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 adding Katara no matter how much you ask ~GP
Chapter Two: A Girl's Day Out and Decisions
Toph stomped backed into the Jasmine Dragon after speaking with her father for a while. While she trusts Iroh, she had to hear form father about the marriage clause. Lao Bei Fong assured his daughter that she will not be forced into a marriage with Fire Lord Zuko, though he did say that he would be thrilled if agreed with the idea. Which she did after a long think… and smashing up the rock gardens behind her family's estate in Ba Sing Se.
She started to like on Zuko when she first heard about him when she met Iroh, but really didn't start crushing on him until he joined up with Aang at the Western Air Temple. Though the crush was dampened when he accidently brunt her feet, which was really her own fault. Unlike the crush she had on Sokka, the crush she has on Zuko never left since she always thought that Mai wasn't good enough for her Sparky. Now she has a chance to be with Zuko, even if she must share him with another woman.
As she entered the shop, Toph had to dodge a tallish woman leaving the shop. The young earthbender shrugs as her bear, earth covered feet touched the elegant mosaic tile of the Jasmine Dragon.
"Iroh I'm back," she yelled when she reached her usual table. That is when she started to smell something foul in the air. Something she hasn't smelled since the end of the War burnt haired and singed skin. "Iroh are you ok?"
The firebender walks out of the kitchen and sits down across form Toph, and sets two cups of tea on the table.
"I'm fine Toph, I just had an accident in the kitchen," Iroh said uneasily.
Toph frowns, "Iroh you and I both know that you are lying."
Iroh sighs rubbing his now bear chin and cheeks, "I met Jin's mother."
The earthbender smirks, "and I take it she wasn't too thrilled about the problem."
Iroh takes a sip of his tea, "actually she was quite calm and wasn't angry. Especially once I told her about Mai breaking off her engagement with Zuko."
"Then how did you get burned," Toph asks with a sly smile.
Iroh gave her a small chuckle, "well I did make her daughter cry, and she did threaten to burn my sideburns off with her firebending."
Toph takes a sip of tea as he said that, after counting from ten Iroh ducks as Toph spits her tea out in surprise. "What! Her mother is a firebender?"
"I'm just as surprised as you are Toph," he answered. "Xia was, and still is, one of the best firebenders before she left Azulon's service. Now enough about that how was your meeting?"
Toph understood the nonverbal que to drop the subject, guessing that Iroh was very sensitive about his lack of facial hair even if she couldn't see it. Well she will get her answers anyway.
"Well dad pretty much confirmed what you said; he did say that I'm not going to be forced into this. Though he did say that Jin and I are the best candidates, and said that this would best for the Earth Kingdom."
"Good, good," Iroh replied with an 'I Told You So Look'. "Now what else is on your mind young Toph?'
The Blind Bandit fidgeted in her seat, she was about to say that nothing is bothering her, but she can't lie to Iroh. It's against law somewhere.
"My father wishes for me to spend more time with Jin."
Iroh raised an eyebrow, "so what's the problem then Toph. If Jin agrees to the marriage then you will be spending plenty of time with her…"
"That's just it," Toph shouted, cutting him off, "I don't want her to agree, I don't want to share Zuko!"
Ah that is the problem, I knew she has feeling for my nephew but will never admit it, Iroh thought. "So you do like my nephew," Toph's blush was all the answer he needed. "Toph your father has the right idea. If you and Jin agree to the marriage, and I know you two will, then you will be spending the rest of your live together."
"I know, I know. It's just I like him and I'm certain she does too, I know the two of us could become friends."
"I think that is why your father wants you to spending time with her," Iroh said. "Though you must wait till the morning."
It is a well known fact that firebenders, and inn keepers, rise with sun, and Xia is no exception. As the sole proprietor of the White Dragon Inn she has the hard duties of preparing the Inn for the coming day. This has especially hard when her husband was taken in by the Dai Li and killed during the Day of the Burning Sky. The memories about it losing him almost brought tears to her eyes. Their romance was unexpected since they meet on opposite ends of the field at the Battle of Gansu in the southern Earth Kingdom.
Xia sighs as she simultaneously tries to ease away from the memories and stirred a pot of miso soup. Then she hears a bell ring as the front door opens. She moves the pot off the heat, once again cursing the lack of a gas stove. Time like these make her wish that she was back in the Fire Nation.
"Welcome Traveler to the White Dragon Inn, how may I help you," Xia said walking up to the front desk.
The guest is a woman in a set of green and yellow traveling clothes. She is short with raven hair pulled up in a bun, and foggy emerald eyes gazed unseeingly at Xia.
"Yes I'm looking for Jin," the woman asks.
"I see, and you are," Xia said tensing up just in case.
"Toph Bei Fong and you must be Xia," Toph tilts her head, "the firebender."
Xia wasn't the least bit surprised at that. Iroh must have told her, and from the stories and rumors she has heard about Toph, the young earthbender must have sense how she walks. Even after leaving Azulon's service over twenty years ago she still carries herself as a firebender.
"I guess there is no point of hiding anything from the Legendary Blind Bandit," Xia replied earning a smirk from Toph. "Jin will be down in a few minutes for breakfast, you're welcome to join us."
The question was answered when Toph's stomach growled, so Xia shows Toph to a small dining room before heading back to the kitchen. She brought out breakfast as they waited for Jin to come down. About a minute or two passed before Jin entered the room in her usual green yukata. Despite the tantalizing aroma of the food Jin noticed the extra person sitting at the table.
"Toph what are you doing here," Jin asks in a sleepy voice.
"Well… I thought since we might become Co-Fire Ladies we should start spending time together and have a Girl's Day Out," Toph replied setting her chopsticks down.
"You know I haven't agreed to anything yet," Jin said as she sat down and dishes out some rice and miso.
Toph smirks, "oh I think you will be agreeing soon enough."
Jin ignores the comment and starts eating. Xia glances between the two young women.
"Jin since your classes are over for the moment why don't you go with Lady Bei Fong for the day," Xia said breaking the awkward silence.
"But mother, I'm supposed to help you with the Inn," Jin pleaded.
Xia crossed her arms, "Jin this is the first time in over five years that you can really take a break. You are done with your schooling and not leading a resistance group. Go and have fun today, I can handle the Inn by myself."
Jin slumps in defeat, he knows that her mother is right. Ever since Lee… Zuko… left her alone after their third date she has thrown herself into her work. Helping at the Inn, attending Ba Sing Se University, and running the Resistance alongside her father. And now she has to confront the source of the pain head on, like any good Earth Kingdom citizen.
"Fine, I'll go," Jin said.
Jin and Toph spent the morning browsing the vendor stands in the Lower and Middle Ring before stopping a noodle shop for lunch. After they ate the two women crossed into the Upper Ring and headed towards the Palace.
"So where are we going again," Jin asks as Toph leads her further into the Upper Ring.
The young earthbender sighs, "I'm taking you to the Fancy Lady Day Spa so we can relax and bond."
The former Resistance leader just looks at the short earthbender. "For some reason I just don't picture you as a spa kind of girl."
Toph snorts, "what can I say, I'm a complicated person."
Jin shrugs as they enter the spa. The name of the place wasn't kidding when it said it was fancy. Being from the Lower Ring she isn't use to going to face places, heck she even refused to go to the victory celebration after the occupation ended. She lost too much in that final battle, everyone in the resistance did and they all respected her choice of not going.
I suppose that I better get used to this if I go through with the plan, she thought to herself.
"Ah Lady Bei Fong welcome back," the receptionist said as they entered, "so you and a guest?"
"Yes Lanfen," Toph replied, "this is Jin and we will like the full Royal Treatment."
Lanfen clapped her hands happily, "of course, Lady Bei Fong, Miss Jin let's get started shall we."
The next couple of hours were a blur for the bewildered innkeeper's daughter. Manicures, pedicures, mud baths, and saunas, the young woman was primped, polished, and beautified within an inch of her life. And it felt good to just relax; five years of tension just seemed to ease away.
After leaving the spa the duo soon found themselves sitting at a private table at the Jasmine Dragon, their faces bearing only the slightest hint of makeup. Both are ginning and laughing as they told each other of their misadventures with Zuko.
"Let's see there was the time about a year after the war when Fire Lady Sparky Pants accidently set my dress on fire," Toph said with found smile. Jin had to smother her laugh, "oh laugh it up Pigtails."
"Oh sorry, so what did you do?"
"Well after I striped the dress off I earthbended his ass into a turtle-duck pond."
Jin couldn't hold it back anymore and started to laugh out loud.
"Sorry Toph, Jin said as she tries to reign in her laughter, "it's that reminds me of the end of Lee and I's second date."
"Oooo… do tell, I'll love to have more blackmail material on him," Toph said with a feral grin.
Jin gives her a matching grin, "he accidently spilt tea down the front of my yukata. He tried to clean it up but somehow undid the obi and nearly exposed me during a festival. I slapped him so hard that his eyes spun."
It was Toph's turn to start laughing. Oh yes Jin is going to be a good friend indeed.
"Yep that sounds like Sparky," Toph said with a grin, "always the Noble Twit."
The girls shared a laugh at Zuko's expense. At times too just too east to make fun of the Fire Lord. They are soon joined by the deep belly laugh of Iroh.
"True, true," he said, "I've heard all the stories. The only one with more ammunition against my nephew is Azula."
Iroh and Toph feel silent at the mentioning of the Princess. They may have been on opposite sides of the war but they felt sorry for her, all of Team Avatar did. Katara and Zuko told them about Azula's decent in madness. Zuko personally interrogated Ozai, the former Fire Lord knew that Azula was losing her grip on her sanity from before she even left the Fire Nation to chase after Zuko, and even counted on her slipping mind in the waning days of Sozin's War. In the fleeting moments of sanity even Azula recognized that she was slipping further in the dark abyss of madness, but only after the war did she truly realize that she was just a pawn to her 'father'.
"Uh… are both of you ok," Jin asks.
Iroh waves off her concern, "we're alright Jin just some memories form the war."
"Oh I see," Jin glances out the door to see the sun starting to set. "I think it's time for me to head home."
"Of course Jin, have a good night," Iroh said as she gets up.
As the young woman walks to the door Toph grabs her arm.
"Wait Jin, will you consider the plan?"
Jin's jade eyes stared into Toph's foggy emerald. "I'll consider it Toph. I had a great time today, and if I have to deal with Fire Lady Sparky Pants for the rest of my life I want you with me Toph."
"Thanks Jin, have a good night."
"You too Toph."
Just like the previous night, Jin's trip home was uneventful. With the end of the war the tide of refugees subsided, and many already in Ba Sing Se trickled their way to their rebuilt villages. Coupled with the Dai Li being reformed into a true police force that amount of crime in the Lower Ring fell greatly. Also some of her father's associates helps to protect Jin during the evening hours, even if she can take care of her self.
"Welcome home Jin," Xia said as her daughter entered the Inn, "how was your day?"
Jin smiles, "it was excellent momma."
Good, good," Xia replied before taking a good look at her daughter. "So?"
"So what," Jin said innocently.
The elder firebender had to resist the urge to roll her eyes.
"So how did your day go with Lady Bei Fong?"
"It was wonderful; Toph and I had a great time together. We really bonded."
Xia smiles and leads her daughter to her small office.
"That's good to hear Jin it's nice to see you making new friends." Once they were out of earshot of any guests Xia deiced to ask the big question. "Jin I see it in your eyes, you've made your decision about the marriage."
"Yes I have momma." Jin took a seat behind a small table, her mother taking a seat next to a desk. "I like Lee… Zuko, even after all this time. So I've decided that I will marry Fire Lord Zuko."
Xia gives her daughter a knowing and warm smile, "I thought you might, and that settle my decision."
Jin raised an eyebrow, "what decision?"
"Oh I've decided that it's time to take a vacation, and with the war being over to take a trip to the Fire Nation."
"What! The Fire Nation!"
Xia rolled her eyes, "yes the Fire Nation, the land of my birth. Jin the war is over so I don't need to fear being arrested, plus I am not going to miss your wedding."
Xia understands her daughter's worry. Her status as a firebender was just as big of a secret as the identity of Jin's father. Only during the Day of the Burning Sky when Sozin's Comet passed over Ba Sing Se did she revel herself to her neighbors to prevent a platoon of Fire Nation soldiers from burning down their part of the Lower Ring. The occupation forces found out that her inn was the central meeting place of the Resistance; to this day Xia at time can still smell their burning flesh out on the streets.
"Sorry momma," Jin said bringing Xia out of her past.
"No, don't worry about it. Your concern is justified," Xia replied. "Now we have a lot of guests tonight so go get cleaned up so you can help me. We'll finish discussing this afterwards."
"Of course," Jin said as she stands up and leaves the room.
Xia watches her daughter leave. There is a distinct spring in Jin's step and her should are eased into a relaxed position. Something that Xia hasn't seen since Jin's second date with Zuko. That though brings a smile to her lips. She glances over to a painting over her desk. It was done by a member of the Resistance shortly before the Day of the Burning Sky, it depicts Xia and Jin in their finest kimonos and Xia's husband dressed in formal black and green. If it wasn't for his neatly trimmed goatee and mustache, no one would recognize him with a kind smile adorning his face.
"You would be proud of her My Love, she is going to help bring peace to the world and finally find the happiness that she so desperately needs."
Paladin's Note: so ends chapter two. Now I would you all, except for you Wiki and Kamon, to take a guess at the identity of Jin's father. All the clues are there in the story so I won't give out any hints.
Questions, Comments, Concerns, just leave me a review or a PM and I'll get back to you