After the Great War, Zuko returns to Ba Sing Se. [Jin/Zuko, Aang & co.]
Looking a little sad, his uncle let go a nostalgic sigh when they passed by the old -now closed- tea shop where they had worked for a few of months not that long ago. "What a shame! Working here was a very pleasing experience, don't you think, nephew?" Iroh said, dramatically.
Zuko was busy looking around to answer, but he would have probably end up glaring at him about the 'very pleasing' part of his statement. Thus, Iroh didn't seem to mind that at all and walked a little further until he found a small corridor; then he smiled, feeling pleased with himself. "I think this is what you're looking for," he said, pointing it with his finger.
Somewhat embarrassed, Zuko walked by his uncle and went down the small corridor, his steps slowing down little by little until he stopped after a couple of meters. "What I'm going to say? I didn't even said goodbye," he said, nervously.
"The truth," Iroh answered with a soft voice. "She'll probably understand."
"I know, but...," Zuko looked down to the floor. "But it was too long ago, maybe she has already forgotten about me."
"Who could forget about you?"
Both nephew and uncle turned around and found a young woman a few steps away from them. She raised her eyebrow, waiting for the young man to answer to her. Iroh smiled politely when Zuko didn't.
"Long time no see, beautiful lady. How have you been?" Iroh said; he used his nicest tone and pushed, with relative discretion, his nephew toward her.
She smiled, looking at Zuko. "Good enough," she replied, her smile increasing. "Did the two of you return from that traveling circus?"
There was a sudden, uncomfortable silence that was broken after a few seconds, when Iroh elbowed his nephew's ribs. "Well, um... That isn't exactly true," Zuko said.
"The part about the traveling circus?" she asked, blinking at him.
Zuko nodded and looked very uncomfortable; he was now playing with his fingers. "Jin, there is something I'd like to tell you...," he whispered.
"Do you have a girlfriend?" Jin asked.
Zuko answered almost too fast. "No."
"Are you gay?"
Iroh snorted quietly behind his nephew's back and Zuko, surprised, gaped at her. "What? I- No!" he exclaimed.
"Then what?" Jin asked.
For a moment, Zuko didn't say a thing, too nervous to even move. Jin walked toward him and, when she was really close, tilted her face; she was going to wait there until he answered. Iroh, on the other hand, distracted himself counting the tiles on the floor, so they could have some sort of privacy. But he lingered close enough to save his nephew, if something were to happen.
Finally -when she was about to ask again-, Zuko replied with a whisper. "I'm sort of the Fire Lord of the Fire Nation."
Immediately, Jin turned to Iroh, both her eyebrows threatening to flee from her forehead; it couldn't be more obvious that she couldn't believe what Zuko had just said.
"Isn't that the dream of every girl? To find out that their boyfriend is a prince?" Iroh offered, with what he hoped was a lovely grin.
Zuko glared toward his uncle, who ignored him.
The news about The Great War had leaked through the City's walls around the time it was about to end, and it was well known that the Fire Nation had now a more benevolent ruler than the one that it had before. Still, it was very unlikely that Li was actually telling the truth. Yet, there was something on his eyes that told her that she should ask for proofs instead of just giving him her back and going back to her house. Suddenly, she remembered something that she never could explain to herself from that first date they had.
"You lit the lamps with firebending! That's why you asked me to close my eyes, didn't you?" she said. "And your name isn't really Li, right?"
"Yes, yes, and no," he answered. "My name is Zuko. My uncle's name is Iroh."
"That's why you left without saying goodbye?" Jin asked.
The firebender looked a bit troubled, but nodded. "It was complicated. I can explain everything, I promise. We can... have a date again, if you want."
Jin didn't say a thing; the news seemed to be settling down easier than Iroh had hoped, and he fancied himself as an optimistic man. After a while, she approached Zuko to poke him on the forehead.
"Silly," she said. "That was for going away without saying a thing. Anyway, you owe me more than just a date."
Zuko blushed when she took his hand; but smiled sincerely, exactly like Iroh remembered he had smiled when he came back from that date. Iroh walked happily towards them.
"I'll just go to take some tea, nephew," he said. "You two take all the time you need." Iroh winked his eye to Jin. "Young lady, it was a pleasure."
Grinning and humming to himself, Iroh left them alone.
"Sokka, please, behave yourself," Katara said, sighing.
"I will, don't worry," he assured.
"Why did you bring the boomerang, again?" Katara asked, skeptical, her arms folded.
"Just in case," Sokka said.
Aang blinked at Sokka, worried. "But they're our friends now."
"Then why did you bring the boomerang?" Katara repeated.
Annoyed, Sokka looked at his sister. "I already told you."
"Looks like a good wedding gift to me," Toph said. "It's so cute of you."
"I'm not going to give it to them," Sokka growled, hugging his boomerang.
"Then why did you bring it?" Katara insisted.
"STOP ASKING, ALREADY!" he screamed. Aang and Katara looked quite unpleased. Toph only grinned.
"Sokka! You're embarrassing us! I knew I should've left you home," Katara whispered, and sighed again. "Even Momo is behaving better than you do!"
Momo looked up; he was playing silently with a couple of small rocks that Toph moved with earthbending on the floor.
"Come on, Sokka! Zuko is not that bad now and he even saved you a couple of times before, remember?" Aang said.
That statement only made the annoyance in Sokka's face increase even more.
Aang moved closer to Sokka, looking at him with The Big Begging Puppy Eyes of his. "Please?"
With a sigh, Sokka finally gave up. "Fine," he said, putting the boomerang under the table. "Better?"
The Avatar and Katara nodded, smiling. Momo grabbed the boomerang and began to play with it. Toph smiled when she sensed Iroh approaching them.
"Hello there: Avatar Aang, everyone," Iroh said, politely. "Are you all having a good time? Do you need anything?"
Katara smiled. "We're alright, thank you."
"I'm glad to hear that!" Iroh said, looking towards the table where Zuko and Jin were sitting. "You know, at first I wanted to offer plenty of tea and to all the guests to play Pai Sho, but my nephew didn't agree to the last part. What a shame."
"I'd say," Aang said.
"Well, I'll not take more time from you anymore. Feel free to come by at any time," Iroh said. "Though wait until the honeymoon is over, please," he added, winking.
"Of course we will come," Katara smiled. "We're at peace now."
Sokka only left go frustrating sigh; he sank on the chair just to feel a tiny little rock poking on his leg.
Ok, maybe the wedding wasn't half that bad, but he went to chase Momo to retrieve his boomerang. Just in case.