Gentleness of the Supported Lotus
An Avatar: The Last Airbender tale by GraysonPaladin
Disclaimer: I GP do not own the rights to AtLA.
Summary: Five years have passed since the armistice was signed ending Sozin's War and finally a full treaty is ready to end the war once and for all. There's a catch however, the monarchs of Earth and Fire must marry a commoner and noble of the other nation to seal the deal.
Warnings: This will be a Zuko/Multi paring story with Jin and Toph, and no, I won't be added Katara so don't ask ~GP
Chapter One: What a minute, Marriage?
Five years have passed since the Third Elemental War, more commonly known as Sozin's War, ended with an armistice being signed between the Fire Nation and Earth Kingdom. Under the armistice both nations had to cease fighting, and the Fire Nation had to retreat to twenty degrees east of the Prime Meridian. During this lull Fire Lord Zuko of the Fire Nation and King Kuei of the Earth Kingdom started the arduous work of rebuilding their nations and shifting their economies to the era of peace. The process was long and hard with a few minor skirmishes along the line, and insurrections in the Fire Nation against the Fire Lord's rule. Yet after five years a true treaty is ready to finally end the war, and usher in a new era of peace.
Dear Fire Lord Zuko,
The final preparations for the peace treaty between our two nations are nearly complete thanks to your uncle, Lord Iroh. There is however a matter that needs to be discussed; a new amendment has been added to the treaty, one that will affect you directly, Your Majesty. It has been proposed that in order to cement these new relations between the Fire Nation and Earth Kingdom is for you to take an Earth Kingdom bride. Your Uncle did raise his objections to the amendment, not because of the marriage, but because how many brides you will be taking and who the brides will be. It was passed that you would take two wives, one a noble and the other a commoner, this is repay what the Fire Nation has done to both classes. I will be made to the same thing Zuko, so you are not alone in this. That being said your Uncle did oppose the clause but pushed that he and Lord Bei Fong will choose your brides, as they will for mine. I know that this must be a shock but please accept the treaty, our nations need this more than ever.
Kuei, the 52nd Earth King of Ba Sing Se
Zuko set the letter down and suppressed a groan, a marriage between him and two women. He is not sure how he can handle this, his only major relationship ended a month ago when Mai left in the middle of the night and left her betrothal hair piece on their pillow. She was with him since the end of the war over five years ago, and she just left without a word. Mai leaving hurt him greatly, she was his fiancée, his friend and confidant, now he felt like she did when he left to join the Avatar. And now he is going to be thrust into a new engagement without warning.
At least Uncle will be helping; he thought to himself, all I can hope is that Uncle will pick women that I can tolerate. He then shudders at his uncle acting as a matchmaker.
Upper Ring, Ba Sing Se, Earth Kingdom
Yesterday Jin was surprised when she received a coupon a tea shop in the Upper Ring. Apparently the manager of the Jasmine Dragon wanted to reward her for her actions as part of the Ba Sing Se Resistance and helping with overthrow of the Fire Nation's occupation of the city. The thought did occur to the green eyed woman as to why they are thanking her now after five year since the liberation. With her mind running around in circles and coupon clutched in her hand, Jin leader of the Ba Sing Se Resistance walks into the elegant tea house. Inside her thoughts cleared as she smells the aroma of many verities of tea being brewed and the sight of a man she hasn't seen since the Fire Nation conquest of the city.
"MUSHI," she yelled as she dashed over to hug the old man.
Iroh smiled as he embraced the young woman, "ah young Jin it is good to see you again."
Jin smiles and pulls away, "and you too Mushi." She starts to look around; the shop is mostly empty with only another young woman relaxing at a far table with her earth stained feet up on the table. "Mushi where's Lee?"
Iroh saw in her eyes that she is genuinely wondering about his nephew, "well Jin it's com…"
The young woman cuts him off, "let me guess, it's complicated," she said with a frown.
The old firebender sighs, "yes it is Jin. But I will explain everything to you right now."
He leads her to the occupied table; the other woman pulls her feet off the table as they approach. Jin took a seat and Iroh left to fetch some tea. The other woman turned her head to Jin and coughed to get her attention. The green eyed young woman faced to other person and saw only foggy emerald eyes set in alabaster skin.
"So you must be the infamous Jin, Leader of the Ba Sing Se Resistance," the other woman said in a gruff yet elegant voice.
"Yes I am, and you are," Jin replied seeing the woman dressed in the elegant kimono of a noble.
The foggy eyed woman smiles, "Toph Bei Fong."
Jin's eyes widen, "as in the Avatar's earthbending master and champion of Earth Rumble Four, Five, and Six."
Toph's smile twisted into a smirk, "well I don't like to brag but yes I am that Toph Bei Fong, the Blind Bandit and the World's Greatest Earthbender."
Jin just sat staring at younger woman. For the past five years she heard rumors about Toph, like how she is the only person in the world that can bend metal. Even in her time with the Resistance she heard about her from Lao and Poppy Bei Fong, who help kept the Resistance supplied and funded. They said that their daughter was an exceptional earthbender who ran away from home to help the Avatar, and while they wanted her to come home they also understood that Toph's destiny laid with the Avatar.
Iroh returned with a pot of tea and three cups. He sets the cup on the table and poured some tea out for the three of them. Strangely Jin thought the man look very nervous about something, which is odd since she has never seen him like that before.
"Now what I'm about to say concerns both of you," he said after taking a sip of his tea, "and it also concerns my nephew."
"What about Lee," Jin said, interrupting the master firebender. Toph gave the former Resistance leader a confused look, which Jin took notice of.
"Please young Jin I'll explain everything, but first I must apologize to you."
Jin raised an eyebrow while Toph looked on with an amused smile, she know what this is about.
"Apologize for whatever for?"
Iroh sighs, showing his true age, "young Toph already knows this. My name isn't Mushi, it's Iroh and Lee is really named Zuko. Both of us are form the Fire Nation and fled here as refugees when we were declared traitors by my brother, Fire Lord Ozai."
Jin gasped, she knew about General Iroh, the Dragon of the West, who lead the 600 day siege of this very city, and lead the counter invasion during the time of Sozin's Comet. In a sense she knew that the two men had to be from the Fire Nation or one of her colonies, the golden-amber eyes aren't common among Earth Kingdom nationals, and the fact that the Firelight Fountain some got lit when she was dating Lee… Zuko. It all started to make sense to Jin as why it was so complicated for Zuko to explain it.
"Wait a minute, isn't Zuko the Fire Lord," Jin asks.
Iroh gave her a small smile, "yes he is."
Toph interrupted, her impatience starting to show, "ok so what is the big news that concerns us and Sparky."
"Lady Bei Fong how much do you know about the treaty negotiations," he asks the blind woman.
Toph knew the question was important since he asked her as Lady Bei Fong, "not much. I sat in during the early stages as an observer with my father, but I haven't been to a meeting in months."
"Well the treaty is almost done; all it needs is for two governments to ratify it." Jin and Toph both gave him a look for him to stop beating around the bush and get to the point. "There is a clause in the treaty that stipulates that the reigning monarch of both nations must wed a noble and a commoner from the other nation."
Iroh counted down from ten, and is strangely disappointed when there was no explosion of emotions from either one of the women.
"Let me guess, it was my father's idea," Toph said after a moment.
"Actually Lord Bei Fong was against it, and helped me pushed another clause into the treaty so that he and I will choose the brides for our home nations."
"And we are the brides," Toph said pointing between her and Jin.
Jin was thinking along those same lines the moment Iroh mentioned a wedding, though one thought permeated her mind.
"Mushi, why us, I mean I can understand Lady Bei Fong," Toph snorts, "but why me?"
Iroh takes another sip and was about to answer when Toph interrupted.
"You know she has a point, I didn't know that Sparky knew anyone from Ba Sing Se."
Jin slumped; she never really lost her crush on Zuko even after she saw him with that black haired girl shortly after the Fire Nation occupation of the city. And it no seemed that he doesn't even remember her.
"I dated him a few times when he lived in the Lower Ring," Jin said quietly, Toph had the decency to look surprised.
Iroh coughed, wanting to get back on track. Though he took not of Jin hurt expression. Zuko you fool, you better find a way to make it up to her, he thought.
"The answer is quite simple Toph, Jin. I know the two of you; you both are strong willed and will stand by Zuko as his equal. Also I have a feeling that you two are not attracted to the power you will receive as the Fire Ladies, plus I know you two have feelings for my nephew." He turns to Jin, "and why not you young Jin? Jin for the short time my nephew was with you he smiled, which he hasn't done since his mother had to leave him. He was happier with you during his entire banishment and afterwards, even more so than with Mai," when Iroh mentioned the knife thrower he had to bite his tongue, he didn't want to mention her just yet.
"Who's Mai," Jin asked fearing the answer.
Iroh looked away, not trusting himself to look in into Jin's jade eyes.
"Mai? She's about yea tall," Toph answered grossly underestimating Mai's height, "black hair, gold eyes, like knives, and can suck the fun out of the room. She also happens to be Zuko's fiancée."
Jin paled before turning red with anger. She turns her fury upon Iroh, her jade eyes ablaze with a hidden fire; she slams her hand on the table, causing the cups to jump.
"You knew he was engaged, and yet you went along with this plan," Jin's voice was tight and level, reminding Iroh a lot of his niece Azula before her decent into madness. "You knew that and yet you are willing to pimp us out like some common whores."
"Jin you don't understand," Iroh pleaded.
The liquid in the cup sitting by her hand flashed into steam. "What's there that I don't understand Iroh," she hissed. "I thought you were an honorable man, I guess I was wrong."
Jin got up from the table and marched out of the shop with her head held high and back straight, without an ounce of hesitation in her step. Only once she was out of sight of the tea shop did she allow herself to cry. She returned home to the Lower Ring by just letting her feet guide her, she entered the Inn that her mother runs without a word.
Jin's mother looks up from the slow cooked stew when her daughter rushed passed the open door to the kitchen.
"Agni, what happened this time," she mutters to herself.
After making sure that the stew wasn't going to burn, Jin's mother follows after her distressed daughter.
She knows that Jin is a strong young woman, one who is rarely ever sent into tears, she takes after her mother that way. The last time Jin cried was after that Lee boy left her, ever since then Jin never let someone else that close to prevent them from hurting her again. Though Jin's mother never met Lee, from the stories Jin told her about him, he seemed to be a boy with a very rough past and somewhat of an ass.
"Jin," her mother said knocking on the door, "honey is something the matter?" There was no answer, "Jin I'm coming in," she said sliding the door open.
Inside Jin is laying face down on her futon sobbing, her mother sat down next to her and started to rub the young woman's back.
"Jin, honey did something happen during your trip," the mother asked.
Jin lifted her head to face her mother, "yes Momma something happened."
She told her mother what at the tea shop, though leaving out the true identity of Iroh by calling him Mushi and saying Zuko wasn't Lee. Jin's mother didn't interrupt and only started to speak once Jin finished the story.
"I see, it seems that Mr. Mushi was about to tell you something else when you left."
Jin's face flushed with embarrassment, "I guessed I goofed."
The mother gave her a small smile, "yes you did my dear, and even the best of us do that from time to time." She stands up, "now I think I will talk with Mr. Mushi about this issue."
"Momma you don't have to," Jin said.
"Jin this concerns me as much as it does you. And right now you are too emotional to get the answers yourself, or give me the full story."
"Of course Momma," Jin said meekly.
"Don't be so down Jin," her mother said. "Now keep an eye on the stew and the inn while I'm gone."
Jin nods and her mother leaves the room and inn for the Jasmine Dragon.
Iroh was about to close up for the day when a tall woman stepped in the dining area. Strangely she is dressed in Earth Kingdom green, but for some reason her long black hair is tired back with a red ribbon.
Iroh shrugs and approaches the woman, "welcome to the Jasmine Dragon, how may I be of assistance?'
The woman gave a very Azula-esque smile; her gold-flecked brown eyes gleamed in delight, much like his niece. She moved swiftly, faster than Iroh can react, and placed a flame covered hand a fraction of an inch from Iroh's throat.
"Yes I think you can help me General Iroh, Dragon of the West. You can tell me why my daughter came home in tears," she said as sweetly as arsenic laced sugar.
Iroh glanced down to the hand at his throat and saw that the fire is colored white instead of the more common red or orange. He knew of only one bender capable of harnessing the white flame.
"Xia no Shiraihomura," he whispered in the old tongue.
Xia, ex-Capitan of the Fire Nation Imperial Guard, known as Xia of the White Flames, removes her hand form Iroh's throat. Her smile lost its poison edge.
"Yes indeed I am Iroh, now can you answer my question about Jin before I incinerate your side burns."
Iroh gulps and leads Xia to a nearby table.
Paladin's Facts: Jinko (Japanese) noun: Aloe Vera. Aloe Vera is used to ease the pain of burns. Pretty interesting isn't it?
Paladin's Notes: Well this is my first foray into AtLA, I have been a fan of the series since it came out and been lurking around the archives for a while. I got the inspiration to do this after reading one too many marriage treaty and Jinko stories, oh and helping my friend Wiki Wiki with his own Jinko story, well there is also the excuse of making a story with my three favorite AtLA ships (Toko, Jinko, and Ursa/Hakoda). I have not yet seen a treaty story with the idea of Zuko marring two women, and not one with him a commoner like Jin. No, I won't be changing the parings nor will I be adding Katara into the mix. I have changed canon somewhat, Zuko and Jin went on more than one date in this universe. Questions, Comments, Concerns, please shoot me a PM or a Review and I'll get back at you.