Listen, my favorite zukaang headcannon is zuko is seeing aang with hair for the first time and if you can do something with this headcannon I'll be so grateful.
It was early morning when Zuko reached the village and it
was already swelteringly hot. It only
took a moment for Druk to curl himself around a tree and patch of shade. Zuko
found himself wishing he could join him as he wiped at the layer of sweat at
his hairline. He found himself wishing he was bald again; when did hair get so hot?
The town was every bit as tiny and shabby as Aang had described
it in his letters, and the people just as kind. They needed new buildings, new
tools, new teachers, Aang has said, to finally start to blend in their rapidly
modernizing new world. And they needed moral, which is why Aang had recommended
he, Fire Lord Zuko, visit them personally, to show they were important to the
Fire Nation. So Zuko came.
He wished he had come in the winter.
The townsfolk were very helpful, if not overly so, after a
few dozen bows, and offerings of food, and swallowing unpleasantly hot tea,
Zuko was told Aang was at the local lake, helping repair a dock.
The dock, Zuko found, was just as shabby and small as the
rest of the town, but he was able to walk out safely on it just far enough to
look into the water. And there was Aang, a golden-blue-looking blur hoovering
just under the wood. Zuko waited, and when he figured Aang was using some sort
of water bending technique to breathe down there and could be a while, he
kicked a loose rock into the water right over Aang’s head.
He could have sworn Aang smiled up at him from under the
“Zuko!” Aang said brightly when he broke the surface, “you
An unexpected, vaguely unnerving shock tremble rattled
through Zuko’s stomach as he watched Aang pull himself out of the water. In the
many months apart, Aang had grown hair, quite a bit of it, Zuko saw, as it
dripped water into Aang’s face, which was also cut with a scratching of
A lot about Aang looked different. His cheeks more hallow
and body more steady, like he had grown into himself. He looked taller than
Zuko remembered, and Zuko was very, alarmingly aware of Aang’s tattoo’s,
stretched over his muscles—that didn’t look as lean as Zuko remembered—and skin
that looked tanner than Zuko remembered. Zuko calculated quickly in his head.
How old was Aang now? Seventeen? Eighteen? How long had it really been?
When Aang had to catch and tighten his pants after they, heavy with water, had sagged down his hip, Zuko noticed a patch of a prominent tan line. Zuko coughed.
“Yes,” Zuko answered. He cleared his throat. “Hi—Hello. I’m
here—You’re here. I just got here—you have hair now.”
Zuko felt Aang’s smile in his gut like a punch.
“Yeah.” Aang said, give his wet hair a shake with his hand. “My
scalp kept getting burned here, it’s so hot. I finally just gave up and thought
hair might help. It’s just for while I’m here. Your hair’s gotten long, too—“
Aang took a step closer and brought his hand up to touch
Zuko’s hair. Water dripped from his bare arm and Zuko pulled away, a little
“Ha, sorry.” Aang was still smiling; he clearly thought Zuko’s
reaction had to do with the water. He brought up his hands in a motions before
his chest and, with a quick, slapping gust of wind, the water was blown of Aang
and he was dry.
His hair was fluffed and untidy and Zuko felt his mouth dry.
“I’m glad you’re here,” Aang said, closing the distance
between them again for a hug, one hand grasping at Zuko.
The sensation in Zuko’s stomach seemed to have exploded.