Drinking a Little More Tea
This little ficlet, a postscript of sorts to the main story, came about from a comment made by Jkittykat on the story at AO3: "Also I have this image in my head of Zuko or one of the others coming to visit and happening to be around during an assassination attempt and Iroh being a total ninja and dealing with it quietly."
When I read that, a plotbunny hopped up with an eager "Yes, he did! Want to see?"
The Earth King had offered Aang rooms in the palace whenever he visited, and they were really nice rooms too, but sometimes Aang just didn't want to deal with all the constantly bowing servants and formal stuff that went on whenever he stayed there. When he mentioned that to Iroh, the elder kindly offered him the use of the guest bedroom in his apartment above the Jasmine Dragon, whenever he wanted a place to rest his head without someone fussing over him.
For one visit about eight months after the war ended, after he'd had to put up with plenty of official fussing during the treaty negotiations, Aang had taken Iroh up on his offer. But a few hours after he'd gone to sleep in the guest bedroom, he was woken up by Momo chattering in agitation while tugging on his ear, and a thumping noise from downstairs. He only heard the one thump before silence again, but there must have been more noises coming from below before Momo woke him up, so he grabbed his staff while still rubbing the sleep out of his eyes. He stumped down the stairs, trying to project the image of 'Almighty Avatar, ready for anything,' though it was probably ruined by his yawning and his shirt still being untucked.
Just as he reached the bottom of the stairs, Iroh stepped out of the kitchen and closed it firmly behind him, while giving him a concerned look. "Young Avatar, what you doing up? Young people such as yourself need more sleep, to refresh your still-growing physiques."
"Momo woke me up, and I heard a noise coming from down here," Aang explained while trying to discreetly tuck his shirt in. "Is everything okay?"
"Oh, everything's fine," the old firebender assured him, while moving something behind his back.
His natural curiosity kicked in despite his sleepiness, and Aang leaned to one side far enough to see what Iroh was holding. "Hey, what's that in your hand? …One of your tea trays?"
Iroh sighed as he brought his hand out so Aang could get a better look at the mangled remains of a tea tray, the black-lacquered wood all cracked and broken. "It is indeed, or rather, it used to be; I'm afraid I, ah, absent-mindedly set it down on a chair, and then sat on it before I realized what was beneath me."
"Ouch," Aang commented. "But no splinters, I hope?" He really hoped that; he liked Iroh a lot, but not enough for him to volunteer to get any splinters out of where they would've sunk in.
"No, no splinters, but that is likely why you heard a noise earlier. When I did realize what I'd sat on, I got up so quickly that my chair tipped over. Now go back to bed; I'll be coming upstairs soon, after I make a delivery to the local city guard station."
"A delivery? People really want you to bring tea to them at this hour?" Aang asked incredulously, even as he stifled another yawn and turned around to go back upstairs.
"Good tea is appropriate at any hour!" Iroh responded with a chuckle in his voice. "Good night, Aang; I'll see you in the morning…"
The further adventures of Iroh and the Jasmine Dragon can be read in my ongoing multi-chapter story "Sacrifices"!