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“It’s really big, Zuko. I don’t think it’s going to fit.”


“It is. You can manage it. Come on, hold it with me—we can get it in—”


“I feel like it shouldn’t be that hard. It shouldn’t be like this. This isn’t going to work—don’t you have servants for this, anyway? You don’t even need me.”


“Come on, Katara. I’m always going to need you. And this is nice. Shit—you’re bleeding. Why are you bleeding? Shit—”


“Bleeding happens, you know. And don’t worry. I’m a bloodbender. I can control myself. I won’t make a mess. Just push harder.”


“Uncle better appreciate this.”


“What do you mean?”


“He just likes children. You know tea reminds him of Lu Ten? He misses my cousin. I think this’ll be good for him.”


“You’re making me do this with you because you think he’ll like it? He better love this. He’s going to deal with the result of this . . . ah.”


“Did you just moan?”


“It’s hard!”


“Sorry. I put a lot of effort into this.”


“I know. And I’m . . . you’re a good guy, Zuko. Just don’t go soft on me early. Keep pushing.”


“But you’re hurt.”


“I’m not hurt. What did you think was going to happen? Seriously, you should just have servants do this with you if you’re going to whine about me helping you anyway—”


“I’m not whining. I’m very grateful for you. Damn it—you’re so tense.”


“This is a strenuous activity!”


“I don’t think it really should be. Are we doing it wrong?”


“We’re sort of young. Maybe we shouldn’t be doing it at all. But—”


“I think it’s too late now. Let’s just finish. Are you almost done?”


“Yeah, I am. It feels good. Are you . . .”


“I’m almost finished. Didn’t want to do it too fast, though. That would scare you out. I’m tough. I can last.”


“I don’t need you to do more work than me—”


“You’re not. We’re a team. Let’s finish together.”


“Okay. One, two, three— pull out.”


“That felt good,” Zuko wipes his hand over his forehead. “I think Uncle will like all the tea.”


“I had no idea tea was so heavy. These crates are like . . . I’m exhausted after that pushing.”


“I should have made the servants do it.”


“Why didn’t you, again?”


“Because Uncle has eyes and ears everywhere,” he winces and walks over to her side. “Let’s go lie down. And you can heal that cut. The Jasmine box was brutal.”


“Just sleep?”


“Yeah, just sleep.”