"So, why don't you just tell Katara you love her?"
The question was met with a thud as Zuko's body collided with the ground. Not because of what Ty Lee asked – though, that certainly caught him of guard – but because of the nerve numbing poke that followed.
"Wha- What are you talking about?" he sputtered, trying to raise himself upright on his one working leg (and failing).
"Oh, come one, Sparky," Ty Lee giggled, collapsing gracefully onto her knees, legs fanned out on either side in a rather uncomfortable looking position. She and Toph had become amazingly good friends, and as a result she developed the habit of using his various nicknames. "It's obvious you're mad for her."
He rolled his eyes, annoyed by the nickname and the pestering. First his uncle, then Toph, then his mother, and now Ty Lee. Why couldn't they just leave him alone?
"There's nothing obvious because there is no madness or love to speak of," he grumbled, managing to lift himself unsteadily to one knee.
Almost boredly, Ty Lee jabbed the back of his knee cap, affectively numbing it and causing him to face-plant. "I don't need to be blind to see that you're lying."
Ignoring the contradictory statement, Zuko shifted his head on the ground, spitting out a bit of dirt. Even though what she said made absolutely no sense, she was right. He was lying, and getting pretty sick of it, too. For months he had found his thoughts drifting to Katara, his heart leaping when he saw her or heard her or felt her or had any of his other senses exposed to her. He was in love and he knew and, apparently, so did everyone else.
"Ty Lee, you know I'm already married."
"Not happily - you don't love Mai."
"Sure I do. I care a lot about Mai."
"'Caring' doesn't equal 'love'"
Sighing, he had the strong urge to bury his head in his hands, but was unable to do so thanks to his paralyzed limbs. Why did Ty Lee have to be right? And about his love life, of all things.
"I can't just... leave her. She'd be heartbroken."
"Mai's a big girl – she doesn't need a man to take care of her. You, on the other hand" – she poked his ribs, a playful gesture rather than a paralyzing one – "could use a healer." Then she rose to her feet with ease and grace, walking away and waving goodbye.
As she left, the Fire Lord realized none of his servants were coming to his aid. "Hey, you're not gonna leave me here, are you?"
"No, Katara will be here in about" – she glanced at the sun – "ten minutes."
Wait, what? He hadn't sent any invitations out to the Southern Tribe! "What? Since when? Who planned this?"
She ignored him, disappearing from his limited line of sight and leaving him to curse and thank Agni for this unexpected event.
Maybe he should spar with Ty Lee more often...
Author's Notes: Because the world needs more Ty Lee, especially when she's being Zuko's buddy, especially when she kicks his ass at sparring. D
Disclaimer: I do not own 'Avatar' or any of its characters.