Matchmaking - Suki
Peace had been established throughout the world with coming of Avatar Aang and the rise of Fire Lord Zuko. The century-long war was over, and at last the Water Tribes and Earth Kingdom could rebuild in safety and peace. The new Fire Nation had pledged to help, but its people and rulers still had plenty of time to enjoy the new era.
Case in point, Zuko had announced his engagement to Suki of Kyoshi Island, and the happy couple was hosting a citywide celebration in the Fire Nation's capital, open to nobles and commoners alike. In the courtyard of their palace, Zuko and Suki looked out at the dancing revelers.
Zuko's eyes, however, kept sliding to his fiancé. "You look perfect."
Suki, resplendent in bright red robes, smiled and focused her attention on him. "Do I?"
"Absolutely. It's like you were born for the Fire Nation. Red, and being at my side, suits you so well."
Suki raised her eyebrows and laughed. "Very smooth, Zuko. Your uncle wrote that for you, didn't he?"
"Well," Zuko stammered, "he didn't write it. He just told it to me. But it's true."
Suki shrugged playfully. "You never know. Kyoshi Island may have started off as Earth Kingdom, but it was a popular port in the Southern Seas by the time Avatar Roku was born. I know I have Water Tribe blood in my family, and it's entirely possible there's some Fire Nation, too. We used to get their ships, before the war."
"Interesting." Zuko suddenly smirked. "So if anyone complains about my making a foreigner the Royal Consort, we an always use that explanation."
Suki gave him a reproachful stare and gestured at the crowd. "Do you see anyone complaining?"
Zuko looked, and his eyes narrowed. "Well, Mai is making gestures at us."
Suki followed his gaze. "Oh. That looks obscene."
"Actually, it's not. It's an ancient Sun Warrior curse, calling for darkness to hound our steps and a chill to take our blood." Zuko sighed. "She always did well in school, especially history."
"Should we call for the guards?"
"Not so long as she stays away from us. I told the guards to confiscate her weapons if she tried to get in here."
"Okay, your call. I guess she's still upset about... well, the whole thing."
"A little? Zuko, now she's using both hands."
"Okay, maybe more than a little."
Suki turned away from the sight. "We need to introduce her to someone new. That isn't healthy."
Zuko snorted. "You wouldn't happen to know an eligible guy who doesn't mind pain and suffering, would you?"
Suki blinked. "Actually, I do."
"YOU WANT ME TO DATE WHO?!"
Suki pushed a plate of kabobs towards her guest. "Here, have some more."
"Thanks!" Sokka began stuffing sizzling chunks of meat into his mouth. "Sho, oo ant e oo datesh oo?"
"You heard me, Sokka. Mai's really upset, and could use a friend."
Sokka swallowed. "What about Ty Lee?"
"She likes it on Kyoshi Island. They're talking about making her leader in my place."
"So why me?" Sokka pushed the empty plate away and crossed his arms. "Mai and I haven't said two words to each other. I don't even like her as a friend!"
"Aw, that's mean."
"No, it just means I haven't even met her yet."
Suki smiled and gestured. "So meet her! You two have lots in common!"
"You like throwing metal things at people!"
"....look, just try talking to her! She's pretty!"
Sokka's face twisted. "She is?"
"You don't think so?"
"Well, I haven't really examined her, but no, she never really stood out to me."
Suki finally let the good cheer fade from her face. "Sokka, if you ask Mai out, I'll have Zuko give you all the komodo kabobs you can eat for a week."
Sokka was on Mai's doorstep the next day with a bunch of flowers. He was dressed in his best blues, and had just bathed. He brought his boomerang along, both because he thought it might serve as an easy conversation point, and it might come in handy if things came down to a fight for his life. It always paid to be careful, as he had tried but never successfully impressed on Katara.
Sokka knocked on the door.
A servant answered.
Sokka gave the man a message for Mai, one that he had pre-planned with Iroh's help. The general's insight proved helpful, because he plenty of experience sweet-talking women, and he actually knew a little about Mai. It couldn't lose.
A few minutes later, a scowling Mai appeared.
Mai took one look at the flowers, twisted her face in disgust at the colors, and slammed the door.
"No, it doesn't count. You get the meat only if you get her out on a date."
Sokka slumped on the Fire Lord's fancy table. "But this is hard!"
Suki didn't relent with her scowl. "Sokka, I know you can do this. You charmed me, once upon a time, and I thought you were a woman-hating scumbucket. Mai just thinks you're an idiot."
"Prove her wrong."
"How am I... wait."
An hour later, Sokka was back in front of Mai's house. The same servant opened the door. He smirked when he saw Sokka.
Sokka resisted the urge fall for it. "Just get Mai for me, huh, buddy?"
Mai was produced shortly.
Sokka proudly revealed a new boomerang, colored red and black, the edge freshly sharpened. "For you."
Mai's face didn't move, but she did say, "Ooh."
Sokka was about to reply, take advantage of her interest, but before he could, she plucked the boomerang from his hands and slammed the door again.
"Sokka, what do you want from me? I can't ask Mai out for you."
Sokka planted his face in his hands. The muffled reply was, "I want you to ditch your boyfriend and stop exploiting our past to solve your problems."
"Nothing! Noth... wait."
Suki sat back down. "What?"
Sokka finished his thought, mentally congratulated himself, and smirked. "I got this. Go put the order for my kabobs in."
Mai's expression was as unreadable as ever, but it was safe to say that she was Not Amused. Sokka, however, didn't let that deter him. Just as Suki had trained him all that time ago on Kyoshi Island, it would be his opponent's own momentum that would lead to her defeat.
He held up a hand, looked Mai in the eyes, and spoke. "Suki sent me over here to get you out of her hair by way of seduction. Honestly, I think that's pretty scummy. But, it occurs to me that maybe we can get along, at least as friends, because I can respect anyone who can manipulate Suki like you've been doing. But frankly, that kind of meanness is really beneath you. I think you're not as upset as you're acting, but you're so bored that you're acting out and trying to get attention. Well, here I am. Your opportunity to do something with your life. I'll teach you the boomerang, trade jokes with you, discuss Suki and Zuko's flaws, find an adventure somewhere we both like, or just make out if you want to because now that I get a good look at you you're actually very pretty. And if you take me up on that, you'll be proving yourself a better person than Suki. Not that you care."
Sokka held out his arms. "So, what will it be?"
Mai stared at him.
Sokka stared back.
Mai smirked, arched an eyebrow at him, looked him over from head to toe, and spoke. "Okay." She pulled Sokka into the house and shut the door.
Sokka shared his komodo kabobs with his new girlfriend.