A pairing you hated, but ended up loving.
This is one where I’m going to have to make a variation to the prompt. Because there has never been a pairing that I hated before coming to love it. I every pairing I’ve mentioned thus far in a positive light, I always loved. Every one I spoke of in a negative light, I always hated.
So for Zuko/Mai, the more apt phrase would be ‘A pairing I hated but ended up accepting.’
Because I don’t love Maiko, I just don’t. At the same time, I can no longer hate it because… well, because there’s really nothing wrong with it.
I love both of them individually. They are well developed and seem real in their actions and reactions. In fact, it was Mai’s declaration that she loved Zuko more than she feared Azula (to her face) that really made me come to respect her character. We all know what Azula is like, so that’s a pretty ballsy move especially considering Mai was captured and defenseless at the time. Azula could’ve roasted her ass right then and there if she wanted to, but Mai didn’t even flinch.
They do have some cute scenes together as well. The little ‘don’t ever break up with me again’ thing always makes me smile. They look nice together and I’m sure will be a good couple in the future.
Even so, my loyalty is to Zutara. I like Maiko, but I love Zutara. I can accept that Maiko is canon and that isn’t changing, but in my headcanon, Zutara reigns supreme.
I have actually written a fanfic in the past that was an attempt to show Zutara and Maiko co-existing with each other. The story wound up leaning heavily on the Maiko end (I actually found out it was put in a Maiko community on FF.net) because that’s just where the story went. And I have no problem with that. I don’t read other Maiko fan fiction because that takes time and effort and I don’t like Maiko enough to want to do that, but I do look at the fanart and have favorited some (check my deviantART page).
It’s a nice relationship. I don’t ship it, but I am totally, 100 percent, okay with it.