Disclaimer: I do not own Avatar: The Last Airbender.
I know, I am a huge Zutara fan, but I really think Ty Luko is cute, too. Don't flame if you don't like the ship! This takes place after The Beach.
Chapter One: The Race
Zuko sighed. He, Azula, Mai, and Ty Lee had just returned home from Ember Island. He couldn't help but think about the night before they left. Mai had forgiven him, she was probably afraid to lose him, Azula was still coldhearted, and Ty Lee was still overactive. It was like everything was back to normal. Well…normal for them, anyway.
He sat up from his bed and got ready for breakfast. Azula had two large guest rooms for Mai and Ty Lee. They were staying for a while. He wasn't sure why they stayed in the palace, but he was sure Azula had her reasons. He walked to the dining area and sat near Mai.
"Morning, Zuzu. I'm surprised, you overslept." Azula looked across the table with a smirk.
"I was tired." Zuko said coldly as he began to eat. He had actually been up for a while, he was just thinking. So much had happened in the past few weeks.
"From what? Doing nothing since you got here?" She continued. Even if they were forced to live together, nothing beat seeing Zuko mad. To her, anyway.
"Guys, let's just enjoy the food! I love the palace's breakfast! How about you, Mai?" Ty Lee tried to avoid an argument.
"I guess." Mai responded in her usual bored tone. Ty Lee frowned at her answer. "Zuko, do you want to do something today?" Mai looked up to him, Ty Lee smiled. She loved seeing her friend happy, plus breakfast was going to go a lot smoother…hopefully.
"I don't know, Mai. I might be to busy doing nothing!" Zuko stood up and stormed off. Azula smirked.
Nothing beats Zuzu angry. She thought to herself as she smirked.
Zuko sat at the garden, well one of the many, and continued to think. He was never so confused in his life. There was the whole thing with his uncle, and then there was Mai. And then…Azula. It seemed the only person there was no awkwardness with was Ty Lee. Then he thought back to what she said on Ember Island.
"I know you." He sighed. He might have denied it that night, but he knew it wasn't true. Ty Lee and he were close as children. Not as close as Azula was, if Azula could be close, but close. They were friends. Zuko would rather spend his time with her than the other two. Mai was practically in love with him, at the time, he wasn't really interested in girls. And Azula was, well…Azula. His crazy, possessive, annoying sister. Just then Ty Lee cart wheeled toward him.
"Hi Zuko!" She had a smile on her face, as usual.
"Hi." He continued to lie on his back and stare at the clouds.
"Whatcha doing'?" She asked as she sat next to him.
"Thinking." He wasn't in the mood to talk.
"About…?" She continued to stare at him.
"Nothing, Ty Lee! Nothing!" He sat up. She could be so irritating! She slightly frowned and looked to her feet. He saw her eyes show a little disappointment. He sighed. "Sorry." He mumbled.
"It's Ok!" Her usual grin returned. She was always so…perky.
"Good." He began to return to his thoughts,
"Hey, Zuko?" She looked back down at him.
"Yes, Ty Lee?" Zuko asked, trying to be calm.
"Do you want to play a game?" She asked, face still full of excitement.
"Aren't we a little old for games?" His face was still stern as he spoke.
"Oh, come on. It could help take your mind off all the stuff that's been bothering you! I know! We could race!" Her grin grew wider, which Zuko thought was impossible.
"No, Ty Lee. I don't want to race." When they were younger, they always did. They went from the garden threw a maze of hallways to the main entrance, and back. Ty Lee usually beat him, she was always athletic, he had to struggle to get as built as he was. Now he could probably beat her, but that wasn't the point. He just didn't want to.
"Are you afraid to lose…Zuzu?" Ty Lee knew how to get him to race. She knew him.
"No, I just don't want to." He responded. He was competitive, but he couldn't let her convince him.
"The words of a sore loser." Ty Lee sighed dramatically.
"Fine! We'll race! If I win, though, you'll leave me alone!" Zuko stood up.
"Ok, but if I win, I can spend as much time as I want with you for the rest of the day!" Ty Lee grinned. "I mean, when I win."
They both got ready, and then ran. They bolted through the garden and into the palace. They were both side-by-side. Ty Lee was impressed. They ran passed the bedrooms and through the main hallway. They reached the main doors. Ty Lee was growing tired; she was also surprised that Zuko didn't seem to break a sweat. They turned and ran. They passed Mai, who gave a suspicious glare and walked in the direction they were running. Ty Lee was at least a foot behind Zuko, she never saw him run so fast before. They were almost at the garden when Ty Lee did a few backhand springs and leapt in front of Zuko. She fell straight to the ground, panting, Zuko almost right after her.
"I win." She panted. They looked up and saw Azula staring down at them.. Zuko was actually smiling, something he hadn't done in a while. He was having fun, until he saw Azula, then it faded. His face went hard.
"Aren't you a tad old for races, Zuzu?" Azula taunted. Zuko stood up and brushed his clothes off.
"Shut up, Azula. What do you want?" He stared into her eyes.
"Oh, nothing. Mai said she was looking for you, so I thought I'd spend some time with Ty Lee." Azula smirked. Then Mai came into view.
"Hi, Zuko. I thought we could go somewhere today. Anywhere to get away from this palace." Mai said as she approached. "I think it could help get rid of some of your stress." Zuko stared. Ty Lee had basically said the same thing. Did he really look that stressed?
"Uh…yeah, sure. Let me change real quick." Zuko walked off. Mai glared at Ty Lee before following. Zuko was her boyfriend. Ty Lee had like ten. She loved Zuko. Ty Lee was just a flirt. But would she be like that with Zuko? No. Ty Lee was one of her best friends. She would never do that to Mai. But she couldn't help but be suspicious.
"So, Azula, what do you want to do?" Ty Lee asked.
"Why don't we go for a little walk?" Azula smirked. She loved watching Mai get jealous over Zuko. Watching her get jealous over Zuko with Ty Lee. That was interesting.
Mai had her arm wrapped around Zuko's. They were at a fine jewelry shop. Mai wasn't much of a shopper, but it allowed her alone time with Zuko. She had plenty, but there was never enough for her. They had been in the shopping area for hours.
"Zuko, look at this." Mai held up a piece of jewelry. It was a simple ring. It was gold with a dark red stone in the center.
"You want it?" Zuko asked. He hated shopping, probably more than most things, so he just wanted to leave.
"No, why don't we head back?" She asked. She could tell he was as bored as she was.
"Yeah." He already started walking out the door, pulling her along.
They walked through the main doors. While they made their way through the main halls, they walked into Azula and Ty Lee.
"Hello Zuzu, Mai." Azula greeted.
"Don't call me that!" Zuko yelled, only to hear his echo in the empty hallway.
"How was your date?" Ty Lee interrupted.
"Fine, Ty Lee." Mai responded. Her friends loved to torture her about Zuko. Well, Ty Lee didn't really mean to, but Azula did. It was already near sundown.
"Look, I'm going to my room. See you later Mai, Ty Lee." Zuko pecked Mai on the cheek and went to find his room. It was the only place to get away from Azula.
That night, Ty Lee couldn't get to sleep. She was wide awake. She knocked on Azula's door. Azula slowly opened it.
"Yes, Ty Lee. This better be important." Azula said coldly. She wasn't one to wake up in the middle of the night.
"Well, I couldn't sleep, so I thought I'd talk to you unt-" Azula shut the door in her face.
"Only wake me if it's a real emergency." Azula said through the door. Ty Lee sighed. She walked to Mai's door.
"What do you want, Ty Lee?" Mai asked with her flat tone.
"Well, I thought we could talk." Ty Lee grinned.
"Goodnight, Ty Lee." Mai shut the door. Ty Lee sighed. She made her way to her room. She would probably stare at the ceiling for hours before falling asleep. On her way to her room, she noticed a small light at the end of the hallway. She walked up to it. She wasn't sure whose room it was, so she slowly knocked and slid the door open. She looked and saw Zuko meditating. He looked so calm and relaxed. His eyes were closed as he breathed with the fire. She sat on the edge of his massive bed,
"Hi Zuko!" She said loud enough to make him jump.
"What is it, Ty Lee?" He asked, annoyed, as he realized who it was. He sat back down.
"Well, I couldn't sleep and Mai and Azula shut the door on my face. I saw your room and came in and decided since you were up I'd talk to you." She replied, rather quickly.
"So what made you think you could talk to me?" He asked coldly as he began to meditate again.
"I won the race." She grinned.
"Oh." He couldn't find a good answer. There wasn't one. He made a deal and he was a man of his word.
"Burr….it's SO cold in here! I guess not to you because you're a firebender and stuff. But to me, it's freezing. Do you know this one time, when I was in the circus, I-" she stopped babbling when a black shirt hit her in the face. She pulled it off and looked at it, then up to Zuko. He threw it at her.
"Hey! What was that for?" Ty Lee asked.
"You said you were cold." Zuko sat on the other end of his bed. There was no point in trying to meditate now.
"Oh, thank you." She said, slightly embarrassed. "Hey, I never knew you were into black." Ty Lee said as she pulled the shirt over her head. Zuko rolled his eyes. She always seemed so full of life, sometimes too full of life. Like right now. In the middle of the night.
"I'm not. It's more of an…alter-ego type thing." Zuko smiled as he thought back to the Blue Spirit.
"You had an alter ego? What was it? Would I know about it?" Ty Lee gave him her attention, she loved stories.
"Well, yes, I can't really tell you, and odds are, you heard about him." Zuko answered. He realy just wanted her to leave so he could go to bed.
"I won't tell a sould. Promise." Ty Lee smiled. When they were younger, Ty Lee kept secrets well, but now…now it was different. For half a year she was with Azula trying to kill him. She ran off to the circus, he was exiled. They weren't like they used to be. But yet, he still decided to trust her.
"It was…the Blue Spirit." Zuko didn't look in her eyes. He stared at the ceiling.
"You were the Blue Spirit! That's awesome! Tell me about it!" Ty Lee was usually the one talking, but it felt nice to just listen for once.
"I'll tell you one time. It has to do with Zhao and the Avatar." Zuko smirked again.
"You mean Monkey Face?" Ty Lee asked. It was the nickname they, along with Mai and Azula, had given him as children. He nodded.
"Well, Zhao had succeeded in catching the Avatar. I knew that would ruin any chance I had of returning hom…" Zuko went on to tell his story. (It's the episode The Blue Spirit if you want to watch.) It felt good, he had never gotten to tell anyone. It was barely a half hour. He looked over to Ty Lee who had fallen asleep. She always did have a short attention span. He sighed. When she was sleeping, she looked peaceful. Probably the only time she did. He tucked her under the sheets and went to the opposite side of his bed. It was big enough. You could probably fit five people in it without them touching. He sighed as he drifted off to sleep.
I know it's not a big ship, but I like this right after Zutara (sorry Maiko, just not feeling it) so let me know what you think!