A/N: Ha! I am back from an extremely long hiatus. I bring you a fluffy drabble about my new favorite pairing, Maiko.
Disclaimer: I do not own Avatar: The Last Airbender (Sadly.). But! I do own the plot of this drabble. That counts for something. . . right?
Zuko had never thought Mai was beautiful.
The thought that Mai was a girl at all never occurred to him until that fateful day on her tenth birthday. Like always, she wore a bored grimace on her face as she sat in a plush chair which was off to the side, despite how many people will surrounding her and how happy her parents seemed to be. It was as if it was painful to smile or even look at the people who were at her party.
"Happy birthday, Mai." the prince muttered as he handed the birthday girl the heavily ornamented and decorated box. She raised her eyebrows as the object was placed in her lap. "And, this is?" she asked, her voice maintaining an even cold tone as she lifted it up. She hid her obvious surprise that Zuko had given her a gift. She felt heat rising to her cheeks, a common occurrence when Zuko was present.
He frowned and tilted his head in confusion. How could she not know what it is? Isn't Mai a girl? Zuko wondered. He looked at the young woman oddly before saying, "It's a jewelry box. To put your jewelry in. I think it already has a necklace in it.". He felt so awkward explaining the gift to her. Why couldn't she just accept it and let him go away.
The Fire Nation girl seemed less than overjoyed with the prospect of this present. She traced the design of a flame on the top of the jewelry box with one of her long, pale fingers. Mai pondered opening it. She glanced up at Zuko, hoping that he would give her to clue as to how she was supposed to act.
"You are supposed to open it." the prince suggested, a blush creeping onto his pale features. She blushed also and muttered, "Oh,".
She run her tongue over her bottom lip as she turned the gift around and fingered the clasp. It was also gold and a bit. . . . too much by her standards. She sighed and decided that she would open it, so her mother would not bug her to no end about it later. She lifted the clasp and pushed the top away from the rest of the box, opening it.
A gasp escaped her lips as she laid eyes on the beautiful necklace. Her fingers ran over the smooth pendent, which was a ruby gem. Incasing the gem was gold, but she did not care much about the gold. She was in love with the dark red of the ruby.
"It is. . .-" she cut herself off before saying something stupid. She looked up at Zuko, who seemed as surprised as she was. "I think you should put it on." he stated, finally. He wanted to see how she would look. How she would look as a girl. Suddenly, a memory from when he was but a young boy, when his mother was still. . . . . . present. A memory consisting of a rare moment of affection between his mother and father, Ozai putting an elegant necklace, much like this one. Am I supposed to do that? Zuko thought, panicking as to what he was supposed to do in a situation like this.
Bravely, the twelve year old boy took a step toward the chair the birthday girl was sitting in and announced with a quivering voice, "Give me the necklace. I will put it on you.". His words left the younger girl speechless. All she could do was give him the necklace and nod. "Stand up." he whispered, though he did not want to make a big show out of this. It is not even an affectionate gesture, he assured himself
Mai got up and pushed her chair out of the way. The boy took a step closer to her and lifted his hands above her head before placing the necklace around her neck. She shivered as his fingers brushed up against the bare skin on her neck, unintentionally. Zuko blushed horribly in response before continuing to work on fixing her necklace. Both of his hands were behind her neck, one side of the necklace in each hand. Taking a deep breath, he moved each side closer to the other and did the clasp after fiddling with it for a good couple seconds.
The girl touched the necklace with an air of unfamilarity and wonder about her. "Thank you." she muttered, her voice regaining its typical cold and reserved tone. She turned around and was about to sit down and her chair and pretend none of this happened when she saw the prince's expression. He was surprised, shocked even, by how. . . . . . different she looked. She actually looked like a girl. Not his little demon sister's best friend, but a girl. She was a girl, after all.
"You look. . . . .nice." he said finally, not wanting to say what he really thought, which was that Mai was absolutely beautiful. She nodded in response and said, "Thank you for the gift.", exactly how she had been taught. She then curtsied, as if it was after thought. And, with that, Prince Zuko of the Fire Nation left, thoughts of how beautiful Mai was refusing to leave his mind.
A/N: So. . . .yeah, my first attempt at fanfiction in a while. Please, read and review. As you can tell, Maiko along with Azulang are my new favorite ships, so expect some fanfiction centered around them sometime soon. Please, read and review. I know Zuko and Mai may have seemed a bit OOC because I had issues with trying to figure out how they acted when they were all young and cutesy. :3