My mind is whirling as I look down at him.
His position is one of peasantry, not a prince, and it stops my heart.
I breathe in to steady myself. I can't sound weak after he's revealed how highly he thinks of me. He, a prince, is putting himself below me.
"Yes. I..." I can't tell him I already love him. That's pathetic and desperate! "We can court."
His eyes light up like stars and he jumps to his feet, his arms gracefully pulling me to his chest.
His smile makes me weak at the knees, and I tighten my grip around his neck, grateful for his arms supporting me
"You won't regret this."
A whooping chorus sounds from the woods, and Sokka is clapping his hand on Zuko's back.
"Good job, bro!"
Zuko's eyes don't leave mine, but, if that's even possible, his smile widens and his eyes shine brighter.
Zuko pulls away and, without breaking eye contact, he bows low.
He grins evilly, "Malady, this next week will be the best of my life, and I will do my damnest to make it yours as well."
He rises gracefully, and the three other boys surround him as Suki drags me to my tent.
"So? What was it like, having a prince in the palm of your hand?"
I laugh at her, but blush like crazy, the heat a reminder of his breath against my skin.
"Absolutely amazing. I never would have guesses. Why me? Oh I don't care, I'm just glad it was me."
Toph comes in and smiles evilly.
"He's the one who planned the rescue. He's the one who found the boat.", she gives me a sharp tap to the leg with her foot.
"Besides, think about it. He always seemed to be nicer to you than all the rest of us. He fought you the most, but you never actually got hurt, did you?"
Everything clicks into place, and I smile to myself.
"Hey sis! Can you come out her for a second?"
I slide out of the tent, and a necklace is slipped around my neck the instant I stand.
I look over to Zuko's smile after he latches it.
"In fire nation, when a man courts a woman, he shows it to everyone by giving her a necklace, much like your betrothal necklace.", he blushes and looks down at his feet, "I made it a bit long to hang under your necklace, so you wouldn't have to choose which to wear."
He looks up at me through his hair, and I giggle at his childish smile.
I throw my arms around his neck, and hug him tightly, making him tense up in surprise before his arms wrap around my waist.
"I love it. It's absolutely perfect."
I pull away and inspect the necklace's charm, memorizing every gorgeous detail.
"It's beautiful. Did you-"
"I made it. It's made from the horn of my first rino-cat. I bagged it when I was 12.", memories glaze over his perfect honey gold eyes, and I can't help but stare.
"I have a matching one for myself. The day a couple weds, they switch charms, and give their vows.", his voice gets softer as he continues," The man protects her and the charm equally as fiercely, and they always come before himself.", a strong tones comes to him, and he raises his head again, standing tall.
"No matter what, you will always come before me."
His hand comes up and gives me another necklace, this one deep black and laced with metal, and obvious match to my pure white one laced with metal flowers.
"Just like I put yours on you, you have to put mine on me.", the shy tone is back in his voice, and he lowers to his knees, letting me reach his neck.
I brush my fingers across his skin as I pull the chocker tight, latching it.
My fingers rest on his skin just a second too long, and I feel him shudder at my touch.