Author's Note: This series of drabbles are set in the Somewhere in Between universe between Tales from an Ice Cube and Out of the Gray/Into the Black. Those series can be found on .

I. Zuko

Zuko stared at the closed door, his hands clasped behind his back, his face a picture of calm--though he was far from. He'd managed to save his country from ruin at his sister's hands and secured a future for his children that was the opposite of his past. He was the Fire Lord of the Fire Nation, the most powerful firebender in the world.


That closed door, that closed wooden door, was more powerful than he.

That closed door could be a first, a beginning of sorts. One of many for them.

That closed door was the unknown.

He didn't like the unknown.

Light escaped from underneath the door and he saw her shadow move from one end to the other. Her footsteps were silent, but he imagined she was putting the day away, her blues disappearing into a closet or a trunk. He imagined a thoughtful look on her face for he knew she was a woman whose mind never stilled or rested, but maybe today she was less troubled than the day before. She was silent but he knew she would not choose silence over company, no matter the time of night.

Though it was not normally the hour for conversation.

A cool breeze floated down the open corridor, a soft hand across his skin. He imagined it too considered the closed door, but like him, did not dare go in.

Bemused, he turned and went back from where he came.