My thoughts on a genderbent cast:
Note: These thoughts are only focused on Zuko and Katara (or Zuka and Kato). The kids are all genderbent while the adults stay the same gender (ie: Ozai is still Ozai).
This is not complete so feel free to add!!!
Master Kato; Last Southern Waterbender (15)
He has his hair pulled back into a warrior’s wolf tail. He lets two beaded pieces of hair frame his face and they rest at is chin. As the story progresses, his hair is often worn down or in a topknot when in hiding.
Kato keeps a memento from his mother, he engagement necklace. Kato was closer to their mother, and Sara, their father. He wears her blue stoned necklace around his wrist and is teased by Zuka because he has jewlry (the teasing stops once Zuka realizes what it represents).
“It was my mother’s,” Kato tells her, deep in one of the rooms of the Western Air Temple. There is a candle between them. He knows the flame is flickering in rhythm with Zuka’s breathing. The steady rise and fall of her chest is the only indication she is calm.
After two flicks of the flame, she responds. “I wish I was able to have something of my mother. Father would not allow it.”
He touches the pendant in his palm. Kato lifts his head, startled to find her golden eyes open and wavering, almost as if she is on the verge of tears. “When you become Fire Lord, you will be able to reclaim all of your mother’s possessions.”
Zuka’s lips quirk in response, the scared side of her face shadowed by the encroaching darkness.
Kato has learned waterbending as a fighter at the North Pole with Anila (the Avatar) but is more interested in the healing huts, how he can save lives and not just take them. Pakku sneers at his ‘idiotic’ thoughts, “The healing huts are only for the women, boy.” Kato is not allowed in the huts on Pakku’s strict orders. Kato fights for his belief that everyone has a chance to do anything they set their mind to. “You can’t knock me down; I’m stronger than you, old man.”
Kato, of course, has an immediate dislike of Zuka, who torments him and his sister, Sara, and hunts mercilessly for Anila. He comes to think of her as the angry, golden eyed girl who is the bane of his existence. Kato’s blue eyes always seem to drift to her burn scar on the left side of her face when the fight. The scar does not take away from her beauty, he notes; even he has to admit she is quite stunning. But her scowl mars her features more than the red scar gouging her pale, porcelain skin.
“Is it always that time of the month with you?” Kato bites back.
Zuka jerks back at the sudden question and turns her whole body around the face the boy she tied to a tree. She pins him to the bark with her piercing, golden glare. “What is that supposed to mean?”
In the beginning, Kato has more patience than Zuka, and is often able to outsmart her, freezing her to a tree or dumping her in the nearest river. Zuka’s fire usually rages out of control, and Kato is able to calm it down before it consumes both of them.
Kato’s heart still shatters when Zuka betrays her after their time in the green glow of the crystal catacombs, and he soons hardens his heart because he will never trust it again.
His mocha fingers brush quietly over her scar. Gone is the defiant look in her golden eyes when they fight; gone is the permanent scowl, now replaced with a sad, longing look. Gone is her long ponytail that used to sit up high on her head; her hair now hangs by her chin in uneven, jagged edges.
For the first time, Kato realizes he is taller than her.
With confidence, Kato gently rests his palm on her cheek, his thumb rests by the corner of her mouth. She subconsciously leans into his large hand; her skin is boiling under his freezing touch.
“I could heal it for you.”
Her eyes spark with renewed vigor, but the emotion soon simmers down as her lips part to speak. “It’s a scar; It can’t be healed.”
“Everything can be healed if you understand how.”
Kato falls in love with Zuka at the Western Air Temple.
Crown Princess Zuka; The Banished Princess (16)
Zuka is jealous of her younger brother, Azulon, who got all the attention from Ozai. Her brother is prodigy, and Zuka knows her father hates her because of her gender. Though, there is no law against a female Fire Lord and no law to take it away from the first born if the baby is female.
“Do you know the first words I said when I saw you?” Zuka nervously shakes her head, her golden eyes widening and on the brink of tears. “She will be a useless and weak Fire Lord if she ever ascends the throne.”
Zuka, compulsive in situations not to her preference, speaks out against the council for sacrificing new recruits as fodder. She is forced to participate in an Agni Kai much to Azulon’s laughing amusement.
“Please father, I am your loyal daughter. I would never do anything against your wishes.”
Zuka is scarred and banished. She is not trustworthy of men in general, except her uncle, as they have only laughed at her and sneered. They jeer at her appearance and often comment on how she could, in more ways than one, warm their bed. Zhao constantly makes sexual remarks at her.
Her mind is constantly driven to capture the Avatar, Anila. A twelve years old kid who gets under her skin because Zuka spent three years for this encounter on board a cramped vessel for a hyper airbending girl.
But out of the whole Avatar group, Kato grates on her nerves the most. For a boy his appearance is appealing, but he is kind. It catches her off guard when she sees him mothering the group. When Kato isn’t looking as Zuka’s ship fades in the distance, she casts for longing looks in his direction because if she wasn’t bent on destroying him, his life, and his friends, she would have like to have been friends with him.
He calms her fire, something no one has ever tried before.
Zuka still ties him to a tree.
She has to take on the pseudonym of Lula when they venture in the Earth Kingdom’s capital. Zuka becomes the Lower Ring’s best tea server in terms of looks. Her glare usually sends the men’s roaming eyes to a standstill, and she often feels better when she is able to throw them to the dusty streets.
Mostly, she tugs on the ends of her hair that just brush her cheekbones to hide her scar. Her short, shorn hair bothers her, like she lost a part of herself; she doesn’t look like her mother anymore. She lost a piece of herself in that city.
Kato in the catacombs almost found it again, with his wide blue eyes and present blush on his dark features. She would have blushed too if she was a different person.
She lost herself when she accepted Azulon’s hand.
Zuka doesn’t blame Kato’s destroyed look when they meet each other again in the Western Air Temple.
She falls in love with Kato in the catacombs.
They are constant sparring partners at the Western Air Temple.
“Are you scared, Kato?” Zuka asks. She bends her arm back bringing one of her dao blades closer to her body.
Kato flicks away the two strands of hair that frame his face. “You would like that, wouldn’t you?” A wave of water comes soaring behind him; he sends ice shards in her direction.
Zuka deflects them with her blade. Her hand steadily heats the metal and when ice pings against the steel, steam rises in the air after a sharp and quick hiss. Her choppy, black hair whips her in the face as she spins on the balls of her feet to deflect the next attack, this time with a wall of fire.
The orange and red flames flicker in his blue eyes, and Zuka releases an insane laugh because there is no way she will lose to him, again.
He doesn’t apologize for her battered skin after their sparring matches. She doesn’t apologize while she watches him heal the burn marks littered along the skin of his arms. The blue light mesmerizes her, and she can’t help but look at the swirling water and shrinking wounds. If only her fire had the ability for life, for good.