Zutara Week 2008 - #4 Manipulative

"How did we get stuck doing it like this again?" Katara asked, slowly maneuvering their little raft through the boiling water.

Zuko shrugged. "Sokka mentioned that if we really wanted to attempt to take down the Fire Nation, we needed more than two Water Tribe kids, a banished Fire Nation Prince, the flaming Avatar, and the 'World's Greatest Earthbender' to do it. Then everyone rattled off allies to find: Haru, Suki, and whatever Freedom Fighters wanted to join. Those were deemed easy enough to find and recruit, so it was suggested that we tackle releasing Ty Lee and – Mai – from the Boiling Rock first. Toph suggested it would be easier to plan a rescue mission from the most tightly-locked prison the Fire Nation boasts first, while we had less people to organize."

"Huh." A long pause, then "It feels like Toph manipulated the whole arrangement to me."

Another shrug. He didn't mind.

Neither did Katara.

Ok, Zuko minded a little. Here he was, attempting to rescue his former girlfriend, who he'd spoken with since leaving, but he wasn't sure what their stance was. And who was his accomplice? The young woman who he was steadily growing to enjoy…

"Maybe Toph just wanted to spend some time with Sokka before we find Suki." Zuko spoke before his jitters could catch hold of him.

Katara mock-winced. "Poor Toph. It'll be tough on her when she finally has to let go of her crush on him… He and Suki have grown pretty close."

Zuko merely nodded.