I was going to put this into "Keys of Discipline," but I decided against it. This one is better left standing on its own.
Solidarity, Sister Suffragette
Zuko had never seen a sunrise so beautiful before in his life. The way the pinks flirted with the oranges and the reds rolled over onto the yellowing of the blue sky behind the clouds; it was almost as if the sun were stretching yearning limbs after a night of platitude. With that thought, Zuko extended his arms all around him in the bed, arching his back and smiling as his muscles tingled into wakened potency after a comfortable slumber. He pushed himself slowly onto his feet, feeling the plush rug beneath his toes. Tying his robe closed around him, he ventured out of the small room and down the hall.
At the end, a closed door called to his heart. The golden Fire Nation crown insignia on the front flashed as the light from his opened door landed on it. He tapped lightly on its surface and grinned to himself as graceful morning sounds, much like that of an ensnared lioness, crawled pleasantly into his ears. "Honey?" he called. From within he heard loud grunts and storming footsteps.
"What do you want?" Katara grumbled.
"You look cute when you're—"
"Insane with hatred?" she interrupted, flashing her teeth like fangs.
Zuko shrugged. "I was going to say 'tired,' but yours fits." He pointed towards the stairs. "Would you care to join me for some tea, my dulcet darling?"
Katara deadpanned. "Would you care to do a faceplant in shards of glass?"
"Not so much, actually," he said with raised eyebrow. He took her clenched fist into his hand and led her lightly down the steps.
"You disgust me," Katara was whispering into his ear. "How can you live with yourself? How do you sleep at night?"
"Oh please, Katara," he said extravagantly, "your sweet nothings are just too much for my fluttering heart."
They came to the kitchen and Zuko gestured Katara to a mat while he poured the tea. On the table sat a creative display of votives and flower petals, obviously dressed to impress. In the center of the arrangement, directly between the two teacups, was a small platter filled with palatable chocolates of varying sizes, shapes, and colors. Katara eyed it hungrily.
"So, how did you sleep?" Zuko asked after taking a sip.
She glared at him.
"That well?" he asked, opening a book and positioning it in front of his face.
She took a chocolate off the plate and popped it into her mouth.
After a few minutes of silence between them, Zuko peered at her over the volume and said, "We got a letter from Sokka last night. He and Suki were planning to visit in a few weeks. I sent word that he could bring Yue and Kyoshi."
Katara ate another chocolate.
Zuko eyed her suspiciously. "Your nieces."
She chewed listlessly.
Her expression didn't change.
"If I recall correctly, you tend to refer to them as 'The Bane of My Existance.'"
He shrugged and went back to reading his book. "All right then. I'll leave it to you to hide the good silver."
She reached for another chocolate, but was thwarted as Zuko swiped her hand away. "And I believe you've had your fair share of those." He took the piece she had been aiming for and brought it to his mouth.
Without warning, a water whip lashed out and retrieved the candy from his fingers, placed it lightly in Katara's, and retreated back into her teacup. Katara placed her bounty on her tongue and reveled in its texture as it disappeared, out of Zuko's reach.
Zuko had never before seen so much hatred, such utter loathing, abhorrence, detestation, and general discontent collected so perfectly into one face before. The way Katara looked at him now, he was almost scared. "What ever happened to 'What's mine is yours'?" he asked, a pouty expression on his face.
"Zuko," she breathed in a low rumble, "you may be my husband, the father of my children, the savior of my nation, the captor of my heart, and the owner of the most comfortable mattresses in the world." She snatched the entire plate of chocolates and hid it away on her lap. "However, you have this annoying habit of waking me up at the same unholy hour every morning for a pre-sunrise cup of tea." Three pieces found their way into her mouth. "Now," she said with a little work, "as much as I love you, I cannot allow you to take from me the one fading light of happiness left in this world."
There were only two chocolates left. Zuko's face resembled that of a puppy forsaken on the roadside on a dark, rainy night. Katara's looked more like a ravenous wolf as it stands over a fresh kill.
"This sugar," she said crouching low over the plate, "is mine."
Just my way of empowering women everywhere. They can have their bigger paychecks, societal security, and lower prices at the local JiffyLube, but they can never take our sanity.