Several hours after spoiling my little fangirly self with episode 13, this little plotbunny curled up into my noggin and has refused to leave ever since. But that's okay, because it is full of Zuaang. Zuko/Aang. It is actually one of my top favorite crack pairings in the Avatarverse. I only WISH it could come true. If you aren't a fan of the suggested boy love, vacant the premises. I'm not warning you again. Beta-read by the fantastic and glorious pekori who is an absolute lifesaver! –glomp- For those who wish to stay, please enjoy and commenting always helps your karma. :D
ATLA is a production of Nickelodeon and its creators…owning the Gaang would require lots of money and persuasive skills…that I don't have.
Fire isn't destructive.
The small, flickering flame emitting wonderful castings of yellow and orange from his cupped palms swelled as the young monk took a deep breath inwards.
At least— in the right hands.
Pensive, gray eyes strayed purposely upwards to one of the stone pillars in the distance. From across the campfire, Zuko's dark garments blended in nicely with the shadows of twilight and the temple. As the days passed in their sanctuary, and the fire prince's attendance became more familiar, Aang began noticing his ritual of disappearing several hours before sunset— to find something to eat, he assumed.
Zuko never thought once of joining them when they settled down in the evening to have dinner and talk. Constantly reminded of his track record, and painfully aware of the unmistakable enmity from some of the other members of the group, Aang couldn't blame him for feeling ill at ease most of the time.
Katara seemed to be the most hostile figure out of everyone. Every chance she could, she discouraged or snapped nastily at his firebending teacher. It was a side of his closest friend he didn't particularly like. At least Sokka and Toph could joke about it.
The reddish tip of the flame in his hands trembled, almost troubled.
Past history was a complicated issue now. Okay, so the Fire Lord's son did attack and endanger their lives frequently in the past. He wasn't dismissing that fact. But what about his own mistakes? Leaving the world for a hundred years selfishly to escape something he thought he wasn't ready for?
If he could be forgiven—couldn't Zuko?
The line between good and bad didn't seem so black and white now—not when he arrived on the scene.
"Hey, Aang?" A very concerned Sokka watched as the fire cradled between his thin hands swayed dangerously, growing and shrinking rapidly. "You're going to set yourself on fire."
As the monk returned from his musings, the flame calmed. "Ah." He rose from his seat on the ground. "I'll be back."
Not especially caring if anyone was spying on him, Aang approached the stone pillar he had been staring at thoughtfully. Providing light, he smiled mildly at the sullen teenager leaning up against the stone. "Hi."
"What do you want?" Golden-amber focused on the inviting firelight instead of the boy holding it, leaving said boy feeling rather miffed.
"It's getting colder. Would you like to sit with us?"
Aang was not surprised to hear his request be thrown back at his face with a short, curt "No." What did turn his head was hearing Toph yell loudly from the campfire, "C'mon, Fire Boy! You're going to freeze your arms off and I'm not going to be the one feeling sorry for you when that happens!"
"I can make my own heat," Zuko said quietly as they turned back to their original positions.
The other boy smiled again, this time more sincerely, "I know you can. I just thought maybe you wanted some company."
"It's difficult with your friend."
"I can't change Katara's attitude towards you, Zuko. You'll just have to try harder." Aang's skin jumped and he nearly gasped when a callused, warm clench stole around his right wrist. His enlarged, gray eyes locked onto narrowed amber that could have burned holes straight into the back of his skull. The elder yanked him forward, causing Aang to stumble and not quite lose his concentration on his flame.
It shuddered in time with Aang's breathing.
"I have TRIED. She is just stubborn."
He could have just been imagining it in the delirium of the moment but Zuko was just a hair away from pressing noses with him.
"You have that in common at least." The prince let out a harsh grunt mockingly at the breathless observation, loosening his grip but not completely letting go.
Feeling quite exhilarated for some reason, Aang fought back the pounding of his heart in his throat to venture further into dangerous territory. "I don't think it matters anymore what you did in the past. All that does now is mastering firebending so I can defeat the Fire Lord."
"You have a long way to go," Zuko said monotonously, but the corner of his mouth puckered up slightly. "But you have the potential."
In response, the thirteen-year-old Avatar brightened with a grin, automatically sliding the fingers, once trapped, in-between larger, cooler ones. Squeezing once, he slowly slipped his hand from Zuko's to dispel their source of illumination in his left with a quick flick and returned to the campfire.
As Aang laid out on his back next to an oddly quiet Katara, folding his arms behind his head, he wondered cheerfully what else he could get away with over time.
Zuko had nice, firm hands.