A Good Plan
Published on / 2 Chapter(s) / 1 Review(s)
Katara's plan was to ignore her high school crush and forget her feelings for him before she went insane. What she did not know was that Zuko had a different plan of his own: make Katara noticed him until she agreed to go out with him. Zutara.
This is an AU Zutara one-shot.
Disclaimer: I make no profit in borrowing the characters from Avatar: the Last Airbender.
A Good Plan
There he was. The most popular guy in Roku High School. The one any girl would give her left arm to go out with. Captain of the football, soccer, wrestling, and fencing team. Outstanding in anything athletic. He was voted senior class president, easily squashing his rival, Jet. There was a sort of commanding air around him that made everybody follow him wherever he led.
Katara watched from behind her thick history book as he stepped into their Ancient History class. As soon as his presence was felt, the entire classroom immediately went silent and turned their heads toward the door. Katara quickly looked down at her book as he glanced around the room so he wouldn’t notice that she was staring. She looked up again as he made his way to his desk that rested almost across the room and a little behind from where she was sitting.
He was the heir to the wealthiest family in the region, though Katara really did not care much about that. Not only was he the richest boy in school, but the hottest guy as well, and everywhere he went he left a trail of drooling fangirls in his wake. He was very tall, lean yet muscular, with blemish-free pale skin, an aristocratic nose, and short raven-black hair that would sometimes fall down into his almond-shaped eyes and dark eyebrows. But the most amazing feature that caught her attention was his unusual golden-colored eyes that gleamed so intently like the sun itself.
Zuko was his name and Katara had a huge crush on him.
She tried to stop it—honestly she did—since she refused to be like another of the dumb bimbos that sighed over him. She did not want to fall for the most popular guy like in those cheesy chick flicks. He was that kind of guy that did not care about anything else but his reputation and himself...at least, that was what she thought. But although she always reminded herself of these things, she was unable to stop the damn crush from developing. There was just something about him that called her attention.
It all started the first day in her new school sophomore year, and Sokka, her older brother, had left her so he could ‘mix in with the crowd’ as he called it. When their mother died the previous year, their father decided to move them and their grandmother from the snowy rural town in the south and start anew in the sunny city of the west. She did not know anyone in this new city or school, so she had been looking for her homeroom class by herself, but eventually she got lost in the huge school that held more people than her hometown’s entire population.
She had been trying to figure out how the small map the old lady at the school office drew for her was supposed to work when she bumped into Zuko. She had looked up in surprise, but to her later embarrassment, she froze when she saw him. He had looked at her with the most unusual golden eyes she had ever seen in her life. She had felt like her heart was running a marathon and her face was trying to imitate a tomato, so she apologized and quickly moved away. She had continued to search for her class when all of the sudden he ran toward her and grabbed her wrist before he asked her if she was lost. She had sheepishly admitted she was with a small blush, which then intensified when he smiled down at her and offered to escort her to her next class. She had immediately returned the smile and accepted his offer before she even knew he was the most popular guy in the school. That was the only and last time they had talked.
As discreet as she could be, Katara watched as Zuko sat down at his desk and was immediately latched onto by his tall girlfriend, Mai, one of the other wealthier students in the school. Seriously, what did Zuko see in the super-thin, emotionless, and cold girl? He could do way better than that. To each their own, she supposed with a small shrug, though she could not stop the jealousy from forming in her chest. She had to grit her teeth at the feeling.
Really, what did he see in Mai? Katara was sure she would be a much better girlfriend and she would treat him like a person and not a bank account and she would do anything to make him happy and—
Woah! Stop right there, girl! Katara mentally scolded herself. It will only be more painful later on if you continue thinking those things!
She nodded mentally at her logic, but her eyes were again drawn to him like a helpless fish to a fishhook with a wriggly worm. She watched curiously as Zuko removed Mai’s thin arms from around his neck with a scowl on his face before he looked her way.
Their eyes met for a moment and Katara felt her heart skip a beat before she quickly looked back down at her book and pretended to be busy with her schoolwork. She could feel her face burning and she hoped he didn’t notice that she had been staring at him. Stupid crush! She hoped it would go away soon, but it seemed to only increase since the first time she saw him when she transferred to Roku High School last year, which was just stupid and unreasonable!
She knew her crush was silly since it was impossible Zuko would actually give her the time of day. He probably did not remember when they bumped into each other. Maybe he didn’t even know she existed. Why would he? She was not rich, she did not wear brand clothes or high heels from expensive boutiques. And though she knew she was not ugly, she saw herself as an ordinary looking seventeen-year-old girl, not something special that would attract a guy like Zuko. It also did not help that the other boys from school did not ask her out. It did confuse her, however, since a few guys would approach her as if they were interested in her only to completely avoid her a few days later. Was something wrong with her? She frowned before she shook her head from such thoughts. Anyway, Zuko had a girlfriend (though she still could not understand why it was Ice Princess Mai) and Katara was not one of those desperate girls who stopped at nothing to get the boy she wanted even if that meant destroying a relationship.
Despite all of this, it still did not make her feelings go away. Damn. Maybe once Zuko graduated in a few months and they all went their separate ways she would outgrow her silly crush and be able to move on.
Yep, that seemed like a good plan.
A hard punch to her arm snapped her out of her thoughts and she jumped in her seat in surprise.
“Ow!” Katara yelped as she turned to glare at her attacker.
“See, I told ya that would bring her out from dreamland,” her best friend, Toph, remarked with a huge grin on her face.
“Yeah, but you didn’t need to hit her so hard,” Aang, Toph’s boyfriend, admonished gently before he smiled cheerfully at their friend who was rubbing her abused arm. “So what had you looking so pensive, Katara?”
Katara felt herself blush again.
“I…I was…uh…” she stuttered before she raised the flash cards she had made to study for the history test they were going to have next week, and she grinned triumphantly, “I was just studying for the test, of course!”
“Riiiight,” Toph stressed out sarcastically and rolled her light-green eyes. “I know boring schoolwork wasn’t what you were thinking about to make you have that stupid look on your face.” She ignored Katara’s indignant protest and grinned. “I bet you were thinking about a certain someone with dark hair and golden ey—”
Katara sprang up from her seat and clamped her hand over Toph’s grinning mouth.
“Shut up!” she hissed.
Toph was the only one who knew she had a major crush on Zuko and Katara didn’t even tell her! Toph was just that good. And Katara wanted to keep her feelings for a certain senior student a secret.
Katara looked around when the class went silent and she blushed when she saw that the entire class, even her crush, was staring at her. She let go of a smirking Toph and quickly sat back down, covering her face with her hands and groaning lowly in embarrassment. She looked up through her fingers and glared at Toph when the short girl started to laugh. The rest of the class shrugged and continued with their gossips.
“So I was right, huh?” Toph said smugly, “Just like I always am.”
“What are you girls talking about?” Aang asked curiously as he looked between the two. “Who were you thinking about, Katara?”
“No one!” Katara exclaimed, “Don’t listen to Toph! You know she’s crazy!”
“Crazy, but always right,” Toph replied with another chuckle.
“Whatever,” Katara huffed as she slumped down in her seat. She hoped Zuko did not think she was weird or something.
What she didn’t know was that Zuko was indeed thinking about her, but weird wasn’t it. It was far from it.
There she was. The most interesting and prettiest girl he had ever seen. Zuko watched as her friends took their seats around her and began speaking in low voices. He sat back against his chair and continued to observe her.
As soon as he had entered the classroom, his eyes had immediately sought out to find the one person he always looked forward to seeing in this particular class. He had sighed inwardly once he spotted her sitting in her usual seat near the windows, almost at the front of the class, with a book in her hands, not even looking up to see him.
Katara was her name, a name as unique and pretty as her, and he was a bit embarrassed to admit that he had a huge crush on her. He, Zuko, the most popular and coolest guy in school, was crushing on some girl! She was not one of the rich and popular girls, but that was one of the reasons why he was drawn to her like a moth to a flame.
It all started the first day of his junior year and he had been on his way to class. He had been thanking his luck that he had been able to avoid Mai all morning when a girl he had never seen before almost crashed into him as he rounded a corner. He had watched silently as an adorable blush coated her cheeks as she looked up at him and apologized before she hastily continued on her way, looking between a paper in her hand and the rooms she passed by. It had been obvious she was lost, and before he could think about it and without knowing why, he had quickly gone after her. He had asked her if she needed help as he reached over and grabbed her slim wrist. She had turned to look at him and he became mesmerized by her big, cobalt orbs that stared into his eyes. She had flashed him a grateful and lovely smile and accepted his offer. That had been the last time they had spoken. He was a grade higher than she was and they never had the same classes. Until now that is. However, even though they had not spoken since that incident it did not mean he had also not seen her. Quite the opposite, he made sure to observe her from a distance at least once a day, subtly of course.
With a mental shake of his head, Zuko had then strode over to his own desk without acknowledging the other students and ignoring the irritating dreamy and hungry looks the girls had thrown his way. Did they really think he liked to be looked at like a piece of meat—an expensive, high quality piece of meat, at that?
He had resisted the urge to growl when Mai had latched onto him as soon as he had taken a seat.
“Hi, Zuko. So are you taking me out tonight?” Mai asked in what he believed was a seductive tone as she pressed herself closer to him.
“I told you I have football practice today,” Zuko replied, not even bothering to hide his irritation from his voice.
“Oh, come on, Zuko,” Mai pleaded as she wrapped her thin arms around his neck. “Just skip practice. What’s the big deal?”
She never understands, Zuko thought angrily.
“I said no,” he told her firmly as he removed her arms from him and scowled at her.
Mai narrowed her dark eyes at him. She sniffed delicately as she looked away.
Mai may be his girlfriend, but he in no way had any romantic feelings for her. They had known each other since they were kids, but the only reason he was dating her was because his father wished for both their families to unite in the future and become even wealthier. As if his father wasn’t rich enough already! Why did he have to be sacrificed for his father’s greed?
Not only that, but there was nothing about Mai that had endeared her to him. She had the classical, aristocratic beauty, yes, with her dark, straight hair, fair skin, and long neck, but she was cold, boring, materialistic, and shallow, always thinking that she was above everybody else, especially now that he was her boyfriend.
Zuko turned away from her and looked up at what he termed his ‘secret obsession’. He caught Katara’s gaze for a brief second and his heart raced in his chest before she quickly looked down at her book again. He frowned. Why did she always do that? Every time he entered the class, she would look away, and he was sure it wasn’t because he was hideous to look at. It just made him want to try harder to make her notice him.
He was distracted from his thoughts when he saw someone punch Katara’s arm and he almost stood up in anger from his seat in full protective mode, but he relaxed when he realized it was just her friends. He then watched as they talked to her and he wondered what the short girl had said when Katara had jumped from her chair to cover her mouth before she looked around the room sheepishly. The blush that appeared on her face made his heart do a flip and he smiled in amusement when she slumped into her seat in embarrassment.
Mai was nothing compared to Katara. Of course, he couldn’t really know that since he had only spoken to her once, but from what he had observed, Katara seemed to be completely different than Mai or any of the other girls, for that matter. Katara always had a friendly smile on her face that she directed at everyone she came across and she always tried to help someone when they had a problem or helped them to the nurse’s office if they had been hurt. He had heard that she sometimes even helped the nurse take care of the patients. She was a very good student, one of the top of her class, and she was president of the Ambassadors Club and was very good at it. She was a friendly and calm sort of girl, but she was not afraid to stand up to the popular girls in order to defend herself or another poor student that was being teased. She had befriended many of the students the popular crowd had avoided and bullied, and in return they did not hesitate to back her up when she needed their help. He had never thought a girl could be so many things and it intrigued him.
Another thing he liked about her was that she was captain of the swimming team, which was expected since she was an excellent swimmer. The way she moved underwater made it look like she had been born a mermaid. It was that graceful and natural. And how did he know this?
Zuko took a glance at her lithe yet curvy frame and he shifted in his seat as his face burned up. Well…the truth was that he always made excuses to walk by the swimming pool after football practice. And the way the water made her tanned skin shine as it slid down her arms and long legs and over her dark blue bathing suit that seemed to hug her every curve…
Zuko again shifted in his seat and mentally shook his head. Now was not the time to think of these things. Once he returned to the privacy of his bedroom at home, however, he will definitely indulge in his memories and fantasies…
He let out a relieved breath when the teacher stepped into the room and ordered everybody to calm down and take their seats so class could begin. Once the class was quiet, their teacher reminded them of their test for next week. The old man ignored their groans as he began to write out his lecture notes on the outdated chalkboard. He was one of those old-fashioned teachers that preferred chalk instead of erasable markers.
Zuko took a break from the boring lecture and discreetly glanced at Katara. He smiled slightly when he saw her quickly writing down everything their old teacher was saying with a studious look on her pretty face.
Agni, was she gorgeous. She had silky-looking, chocolate brown hair that fell in waves down her back, skin the color of caramel, lips that begged to be kissed, a petite but well-proportioned body (he had seen her in a bathing suit after all), and a pair of the bluest eyes he had ever seen framed by long, black eyelashes.
He was not the only one to notice, though. He frowned darkly when he noticed the guy sitting next to Katara looking at her again. It seemed the boy had not taken the hint that Katara was off-limits. Zuko needed to do something to make the boy see his error just like how he had threatened all the guys who had dared to approach Katara to never go near her again. He knew that banning the other guys from dating Katara was wrong, especially since being in a relationship with Mai, however unwillingly, did not give him the right to do so. But he could not stand the thought of another guy kissing and embracing Katara!
Zuko relaxed when the boy finally looked away from Katara when the teacher called on him. Running a hand through his short hair, Zuko again leaned back against his seat as his eyes once again became riveted on the blue-eyed girl’s form. He had never experienced jealousy before, but now it seemed the feeling was constantly there along with infatuation and longing ever since he had met Katara.
She made him feel and think things that he had never thought were possible. He actually found himself wanting to get to know a person. He wanted to speak to her, to get to know her better, to get close to her. A whole year had passed since their first meeting and they have only spoken a few words to each other, but he was determined that it would be different this year. This was his last year in high school before he went off to university to get a degree in international business so he could prepare himself for when he took over the family company, and if he didn’t do something, then perhaps he would never see her again after that.
Zuko snapped his head to the side to look at Mai when she dug her long nails in his arm. He pulled away from her painful grip to glare at her without alerting the still droning, old teacher. She narrowed her eyes at him before she glared over to where Katara was obliviously sitting and he knew she had caught him staring at Katara again. He raised a black eyebrow as if to say ‘what of it?’ and she only hissed at him before turning to look back to the front of the class.
He sighed as he, too, turned his attention back to the lecture. He didn’t mean to be so insensitive toward Mai nor did he want to hurt her, but he just could not help it, especially when she acted so nasty toward him and anyone who had the misfortune to get in her way when she got upset. It was just another reason (besides the obvious one concerning his feelings for Katara) why the decision he had made a few months ago about breaking up with Mai became more pleasing and urgent as time passed.
Zuko leaned back into his chair and crossed his arms over his chest as he ran things through in his head. First he needed to break up with Mai, and once that was done, he will try to—as his Uncle Iroh would put it— ‘woo’ Katara until she no longer looked away when he appeared and until she began to like him. He would only be satisfied until she decided to go out with him.
Yes, that seemed like a very good plan.
Katara hummed happily as she turned on the water from one of the shower stalls in the girls’ locker room. She placed her dry clothes on a stool that stood beside the stall she was going to use while she tried to keep the towel around her as she placed her wet bathing suit in her bag so she could wash it once she got home. Once the water was the temperature she liked, Katara stepped into the shower’s sprays and dropped the wet towel outside the stall.
A content sigh escaped her as the warm water ran down her skin before she proceeded to wash her body and her hair as she resumed in her humming. Swimming practice had been intense today, and though everybody else had left a few hours ago, she had decided to swim a bit more before she had to get home and prepare dinner for Sokka, their dad, and Gran-Gran. She could just hear Sokka’s loud whining if she didn’t have food ready for him to wolf down once he got home from his part-time job.
“Katara! Why are you so mean to your lovable older brother?” he would dramatically cry out before yelping indignantly when she would slapped the back of his head and their father would laugh and their Gran-Gran would sigh with a smile on her thin lips.
Katara smiled sadly. Her mother’s death had been hard on all of them, but they managed to remain a happy and close family.
Steam rose above the showering stall as the water continued to rain down on her as she rinsed the lavender scented shampoo from her long, brown hair. Katara continued to hum the soft tune before she paused when she realized she was humming the song Zuko had been whistling that day in history class. A blush appeared on her cheeks as she remembered the crooked smile he had aimed her way when he leaned over her desk to ask her if she had an extra pencil, despite the fact he had one on his desk, a sharpened one, no less! With a small shrug, she had handed him an extra one and flashed him a quick smile before she looked back down at her notes to hide her confused blush.
She had thought he didn’t know who she was. So she had been surprised when the day after Toph had almost revealed her secret, Zuko had plopped down on the desk next to hers, glared at the guy that had protested that that was his spot until he wisely retreated to another seat, and turned back to give her a smug smile. She had gaped at him for a moment before she turned around to look at his usual seat to see if it was on fire or something, but she saw it was perfectly fine. She was even more confused when she saw that Mai was still sitting at her desk and she was glaring angrily at her. Katara almost had a heart attack when Zuko greeted her and asked her about their upcoming test. She had thought he didn’t know her name and there he was talking to her like they actually knew each other!
However, as the weeks passed by it only got stranger and she got even more confused. Zuko would pop out of nowhere and start talking to her. He would carry her books and walk her to class, he even asked her to become his partner for the project they had to do in history class. He would meet up with her in the library to study and he would even sit with her, Toph, Aang, and their other friends at their lunch table as if he had been doing it for years! At first she had been a bit shy (and she had to admit a bit suspicious since it was Zuko after all) and to her embarrassment, she kept stuttering and blushing whenever he spoke to her. But as days turned to weeks, and those weeks turned into five months, she got over her uneasiness and began talking to him like they have been friends for many years. And now she looked forward to seeing his handsome face and hearing his voice every morning at school and could not wait for the weekend to be over so she could race to school and be in his presence.
Katara hung her head and let the water beat down upon her back. Gods, how much more pathetic could she get? She was almost acting like one of those crazy bimbos she had promised herself she wasn’t going to become. But they were just friends. That was okay, right? She just had a little crush on him, that’s all.
Gah! Who am I kidding?! Katara screamed in her head. It’s no longer a stupid crush! I fell in love with him, dammit!
And now the pain was going to be worse once he left for college and they never saw each other ever again. And then her heart would break when news that he was engaged to a beautiful and refined, rich girl reached her ears, and then she would be known as the crazy, old spinster that had more than a dozen cats living in her apartment as she mourned her unrequited love.
Katara burst into broken giggles before a sob escaped her throat. She raised her head and welcomed the soothing sensation that went through her as the water hit her face and mixed with her tears.
So this is what they mean about teenage angst, Katara absently mused as she sniffled.
No, she was stronger than this. She will not let her unrequited love for Zuko bring her down. She will not let anybody see how much she was hurting, and she will graduate with honors, and then she will start her career as a pediatrician, and she will be successful!
Even though what she really wanted was for Zuko to kiss her, and love her back, and perhaps marry her one day, and then they would have dozens of cute babies and—
Woah! Enough with those thoughts, girl! Katara again scolded herself for about the hundredth time for the past year before she began to grumble, Stupid teenage girl hormones…
She paused in her mental angst when a few feminine giggles and snickers reached her ears above the sound of the running water. She didn’t know anybody else was here.
Katara quickly finished her shower, turned off the water, and poked her head out. She did not see anyone there, but she was sure she had heard something.
“Hello? Is someone there?” Katara called out.
Nothing answered, it was eerily silent, the only sound that reached her ears was her breathing, and a shiver ran down her spine.
“I hope those rumors I heard about the school being haunted aren’t real,” she muttered to herself before she shook her head.
With a shrug, Katara retreated back into the stall and wrung the excess water from her hair and sighed as her previous thoughts about Zuko resurfaced in her mind. She reached for her dry towel where she had place it, but her hand only met empty air and she frowned. Maybe she placed it with her dry clothes without noticing. Katara opened the thick shower curtain a fraction to look at the small stool, but froze in shock.
“Where are my clothes?!” she shrieked.
There was nothing on the stool! Her skirt, her shirt, and her underwear were not there! Even her wet bathing suit and towel were missing!
“What the hell!” she hissed in panic, “How I am supposed to get out of here?!”
Ooh, when she got hold of whoever was responsible to put this prank on her, she will make sure they never messed around with her again! But why did anyone want to do this to her? She wasn’t mean to anybody, she tried to be nice, so she didn’t think she deserved this humiliation.
Katara could feel tears begin to prick her eyes in frustration, but she quickly wiped them away and composed herself. No need to panic. She had an extra set of clothes in one of the lockers she had been given for her swimming gear. She just needed to run to her locker, get her clothes, and run back before anybody saw her naked.
Yep, good plan, good plan.
Katara listened carefully for a few minutes for any sounds that might indicate that she was not alone, and when she didn’t hear anything, she pulled the shower curtain aside and raced to her locker. She breathed a sigh of relief when she reached it and didn’t bump into anyone, not that any of the other girls mind walking around showing their bodies, but she sure as hell did. She got the lock open before she quickly opened the small door, grabbed everything from inside and raced back to the shower stall.
Once safely inside, Katara quickly put on her extra pair of panties and shorts and began to search for her other clothing items. To her horror, she realized that there wasn’t a bra or a shirt. The only thing left were her black flats. Why was this happening to her? What was she going to do? She couldn’t walk home half naked!
Katara groaned into her hands. If only she had her cell phone, but she forgot to take it out of her school backpack when she gave it to Sokka to leave it home before he went to work. Just her luck. Now what? The school must be completely abandoned by now and she did not want to spend the night in here. Besides, she didn’t want to worry her family if she didn’t return home.
She could cut across the park to reach her house instead of taking the populated streets like she always did. The park was almost always empty during this time of the day and if she was quick and careful enough nobody would get a chance to see her, but that still did not cover the fact that she was topless.
Her wet hair fell over her shoulder and onto her chest and she shivered. She was about to throw it over her shoulder when an idea formed. Her hair was long enough to cover her breasts, it wasn’t exactly a safe shield, but it was the best she had and all she needed to do was cover her chest with her arms as she raced through the empty park and into the back door of her house.
Katara nodded her head. Okay, all she needed to do was leave the school grounds and make sure nobody saw her. She parted her hair and draped it over her breasts before crossing her arms over them. She took a deep breath and stepped out of the shower stall.
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