Note from the Author: Hello Zutara fans! I am writing this really late. I felt inspired to write this because my other Zatara fanfic 'Fire Fountain Academy' and it's sequel are so near and dear since a lot of people liked it. I wrote those several years ago and I would like to think my writing has improved since then. I hope you enjoy!
Disclaimer: I own nothing
Zuko moaned to himself as his servants tried once more to get his bun right on top of his head. He hated getting ready early in the morning. He hated doing anything early in the morning really. He also didn't see the point in what he was doing. Why did he need to meet the new servants? It's not like he planned on getting to know them or their names. They were there to do work and nothing more. Azula taunted them more than anything.
"Are you almost done?" he snapped at one of his servants just as they placed the royal prince insignia crown on his head.
"Y- yes sir", the servant stuttered. Him and the other two bowed and walked away slowly. Zuko walked out of his room and quickly shut the doors behind him. Stalking down the hallway, past paintings of Firelords before his time and other royal family members that adjourned the walls. He couldn't wait for the day his and Mai's painting hung from the same wall. Him as Firelord and her as Firelady. Not that he was particularly thrilled at him marrying her, but she was the most logical choice. If only she ever showed any kind of emotion ever. He couldn't imagine their love life would be very eventful.
"Hello Zuzu", his sister came up behind him to walk next to him," Are you ready to meet our new play things?"
"Don't call me that Azula", Zuko told her," They're not play things. They are here to do work. I don't even know why we have to meet them anyways."
"You would think as a firebender you would rise with the sun", Azula observed," Not be miserable and cranky."
"You would also think that a princess would know her place speaking to the future Firelord, but there is a first for many things I suppose", Zuko countered. Azula stopped and glared at his fleeting back as he kept walking.
Zuko could not stand his sister. She was the bane of his existence. Constantly out to torture him and provoke him at the most inconvenient times. He couldn't recall a single time she had ever been like a sister to him or at all affectionate. One would think they weren't even related with how they acted. He could feel his scar on the side of his face heating up from the tension rising in his face. He had to calm down. He couldn't allow his new servants to see him unraveling about his own sister.
He opened the doors to the main hall where Azula appeared next to him, back to being composed the way she should be.
"Your majesties", the head of servants walked up to them, bowing," If I may introduce the new staff."
"You may", Zuko ordered and walked behind him towards a line of 10 people. Zuko and Azula stood in front of the first one. A man with shaggy brown hair, a tooth missing, and scraggly looking eyebrows.
"This is Lee", they were told from the head," He comes from Ba Sing Se. He will be a gardener on the grounds."
The head introduced them all and where they were from and Zuko could not care at all. He just nodded when needed and moved onto the next one. There 6 men total and 4 women. When they got to the last one Zuko was about ready to fire blast his head off.
"And this is Katara", the head introduced the last girl standing in line," She comes from the Southern Water Tribe."
This piqued Zuko's interest. He looked at the girl who wasn't a woman at all, but a teenage girl from what it looked like. She couldn't be older than 16. She was shorter than him by several inches and her long brown hair was hanging in front of her face that was bent down. She wore torn leather clothing, but had a pendant choker around her neck.
"The Southern Water Tribe?" Azula spoke first," She wouldn't happen to be a waterbender? Because you know those people are illegal to exist and therefore are extinct."
"No, she isn't", the head shook his head frantically," I assure you she is just a peasant girl. She was found on a dingy boat trying to out run one of our nations boats."
Zuko almost smirked at the idea of this girl trying to out sale one of his nation's fleets on a little paddle boat. He almost felt was admiration for it.
"Look up peasant", Azula ordered. She brought her head up slowly and Zuko connected eyes with someone for the first time in the whole lineup. Her eyes were a crystal, clear blue. Like the most purest ocean water you could ever see. He almost felt like he could see waves moving in her eyes. They were surrounded by thick, black eyelashes that looked wet from tears. Her skin was a tan hue that he didn't normally see compared to his and his families paler complexion.
"What are you here to do?" Azula stepped in front of the girl's view, knocking Zuko out of his hypnotism. The girl didn't answer her and Azula got closer to her face," Don't make me repeat myself peasant."
"Katara is here to help clean bedrooms and tend as a personal assistant if needed", the head spoke up for her.
"I don't want her touching my things", Azula snuffed up her nose at her and walked away.
"Prince Zuko, do you approve the new servants?" the head asked, wringing his hands nervously.
"Hm- What?" Zuko looked away from Katara back to the head," Yes. Yes, I do. Make sure you get them all proper clothes, show them to their quarters, feed them, and get them to work as soon as possible."
"Yes, sir", the head nodded," Thank you. Come along", he started walking towards a door in the corner of the room. Everyone followed single file with Katara in the back.
"Peasant girl, a word?" Zuko called after her and she stayed back. Her head still hanging low.
"Why did you think you could out run a fire nation battle ship?" he asked. He had to know what was possibly going through the girl's head. Surely she knew she would never get away. She didn't answer him, her fists clenched to her sides.
"I will not ask again", Zuko said, but not as menacing as Azula said it before. She brought her head up and Zuko felt hypnotized by her eyes again.
"Because I didn't want to end up here", she told him in a raspy voice and walked away to catch up with the rest of the servants. He didn't call after her again, but turned back towards his quarters.
She didn't want to end up here.
No one would ever dare such a thing, especially to the royal family. To say you didn't want to end up here is one of the greatest insults you could ever say to someone. If his father or sister had heard her say that, she might not be alive another day.
She didn't want to end up here.
He should be insulted, but he wasn't. He didn't know why he wasn't either or what this feeling in him was. Curiosity? The girl was intriguing. She felt different. When he stared into her eyes it was like coming up from the water for a breath of fresh air. Everyday was the same, every person was the same. No one dared defy him or get on his bad side. This girl was new. She was chaos in his mundane life and he already wanted to be near her again.
He walked into his room and shut the door quickly before locking it. He laid down on his freshly made bed and stared up at the ceiling thinking of ocean waves and eyes that he wanted to drown in.
I hope you enjoyed. It wasn't too long, but it's also almost 1am lol. I'll upload soon!