Disclaimer: Avatar is not, nor will it ever be, mine.

Rating: PG

Spoilers: Post-series.

Pairing: Mai/Earth King (omg Random)

Constructive criticism is always appreciated.

So sometimes I think too much and stuff like this happens:

She is bored, but what else is new. Even her boredom bores her - so repetitive, so redundant. She is bored.

Zuko had hoped that the trip would provide some excitement for her. The ride in the balloon, the change in color scheme, the increased chance of assassination in a foreign land – theses things, among others, he had hoped would liven her up a bit – liven them up.

But no. It's all the same. People may wear green here instead red, but they're all the same. Politicians smile and shake hands and lie, lie, lie, everywhere you go; doesn't matter what they're wearing.

It's the world she was bred, born, trained for. The rules and regulations and tea serving lessons and sit up straight Mai no good husband wants a wife with bad posture and quiet and etiquette lessons and boredom she's ate, slept, drank, breathed for nearly all her life – save those few blissfully dangerous and dirty weeks in prison.

But then eventually, she learned prison had it's own sort of politics and false bravado and all the rest of the things that made her sigh, roll her eyes, and realize that everyone was fake and uninteresting – everyone had an agenda and a strategy and it was all-

"Miss Mai? Did you hear me?"

Oh yes that's right, she's at a party – it's the bear's birthday and she's sitting next to the proud owner of the guest of honor. Wonderful.

She hasn't the energy to fake interest so she simply turns her blank expression to the bespectacled monarch.

"No. I didn't."

"Oh, well, I was just wondering if you'd met Bosco yet, you know formally."

She blinks.

"No. I haven't formally met your pet bear yet."

"Oh then I'll introduce you!"

He grins like a loon as he leads her (quite unwillingly) over to the big, furry creature devouring half of the banquet. And while she's sure that his behavior will seem utterly unexciting soon enough, for the first time in a long time Mai feels something like bewilderment and is (if only for a few seconds) intrigued by the Earth King's completely open, dopey, honest smile.