This is dedicated to missscarlett45
Katara's blue eyes went up and down as she read the page in her hands, a frown marring her features, as she was seated in a private, back room of the Jasmine Dragon. When she had completed reading the short missive, she snorted and carelessly tossed it over her shoulder, hitting Sokka with it.
She looked over shoulder at him, glaring. Her brother, seeing her face, quickly backtracked on what he was going to say.
"So…what's with this?" he waved the scroll back and forth. She merely scowled at it and turned back around.
"Find out for yourself," she snarled.
"What is it?" Toph was across from Aang with an in-ground Pai-Sho table between them. She was kinda kicking his butt. He was only half aware of what was going on around him as he concentrated on the game. A pride of moose-lions could have run through the room and he wouldn't have batted an eye.
"A letter Katara got from the Fire Lord Zuko, son of Princess Ursa and Loser Lord Ozai, yada yada yada…" Sokka trailed off as he read the letter, his eyes widening with each line.
"Tui and La," he muttered when he was done.
"What?" Toph asked again. "Tell me, Snoozles," she demanded and a large rock popped out of the ground, hovering in the air.
Momo skittered onto Sokka's shoulder as if to see what the humans found so interesting about a piece of paper.
"Well, apparently, Mai's in love with Zuko, but Zuko loves Katara who loves him back while Aang gets no play," Sokka blurted out with exaggerated arm motions.
"Wait…WHAT!" Aang looked at Katara frantically, hurt and betrayal shining in his expressive grey eyes. She was currently attempting to set a wall on fire by sheer force of will.
"Go, Katara!" Toph laughed.
"I see nothing funny about this, Toph," she replied stiffly. "What about the other part, Sokka," it was more an order than a question.
"Huh?" he had a gobsmacked expression on his face, as though not comprehending what was going on. "Oh yeah. Mai killed herself because she was in a loveless marriage and to get herself out of the way of 'the true love that burned between the Fire Lord and his water maiden,'" he recited the last part blandly with a look of disgust.
"Wow," Toph whispered in awe as they all settled into silence, but that didn't last long when she said, "You know, I always thought that if Sunshine was going to kill someone, it'd be Zuko."
They all turned to the door when they heard a low laugh and saw Zuko standing there with his face in one palm and his arm around his wife.
"You know me so well, Toph."
Zuko raised a hand in greeting.
"Mai!" Aang exclaimed, jumping to his feet. "Sokka said you were dead! And Katara's in love with Zuko!" he started to pace," And she loves him back!" he stopped in front of Katara. "How could you do this to me?" he totally freaked out on her. She put one hand on his forearm and pulled him down.
"Aang, calm down. I didn't do anything to you. That's not a real letter. Mai, you were right. Those things are really terrible."
"I told you so," she walked in, pulling Zuko in after. She made him sit on one of the bigger cushions in the corner and situated herself snuggly next to him. "Though, to me, there more funny than terrible."
Zuko frowned at her. His arms tightened around her.
"There is nothing funny about you killing yourself."
She gave him a small smile and a peck on the lips.
"You're so cute when you pissy," she teased him.
He rolled his golden eyes.
"Will someone please explain what's going on? Please!" Aang begged.
"It seems that there are those who are of the opinion that my husband and your betrothed are soul mates, and I am an ugly, political whore who deserves the pain of a thousand deaths for stealing him away from his true love. So in order to fix reality, they write these little stories where I'm killed by an assassin, - as if - or thrown off a cliff, - I would so take the other guy with me - or Zuko divorces me - not if I kill him first. And other things."
"So you don't really love each other?" Aang clarified over Toph's booming laughter.
"Definitely not." they both answered at the same time.
Aang breathed a huge sigh of relief and then he kissed Katara to which Sokka made gagging noises and Toph and Mai both went 'Aawww,' in a mocking tone.
"So, Sunshine, people want you dead?" Toph asked as she cleaned her ears.
"Yeah," she said in a laughing tone.
"Mai! There is nothing funny about people wanting to kill you! Stop making a joke out of it," Zuko scowled at her.
"You don't want people to kill me?"
"That's so sweet," she brushed a hand over his scar and moved it up to his hair.
"Have there been more attempts recently?" Sokka asked, having recovered from the horrible mental image of Zuko kissing his baby sister.
"Yes, a lot more, but they've all been neutralized," Zuko glanced at Sokka. "The new security measures you came up with are pretty effective. Thanks."
Sokka waved it away.
"No problem, Fire Jerk."
Zuko glared half-heartedly at him.
"Idiot," he muttered.
Mai rested a hand on her belly.
"When Raiku gets here, I think we should take him to Ember Island," she said with a fond smile.
"You hate Ember Island," everyone said in unison.
"I never said that. I just hate the tourists. But with Zuko being Fire Lord and everything, he can kick everybody off and we can have it to ourselves. No meetings. No advisors. Just us. You guys can come, too, I guess. Arrange it," she ordered.
"Why would Zuko be interested in Katara anyway?"
"Sokka! We were done with that. Why would you bring it up?" Zuko glared full blast this time.
He raised his hands in defense.
"I'm just sayin'!"
"Let me count the ways: she's a bender so she's more powerful than me. She's prettier than me. Nicer. She isn't a big blah," Mai shot Zuko a look. "And apparently, waterbenders can do this thing when they – "
"Lalalalala not listening!" Sokka plugged his ears as he sang at the top of his lungs.
"Oh pipe down, Snoozles!" a rock hit him on the back of the head and he fell over.
"None of those things are true," Zuko muttered.
"You think Katara's pretty?" Mai questioned with a raised brow.
"Sure," he shrugged. "But you're gorgeous. You don't need bending to kick my butt. You are the nicest person I know. And you aren't as big a blah as you used to be," he kissed her then, slow and sweet. When they broke apart, Zuko smirked at her. "Plus, you have knives."
"Ooooh!" went Sokka.
"Man, I think I'm gonna gag from all the sweet, sugary sap in here. Seriously guys, get a room far away from me on the second floor," Toph complained.
"I think Aang and Katara already did," Sure enough, the two were nowhere to be seen.
"Hey! We didn't finish our game. Whatever. I so won," Toph hopped up from her seat. "I'm gonna go hustle some punks. You comin', Snoozles?"
"Oh, yeah! 'Cuz I'ma hustla, son!"
Zuko, Mai, and Momo looked at him. Toph tilted her head in his general direction.
"I..you…let's just go."
"I thought they'd never leave," Zuko murmured and kissed his wife.
Then they heard a chittering noise. They broke apart and say Momo in front of them, peering at them with his big eyes.
"Ignore him," he told her.
"I don't think I can."
"But – "
"Later," she leaned into his embrace, listening to his heartbeat, and felt more than heard him sigh. They sat in companiable silence with the lemur chattering in the background.
"I like you."
She let out an unladylike snort.
"I like you, too."
A/N: Try tellin' Azula you don't want to be her friend anymore and count the seconds before she sets you on fire. You don't just stand up to Azula without a good reason and when the time came, she did. "You miscalculated. I love Zuko more than I fear you." You think she did that for the political position. Azula was going to kill her. Although, a well thrown knife probably would have taken her with. She went along with her plan in Omashu because a blind moron could tell they weren't going to hurt the baby. And ever hear of a rhetorical question? "It's not a fair trade, is it?" Answer no and be locked up for treason against the crown for aiding an Earth Kingdom resistance or go along with it and still have a high chance of getting your brother back.
It's so weird that Zutara fans are all into this 'true love romance' that never happened or even hinted at...even a little.
Review it. Bring on the flames, please. I need to roast some marshmallows.