There's no romance in "right now" Toph-Zuko fics. So this is a few years after Aang defeats Zuko's father and Zuko takes out his sister (whether she's dead or locked up isn't the issue), which I'm sure will happen in the actual show come season 3. He has no family left and has inherited the throne.
I don't own Avatar.
Over three years had passed since the war. The young firelord, resumed the position of pacing in his study, the flames of a fireplace rekindling every few minutes.
"Should I send her in, my lord?" Came a feeble voice at the foot of the door.
"Yes" he replied - his voice hardened and he faced the fireplace.
Almost 20, he'd been going about his duties without any pressure for the last couple of years, finding that harmony with the Avatar did have it's advantages.
Pressured now, to marriage, since he had no remaining family and was now heirless, Zuko found himself 'courting' a couple of firenation girls, ones eager to please but who had no understanding of why he threw his loyalty to his family and nation aside for the Avatar over three years ago.
Not many would understand.
He heard the sound of his servant and his guest, evidently with dirty feet - as the granules swept the earthen floor as she walked.
"My lord" said the servant again and left the room.
"Firelord Zuko" the girl's voice began as a curtesy, but the corners of her mouth were upturned and she was stiffling a laugh.
For a second he didn't know why he'd brought her back here.
She was one of the nation's top eathbender's though, and work did need to be done.
"Toph" he turned around.
She was 16 now. Wearing a lacey white dress, down to her ankles and her usual wry expression - the way she did when she was concentrating on every movement in the room.
"Zuko" she repeated, smirking again.
He grimaced. She could almost feel it in the air. "You've been teaching earthbending" he began.
"Cut the small talk, Blue Spirit and tell me why I'm here."
Everybody knew his other identity now, and formerly having one herself, the Blind Bandit liked using his other name.
She felt his hardened disposition from across the room. He hadn't really changed.
He still didn't get too close.
He still didn't smile.
She remembered back, being honored at his crowning ceremony as the new firelord. He had no family left. Yet finally, accepting that honor, the title that was finally his - he smiled.
Partly a curtesy smile, but a real smile none the less. She didn't have to see it to know it was happening.
She didn't have to see him to know how he felt.
"The firenation requires your services"
She slid forward, her hands clenching themselves in little balls of defence. "The firenation or you?"
"The firenation" He replied, emotionless.
"It would be nice if you smiled." she moved towards him, harsh steps.
"It would be nice if you co-operated" he said, just as stoic.
He glanced over her. She'd grown and now he was only a few inches over her, instead of a whole head and then some. Still glassey eyed, she wore the proud battle scars the war had given her and the determination that never left her face.
It wasn't only that determination, despite the odds that comforted him.
She was the only one who understood his family, the ones who loved him. Iroh.
Though she never spoke of him directly - they were in agreement of his uncles worth. She showed him that much respect and understanding.
More than the Avatar. More than Katara, wrapped up in her own problems and Aang's. More than Sokka who never spoke to Zuko like a friend.
This time it changed. She mentioned the unmentionable. "Your uncle once told me you were lost. He probably could have assumed once you took the throne, you'd have found your place, but I find you more lost than ever."
"I brought you here in order not to make it personal" he said, facing her bitterly without answer to her complaint.
"You lost your family, but you gained some friends" she reached to touch his arm. He moved his arm away. "It's time to move on."
She wasn't moving. Stubborn as a boulder, just like his uncle and just what he needed to get a good kick in the behind. She would have tried to do it years ago, but he never let her in. Just like now.
"You don't tell me what to do" he was resisting from slapping her, his long dark hair hanging over, tangled and forming a mask around his face.
"We're friends. Aang, Katara, Sokka, me. We remember your family, your struggles. Although a lot of your own nation were quick to forget..." She continued.
"No" he said firmly and turned back away from her.
"Forget how strong you are."
The other's could never understand what it was like - to be underestimated, struggling, misunderstood, unloved.
There was nothing left for him in the firenation, but still he stayed.
She put her foot down and the earth under the temple moved it so he was an inch closer to her. She did the same thing again. Neither of them had to move. The eath moved for them.
She reached up and touched his shoulder, turning him back around. Reaching up to touch his face gently, he stiffened and with quick reflexes grabbed her wrists to halt the intimate action.
"Firelord Zuko" she began and looked up, her glassy eyes challenging him with their expressionless irises. "How has your search for a find a wife been?"
She had the knack for getting right to the matter.
He tightened his grip on her wrists and bent down to her.
Finally to kiss someone unrepulsed by his scars, by his past, by his duel personality, his fighting spirit. Because she had the same qualities.
And as the fireplace roared with a new passion behind them, she touched his scars... his all... and knew that she was home.
I wanted to make one for all Toko fans. :)
I don't get Zutara, because I think these two are both too selfish for each other. Aang and Toph are the more accomodating halves to each.
Plus, I can't see any other girl giving moody Zuko the space he requires (and not being infuriated).
P.S. If you don't review I'm going to have to set Appa on you.