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November 4, 2011
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This is chapter 2 ofby Avatarloki.
Fire Lord Zuko
Zuko served more tea to a table of customers. He knew his destiny, but he didn't expect Mai's to be cut so short. He had pictured a life with their destiny's intertwined forever. Now, he must once again rediscover his.
"Nephew, I have been doing some thinking. You have been such a help, and business has been picking up. When you go back home, you will be missed greatly."
"What is your thought, Uncle?"
Iroh smiled. "I am going to hire another tea server." He seemed very proud of himself.
Zuko's face did not change. "That is a nice idea, Uncle."
"Would you like to help choose my new tea server? You will need practice, because as Fire Lord, it is very important to always hire the perfect people to handle your tea."
"I will help you, Uncle." Zuko continued to go around the tables, serving tea.
Iroh followed Zuko. "The first candidates for my new tea server are coming tomorrow. You need to get a good night's rest so you can get up early in the morning. You have a long day ahead of you!"
"We have been through twenty-three tea servers, and none of them are worthy to serve my tea!" Iroh put his cup of tea down on the table.
"Uncle, almost ALL of them were fine. You need to choose one."
"No! My tea is only to be served by the best tea servers in Ba Sing Se."
Zuko groaned. Tea was not this important.
"Nephew, there is one more person coming to be interviewed, a young girl from the Lower Ring. I have to go make more tea. The customers are coming." Iroh left.
Zuko waited, thinking that the girl coming was going to be hired because he was tired of his uncle being so picky. He let out a sigh and continued sitting. After a few moments, he saw, through the window, the girl coming down the street. He heard her being welcomed below, and sat up, expecting her arrival.
Zuko spun around, seeing who it was. "Jin!" He let out, clearly surprised.
"Lee, I can't believe you are back!" Jin gave Zuko a hug. "How have you been?"
"Um, well, I should let you know that Lee, well, that isn't my name."
"Oh? Well, what is it?" Jin sat down to the table across from Zuko. She put her elbows on the table and her chin in her hands, looking at Zuko inquisitively.
Jin gasped. She put her hands down. "Like, FIRE LORD Zuko?"
Zuko nodded. Jin looked down, processing what he had just said. After a few moments of contemplation, she looked up with a start. "So THAT'S how the lanterns were lit that night! That was so sweet of you, risking you identity as a Firebender for me." She smiled at Zuko.
Zuko was a little taken aback. "You aren't angry with me?"
"Why would I be angry? I have heard about your family, at least your father and sister. I would have run from them also." Jin smiled again.
Zuko smiled back. "I am sorry for lying to you. I never wanted to hurt you."
Jin laughed. "It's okay. But, what about that knife thrower from the circus? Well, she wasn't really from the circus, was she?" Zuko now shook his head. "She was your..." Zuko nodded, cutting Jin off. She looked down, slightly embarrassed.
"We were married."
"Oh?" Jin cocked her head at Zuko. "You were?" Zuko looked down, cringing. "Oh, Zuko," Jin reached over and gave him a hug.
"Thank you, Jin."
"I don't know exactly how you feel, but the man I was engaged to just ran off with another girl. I loved him, and now he is gone." Jin got the same look on her face that Zuko had on his.
"Look at the positive, Jin," Zuko comforted.
"I try, but it is so hard. At least with you, you know your wife died loving you."
Zuko wiped a tear from his cheek. Jin did the same. The two sat, not saying anything for a few moments. Then Zuko grabbed Jin's hand. "I know that we are too hurt to get into anything with each other, but, as friends, would you like to go get noodles tonight?"
Jin looked surprised, but she nodded. "Just as friends," she confirmed. "For now." They both smiled. Jin rose to her feet. "It was nice to see you again... Zuko." She turned to go.
When she was at the door, Zuko stood up. "Oh!" Jin turned around.
Zuko smiled. "You're hired."
"So, you're the Fire Lord?" Jin asked Zuko as they sat down at the noodle shop. She was trying to get everything straight, as it was all mostly a shock to her.
"Not a juggler?"
"So, why are you here then?"
"I am getting away from what happened at home."
"I wish I could," Jin sighed.
Without thinking, Zuko said, "Why don't you come to the Fire Nation?"
Jin's head darted up. "The Fire Nation?"
"Or anywhere really," Zuko caught himself.
"The Fire Nation? I am a poor Earth Kingdom girl. And here is the Fire Lord, asking ME to go to the Fire Nation with him!"
Zuko wished he was a Waterbender so he could blink his blush away. He rubbed the back of his neck. "Um, yes."
"Yes!" Jin jumped up, leaning over the table to give Zuko a hug. He stayed stiff, evidently embarrassed. "Oh my! I have to tell my parents! They always wanted me to travel!" Jin stayed standing, not knowing what to do. Zuko nodded at her chair. "Oh! Right!" She sat.
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