I don't own Avatar. Don't rub it in.
I read this Zutara fic (shudder) called 'Family' by witch of the northeastern sea. She (I'm assuming she's a she) had a good summary and it was actually decent even if it had questionable pairings. But I flipped it a bit. Witch of the northeastern sea, I hope you don't mind.
Two Months after the Fall of Fire Lord Ozai
"So, Zuko, when are you going to propose to propose to Mai?"
Zuko choked on his tea.
"Are you all right, dear?"
He put a hand to his chest as he rasped out, "Mom, Mai is not my girlfriend; Katara is."
"Katara. Remember the waterbender you liked so much. At least you said you liked her."
"Eh, I like her fine. Just not as your girlfriend. She's much too hotheaded and has absolutely no idea how to speak court. Mai is a much better match for you. She's been in love with you forever, you know. What exactly happened with you two?"
Zuko shifted his gaze away from his mother.
"I told you. She broke up with me."
"Yes, but why?"
Two Years Later
"Zuko, this is hard for me to say, but I feel it needs to be said," Katara looked at him as they stood on one of the balconies overlooking the gardens below.
"There's something I need to say as well."
"Well, let me go first. I love you, I just…don't love you like want to marry you love you."
He smiled at her.
"I feel the same way."
"Really?" she asked with far too much enthusiasm. "That's great! Oh, I was just so sure breaking up with you was going to make things really awkward with us."
"You're not breaking up with me."
"I – what? But you just said –"
"I'm breaking up with you," he told her with a smirk on his face.
"Uh-uh. No, I'm breaking up with you."
"No, too late. I already called it."
Katara drew a line of water from her pouch.
"I'll fight you for it."
Zuko backed up to put some space between them and immediately went on the offensive. A while later, with a few more scorch marks added to the walls, a lot of dehydrated flowers, and several ice pillars later, the two benders were both sitting on the ground below the balcony panting heavily. Katara was on her knees and across from her Zuko was flat on his back.
"All right. Fine. You broke up with me."
A moment later, Katara said,
"I hear Mai's still single."
A Month Later
"She's a lovely girl, Zuko. Very beautiful. And she makes the most excellent tea."
"Uncle Iroh. I know all that about Mai already. I don't need you to tell me," Zuko pushed a hand through his hair in exasperation.
"Well, you need something. You were never really happy with Katara. Always stressed over everything. Mai knew how to handle you. And stop tipping my chair, you'll break it."
Zuko sighed, let the chair fall back on all fours, and put his feet up on the table in Iroh's apartment.
"Apparently, she doesn't want to handle me. She dumped me. I don't blame her though."
"I'm sure if you apologize, she'd forgive you. She's been in love with you since you were all children. Then perhaps you could take her to dinner, maybe a show. The theatre here is playing a moving rendition of Love amongst the Dragons."
Zuko huffed a breath of fire and face-palmed.
Two Weeks Later
High in the sky, the Mitarashi noble family sailed to Bah Sing Se because Mai was an ambassador of the Fire Nation and her presence had been specifically requested by the Earth King.
"Are you out of your mind?"
"Of course not, dear. Now go get dressed for our arrival. The Fire Lord will be there," Mai's mother told her.
"I am dressed. Besides, it's just Zuko. The same Zuko who pushed me into the turtle-duck pond. I hardly think it matters."
"Of course it matters! Really, Mai, how do you expect to get him to propose if you don't dress your best?"
Mai arched a brow at her mother and absently fingered a knife in her sleeve.
"You do remember that I broke up with him, right?"
"Oh, don't remind me! I swear no other mother has ever had a child that so tried to break her heart!" her mother wailed dramatically as she sank to the fainting couch.
Mai heaved a sigh deep from her soul and rolled her eyes.
"Fine. I'll change clothes. Just stop doing…that," she turned to go to her room.
Her mother immediately perked up.
"Oh, that's lovely, dear! Be sure to wear that new red number I got you. It'll bring out your figure."
A dagger was flung and embedded into the metal wall.
One Week Later
"Toph, hey. What are you doing in Bah Sing Se? And at the palace?"
"Visitin' Kuei. So when are you gonna hook up with Sunshine again?"
"Why does everyone keep saying things like that?"
"Because she loves you and you love her. Since when are you this dumb? I mean, I'm blind for cryin' out loud and I can see it!"
"Then can you explain to me why she dumped me?"
"'Cause you acted like a royal jerk, pun intended. I would have just slammed a rock on you to put you back in line. Honestly, I'm surprised she didn't pin you to the ceiling."
Zuko leaned back against the wall.
"You actually think she'd give me the time of day?"
Toph stomped over to him and poked her finger in his face. Like literally in his face. Her finger firmly planted in his cheek, she ordered him,
"You are going to tell her you're sorry for how you treated her, you're going to beg her to take you back, and you are going to marry that girl. 'Cause let's face it, no one else can put up with you."
Zuko swatted her hand away.
"I really wish all of you would just stop."
Toph crossed her arms and smirked.
"I'll stop when I get a kid named after me."
"Toph!" he yelled blushing furiously as Toph laughed at him.
Two Days Later
"Mai! I haven't seen you in forever!" Ty Lee squealed as she tackled her friend in a hug. Mai grunted as she absorbed the hit and managed to stay upright.
"Glad to see you too, Ty," she awkwardly pat Ty Lee on her back.
Ty Lee and her troop of Kyoshi Warriors had arrived in Bah Sing Se as a special guard for certain persons of importance. She was fully decked out in her warrior garb, face paint included.
"So spill. What's goin' on with you and Zuko?"
"Absolutely nothing. We're through."
"Oh, come on! I know you, Mai. I've seen you two from the beginning. And do you forget that I was there at Boiling Rock? People don't go up against loads of guards and Azula unless they're crazy or in love? And you, my friend, are both."
"Whatever," Mai waved it away.
"Ugh! You're killing me!"
"Ty Lee! We need to go!" one of the other warriors called her.
"Just a minute," she called back and turned back to Mai, "Please, please listen to me on this. I know he hurt you, but just give him another chance. Just one more. Promise me, okay?"
Mai considered for a moment.
Ty Lee squealed and launched herself at Mai and caught her in a bone-crushing hug.
"I can't wait for the wedding!"
The Next Day
Zuko was walking along minding his own business when Sokka ran up to him, grabbed his arm, and practically dragged Zuko to the Earth Kingdom palace.
"What are you doing?" Zuko ordered.
"I'm trying to help! Just cooperate," Sokka told him as he stopped at a corner, peered around the corner and turned to Zuko and started to straighten his clothes for him.
"Cut it out!" Zuko tried to hit him on the head, but Sokka dodged, got behind him, and pushed him into a room and he heard the door lock and stone slide up.
The outraged yell was silenced when he noticed he wasn't alone. Mai was seated in a chair twirling a kunai and glanced at him with a raised brow.
"Hello," Zuko waved inanely.
Glancing around, there was only the one door and no windows
"Who got you in here?"
"Katara and Suki. I hope the others won't miss them too much when they're gone. You?"
"Sokka and Toph, I guess," he ran a hand through his hair. "Can we talk?"
"I thought that was what we were doing."
"No, I mean – I need to say that, I mean that I want you to…" he cut himself off at the look she was giving him and threw his arms up in the air out of frustration, fire arcing from his fists. He took four long strides and he was in front of her. Placing both hands on the armrests, he leaned down and kissed her passionately and she responded in kind, tossing the knife aside and wrapping her arms around his neck. He pulled back to get his breath and put his forehead to hers.
"I am so sorry that I hurt you and I love you. Please forgive me."
She ran a hand through his hair, smiling.
She kissed him again.
"You love me, right?"
"No duh, Zuko."
"And I just told you that I love. But I don't want you to be my girlfriend."
She let her hands drop to her lap and her face became an indifferent mask.
Zuko knelt down on one knee.
"I want you to be my wife."
Mai stared at him a moment, her mask shattered and shock firmly planted on her face.
She blinked. And then the next thing Zuko knew, he was on his back, Mai was straddling him and her lips were on his. When she pulled back, they were both gasping for breath.
"So," Zuko panted, "that's a yes?"
The door burst open revealing Sokka, Katara, Ty Lee, Suki and Toph.
"Yes it's a yes, you brain-dead moron!" Toph yelled at him.
"It actually worked," Ty Lee slumped against the door as the others laughed out of relief.
"Of course it did. I came up with it," Sokka puffed out his chest then deflated when Suki swatted him upside the head. "You've been hanging out with Toph too much," he groused.
They looked up from their self-congratulations and glanced at the soon-to-be man and wife.
"Get out," Zuko ordered.
"Sorry." "Oh, right." "Well, excuse us." "Remember, you're naming one of 'em Toph!"
After they were gone and shut the door, Zuko flipped Mai over so he was on top.
"I thought they'd never leave."
A Few Minutes Later
The two looked up to see a blushing King Kuei with his hand on the door.
"I realize what you're doing, but I must insist on knowing why you're doing it in my personal study."
A/N: Maiko or Zai fans as the title will be henceforth (lol henceforth) referred as by me and xSuicunex, please don't stone me. I just liked the concept but reversed. In Mai's favor. Oh, and I don't know where Aang is so don't ask me. Saving a monkey.
And when is Zai week?
Some Time Period within the Story
"Let me see if I got this right, Zuzu. You managed to piss of Mai, the girl who has been in love with you since the beginning of time, the girl who brought down a platoon of firebenders and defied me, you got that girl to break up with you?"
Azula stared at her brother a moment. She was no longer crazy, apparently the comet affected more than their bending as there had been several cases of temporary insanity, but still a threat as she claimed that she would kill him every time he came to visit her. Though she might have been serious, Zuko thought it was more routine than anyting.
After a moment, the corner of her mouth twitched. The next she was on the ground laughing hysterically.
"Oh, Zuzu, you're such an idiot!"
"I fail to see the humor in it."
"Because you have no sense of humor," she gasped as she sat up wiping tears from her eyes. "Oh, that was good, your majesty."
"Whatever," he turned to go.
"I'll bet you your kingdom that she still loves you," Azula called after him.
He shut the door behind him.
Azula smirked and leaned back on her hands.
"He didn't take the bet."