A/N: This fic is based on something that Rawles once did, a 'theory' she cooked up about Mai being pregnant during the time she confronts Zuko at the Boiling Rock-for it explains why The Warden is so PO'ed at him, why Mai is really angry at him, the 'she doesn't need any protection' line, etc.

I wish I could find it, and once I re-discover it, I'll post it here. She was entirely BSing the whole thing, of course, and you can completely tell. But the idea itself set me to thinking...and thus, this fic was born.

Some Notes:

Plot: This is an on-going, multi-chapter fic exploring the idea of Mai truly becoming pregnant with Zuko's child sometime before the events of The Boiling Rock (in my version, right after 'The Beach')...naturally, the fic will span from there to post-series.

Characters: Though of course the main center will be Mai (primarily), Zuko and Ty Lee will also be large main characters, along with Azula, Iroh, Aang, and some others.

Pairing: Well, duh. Kataang as well.

Rating: T, for huge, atomic-bomb sized hints of sex and some other stuff, I suppose.

Dedication:This fic is dedicated 100% to my KF mommy, Sugarqueen. Despite having me in a casino and being unaware of who my birth father is, she really is the best mom I could ever ask for. Even though she has her own *ahem* personal problems, she still never fails to be a warm, giving, and all-around wonderful mother. This fic is for her.

Fair Warning: I feel as if this first chapter is going to be viewed as incredibly slow. For the most part, it's mostly just Maiko fluff. However, I hope it doesn't turn you off from the rest of the fic-which I promrise, will get better.

Mai awoke to the sound of the ocean, gulls crying somewhere in the distance, and Zuko snoring.

Ordinarily, the fact that someone was breathing right into her ear would have been a cause for annoyance. But given the current situation, and just what had caused it, a heated blush arose on her pale skin instead.

She rolled over, her still faintly sweat-sticky body clinging to the sheets for a second. She lay tangled in them, hair a mess, face flushed, and completely naked. Any idiot who walked into the room at that moment would be able to tell just all that had unfolded the previous night.

And what a night it had been. Mai's mind whirled and buzzed with the memories, of the ill-fated party that she, Zuko, Azula, and Ty Lee had attended, of the growing friction between her and her boyfriend there, the tension that eventually caused them both to snap, and the talk the four of them had held around the fireside afterwards…

Somehow, despite how chaotic trashing Chan and Ruon-Jian's stupid party had been, it only dimly registered in the record of the previous night in the back of Mai's mind. Then again, considering what had happened directly afterwards, perhaps that was only to be expected.

Azula was reliving every glorious moment of her revenge, bragging and gloating away in a loud, crowing voice about the look on Chan's face, about the horrified screams of the other party-goers, about how sweet a taste victory truly could be, even if it was over something as trivial as it had been. Ty Lee, of course, bobbed along behind her, agreeing in her chirping little voice with everything the princess said. Such was the norm.

Mai and Zuko walked a bit behind the two, their hands intertwined. Now that the adrenaline rush that wrecking the party had faded, Zuko had fallen into a quiet state. She knew that this meant he was thinking about something, and she didn't pry—when he was ready to talk, he would. Still, that night had been a rough one for him—no doubt he was done feeling anything too extreme for the time. He needed a good night's sleep.

So she did she, come to think of it. It had been an exhausting day, needless to say, and the thought of cool silk sheets and the sound of the ocean pounding away in the background to lull her to sleep was sounding very appealing.

The four of them trekked into the tiny beach house that they were staying at—by the looks of it, Lo and Li had already headed off to bed, mercifully. The two old women shared a room, but besides theirs, there was only three other separate bedrooms. Azula had already laid claim to one on her own, and Zuko took the other, leaving Mai and Ty Lee as roommates, something that irritated the former and thrilled the latter.

"I'll see you all in the morning," Azula bade them goodnight briskly, before stepping off to her room.

"Goodnight Azula!" Ty Lee said. "And goodnight to you too, Zuko!" With that, she turned and skipped off to her own room. Mai made to follow after her—but was halted by Zuko reaching out and grabbing ahold of her wrist.

She turned, confusion shooting through the sleepy numbness that had fallen over her normally sharp mind. "Zuko? Is something the ma-"

She did not get to finished her question, for in the next moment; he had pulled her to him and pressed a deep, near-consuming kiss to her lips. She gasped slightly, which only encouraged him to deepen the kiss…on an instinct, her fingers tangled in his messy dark hair, holding him to her.

Zuko only pulled away to murmur hoarsely into her ear, "Stay with me tonight….please…"

Mai knew what was underlying in his words, and the thought sent a shiver up her spine. The wordless promise of events yet to come stirred up something inside of her so much that despite her previous weariness, her body felt fully alert now.

She looked over her shoulder only to see Ty Lee hovering in the doorway of their room, her eyes enormous as she watched the two lovers, a silent question in her gaze. Obviously, Zuko didn't sense the other girl's lingering presence as he took Mai's hand and pressed hot, moist kisses to her fingers, trailing down across her palm to her wrist, which elicited a shiver from the dark-haired girl.

Mai answered Ty Lee and Zuko in the same moment when she planted her lips to his neck, breathing her response into the skin there. He understood, and in a flash, swung her up into his arms as if she weighed nothing, and carried her off to his room.

A small shiver coursed up Mai's back now as all that had transpired between her and Zuko last night flooded over her like the ocean waves themselves. Both of them had been feeling exposed, vulnerable and

raw…they turned to each other and lost themselves in the other. It was thrilling, erotic…and a bit terrifying, all at the same time.

Her thighs still ached, and as she stretched, she had to bite her lip to hold back a squeak. It hurt the first time, she had known…but all the rumors and anecdotes she had heard over her lifetime had done little to prepare her for the actual event.

Zuko stirred beside her as she moved to leave his bed. Mai halted in her tracks, watching as, with a small groan, he too stretched his long, lean body and slowly opened his eyes, blinking a few times before they came to a rest on her. Instantly, a warm, lazy smile unfurled on his face.

"Good morning…" He murmured, reaching out and gently stroking her bare thigh with the softest fingertips imaginable. She couldn't help but smile—it was ridiculous sometimes, how he treated her body like spun glass, as if any sudden movement he had would shatter her. Last night, he had been anything but gentle.

"Good morning to you too," She stood up, ignoring his muffled noise of protest as their skin lost contact with one another, and glanced around the room for something to wear, if only just long enough for her to make the journey across the little house and into her own room to find something of her own to put on.

Mai found her answer in the form of Zuko's own sleep pants and shirt, which she plucked off the floor from where he had thrown them (as he had been 'unpacking' no doubt), and slid them on. They were too big of course, but they felt comfy. They were certainly good enough for her to scurry over to her room in them.

"Where are you going?" Zuko asked, lifting his head off of the pillow and watching her in faint bewilderment. "And why are you wearing my clothes?"

"You're not exactly making use of them," Mai pointed out, finding a hair elastic of her's on the nightstand that had been thrown aside the night before and pulling her hair back into a messy ponytail. "And I'm just going to pick up some clothes…I'll be right back. I promise."

She bent down and kissed him on the top of the head, and he smiled once more as he lowered his head back onto the pillow, watching her as she slipped outside.

The house was quiet—perhaps all the other inhabitants were still asleep. Nevertheless, Mai snuck as quietly as she could from Zuko's room to the one she was sharing with Ty Lee, and swung the door open as tentatively as was possible.

She slid inside—and was greeted by a voice.

"Good morning, Mai."

She whirled around only to see Ty Lee, fully dressed and sitting cross-legged on top of her neatly-made bed. Her friend, who normally emitted such a cheerful, bright kind of atmosphere, was looking rather dull this morning—her mouth was set in a grim line, her gray eyes unusually flat.

"Er…good morning," Mai attempted to make her way over to the old armoire where she had stored her clothes, but Ty Lee cut her off by sticking her leg out, barricading the way.

"I know what happened last night," Ty Lee continued, still in that oddly flat little voice. "I think the whole house does. And Mai…Mai…"

Her voice broke, and Mai looked up, horrified to see tears sparking in her friend's eyes now.

"You do know…Mai, something like that…there can be…"

"Consequences?" Mai asked tartly, halfway debating on shoving past Ty Lee's legs.

Ty Lee bobbed her head. "Not even I would have done…I mean…it's huge, Mai…"

"Shouldn't you be squealing about how excited you are or something like that?" Mai demanded, now a tad annoyed.

Ty Lee shook her head frantically this time, and opened her mouth to speak again, but Mai had had enough. She shoved past her friend's leg and plucked from the dresser the clothes she wanted from the day, ignoring Ty Lee's gaze that she could feel burning in the back of her head.

Mai straightened up with her bundle of clothes, and made her way out of the room, refusing to meet Ty Lee's eyes as she did so. She even shut the door on her way out.

However, just before it shut completely, Mai could have sworn she heard her best friend say out loud, in a quiet, yet urgent voice, "Be careful, Mai."