Sleeping in a real bed and eating more than once a day did wonders for Indyira's recovery. He reveled in being waited on hand and foot for a few days but then he started feeling restless. He barely saw Zuko for more than twenty minutes at a time and they were never alone with all the servants and advisors buzzing around - trying to get the palace in order and finalize everything for his coronation. Zuko had to personally go through all of Ozai's stuff. Indyira suggested that he just burn everything and scatter the ashes to the wind but he was still filled with so much rage over what Ozai did to him.
"If I did that I'd never would have found these." Zuko said and held out his hand so Indyira could see what it was.
"Oh." Indyira's heart sank when he saw it was the shattered remains of the bracelets Zuko had given him. He honestly couldn't remember when Ozai took them - it must've been while he was passed out from a beating. But it looked like the only way he got them off Indyira's wrist was to break the porcelain. There was only half of the red one left and the blue one was nothing but a few chunks in Zuko's palm.
"I'm sorry. I know how much you loved these." Zuko said. Despite the terrible shape they were in he carefully put them in a small sack rather than throw them away.
"I'm just glad he didn't chop off my hand to get them." Indyira said as he looked at his bare wrist. His lamenting was interrupted by a servant who informed him that Iroh was waiting for him so they could go clothes shopping for the coronation.
"Have fun." Zuko said before he continued to go through Ozai's study. Indyira left him to his work. He met Iroh out by the front gate. Along with his friend from the meeting—
"Piandao." He introduced himself again. Indyira was hoping to get some time alone with Iroh - they hadn't talked in nearly six months. He missed the bond they used to share. But Piandao was good company. Even if his gaze was a little intense. Indyira thought the man had a problem with him. Maybe he didn't like mixed nation people. Maybe Iroh told him about his relationship with Zuko and like many people he looked down on homosexuality. Maybe he was just a snob and thought Indyira was too common to be in their presence. Indyira tried to ignore him and concentrate on picking something for Zuko's big day. It wasn't until he sat down to try on a pair of shoes that Piandao came up to him.
"It's traditional to wear your hair up at ceremonies or when appearing in public." He said before he presented a simple fire nation hair tie to Indyira. "May I?"
"I guess." Indyira answered. When they returned to the fire nation for the first time Zuko had been the one to tie up his hair. He really didn't like wearing it back - it felt so much better loose and free.
"This is usually done with a comb and warmed oil." Piandao explained. Indyira tried not to wince as Piandao roughly finger combed his hair back. He knew his hair was thick and the curls made it hard to get all of it slicked back - even the master craftsman was having trouble keeping it together until he could get the ribbon around it. Once he was done Indyira examined his handy work in the mirror in front of them. "You have your mother's hair."
"Yeah..." Indyira thought the comment was odd but didn't really pay it any mind until Piandao put his hand on his shoulder. "What—"
"You look so much like her - I almost can't believe it. But you have my color."
Indyira jumped up and moved away from him like Piandao had said something horrible to him. Iroh was by his side in an instant when he saw the terrified look on his face. "Who are you?" Indyira growled. "Bounty hunter? Did Heno hire you to track me down?" His mind automatically going to the worst case scenario of why this man knew him.
YOU ARE READING
Zuko had been stripped of his title, his birth right. He would stay up, sometimes the entire night and wonder if it would just be easier to abandon his nation like so many other people did. He knew it was a ridiculous thought. He was just frustrated...