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What happens when you mix squee and trains blocking your path late at night? You get Iroh fic. OMG. I tried for the five things meme, but the train wound up passing by right after hitting #3, so I shortened it to a three things/facts fic instead. Primarily Lu Ten + Iroh, and I'm right saying that Lu Ten died as an adult, right? Because if he was any younger, then you're going to have to suspend disbelief for a little bit.


It was easy with Lu Ten. The boy had been happy and cheerful by nature since birth and it had been a joy to experience him discovering things on his own for the first time. Even now, Iroh could still recall the clean scent of infant skin – his son had been sensitive around his neck and had always shrieked with laughter when Iroh tickled him – and feel the feather soft texture of boyish hair sift through his fingertips. He had been everything to him; his very own personal patch of bright, warm sunlight to bask in.

It was not as easy with Zuko. At first when he had been a child and then a young boy, yes, but after becoming scarred and hardened – an old man before his time, Iroh sometimes found himself thinking – every day was a battle, making him utilize all the tactical skills he had acquired over the years to break through the boy’s defenses.

The sunlight he got to walk through might not be as warm or as plentiful as his son’s, but that had never mattered much to him. All that did matter was that the light was still there.


“That girl you’ve been looking at all afternoon certainly is pretty.” Iroh took a contemplative sip of tea. “Why don’t you go over there and say something to her?”

Lu Ten’s teenaged face reddened, nearly matching the color of his robe. “Father,” he hissed, his hands clutching his own cup as he sank down in his seat. “Could you say it any louder?”

He smirked. “I could, but I see no reason to embarrass you.” He smiled as he watched the group of young girls at the other side of the room. He recognized one or to as daughters of soldiers, but the rest of them were nameless, just girls that usually frequented the tea shop after their lessons were done for the day. During the course of the afternoon, nearly all of them had glanced over at his son and giggled like mad, save for one. Iroh noted that she had been quietly glancing at his son from behind lowered eyelashes when she thought no one was looking, her cheeks delicately pink. “You really ought to talk to her. Perhaps you could invite her to join you for a walk? The gardens are lovely this time of day.” He winked, nudging his son with an elbow.

“Do you think so?” His hand reached up to pat his topknot. Really, the boy doesn’t have a thing to worry about, Iroh thought. Handsomeness runs in the family, after all. “What if she laughs at me?”

“You will never know unless you try.” He watched as his son stood up and walked purposely towards the girls. His shoulders were squared and his back was straight, looking every inch the handsome lad that he was.

Then he opened his mouth and Iroh inwardly winced at the stream of consciousness that fell out of it. “Do you like walking?” Gales of high pitched laughter greeted the question. “I mean, not really walking walking, because people walk all the time and if they didn’t they wouldn’t get anywhere and there’s not really any fun in walking around all over the place. I meant do you like walking around in gardens? Not by yourself, of course, I mean, with other people?” Lu Ten’s shoulders slumped and the body language clearly screamed that he wished the ground would open up under his feet and swallow him where he stood.

The quiet girl whose name Iroh couldn’t recall stared up at his son and blinked. “Are you asking me to go on a walk with you?” She tilted her head, her hair sliding over a shoulder.

His son fidgeted. “Yes?” Iroh sighed and refrained from slapping his forehead with the heel of his hand. I’m going to have to sit that boy down and teach him the fine art of charm one of these days.

The girl smiled. “I’d like that.”

Huh. Perhaps I won’t have to after all. He smiled behind his tea cup and watched as the two of them left the shop arm in arm. “Young love,” he sighed wistfully to no one in particular.

Old Man

He didn’t mind growing older with each passing year. The graying hair and joints that sometimes flared up and ached were facts of life and completely natural, just as a tree losing its leaves in the winter was. His sight and hearing might not be as keen as they had been when in his prime, but they still served him well.

He didn’t even mind the way people either ignored him completely or treated him with disrespect, especially when he pretended to be older and frailer than he actually was. It was easier to blend in with fellow refugees that way, so it was of no bother to him.

And those that did take notice and attempted to steal from him were just that much easier to defeat, especially when they underestimated how much damage a seemingly tired old man in dirty traveling clothes could actually do.

“Shame on you for picking on a defenseless old man,” he’d chastise, but he doubted they had even heard. The unconscious ones rarely did.

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