My first Mai/Zuko fic ever, yay! Mai and Zuko interacting was fun to write! So, I hope you guys will enjoy this. :) Just pretend that Zuko has a birthday coming up and that he's turning eighteen. Savvy? Savvy.
His face was calm, cool and collected as he sat across the table from Mai. His sister was gone somewhere and Ty Lee had (deliberately) left the two alone to get "reacquainted", or so that's what she said. The reason why he was pulling off his calmness so well was that he knew damn well if Mai had caught any hint of awkwardness or uneasiness she would call it out on him, and it was something that, as much as he enjoyed seeing her smirk from time to time, would hurt his pride.
And Zuko likes his pride. He intends to keep it intact after this situation is over, something that usually doesn't happen whenever he was around Mai.
He watched her sip her drink in a proper manner befitting a girl raised in the court teachings, and then he noticed an eye of hers gazing towards him, staring right at him. Placing the cup down on to the table, she looked straight at him with her complete gaze this time around.
"What is it...?" he asked her, returning the gaze and quickly feeling some form of heat rise up to his cheeks, which he quickly subdued before she could notice.
"Don't tell me you forgot what today was." she replied back in a cool and calm tone.
Zuko was confused. "What's today...?"
She sighed. "I can't believe you forgot what today was. You must've lost your brain while being away for so long out at sea. Can't say I blame you, though. I bet it was boring being stuck in a ship, aimlessly wandering around trying to find nothing."
"I...I guess it was, but I did have Un-..."
He stopped, and she noticed him stop midway into his sentence. She should've figured bringing up memories of his Uncle would be hard on him, especially at the situation he was in now.
"Look, I'm sorry for bringing up your Uncle without notice." It was one of those rare moments where you could hear a tinge of feelings in her voice, and Zuko could tell that she really did feel sorry.
"It's okay..." he replied back under muttered breath.
Mai observed him as he sank into his chair, arms resting on the table and knuckles about to turn white from anger at not only himself but at his situation. His face became stern and no longer was that cool and collected face from earlier...
So she did what any girlfriend would do. She stood up, walked towards his end of the table and stood right in front of him. He gazed up at her and she placed a comforting hand on his shoulder, tightly, to let him know that she was, well, there.
"I'm really, really sorry..." she said in a low voice.
"You don't need to concern yourself with me, Mai."
"Are you insane? Of course I do! You're my boyfriend for Agni's sake."
He smiled, very briefly, but he smiled and she took notice. "No offense, but...I kind of want to be alone right now."
"You idiot," she said in her oh-so loving mocking tone. "I'm not leaving you alone. I'm staying right here, or actually, more like standing right here but you get the picture."
He didn't say a word. He just looked at her and noticed how different her facial expression was from before: her eyes showed great concern and her lips were curved in a frown. It kind of made sense now, how she only showed emotions just for him, well, during their moments anyway.
"Thank you." he replied back, unconsciously moving a hand to lay on top of the one she left on his shoulder. "Right, I almost forgot...what day is it, exactly, that I have seemed too forgotten?"
"Your birthday, Zuko. Today's your birthday."
"...I forgot my own birthday?"
"Looks like you did, you doofus. I have a feeling I might have to remember these things for you. For your sake, let's hope they don't last a couple of years or three."
"It's been a long time, since I celebrated my birthday..."
"Didn't do anything while on the ship?"
"I figured you would've just sat there in your room and brood. Typical."
"Hey, why don't I get you something for your birthday?" She asked.
"You don't really have to do that, its okay."
"C'mon, you turned eighteen today. You should at least get something."
Zuko looked at her, unaware of what she was planning. "Like what?"
"You'll see." She then took his hand and helped him stand up, and before he knew it he was being dragged away down the corridors of the Fire Palace, cloaked in darkness as she lead him to wherever. She stopped in front of a door, a room he didn't recognize before, and when she stood in front of him to wrap her arms around his neck, he said: "Oh."