A/N: Okay, I wrote this before "Secret of the Fire Nation" when there was all this hype about who Zuko's date was gonna be. Well, in my little world, I was thinking about what Zuko and Iroh would do for jobs. But I kind of mended them all together after I saw the sneak peek of the "Secret of the Fire Nation." Enjoy!
The sun beats down on him, ever vigilant in its quest to torture him so. He wipes his sweaty brow. He is so tired from the hard labor he is doing but he cannot stop; they day has scarcely begun. Those who pass pay him no mind. No one ever notices a crop picker. But the cabbages do not pick themselves and he needs every bit of money he can get. He is a tired refugee but he has more than himself to look after. His tea-loving uncle needs his help.
The sun burns his pale skin. He swears he will have a tan line from his hat at the end of the week. But by the time the sunburn heals and turns tan on his day off, he will need to go back to work. It will be a cruel cycle and he is not happy about it.
Just then, a small family walks by. Normally, he wouldn't have looked up, but he does now. He's glad he did. The woman in green is carrying a small bundle of blankets. The blankets squeal. A baby. The woman is carrying a baby. A man walks behind the woman, his smile and dark beard familiar. Memories wash over the cabbage picker like a wave. He's seen that couple before, back before the woman had her baby. He doesn't know why, but the baby gives him reassurance.
He keeps the scarred side of his face out of plain view as he watches them pass. The family seems so happy, even the baby's older sister who is trailing behind with a smile on her face. The cabbage-picker lets a smile of his own slide over his face. He is glad the family made it to Ba Sing Se as well but he is soon sad. Sometimes he wonders if he will ever have a family like that.
And the girl turns. And she sees him. And she stops and waves. She stops and waves at a worthless cabbage-picker like himself. He smiles and returns the wave. She stands there for a moment before dashing after her happy family. He sighs and continues down the row.
The heat seems thicker.
A/N: Okay, just a little one shot I made while I was experimenting with different points of view and tenses. It views my thoughts before "Secret of the Fire Nation" and who I thought Zuko's date would be.