"Miao," whined the small cat curled comfortably around Iroh's feet. It was an ugly thing, with a smushed-in face that made it look perpetually frustrated and random patches of smooth black fur interrupting the coarse white hair that covered the rest of its body. And it was missing an eye.
"Hush, Shiri, it's not dinner time just yet," muttered Iroh as he pruned the unruly branches of a bonsai tree. He had found the stray rummaging fervently through his garbage and decided putting some milk out now and again would be more proper than leaving the thing to starve. Unfortunately, it seemed as if the cat had run away from a crude owner--it only responded to Shiri, or Ass. He never spoke to the cat when there were customers around.
It wasn't quite closing time yet, but Iroh had officially closed the shop for today. He was expecting a different sort of visitor, in fact, the Fire Lord himself had deigned to visit this lowly tea shop in Ba Sing Se. His nephew would be arriving soon enough.
"Miaooo," Shiri complained loudly as Iroh stood up and put the tiny decorative tree on one table as a centerpiece.
"What is it now?" he sighed, then realized he heard sounds out from the street. Smiling broadly, he opened the door to the Jasmine Dragon.