Pairing: Mai/Zuko

Rating: PG13 [Just to be safe]

Summary: A morning of innocent maiko fluff.

Preview: "Give them back."

"Stop whining, I'll take it all off right after breakfast." A playful eye roll followed, accented by a soft smile that tugged at Mai's lips. It had been three days she had done this, wake up mid afternoon, and rummage the unsightly piles of clothes that littered the floor. "—relax, no one's going to see me anyway."

It made her happy, breathing the scent of his clothes, and being able to keep his presence draped continuously over her limbs. Although unattractive, the rather large pair of pants, and just as large cardinal flannel was his, which made it all the more desirable.

She eyed his pout with a fondness no one seemed to understand but herself, as disgruntled as the expression was, she could still find small details that made any face he could conjure up, something for her to behold. Slender fingers ran the length of his cheek, tracing his jawline before retreating to the safety of her lap, and soft kiss pressed to his temple, a silent, 'i love you' on her terms, where words couldn't leave her lips. "Come on, I'll make tea."

—-

Zuko watched endearingly, the raven strands of hair falling gracefully down her shoulders, even when she had woken up only moments ago, it was charming, knowing she could literally be in or look like anything, and he would love her all the same.

He couldn't place it, what about the checkered fabric that was strewn across her shoulders was so enthralling? Maybe, it was the subtle rise and fall of her visage underneath, that he could point out with each breath, or it could have just been the simplicity of it.

That was it, it was so blatantly simple, effortless, and she looked—-beautiful. Without realization, he had cut a path to her side, encircling his arms around his middle and returning the kiss from earlier onto her temple, before resting his chin comfortably on her shoulder. "Morning." He muttered softly watching her hands work as they trailed from the tea leaves, to the pot, and finally to the sink.

—-

"You said that already." She sighed, in mock annoyance, although the soft smile would easily compensate for her true feelings. "What's the occasion? You're being affectionate today."It was true really, but that was easy enough to piece together. He was gone a lot more than she'd like, with work pulling him away, it only made sense for him to cling to these moments. Setting the teapot down, she turned to face him, leaning against the edge of the counter top for support. "—fine, good morning, Zuko."

The tip of her index finger had moved to trace the outline of his scar, watching the redness of his lids close at her caress, he was beautiful in that way, not like other men, just by the rough marred skin on his face, she could say what she loved about him. Strength, kindness, and pride, all of those characteristics jumbled into one, complicated mark, that could have shattered anyone else—but not him.

Never was it overwhelming though, the scent of his clothes, or the sudden embrace, it made her feel loved, even if the words went unspoken in most occasions, she knew, and she didn't have to say it as soon as her had ran its course, she pulled away, and turned out of his grasp, forgetting about the tea and heading quickly into the room. "I'll be right back."

Zuko followed, without her consent, watching every step that carried the two to their room, before stopping abruptly at a door being closed in his face. "I said id be right back!" She chimed, a soft thud hitting the door for emphasis as she spoke. It wasn't angry, he knew, so he leaned impatiently against the wall awaiting her approval to enter the room.

Within a few more moments, he heard the quick click of the lock, and took that a reassurance to be let in. "What were you doing?" He asked arching a brow quizzically as he looked at the vacancy of their bedroom, Mai no where to be found.

"Out here, dork." She called from the door that led to the balcony of the palace. "I figured you were right, I should change." Mai smiled a little, just enough to keep her composure, but also enough to cause Zuko to blush. His cheeks burned red in the instant she turned, same flannel shrugged off her shoulders, and his pants replaced with his boxers she likely pulled from the drawer. Her lips parted and she held out her hand, reaching to pull him forward, "Morning."

His cheeks kept their scarlet flush, and he reached slowly, lacing his fingers into hers. It was delicate that way, soft touches and slow movements, nothing rushed or forced, they were forging time anyway, so they took each word, and touch as a gift. Zuko's gaze met hers, and lingered a moment, another silent 'i love you' that wouldn't quite pass his lips, not that it ever needed to. Giving her an innocent kiss, he placed his hands on her waist, brushing his lips against her bangs,"—you said that already."