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A Nice, Calming Coup of Tea

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“Ah, your lunch break is coming up. Perhaps you should clean yourself up?”

“I’m fine, Uncle. She knows me like this and it’d be weird to dress up on our second date.”

“Oh ho, so it is a date!”

“Shut up, Uncle!” the waiter storms off to change into something more presentable, rather than something intended to get dirty.

His uncle chuckles, tapping his foot twice, followed by a harder stomp, prompting a certain badgermole to sprout up out of the ground.

“Will you be able to follow them?”

“’Course. I could track a pair of squirrel-mice if I get their footprint.”

“Excellent. He never told me where he was going. His lady friend will be here shortly.”

“I’d better get down below, then. Later!”

She disappeared as stomping footsteps started coming down the steps.

“Uncle, I’m leaving! Don’t ask questions!”

“Of course, Nephew. Make sure you enjoy yourself!”

“I will,” he says with a soft grin, the kind which only started showing up yesterday.

“I’ll see you later, Uncle.”

“Don’t want to keep a young lady waiting!” He says to his nephew’s retreating back.

Upon reaching the back alley, Zuko started looking around the hiding spots he’d mapped out long ago.

“Boo!” Azula whispered in his ear as she landed on his back after jumping off the roof.

“Ahh! Az-Qing!”

“What? I couldn’t very well let anyone see me here, could I?”

“Well, get off of me so we can be on our way.”

“Hmm, no. I quite like it up here.”

*sigh* “Fine,” he says, resigned to having to tolerate his little sister’s antics.

***

“So, what is this stuff?”

“It’s from the Taku region, they call it ‘tofu’.”

“It looks and tastes like fake meat.”

“Well, they had enough traffic from the Air Nomads that they would’ve wanted to find a compromise.”

“Well, at least they know how to make it spicy enough.”

“Yeah.”

“Want to walk around?”

“Why would I want to waste time in the city when I have business in the palace?”

“So you can spend more time with me?” he asks with an exaggeratedly dumb grin.

That got a laugh out of her. “Oh, well, if you insist on making this a real date, then I suppose I would spend more time with you, lover.”

Blushing, “Uh, yeah. *ahem* Shall we?” he asks, holding out his arm.

“We shall,” as she puts her own arm through his, resting her head on his shoulder.

Meanwhile, a certain spy grins and returns to base to report to her handler. Too bad she didn’t stick around to listen to what the young couple talked about, or she could’ve prevented utter disaster.

***

“Any updates on that business?”

“The Avatar has left with the Water Tribe boy. The waterbender is holed up in Long Feng’s office, ripping it apart for anything of significance. That’s probably the only reason why we haven’t been tossed out already.”

“Long Feng’s the Dai Li leader, isn’t he?”

“He was, until the Avatar and his hangers-on informed the King that there’s a war on.”

“You’d better keep your voice down about what happens outside the walls. I watched a man get dragged off for shouting about it. Never saw him again.”

“Hm. Interesting. Anyway, he’s still got loyalists that follow his commands from the prison cell.”

“Naturally. That sounds like a power vacuum. How are you doing filling it?”

“I’ve managed to sway a handful of agents so far, but about half of them are still loyal to him and the rest simply follow the King around like lost turtleducks.”

“Has Long Feng tried to sue for an alliance?”

“Not yet. He probably will soon, especially since Mai and Ty Lee have been referring to me by name when there’s ‘nobody listening’.”

“Mai and Ty Lee are here?”

“Who else would I take with me?”

“Point.”

“Anyway, you keep sidetracking me.”

“Sorry.”

“The last member of the Avatar’s little group is a blind earthbender that apparently uses her feet to sense vibrations in the earth and can take on 5 Dai Li agents with little trouble.”

“Will she be a problem?”

“Maybe. If I can convince Long Feng to grant me control over his forces, they should be enough to overwhelm her, probably the waterbender, too.”

“I wouldn’t recommend underestimating her. Tricks don’t work on her twice, and she tends to get a lot more powerful with time.”

This gets Azula to raise her head to look at him. “Admiring another girl while on a date, Zuzu?”

“No. Just trying to look out for my girlfriend,” he says teasingly, bringing his face close to hers.

“You’re sweet,” she chuckles with a light lip-kiss.

After a short PDA, sitting them down at a fountain, he asks “So, you never told me how you got in.”

“Oh, yes. I found some Kyoshi Warriors to beat up and took their identity,” she responds, putting their foreheads together.

“Facepaint and fans?”

“Yup. No one suspected a thing and the King even outlined the entire plan for the eclipse.”

“Oh. Wait, are they expecting it to take us by surprise?”

“I hope not. Otherwise I will have vastly overestimated the mental capacities of the locals.”

“The ones you think are bumbling primates?”

“The very same.”

“Come on, I’ve got something to show you. Climb on.”

“On what? You don’t intend to carry me, do you?”

“Not if your roof-running skills have improved. Have they?”

She silently mounts her brother…not that way, yet. Calm down.

Upon securing her to his back, he leaps up onto a nearby roof and runs for a few minutes, finding himself enjoying the experience more than he thought. The sensation of a female pressed up against his back probably had a lot to do with it. If he let himself, he’d probably find part of himself horrified at the concept of finding enjoyment in his own sister’s body, but it’s a part that was slowly getting silenced.

“Isn’t this a good spot?”

“It is a rather nice view.”

“Yeah, it is,” he replied, looking down at where she was sitting, practically lying on him. “It’s best when the sun is just below the horizon.”

“I’d like to see that,” she said, wrapping her brothers arms tighter around herself. The fact that it also pressed his arms more firmly against her breasts was a complete coincidence, of course.

“I love you, Zuzu,” she whispered, closing her eyes to bask in the sensation of being enveloped in her beloved’s arms.

“I love you, too, Lala,” he replied, pulling her closer so he could position his mouth next to her ear.

With a sigh, he closed his eyes as well, basking in the sensation of having his beloved in his arms.

***

“Miss? Miss, wake up.”

Azula found herself struggling to open her eyes, but when she did, it was to a pair of green eyes beneath a conical hat, a set she recognized as belonging to one of her Dai Di.

She then jerked awake, startling Zuko into wakefulness, and finding a nearly dark Ba Sing Se around them.

“Dismissed,” she urgently whispered to the agent, who left with a bow. “Zuzu, we weren’t supposed to stay out this late!”

“No, we weren’t,” he replied, standing up and smoothing down his hair. “Will this set you back?”

After a moment of thought, “Not particularly. In fact, this might be better. If he thinks he can use you as blackmail against me, then he’ll be even more willing to give me control, since he thinks he can control me!”

“Well, we’d better get back.”

“Yes. Now turn around so I can climb on.”

Complying, he remarked “I wonder what I’ll tell Uncle.”

“The truth. You took me to lunch, we went for a walk, you took me sightseeing, lost track of time-“ Her stomach growled. “Should we have dinner instead of going straight back?”

“There’s a noodle place nearby. Let’s go.”

After the most bland noodles they had ever choked down, “Let’s never go here again.”

“Agreed. Hey, how about something sweet for dessert?”

“Anything to wash out the taste, or utter lack thereof.”

“Come on,” he said, grabbing her hand and dragging her to a stall where a waterbender was handing out frozen balls of flavored cream.

***

“You can find your way back from the shop?” he asked, a couple blocks away from it.

“Naturally. I did find my way here, after all.”

“Right,” he said, stopping and looking her in the eyes. “Azula, I had fun today. It was probably the best day I’ve had since…I can’t remember when.”

“I did, too. This is the most relaxed I’ve been that I can remember,” she replied with a smile.

“See you tomorrow?” he asked with a smile, his face naturally moving closer to hers.

“Wouldn’t miss it,” she replied, matching him.

And with that, the prince and princess of the Fire Nation shared a deep, intimate kiss under the starlit sky of Ba Sing Se.

***

When he heard the door finally open, Iroh knew his nephew had had a better afternoon than any he could’ve provided. With one look at his face, the wondrous expression and swollen lips, all he said was “Go to bed, nephew. Sweet dreams.”

“Goodnight Uncle. I’d rather the day last longer, though.”

His uncle chuckles “Naturally, but if moments weren’t fleeting, we wouldn’t value them as much.”

Zuko smiles. “Goodnight,” and goes up the stairs.