the_codex: (Crackfic)
[personal profile] the_codex
Written for Zutara week prompt #5: tastes like chocolate. Set during "Ember Island Players", but completely spoiler-free.

Title: Drink of the Gods
Fandom: Avatar
Pairing: Zuko/Katara
Rating: PG

"You're kidding. You expect me to drink something that looks like you scooped it out of a sewer pipe?"

Zuko rolled his eyes. "Oh please. Give me more credit than that, will you? Not even I've sunk that low on the fugitive food chain."

Katara snorted, still glaring at the earthen cup of equally brown liquid, not wanting to admit how good it smelled. Rich and sweet, but with a slightly dark and bitter undertone. Not like anything she'd experienced in all the world. "Ok. I'll try it. But you have to tell me what it is first."

He smiled. "Qiăokèlì. It's been labeled the 'drink of the gods.' The Sun Warriors were the first to procure it, and it's the last remaining influence they have on modern culture. Ember Island's pretty famous for it, actually."

She gave him a wary look. "What's it taste like?"

He rolled his eyes again. "You think people would drink it for thousands of years if it tasted bad? Just have a sip, ok? If you don't like it you don't have to drink it."

She sighed, shrugging. "All right. I've got nothing to lose, I guess." She took the cup from him, sniffing it for a moment before sucking in a breath and taking a first tentative sip.

It was warm but not too hot. Thick and creamy and silky smooth, with an absolute perfect balance of bitter, tangy, and sweet that nothing she'd tasted anywhere else even came close to. And it was then, after she'd swallowed that first mouthful, that the lingering flavor of cinnamon surfaced, along with the slightest kick of hot pepper.

It was...impossible to describe with a single word. "Delicious" came close, but didn't feel nearly strong enough. She decided in the end that 'drink of the gods' was far more appropriate.

The look on his face told her that her own expression was exactly what he expected. "Verdict?"

She paused, staring hard at the cup before taking another sip. "...You're the only country in the world that produces this stuff, right?"

"Right..."

"I've literally been all over the world, and I have yet to taste anything like it. Which makes it pretty obvious your people refuse to share."

He quirked a brow. "And...?"

She sighed, smiling wanly at the cup. "Now I know why we've been at war for a hundred years."
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