Zutara. They each had a part to play. He played the soulless fire bender. She played the part of ignorant water bender.
He played the soulless fire bender. Or the part of the spoiled prince, demanding what he wanted. His eyes danced in the light, from happiness or fear she does not know. All that mattered was that he played his part in the script of life.
She played the part of ignorant water bender. She knew nothing of war but the friends who died. Or at least that was what she said. The blue eyed peasant. Her part was easier to play.
They'd meet and exchange lines, practicing their parts to perfection. Exchange choreography. They would repeat their lines together and sometimes when they worked her mask would fall sideways. He carefully put it back in place. The others would never find out about the parts they played.
But sometimes they would gather when no one was around. Scripts would be thrown aside and masks would leave. He was a boy and she was a girl, nothing more.
But then there was a rustle in the trees. Masks were found and put on quickly. The Avatar found her with a memorized script he'd unknowingly heard so many times before. The Avatar had a part to play too.
It was the Fool who found out. His part was supposed to be simple. Laugh when he made a joke, giggle when a rock hit his head, and joke about him when he left. But the Fool who wasn't knew. He saw how they would break character, if only for a moment, and gaze with their masks off. He knew.
That's when it got complicated. Her duty, his honor, the things about their parts he assured her wouldn't matter. They all jumbled up together. The fool was wise and the Avatar cried. They went against the parts she had cast for them. They defied the script and now she would pay the consequences. The Fool and the Avatar or the Prince with a mask? She knew she could play each part. But she couldn't play both.
But before she could decide he left her. His honor and his land were the parts he had to play. And she realized then that it wasn't a part. He was a fire bender, he was a prince and they were enemies. She was a blue-eyed peasant who knew nothing, absolutely nothing, about war. Or love. The meetings in the night was the part. They were pretending to be just a boy and just a girl. There were no scripts and no masks but the parts were still played.
Her tears were real, but they were scripted too.
The Fool could be right.
The Prince could leave.
The Avatar could cry.
And when she came back to camp, you could not see if she was wearing a mask at all.