A/N: I ran a genderswap meme on my livejournal a while back. This one was for faxandu, who requested a look into a male Ty Lee and how being a dude would affect her relationships.
Dude Ty Lee
Tai Li is the only boy out of his family's seven children.
He would do anything not to feel special.
. . .
There are certain duties required of a noble family's scion, most of which Tai Li has singularly failed to uphold. His schooling is an uphill slog despite the many tutors his parents waste on him. The Royal Academy for Boys chips away at Tai Li's spirit. The ruthless competition its dorms breed is antithetical to his personality, and the influential boys his parents order him to make friends with quickly become enemies. Athleticism is the one areas he excels in, studying under the best dim mak specialists money can afford, but he lacks the bloodlust to make a proper Fire Nation soldier. His test scores are bad enough that, once he comes of age, even a very large bribe might not suffice to get him into a military academy.
Tai Li doesn't need to ask his parents if they think he's a failure of a man. He already knows it. Still, they pretend otherwise. They send him to interview with other families to court their daughters despite the handicap of his flighty, un-Fire-like personality. Few families ask for a second interview. None ask for a third.
Save for one.
They're both damaged goods. Him, because of who he is. Her, because of who she had once been betrothed to. But he and Mai can at least protect each other while they wait for... something.
It's not love, but at least they aren't alone anymore.