Keeping this ship alive, keeping this ship ALIVE! There's just an extreme lack of Ty Luko in my life, okay? :)
I figured, since you guys liked Paranoid, ya'll might like another late nighty xP It's based on The Search, pretty much after Zuko found out that Ikem is his real father. I know everyone is opposed to the idea, but I'm interested to see what happens next.
Zuko glowered at the wall. Restless. That's the word that he had been lately. He barely ate. Didn't sleep. What was the point?
All of his life had been a lie. All this time, he had wasted his early teen years fretting and stressing over gaining back his honor from someone who wasn't even his father. And if Ozai wasn't his father, then that meant Ursa was most likely pregnant with...the other one's kid already. This meant that he was Azula's half brother. This meant that Iroh wasn't even his uncle by blood. And this all could've been prevented if Ozai didn't pick Ursa. What if the former Fire Lord hadn't? What would that mean? Would Zuko have been a different person? Would he have ever met Ty Lee or Mai? Would he have ever met the Avatar? Befriended the powerful bender? Chased him like he had done previously? Sigh...His life might have been worth living.
The sound of rustling paper and bare feet softly pattering against the hardwood floor caught his attention, but he didn't look up. For the past month, he had been quietly residing by himself in a house in the Upper Ring of Ba Sing Se, so he could think things through. Since Uncle (he was family to Zuko no matter what) lived by, and the Jasmine Dragon wasn't far either, Zuko would confide in the wise man and appreciate his company. His red and gold clothes were replaced with green and brown, and he was starting to appreciate the earthy colors.
Next, he heard quiet flames licking against the tea kettle-a sound he recognized all too well. He didn't look up until slender hands set a tray in front of him, with two cups of tea and the letter between them. Then he slowly lifted his head, his flat golden eyes settling on the young woman joining him at the small coffee table, sitting cross-legged.
Oh. Right. He almost forgot that Ty Lee was spending the night over. In fact, her visits were practically daily, and she stayed over on weekends. She was the only one who was trying her best to bring him out of his funk; she was there for him. Got the groceries for him. Fed him. Picked clothes out for him. All of this she did without asking for a thank you.
The Kyoshi Warrior fumbled with her robe, eyes studying him; her nightwear consisted of a green robe with yellow folds and edges, and a silky, short-sleeved white nightgown with the hem stopping at her knees. Her hair, which she started to wear down more often, was in a lazy, side ponytail, messier from sleep.
"So," she said, picking up the letter,"this is what's been keeping you up, huh?"
"You read it?" Zuko deadpanned.
"Did you not want me to?"
"Doesn't matter now. You're the nosiest person I've ever met, so it was a matter time before you found out." He was definitely irritable and cranky.
She smiled sweetly-yet tiredly-at him. "I'll take that as a compliment." She nodded towards a cup before she picked up hers. "Drink."
And to his own surprise, he obeyed. The hot liquid oozed pleasurably down his throat. He couldn't help but love her tea. Iroh's was amazing, of course-more...herb-y, but Ty Lee's was warm and sweet. Comforting. Just like her.
He hated her for making him feel...good. Ugh. You can't be angry for more then ten minutes when you're in a room with Ty Lee, especially when you're alone with her.
So after some mutual silence, she spoke again, softly and as sweet as her tea...
"Do you wanna talk about it?"
He met her grey orbs, taking note of the bags underneath them. "I don't know. I don't wanna keep you up." He finished his tea, then set it down.
Ty Lee copied his movements, then placed her hand over his. "Try me."
Zuko looked down at her hand, then back up at her. He had to admit...she was definitely acting like his...dare he think it, girlfriend lately, minus the making out and other stuff. He looked at the facts: she cooked for him, cleaned, ran errands, gave him hugs and the occasional cheek or forehead kisses, and much more. And now he wasn't even thwacking her hand away. He welcomed her touch. And a bonus-she was pretty. Of course, he already knew that, but she's really opened his eyes lately.
He sighed in defeat. "Alright...see, the thing is..."
And he opened up to her. Told her everything from finding out about Ikem, to leaving the Fire Nation, and his thought processes through it all. While he talked, she listened to him intently, didn't interrupt, didn't make any snide comments. He was surprised that she was able to be quiet for this long.
"...and I guess after that, I shut down," he finished.
"Is this why you resigned as Fire Lord?"
He sighed; it was true. It wasn't permanent; just until he got himself back together again. All of this stress was unhealthy. As for who would take his place, he didn't care. He didn't bother to see-it might've been a long lost cousin or something.
"You probably think I'm a coward, right?"
Ty Lee giggled softly. "Never." She leaned in and kissed his cheek, leaving a blushing Zuko as she stood up with the tray. "You might not think so, Zuko, but you're the most amazing guy I've ever known. I know you've been through so much and these past four years have been hectic for you, practically a living hell. And I know you think that no one truly loves you and cares about you, but there are, okay?" She turned her back to him as she placed the tray in the sink.
"Like who?" Zuko asked skeptically.
"Aang and Sokka love you!"
Okay, Zuko gave her that one.
"Toph does-" This earned another snort and an arched eyebrow-"Suki does but she'll never admit it, Iroh, and-!" She stopped short, biting her lip.
Ty Lee turned around, jumping back when she saw how close he was.
He awkwardly stepped back. "Sorry."
She gave him a reassuring smile, then bashfully played with her fingers.
"A-And me," she said.
His heart jumped. "R-Really?"
She was back to her bubbly self as she giggled and told him, "Of course I love you, Zuzu!"
Zuko rolled her eyes.
"Don't you love me?"
"Yeah yeah yeah, love you too." He yawned, blushing more at her now flirty gaze. "We should get to bed."
"Okay. Well...goodnight." She began to make her way to the couch, where she normally slept. Longer, calloused fingers weaving through hers and pulling her back stopped her. "What're you-Mmph!" She was stopped mid-sentence by his lips, her own acting of their own accord and returning his kiss before he broke it.
"Aren't you coming?" he asked, gently pulling a dazed Ty Lee along.
"When I say we should get to bed, I...kinda meant that."
Ty Lee's eyes widened. "You...want me to sleep with you...in your bed?"
"It was rude of me to let you sleep on the couch. After all that you've done for me? You deserve to sleep somewhere...warmer." His cheeks were hot.
"And...why did you kiss me?"
Zuko actually started to smirk, releasing her hand and opening his bedroom door. "Why don't you come in here and find out?"
Ty Lee gasped, "Zuko, you wild, naughty devil!"
"You're taking things way out of context!"
"You started it!"
She stuck her tongue out at him, and he stuck his tongue out at her childishly in return. After sharing a laugh, the two climbed into bed, the brunette ditching her robe before doing so. As Ty Lee relaxed into the fluffy pillows, she thought, Oh this is sooo much better than the couch!
She was dozing off when she heard his soft voice.
She opened her eyes a little. "Mmm...?"
"I kissed you because...well...I wasn't really sure how to thank you for what you've been doing for me these past few weeks..."
Smiling sleepily, she reached out blindly, searching for his hand along the sheets. After finding it, she held it and said, "It's no problem, Zuzu..." She managed to meet his gaze. "If this is the way you're going to be thanking me from now on..." Her cheeks pinkened, "then maybe I should keep this up and you can...thank me some more?"
Zuko smiled, and even let out a breathless laugh. "We'll talk about it in the morning."
She lifted up her free hand. "Pinky swear?"
He locked their pinky fingers, bringing their faces closer. "Pinky swear."
She was the one to start the kiss this time, and he didn't hesitate to kiss her back.
"We should sleep now..." He whispered, pulling back so they were nose to nose, hand curved around her cheek.
She asked timidly, "Can we cuddle?"
He hesitated a little before nodding, "Sure...Okay."
He let her slide down until her head was nestled in his chest, her tiny arms wrapped around his torso, until he wrapped his strong arms around her in return. And he began to think as he started to doze off, that maybe having Ty Lee around wasn't so bad after all...
"Guh'nigh, Zuzu..." she slurred against his chest.
"'Nigh..." he said back incoherantly. If he was more awake, he would've laughed at how adorable she sounded.
Oh well. He could always tell her in the morning.
And Fin :) I hope the ending wasn't too corny or fluffy. In my interpretation, Zuko's personality differs a little when he's with Ty Lee; he's more light hearted and slightly goofier. But not too out of character, I hope :)
I might make more oneshots! I really love this pairing :D Please leave a review and tell me what you think. Thanks!