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one simple (stupid) question

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He hates Suki right then; he hates her so much. One simple (stupid) question, teach me how to play, and it isn’t five minutes later that the juvenile game of Spin the Bottle lands him in a cramped closet with none other than his best friend’s little sister.

Well, not little. Not anymore.

She might’ve been fifteen when he met her and, sure, he had the teensiest crush on her through the rest of highschool, but they’re grown up now. A suppressed snarl curls in his chest at that, because, really, he’s still too dorky for this and Katara’s proximity—god, she’s so impossibly pretty—is dredging up all this color on his face.

Zuko prays she can’t see it. The closet is dark… But, his eyes have already adjusted and there’s a distinguishable blush dusting her cheeks with a faint pink.

He tries the door again, rattling the handle. “We’re seniors in college! Come on, Sokka!”

Nothing. No answer. And, the door doesn’t budge. Maybe it’s jammed. Or locked from the outside. It’s not beyond Sokka, and certainly not Suki, to shove a chair up underneath the handle. They’ve been vying for weeks to get him into a situation just like this… ever since Zuko drunkenly confessed that he’s spent the last five years pining for a particular blue-eyed brunette.

He drags a hand down his face as embarrassment prickles up his spine, and Katara’s irritated sigh sing-songs around the closet. “They aren’t letting us go…”

“Even if we pitch a big fit?”

“Oh, definitely not then.” A tiny chuckle leaves her. She crosses her arms and shifts her weight between her feet. “You know how Sokka is.”

Zuko bobs his head. “Yeah… he’s a dick, but, he can’t keep us in here forever.”

“It’s Spin the Bottle, not Seven Minutes in Heaven. No expiration,” she says, shrugging like it should be obvious. Then, her gaze flicks around their small space with just a hint of nervousness, and it’s not lost on him that she may be uneasy with their situation. Resting on the tip of his tongue is the suggestion that she stand back, let him kick the door down, but Katara provides a… less violent solution.

“They’ll let us out if we kiss.”

“Kiss?”

That’s all he manages, a squeaky question.

Awkwardness settles in his limbs. It’s impossible to look nonchalant now, because he sort of saw that coming… Everyone who’d gone into this closet had come out flushed and giggling, especially Sokka and Suki, who’d spent too much time in here, now that he thinks about it. Zuko immediately pulls away from the wall, giving it a suspicious glare before focusing on Katara again.

“Do you…”

Confidence, he tells himself. Channel Uncle. That man knows how to flirt. Zuko clears his throat and straightens himself, throwing his shoulders back. “Do you want to be kissed, Katara?”

“By you?” A smile tugs at her lips. Her eyes fall from his, settling on the floor as the color on her cheeks brightens. “It was supposed to stay a secret…” She looks shy; shy and smitten. 

“You can tell me,” he whispers, taking the chance to step closer. “I’m pretty good at keeping secrets.”

Zuko reaches for her, takes her hand in his. When Katara doesn’t pull it back, he risks another caress. His fingers skate along her chin, coaxing her beautiful blue eyes up to his. Something warm and fluttery blossoms in his chest. He can’t believe his luck. 

He lets his forehead fall to hers, and being this close, touching her this much, as innocent as it is, feels like a dream. If it is, he never wants to wake up. So, Zuko moves slowly, like she’ll spook. He bumps her nose gently with his, finds the right tilt of his head, brushing her lips. But, he keeps a breath of distance, waiting until she’s ready to close it.

And when she does, it’s better than what he imagined.

Her fingers are soft and delicate; they wrap around his wrists. She presses up on her toes, enough to meet his lips with the lightest, sweetest kiss. It’s a taste, just a little taste, but her eyes are playful when she looks at him again, inviting him in for another… and another.

Naturally, the door’s yanked open too quick, long before he’s ready to pull apart, but the laugh that bubbles from Katara’s mouth into his makes Zuko think this won’t be their last kiss.

And when she breaks away, keeping her fingers twined tight with his, he’s sure of it. Because she smiles up at him and says, “I think I’d be alright if you didn’t keep this secret… there’ll be more of those, hundreds of them.”