Disclaimer: I do not own Avatar. This story gains no profit and is merely for enjoyment.
Katara hurried around the temple, cleaning up so that she wouldn't have as much work to do before making breakfast the next day.
"Katara," Sokka moaned. She didn't bother to turn around. She could see him clearly in her mind's eye: leaning fully against the doorframe across the room, barely keeping his eyes open, and not even really watching her.
"Just a few more minutes, Sokka," she said, bending some water into her best pot. "I promise. Just go to bed."
There was a yawn from behind her and when Katara turned around several minutes later Sokka was gone. She quickly lit a torch in the fire before putting it out with a stream of water. She rolled her neck to the side as she climbed the steps up to her room and tried to step more lightly the closer she got. If her footsteps woke Toph up then everyone would be up. Stepping more lightly meant walking more slowly and she couldn't help but hear a small moan coming from the left side of the hall. When the moan came a second time she was pushing the door open before she even knew what she was doing. Only as her torchlight fell across the bed did she realize that she was entering Zuko's room. She was just about to pull back and leave him alone when he kicked out with a small cry. Katara bit her lip. She knew that if it had been any of the others she wouldn't have stopped in the doorway, she would have been by their side, comforting them. But Zuko wasn't one of the others. He was the boy who had chased them from one end of the world to the other. The rumpled blanket slipped to the floor and Zuko moaned something that sounded a whole lot like, "Mom." Katara took a deep breath and stepped inside. She carefully set her torch in the iron ring beside his door before crossing the room and kneeling at his side.
His face was turned towards her so that she saw his scar first. The light played across his face, casting flurried shadows over the marred surface. He turned a bit more and his hair fell into his eyes. She sighed and told herself that this was no different than if the Duke was having a nightmare, but even as she thought it she knew it was a gross lie.
"Zuko," she said gently. When his only response was to moan and roll over so that she could see his unscarred eye, she decided to force him awake. She reached out to shake his shoulder, thankful that he slept fully clothed in case a hurried flight was needed. She tensed the second she touched him. He was radiating heat, a lot of heat. Her hand moved quickly to his cheeks and his forehead. No wonder he was having a nightmare, he was feverish.
Instinct kicked in then and she reached for her water pouch, only to remember that Teo, Haru, and the Duke had used it to shake up eggs for scrambling that morning. She patted Zuko's forehead and quietly said, "Don't worry, Zuko, I'll be right back and then you'll be all better." She fairly flew out of the room in search of clean bending water.
Zuko's eyes shot open the second the door closed. He didn't move, barely even breathed really, in the dark of the room. When he heard no sound he leapt to his feet in a wicked spin that sent fire into every corner. He straightened, satisfied that there was no intruder. He picked up the candle he kept by his bedside, it had been lit during his attack, and headed for the door. He could really use some fresh air after that nightmare. Just as he reached for the handle the door flew open.
She shook herself and pushed him back inside while Zuko marveled at how easily she kept that large ball of water floating just over her left shoulder. Possible uses for that ball suddenly crashed through his mind.
"I didn't do anything to Aang," he said hurriedly.
She looked at him sharply and only shook her head again. She took the candle and set it back on the table. "Get in bed," she ordered and knelt down to retrieve his fallen blanket.
"Why?" he asked slowly.
"Because I said so." This was the same excuse she used to get the younger boys to do what she wanted but Zuko was not one of the younger boys.
"That's not a reason! And what are you doing in my room in the middle of the night?"
She pushed him down onto the bed and he was too shocked to fight back. "You're sick," she said, pulling a small stream of water from the massive orb. "Now lay down so I can heal you."
"I'm not sick," Zuko said, trying to stand. She pushed him back down.
"Yes, you are, and you're hallucinating. Of course you didn't do anything to Aang!"
"Katara," Zuko said, holding his hands up and using the same tone of voice he usually did when his uncle found a new tea recipe or when he was trying to talk down a rabid badgermole, "what makes you think I'm sick?"
She touched the cool strand of water to his forehead. "You're feverish," she said, and pushed him down onto the bed.
"I'm not feverish," he said, swatting at the water but it just reformed whenever he did, "I'm a firebender! We tend to be warm."
Katara just shook her head again and set to work.
Fire Lord Zuko rolled over and attempted to pull his wife to him. When his arm hit nothing but bed sheets his half awake mind jumped quickly to fully awake. He sat up, forming a ball of flame in his hand. The curtains around the bed shuddered slightly from his sudden movement. He took in the bed quickly. There was nothing but red to be seen and no lumps large enough to hide his wife. He growled and slid from beneath the covers. He threw the curtains wide, unsurprised that she was not in their room, and grabbed a gold embroidered robe from a nearby chair before striding purposefully into the hall. The guards snapped to quick attention as he passed but he ignored them. It took him less than a minute to reach the circular room and he sighed when he saw her standing there. The nursery stood out in the palace since it was decorated in cool pastels rather than the fierce red that was everywhere else. Her back was to him and her hair was hanging loosely down, covering the sea serpent design on her blue robe. He came up behind her and slowly rubbed circles on her back.
"He's fine," Zuko said quietly.
"He's feverish," Katara said, pulling water from a nearby bowl.
"He's a firebender, dear heart, we tend to be warm."
She ignored him and he sighed heavily. He reached down into the crib and rubbed their son's stomach once. The boy laughed and reached up towards the floating water. Zuko shot a sidelong glance at Katara to see if the boy's cheerful attitude would change her mind. It didn't, not that he had expected it to. He settled into a nearby rocking chair to watch. Her unnecessary healing wouldn't hurt the child, it certainly hadn't hurt any of their others, but he liked to watch her obsessive mothering; it reminded him why he'd fallen in love with her.
It wasn't until the next morning when Sokka realized that no one had made breakfast and Aang realized that Zuko wasn't meditating that they all realized that something was terribly wrong. The boys immediately turned to Toph to ask if she knew where either Katara or Zuko were and the girl just smiled mischievously. This sent Sokka into a fit of rage and he immediately raced up the stairs to Zuko's room. The door banged open to reveal Katara patiently standing over Zuko. Zuko was pinned down by several ice daggers piercing his blanket which was covered by a thin sheet of ice. He looked up at them with what could only be described as complete and utter relief.
"Thank heavens!" he cried. "She's insane!"
"Katara," Aang said slowly -- it had to be Aang because Sokka was still somewhere between rage and confusion -- "what's going on?"
"Zuko has a fever," she said, "he's hallucinating."
"I am not hallucinating! You are out of your peasant mind!" Zuko turned back to the others. "Aang, tell her that firebenders are naturally warm."
The boys' eyes widened as he realized what was going on. "Well, Katara," Aang said, trying and failing to keep his giggles at bay (he wasn't exactly helped by the chorus of guffaws around him). "Zuko is right. They have an internal fire -- or something." And then he couldn't speak anymore. Katara shook her head and used a stream of water to close the door on the laughing boys and Toph.
"You are evil," Zuko growled.
"I know." She had been saying that every time he insulted her during the night.
"When I become Fire Lord, I'm going to make you pay for this."
"I'll find a way. Really, I will."
He fell into silence, trying to figure out a way to make her pay that wouldn't completely negate all the work they'd done to end the war.
Katara poked Zuko's shoulder.
"Zuko," she said insistently.
His eyes fluttered open and he smiled when he saw her leaning down in front of him.
"How's Lee?" he asked, stretching his shoulders.
"Fine. He's asleep."
There was a strange look in her eye that was worrying him. "What's wrong?"
She smiled. "I just realized something."
She stood and started for the door. Over her shoulder she said, "The snoring must be my payback for healing you when we were kids."
It took Zuko a moment to realize what she meant. When he did he rushed at her and lifted her into his arms. She cried out and kicked her legs but since he wasn't flat on the floor yet he decided that she was enjoying herself. He carried her back to their room and again ignored the guards, who were now smiling as inconspicuously as possible. He dropped her unceremoniously onto the plush bed and she looked up at him calmly. After the third time he had done this she had insisted the mattress be changed to something much, much softer.
"The Fire Lord," he said, "does not snore."
Katara's eyebrow rose. "The Fire Lady begs to differ."
Zuko nodded and pulled off his robe. "Of course she does."
"What is that supposed to mean?"
"You never listen. I tell you to give me the avatar, you don't listen. I tell you that firebenders are hot, you don't listen. I tell you not to fight Li and Lo on your own, you don't listen. I tell you that there is no way that the leader of the Fire Nation snores, you don't listen. Honestly, I should have it added to your title." He flopped onto the bed beside her. "Lady Katara, Queen of the Fire Nation, Guardian of the Sacred Flame, She Who Does Not Listen."
She kicked him lightly. "Then can we add 'He Who Snores' to yours?"
"See? You don't listen."
She rolled over into him and put her arms around his neck. He smiled until her hands started moving over his face.
"You're warm," she said. "I think you might have caught Lee's fever."
AN: You should always review oneshots, otherwise how will I know how many people actually read the whole thing?