The tone of the young woman before him made his remaining eyebrow go up in surprise. He didn’t think he was particularly rude to someone who’d darted in front of him with no warning, but he wasn’t really in a mood to judge. “Okay,” he said slowly, looking down at her, trying to figure out if he’d seen her before.
She was vaguely familiar, but Zuko couldn’t place her. Rather, he felt he might have been able to figure out where he knew her from if he wasn’t nearly dead on his feet. He’d agreed to help his uncle run the shop this year, so between that and a full load of classes, there weren’t enough hours left in the night for him to get as much sleep as he should. He shifted the stack of books he held beneath one arm, feeling the limb start to ache a little.
It was because of that creeping exhaustion that he let out a resigned breath. It was obvious that she didn’t want to be seen by someone from the darting of her gaze beyond him, but Zuko didn’t feel like beating around the bush that evening.
“Listen,” he told her once her attention came back to him. “I’ve got to check out these books for the evening, and they’re not getting any lighter. Why don’t you keep ‘just standing’ behind me while I do that, and then we can both get out of here?”