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Zukaang Week Day Three: Scarlet and Gold

It only took two days for me to fall behind! Well, shit. I think I should be able to catch up tomorrow. Or maybe today. This story was much easier for me to write than the first two. Maybe I'm getting less rusty?
Pretty obscure prompt usage, again, and hopefully the ending isn't too cheesy, haha.

Word Count: ~1600
Rating: PG-13 for implied sex
Characters: Zuko/Aang, some hastily thought up Fire Nation OCs
Summary: Aang sneaks into Zuko's window at midnight. It's pretty romantic, until Aang stubs his toe on a chair.

It was midnight, and Officer Koza was nearly asleep on his feet, held upright only by leaning on his spear. Guarding the Firelord's bed chambers was a job that required a lot of patience and alertness, to be sure, and tonight Koza just didn't have it. It was also probably one of the most boring jobs in the Nation. Firelord Zuko had retired to his chambers a few hours earlier, and there hadn't been a peep since then.

Luckily, the officer stationed on the other side of the ornate doors- a woman named Ming- was awake and taking her job seriously.

That is, until she spotted their change of shift approaching, and exhaled an enormous sigh of relief.

"Finally." She glanced over to her comrade. "Koza, wake up! Shoulda known you were asleep since it was finally quiet around here."

Koza blinked his eyes open and straightened with a grunt.

"What? Did you hear somethin'?"

He, too, saw the other officers coming closer, and smiled.

"Oh. Midnight already?"

Ming rolled her eyes, and gave the two new guardsmen a proper salute when they reached the doors.

"It's been all quiet in there, as usual," Ming reported.

"Really? No attempts on the Firelord's life? Or imagined ones?" One of the guardsmen, an older officer named Yang, asked.

"No, not tonight. It's--" Ming broke off mid-sentence and glanced towards the door. "Did you hear that?"

All four guards listened intently. A few muffled thumps came from the room, followed by an even louder bang. They heard voices.

Yang pushed his way to the front and rapped loudly on the door.

"Firelord Zuko? Are you alright in there?"

No answer immediately came, only more hushed voices and scuffles. The guards exchanged a meaningful look, then Yang grabbed the handle and pushed.

The door flew open just as Zuko called out, "I'm fine!" The guards piled into his room, hands tense on their chosen weapons, with nothing to see but a flustered Firelord standing in front of his rumpled bed.

Zuko's cheeks were red, but he did his best to hold onto some composure by standing up straight and trying to look like he hadn't just been woken out of a deep sleep.

"We heard noises," Yang said, sure that his ears hadn't been deceiving him, but not expecting to find Zuko so alone in the room.

Zuko swallowed thickly, hesitating just slightly.

"I...I was having a bad dream. I fell out of bed. I must have been talking in my sleep."

The guards still looked suspicious, and they kept glancing into the dark corners of his room, looking for danger.

"I'm fine," Zuko said. "Thank you for your quick action, but there's nothing wrong. Go back to your posts. Please."

No matter their thoughts, they wouldn't disobey an order like that. One by one the guards saluted the Firelord, then trooped back outside to start the watch all over again.

As soon as the last officer left the room, Aang bounded out from his hiding spot behind the door. Zuko had sat back down on the bed. He looked at Aang, sleepy and bemused.

"You're going to get me into trouble," Zuko said, but he was smiling.

"It's the window seat that almost got you into trouble," said Aang, keeping his voice low. "Blame it."

Zuko glanced at the offending bit of furniture that Aang, blind in the darkness, had tripped into after he pulled himself through the window.

"Is your leg okay?"

Aang closed the distance between them, silently and quickly, by floating just a few inches off the floor. He sat down next to Zuko on the bed.

"Yeah. Don't worry, it was worth it. But next time, maybe you could let me come through the regular door."

Zuko looked sideways at him, quiet for a moment.

"I'm not sure that's a good idea. I don't know what everyone would think about you coming to see me in the middle of the night."

Aang shrugged. "They can think whatever they want. What does it matter? I'm not an enemy of the Fire Nation anymore. And it's only a few guards that would know."

Zuko groaned softly and fell back onto his bed.

"Guards talk. Everyone would know. And I'm not sure that they'd agree." He really didn't want to have this conversation right now, not when his brain was still fuzzy with sleep and his body was missing Aang. "I'm...not ready for that. Not yet."

Aang looked down at Zuko, expression softening. Zuko's hair was tangled, and he had bags under his eyes-- Aang had probably disturbed him from some much-needed rest. He decided not to press the issue.

"Alright. I understand." He leaned down and gave Zuko a quick kiss on the cheek. "Do you want me to let you sleep? You look tired." Aang had flown a long way to get to the palace, and he was tired, too, but it had been a month since he had last seen Zuko and he had felt like he couldn't wait any longer. Sneaking in at midnight had seemed like the only option at the time. Now that he was here, seeing evidence of Zuko's own exhaustion, he felt bad that he had interrupted his sleep.

Until Zuko reached over and pulled him down into a real kiss.

"I'm fine," Zuko said when they parted. "Just keep quiet so the guards don't come back in here."

The minutes ticked slowly by for the guardsmen outside. Ming and Koza had gone home, eager for sleep, so Yang and his partner Anzu were the ones on watch until daybreak.

They had whiled away most of the first hour by making small talk, but Yang and Anzu didn't have much in common so they had ran out of things to say rather quickly. Anzu had turned his face to the sky, so he could watch the stars. Yang was sharpening one of his knives on a whetting stone he had pulled out of his pocket.

He stopped mid-stroke and lifted his head when he thought he heard a noise from Zuko's room. Anzu looked around, blinking while his eyes refocused, and met Yang's eyes.

"I think I heard it too," he said. The two of them went very quiet.

Was that raspy breathing Zuko's, or did it belong to some sneaky attacker? Was that the sound of the sheets moving, or was it footsteps over the floor?

Then, as they held their breaths, they heard the unmistakable sound of a moan.

The guards looked at each other, Anzu's cheeks reddening. Yang cleared his throat.

"Do you think that's...?"

"Well, he did just turn twenty," Anzu said quickly. "You remember what it's like to be a boy that age."

"Vaguely," Yang said. "It would be nice to go back." He looked at the door, trying not to picture what might be behind it. "Should we just- ah- make sure everything is alright in there?"

"I'd knock." Anzu said.

Yang had only gotten one knock in before the Firelord's voice called out clearly. "I'm fine! Just trying to get back to sleep!"

Anzu and Yang exchanged another look, and proceeded to loudly hum the Fire Nation national anthem under their breaths.

Zuko looked up from his spot above Aang's navel. "Can you be quiet, or not?" he asked.

Aang nodded, face flushed already, intent for Zuko to continue.

Zuko shot a glance towards the door, then returned his focus to the task at hand. He pressed a kiss to Aang's stomach, then went lower, lips brushing over the jut of his hip, down the top of his thigh- then Aang started laughing.

"Ssh!" Zuko glared at Aang, who had stuffed his knuckles in his mouth to try and silence himself.

"I'm sorry," Aang said breathlessly. "Your hair keeps tickling me!"

Smirking, Zuko pulled himself back up Aang's body so he could silence him with a kiss.

He wished they didn't have to keep themselves so quiet and restrained, like their relationship was something to be ashamed of. But even if the guards knew what was happening, they'd still be right outside. Zuko was never alone when he was in the Fire Nation. But that gave him all the more reason to plan a trip to Republic City, or wherever else Aang was working at that moment, and soon.

For now, though, he and Aang enjoyed it each other as quietly as possible. Aang's soft chanting of "Zuko, Zuko" sounded even more sensual when he was saying it right in his ear. They moved slowly, hardly ever more than a few inches apart from each other, and caught up on the time they had missed.

Bright morning sunlight illuminated the Firelord's chambers. It was a beautiful day outside, so one of the first things Lin did when she arrived to tidy up was to open the window. A gentle breeze made her work pleasant, and she hummed to herself as she dusted the furniture.

Then came her least favorite chore: making the Firelord's massive bed. Something caught her eye before she got started, a spot of gold amongst the scarlet of the bed sheets.

Lin leaned closer to investigate, then jumped back in surprise. Someone was sleeping in the bed. Sleeping soundly, too, since Lin's cleaning hadn't disturbed him.

She saw the shaved head resting on a pillow, a tattooed hand curled up against his cheek, and gasped.

"The Avatar?" Her mind reeled with this juicy bit of gossip- the Avatar had obviously spent the night with Lord Zuko. Lin wanted so badly to spread this news to all of her friends, who loved this kind of thing. But the more she looked at him, sleeping with a small smile on his face, the more she wanted to keep he and Zuko's romantic secret.

The Avatar was stirring, she could see his eyes fluttering beneath his lids. Lin didn't want to be caught staring. She hurried to the door. At the threshold, she stopped and looked back over her shoulder.

"Your secret is safe with me," Lin said.


Mar. 22nd, 2012 07:19 pm (UTC)
This was just what I needed. I loved everything about it - the guards and their chatter, Aang and Zuko together, the dialogues (brilliant!), the light and effortless writing style, the atmosphere and the tenderness radiating off it... A beautiful piece to brighten me up. Thank you.
Mar. 22nd, 2012 07:20 pm (UTC)
I'm really glad it could make you feel better! <3


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