Disclaimer: I don't own Avatar: The Last Airbender; Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko do, those geniuses.
Author's Note: This story was written for a LiveJournal ficswap (kindoflikeyou) a while back and I'm just getting around to posting it now. It's not my best work, but it's Maiko, something I haven't done much of in the past. So, here you go and I hope you enjoy!
Please, review when you're done and tell me what you think!
October 2, 2008
She stood there, staring out into the courtyard through the open window of her bedroom. It was spring, two years after the end of the war. Normalcy had taken a while to come into effect within the four nations, and it was finally washing over the Fire Nation after so long.
As normal as her life could possibly be in association with Zuko's.
She was the wife of the Fire Lord, Fire Lady Mai. She was young, but she was wise beyond her years.
The title of 'Fire Lady' did little to please her, she had learned. There were perks, of course, but she rarely took advantage of them. She needed nothing more than she already had.
Mai knew that she would've been fine with just Zuko, only Zuko. The dork who held the key to her heart before she knew there even was one. Zuko, without the lofty title of Fire Lord, was just the boy she had fallen in love with, the man she continued to love despite how many times she rolled her eyes at him on any given day. Even though she begrudgingly smiled at his bad jokes and more laid back attitude towards life, she still wasn't entirely sure she liked how much the Avatar and his friends had rubbed off on him.
After their group had split up and went their own ways, certain members getting married, certain members continuing to travel, she and Zuko had stayed in the Fire Nation, as was expected of them.
When people got married, especially young couples, they were presumably going to consummate said marriage... and that they did. Often. Very often.
That, in itself, was Mai's current dilemma when Zuko found her an hour later in the exact same spot where he'd left her. He doubted she even moved.
"Mai? Are you all right?" he asked, tentatively putting a hand on her shoulder. She flinched at his touch, her eyes jerking to meet his. She didn't say anything.
A few seconds passed. "Didn't you hear me come in?"
Her eyes shifted away as her frown deepened. "No."
"Do you want to talk about what's bothering you? You've been kind of... off for a few days," he mumbled, placing his hand on her lower back, rubbing in small circles.
She let a small sigh escape past her lips as she met his eyes with her own. "I know."
"Before you even go there, I'm not sad, just... worried. Malcontent. Confused. Freaking out?" she breathed, turning suddenly to wrap her arms around his waist. She buried her face in the crook of his neck, almost smiling at the concern rolling off him in waves.
"You? Freaking out?" he asked, trying to lean back to see her face, but she was making that an impossible task. "This must be serious."
"It is," he heard, muffled against his neck. "Very serious."
The grip on his robes tightened as he tried to pull her back. He frowned, saying her name a few times before finally managing to pull her away. "Talk to me."
"We said that we would wait a while, get used to being figureheads, married life, being independent... but nature didn't feel like waiting. We're so stupid, letting this happen," she explained, her voice raising. "I should've been more careful--we should've been more–"
"Mai," he said sternly, his eyebrows furrowing at her. "Calm down." He smiled warmly at her, still visibly confused, continuing, "I never thought I would have to say that to you in my life, but please? Tell me what's bothering you?"
"That's what you're worried about?" The news caught up with him as he realized the weight of what she'd just said. "You're... we're going to be... despite all the... and you're very sure that you are?"
"I'm very, one-hundred percent sure," she said softly, her tone dropping to a murmur.
He was completely unfazed by her attitude. "We're going to be parents?"
"Is that okay?" Was she hopeful? That was a new feeling.
"That's more than okay," he said.
The look he was giving her started to actually reassure the bundle of nerves in her stomach (maybe that was a literal statement?).
"But... I thought we were going to wait?"
"Why wait? The world is growing, why shouldn't our family do the same?"
Despite her intentions, she felt her heartbeat jump at those words. "Our... family?"
"What? You thought that it was just going to be the two of us forever?" She shook her head. "We're having at least two children."
She rolled her eyes. "You sound so final on that, Zuko."
"Well," he trailed off, pulling her closer to him. He touched his forehead to hers. "I want our first child to have a friend to play with."
"That Water Tribe oaf is already working on his second child with Suki. I haven't even given birth yet and you're already planning our next child? Who knows, maybe I'll have twins?"
"I love how you still don't call Sokka by his name and yet you refer to Suki like it's nothing," he chuckled, smirking at her.
"You're changing the subject."
"I may be," he agreed, "but it's still true."
"It is." She waited to speak again, lacing his fingers with her own and looking at their interlocked hands. After she figured the silence was long enough, she said softly, "So... you're fine with this?"
"I'm more than fine, Mai."
"I am," he smiled, leaning in to kiss her lips, but being halted by a single finger. "What?"
"You don't seem like you're 'more than fine'," she said, frowning.
"I'd laugh and spin you around but I figure that'd make you sick, wouldn't it? Or, even, sick to your stomach?" he smiled, poking fun at her.
"I'm not a porcelain doll. Not now, not ever."
"I have never doubted that in my entire life."
With a quick raise of his eyebrows, he grinned, laughing his deep, booming laugh as he hooked his arms around her waist and spun her. She couldn't help but laugh, as well.