General Iroh was walking down the hall of the men's side of the temple on Airbender Island when he heard the muffled sound of someone crying. He followed the sound, fearing the person was hurt. As Iroh got closer he tried to figure out from which room the crying was coming. The mystery was soon solved when he saw Pabu outside of one of the doors pawing at it trying to get in.
"So it's Bolin that's crying; I wonder why." Iroh was concerned. He opened the door so Pabu could go to his weeping owner.
"Pabu? Who let you in?" Bolin asked his beloved pet as he looked up. "General!" Bolin jumped and wiped his eyes trying to hide the fact that he had been crying not thinking that the man had heard it and that's why he was there.
"Bolin, are you alright? What happened? Are you hurt?" The General was concerned for his new friend.
"Only emotionally sir." He choked out.
"Well that answers my final question. Can you answer the first two?" Iroh asked lightly not wanting to further upset the already hurting earthbender.
"I saw my girlfriend kissing Tahno." Bolin answered, avoiding the first question.
"That's ruff man." Iroh stepped closer. He wanted to comfort the young man but wasn't sure how to do that without making him uncomfortable. It angered him that someone would cheat on Bolin; he liked the young earthbender, perhaps more than is natural for someone who is just a friend. "Are you alright?"
"No." Bolin squeaked out before he started crying again. His whole body shook with his sobbing. Pabu tried to get Bolin's attention by rubbing his head against his owner's arm, but to no avail.
Iroh walked closer and knelt in front of the young man. He wanted to hold him, stroke his hair, rub his back, anything to console his broken-hearted crush. Bolin had his face buried in his hands; Iroh had to figure out a way to get the boy to look at him. "You're an ugly crier y'know." Please let him find that as funny and not an insult.
Bolin looked up at him with a tear streaked face and sniffled. "Mako has told me that." He tried to smile but couldn't. "It's just so hard to stop crying once you've started." Bolin choked out another small sob and Iroh could see there were more tears to come. All of the General's reason flew out the window when yet another tear fell from the eyes of the usually cheery earthbender. He knew that it could ruin his chances with his crush but he had to do something to stop his pain. Iroh gently placed his hand under Bolin's chin and tilted his head up before leaning in and kissing the crying young man with gentle force.
After a minute Iroh broke the kiss and gave Bolin space to breathe. He could see the earthbender was in shock. "Bolin, I'm sorry, I...I just hated to see you cry." He paused and waited for a reaction but one didn't come. "I'll leave you alone." The firebender turns from the earthbender and goes to stand but is halted by a hand on his wrist. Iroh turns back to his friend and kneels in front of him again. "What is it Bo…" The general is silenced as his kiss is returned.
After Iroh got over the initial shock of his affection being returned he deepened the kiss and ran the fingers of his free hand through Bolin's soft black hair. When they were overcome by the need for air they broke the kiss and Bolin rested his forehead against Iroh's. "I didn't realize you cared so much." Bolin said slightly out of breath.
"I do care about you Bolin, and I hated to see you so hurt and crying as though you had broken a bone, but I didn't think you would feel the same for me." The firebender explained.
"Of course I care about you, why do you think I want to split off with you whenever we raid the equalist hide-outs?" The earthbender asked as though it were common knowledge.
"I thought it was because you didn't want to pair with your brother's ex-girlfriend, and Lin makes you nervous, especially after the zipper incident, and Tenzin isn't easy to joke with." Iroh explained.
"Oh, well those are good reasons, but I do like you and that's why I always wanted to pair off with you, that and I didn't want Asami to try and hit on you out of rebound or to make Mako jealous." Bolin blushed at his confession.
"You wouldn't have had anything to worry about, and I'm glad you chose me to go with, I would have been jealous and quite upset if Asami had done that to you. I guess it turns out neither of us had anything to worry about." Iroh smiled and then a thought came to mind. "If you liked me then why did you find a girlfriend?"
"Because I never thought I'd have a chance with you and I knew I should move on. But then that backfired," Bolin look into Iroh's eyes, "though it turned out to be a good thing."
"A very good thing." The General kissed the young man and felt it returned at once.
Footsteps could be heard coming down the hall and that stopped the kissing couple at once. "Crud, that's probably Mako coming to look for me, what do we tell him?"
"Don't worry, I've got this handled."
Mako walked into the room with Korra right behind him. "What's going on here?"
"I found your brother crying and found out that his girlfriend broke up with him." Iroh told his fellow firebender.
"Oh Bo, are you alright?" Mako was concerned about his younger brother.
"I'm alright now." Bolin told him with a smile.
Iroh stood, with Bolin doing so as well. "I was going to take him out for some male bonding." Iroh grabbed Bolin's wrist and dragged him out of the room stopping only once to call for Pabu and pick up said fur ball. Once they were away from Mako and Korra but not totally alone the general whispered into Bolin's ear, "consider this our first date," and winked to add a little charm.
Bolin smiled and nodded before following his new boyfriend to where ever he planned on taking him.