Zuko said.

“Yeah,” Sokka replied. Then he turned to the last Airbender. “Hey kid, what's your name?”

The grey-eyed boy looked at both of them. “Aang.”

Zuko started to walk away. “My condolences.” As he passed in front of the still-sitting Katara, she spoke to him.

“What's your name?”

He stopped before her. “What's yours?”

“Katara.”

“Ka-ta-ra?” he said condescendingly.

“Katara. It's a family name.”

“No, it's a swamp-girl name,” he told her.

“Thank you,” she replied sarcastically. “I'm not a swamp-girl. I'm Water Tribe.”

“I don't know… you're pushing it,” he said. “You see, there are two types of swamp-people. There are those that were born in the swamps, and then there are those that are born in a Water Tribe and go to live in the swamps, so you can still tell they're Water Tribe. So you're gonna get married, have some kids, and then…” He made a gesture as if he were a swamp-creature, waving his arms above his head.

Katara summoned the water from the very air, and made it into a sharp icicle, which she pointed at him.

“Ooh,” he taunted. “Such a dangerous gesture from such a pristine girl.”

“I'm not that pristine,” she replied.

He bent over her ominously. “Have you ever kissed a boy?”

She glared murderously at the ex-Prince.

“I'll bet you a million dollars you haven't.”

“Why don't you shut up,” she told him, hoping he'd go away. Toph looked away uncomfortably.

“Has a boy ever touched you? You know, hiding in your room, hoping your parents don't catch you?” He leaned closer to her. “Past your curfew on a school night, his hands all over you?”

She looked up at him, at his mercy.

“Leave her alone.”

Zuko looked past Katara to Sokka, who was getting up from his place on the floor in the back. The weapons-master walked towards them.

“I said leave her alone.”

Zuko straightened. “You gonna make me?”

Sokka looked right into his eyes. “Yeah.”

Zuko leapt over the table Katara was sitting at and approached the Water Tribe boy. “You and what army?”

“Just me,” Sokka said as he glared at the taller boy. “Just me, and you.”

Zuko was in his face now.

“Two hits. Me hitting you, and you hitting the floor.” Zuko laughed. “Any time you're ready.”

Zuko raised his hand to Sokka's face, and Sokka grabbed him, turning Zuko and binding his arms, bringing him to the floor.

Zuko didn't strain. “I don't want to get into this with you, man.”

Sokka leapt away, releasing Zuko. “Why not?”

Zuko got up, flipping his hair back as he replied. “'Cause I'd kill you. Simple. I'd kill you, and then the Water Tribe would come after the Fire Nation, and there'd be a big mess. I just don't care enough about you to do that.”

“Jerk,” Sokka said as he turned away. He heard a `poof' and turned back around to see Zuko standing with a smirk on his face and a ball of fire in his hand.

Zuko let it sink in for a moment before turning to the table next to him and scorching the top. “Let's finish this,” he said.

Sokka became angry. “Let's get this straight. You don't talk to her,” he said, pointing to Katara, “You don't touch her, you don't even think about her.”

Zuko had a fake expression of hurt on his face. “I'm trying to help.”

Just then, one of the heavy wooden doors opened and an elderly, portly man with a white beard came in. The janitor. He walked to an office, taking the garbage out. As he turned to face the kids, he noticed Aang.

“Hello, Aang,” he said.

“Your father work here?” Zuko said.

Aang looked at Zuko, annoyed.

Zuko turned to the janitor. “Iroh. How does one become a janitor?”

“You want to be a janitor?”

“No, I want to know how one becomes a janitor. You see, Sokka here is interested in the janitorial arts…”

“Really?” Iroh asked sarcastically. “You kids believe I'm some common peasant here to clean up after you, eh? Well, let me tell you something. I've been cleaning up your messes for some time, and I've learned a few things. I read your letters. I look through your lockers…”

Zuko looked up at him as he said it.

“I listen to your conversations. You don't know the half of it. I am the eyes and ears of this place.” He turned to leave, but then stopped to look at his watch. “By the way, that clock is twenty minutes fast.”

With that, the wise old man took his equipment and left.

----------------END, part one-----------------

End notes: Let me know what you think! I really love doing this, but it's REALLY time-consuming to get everything right and decide what things to change. I actually started this a long time ago, but since I have so many projects, I put it aside. But with the opening of the site I co-mod, Avatar-fanfiction.com, I wanted to put something up. Hopefully, I'll get the next part up soon!

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