❯ Zuko Was No Coward – Full House ( Chapter 11 )

[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]

He was awake. He’d been awake since dawn first reached its fingers over the horizon. Despite commonly expressed opinion and his own words to the contrary, he could have slept longer. He was perfectly content to remain abed until the sun was well above the horizon. And he often did, much the to annoyance of his Court. But today—he dropped his eyes to the space beside him, the space that as typically empty—today was different. Nothing would ever be the same again. It was the first day of the rest of his life and part of him wanted to watch it arrive.

His bedmate shifted, an arm curling around a pillow and sighing gently as he watched with a sense of wonder. He could remember every event that changed his life. His mother’s banishment. His banishment. Betraying the Avatar. Betraying his father. The dragons. Mai…

The sun finally rose high enough to peek through the window, spilling light into the room, spreading across the floor and warming the bed, warming mocha skin. Unable to resist, Zuko trailed a  hand up her back, tracing the inked dragons between her shoulder blades. It was an odd custom. One Sokka had to explain when he proudly displayed his own tattoo shortly after he married Suki. Katara further explained later that in addition to the betrothal necklace, women would also acquire a tattoo symbolic of their husband’s family, permanently binding her to her husband.. The tattoo’s were typically placed where only the husband would see it. Not a difficult task with the Water Tribe clothing. Men didn’t usually follow the custom and the fact that Sokka did gave Katara no end of amusement.

A sense of contentment filled him to near bursting and he pressed his lips to the bare skin of her shoulder, breathing in the scent of her. She was his. His friend. His lover. His wife. He never thought he’d get someone like her. He was in a passionless relationship with Mai because that was how it was supposed to be, and she… she was with Aang.

She stirred, rolling onto her side and opening sleep-drugged eyes. She stared at him with no recognition for a moment before closing her eyes and snuggling closer. A deep sigh danced across his skin, raising the fine hairs on his arms and sending a shiver down his spine. She hugged him, pressing her nose into the crook of his neck. “Hmm…good morning.”

Her voice was rough with sleep and he felt his heart skip when she dragged her hand down his side. Pressing a kiss to her temple, he whispered a soft, “Morning.”

They lay quietly, listening to the sound of their breathing. Her fingers traced a faint scar on his side and her head tilted up to look at him. “What’s on your mind?”

“Just thinking.”

She smiled. “I can tell.”

The silence stretched comfortably, Katara dozing quietly on his shoulder. Zuko let his mind drift over the years. Only Uncle had ever wanted to know his thoughts. Well, his mother too, but she was gone. Azula and his father pretended he didn’t exist and Mai…Mai hadn’t cared. “We’re not that different.”

He almost wished the words unsaid. He held his breath, waiting for the words of indifference or the clear dismissal of his thoughts. Katara gave a quiet hum to let him know she’d heard. “Most would say we’re opposite.”

Zuko relaxed, feeling foolish. Katara was not Mai. “True. You can’t have a dark without a light.”

She pulled away to look at him, eyebrows rising in mock surprise. “Why, Zuko, I believe you’ve been influenced by your uncle after all. He will be so proud,” she cooed. “So, which one am I in this little analogy? The dark one?”

Zuko pinned her to the bed, leaning over to brush kisses over both cheeks and giving her nose a peck. “No, you are all light. Perhaps I’m the dark one.”

A low laugh escaped her and she reached up to fondly brush his hair back. “Silly firebender.”

He rolled his eyes, resting on his elbows and making no move to get off of her. Idly, he twirled a strand of her hair between his fingers. “But we’re not that different. Even in our bending.”

She fixed him with a patient look. “My dear, fire and water cannot be more different.”

“No. Both are needed. But Tui and La circle each other and Ran and Shaw dance—”

“I never thought you’d be so sentimental,” she interrupted.

He grinned, leaning in as if to impart a secret. “And you have a temper to rival any firebender.”

“Zuko!”

The discussion dissolved into a pillow fight and a short time later the laughs turned to breathy moans. The morning was nearly over when the occupants of the Fire Lord’s chambers stirred once more. Zuko lay flat on his back, eyes closed, Katara pressed against his side, amongst a tangle of sheets. Katara propped herself up on her elbow, smiling at his relaxed expression as she placed her palm over the scar on his chest, comforted by the steady beat of his heart, before letting her hand rest over the small tattoo low on his hip. Gold eyes cracked open to look at her and her smile grew. Leaning forward, she dropped a soft kiss on his lips.“We’re two of a kind.”

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

AN: Well, it’s been a while and to be honest I haven’t really worked on any kind of writing. Trying to finish school so I can move on with my life. Anyway, the idea popped into my head months ago mostly because I thought it was interesting that both Fire Nation and Water Nation original masters circled each other… and there were two of them. Anyway, prompt #5: Two of a Kind… « we’re two of a kind, workin’ on a full house! »
AN2: I pictured Katara having the dragons and Zuko having Tui and La. I thought it’d be cute to have each other’s original masters. Perhaps I need to clarify Zuko’s tattoo. If you’re wondering about Sokka’s tattoo, I wasn’t sure what would symbolize Suki or her heritage. Maybe the Unagi? I didn’t think a fan was a very manly tattoo. R&R!

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Zuko Was No Coward – From The Ashes
Zuko Was No Coward – For of All Sad Words of Tongue or Pen*