Battle of Wills
Disclaimer: I own nothing.
She didn't put up with crap from him. She didn't accept the whole banished prince from the fire nation act. In fact she plain out ignored him whenever she thought he was too dramatic.
"Do you think I'm going to be docile like sugar queen?" she snorted.
He would just stare at her. She was smaller and younger than he was. She was blind and still she challenged him.
He tried to stay away from her but he couldn't. It was strange this irrational pull she had on him. She wasn't as beautiful as Katara or as annoying as Sokka or as innocent as Aang. She was a spitfire born to the earth kingdom.
Her family had demanded her return. They had offered him many other prizes but he wanted nothing else. He let the others go. Aang could finish his avatar duties. Sokka could go back to Suki. Katara could marry Aang and return to her village.
He would not surrender Toph. Strange as it was he didn't want the earth bender girl to return to her home. He knew she would be a prisoner there more so than she was with him.
He was tired from his duties as the new fire lord. He hated the bureaucrats and politicians. The nobles were begging for him to torch them. He prayed to Agni for a restful night.
He stood with Iroh to his left. He was pacing nervously waiting for some word. The golden rooms of the capital were lightless. The faint flicker of flames showed shadows across Iroh's face.
"Nephew, she will be fine," his uncle said as he poured a pot of tea. "Perhaps a little tea will put you at ease."
"Why do you also think tea is the answer?" he demanded as he flung the cup away from him.
Iroh shook his head at his nephew's anger.
"Zuko, she is young. You need not worry so," Iroh said.
"It was too soon. She is too young. I should have waited longer," he whispered.
"Nonsense, she will be back to yelling at you before you know it," Iroh replied.
"I hope you are right," he muttered.
The door opened to reveal a young messenger. "My lord, the doctor wishes to speak with you."
Zuko said nothing as he dragged himself towards the room. The doctor stood quietly over the patient's bed.
"The Fire Lady is well milord. She is just tired. The birth was hard on her," the doctor said.
Slowly a nurse brought in two small bundles. One was a baby girl. The other was her brother. Both watched him with golden eyes as if measuring him.
He heard her groan softly from the bed. He turned towards the doctor and nurse. "Leave us," he ordered.
Gently he put the infants in their cradle and approached his wife.
"Are you alright?" he asked her.
"You are as bad as twinkle toes. Honestly, do I look alright? I hurt all over but I'm not that worried. No one told me what the baby was," she said.
He stared at her. She was no longer the young girl he had known. True she wasn't very tall. She had grown curves and her face had become more beautiful.
He was about to answer her when he heard his uncle.
"Zuko, wake up," Iroh said shaking his nephew's shoulders.
"What is it Uncle?" he asked rubbing his eyes.
"The Bei Fong family is here about Miss Toph."
Zuko groaned as he approached the petition room. The Bei Fong family stood in front of the throne waiting for a decision.
"My lord, I wish to see my daughter," Toph's father said.
Zuko examined the man. Toph must have inherited her courage from some distant relative because her parents were cowards. Her mother eyed him with fear.
"If Toph wishes to see you I'll allow it," he said.
He moved away from them leaving the parents shocked. He needed to go see Toph. It was her will that he would listen to not the will of her parents.
"Well Zuzu I didn't think you'd visit today," Toph said.
She was practicing her bending. He watched somewhat bewildered as she sent the rocks of the garden flying. She moved with an agility that would confuse someone those who knew of her blindness.
"Your parents are here," he said.
Immediately she sent a rock flying towards him.
"What do they want?" Toph asked her voice becoming quiet.
"They are demanding to see you."
"Will you send me back to them? Will you let them take me back home?"
"If that is what you want. You can stay here if you like."
Toph followed him as he reentered back into the throne room. She could feel her mother's delicate footsteps. Her father's stoic presence surrounded her. For once in her life Toph admitted weakness. She clung tightly to Zuko's arm not wanting to be separated from him.
"Toph, your mother and I would like to talk to you alone," her father said softly.
"I'll be outside if you need me," Zuko said.
He stood in the hallway for what seemed like hours before he heard a door slam.
"Zuzu if you think you're getting rid of me then you're nuts. I don't intend to go anywhere with those people," Toph yelled.
He bit back a smile at the earthbender's antics.
"If I have to keep you around then we'll find something for you to do," he said trying to sound bored.
"I already thought of that. I'm going to help you turn this milk-sopped country into a respectable state."
He stared at her in shock.
"You don't have to thank me flicker foot it will be my pleasure."
"How do you plan on helping me out of this situation?" he asked through gritted teeth.
"Simple, I'm letting you marry me. I mean you're not what I pictured for a husband but I think your country deserves a strong queen."
"Don't I get any say in this?" he demanded.
"Nope. I've made my decision," she said.
She kissed him firmly on the mouth.
The dream replayed at the back of his mind. Perhaps this could work.
He spun her around and kissed her again.
"Let the battle of wills begin," Toph said smiling as she walked away.