Dixie Chicks – Everybody Knows

Zuko is hiding behind the fire that symbolizes his power and his separation from the people he rules, but even though the orange and red casts him in the colors of power and royalty, he feels exposed. He feels the eyes of his court looking past the fire and straight at him, and he hears his words echoing in his head long after he's said them.

Behind him, her back pressed up against his in a warmth that comforts him more than his element ever could, Katara laughs quietly. She lifts her sleeve and looks at the necklace he'd tied around her wrist years before.

"Zuko," she whispers. "I think they already knew."


The Exies – Ugly

The little golden eyed girl runs across the frozen ground on sure feet even though she looks as out of place as a fire at the bottom of the ocean. Tears cling to her long lashes and with a small cry of relief, she runs through the flap of the familiar tent.

Her father catches her in his arms just as she is about to throw herself into them. His face is frozen at the sight of her tears, but she is comforted by the tightening of his arms.

"Don't let them do this to you, Amaya," Zuko says, stroking her dark head. "You're a princess of the Fire Nation..."

"Daddy, they call me ugly," she sniffles.

"Yeah, they call me that too, but I don't let them hurt me. Don't be angry because it'll make you bitter, and then that will make you ugly. You're too beautiful for that, my Amaya."

She stares up at him, sees his scar, and touches it with fingers that are familiar to its ridges and bumps. He doesn't flinch from her and he looks into her face with eyes like her own, except his are brave and steady. Amaya feels her tears dry up.

"Daddy..." she says. "You're not ugly."

"No...and neither are you."


Gin Blossoms – Follow You Down

Katara lets out a whoop that echoes off the walls of the well and she lands with a loud squelch right in the middle of a mud puddle. In the middle of a Fire Nation summer, she isn't surprised it's drying up. She takes a swipe at her cheek, and flicks a dollop of mud back to the ground. Bending, she picks up the sword she threw down the well in a pique of temper. Tilting her head up, she sees the outline of Zuko's head against the clear blue sky and she holds up the sword for him to see.

"Come and get it!" she yells, waving it at him.

But her movement causes her to lose her footing and she falls down hard, mud splattering her clothing. She swears loudly and her voice echoes up to where Zuko is laughing.

"I would've followed you down, but I wouldn't follow you down that far," he calls back. "Have fun down there, Mudbender!"


Natalie Cole – Almost Like Being In Love

Sokka blinks. He isn't sure, but he thinks he sees a smile on the Fire Lord's face. Zuko isn't one for displays of emotion that aren't related to angst and its shaggy-hair-in-its-face, sad-music-type cousins, and a smile is definitely not in that family tree. Sokka watches the other man walk down the corridor with a lighter step, return the bows and greetings with his own—basically, doing his best impression of a beam of sunshine.

Zuko looks ready to burst into song, when Katara suddenly appears around the bend. She smiles and bows, but to Sokka's confusion, Zuko freezes and immediately reverts back to type. He glowers at her and walks past with a whoosh of his robes. Katara sticks her tongue out at his retreating back, her own expression thunderous. Sokka lets out a snort of laughter.

For a second, he thought that the Fire Lord had fallen in love or some ridiculous nonsense, but he is sure now that he must have just been seeing things.