Life Happens Wherever You Are (Zuko x OC)

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Chapter 25

The next morning it was time for us to leave to go back to the fire nation. I was extremely nervous, and unsure of what was going to happen. It would take us at least a few days to get there by ship, so I would be surrounded by fire nation the entire time. I hope nothing goes wrong, my only escape off the ship would be in the sea. Not to mention being stuck with Azula and the other two girls, Ty Lee seemed fairly normal, but Azula and Mai definitely seem off. I’m hoping to stick pretty close to Zuko, he had told me that he would keep me safe. I hope he was telling the truth about that.

We gathered on the ship, and Zuko showed me to the room we would be staying in. Thank goodness he roomed me with him. I might be okay staying with Ty Lee, but the thought of staying with Azula or Mai freaked me out. I also would not be comfortable staying by myself either.

Mai had a room down the hall from us, and when she saw us going into the same room with our stuff, her eyes narrowed, and she gave me the most intense glare I’ve ever seen. Thankfully Zuko stepped in front of me, which cut the stare down because I could have sworn she was going to pounce on me at any minute. I looked up at Zuko, and he could tell I wasn’t comfortable. He gave me a questioning look and then turned to see Mai still glaring. He turned back around and led me into the room, closing the door behind him.

“What’s her problem?” I asked once the door was shut.

Zuko shrugged, putting his bag down on the floor.

I had a feeling that he knew what her problem was, he just wasn’t saying. “How do you know her?”

Zuko sighed and looked at me, with a hint of annoyance in his eyes, “She’s a childhood friend.”

“Okay...” I didn’t press any further because he definitely didn’t want to talk about it. I could tell there was something more going on with her. I thought about asking him about something else but then decided against it. He seemed on edge, and I didn’t want to make him angry.

It took us a while to finally depart from Ba Sing Se, it was almost sunset by the time we were leaving. I had overheard some of the guards saying something about trouble in the city that they had to take care of before leaving. If Zuko knew about it, he didn’t tell me. Zuko had left the room to get some air a while ago, but hadn’t come back yet. I started to wonder, so I ventured out to go find him. After taking a few wrong turns and having to backtrack, I finally found my way up to the deck. I stopped in a shadow when I saw him, he was leaning his forearms on the edge of the ship looking out on the water. I looked to the other side of the deck and saw what looked to be Mai walking away. Had she been up here with him?

He must have sensed my presence because he turned his head to look at me. I smiled and started walking towards him. His face softened when our eyes met, and he turned his body towards me as I got to him.

“What are you doing out here? It’s freezing,” he said to me.

“I was just about to ask you the same thing,” I smiled at him.

He sighed, “I have a lot on my mind.”

I searched his face, “I’m listening.” I offered to him. If he wanted to talk about it, I would be there for him.

He seemed surprised at first by my response, but then relaxed. “It’s been so long since I’ve been home. I don’t know if it will be the same as when I left.”

I grabbed his hand gently, “I can tell you that it won’t be. It’s been a few years, right?” He nodded, and I continued, “The advice I can give you, is to not expect it to be the same. That way, you won’t be disappointed if it’s not. You are not the same person you were when you left, so you will see things differently now.”

Zuko sighed and looked down at the water rushing by.

“The important thing is that you do not lose who you have become,” I finished, squeezing his hand. “Now come on, let’s go get some rest. It’s going to be a long boat ride.” I pulled gently at his arm, and he followed without resistance.

***Zuko’s POV***

When Mara and I approached our room, I looked down the hall to see Mai also just getting to hers. A twinge of guilt flashed through me, Mai had just left when Mara came up. If she had been only a few moments earlier, she would have seen us kiss. My lips tingled at the thought of it, and I remembered the response that Mai had to me talking about how I was feeling, versus the response Mara had. Mai had always been cold and emotionless like that, but it has been so long since we had been together, I had gotten used to Mara. Their personalities are so different, yet I care about them both. But Mara is so recent and whenever I think about her I feel things I haven’t felt in a long time. But Mai is so familiar, she brings me back to our childhood, my home.

Mara had walked into the room first, and looked back at me when I didn’t immediately follow.

“Is everything okay?” she asked, her voice soft and gentle. I nodded and walked in, closing the door behind me.

“Can you help me with this?” she asked, motioning to the tie on her green dress. I had changed into Fire Nation clothes, but she hadn’t yet.

I nodded and walked over to her, reaching out to grab the ties she was fidgeting with. I untied it easily and her dress fell open, showing her bare stomach. She had her chest wrapped and her waist cloth on, but even then, I had to catch my breath seeing her. She pulled her dress off the rest of the way and folded it.

“Tomorrow we’ll get you a Fire Nation robe for you to wear,” I breathed, trying to keep my voice steady.

She smiled and sat down on the bed. This wasn’t the first time I had seen her like this, but I seem to have the same reaction every time. I tore my eyes from her and took off my robe, folding it and putting it on the desk on the opposite side of the bed. I wonder if she has the same reaction to me like this. I was only wearing my cloth pants now, which she has seen me in multiple times. I turned around in time to see her look away. I smirked and walked to the bed, maybe she does.

“We should get some rest,” I said, laying down next to her.

She nodded and laid down as well, facing me. I shifted so that I was facing her as well, and saw her blush.

“Goodnight Zuko,” she said quietly.

“Goodnight Mara.”

To Be Continued.....

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