perfect places

( past )

If he were being absolutely honest with himself, and while he most definitely heard everything she said, Zuko wouldn’t be able to remember any of the movie options she listed off for him if she quizzed him on them. He very politely sipped his vodka and watched her fuss about her entertainment center over the rim of his glass while he held hers in his other hand, and allowed his eyes to wander. Just a little. He had no intentions of taking advantage of her, of course, but he was still alive, and couldn’t help a little ogling. She had been sending him flirty looks now and again over the evening; he didn’t think it’d be too out of line.

By the time she tossed him a look over her shoulder, he’d managed to compose himself with a respectable propriety, and gave her a smile once she settled back on the couch with a blanket–a lot closer to him, he noticed. He couldn’t not notice that, with her folded knee nearly brushing against his thigh. It was all hidden now, beneath their shared blanket, and he found himself wondering at the course of events that had led him here.

She must have really meant that she’d like him to stay, nestling back against the cushions as she was. It was… nice. She wasn’t using him as a shield, he wasn’t lugging books back to his car and driving her home, they were just… being. And a swell of contentment rose in him at not only how relaxed both he and this felt, but also that she seemed to be relaxed and comfortable enough to slap in a movie to pass the time. Zuko supposed that she could have put it on to cover up any remaining nerves or uncomfortableness, but he didn’t get the sense that was the case. It seemed like she just wanted… to watch a movie with him.

Unbidden, Zuko was suddenly glad that he was sitting leaning against his left side and she was on his right. She hadn’t said anything or even looked askance–that he’d noticed, anyway–at his scar, but sitting in such close proximity to her with no real agenda… it made him all at once self-conscious about it. He’d long ago made his peace with it, not too long after he disavowed his father and left home, but Zuko knew that it wasn’t… the most attractive thing. There were some guys that joked about women loving a good scar, but somehow Zuko didn’t think that his kind of scar was what the kind they meant.

Instead of commenting on how she might not have needed a blanket if she’d worn something warmer, or the fact that he should at least get the books he only had for that evening instead of watching a movie–things his sixteen year-old self would have blurted awkwardly–he shifted more comfortably and leaned against the arm of her couch. It was already a lot warmer under the blanket than not–though the weather was on the cusp of spring, the nights were still chilly, and Katara didn’t seem to keep her apartment on the overly warm side.

Putting a smile back on his face, he tilted his head to the side and looked down at her. “You might not believe me, but I’ve actually never seen this,” he admitted as the movie began. His smile widened. “I hope that doesn’t diminish your opinion of me, Katara.” If he wondered whether he’d enjoy the roll of her name in his mouth, the answer was that yes, he did.

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