AN:This is my work of many, many weeks of writing out an idea I had. It's completely written and the longest thing I've ever written, and I'm intending to update every week.
Pairing: Short Answer: Azula x Katara. Long Answer: Mai x Azula x Ty Lee meets Katara. This is an Azutara plot, but there are threesomes, foursomes and established Maizulee. Love and sex are shared between the four women so the Azutara is by no means exclusive. But, Azutara plot.
Warnings: Yuri, lemons, abuse (physical and sexual), slavery, mild violence and polygamy.
It is dark and silent in the beautiful bedroom.
The room smells of incense and the warm night breeze laced with Caldera's smog, and it is late, late in the summer night with a blue moon on the rise and the foreboding black palace overshadowed by the ridges of the caldera itself, stained blue by the nighttime shadows.
Katara is bound, gagged and blindfolded, but not with the thick ropes and chains she became used to as a slave. She is tied with silk, soft, red silk against her smooth, dark skin. She is not sure how it feels against her, and she does not like not being able to see. The second thoughts come and go, but she knows she has no choice.
She tugs slightly on the scarves and is assured that they are tightly knotted to the bed. The scarves will burn easily, and Katara imagines that they will burn. They will burn bright blue.
Consummation. Adaptation. Assimilation.
A long, sharp fingernail makes a slow trail of tingling pleasure up the inside of Katara's thigh. And then it digs in, sharp pain that brings a wicked smirk to the rosy lips of the woman completely ready to dominate her.
Consummation. Adaptation. Assimilation.
Chapter One: Royals Bleed Too
The same day a twelve year old girl is taken from the Southern Water Tribe is the same day a twelve year old princess learns that she is dying. The princess is trying to detach herself from what she is hearing, the same cold, analytical thoughts she uses to cope with everything else in her life. But Azula is not stupid; she can hear them talking even though they murmur, "I don't want to alarm her... she's so young..."
Azula clasps her hands over her stomach as she listens in on the conversation with her father. She is in her bedroom, a few uncomfortable doctors refusing to make eye contact with her. She lies in her bed, feeling worse than she has after any training injury or illness.
It has been months of this, and, at last, there is a conclusive diagnosis. And prognosis, which is fairly grim.
And Ozai is livid. Absolutely livid. His wife first, then barely a year ago his son was disgraced and banished, and now Azula, not her. He will not lose her.
"She has several years," the waifish doctor talking to Ozai says as calmly as she can.
"She's twelve," Ozai snarls in response and Azula can hear the sharp breath of the doctor.
"She'll probably make it past twenty, if all goes well," the mousy doctor says and Ozai clenches his fist.
"I wouldn't call that going well," Ozai says, trying to control his breathing. He won't outlive his daughter; there is no way he can. And what about an heir? is the nasty thought he hates that he has. Now that he banished Zuko...
Azula contemplates her course of action and finally summons the energy to shout, "Can you please come here, father? I'm..." scared.
She does not know if she will get what she wants as she looks at the uncomfortable doctors in the room. The argument outside of the room silences and Ozai walks back into Azula's room, looking disheveled. More than he has been in the entire past three years of mess since Azulon's death.
"All of you out," Ozai orders and none of the doctors need to be told twice. At last, it is quiet and they are alone. "You'll be okay."
Azula just hesitantly shakes her head. And in a cold, detached tone she says, "You have no need to lie to me, father. I'm strong and you've raised me to be. I'm not afraid."
And then she bursts into tears.
Many miles away, a long cart's ride from the merchant city on the Eastern Islands of the Fire Nation, Katara looks around, scared and uncomfortable in her new clothes. Her hair is combed into the styling of the Fire Nation and her heart is racing.
"Your owner is coming," says the woman whom smells like the Fire Nation raiders who took her smelled. She wonders if all people in the Fire Nation have that scent; nice, pleasant, but it burns the nose somehow. Strong, aromatic, and to Katara, utterly unpleasant.
Her owner arrives and Katara is grateful that it is an old woman. She looks like Gran-Gran! But Katara knows it isn't how it seems. She may be young, but the black snow and red tide have come enough times for her to be wary of these people. First they took her mother, three years ago, and the raids supposedly stopped; Azulon was dead.
But they came again. And this time, Katara was taken, yet, no one seems aware she was a waterbender; they were looking for children, and they took five. Not Sokka, though. Not Sokka...
"Hello, Katara," the old woman says warmly, extending a weathered hand. Katara is nudged in the back by the slaver woman and Katara takes her hand. "My name is Hama, and I'm very happy to meet you."
Katara offers a hopeful smile.
Four years later, Katara fights back when they take her, because she was taught to never stand down and to always fight for what is hers. She screams, rips water from vases, from the air, from everywhere she can reach in the small beautiful house in the placid Fire Nation town she was raised in.
"Slave," the soldiers called her, with every degradation involved on their tongues, in their tone. That set Katara off.
She has never been treated like a slave in her rural, central island village. Of course, she was not sent to school and expected to bow to authority a little more, but Hama raised her to have a backbone, and Katara had the spirit in her from birth, Hama had said more than once.
They tried to take Katara from her home, but the woman who bought her gave her a home away from home.
That was the twist; Katara has been raised by Hama for her entire life, but she is not here. She is not here and Katara needs her more than ever. But it is when she finds herself in pain and nearly immobile her arms twisted on their own to fit into handcuffs, when she realizes the sting of betrayal.
"I'm sorry," Hama says softly as Katara is pushed into the terrified soldiers hands. "You have what you want, now leave me." And she pauses as Katara can only stare at her in shock. "Good luck, Katara. Remember the first thing I taught you."
One soldier shakes his head at the ramblings of an old woman, and they take Katara from her. Katara does not cry and she does not show her fear or pain. She will fight and she will escape before they take her to prison.
Hama told her about where they lock up waterbenders... and Katara would rip the heart from every person in the Fire Nation before she would be taken.
"What prison am I going to?" Katara demands, narrowing her wide cobalt eyes and trying to think of the ones Hama listed occasionally.
"Not any prison. You're going to Assimilation," the soldier on the left says with a sadistic little smile.
And Katara is left to wonder just what Assimilation is.
And to wonder why Hama did that to her, after all of her loathing for the Fire Nation.
After Katara thought she was loved.
Katara finds out what Assimilation is the next day, after falling asleep in the prison cart after going over Hama's last few words in her head over and over. She sees herself in the meadow of firelilies, watching them bloom as a young girl and breathing in their aroma before they were blackened.
The waterbender was only thirteen when she learned the true reality of what it meant. She had been with Hama for a little while before she started training her in waterbending. At first, it was confusing. Hama made her food and showed her to her room, which was not the cage Katara was expecting.
"You're not to do work for me. I bought you because I always wanted a child, and I never had one," Hama says and Katara looks at her, wondering why she opted for a slave instead of adoption. Hama answers that unasked question with, "And I wanted to save someone from the Fire Nation. That someone is you. Now wait here."
Katara quietly obeys, sitting at the table and trying to make her feet touch the cold stone floor. It is so hot in the Fire Nation and she is not used to it at all. Hama at last returns with a comb.
A Water Tribe comb.
Katara tries to remember the terms of her first enslavement, but she was so young that it's difficult to manage since Hama never treated her as a slave. The information would probably be helpful if she could only remember it. But then she is torn out of the cart and into the blinding sunlight. She squints and can already tell she is no longer in the small town she was raised in, and definitely nowhere near her place of birth at the South Pole. She is put in handcuffs and one soldier holds out a canteen of water.
"Hold her, will you, Lee?" he demands, pushing it forward towards Katara's dry, cracked lips.
She knows she needs it, but she cannot help but find the way it pours down her throat and is ripped away degrading. After she coughs and finishing swallowing the water, she looks at her surroundings. On the steps of a beautiful yet foreboding building, guarded by a wall and in view of the... the palace. Katara has seen it drawn before, and she can see it from just over her left shoulder.
It looks more like a fortress than a place for royals to live lavishly like deities.
"They aren't deities, Katara," Hama says as she pours her new daughter a cup of tea. "The royals bleed just like you and me."
"Why am I here?" Katara asks sharply and a hand collides with her face.
"You speak when spoken to," snarls the woman whom has just walked up from behind the soldiers clutching Katara and taken the time to smack some sense into the girl. "Didn't you learn that? You were sold when you were twelve, I believe?"
"Yes," Katara replies, trying not to sound indignant. While Hama held contempt for the Fire Nation and raised Katara to one day destroy it, she quickly taught Katara that she had to be respectful to authorities or risk reeducation and indoctrination programs.
"I'm sure you would like to know why you've been taken," the intimidating woman says, and she waves her hand for Katara to be brought inside. The woman rummages in her purse and withdraws a few silver pieces for the soldiers, who accept their tip and leave Katara in the slightly cooler building.
"Yes," Katara answers.
"I work with a very noble cause," she begins, clearly taking pride in her job. Which is probably, Katara thinks, disgusting. "Instead of locking prisoners of war from the Earth and Water Nations and insurgents within the Fire Nation up, we... polish them and put them back into the mainstream. They marry loyal Fire Nation people, have children, and live lives free of such violence and rebellion."
"Why me?" Katara whispers, expecting to get hit again. But the woman just nods.
"There aren't many Water Tribe people in the Nation at all. A handful of prisoners of war at the Boiling Rock, but the South Pole has run dry as a resource and the north is far too heavily guarded. So we've been tracking down as many slaves who were sold from the South Pole as we can."
"You happen to be our first," the woman says with a proud smile.
What an honor, Katara thinks sarcastically.
Meanwhile, Ty Lee is touching a glass to Azula's lips and hoping the princess does not breathe fire all over her in response. Mai is in the bath, still, and Ty Lee is attempting to get Azula to drink something.
"Your lips are cracked and bleeding," Ty Lee whispers and Azula just averts her eyes. Ty Lee gently brushes her soft fingertips along Azula's sore, chapped lips and that makes the princess swallow.
She sits up slightly, her back aching as she does, and drinks the water. Ty Lee smiles faintly and sits down beside her wife, making patterns on the blankets atop of Azula's legs. They are bony. Toned from her firebending; she refuses to miss training even if it kills her, to even Ozai's dismay, but he does not stop her and Mai and Ty Lee are in no place to either, and they are the closest thing to peers after Ozai.
"I don't want to get up today," Azula says softly as she stares at the glass.
"You don't have to," Ty Lee replies and Azula contemplates snapping at her but knows it is futile and does not have the energy. "I was trying to convince Mai to come with us and we could go get new clothes for that party but we don't have to."
"Of course we don't have to. Because I decide, and I've currently decided against getting out of my bed," Azula purrs regally and even her frail form and the perpetual dark circles under her eyes do not detract from her embodiment of Fire Nation royalty.
Ty Lee knows she is also Fire Nation royalty, but she feels more like a dressed up poodle-monkey in a crown half of the time. And Mai does not pull off being a princess any better.
Their marriage is of an intriguing nature. They all were interested in each other, in the way that brewing hormones in a small environment of only women would be. Mai was intended to be wed to Zuko, but that didn't work out. She and Ty Lee had prowess in combat, well blooded, and were close to Azula. So close that they spent a good deal of time caring for her in the vulnerable moments she would not let anyone see, and, therefore, a marriage was made.
Azula will not be able to bear children, which only made the need for an heir more desperate. And it is funny how, in the end, Azula's worst predicament gained her one good thing: the ability to marry for love and not be forced to wed some man to pump a child into her.
Mai and Ty Lee, however, know what will eventually happen to at least one of them. A legitimate heir by way of loopholes and loose interpretations. All in the guise of providing Azula's happiness, because that is how Fire Lord Ozai is and that is how Fire Lord Ozai works.
Ty Lee, with a small swallow and tiny breath of preparation, continues, "And you're supposed to go to that meeting today but─"
"You're not a very good listener, are you?" Azula snarls in response, lying back down and closing her eyes. "I said I wasn't getting out of bed today."
"What hurts?" Ty Lee asks, not in the prying tone of one of Azula's horrible nannies who replaced her mother, or the worse doctors who try to prolong her life obsessively. It sounds like she genuinely cares and that just makes Azula want to throttle her. "I can try to help."
"Everything," Azula admits before sighing. "My legs are awful."
Ty Lee's eyes glitter slightly and Azula has always wondered why she so desperately wants to be helping. Azula does not know if it is love or something else misplaced, but she knows that relationships are utterly futile when she has at best five years left of her life.
"Well, that I can help with," Ty Lee declares, offering a bright smile that Azula cannot comprehend.
She moves her fingers, the path of chi memorized for combat, now used to help the one she loves. It does ease Azula's pain, for a little while at least.
Azula makes it to the war meeting; Mai and Ty Lee make it to shopping.
"Okay, this one or this one or the fifth one..." Ty Lee says, examining the elaborate robes as Mai watches, completely and utterly bored, flicking a knife open and closed and making the seamstress almost as nervous as if Azula were here. "Are you even paying attention to me?"
Mai looks up. "Second one," Mai says halfheartedly. They all look the same to her.
"I don't know if I like or hate political events," Ty Lee says casually and Mai just shrugs.
"I hate them, personally," Mai replies and Ty Lee giggles as if it is a joke.
Mai just rolls her eyes.
"Careful! If you do that again it will be the last time you hold a brush because you will no longer have hands," Azula snaps as Mai yanks the hairbrush too forcefully. Mai's eyebrow twitches and her lips move to snarl at her wife, but she decides it is not worth it. Azula readjusts on Mai's lap, her bones pressing against Mai uncomfortably.
"You're even more of a baby about this than Ty Lee," Mai whispers into her ear and Azula just rolls her golden eyes.
Ty Lee is currently asleep, knocked out instantly as usual, as Azula is mostly undressed and demanding that Mai brush out her hair, which is somehow impossibly tangled after only a single day. Perhaps the bending training, or something. She does not look well and her body is much more tender than she likes it to be.
"You're terrible at it," Azula replies quietly, picking at her fingernails.
"I know," Mai says flatly, tugging the brush through again. "This party tomorrow is going to suck, isn't it?"
"Probably," Azula replies as she shrugs. "It's for some dumb assimilation project. Pet project of one of my least favorite of these useless politicians. I think it's utterly pointless, personally, but we'll show our support..."
Mai, not wanting to discuss any more, kisses Azula's neck and the princess is silent save for a small moan. Her skin is soft, smooth and warm against Mai's lips. There is a small rush of electricity that is not lightning and Mai sets down the brush gently on the vanity table. Azula takes her wrist and guides her hand to her inner thigh.
"Fuck me," Azula breathes, the situation shifting more quickly than Mai can fathom. Without waiting for response, Azula takes Mai's hand and slides it up, up, up along her skin.
Mai likes the sensation of Azula against her, but she always feels, although she refuses to show it, a bit afraid that she will do something wrong and wind up hurting her. Azula is stunningly powerful when bending or when in the few war meetings Mai has witnessed, but when she looks at her in the mirror, in her underwear, she looks so tired and fragile.
Her bones protrude, her skin is sallow, but Mai does feel the fire of arousal that she cannot entirely control.
Azula turns around as she realizes that Mai is hesitant, and straddles her. Her lips press against Mai's, fiercely, grasping for control, biting and sucking until they bleed. Mai is so close to quiet, so close, but not quite. A few moans swallowed by Azula, whom just presses harder into her.
They are stumbling towards the bed after a few frustrating moments of trying to navigate the position they were in. Azula's underwear is gradually disappearing and Mai is still in shreds of her nightclothes. Azula falls on her back and lies down as Mai kisses her clavicle, and then allows her lips to stray down Azula's naked body.
The princess's fingers are wrapped in Mai's raven hair when she is thrust into utter bliss and then feels so weak, so drained. More drained than she was when her father demanded her to be taken back to her chambers instead of finishing the day of war meetings.
But this is not the kind of drained that makes her angry. It just makes her... numb.
Pleasurably numb, almost. But not quite.
And Mai silently notices before attempting to help Azula beneath the blankets, to which the princess elbows her away and slides herself in. Without looking back, Azula wraps herself around Ty Lee, as if it is such a punishment for Mai's reflex to help a girl who did not look like she could easily get up by herself.
And then they sleep in silence.
Two days later, Katara wakes up in her uncomfortable bed in the house where she is being prepped for her debut. She is dressed, although she tries to do it herself. They make her feel helpless intentionally, even though Katara knows she is not helpless.
And Katara has no problem telling them that she is not helpless.
"She's indignant and has no clue of her place," says Lin, the disdainful woman in control of Katara, in utter disgust as Katara simply sits and stares. "She's not ready for a debut. She's not broken."
The leader of the assimilation project, Minister Zan, is not pleased with that response.
"Everyone else is ready, and she is the most important selling point of my reveal," Minister Zan says sharply and Katara looks at her feet.
"She's not ready," Lin replies, slowly shaking her head. But Minister Zan has no patience for that.
"She will attend the party tonight, as planned."
"I can't do it," Azula admits quietly, and she looks about ready to burn the entire palace to ashes. Ty Lee gulps timidly at that soft assertion. "Not tonight."
The party is starting in four hours and Azula is nearly halfway prepped, but she yanked herself away from her servants and sat down on the crimson chaise lounge.
"It's not like it matters anyway," Mai says and Ty Lee nods feverishly.
As if summoned by Azula's moment of weakness, in walks the Fire Lord himself. Servants bowing, Mai and Ty Lee bowing, quite deeply. Azula does not move and he looks at her with this glint in his golden eyes that she has grown to utterly despise.
"I don't want to do it anymore, father," Azula dares to say at thirteen after endless doctors, healers and all in between. "There's no helping and I can't... if I'm going to die, I'm going to die."
That enrages him and she sees something on his face that she has not since the day of Zuko's banishment. He grabs her by her hair and she bites on her lip to keep from screaming. Be brave, be strong, be the heir to an empire of blood and conquest.
"You will not die," he growls into her ear, his hot breath uncomfortable against her neck. "Do you understand me? And if I hear you say a word of it again... you will not like the results."
"Yes, father. Forgive me, please," Azula says with genuineness in her tone, despite it being such a lie.
"Are you sick?" Ozai demands of Azula and she closes her eyes. He can tell she is too proud to admit it, particularly to him, and so he quickly makes his decision. "You two will come in her place," Ozai says, turning to the two other royals in the room, and Mai and Ty Lee do not object. Ty Lee's eyes linger on Azula, however, and both Mai and Ozai can tell she wants to stay with her. "If she needs to rest, she needs to rest. I'm sure the smart one of you two at least knows the scripts for the night."
"Well invade the fucking Northern Water Tribe and bring me their benders," demands Fire Lord Ozai and he immediately realizes how insane he sounds. Not at all like the cold leader of a nation should.
Azula is more unfazed by her illness than he is. She stares at death without a trace of fear in her face, and he does not know if she counts the days like he does. Very few people know of Azula's illness, save for three close advisors and her doctors and caretakers, and those two girls constantly clinging to her.
"We do intend to conquer to the Northern Water Tribe but first we need to focus on the Earth Kingdom," says the bolder of the two advisors Ozai is addressing.
"I know," Ozai says, slowly shaking his head.
But only the waterbenders have a chance at healing Azula. That is what he has been told, and it might as well be a miracle after Azulon wiped out all of the benders they had access to.
There are no more waterbenders living, imprisoned or in the South Pole. And therefore, Azulon decides to screw over his younger son even in death.
Ozai has Azula helped out of the room although she resents it.
The party smells of exquisite food, scented candles and the perfumes of a hundred noblewomen. Mai completely hates it as she tries to dodge any prying questions and keep up with Ozai's plans for the night. Ty Lee has wandered away from her, much to Mai's chagrin, but she honestly does not care at this point.
"And where is her majesty?" asks Councilwoman Rei, glancing around the party in search of the well spoken and popular princess.
"She's, uhm," Ty Lee says, her eyes widening.
And an arm wraps around her waist, saving her from the discomfort. "She's occupied with war things tonight. I'll tell her you said hello," Mai says calmly, her lack of intonation making her lies nearly as plausible as Azula's.
Ty Lee is so grateful as Councilwoman Rei is gone, and she kisses Mai passionately on the lips. It sends a pleasurable surge through both of them.
Katara watches from across the room, intrigued by the two girls who are clearly together, and who wear crowns of royalty. But neither of them is Princess Azula, of that Katara is certain. They kiss each other and it seems that they generally like each other, which is more than Katara can say for most of the couples around her.
"It's time; it's time," Lin says into Katara's ear, seizing her and taking her to sit in front of everyone.
Katara looks up and can see Fire Lord Ozai, and the two girls she had been studying while Lin told her she was not allowed to interact with anyone (even when they were poking at her and marveling at her strange features). He is sitting beside her and they are slightly elevated above the crowd.
She tunes out most of his speech; it is self indulgent and nationalistic and everything Hama told Katara to despise. And then it happens so quickly; a knife from the endless buffet tables flying at her, at her face, a projectile from across the room.
Quickly, she seizes the water from her glass, not thinking about the fact that it will reveal her as a waterbender and give her a death sentence, and she cleaves the knife in half with her bending, watching it clash to the floor.
There is stunned silence, including from Katara. The man who tried to kill her is tackled, and Fire Lord Ozai slowly turns to her as Lin looks frantically trying to formulate a response.
Katara cannot explain the look in his eyes as he brings his own knife down on her hand. She screams and ─
Panic surges through Katara's veins as she looks at the awed faces of the patrons, once terrified and now completely transfixed by the blue glow, and how time seems to have slowed down. She did not intend to do that, she did not intend to heal the gaping wound on her hands and she is fairly certain that she should not have. She was already exposed as a waterbender, yes but...
Hama explained rudimentary healing to her, once Katara showed an innate talent for it. Katara was a prodigious healer, as Hama told her, but she never progressed and was never taught more than the basics. Her mentor did not seem to think it was important.
But she sees one of the two princesses whispering to the other, and then looks at Lin's wide eyes, and the thick hand on the knife of the man who cut her. Everyone sees. Katara has no way to fight and no place to hide.
When Katara is seized by the wrists, she is expecting it to be a guard, or Minister Zan or Lin, but when she looks up, is the Fire Lord himself, who had just stabbed her and now is grabbing her, which does not bode well. The party is almost silenced as he drags her away, and she does hear the music awkwardly restart as she winds up in the cold, shadowy corridor.
"You're a waterbender," the Fire Lord growls and Katara tries to swallow but cannot. "Answer me, girl!" He shakes her and she snaps into alertness.
"Yes," Katara says, deciding to say no more to him than is necessary.
"No one informed me that there were even any waterbenders left alive in this country or yours," Ozai says and Katara prepares to fight, thinking he is about to kill her. "And if you would like to remain alive, I have an offer for you."
He tightens his grip on Katara's wrists and she whimpers as he takes her down the hall.