It was a slow day.
Zuko hated slow days.
Business was usually booming at the Jasmine Dragon, his Uncle's well known tea shop. They served the best tea and pastries in town. Locals and tourists alike would flock just to try some of his Uncle's delicious tea.
Most days anyways. Today, wasn't one of those days. He sighed, wiping down the counter for the 5th time in the hour. He could swear he could see his own reflection on it by now. A soft whistling came from the back as Uncle Iroh stepped out from the swinging double doors. His ever present smile still on his face.
"Zuko, I'm about to head to the bank." He said before handing him an envelope, his weekly paycheck. Even though he lived with his uncle, and worked alongside him, his still insisted on paying him. Helping him through college. He stuffed the paycheck in his pocket. "When I get back, we can close up early tonight, I don't think we'll be having too many customers this evening." He said looking around in the front lobby. The place almost looked deserted.
"Good, it means I can get back to studying." Zuko said as he started to get ready to close up shop.
"Actually, I was thinking we could go out for dinner tonight." His Uncle said, "Business has been booming lately, so we have some extra. I'm sure you can take a break."
While it was true, most of his daily routine consisted of going to classes, working, and studying, he had to keep it that way. If not then he'd start falling behind, and there was no way he'd start letting that happen.
"I can't tonight Uncle. I have another test tomorrow. I'm not going to let that Aang kid get a better score than me again." He said
Aang was a prodigy kid, having excelled in all of his classes. Ever since he arrived at the college a few years ago and knocked Zuko down from being the number one, he was determined to get his spot back. His Uncle sighed and shrugged.
"Alright, I'll order some food then." His Uncle said walking towards the front door, "but you're eating at the table. If I find one more dirty dish in your room, I'm making you wash the dishes for a whole month." He called before leaving the building with a chuckle.
Zuko allowed himself to smile and chuckle a bit. He smiled as he started to get ready for closing once more, but after a few minutes in, he heard the twinkling bell from the front door. He groaned internally, not wanting to have to deal with anyone else today. He put on his best 'Customer Service Smile'(TM) and turned.
"Hello, Welcome to the Jasmine Dragon. What can I get for you today?" He asked in his best employee tone. The man said nothing as he stared up at the chalkboard menu. "Uh, yeah, do you have anything that could, I don't know, put someone to sleep?" The guy asked in a tone that Zuko couldn't tell was serious or not.
Zuko raised an eyebrow at the guy. "Put someone to sleep?" The guy nodded slightly, "Maybe that wasn't the best way to phrase that." The guy started again, "A friend had a big test tomorrow and he's worried about failing it so he hasn't been sleeping. Do you have anything that could help him sleep or calm him down?" He asked again, his deep blue eyes going back to scanning the board once more.
Zuko sighed, his Uncle knew a lot more about tea than he did. He only knew enough to make the tea and whatever his Uncle sometimes rambled about.
"Oh, uh, yeah. Try Chamomile. It should help him get some rest. My uncle will sometimes give some to me when I overwork." He said
Ok, so, maybe sometimes his rambling stuck.
"I'll have an extra large of that, and one of those danishes." He said pointing at the treat through the glass without looking away from Zuko. He grabbed a pen and the extra large cup. "Can I get a name?" He asked
Zuko nodded, and started to write down his name, "but you can call me the man of your dreams."
Zuko's 'Customer Service Smile' (TM) wavered and he looked up at him to see the goofy grin and fingerguns.
"I don't think so." He said before writing down his name, stopping himself from writing down idiot instead. It wasn't like he wasn't used to people flirting with him. He'd get a customer every now and then, male, female, or otherwise, that would try to flirt with him. He didn't understand why, with the huge scar over his eye, you'd think people would be repulsed by him.
He didn't mind it mostly, just as long as they weren't looking for something more.
Or asked him to put down 'Daddy'. The last person who tried that ended up almost through the desert counter.
Sokka visibly slumped at being rejected but Zuko just started making the tea. He could feel the others eyes watching him as he made it. To be honest, it was starting to put him a little on edge.
He soon finished the tea and bagged the Danish. Sokka handed him a card. "Make sure that tea stays hot. It'll work best if it stays hot." Zuko added handing him the drink and food.
"It probably won't be as hot you." Sokka added. Zuko frowned and raised an eyebrow. Sokka turned and left, but not before tossing a wink his way. Zuko rolled his eyes as he watched the strange man walk out of the store. He continued cleaning until his Uncle came back. He had a brown bag on one arm, and from the smell of it he had gotten food from they're favorite noodle shop down the street.
"Any customers while I was gone?" His Uncle asked setting the bag down on the counter. Zuko' s mind went back to Sokka, before shaking his head.
"No one important."