“Zuko?” asked Aang, his voice quavering slightly in nervousness.
“Yeah, Aang, what is it?” answered Zuko as he sharpened his swords.
“Umm, how do you ask a girl out?”
Zuko was so startled by the question that he almost cut off his own thumb. He stared at the Avatar in surprise before he shook his head and put away his swords for his own safety. Aang was probably thinking of that On Ji girl from the school. He really was quite precocious, especially considering that On Ji already had a boyfriend. Was Zuko looking at a heartbreaker in the making? “I’m not really an expert, Aang. Sokka’s more of a lady’s man than me.”
“Sure, but I’m not sure if I can do what he does.”
“You mean flirt shamelessly with the opposite sex?” Aang looked uncomfortable about bad-mouthing one of his friends, even indirectly, so Zuko took pity on the boy and decided to share the fruits of his own extremely limited experience. He’d never asked anyone out but he’d been on the receiving end of an invitation, so that was almost the same, right? “Look, I think the best way to ask a girl out is just to ask her out.”
“I don’t get it.” The kid looked completely confused.
“I mean there’s nothing for it but to do it. It’s easier than you think.” Zuko saw Katara from across the campsite and decided to demonstrate. “Hey Katara, do you want to go out with me?” When she shot him a look of surprise, he explained, “I’m showing Aang how to ask a girl out.”
She smiled on hearing that. “That’s nice of you. Go out where, exactly?”
“Umm, we need groceries anyway, right? We could take a walk into town and have lunch together while we’re there.”
“Sounds good. Let me just get ready and I’ll be back in ten minutes.”
Zuko turned to Aang, who was slack-jawed in shock. “Don’t look so surprised, Aang, it really is that easy to ask a girl on a date.” Aang continued to stare wordlessly at him. “What is it, are you feeling okay?”
“I’m back,” said Katara. “I thought I’d have to dig out my grocery basket but I found it right away. Are you ready?”
“Sure, I can go right now,” said Zuko as he stood up and brushed off his pants. “So Aang, just remember what happened today when you want to ask a girl out. It’s not complicated or scary at all. Anyway, I guess Katara and I will see you when we get back.”
Aang stared at Zuko and Katara chatting amiably as they walked away until the two disappeared around a corner. He spent the rest of the afternoon hiding Zuko’s shoes but got caught by Toph, who forced him to return the shoes “because I’m the only one who torments people around here.” Zuko never noticed what had happened.