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Zuko checks the temperature of the tea, ensuring that it is set to be properly cooled by the time he’s ready to serve it. Satisfied, he ambles through the kitchen, returning to carefully slicing the variety of fruits he’d picked up on the way home.

It is not long until he is plating the light meal, and he quickly arranges it onto the tea tray so that he can see to the rest of his preparations. He draws the curtains in the den and sets a small fire in the hearth. Upstairs, he changes out his tunic for a simple shirt, lets his hair free, and runs his hands through it with a sigh. The thick tresses split around his face, hiding half of the burn scar, and tumble well past his shoulders. Almost due for his seasonal trim.

The bedroom is already how he wants it, but he pauses in the doorframe of the space and double checks for discrepancies anyway. The bed is freshly made, littered with fire lily petals. The surfaces are tidy of any previous clutters, replaced entirely by the onslaught of candles he had painstakingly set up, one by one. 

His dao, crossed over a tapestry of ocean blues above the bed, glints familiarly with the shifting light as it does every day, almost as telling as his internal clock. The sun is starting to set. It is almost time.

A hum of approval slips out of him when he returns to the kitchen; the tea is indeed perfectly warm. He fits his hand under the tray and places it in the middle of the small dining table against the wall in the den, where he knows it will be seen. Zuko returns to the bedroom, door cracked, and places himself in the center of the bed, his eyes falling closed in concentration. With a single breath of fire, exhaled, the candles light.

It won’t be long, now.

The sound of the front door sliding open only mere moments later has a small smile tugging at the corner of his mouth. His name echoes out in question through the house, music to his ears.

Zuko waits.

Soon, light steps in the hall, pausing at his office, the spare room, the bathroom. The bedroom door creaks slowly. 

“Zuko? Oh.”

He loves the look on her face, how quickly those blue eyes brighten in surprise and how quickly those lips part and pull into a pleased flash of teeth. The ardor it brings sears his lungs, a terrible burn that he never wants to stop feeling.

“Welcome home, Katara.”

His wife steps into the room with soft steps, her feet bare, and he can easily picture her boots next to his by the front door. She is wearing red today, gold threads twisted in with her sapphire beads and her mother’s necklace ever present. There is a splash of odd color on her leggings, no doubt from the messy hands of the children that she teaches every day. His wife’s gaze sweeps the room again before landing on him with finality. Zuko’s heart picks up. 

“For me?” Katara asks, quiet, stepping within his reach. Reaching. 

Zuko takes her outstretched hand in his and guides her gently to him. He can feel the weight of his words as well as he can hear it when he answers her. 

“All of it.” 

A promise—their promise. 

Katara falls into his lap with ease. Zuko fits his hands to her hips and draws her in flush for the kiss he has wanted to give her all day. She tastes first like the slices of moonpeach he left her, and then again like the raspberry tea. He tips her head back to deepen the kiss, his tongue lining the curve of her plush mouth. He is rewarded with entry and one of his favorite delighted sounds, long since committed to memory. 

Zuko lifts one hand to deftly undo the string that holds Katara’s hair in place. The waves fall, and he pulls away to pepper kisses across her cheeks, where a blush has grown. He slides his other hand up from her waist, over her back and right into the curls at her nape.

“Zuko?” He hums in askance when she calls him, busy inhaling the scent of the sea and distant earth from her hair, his lips brushing kisses against her forehead. “What was in the tea?”

Zuko leans back, hating the uncertainty underlying her tone, a strange pluck on the trust heartline at the fact that she’d consumed the tea anyway. He cups Katara’s face in his hands and locks his eyes to hers, illuminated in the flickering candlelight. He pours every ounce of his emotion into his stare, every bit of love and elation that he’d felt when she’d told him just as they were falling asleep the night before that she wanted—felt ready—to extend their family. 

To have his child.

Nothing.” Zuko tells her. 

Katara inhales sharply, eyes wet with the threat of tears, her hands a pair of tightening fists in the front of his shirt. Zuko’s world tilts as he is tackled to their bed. Fire lily petals fly. Laughter spills out between her joyful kisses, but it is quick to turn into pants and moans and please, Zuko

He is quick to give her what she wants, his plan all along. After his own, her clothes come away by his hands, her wrappings by his teeth, but his wife does not let him spend too long with his mouth between her legs. She pulls him up quickly by the roots of his hair, just how he likes. Her eyes have turned stormy, and her words strike desire through him like lightning when she speaks them against his jaw.

“I won't get pregnant that way, Zuko.” Katara trails her fingers impatiently over his navel, curls them bold and firm around the base of his length. “You have to fuck me—“

Zuko is satisfied by the sharp yelp of surprise Katara makes when he snatches her wrists into his hands and pins them roughly above her. He knocks her legs apart with his knees, fits a thigh under one of hers, and promptly seats himself into her slick folds in one agonizingly slow thrust. Katara’s mouth has fallen open in a silent cry. Zuko latches on to her bottom lip and rocks his hips in the steady and sinuous pace that he knows makes her hate him, interlaces their fingers with an answering purr when she throws her head back and gasps his name.

Zuko’s hair curtains them, the ends mixing with her dark waves, swaying with every movement and letting thin slashes of candlelight dance over Katara’s gleaming copper skin. Her breasts bounce in time, making his mouth water and the want in his veins coil. Zuko does not give in to the temptation. He is far too enraptured with the blissfully pained look taking over Katara’s features.

More.” She wants. 

Zuko increases the force of his thrusts, but he does not change his pace.

No.” He says.

Katara raises her hips in defiance, meets him snap for snap. “Zuko,” she is begging instead of demanding, now. The candles littered around the room flicker with blue. “Zuko, Zuko. Please.” 

A growl builds and pours from his throat, taut with mounting lust. Zuko frees one hand to grasp at her hip and uses their interlaced fingers to pull her forward into his lap. He frees that hand, too, and the moment hers rests securely over his shoulders he cups the bottom of her thighs and makes her ride him as fast as his arms will pump.

“Katara.” His wife’s name falls out in a low drawl, bringing her eyes from the ceiling to his. “I love you.

Katara soon shudders in his hold, her desperate gasps for air nothing like his crumbling breaths of fire. She unravels like silk around him, quivering and despicably wet. Her orgasm is the catalyst to his. Zuko lays her back and gives into the temptation of her heaving breasts as he lets her release milk his seed. 

They are laying together in warm post-cotial haze, Katara’s legs resting over his hip and her face buried into the crook of his neck when she quietly asks: “Do you think it worked?”

“Do not worry, beloved.” Zuko chuckles and presses a tender kiss to her shoulder. “I will try as much as you like, however you like.”