Summary: Iroh sees Bumi as the sort of man who has everything.
Pairing: Implied onesided Bulin/Bin/Lumi, Irosami if you squint
Rating: T [language]
Bumi was one of Iroh's favorite people to talk to; he was the kind of person who could light up an entire room just by stepping into it. With Bumi, there was never a dull moment. The Commander was strong and fearless, Iroh had never seen him shy from a fight despite the fact that he was a non-bender.
While the Avatar visited Katara down in the Southern Water Tribe in hopes of restoring her bending, the two men had been instructed to watch over the reparations for the city while keeping a close eye on Air Temple Island.
"Can't believe this island doesn't have any damn meat." Bumi grumbled a little, slightly bitter about the Air Alcolyte dieting habits. "Or booze. Or anything to smoke." His lips pursed in disappointment as he leaned forward, his hand fully gripping the rim of the tea cup as he brought it to his mouth.
Iroh was tempted to point out that holding the cup like that was improper, but he figured Bumi didn't care; he refrained. His fingers slid forward, moving one of the Pai Sho tiles. There were no women on their fleet, which left the men with little to nothing to do. To humor themselves, they drank tea and played Pai Sho and danced around some sort of fire. The first two habits had relayed over to Iroh and Bumi's stay at Air Temple Island. Having chaste women around was worse than not having any women around at all, and it seemed the older of the two always needed some kind of distraction.
"So uh, tell me about that little kitten you got to spend time with." Bumi grinned madly, winking at Iroh as he sipped from the tea. Iroh's cheeks flustered and he glanced away, wearing an annoyed pout.
"I don't know what you're talking about."
"Oh sure you do! Just look at you, red as a beet." Bumi cackled a laugh, slipping his Pai Sho tile over a few spaces as he watched Iroh with interest. "Tell me about her. Not that Avatar girl, the one you worked with. The heiress."
Iroh's eyes rolled. "Former heiress." He reminded. Bumi seemed to hold this running joke with him that he expected Iroh to hook up with anyone and everyone submerged in wealth just because he was crown prince and could 'do whatever the hell he pleased'. "And nothing happened, she's attractive yeah, but we both had things to actually worry about. Like the war." He shook his head a little, taking a bite of the soft cake an Alcolyte had brought for them.
"Well then, when she gets back you should ah-" Bumi coughed a little. "Get on that."
"God Bumi that's sick, she's at least 6 years my junior." Iroh shook his head, wrinkling his nose as he shifted a tile. Asami Sato was a very attractive woman, but he had hardly spoken more than three words to her. Bumi was putting false visions in his mind and he knew it would impact him later.
It always did.
"So? Look at Tenzin and his baby momma." Bumi shrugged a little, beaming as he flipped another tile. Iroh's discomfort was growing and he decided that now would be a good decision to flip the spotlight of the conversation over to Bumi.
"Enough about me." Iroh took a sip of his own tea, reveling in the flavors it displayed for him. "What was it like growing up with the only airbenders in existence?" He was always curious, but he always seemed like the question was irrelevant. When would it be more relevant than when they were living on Air Temple Island?
Bumi shrugged, his lips pursing in some sort of discomfort. "It was great! You got the waterbending females, the airbending males, prodigys here and there, then you've got me, Bumi." He pointed at himself, cackling loudly as if to downplay the situation. It was clear that in hindsight, growing up with such powerful benders could permanently bring one's mood down. But not Bumi, he took his skills and he ran with it. It clearly worked in his favor, seeing as he was an extremely successful Commander in the United Forces.
"You seriously have it all, Bumi." Iroh sighed in awe, as if he was envisioning such a life. "Even if you aren't a bender, you fight like some kind of god. I've never seen anyone like you." He breathed a sigh of admiration. "It's like you have everything."
Bumi's eyes flickered with a bit of gratitude. He opened his mouth to speak, but his voice didn't come out. Instead, a shrill and excited one took it's place.
"Uncle Bumi-i! We're back!" Ikki's excited shrill filled the room as she pounced on his back. "Guess what Uncle Bumi! Guess what, guess what, guess what!" She hopped off of him excitedly, spinning around the whole room. "Grandfather Aang gave Korra her bending back and he let her into the Avatar State and then she gave Lin back her bending so everyone can live happily ever after, yay-y!" Her hands were clapping as if she had witnessed one of the best fairy tales in the entire world.
Iroh glanced over at the doorway as the group slowly filed in, one by one. Pema came in first with the new baby and the kids, followed by Tenzin and Korra, who was draped around Mako. Then came Asami, alone and isolated, hugging her shoulders as if she was trying to give herself some comfort. His eyes softened. He took sight of the two earthbenders, watching as Lin seemed to wear an air of confidence. His eyes flickered to Bumi and he watched as the non-bender's eyes followed Lin as she walked, a small and gentle smile playing on his usually wild features. It had been silent for the most part, but Iroh started when Bumi's low voice spoke to him.