Zuko was many things, but a coward he was not. A Zutara100 prompt collection because this place needs more Zutara!
Zhao had always been a pain. The man walked around like he was Fire Lord himself and Zuko hated him for it. The commander mocked him, insulted him, and belittled the honor the banished Fire Prince tried so hard to hold on to. So, he challenged Commander Zhao to an Agni-Kai even though he had barely mastered the basics. Zuko was no coward.
Months later, when Zhao tried to have him killed at the North Pole, Zuko swam the arctic channels. It was a foolhardy thing to do but he was no coward. At the other end of those channels of ice, he faced an angry waterbender, newly come into her power. She was fierce, like a mooselion protecting her cub, and Agni she was beautiful. That same waterbender proceeded to slam him into glaciers, mountainsides, and trees at every meeting. He matched her fight for fight for he was no coward and apparently neither was she.
He never backed down from a fight, except once. Zuko frowned. No, twice. But what young boy would want to fight their own father? Azula and her friends were terrors but that never stopped him. Let them question his honor, his bravery would never be doubted. On the day of Black Sun, he faced his father with nothing but his broadswords, the bending they had been so dependent on gone for a few brief minutes. But Zuko was no coward. His father called him a fool and perhaps he was. After all, he had to face the Avatar and the waterbender he betrayed. Kneeling before the Avatar, feeling the hate from Katara, had taken almost every ounce of courage he had.
Azula had lost her mind. She was unpredictable. Not that Zuko had ever been able to predict her movements before, but now he had control of the bending and she was sparking and sending haphazard blasts of fire. It was dangerous but he wasn't afraid. And then he did one of the bravest, or stupidest, things in his life. He leapt in front of a lightning bolt meant for another. Azula had seen something he hadn't until it was almost too late. She aimed for his heart.
Zuko did all those things because Zuko was no coward but when he gazed down into the clear blue eyes of a female waterbender—the very same waterbender that threatened to end his life if he messed up—he couldn't force the words from his mouth. The smile she gave him made him tongue tied and awkward. At that moment, faced with the overpowering feelings he had for her, he felt like the world's biggest coward. Now, one of the most powerful rulers in the world, he felt terrified of a small Water Tribe woman. Katara stepped to him, smoothing out his resplendent robes and smiling up at him. She placed a hand over the healing scar on his chest and, with all the confidence in the world, said, “You'll do fine, Zuko, because you are no coward.”
She could stop his heart with a flick of her fingers but, since Zuko was no coward, he kissed her.