Zuko and his inner turmoils. Poor Zuzu :'(

This was just a random idea. Pairing is Ty Luko-this ship has a lack of fanfics lately! I love them :3

The Fire Lord was under so much stress at the moment. The same nightmares kept him awake at night. He was afraid he was turning into Ozai. Mai dumped him. He longed to know where his dear mother was. He felt like he was loosing his friends-Aang, Katara, Toph, Sokka...-and was worrying that he was going back to where he started. Hot-headed, short-tempered, and alone. Suki was there for him, and yes they were friends, but...not close.

He sighed, sitting up in bed. Swinging his legs over until his feet hit the floor, he turned on the nearby lamp and buried his face in his hands. Citizens from other nations feared him now. He could see it in their eyes as he passed by them, knowing those looks all too well from the past. It bothered him. Especially the little children-they were worst. They always hid behind their mothers' legs at markets, or poked their fathers and pointed at him. Babies would start wailing.

It wasn't the first time Zuko hated himself. He ran his fingers through his hair, rougher than intended, and groaned in frustration. Why couldn't he have stayed the same Zuko that succeeded in being good for once?

Knock Knock Knock

"Come in," he called out in a grumpy tone.

"Fire Lord Zuko?" Ty Lee came in, her Kyoshi Warrior attire on-but she had on no makeup. Her hair was out of its pontail, now wavy from the braid. She looked drowsy. Of course, who wouldn't at three o'clock in the morning? "You requested to see me?"

Zuko straightened out of his slouched position, lifting his head. "Yeah, uh...close the door."

Ty Lee nodded, doing as she was told. She noticed that he still didn't look at her. "Is...everything okay?"

Zuko finally met her gaze, seeing that she was standing in a way that wasn't so relaxed, but trying to be firm.

"Ty Lee...you can relax. I just need a friend here. Please ignore the fact that I'm the Fire Lord. You know what? Just pretend that I'm the banished prince again."

Ty Lee relaxed as she sighed, her hands coming over her mouth. "Oh Zuzu..." She walked over to her stiff friend, wrapping her arms around his neck and embraced him. With reluctance, Zuko returned the hug, one arm wrapping around her waist. "Is there something I can do?" She felt him shrug his shoulders, and she hugged him tighter before releasing him. "No wonder...your aura is so..."



Zuko smiled wryly. "Knew it...I already am heading back to the way I was...-"

"No. Stop."

"Ty Lee-"

"I will not loose you again!" Ty Lee blurted out, and Zuko's dead eyes widened a little. "I-I mean..." She bit her lip, looking down at the floor as blush crept up her cheeks. "I mean, I lost Azula, you know! She was my best friend! And she drove herself to insanity...You nearly did the same."


"I know you think you're like your father, but...but you're not, okay? You're just not! Ozai's aura was not just black-it was black black. Like scary black!"

"What's the difference between his and mine?" Zuko deadpanned.

"You're like the calm, soothing black...on the edge of breaking every once in a while." Ty Lee sat down on the bed next to him. "And you're my friend. I never really liked your dad. He was creepy." Zuko managed a chuckle at that. "But...I understood you. I know you."

"I know you do." Zuko forced a smile at her. As he spoke, she slid out of her shoes and started taking off her armor piece by piece. When she was in nothing but her kimono, she hiked up her long skirt to the side, making it shorter, and tied the cloth together. "I just..."

Ty Lee placed her hand on Zuko's back, her fingers prodding when she was startled by how rough it felt. "You...have knots..."

"Not surprised."

Ty Lee moved, scooting back and rolling up her sleeves.

"What're you...?" Zuko's question was stopped short as her soft and dainty hands made contact with his skin. "Oooh..." Her fingers were working wonders as they pushed and rubbed against his shoulder blades and upper back. She applied the perfect pressure, using the pads of her fingers and palms around the knots.

"Just relax, Zuzu," Ty Lee murmured.

Zuko nodded, closing his eyes and biting his lip. Her hand traveled a little lower down his back and to the right. "Ugh!" he grunted.

"Did that hurt?"

"Yes," Zuko hissed. "Keep going."

Ty Lee did just that, her eyes drinking in his strong backside. Mai sure was lucky to have a guy like Zuko. Why did she have to let him go? Being with Zuko meant having a lot of patience and understanding. Mai's side of the story was that he cared more about his duties than her. In Ty Lee's opinion, she understood where Mai was coming from, but on the other hand she would've tried to comfort Zuko when he felt like he was loosing himself.

Like she was doing now...

Using the heel of her palm, she kneaded that spot that was the most painful, and Zuko groaned again; the quiet sound was a strange mix of uncomfort and pleasure. If she was standing in front of him, she would've seen the hypnotizing vision of him biting his lip occasionally with his eyes shut tight and mouth agape. Ty Lee moved on after a minute, her hands trailing back up to his shoulders, her fingers lingering on his muscles.

In a way, Zuko absolutely hated Ty Lee. You couldn't help but feel something pleasant when you were around her. Those days when they were little, and Zuko was sad or mad for something, Ty Lee was always there to talk to him or cheer him up. He had to give it to her. She gave great hugs.

And had great magical hands.

"Ty Lee..." Zuko breathed as steadily as he could, his lidded gaze on the floor. "I think I'm..."

"You're not turning into your father..." Ty Lee whispered back. "You're much more than that. I know you're going through a rough time, but know that I'm always here if you need someone to talk to. I think if Ursa was still around-" she felt his back tense up, and she rested her hands in his shaggy dark locks. "-he wouldn't be as insane and...every hero or leader always has a great woman guiding him." She rested her chin on his head, her arms slithering down to his shoulders again. "Believe it or not." She rubbed his shoulders again.

"I have no one."

Ty Lee shook her head, leaning around his head, her chin brushing against his shoulder. He looked over at her, and it brought their faces closer.

"You have me," Ty Lee promised, and she kissed him on the cheek; she buried her face in the side of his neck to hide her blush, hugging him from behind. And Zuko blushed hard. His hand reached up to grip one of hers, and she lifted her head to look at him. Without thinking about the outcome properly, Zuko leaned in and kissed her surprised, warm lips. Ty Lee's eyes fluttered close, returning it as he held their lips together with his own. He made it last longer than a peck before he finally drew back, their foreheads touching.

Brown orbs stared into gold for a long moment, neither knowing what to do or who should pull back first. Ty Lee didn't know why he had done it, and neither did Zuko himself. He recognized that fuzzy feeling inside his stomach, and he was completely at ease.

The smile that spread across his face was full and completely natural, and she smiled back at him. Then, as if it was an unspoken agreement, the two shared a brief moment of quiet, harmonized laughter.