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- Avatar: The Last Airbender - Outre Couture by may_flyer - You know, I was just randomly plunking names into Ljseek to see if I could find any Zuko/Mai fic, imagine my surprise when I found the perfect fic that is going to absolutely RUIN me for all other Zuko/Mai. It's hilarious, it's totally brilliant at characterization (ahahaha, oh, god, Zuko), it's completely hot, and it has a future for Zuko that I have been pining for since about halfway through season two. This fic is perfect, it has a great Mai voice, brilliant use of the Kyoshi warrior uniforms, and the comments? I LOL'd. Repeatedly. I dare you to read about the socially inept retards and not fall in love, I DARE YOU. ♥ (Zuko/Mai.)

- Avatar: The Last Airbender - Five Threesomes Zuko Never Had by may_flyer - Holy crap. I pretty much only clicked on this one because, hey, maybe one of the threesomes would have Zuko and Mai in it. (I need to start reading author's notes better.) I had a craving. The first one was Zuko/Ty Lee/Mai and it was just... I expected it to be totally cracked out and then it wasn't, it was something I picture so well because the ending of it was perfect. And then the following four were Zuko/Mai/Ty Lee, all in different future universes (several of which were Zuko as Fire Lord and you have no idea how strong my kink for that is) and all with different ideas/reasons for the threesome and each one was flat out awesome. Everything resonated, the details, the emotions, the humorous ones, the painful ones, the brilliant characterization of all three of them (the author gets these characters, the potential for so much with them, both funny and painful), this was one of those fics that I had to force myself to slow down on because I wanted to read it too fast. I went in being skeptical and came out completely, absolutely, totally in love with this threesome. And convinced the author's a genius. (Zuko/Mai/Ty Lee.)

- Avatar: The Last Airbender - Preoccupation by may_flyer - ....I am never shipping anything else ever again. At least not with the flailing intensity that this shiny new OTP has brought out in me. This is. This is. This is the perfect Zuko kissing fic. It's just a bonus that Mai is completely awesome in it as well and Zuko's sucking face with her. Because it's funny and makes me go "Awww." at Zuko's complete lack of social grace and the writing is perfect and the tone is just so Avatar and there's not enough keyboard mashing in the world. Seriously. I thought I couldn't be flying higher after mainlining the second season over two days (because I'm lazy and was waiting for the finale to air to watch), BUT I WAS WRONG. I'm now convinced I'm not crazy to have liked the idea of this pairing. ♥ (Zuko/Mai.)

- Avatar: The Last Airbender - untitled by squarewhore and melospiza - I've seen this fanart on deviantART, but stumbling over the short fic that goes with it, I had to rec it properly. Because, while I normally prefer something more socially inept and dorky for these two, a hot kiss is a hot kiss. The writing is lovely and there's a lovely intensity to both characters and the dramatic quality of the moment is well done. I enjoyed this a lot. (Zuko/Mai.)

- Avatar: The Last Airbender - Ephemera by may_flyer - Until I read this short fic, I never gave much thought to the idea of Mai fighting against the Blue Spirit and now I think that might just be the hottest thing I've come across all day. This piece isn't really about that, it's more about the brief meeting between them, almost more about their passing each other by, the way they're both nearly ghosts in the night as life goes on around them. Very cool, but also completely hot... shut up, I know that was lame, I didn't intend for it. (Zuko/Mai in a very roundabout way.)

- Avatar: The Last Airbender - The Perfect Consort by melospiza - ....and, again, I love this pairing so much because they are both such socially inept dorks when they relax for more than five seconds. And I loved this fic because it was so many things that I'd want from a piece where Mai and Zuko have been randomly meeting up and having sex. It's partly stupid teenage hormonal romance (every time she watches him sleep because she likes him so much), it's partly bad teenage sex (Mai being sticky afterwards and trying to have dignity about it and, asd;fljkasdlf;jasd, that it was Prince Zuko and how the hell do you deal with that and asdlf;kjasdfl;jaldsfkj HAHAHAHAHAHA, AWESOME), and partly just so very... Mai that I cannot express my love for it without giving everything away. This is so completely what their early encounters would be like and it's funny and made me ship them even harder and deals with the yucky aspects of post-sex which is nice to see sometimes and I will stop keyboard flailing now, really. (Zuko/Mai, somewhere between PG-13 and R for implications.)

- Avatar: The Last Airbender - The Drowning Years by may_flyer - I was a bit hesitant to read this fic, despite my love for the author, because I wasn't sure how I would deal with Fire Lord Zuko being married to Mai and Katara but had to eventually read it anyway. What impresses me so much about this fic is that it's kinda creepy but without breaking the characters to do so, it plays on the natural issues they have and how they could be rather unhealthy for each other, yet somehow balance out in this fic. It's a bit remarkable, really. But it's also the image of Katara and Mai in the same room and Mai looking down her nose and Katara being so... Katara about it. Really interesting fic. (Zuko/Mai/Katara.)

- Avatar: The Last Airbender - Life Began with Waking Up by rawles - I... I don't even know where to begin with how spastic this fic made me. It's one of those things that should fill me with DEEP SHAME because it's baby fic, but it's Zuko and Mai and they're not going to be bad parents, but they're certainly going to be completely lacking in anything remotely connected to smooth. This fic is a gorgeous futurefic, yet another one with Fire Lord Zuko being married to Mai and you can see what a tremendous dork he is when he's being all over-protective and a spaz and Mai realizing they have a baby now and it's this perfect combination of humor and awwww and that touching quality that should always warm a person's heart when they're reading Avatarfic. There really is a great Mai voice here, too, and a happy future for them and, oh, screw it, baaaaaaaaaabies omg. HARTS. (Zuko/Mai.)

- Avatar: The Last Airbender - I wanna be free by squarewhore - I'm normally not geared towards fics set in the past as much as I am towards futurefic, but there was something about this one that caught me. Mai wandering the halls of the palace and stumbling across Zuko, who's having a rough night and it's just this... short, lovely scene where you can start to see how she developed her crush on him, even when he's at a low point. I love how nervous and unsure she is here while still being so very Mai, it's a great little character piece for both of them. Also, SO CUTE OMG. (Zuko/Mai.)

- Avatar: The Last Airbender - time after time by squarewhore - Why do I like babyfic with Zuko/Mai so much? Is it some sort of disease? Something I can blame on someone else? Or is this some sort of defect in me? Whatever the reason, I was practically lighting up when I saw there was more for this pairing and by an author who creates these little touches in a fic that leave me completely wibbling. In this fic, sure, Mai's reactions are fun and delightful, but it's Zuko's reaction to the news that just... oh, oh, yes, that's wonderful right there, how he's been someone who has nothing and now someone who has everything and the way they fit together and it's just... oh, screw it. My reaction --> asdl;fkjasld;fjalkjfalsks :D :D :D :D :D (Zuko/Mai.)

- Avatar: The Last Airbender - Hot Gingerbread and Dynamite by JoJoDancer - I am currently in the middle of a massive pout that this story only has two chapters and hasn't been updated for two months because it is futurefic with FireLord!Zuko and his marraige to Mai and it's uncomfortable and weird and shows just how badly two socially inept people can make a relationship and, yet, it's not doomed by any means. There's cuteness here, real feelings and affection, a lot of hope for the both of them, and includes Mai getting very drunk. And Zuko being kinda dumb. ♥ It's cute and enjoyable already, but I'm also recommending it for the potential it shows in future cuteness, I very much want to see where the author goes with this. (Zuko/Mai.)

- Avatar: The Last Airbender - The Escapades of the Blind Bandit and Meathead: Community Service by ArtemisRae - [Note: It's very beneficial to read the author's notes on this fic.] And I continue to be utterly charmed by this series of oneshots with Sokka and Toph. Again, it could be potentially romantic in the future, but in this story, they're just friends and they're drunk and they're at Zuko's birthday party and they're being the bestest trouble-makers that they so totally are. I just. I FLAIL at the characterization here, the lead-up to why they're stumbling around and over Aang and Katara, I am beyond delighted with the antics they get themselves into, the way the Sokka/Toph friendship plays out here. So, so much fabulousness. Also, the opening scene? With Toph's insults and Mai being threatening? Made of PURE AWESOME. (This is actually more gen than anything, but implications of Aang/Katara and Zuko/Mai.)

- Avatar: The Last Airbender - The Escapades of the Blind Bandit and Meathead: Double Entendre by ArtemisRae - There is a certain point at which making fun of Zuko (who is just so amusing when he's horrified) becomes passe for me... this fic, however, was rather firmly not on the other side of that line for me. I continue to enjoy the Sokka/Toph maybe-friends-maybe-more dynamic here, I love FireLord!Zuko and his marraige, and, asd;flasdl;fa;lsf, the first thoughts going through his head when he's standing outside Sokka and Toph's door. Hilarious. (Maybe Sokka/Toph, maybe not. Implications of Zuko/Mai that aren't the point.)

- Avatar: The Last Airbender - Baby Steps by Tammaiya - One of the best things I've done recently is to get Tammaiya into Avatar because now she's written Zuko/Mai fic and it has babies in it. Well, one baby. But it's theirs and Zuko is the most beautifully paranoid father ever and Mai is so very Mai in her flat reactions while still being surprisingly soft underneath (without going too far, she's still Mai) and a beautiful dynamic (and complete lack of being able to be socially normal by either of them ♥) between Zuko and Mai. Plus, it's set in the future, with Fire Lord Zuko and, god, I'm even fangirling the name for the baby that Tammaiya picked out. The ending is perfect, I went to skim to write a decent rec (because this one is kind of sucking) and wound up getting sucked into it all over again because it's just so... it's that balance between making fun of Zuko and showing why he's such a fantastic character that makes me love him all the more, which I appreciate in fic so much. Plus BAAAAABY. With KNIVES. Awesome. ♥ (Zuko/Mai.)

- Avatar the Last Airbender - the sea by Pseudonym Undercover - There is something really beautiful about this Zuko/Mai fic, the way it's told half through flashbacks, half through Zuko simply being Zuko in the current time. So full of anger in every gesture, even when he's not really doing anything or even moving, it feels so full of razor-sharp edges just like the character I watch on the screen. The little details of the flashbacks to when they were kids, the way the story is framed with them, all of it is really beautifully written. It makes me fall in love with these two all over again a little. (Zuko/Mai.)

- Avatar: The Last Airbender - Disclosure by Rawles - This is one of those fics that I've been waiting for ever since season three started... hell, even before that, practically as soon as Mai was introduced and we saw her crush on Zuko. I fell in love with the idea over the course of season two and just pined for futurefic for them. Season three has only made that worse. And then this fic came along. It had so many of the things I wanted--future Fire Lord Zuko and Fire Lady Mai, dealing with the introduction of sex into their relationship, etc.--but more than that, the writing, characterization, and dialogue was spot on for these two. Setting the story through Zuko's perspective works amazingly here, the way you can just feel his embarassment and frustration at not quite knowing what's going wrong, the way Mai seems so inscrutable at times, yet there's still a very obvious connection and gravitation towards each other there. It's a fantastically and truly satisfying piece, it accomplishes everything it sets out to do, it shows the progression of their relationship, is touched with humor and genuinely lovely moments, and even has an fan-fucking-tastic appearance by Iroh. I loved this. ♥ (Zuko/Mai, somewhere around an R for scenes towards the end.)

- Avatar: The Last Airbender - Something Like It by Rawles - [Note: There will be spoilers for 3x02 in this fic, not to mention it probably won't make much sense without it.] This is a very lovely look at Mai and Azula's interactions as season three rolls along, as the Zuko/Mai relationship gains a steadier footing. The language of the piece is lovely, so much that's left unsaid between these two subtle, sharp characters and yet is still very obviously there. I love seeing Mai like this, how sharp and dangerous she is in her own right, but still a very human person underneath. Lovely. (Zuko/Mai, but it's more background than anything.)

- Avatar: The Last Airbender - Sixteen Facts and One Letter, Regarding Mai and Zuko by Ali Wildgoose - The title pretty much describes exactly what this fic is about and what style it's done it, which is a format I really like when it comes to fic because it's both interesting to see various authors' takes on the characters and because it has a good rate of producing readable fic. This fic was very nicely done, little moments through the history of the show done with subtlety and a deft hand, I could believe all of these things about Mai and Zuko. I especially liked how easy it was to see/hear everything in my head and the take on Mai is especially fantastic: When Azula told her what had happened, describing every moment in excruciating detail, she remained impassive. The scar couldn't be that bad. And what use were good looks, anyway? At least ugly was interesting. (Zuko/Mai.)

- Avatar: The Last Airbender - Five Times Mai and Zuko Kiss by White Rain - So, you know what I enjoy? Five Things style fics and characters making with the kissing faces! Two of my favorite things! In the same fic! Excellent. I really liked that I could see all five of these situations where Zuko and Mai are kissing, the way Mai is so Mai (I don't know if I've mentioned in the last five minutes how much I really like Mai) and even when she's so Mai, you can tell how much she really cares about Zuko. Also, Zuko/Mai kissing is totally hot and this shows why. ♥ (Zuko/Mai.)

- Avatar: The Last Airbender - Male Bonding by rawles and ali_wildgoose - rubyd pointed this fic out to me recently and it was a fun, enjoyable read. I like what the authors did (though, I thought the swearing was unnecessary and broke me from the characters' otherwise very solid voices, which is a minor nit among a really well-written fic) with Zuko and Sokka's interaction here, the connections and contrasts they wove between the two characters really made a lot of sense. They don't precisely like each other, but they have a surprising amount in common and it's really neat to see a fic where they almost set aside their differences for five minutes to see how similar they are in some ways, what they've both been through. Add in some really fun Katara perspective (when she overhears some of their conversations) and it was a solid little fic. (Some Sokka/Suki, Zuko/Mai.)

- Avatar: The Last Airbender - The Way Home by praiseofshadows - I've sort of been less than thrilled with the way Zuko/Mai developed in season three, so I've been reading less fic than I might have otherwise, but every so often a link catches my eye and I have to click on it. And I'm glad I do, because this was a lovely piece set during that long boatride back to the Fire Nation, during the beginning of Zuko and Mai's relationship. The sense of young love here, the way they grow a little closer every day, every time they touch, every time Zuko opens up to her just a fraction more, is all lovely, the author does a really nice job with that. (Zuko/Mai.)

Avatar: The Last Airbender: Family Album by hallidae - I'm intrigued by the idea of Zuko - Toph interaction in a familial sense, so I was curious to read this one. (The implied Zuko/Mai in the background was also a bonus point. :Db) And it's a lot more than I expected--it's a collection of scenes set over the course of the final war (and was written before the episodes were aired), each moving the story forward and progressing Zuko's relationships with them, especially Toph and (to a slightly lesser degree) Aang. There are some great moments in this fic, some great imagery (Zuko and Mai running to help an injured Toph would look so totally awesome animated), and a lot of great connections. It was a really satisfying little read. (Some Zuko/Mai, but it's background at best.)

Avatar: The Last Airbender: Homecoming by rawles - [Note: This fic has some spoilers for events in The Boiling Rock I + II, so don't read if you haven't seen yet/really don't want to be spoiled.] This is just a short piece, set potentially in the final battle (since they haven't been released at the time of the fic) and has a really great Zuko/Mai dynamic--after these two episodes, I've been back to being in love with this pairing so much and I love what this moment does. How much they obviously still love each other, how much they want to be together, how much they both hurt, all while being totally badass in the middle of a fight. Plus kissing, which was awesome. *__*b (Zuko/Mai.)

Avatar: The Last Airbender: Let Them Rot by pyjamafiction - [Note: This fic contains spoilers for The Boiling Rock episodes.] Given how out of touch I am with most of the Avatar fandom (and have lately only been coming back for Mai fic), I clicked on this one randomly and had no idea what to expect, I hadn't ever seen the post with the theory it was based on. And this was just a short little piece set sometime after The Boiling Rock, after Mai and Ty Lee are thrown into jail and based on the idea that Mai's pregnant. I really liked this take on Mai, there was something quiet and almost calm about her, even when there was obviously so much more going on, I loved the use of little details to get across that underlying tension/worry that's obviously there yet not being spoken about. And I love one of the first thoughts that goes through her head at the ending, it's just... perfect and hilarious. So, this is sort of crackfic-ish, except it's almost kind of serious, and just. A good read. (Zuko/Mai.)

Avatar: The Last Airbender: Kinda by ruebroadway - [Note: There will be some spoilers for the series finale in this fic and this rec.] So, you know what I want a whole lot of in Avatar fandom? Zuko/Mai porn, plz. Or at least something a little more risque. Just sometimes. So this fic was a nice post-series read because it's the reunion scene with Zuko and Mai set from her point of view, showing how strong she is and yet how much everything they'd been through had affected her as well. It was sweet--well, the Zuko and Mai version of sweet--and one of those things that I just sort of needed post-finale. (Zuko/Mai, not quite safe for work.)

Avatar: The Last Airbender: Love by icybright - [Note: There will be some spoilers for the series finale in this fic and this rec.] One of the best scenes of the finale (well, they were all awesome, honestly) was in the Jasmine Dragon where everyone was happy and together and alive and at peace. This fic expands on that a little, has everyone drawn together occasionally, even as they move on with their lives, and there's so much happiness and peace and love in the little touches between the characters and how they've touched each other's lives, that it just. It makes me fall in love with everyone and everything all over again, this is one of those post-finale fics that I wanted so badly to read and I'm glad it was so lovely. (Some Aang/Katara, Zuko/Mai, and Sokka/Suki, but they're only half the point.)

Avatar: The Last Airbender: The Fables of Our Lives by icybright - [Note: There MAY be some spoilers for the series finale in this fic and this rec.] This is such a clever, interesting idea! A handful of fairy tales remapped onto the Avatar characters in short little scenes that mirror the original tales so well. They each hightlight a quiet moment or an important moment or just a meaningful one or even just a silly little scene, and I adore what the author did with these. I love that she writes so many different characters and yet it doesn't feel crowded or glossed over to me anywhere, just a really awesome little thing. (Aang/Katara, Zuko/Mai, Sokka/Suki, Sokka/Toph all in brief snippets, but sometimes gen as well.)

Avatar: The Last Airbender: Pressure by Kanthia - [Note: There are spoilers for the series finale in this fic and in this rec.] This is an interesting take on the effects of the finale, something that's not quite so happy and instead a little haunting and painful, for what both Aang and Zuko had to face during that time. I find it a really interesting way to go because, as much as I love the world being at peace and that everything was wonderful at the end of the series, I feel like this could fit together really well with the canon if it were to have kept going. Aang being troubled by Ozai's lingering presence, Zuko being haunted by the image of his sister, the way everything around them is at peace, but they aren't. It was a nice connection between them and I'd really like to see where this is going. (Some implied Zuko/Mai, but it's really, really far from the point.)

Avatar: The Last Airbender: Put Up With You by Liv - [Note: This fic and this rec will contain spoilers for the Avatar finale.] This fic had a really great line. It's mostly pretty short, it's set post-finale with Mai and Zuko, how they're reconnecting after everything they've all been through and Zuko impulsively asks her to marry him. And her answer is so very Mai that I really adored this. XD (Zuko/Mai.)

Avatar: The Last Airbender: adage by araine - [Note: There are spoilers for up through The Boiling Rock in this fic and this rec.] I wasn't sure what I was going to get with this fic, using the old Japanese adage that the nail that sticks up is the one that's hammered down or how it would relate to Mai, but I wanted to give it a chance. And I'm very glad I did because it's a really lovely look at Mai, two times she's lived through Zuko leaving, the author comparing and contrasting them, how Mai is not the same as she was before, how she changes. I really liked the language of this, it's so... straightforward but saying so much underneath that and it fits wonderfully with Mai herself. And the adage itself fits so very well with Mai and with this fic. (Zuko/Mai.)

Avatar: The Last Airbender: journey by ariane - [Note: There are spoilers for the series finale in this fic and this rec.] Set post-series, this is just a brief scene of Zuko planning to go find his mother rather than anything longer, because (as the author says) the show will probably deal with that itself. And I liked this one a lot as well, how very well Mai knows Zuko and how she doesn't just get left behind or try to talk him out of things that he needs to do, instead she's straightforward and simply understands. The writing is solid and this was a nice little scene to have. <3 (Zuko/Mai.)

Avatar: untitled by rayemars - [Note: This fic is set post-series, so this fic and this rec contain spoilers for the finale.] This is just a fic snippet, only a little piece of what's meant to be a larger whole, but I found that I really liked it and it works well enough on its own for now. It's set post-series and it's from Mai's point of view, how the change in the Fire Nation isn't quite so easy and is actually really wearing because not everyone is going to be happy about it. I love how... almost blunt the tone of the fic is, combined with all the details that work for a character like Mai, who would make an excellent head of the royal guard. I'd love to see more of where this is going, the worldbuilding post-finale could be so very interesting. (No warnings/pairings so far, but may be Zuko/Mai in the future? Idk.)

Avatar: The First Knot by Sahara Storm - [Note: There are spoilers for the end of the series in both this fic and this rec.] I only meant to just start this one a little, just get a little ways into while I had a few moments. But I wound up reading the whole entire thing because I just couldn't put it down. It's a really lovely look at post-war in the Fire Nation as seen through Mai's eyes, the way the country is changing, but not everyone does, the way she reacts to it and her relationship with Zuko. It's almost a sort of laid-back piece, but that's not precisely it, it's more that... the tone is almost distant, which covers how Mai really isn't that uncaring, and the atmosphere fits with her character really well and shows a lot about her. I like that it's not so easy to just put everything back together and to change, even from the inside out. I adore Mai's character and how much she helps Zuko in her own way, I adore the way she sees a lot of what goes on around her and it's not that she doesn't care what people say, except that she knows how pointless a lot of it is. I love how straight-forward she is about things and I love her relationship with Zuko. This was a really satisfying piece. ♥ (Zuko/Mai.)

Avatar: The Last Airbender: Marital Bliss by anime_angel_ash - So, I was browsing springkink last night and decided to give this fic a shot. And asd;lfkjas;lkj oh my god it was so great and so much fun. It's a neat little concept that takes the prompt--Zuko/Mai - striptease - Mai's sharpest weapon isn't her knives/Zuko needs to be more careful with his firebending--and does something a little unexpected with it. Set from the point of view of a young child in the Fire Nation palace, seeing the Zuko/Mai relationship through the kid's eyes, it's really clever and sharply done. Kids' POV can be difficult, but this narrative really pulls it off and I was laughing/smiling the entire way through and the ending has a great punch and the relationship dynamic is fantastic and I love that you can see how the kids' thought process goes even while the reader knows what's actually happening and just. It was fantastic. ♥ (Zuko/Mai.)

Avatar: The Last Airbender: historical accuracy by incandescens - Another fic from the same prompt as the previous one, this time taking yet another different tact and going for a historical/scholarly feel to it. I really liked this, it was neat to see the author creating a legendary legacy for the characters and yet still keeping what made them such lovable characters, the historical tone of the piece is really neat as well. It was just a really clever, fun take on the prompt with a great ending and a joy to read. ♥ (Zuko/Mai.)

Avatar: The Last Airbender: Mai reading the letter Zuko wrote her + The Chase by pyjamafiction - These are both short little drabbles set from Mai's point of view, the first one about how she reacts after Zuko leaves in season three, the second set in the second season before they've properly met up again. I really adore this author's take on Mai's character, you can see how much she obviously cares about Zuko, how much he makes her really feel, but it's still very much Mai and I really loved both looks into her character and her feelings for Zuko. (Zuko/Mai.)

Avatar: The Last Airbender: The Morning After by JoJoDancer - I was browsing this recs post since it was recently updated and remembered this author from some of her other fic and I was intrigued by the summary of a morning breakfast with Zuko/Mai and Aang/Katara. What I didn't quite expect to get was a super fantastic and lolariously funny awkward piece that was just. Oh, man, the characterization was spot on and the comedic timing was perfect and the dialogue was fantastic and it was so easy to see and just. There were at least two or three moments where I had to pause just to quietly crack up for a bit. All things I want out of Avatar fic. *__* (Zuko/Mai, Aang/Katara.)

Avatar: The Last Airbender: Odd Man Out by Smart Alex - I was reading for other fandoms when I stumbled over a favorite that led me to this fic and... well. I haven't been so charmed by an Avatar fic like this in awhile, it's just so... cute and silly and fun. The author really nails Sokka's narrative voice, as he watches all the couples around him and misses Suki and then... notices that someone isn't in a relationship either. Also, Sokka's offhand observations on the couples around him are kind of seriously hilarious. This was delightful. (Background Sokka/Suki, Aang/Katara, Zuko/Mai. It's only half the point.)

Avatar: the Last Airbender: This is a Proposal, Seriously by primroseshows - I can't help it, okay. I still have such a soft spot for Sokka/Toph, especially when the headers tempt me in with background Zuko/Mai. Which is what I came for, but I wound up staying for the utterly delightful Sokka spazzing over trying to propose. I love how it captures that Sokka's more than just a joke, but also totally goes for the humor and I love the characters' reactions around him when he goes to them for advice. Zuko's response is beautiful. (And I love the brief mentions of Zuko/Mai in there, that was lovely.) And I love that this is much a Sokka piece as it is a shippy piece. <3 (Sokka/Toph, some Zuko/Mai.)

Avatar: The Last Airbender: Ribbons in her Hair by Omnicat - You know, I think I've meant to read this fic forever, but never stumbled back over it again until today. But I was really in the mood for Mai fic (well, Zuko/Mai fic, but this is a lovely combination of the two) and I found this take on her character really fascinating. It paints a picture of a difficult life for Mai, the distance between herself and her mother, how painful that relationship is, but I like that it's not portrayed as rotten to the core, that there's love there, in their own ways. It's just not a particularly good relationship, either. And it's a lovely look at Mai and how she moved through her life, what she's good at and what she isn't, and where she's going from here, all reflected through her eyes on her wedding day. I really liked this one a lot. (It's Zuko/Mai, but that's only half the point.)

Avatar: The Last Airbender: Shadows Like Giants by inkstone - Every so often there will be a fic that just takes my breath away a little, because it's so perfectly what I wanted. I picked this one up because I was hoping for some good Zuko/Mai fic and it was that as well, but mostly... it was a Mai piece, so sharp and complicated and brilliant, a fully realized character in her own right. The author did an amazing job getting inside her head as she deals with an assassination attempt on Zuko's life and has to face past demons (like talking to Azula) and refuses to just be sidelined. I loved it for the fantastic relationship she has with Zuko, they way they both care so much about each other, but I loved it even more for the strong characters who just happen to be female here. This was fantastic. (Some Zuko/Mai, but it's only half the point.)

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