A/N: Written for a friend! I thought it turned out rather cute. I hope you guys like it!

A Moment of Respite

Oftentimes, when he's held up at meetings until all hours of the night, Zuko shuffles off to his chambers with a grunt and groan. And, oftentimes, Mai will be sitting on his couch, nose in a book. This just so happens to be one of those times.

Her gaze slides up for a moment, studying the bags under his eyes. She sighs. "Come here, Zuko," she commands, resting the book beside her.

"Sorry. Did you wait up for me?" He shrugs off his outer robe, letting it fall to the floor. He will pick it up later, he decides, before walking over to his girlfriend.

As he moves to sit beside her, she stops him. "No. Sit on the floor." The look he gives her is pleading, but she merely rolls her eyes. "Floor," she reiterates.

With a chuckle, he sits in front of her, legs crossed, head resting back against her thighs. "Another long day tomorrow, they say." She 'mmhm's behind him, and he feels her fingers weaving through his hair. "I can't wait until we get this whole mess figured out. I think I need a day off."

"A day off from being Firelord?" Her voice is teasing, and she gives a small strand a tug.

Snorting, he replies, "I think the advisors can handle me disappearing for a day. Maybe."

"Right," Mai quips, "and they'll let Momo pick out the style for the new towns, too."

It isn't long before Zuko finds himself dozing. Between the stress of the day and the calming touch of his girlfriend's hands, he finds himself ready for some sleep. He stands, wobbly, and moves to change (but not before placing a soft kiss upon Mai's lips).

The mirror to his right catches his eye. He frowns, then snickers.

Who knew Mai would be so kind as to braid his hair?