Life Happens Wherever You Are (Zuko x OC)

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Chapter 12

It was about halfway through the next day when we seemed to finally be coming up on Ba Sing Se. Zuko was standing at the edge of the boat looking out on the water, and I was standing a bit off to the side, debating whether or not to go up to him. When I saw Jet approaching, I knew it wasn’t the right time.

“You know, as soon as I saw your scar, I knew exactly who you were,” I heard Jet say.

What? He knows? I started to panic, seeing Zuko’s eyebrows furrow with worry.

“You’re an outcast, like me. And us outcasts have to stick together.” Where is he going with this? “We have to watch each other’s backs, because no one else will.”

Zuko quickly glanced over at me, and we made eye contact. I nodded at him, telling him that I was ready to fight if it came down to it. I had a whole ocean below us at my disposal.

“I’ve realized lately that being on your own isn’t always the best path,” he glanced at me again. I smiled internally.

They fell silent and stared ahead of us as the walls of Ba Sing Se came into view. Hopefully, something better awaits us on the other side.

We walked up to the podium and handed the lady our passports. She studied them suspiciously.

“So, Mr. Lee, Mr. um... Mushy, is it? And Ms. Mara.”

“It’s pronounced Moo-shi,” Iroh corrected.

I hid a smile and glanced at Zuko who raised an eyebrow at me.

“You telling me how to do my job?” the lady questioned, leaning down at us.

I grimaced, hopefully not.

“Uh, no, no,” Iroh went up to the podium and leaned against it, “But may I just say, you’re like a flower in bloom. Your beauty is intoxicating.”

I shoved down a laugh and smiled warmly at her, nodding in agreement.

She smiled, “Mm, you’re pretty easy on the eyes yourself, handsome.” Then she growled at him.

Zuko put his hand on his forehead in embarrassment as I shoved down another laugh.

“Welcome to Ba Sing Se,” she stamped our passports.

Iroh walked back over to us and Zuko snatched his passport from him, “I’m gonna forget I saw that.”

Iroh grinned, and I laughed as we walked away and through the opening into Ba Sing Se. I felt the hairs on the back of my neck stand up as we walked through, so I glanced behind us to see Jet watching us walk away.

“Zuko,” I said quietly.

We stopped just around the corner, but Iroh kept walking.

“What is it, Mara?” he turned to face me.

“That guy, Jet, and his group. I get a real bad feeling from them. I understand the reason why you worked with them on the boat, but,” I stopped and sighed, looking down at the ground. Why would he listen to me?

“Hey,” he said gently, stepping closer to me, “What is it?”

I looked back up at him, “If he asks you to join them, please don’t.”

Zuko nodded at me knowingly.

Once through we seemed to be in some sort of waiting room with tracks in the middle of it. We sat down on a pillar on the left side of the tracks, waiting. For a while.

I felt the hairs on the back of my head stand up again, which told me that Jet was in the room. Not too long after it was confirmed. He sat down on the other side of Zuko.

“So, you guys got plans once you’re inside the city?” he asked.

Zuko glanced at me with an annoyed look on his face.

“Get your hot tea here! Finest tea in Ba Sing Se!” a man rolling by with a tea cart interrupted the conversation.

Iroh waved excitedly, “Oh, Jasmine, please!”

The man came over and poured him a cup and then walked away. Iroh took a sip and then spit it out immediately.

“Coldest tea in Ba Sing Se is more like it, what a disgrace,” he groaned.

Zuko looked even more annoyed than before, but I laughed lightly.

“Hey, can I talk to you for a second?” Jet asked Zuko.

I glanced at Zuko and we made eye contact. I pleaded with my eyes to him, knowing what Jet wanted to talk about.

Jet stood up and walked a little ways away. Zuko sighed and then got up to follow him.

After only a moment, Zuko turned and walked back to us. Iroh grinned at Zuko as he sipped his tea, which is when I realized that it was now steaming. I glanced worriedly over to Jet, who also saw it, and his eyes widened angrily. But then he turned and walked away.

Zuko slapped the cup out of Iroh’s hands, leaning in close to him as to not be heard.

“What are you doing firebending your tea?” he growled in a low voice. “For a wise old man, that was a pretty stupid move.”

“I know you’re not supposed to cry over spilled tea, but,” he sniffled, “It’s just so sad!”

I sighed and put my head in my hands. What are we going to do now? Jet obviously noticed something, or else he wouldn’t have reacted like that. But what did he think about it?

“Iroh...” I sighed, shaking my head.

Zuko sat back down on the pillar next to me, leaning forward with his elbows on his knees.

The train finally arrived, and a man shouted, “Last call for Ba Sing Se!”

We got up as the trained screeched into the station, and walked towards one of the doors. The doors opened and we walked in. I felt the hair on the back of my neck stand up yet again, but I ignored it this time. We sat down on the bench next to a cute couple holding a beautiful baby. Zuko crossed his arms, he obviously was in a bad mood.

Iroh leaned over to the mother, “What a handsome baby.”

“Thank you,” she smiled.

I smiled at the baby, so innocent. Hopefully it will never have to experience the horrors of the war. The train started moving forward with a jolt, making my stomach jump and pushing me into Zuko.

I blushed and we separated, “I’m sorry, I’ve never been on a train before.”

He smirked at me, “It’s alright.”

We emerged out of the tunnel and were flooded with light. I turned to sit sideways so that I was facing Zuko and could look out the window. I smiled at the view, tall mountains stretched as far as I could see. The sky was a golden red, the signs of sunset. I looked down below us to see fields being tended to by farmers. As I was taking it all in, I saw Zuko looking at me. I shifted my eyes to him, and he blushed and looked away. I blushed as well, and looked back out the window.

The sun completely set, and it was too dark to see outside the window. I sighed, turning back around. “How long is this train ride supposed to be?”

“I heard it takes all night,” someone pipped up from next to us.

I groaned and slumped down on the bench.

Iroh chuckled, “It’s alright Mara, just try to get some rest.”

I nodded, yawning.

I closed my eyes, trying to think of home to help me relax. I wonder how Rahin is doing without me. When Osana passed, he struggled with the store, which is why I stepped in to help him. I hope he finds some help. Zuko’s face appeared in my mind. He is such a mysterious man, a bit moody too. He didn’t seem to be like that until we started traveling with his uncle. Maybe it’s a family thing? A warm sensation washed over me as I thought about the way that he looks at me. Why does he do that? It gives me butterflies every time we lock eyes, and whenever I think about him. There’s no way this is going to happen though. He is the crown prince to the fire nation, and I am just an orphaned water girl who grew up in a small earth kingdom village. There is no way he would want me, he just feels bad because he got me kicked out of my village. But... he really seems to care about me, and that fire in his eyes that always shows when we are close together, I – No. There’s no way.


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