Authors Notes: I can't help it! Plot bunnies, GO AWAY! I said GO AWAY NOW! I HAVE TOO MUCH OTHER STUFF TO BE WORKING ON RIGHT NOW!
Alas, it never listens to me.
BTW, all of my OC aren't exactly OC's. They are based off of actual people in the show. I even got screen caps of all of them.
...at least Jee's canon. :)
Summary: After stopping by a pleasant little Earthbending town, Lt. Jee and several other soldiers decide to get their fortune told, only to find out that their own Prince Zuko is going to fall for a Waterbender! Now, it's a race against time (and fate) as the soldiers try to save their melancholy Prince and the Fire Nation as a whole by stopping the romance before it even happens. Can they do it? Find out! zutara; humor-not to be taken seriously
Chapter One: The Fortune
It sounded so silly coming from Prince Zuko.
"You want to get your fortunes told!" The brave soldier who dared to ask the surly Prince quivered in his boots. "I'll give you a fortune! How about you help me find the Avatar instead of goofing---"
"Prince Zuko," The Prince's pleasant Uncle said calmly, resting his hand on his nephew's shoulder. "We have not seen any sign of the Avatar for several weeks. The men are getting restless. Let them go have some fun while we are still on land."
Zuko scowled. "Fine, but don't take all day!" He growled loudly. And then, when the men began to leave the ship, he called after them, "Keep your eyes open for any sign of the Avatar! Any little clue could lead us to him."
There was a pause.
"And bring me back some soup!"
"What kind, sir?"
Another pause. The Prince seemed to be genuinely thinking it over.
"Yes sir. Will do, sir."
Again the teenage Prince had made it seem so silly, he had no belief in such things. Maybe they shouldn't have believed the stories the villagers told, but, Great Agni, they were tired of being so serious! Even if all the fortuneteller told them was worthless and untrue, it would at least give them something to laugh at.
That's what Jee kept telling himself over and over again as he followed the group who wanted to go see the fortuneteller. There were roughly twelve people; three were girls and the rest of them men, all of which were gossiping and frolicking amongst themselves peacefully. No one paid him any mind, which was good. The less embarrassment he got over this, the better---
"Oh, Lieutenant Jee! Do you want to have your fortune read as well?" The Lieutenant blushed.
"I was considering it, yes."
"Well good! You can come with us." The girl soldier---he recognized her as Hikari—grabbed his hand and pulled him towards the rest of the group. "We're splitting up into two groups, that way we don't overwhelm the fortuneteller and the other group can go get Prince Zuko's soup."
He nodded. "That makes sense." He looked over; trying to tell whom all was in his 'group'. There was Hikari, of course, and then there was Taro, a young and passionate Firebender who was extremely overzealous about his loyalty to the Fire Nation. It surprised Jee greatly to see him along side these fortune-seekers. Shen, well, he had been with Jee when he first found out of the Prince's fate during that awful storm. The heavy-set warrior was proud and playful, so it surprised Jee none to know that he was here. Then Jiro, the helmsmen…Well, that poor man probably was there for the same Jee was. To get a break from the Prince, a nice, strong drink, and to humor himself with whatever the fortuneteller told. Daisuke, a younger man who recently joined the Prince's crew after the Siege of the North, had come from a family of Fire Nation gypsies, and would naturally believe in things such as fortunetellers, seeing as his family did that for a living.
Jee also noticed (but wasn't very surprised at) that outside of himself, Jiro, and Shen, everyone else was young---in their middle-to-early twenties. Daisuke might've been older, but Jee doubted it.
"I didn't realize you believed in fortune-telling, Jee." Shen said with a bit of an awry smile.
"Shut up, Shen."
"I need a drink," Jiro said, walking beside Jee. "Really, really bad. Are we going to get drinks, then?"
"No, Jiro, we're getting our fortune's read." Shen said. "Then we'll get drinks."
"Lots of drinks, maybe?" The helmsman asked hopefully.
"We'll see about that after we talk to the fortuneteller, Jiro."
The group traveled in companionable silence for about three minutes. And that was being generous. It was probably actually more like two.
Maybe only one.
Okay, it was actually a half a minute. Forgive me for trying.
"Well, I know what I'll ask the fortuneteller when we see her."
"What's that, Jiro?"
The older helmsman gave Jee the wiliest of smiles. "I'll ask her where the best drinks are, of course."
Jee gave Jiro a hearty laugh. The not-quite closet alcoholic was always good for a laugh or two. How he's managed to stay in the military as long as he has always amazed Jee. Maybe it was because, no matter how drunk the helmsman was, he could steer a ship like no tomorrow.
"I can't believe you!" A haughty voice from behind the trio called out. "You're going to see a world-famous fortuneteller, and your going to ask her where the best drinks are!"
Ah, Taro. Such a young and fiery fire…er, bender. Reminded Jee a lot of Prince Zuko, actually. So very passionate and loyal and all.
Made Jee want to hit him.
"Of course. What else am I suppose to ask her? Who my soul mate is?" the helmsman gave a harsh laugh to his younger.
"I am." Hikari said quietly, catching up to where everyone else was walking. Daisuke laughed.
"You're a girl, Hikari, so you're allowed to ask such foolishness." He smiled kindly. "The rest of us ask such things and we'll get laughed at."
"I can't believe you! All of you!" Taro growled. "You're asking her for silly, frivolous things! You should be focusing on more important things!"
Shen rolled his eyes. "Like what, Taro?"
The boy gave a haughty glare. "The fate of the Fire Nation, of course! How could you be so selfish?"
Jiro smirked. "Well, now that I know that your going to ask her such an important question, I won't feel guilty about asking her where the best drinks were."
Jee let out a low chuckle. Trust Jiro to put the young Firebender in his place. Kids knew no respect these days.
"What are you going to ask about, Jee?" Daisuke asked curiously.
Jee frowned and paused, giving the question a lot of thought. "Probably about the fate of my family." He said, thinking back to his wife and two children he left behind back in the Fire Nation. He wanted to see them so badly. His oldest was probably full grown already; she had been eleven when he left five years ago. He never imagined he would be gone for so long.
Daisuke put a comforting hand on Jee's shoulder. "I'm sure she'll have good news for you, then."
Jee raised his eyebrow. "What makes you think that?"
Daisuke shrugged. "Gut feeling, I suppose."
The fortuneteller had been a good idea after all. Usually she saw people individually, but they were in something of a hurry, she saw them all at once. She seemed not to care that they were Fire Nation, which surprised Jee greatly. Usually people saw that they were from the enemy nation and ran screaming in the other direction. Those who didn't ended up fighting them. The ones who didn't run or fight usually treated them unkindly.
The fortuneteller did none of the above. Instead, she welcomed them into her home, treating them as she would any other 'customer'. A young girl with unruly pigtails gave them tea, though extremely nervously. She seemed to be afraid of them. ("Can't say I blame her," Taro said snootily. "I'd be afraid of us, too.")
She did Hikari's fortune first.
"I sense that the man you'll marry will be very lucky."
Hikari blushed. "Because he married me?"
The fortuneteller, Aunt Wu, they called her, frowned. "No, he's just lucky. Everything about him is lucky. After you marry him, he'll run into a very risky business deal. Encourage him to take it—you'll both be glad you did."
"Encourage him to take it… Okay, I got that."
Aunt Wu traced Hikari's palm silently, concentrating on whatever it was the fortuneteller needed to in order to 'see' the future.
"You are a warrior, child." Hikari nodded. "I can see five beautiful daughters who take after you in that respect. They will bring the same sort of honor and glory to the Fire Nation as you do."
Hikari smiled proudly. "What else do I need to know?"
Aunt Wu only told her three words before doing the next fortune. "Don't be afraid." She smiled. "Next."
Jiro was next.
"The best drinking to be found anywhere," The woman said kindly. "Is in the Southern Water Tribe. An old woman named Kana makes the best damn Sake you'll ever try."
Jiro grinned. "Got anything a bit more local?"
The fortuneteller returned the smile before standing up. She walked over to a hidden cabinet in the far corner of the room, pulled something out of it, and walked towards Jiro again.
"My own homemade blend. I've yet to perfect it, but it's better than whatever swill you'll get at the pub down the road."
"That's mighty kind of you, milady." He said, taking a large swig of the homemade liquor. "I thank you."
"I also advise not trying their soup. Egg-drop especially. Made me sick to my stomach last time I tried it."
"I'll remember that," Jiro said, clearly intent on not as he took another large drink out of the bottle. At this rate, he would have the whole thing done before the others got done.
She did Shen next.
Almost as soon as she touched his palm, she began to wince. Even still, she traced along his hand anyway, wincing and worming all while she did this.
"I'm sorry to say that your wife has left you." Aunt Wu said sadly. Shen did not look surprised.
"I figured that. She wouldn't stay with me when I was there twenty-four seven, I didn't expect her to stay when I wasn't." Even if he was expecting it, he held a sorrowful look on his face. Jee was tempted to place his hand on his shoulder for his old friend, but thought better of it.
"Anyway, when you return home finally, you open a restaurant with your sister. It does well for a while, until certain…things are revealed."
"What sort of things!" Shen begged.
The fortuneteller squirmed. "Oh, how do I put this tactfully? You see, uh…"
"Tell me!" Shen screamed.
Aunt Wu blushed. "Your wife left you for your sister."
Shen's face fell. Jiro, as untactful and drunk as ever, busted out laughing.
"Hehe…hic, that might not be a bad thing, Shen…Your sister's cute and your wife ain't bad looking either…hic…" Jiro joked.
"Jiro…" Jee tried to warn him.
"If he don't wanna watch'm, I do!" He hiccupped loudly at the end, taking one of the last few swigs out of the drink the fortuneteller gave him.
Shen just buried his head in his hands. "What else?"
"You go and stay with your sister's former husband. You work on the pirate ship with him. It's, uh, doesn't ever improve."
Shen said nothing.
Aunt Wu put her hand on his shoulder. "I'm sorry, dear."
Finally, it was Jee's turn.
"I want to know about my family. How are they? I haven't seen them in forever…"
"I know you haven't, dear. Don't worry, you'll see them before summer's end." Aunt Wu said quietly, grazing over his palm like she had for the others. "Your daughter has blossomed into a beautiful young woman. She's sixteen now, correct?" Jee nodded. "Right at marrying age, too. She won't meet her love until you come home, though, if that relaxes your nerves at all."
Jee nodded. It did.
"I can't say that you'll care much for your son-in-law, but I can scarcely think of a father who has. You'll get over it, I think." She continued to study his palm carefully. "I see a few grandchildren in the near future, Jee, so be prepared."
He laughed. He waited his entire life for grandbabies. He could wait a little while longer.
"Your son has grown into a strong young man, just like his father. He'll join in the military just like you, but by that time your nation will no longer be at war, so you have nothing to worry about. He'll become the Fire Lord's top guard and chief of security."
Jee beamed with pride. The fortuneteller returned the smile.
"You're going to have a good life after this, Jee. I can feel it."
He certainly hoped she was right.
Daisuke went after him.
"Your family is doing fine, young bender." She said quietly. "So you need not to worry about them. Your sister is still ill, but she will get better with time."
Daisuke nodded. Jee looked at him, softly. He had not known Daisuke had a sister, much less one who was ill. Apparently that was something that had worried the soldier.
"You'll marry before the summer's end, to someone you already know." There was a mischievous twinkle in the fortuneteller's eyes. "I won't say who…because I think you already know who."
Judging by the feverish blush on Daisuke's face, Jee would be inclined to agree.
"How will I know when the time is right?" He stuttered.
She patted his hand softly. "You'll know, I promise."
He stood up suddenly, bowing before the fortuneteller kindly before turning back to his seat on the cushion.
Aunt Wu looked at him curiously. "Is that all you want to know?"
Daisuke nodded. "Yeah, that'll be fine. It was the only thing that worried me, and I'm really big on surprises."
She laughed. "That you are, my dear, that you are."
Taro went last.
"My question," He began slowly, unsure of how to say it. "Doesn't have to do with my future individually, though now that I've heard what you've said I don't wonder if perhaps it should." He said slowly, eyes darting from Hikari to Jee in wonder.
"My question," he mumbled, suddenly shy about whatever he was going to ask. "is not about me, but the fate of the nation of which I serve proudly. Will we win this war? What's going to happen? Can you tell?"
Every pair of eyes in the small room was glued onto the fortuneteller, all with a mix of awe and curiosity as they remember what the fortuneteller each told them. They wondered what she would say, what she would do when faced with such an important question.
She placed a quiet hand on Taro as she continued in her fit of giggles. "Jee, look after this boy, will you? He needs your guidance, bad." She waited for Jee to nod before she continued to smirk towards the young soldier. "Do you really want to know?"
Taro nodded. "More than anything."
"Your war will end before the comet comes," she spoke slowly. "But the Fire Nation will neither win nor lose. The Avatar, master of the four elements, alongside with the most unlikely of allies, will triumph over the Fire Lord and his daughter.
"The Prince you serve under now will reclaim his birthright as the last living heir to the Fire Nation Royal Family," She paused, opening her eyes to gaze around the room. "Tell me, is your Prince a powerful bender?"
The six people in the room looked from one another, each wondering where she was going with this. "Yeah, for his age. But he's nothing compared to his sister. Princess Zula's a prodigy." Daisuke answered quietly.
"Which makes him all the more powerful in the long run," The fortuneteller mumbled. "He will be the first Fire Lord in history to take a bender from another Nation as his wife that wasn't arranged."
"Really?" Hikari said quietly. "I always thought the Earthbender women looked a lot like Fire Nation girls. I guess that's not really surprising."
"Yeah," Shen said kindly, thinking to himself. "It'll be kinda nice having an earthbender woman on the throne."
"They got nice legs." Jiro hiccupped.
Aunt Wu looked at them like they were crazy for a moment before correcting them on their error. "My dears, your Prince isn't going to marry an earthbender." She said with a smile. "He's going to marry a waterbender."
"Ya know, I almost believed everything she said. Just for a moment, you know," Shen said heartily as they left, laughing as the walked back to the ship. "But she really screwed herself over when she said that Prince Zuko was going to marry a waterbender."
Jee snorted loudly. "I know! Imagine, our own Prince with a-a-a waterbender!" He said, choking on his own laughter.
"I don't know, I think it would be sweet." Hikari said. "Like Romeo and Juliet or something." The men continued to laugh despite what the young girl had said.
Taro scowled. "I can't believe we wasted our entire afternoon listening to that nonsense!"
Daisuke was the only one not laughing. "Guys, what if she was telling the truth?" He raised an eyebrow curiously as the others stopped to look at him. "What if Prince Zuko does marry a waterbender?"
"That ain't gonna happen, hic." Jiro slurred.
"Our entire country would go into poverty with a foolish waterbender on the throne." Shen said proudly. "Waterbenders know nothing of Fire Nation politics."
Taro smirked. "They know even less of their own." That earned a few chuckles all around.
"And if he did," Jee began. "I'd jack slap that boy myself. He has more sense than that."
But Daisuke still wasn't moved. "But what if he did? What if he…" He stretched, trying to think of the correct words. "What if he fell in love or something?"
Everyone stared at Daisuke for a moment before bursting out in loud laughter. Even Hikari was laughing at him. He felt his face go crimson at the thought, but he still couldn't shake the fact that what Aunt Wu told them was true.
"Then I'd feel sorry for the poor girl." Shen chuckled. "Imagine having Prince Zuko as a husband! Oh, the poor girl!"
"Hey!" A burry voice called out from in front of them. They immediately noticed it was one of there own, running up to them to tell them something.
"Hey Miko." Jee said calmly, welcoming the other soldier back. Miko took off his helmet when he greeted the Lieutenant.
Miko was smirking. "Guess what happened while you guys were gone getting your fortune's read?" Miko was practically bouncing with excitement.
"Prince Zuko caught the Avatar?" Jee asked hopefully.
Miko shook his head no. "But you're close, though." He said proudly. "He caught one of the Avatar's companions to use as bait."
"Really?" Hikari asked. "Which one?"
"The waterbender girl, of course."
The sexton stopped in their tracks, each one gazing at the other in wonderment.
"It can't be," Taro said finally. "There is no way it could possibly be…" Even still, he could not find it within himself to say it.
"I told you!" Daisuke yelled. "I told you! She's right! The fortuneteller was right! Prince Zuko has kidnapped this water-witch and---"
"Calm down, Daisuke." Jee tried to stop Daisuke.
"HE'S GOING TO FALL IN LOVE WITH HER!" Daisuke yelled.
Hikari sat down on a fallen tree. Jiro sat next to her, for once, not quite as drunk as before.
"You don't know that," Shen said quietly. "He's just kidnapped her. That doesn't mean anything."
"Yes it does!" Daisuke screamed. "Oh, Great Agni, we're all going to die, aren't we?"
There was an unearthly glow in Jee's eyes at that moment. "Not unless we stop it from happening."
"What do you mean, Jee?" Hikari asked softly.
"I mean," He started. "If what Aunt Wu said is true, then Prince Zuko is going to fall in love with this water-witch, isn't he?" The group nodded. "Well then, all we have to do is stop him from doing that."
"How are we going to do that?" Taro asked.
"Same way you break up any romance before it happens," Jee answered. "You don't let them be alone together, ever. You talk to them to convince the other how awful the other is. You make it seem like they've insulted each other. You know the drill."
"So what does that make us?" Hikari asked quietly. " 'Un'-matchmakers?"
"I think so," Jee said quietly, hoping this was going to work.