(A/N): Hi guys! Thank you for the reviews. Here's another chapter of Royal hours. Enjoy, and please review.

Copyright infringement not intended. Characters are the property of Bryke. Storyline is my un-patented idea.

"Oh son of a mother trucker!" Toph cursed to herself as she plopped down into her seat. After hanging her bag at the side of her desk, she buried her face into her arms. After a few moments to compose herself, Toph looked up to see her friends crowding around her desk.

"Toph, are you okay?" Katara gently asked with a look of concern on her face. Suki and Song stared at her with a worried look as well. Toph would always have a mischevous grin on her face, but today she looked troubled.

"Yeah, I'm fine...just a lot of things on my plate lately..." Toph said reassuringly as to not make her friends worried.

"...then...why did Prince Zuko blocked your way into homeroom?" Suki asked

"Just...he's just pissed off that I saw his rejection, that's all" Toph said with fake sincerity. Suki and Song left it like that, but Katara just stared at her in a quissical manner.

"You know Toph, you can always confide in me." Katara said. "Thanks Katara. I'll tell you when I sort every thing out" Toph said beaming a smile toward her best friend.

"All right every one, sit down so I can take attendance" Ms. Jun yelled as she rapt the white board with a meter stick, causing every one to scramble to their seats.

"Pass up your homework, then take out King Lear, and turn to Act 2 scene 1." Ms. Jun said as she started to write the day's lesson on the board.

After the morning classes, lunch began; Toph, Katara, Suki, and Song took out their lunch boxes and went over to a field to eat their lunches. As they sat down and ate, Toph felt a presence walk up behind her.

"I need to talk to you" Zuko said rather seriously. Toph looked toward her friends who gave her a puzzled look, sighed, then followed him. Zuko led her to one of the library's private work rooms. Closing the door behind them, Zuko started: "Miss Toph Bei Fong, as a fair warning, you don't know what you are getting into when you are married into the royal family. It is not the charming life that fairy tales depict. It is a life of suspicion, deceit, and lonliness. Are you sure you want to marry me?" He moved closer to her with is question.

"I have no choice" Toph deadpanned, unaffected by his close proximity. "I assume you don't have a choice in this matter either, Zuko. I can stand with or without your help. I'm doing this for my family, so just suck it in. You're not the only one sacrificing some thing. For you, it's your love Mai; for me it's my youth and potential love life signed off to you. Just cut the fake crap with me, and I'll get along with you."

After a brief moment of silence, Zuko decided to break it and the tension that was seeping in with it. "Well, I'm glad about one thing on this engagement."

"And what is that?"

"At least my fiance is not ugly and boring" Zuko said with a smug smirk.

"Yeah...I don't think I can say the same right now.I've always seen you with a plastic face, princey" Toph said "maybe later I can tell, but for now...its undecided. I have one question, if you like 'not boring' then what the hell did you see in Mai?"

Zuko's grin fell into an angry snarl. "Arn't you a blunt one...well, get it all out now, because doing that in the palace will put you in danger. As for Mai, she's different"

"...right..." Toph said, giving him a funny look; a cross between 'are you crazy' and 'are you kidding me'. "Well you have your weird tastes, and I have to get back to my lunch so...toodles..." Toph opened the door.

"Good luck on your lesssons" she heard Zuko say, then she left.

What lessons? Toph thought as she went back to the field

After school, Poppy called Toph to come home straight away afterschool. When Toph got home, there were well dress women in black lapels, skirt, and pumps with a wide, red silk belt. "Hello?"

"Hello Miss Bei Fong, we are here to escort you to meet Prince Iroh and Queen Ursa. Please quickly dress in your best, and we'll take you to the royal highness's" The women said as they bowed to her. "Before you dress for your visit to your future in-laws, we must take you measurements miss to make your traditional princess outfit, as well as your wedding dress. If you please miss" said one of the women, as Toph held out her arms so the other woman measured her. After begrudgingly changing into a pink thick strapped, knee-length dress dotted with embroidered flowers with beaded centers near the hem of the dress and across her chest, white stockings with mary jane shoes, and having her hair hair pulled back and clipped with a flower clip (by her mother's wishes), she enter the car, and sat nervously throughout the car ride. She was lead to a large room that had plush, antique-looking sofas and arm chairs, with drapes pulled back from the windows and door way, a coffee table in the center, and side stands beside each arm chair, that held lamps. The walls were covered with tapestries, weapons, antiques, and portraits of the past and current royal family members. A woman wearing the same outfit as the first ladies she met, brought in a tray with a tea pot, four cups, and a plate of delicate looking cakes. After preparing the tea things, the woman stood up and silently left the room. A moment later, a woman younger than the ones Toph had seen before came in. "Miss Bei Fong, I'm lady Min. I'm here, for now to briefly teach you in court etiquette. When the highnesses come in, you much stand up and bow to them. Once they have been seated, you sit down. You must always address them as 'your majesty', and must always answer their questions truthfully, is this understood?"

"Yes" Toph said, nervously. Before Lady Min could give any more etiquette lessons, some one called outside: "Her majesty Queen Ursa, Princess Azula, and His majesty Prince Iroh has arrive!"

Toph then bolted straight up from her seat as she saw shadows approaching. What kind of people are they? Will they be fake like Zuko? Toph thought as she saw a beautiful woman in her mid forties, and a man in his sixties enter the room in traditional regalia. "Your majesties!" Toph said, then bowed deeply at them.

The man chuckled at how stiff this girl was acting.

"Hello dear, I'm Queen Ursa, Crown Prince Zuko's mother. Please stand straight so I could get a good look at you." the woman said in a motherly manner, and gave a sweet smile at Toph. Toph stood straight as the queen circled her, eyes fully studying her. "Can't believe that it was only yesterday when I saw a baby picture of you from my father. Now you have grown into a beautiful young lady" Queen Ursa said with a smile.

"She's not as pretty as Mai, mother" Azula gave a cold response. "Besides, I wouldn't want her to be part of our family, she's a peasant and she has glasses, thus making the chances of a visionly impaired heir great, and tarnishing the royal blood. I wouldn't want that if I were you mother."

"Azula, behave yourself." Ursa snapped. "You must respect your dead grandfather's wishes. Toph is more beautiful that Mai in my opinion; she has more liviliness in her presence, her glasses make her look so endearing, and she has a more noble air than you as of now Princess Azula." Queen Ursa said, giving a stern look at Azula, then looked at Toph with a smile and took Toph's hands in hers. Azula fumed silently, glaring at Toph while Ursa smiled approvingly at her.

"Hello Miss Bei Fong, I'm Prince Iroh, the Crown Prince's uncle. Sooner or later, you'll be calling me uncle too!" Iroh said with a warm chuckle. "Now, let's have tea, shall we?" Iroh stated, then poured the tea himself. "This is my special blend. Do you enjoy tea, Miss Bei Fong?"

"Yes, I enjoy it very much, your highness. I also enjoy pai sho..."Toph said, trailing off the last bit.

Iroh looked at her with an agaped mouth, then turn to a grin. "Queen Ursa, I approve of this daughter-in-law! Such a rarity to find a young person these days who love pai sho and tea." Iroh said with gusto, causing Ursa and Toph to smile.

"Sorry, I must leave mother, uncle" Azula said abruptly. She bowed, then left the room fuming. Who does that peasant think she is?

"Alright, let's get down to business Toph." Ursa said in a business manner. "It is not a light matter to accept this engagement. Tell me first, why you agreed?"

"Your majesty...I...forgive my frankness, but I accepted this arranged marriage due to...financial troubles...I couldn't bare seeing my parents get harassed by loan sharks so...I thought this marriage could give ease my family's lives...I'm not doing this out of greed, just out of circumstances" Toph stumbled around, not looking the Queen in her eyes as she relayed the truth. "But! But my parents don't spend by blow their money, it is just financial troubles after we've been used by another family member...so..so...please don't judge my family for this" Toph said bowing.

"Alright, Toph. You've explained your circumstance, but I hope later on that this marriage with my dear son won't only be about money. We will soon be family, Toph, and I hope you will look past the reason of joining our famly for only money, and looked towards being an example for our country, a wife to the crown prince, a future Queen, and a mother to heirs. I hope I won't regret this decision of letting you into our family Toph, and paying for your family's debt. Is this understood?" Queen Ursa said sternly.

"Yes your majesty. Never for greed, and you will not regret this decision" Toph said bowing. What did I get myself into? Toph thought again.

"Good. Now I must tell you your scheduale from now until the wedding in four months. The elders and I are organizing the wedding. You'll be taking princess lessons from Lady Min, and your own ladies-in-waiting from tomorrow until that day. Every day afterschool, a car from the palace will pick you up, and drop you off at the princess resident hall for studying; where you will do you home work and princess lessons, and then dropped off after that day's lessons are done. You will be having a traditional ceremonial wedding, and it will be broadcasted to the public, so please work hard for us. Please don't disappoint me Toph" Queen Ursa said, with a serious look in her eyes.

"Yes you majesty" Toph said, gulping.

"Now let's have tea and snacks! You must be hungry from school!" Queen Ursa said, switching back to her motherly side.

The three sipped tea, ate snacks, and talked.

"So Toph, do you know Crown Prince Zuko?" Queen Ursa asked as she patted her mouth with a napkin.

"Yes, your majesty. He's known throughout the school as a heart throb to most girls and certain boys" Toph said blatantly.

"And boys? My goodness!" Queen Ursa said with a giggle. "What do you think of my Zuko?"

"He's very handsome your majesty, but..." Toph trailed off with uncertainty

"But?...Oh! It's okay to talk freely, Toph. You won't be punished for telling the truth" Queen Ursa said gently. "I promise that no harm will come to you"

"Yes, you majesty. Crown Prince Zuko...acts...quite artificial and ingenuine at school. I do not know if it's my place to say this when I hardly know him, but from my encounters, he seems insincere...and distant"Toph said earnestly

"I see. You're very perceptive Toph. I feel that's the same way he is during parent meetings...Toph?"

"Yes , you majesty?"

"You can stop calling me that in private. We will be family, so call me Ursa for now, and mother after the marriage, okay?"

"Yes, your majes-I mean, Ursa" Toph said, the name strangely rolling off her tongue.

"Good girl" Ursa said with a sweet smile.

"So, Toph, how old are you?"Iroh said pouring another cup of tea for himself.

"I'm 17 years old, Prince Iroh" Toph said as she sipped her tea.

"Ah! Four years age difference is not that bad! I say Zuko is lucky to have you as his fiace" Iroh said smiling.

The three went on chattering, and having tea time; Toph later felt at ease with her future mother-in-law, and uncle-in-law that she started to chime in with talks of politics, diplomacy, public problems, philosophy, and the like.

"What a wise young lady, Queen Ursa. She has a strong sense of justice, and a keen mind to see through the dirtiness of politics." Iroh chuckled at the end of tea.

"I couldn't agree more, Prince Iroh. I feel more at ease about the future of our country now that we've talked to Toph." Ursa said beaming.

After the clock rang at the hour, Queen Ursa and Prince Iroh bid Toph farewell. "I'm sorry we can't spend more time with you, Toph, but it was nice spending time with you, and I hope we could do this more often after you join our family. Take care dear." Ursa said, hugging Toph, then left.

As Toph was walking to the car, feeling better about this marriage thing than before, she bumped into some one, and was about to fall back until that some one caught her. "Hello, my clutsy fiance. You're looking cuter today" Toph heard, then quickly scrambled out of his arms.

"Hello, my jerk of a fiance. You haven't changed a bit pretty boy" Toph said with a grin.

"Hey!" Zuko said, then grabbed her wrist and pulled her back."How dare you insult me?"

"I dared, now let me go. I need to get home" Toph said, got in the car, rolled down the window and stuck her tongue out at him as the car drove away.

Zuko then pulled his mouth wide open and stuck his tongue out at her. As she disappeared, he realized how ridiculous he looked, then pulled his fingers out of his mouth, and rubbed one of his hands through his hair. "How infuriating! She's making me act like a child!" Zuko said to himself. Mai wouldn't do these childish action, or display any emotions that would make him look ridiculous. She was always stiff and regal. Toph was not like Mai. Toph was the fourth woman in his life that was not scared to speak up to him. The first two were his mother and sister, the next was Mai, then finally it was Toph. A stranger who wasn't scared of his temper or the fact that he was the Crown Prince. She would act like his was a harmless tree when he could easily call on his body guards and hull her away.

Just as he was about to wander into his thoughts, he heard his mother call for him, and went in to the palace to help his mother in what she needed.

"Well you dork, what did the Queen want with you?" her brother asked, as her family pulled her into the living room, surrounding her to hear about her afternoon with the Queen after dinner.

Toph punched her brother in the arm, then began: "She wanted to meet me and know my motives for accepting the arranged marriage so hastily, so I told her the truth and she understands our situation. We then had tea time with Prince Iroh, and that was it. Nothing more. Other than princess lessons every day afterschool, and preparing for the wedding in four months. That was that, so night! Finished home work, already showered, now I'm off to bed. Sweet dreams!" Toph called out, and about to leap off the sofa before she was pushed back by her mother, father and little brother.

"Did you like them Toph? Will you be able to live with the royal family comfortably? You don't have to do this for us Toph; this burden is your mother's and mine, not yours" Lao said said with concern as her parents latched onto each hand.

"Queen Ursa and Prince Iroh were very kind to me; they rebuked Princess Azula, one of their own, for insulting me. I'll be comfortable there...I have to do this; it's a family debt and I'm obligated to help get rid of it." Toph said, then pulled away and went to her room, giving an exasperated sigh as she left.

"Toph! We-oh Lao, why does our daughter not listen to us, and dive head long to have the actions of a martyr!" cried Poppy, frustrated on how Toph wouldn't listen to her.

Toph stirred a little in the early morning as she felt herself being shaken awake, along with clusters of clicks and shouts coming from outside of the house.

"Hey, dork, you better get up. Now!" 'The Duke' said in an urgenty manner. The look of panic spattered on his face.

"What?" Toph said groggily, then furrowed her brow at the annoying clicking sounds and shouts coming from outside growing louder. Toph, still with bed head and her cinnamaroll pajamas, and with her once pig tails were lopsided, she walked out of her room, and headed straight to where the racket was from.

"Hey! Can you keep it down!" Toph shouted, still rubbing her eyes, giving a slack jaw look to where the sound came from. Some thing finally clicked in Toph's head as she mulled over the reason of the racket, then it hit her.

"Miss Bei Fong! Future Crown Princess! Can you answer some of our questions please?" a woman shouted waiving her mic towards her.

"Princess, how do you know Prince Zuko?" a man asked, holding out another mic.

"Tophy, get inside!" Poppy and Lao shouted as they tried to close the gates on the seemingly infinite number of reporters, and new/entertainment outlets.

Toph ignored her parent's orders, and ran to push the gates along with her parents. After a couple of minutes, they heard the click of the gate closing, and quickly locked the gates, and backed away to hear the utter chaos of banging and shouting of questions, along with the slight rocking of the metal gate.

Toph, Poppy and Lao quickly scurried into the house. Passing by a mirror on her way to her room, Toph came closer the to mirrior, and caught sight of what she looked like; gave an utter look of horror.

"GOD DAMN IT!" Toph cried out in frustration. A little bit of Toph hoped that being engaged to the jerk would mean heightened security and privacy as expected of the royal family; apparently it wasn't the case at all in the time being. Toph quickly washed up, dressed, and grabbed breakfast along with her bag. She noticed that the gates were still clamarous with the banging of new and entertainment reporters. Toph went to another section of gate behind the house, looked around, then did her secret specialty, she bent the metal wide enough to let her and her bike get through, then seal it shut, hiking down a hill to the main road to begin her pedle to school. "Princey is going to get a piece of my mind for not warning me about this..." Toph snarled as she pedaled.

Over in the palace, Zuko, Ursa, and Iroh were enjoying a lovely breakfast together. As Ursa picked up her tablet to read the news, after looking at the screen for a moment, her eyes narrowed in scrutiny, and then she dropped her spoon of oat meal and began to laugh hysterically.

"Mother, what's wrong?" Zuko asked, eyeing his mother warily as he bit into a piece of toast.

"Oh!...ahh...mmhhh...hahahahahaha...oh, my prince, the bad news is that information has leaked about your bride-to-be. Another bad news is that...oh...that they've taken an improper picture of your fiance earlier this morning" Ursa said trying to maintain composure, as she passed the device to Zuko.

There, Toph Bei Fong, donning on a button up cinnamaroll pajama top with the first two buttons unbuttoned, eyes squinting due to the combination of the lack of glasses, the quick exposure to sunlight, and the swollen-ness of sleep, with her hair in lopsided, long pig tails, and a slacked jaw to complete the ensemble. Zuko's eyes widened, and let out a small chuckle at this picture.

"Whoever leak this information must be awarded" Zuko thought as he smiled to himself. So absorbed in his thoughts of getting back at Toph due to the spying incident, Zuko didn't notice his uncle stand up and walked beside him to look at the picture himself.

"I see you like your fiance Zuko." Zuko heard his uncle say, and snapped back to reality.

"She is an strong willed and some what reckless person, I give her compliments for that. However, that strong will and recklessness might harm both the family and herself. She should have controlled herself, and contemplate on her actions before she went out like this" Zuko said smiling, then went off to get ready for school.

As Zuko got into the car, Ursa talked to Iroh in private.

"Toph is a very capable girl, and has the personality of a great future ruler. Do you think I'm putting that child into harms way by fufilling her wishes to be apart of our family, Iroh?" Ursa asked calmly as she sipped her tea.

"Even though the palace is a very dangerous and lonely place, Queen Ursa, I believe that this girl would persevere, and rise up to be a great ruler. She also has the potential of being happy here; she seems to capture the Crown Prince's attention without the prince himself realizing this..." Iroh trailed off as he too sipped his tea.

"I hope my son won't act so heartless as to not let Toph into his heart. She will be a better influence on him, and I hope he soon realizes that..." Ursa said, then stepped away to go about her duties.

"HEY YOU!" Toph called out as Zuko walked down a crowded hall way, with students pointing, staring, and starting a wild fire of conversations among the student body about both of them. Zuko ducked, and tried to ignore the girl, when suddenly he was pushed to a wall, with both hands pinned to the wall in a vice like grip, and her face merely inches away from his. To Zuko's surprise, Toph had a surprisingly strong grip for a small girl. Toph then leaned in and whispered; "Why didn't you tell me that the whole freaking press would be banging at my gate at five in the morning" Toph gritted, with eyes for daggers at him.

"It was not my fault that the information leaked." Zuko said venemously through a gritted smile. He noticed one of her hands loosen its grip on one of his hands, which he then used the spare hand to hoist Toph up on his shoulder like a sack of potatoes, and began to speak loudly: "Ah! Good Morning Tophy! Yes, I think you looked endearing in that picture. Now let's get you to home room! Excuse us every body! Hahaha" Zuko said with a gritted smile, and ran up the stairs, with Toph kicking, scratching at Zuko's back, and screaming "LET ME GO YOU NARCISSISTIC LIAR! I DON'T CARE ABOUT YOUR OPINIONS!".

"That's enough, honey." Zuko said menacingly as he seemingly "lightly" slapped her lower back playfully.

"Ouch! What was that for?" Toph yelled, angrily elbowing Zuko's head.

"Pay back, you little spy. Also for leaking about my rejection to the whole school" Zuko said grunting as he took her blows; after a while, he hoisted her down in front of her home room. "But I must admit, because of that picture, even though in some weird light my mother finds it endearing, I think we're even for" he said, giving her a fake smile before leaving. "See you later, brat"


"You already have me, fiance." Zuko cried out smugly.

"OH YOU MOTHER FU-" Toph was about to curse, until she felt three pairs of hands tug her into home room, and pushed her into her seat.

"Toph." Looking up, Toph saw a very angry Katara, Suki and Song staring at her with disdain. "Why didn't you tell us?" Suki started.

"I was going to but I..." Toph looked at the hurt and angry looks on her friends' faces.

She has a lot of explaining to do.

(A/N): I always imagined Ursa to be a lively sweet heart. Also...here is where the attraction some what begins. Hehehehe :)

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