015. Breakfast

Light flits harmoniously through the blinds, bathing Suki in unexpected warmth. Rubbing a tired eye with an even wearier fist, she rises groggily, trying to block the light until her eyes adjust. A snore emits from the bundle of tangled sheets to her left; she glances fondly at the tuft of hair and bare shoulder peeking out of the blankets before standing and stretching. She quickly finds one of his old shirts and the shorts she wore over last night and slips them on, reflexively flattening her short but bedridden red-brown hair so that it doesn't look so sexed.

There aren't any clocks in this room so she can't be sure of the time, but outside the window the sun is barely rising over the crisp horizon, so she assumes that it must be somewhat early. Stifling yawn after yawn, she ambles out of the bedroom and into the hall, her exposed legs clipping in the cool morning draft.

Turning the corner into the kitchen, she thinks how good some warm, syrupy pancakes sound for breakfast—until she realizes that there's someone else already occupying the small table, a cup of steaming tea in his hands. White-hot embarrassment swallows her whole; she feels exposed, awkward, and confused—what is he doing here? She hovers in the doorway for a moment, pondering this as she watches him sip his drink… what in the world

And then everything becomes clear in a blinding streak of comprehension—two siblings share this house and if she's here for one, he'd certainly be here for…

As she realizes this and gulps, he looks up and faces her so she can see his scar. The shock of his face must be mirrored by the mortification on hers. He turns pale except for his cheeks, which are bright red suddenly—he's grasped this strange concept, too, and that only makes her feel more discomfited for the both of them.

They stay there staring at opposite ends of the floor for a very long time before she steps lightly into the kitchen, deciding that there's no other escape at this point. "Um," to announce her presence officially, and then, "Good morning."

"Morning," he whispers hoarsely. His voice seems to have failed him. He takes a sip of coffee tentatively.

She's sure now, that her hypothesis must be why he's here in this house—for the sister of the two hosts—because his hair his just as disheveled as hers and he's only wearing half his clothes and his skin has that after-glow that only comes with one thing.

"I was just…" He reaches up to comb through his hair with his fingers as though he knows she's gathering clues about his night from it. "I didn't think anyone would be…"

He trails off and she's feeling the awkwardness too, standing there in the doorway; it's the hot, culpable humiliation of being caught in some blameworthy secret. Even though there's no shame in it, she still feels oddly liable for the lingering awkwardness.

Finally she finds her voice. "Do you want… do you want some breakfast?" It's a simple question, but one she has to force out through her teeth. Things are so tense in the kitchen that it seems even colder than it should be. She tries this as a peace-offering. "I was about to make pancakes. For… you know, for when Sokka wakes up."

He blinks like he's confused or something. What's his problem? she wonders. She can't help but add, "I'm sure Katara would like some, too."

And suddenly she's trying hard to stop her face from splitting into a huge grin; it's all she can do not to burst from laughter because Zuko still looks so guilty at being caught in Katara's house in the early waking of the morning. She imagines that he must be thinking about how she'll tell Sokka and then he'll get it bad, but she can keep a secret and she feels like this may not be the last time she'll have to.

"Sure, breakfast," he replies gruffly, looking away, "Breakfast sounds… breakfast sounds nice."

Author's Note: Wow, I have't updated in, like, two years almost. Shooooot. Sorry. Okay. Gonna try to actually remember to update because I have a file with PLENTY more fic for this. Anyways, Suki and Zuko share an awkward moment after they both realized they spent the night over at the siblings' house. R&R!