Author's Note: Hey guys! I'm still alive don't worry but I've been busy as usual. Again, I'm sorry for the long wait but thankfully my Beta was able to make time to read this chapter. Yay!
I know you guys are all eagerly wondering when Azula will tell Zuko of the baby but there has to be patience! I have it all planned out perfectly in my head of how I want it to go. So, enjoy all the teasing until then ; ) That is motivation enough to get me going on the next chapter already. I have also noticed you guys wondering if I will include Iroh and/or Ursa in the mix. The answer is yes. (Spoilers...? Kinda?) When that will be is not known but it won't be any time soon. This is going to be a long story. *Braces self*
Again, thank you guys so much for reading and reviewing this story. I very much enjoy the comments! It's a real treat and keeps me motivated. Besides my love for the Fire Sibs of course ; )
Aang's stormy grey eyes sought out Katara's bright blue ones as they descended on Appa's back into the Royal Garden. Evening casted an orange glow upon the Capital. Under a blossom tree by the pond, Katara practiced her Water Bending. Her body moved through each stance perfectly but it did nothing to show for how much of a master she was to her element in combat. It was truly amazing that this was the same person who had sought him out for a Water Bending master years ago. Little did they both know that it was him who would be calling her Master Katara while she helped him perfect his Water Bending.
Katara's head turned up to look at them as Appa let out a bellow for a greeting. Her smile made his heart pound. The thought that he would be proposing to her a month from now was surreal. They have come so far together and now they would be traveling the rest of their journey side by side as husband and wife. He couldn't wait.
Once Appa landed, Aang jumped off to greet her. Hoisting her up into a hug, he twirled her around once. Her laugh made him grin "I've missed you."
Katara smiled, just as happy to see him "I missed you too honey." She placed a gentle kiss on his lips, peace immediately washing over, driving her stress away. Taking care of Azula was more than she wanted to handle. Once he set her down she asked "How did the search go?"
Sokka sighed, as he walked over to join them. "Not as well as we would've liked…They've left no trace of themselves anywhere in the Capital. Whoever they are, they know what they're doing and now…" he clenched his fists "I may have just ruined our chance of surprise."
Katara frowned, hating to hear the defeat in her brother's voice "What do you mean?"
"What he means is we may have unintentionally given ourselves away." Suki said, lacing her hand in his for comfort. "We talked to a guy that directed us to a dead end. He said there was a hideout but we found nothing. He could have thought he saw something or mislead us purposefully."
"I hate to say this but...we can't trust anyone in the Capital can we?" Ty lee asked. She didn't like not trusting her own people but anyone could be plotting Zuko's death. One of those seemingly innocent smiles she had seen today could have hidden malicious intent. Then again she hadn't encountered any aura that led her to be suspicious.
"I agree with the Pink Parade. There's too much risk going out and interrogating people. Anybody can lie easily if they're good enough." Toph spoke up, remembering how Azula had lied straight to her face years ago without missing a beat.
"Well, did anyone lie to you?" Katara asked, finding it hard to believe.
"If they did, I would have said something" Toph snorted, crossing her arms. "If I had been with Sokka and Suki then I could have been able to tell if that guy was lying."
Aang didn't like where this was heading and decided to speak "We can't stop trusting people because of fear. We have to give the benefit of the doubt." Doing that was bound to create chaos and he was sure that this group would take full advantage of that.
"Aang's right." Zuko had been silently listening to them converse. He was unsure what to do next and his instinct to go check up on Azula was far stronger than worrying over his own life. "I won't start mistreating my people because I don't know who is a part of this group. It's not fair to them. We'll just have to figure something else out."
Aang smiled, feeling proud of his best friend's wise judgment. "Don't worry Zuko, we'll find them. It'll just take longer than we thought."
"Does that mean we're done for today?" Toph stretched, desiring to go practice her metal bending. On top of that, she wanted to find out what was going on between the Fire Siblings. From what she got from Ty lee, they were fucking each other senseless. Snooping around would pass the time.
Zuko nodded his head, itching to be near his sister and away from prying eyes. "Yes. I'll see you guys for dinner tonight." When they all dispersed, he faced Katara whom stood beside Aang "How is she?"
Katara swallowed the truth on her tongue. It was the Princess's place to tell of her pregnancy, not her, even though she was sure it would make her life easier. "Azula's doing better. She managed to keep her meal down today but she's still not feeling well."
Zuko felt nervous, wondering how his sister could have fallen ill in the first place "Will she get better?"
"Of course Zuko." She smiled placing a comforting hand on his shoulder "Relax. Azula just has a small bug. She'll be better in no time with the right amount of rest."
Zuko felt relief wash over him "Thanks Katara. I knew I could trust you." With that said he walked off into the palace, leaving her and Aang behind.
"Are you ok Katara?" Aang asked softly. He knew Katara was unhappy about taking care of Azula but he had a feeling there was more to this situation than she was letting on. He knew that his girlfriend was keeping a secret from him that he wasn't allowed to hear. So far, he had been respectful of her space but he hoped she would indulge him soon "You haven't been yourself since yesterday when we arrived."
Katara turned to him, hating how this was going to complicate their relationship further. As if traveling wasn't enough, now they would have to be apart for a while "No, I'm not. Aang, I have to talk to you about Azula."
Zuko hesitated outside Azula's bedroom. He felt apprehensive upon seeing her again. The last time he was with her, she was so weak she hardly had the strength to stand. His gut twisted with those thoughts but Katara had reassured him that all was well. With their shared connection, Azula was sure to know he was on the other side of this door as he certainly new she was in there. He needed to know why he had this sudden urge to be by her side, hold her close, and make sure that she was well protected. Yes, it was concerning of this new rebellious group within the walls of their very city but it was not those men in the shadows that had him on edge. It was what lay beyond this door and seemed to reside in his sister.
He took a calming breath before letting himself in, not bothering to announce his arrival figuring she must already know. Once inside, his eyes immediately sought out the bed but she was nowhere to be seen on it. His heart soared a little. This was a good sign. If she is up and about then she must be feeling better.
He made his way to her spare room, smiling when he saw her stretched out on the couch. He thought for a moment that she was asleep with how relaxed she looked. Her eyes opened, however, to prove that she was well aware of him standing on the other side of the room. "I was wondering when you'd come inside to see me." She turned her head to look at him, smiling softly.
Zuko felt his inner fire flare in response to the calling of hers. Even if Azula didn't say anything, he knew that she was relieved to see him. If they were in the same vicinity of one another, that spark of fire within practically screamed even though it was a soundless tune that only they understood. With his heart beating steadily faster, he approached her, eager to forget today's failures.
Azula sat up to make room for him. She couldn't help but feel at peace now that he was home with her and not out risking his life. Once again, she felt anger at her situation but it couldn't be helped. It was only going to get more complicated from here. "So, how did it go?" Azula questioned and Zuko sighed in response, telling her all she needed to know.
He sat down next to her "Not as well as we thought it would. We split up to cover more ground, asked people if they had witnessed anything strange, but there was no trace. Not one person saw anything, so now we're back to square one."
"Well, what did you expect dum-dum" Azula shook her head with disapproval, a little annoyed "Chances are that you talked to at least one of them, giving them a head start to be more careful. It was risky going out there today but I suppose it couldn't be helped. You had to take action somehow but I advise being more discreet next time. If you had talked with me about this in the first place instead of last minute then we could have formulated a more efficient plan."
Zuko bit back a sharp retort, still frustrated on how all their snooping around amounted to nothing. The worst thing is that he knew she was right. He should have included her instead of keeping her away "You don't think I know that? We went in disguise and tried to be as vague as possible. Sokka did manage to get some information but it led to nothing."
Azula tilted her head slightly. So, the Water Tribe Warrior was more capable than she thought. Beyond that goofy personality, was a mind that could create tactics and investigate properly. She should give the man more credit but still, Zuko said that it had led to nothing "What did he find out?"
"He was able to get information out of a man who told him he had seen strange activity near the out skirts of town by the old dragon statue built for Uncle Iroh. He said that he had seen men there gathering, so we took a wild guess that there could be an entrance to their hideout. When we turned up though, we couldn't find anything." He ran his right hand through his hair as he stared across the room and into the fireplace where soft embers glowed. What could he have done differently today to have made any progress? No matter how many times he looked through their plan, nothing would have changed.
Azula frowned "That man could have been with them, purposely throwing all of you off course." She had a bad feeling that this misstep was only going to come back and bite them. With an unknown threat to Zuko's life lurking around, she felt she had to be on high alert in order to protect him. A faint warm pulse vibrated from her womb, reminding her of what else was at stake: their relationship and the baby that he knew nothing about.
"I know…" Zuko replied with defeat. He was just glad to be back at home with her. "To be honest, I'm more scared for you than myself. If our relationship ever got out to the public or to this group even, then who knows what they'll try to do."
"I'm well aware but for now we're safe." Unconsciously, she laid her free hand upon her stomach in a gentle caress. Should she tell him now? She observed the tense look in his face and how anger seemed to burn within his eyes. Grabbing his hand, she pulled it towards her mouth, kissing the back gently. She was eager to put his mind at ease as well as her own. Would this news push them apart or bring them together? She was scared of the answer. No matter how much you think you may know someone, their true nature never reveals itself unless there is a risk to their way of life.
Zuko was confused at her immediate change but didn't dare stop her as she kissed each of his fingers. The rhythm of his heart picked up as his curiosity heightened all other senses. This caused him to remember their first kiss clearly and how it had started out just like this. Her flaring inner fire made it hard for him to pinpoint the origin of what chaos was brewing in her mind. He could tell something was off but the more she tended to him, the less he cared to know.
She paused in her gesture, controlling her own breathing but just barely. "There is nothing you can do about what happened today. You and I can plan out what to do next together. We're a team after all aren't we?" Just like Katara and Aang… She hated feeling any sort of doubt in her life. It was uncomfortable to not know what future their relationship faced. With this secret of hers, it made it all the more unpredictable. One side of her screamed at her to tell him the truth and the other forced her to stay quiet. Katara told her she would know when the time was right but every second spent with this knowledge was a burden she felt she could only bare alone.
Zuko could sense how unsure she was. She was scared for their relationship but why was that? "Azula…" he reached over with his other hand to gently tuck her raven hair behind her ear. "We are a team. No matter what we may go through, whatever hell we have to face, it will always be together. Nothing could ever tear us apart."
Azula smiled, "It makes me happy to hear you say that…far more than you know." She kissed his fingers again, taking each one into her mouth. No, now was not the time to tell him. She didn't want to burden him with this, at least not yet. She would carry the weight of this for both of them until the time was right. She stopped, allowing her fingers to lace with his "How about we forget about today, at least for a few hours."
Zuko hesitated for a moment, "Are you feeling well enough? You were really sick this morning." he didn't want to push her unless she felt she could. He got a sense that she was feeling better, as if her sudden illness this morning hadn't happened at all. How drastic a change it was from this morning... it only raised more questions. He felt her tense beside him, as if there was something she wanted to say but refused to "Is everything alright?"
Azula could practically see the gears in his head working at a fast pace, trying to put together what she hoped he never would. There was only one way she could think to distract him "You tell me" she said seductively as she climbed on his lap to straddle him. She knew she should be backing off from this. After all, she was supposed to be sick but she couldn't resist, not when they were alone. Besides, what better way to throw him off than to fill their obvious desire to feel connected? Taking his right hand, she guided it under her sleep robe until his fingers lightly touched the forbidden fruit between her legs. She needed him just as much as he needed her. Their calling to one another was deafening. An instinct neither could ignore nor wanted to.
"Azula, what are you trying to hide?" Zuko's voice was hoarse, fighting not to give in but it was near impossible when it came to her. What Azula wants, she gets. Since she was not able to seduce him last night, then she would achieve her goal today.
She leaned down to kiss him lightly on the lips, feeling confident that he wouldn't resist, she let go of his hand "The only thing I have been trying to hide is how much I want you to fuck me…" she whispered. She could feel him slipping into her control with ease. The more she pulled him away from the truth, the more time she had to plan what she would say to him. She gently grasped his head in her hands, her fingers tangled in his unruly hair as she rested her forehead against him "Just let go Zuzu…please." Her voice trembled slightly as she closed her eyes for a moment, forcing herself not to hold back as she often did "I need you."
And truly she did, in every sense of the word. She realized that what she was saying wasn't just a distraction from the truth. She needed him to be beside her always, even if their future wasn't going to be easy. He kept her grounded in a way that made her feel safe and secure. If the sturdy rock she stood upon was broken in any way then surely she would fall and possibly never get back up again. That's why it was hard for her to tell him the truth of their child…it could very well be the undoing of everything she worked so hard to have.
Zuko brushed aside her hair with his left hand "I think I can handle that…because the truth is I need you too." he whispered with affection as he tilted his head to capture her lips, slipping his fingers between her folds. Azula moaned softly, as he started to stroke her at a steady rhythm. He didn't know why she was so conflicted within but the more he pursued the farther away that reason for her behavior slipped away from him. He had to be patient with her. In due time, she would tell him.
Her pants and gasps made his heart race and his member throb. Her hips moved in smooth and precise motions. Everything about her was no short of perfection. He needed to see her move more, deciding to slip his fingers inside. He curled them just right to hit the spot he knew she loved so much. His sister moaned his name loudly, as one of her hands reached up under her robe to stimulate her breast, pinching and rolling her tit between her fingers while the other gripped his shoulder, her nails piercing his skin. The lacy silk of her robe slowly slipped off both shoulders. He started to breath heavily, watching this display of how his powerful sibling lost control, easily passing it over to him. To help her along he reached over to push the fabric aside so that he could take her other breast into his mouth, sucking her relentlessly.
"Yes Zuko…just like that…." Azula panted. His left hand had taken to grasping her waist beneath the robe. She felt heat against her skin where he touched her and that intensity increased her need more. His attention to her breast made her lose any sense of rational thought to be quiet. It all felt so good…she never wanted it to stop. In quick precision, she ripped off his shirt, tossing it aside, so that she could grasp his muscles anywhere she touched. Her hips started to jerk uncontrollably as his thumb circled her clit, his fingers curling every time they pumped into her. The feeling of ecstasy was intoxicating. At his rate he would make her cum before they had a chance to actually have sex. Zuko seemed to have the same idea as he pulled back, bringing both his hands to untie the sash around her robe but Azula had already read his mind.
He watched hungrily as she undid the knot, slipping her fingers under the fabric to allow it to slide slowly off her body. His eyes took in her beautiful figure, wondering again how he got so lucky. Pulling his fingers out, eager hands roamed her body, grasping both her breasts in his hands to squeeze them roughly. He kissed her shoulder, collarbone, all the way down to those luscious mounds. Again he took one in his mouth, sucking it gently while is right hand groped and massaged the other.
Azula had to bite back a yelp of pain in the way he handled her. She hadn't realized until now how sore her boobs were. Luckily it didn't last too long as his suckling alleviated some of the pain. Feeling consumed by pleasure, she forgot for a moment that this was how it all started. Their careless actions are what caused her to be pregnant but could she truly regret them? Reaching into his pants, she took hold of his erection, beginning to stroke up and down. He let out a groan of pleasure, causing her arousal to grow. Just seeing him in such bliss was enough to cause any trace of doubt upon their relationship to dissipate. He started to buck his hips in response to her touch, his right hand returning to between her legs to rub her gently, as he recaptured her lips. She let out a gasp of pleasure, refusing to falter in her own attention to his manhood. She could feel the pre-cum upon her hand, the slickness allowing her to increase speed. She sensed how turned on she was every time his fingers teased her. Her brother's touch was enough to drive her crazy as she slipped her tongue into his mouth, battling for control. He fought back with just as much passion but neither would give in only making their sense of longing for each other heightened.
Zuko didn't want to stop, feeling how close he was to releasing as he knew she must be too but he needed to be closer to her physically. This position just wasn't doing it. Zuko hoisted her up allowing her to wrap her legs around his waist. He carried her to the bed, his mouth never once breaking contact with hers. Laying her down, he kissed her neck, taking his time to make his way down to her stomach to between her legs. He slipped his tongue between her wet folds, her loud moan causing his cock to twitch with anticipation.
Her nails traced the muscles in his arms and up to his head so that she could grasp his hair, kneading it gently the more he ate her out. Her heart was hammering so loudly, beating against her ribcage with every flick of his tongue. "Oh, Zuko…" she moaned. Heat began to build within, spreading slowly throughout her body. The candle to her bedside suddenly flared blue and orange, as if taking up a mind of its own, casting shadows on the siblings as the light from outside darkened.
Zuko could tell she was ready, deciding to kiss his way up her stomach, chest, neck, and to her lips. Pulling back, he took off his own pants before positioning himself so that his cock teased her entrance. They kissed softly for a few moments, their hearts beating loudly as their inner fire flared together in sync. At this moment in time, it was just them embracing the serenity of their solitude. In both their minds, nothing mattered except being with each other.
Azula broke their kiss to gaze into his eyes, her hand brushing aside his unruly black strands from his face. The way she felt being around him was unlike any connection she could have felt in a life time. "I love you…"
Zuko smiled softly, loving whenever she spoke those words in such a gentle manner. He would never be able to get enough. He kissed her back, "I love you too."
With nothing left to say, he slowly entered her, both gasping with pleasure. Gradually he picked up speed, grasping the sheets above her head so that it looked as if he were caging her beneath him. The tightness of her slick walls around his cock made him groan. Azula wrapped her legs around him as he pumped into her, clawing his back. Heat and sweat filled the air, intoxicating them more. The candle on her bedside table and torches around the room lit up with orange and blue. Both siblings discarded any rational thought of being quiet. If anyone were to walk in on them right now, they would not even notice as they were too consumed by each other. Reaching their climax, the fire surrounding flared wildly, sparks escaping their finger tips as they gave in to each other.
Azula took deep breaths as she ran her fingers through his sweaty hair, laying his head down on her chest. Their heart beats synchronized as one, the flaring of their inner fire settling down to a pleasant ache. Nothing could truly compete with how whole she felt after having bonded her fire with Zuko's. She smiled, feeling a bit giddy "Well, I can't say I expected this to happen so soon." After how well she was doing this morning, the last thing she thought about was having sex.
Zuko chuckled, "Neither did I," he propped himself on his forearms. With his right hand he brushed her cheek softly. "I've almost forgotten what this feels like, to be this close to you."
Azula blushed lightly, smiling in amusement "It's only been a few days Zuzu."
"Yes, but it's not enough!" Wrapping his arms around her small frame, he rolled over so that she was on top of him. Azula laughed as he kissed her on the forehead. "I love that beautiful laugh of yours. I don't get to hear it enough."
Azula smirked playfully, feeling lighter as if the drama from yesterday was all but a dream "That's because you have to earn it."
"Oh really?" Zuko growled, his eyes gleaming with mischief.
To Azula's dismay, her brother started attacking the pressure points in her sides with his hands. She let out a yelp, struggling to get out of his grasp. She clamped her mouth shut in desperation to not give into what he wanted. Once again, she found herself beneath him. She tried to fight him off but his relentless tickling amounted to her being unable to defend herself. She let out a burst of laughter, "I fucking hate you!"
Zuko grinned, feeling triumphant but unwilling to stop "I know you do." He had to pull back a bit as her fist almost collided with his face. Her laughing only encouraged him to keep going, straddling her hips so that she couldn't move. Azula took the opportunity to bite his arm, refusing to let go. Zuko winced "It's gonna take more than a few bruises to make me stop!"
Azula let go as she gasped for air, managing to get a sentence out which sounded more like a plea "Zuko! I swear to Agni…if you don't stop I'll-!"
"You'll what?" Zuko asked, grasping both her wrists in his left hand to hold them above her head. He supposed he should give her a chance to beg.
Azula took rapid breathes before speaking "If you don't stop I'll burn your stupid excuse for a goatee off!" It was an odd mixture of hate and love she had for him right now. Being at his mercy drove her insane but getting the chance to spend this time with him countered that. She locked eyes with him, trying her best to stay serious in order to make sure he knew the threat was real.
Zuko narrowed his eyes, as he weighed the truth in her words "No you wouldn't…"
Azula smirked deviously "Are you willing to dance with the devil? Keep going and you'll find out." She pulled her wrists, feeling his grip tighten. She watched the struggle in his eyes: to give in or not to? He better choose wisely…
"I don't believe you." Zuko stated finally, using his right hand to tickle her sides. Azula squealed in indignation, twisting and turning to fight him off. How would she be able to burn off his facial hair anyways? With how indisposed she was at the moment it wasn't possible.
"Zuko stop!" She screeched, unable to do anything. In a sudden flash, her face twisted in pain, catching Zuko's attention. He stopped immediately, concern washing over him. Idiot! She might still not be feeling well! Azula gasped for air, catching her breath slowly. Zuko couldn't help but think he had hurt her. "Az, are you ok?"
His sister looked back up at him for a moment before grinning viciously, taking a quick breath to spew out a small flame to his goatee. Zuko gasped "AH! Azula what the fuck?!"
"I warned you!" She replied in a sing song voice, relaxing in his grip. Zuko didn't have a choice, letting her go to snuff out the blue flame. In that instant, Azula kicked him off of her, managing to overpower and pin him beneath her.
He glared up at her, annoyed that he had even risked her statement to be a bluff "Now look at it! It looks horrible!" The dark hair was charred, looking misshapen at a jagged angle. "Damn it Azula!"
"I think it's actually an improvement. You should thank me." In response, Azula leaned down to kiss him "You shouldn't have risked that dance Zuzu…" she whispered against his lips.
Zuko sighed in defeat "I've been dancing with the devil long before this. I have to say though, that it's actually addicting…" Reaching up with his hands, he pulled her down on top of him, capturing her lips.
Azula eagerly kissed him back. They're bodies were now pressed together, the glowing fire in the dark room swaying gently to their silent tune. She never would be able to get enough of him. Again it was the weakness she both hated and loved. A faint pulse from her womb made her smile but apparently Zuko had felt it too. He broke their kiss "Did you feel that?"
Azula tried her best to act indifferent, consciously aware of how heightened his senses were now that they had bonded "Feel what?"
Zuko's eyes flickered with confusion for a moment before shaking his head "Must have been my imagination."
She thanked Agni silently before replying "You've had a long day. You're most likely just tired. Between your friends, me and the capital under a silent threat, I am sure it's draining on you"
"Yeah, I suppose that must be it" That's when he remembered about the letter written to Mai. He didn't want to bring this up but now that she was in a fairly happy mood, he guessed it was the best time "Azula, there's something I have to talk to you about."
Azula stiffened at the change in his demeanor, reading the nervousness and hesitation on his face. This wasn't going to be good…Leave it to her brother to ruin a good mood. "What is it?" she asked, raising an eyebrow. Her tone held unconcealed suspicion.
Zuko took a deep breath, bracing himself for whatever response he would receive "Last night, after you fell asleep, I left to go to my room but a servant stopped me. She gave me a letter from Mai."
Azula stiffened, feeling immediate anger and jealousy "What does she want with you…?"
"Mai wants us to meet up to talk and find closure. She knows it's over but she thinks that we ended it badly. I don't disagree with her." He reached up to brush his sister's dark hair behind her ear but she jerked her head away. He sighed "It was wrong in the way I ended it, with lies and deceit. I want to break it off for good."
Azula felt a wall start to rise on instinct to block out any possible pain. She then remembered how Katara had told her about being one hundred percent open with each other, no matter what the topic is. In a relationship, it was a team effort. There was no room for secrets. What Zuko did now was putting trust in her to understand, the last thing she wanted to do was break it. "I see…and have you responded to her yet?" she asked quietly, forcing herself to not lash out.
Zuko felt relief that she wasn't throwing fire at him. He had expected her to yell but this was much more welcoming "Not yet. I wanted to talk to you about this first to make sure it was alright."
Azula felt her heart pound at the sincerity in his voice. He really was telling her the truth. "Thank you…that means a lot." She was silent for a moment "I'm actually impressed that you didn't hide from me."
Zuko swallowed hard, remembering his vision from earlier of their wedding. He knew in his heart that it was what he truly desired, even though it would be a long and difficult road to get there "I meant it when I said I would do anything to prove to you that you're the only one that matters. I want to spend the rest of my life with you."
Azula felt tears sting at the corners of her eyes but refused to let them fall. She knew that was what she wanted but to hear him confirm the same desires made their relationship real. It wasn't just an affair that they decided to get involved in that would die out later. What they had was a love she had longed to have all her life "You really want that…?"
Zuko reached up to cup her cheek, hoping she understood the depth of his love. "Of course I do. You're my soul mate Azula. If anything happened to you I'd be… lost..."
Azula closed her eyes as a tear streaked down her face. Shaking her head she whispered "You…are such an idiot." She smiled, before opening her eyes again.
"Are you complaining?" Zuko smiled as he replied, wiping the tear from her cheek.
"Not at all" she reached down to kiss him gently. She slid off him so that she lay beside him. He turned to wrap his left arm around her waist. She was silent for a moment "So, when does she want to meet?"
"I was going to say two days from now. I'd reply and send the letter later tonight." He said, quickly adding "If that's ok with you of course"
Azula smiled, glad that he was including her with this decision "Closure would be a wise decision. Yes, I agree."
Zuko felt happy that she had taken this well. He imagined meeting up with Mai, talking with her and saying his goodbyes. It would be tough but he knew that his former lover was not the one he wanted to be with. It had taken a few years to figure out that they weren't soul mates but he was glad that he found out now rather than when it was too late.
"I want to be there." Her amber eyes took on a spark of fire, thinking of the baby growing inside her and the future she desired with her brother. This conversation had to go perfectly and she knew Zuko had a tendency to falter "I will be going with you to meet up with Mai."
"Azula…I don't think that's such a good idea." Zuko thought about how that would go. There was either going to be a fight involving throwing knives and blue fire or at best, a few harsh words exchanged.
"This isn't up for discussion Zuko." Azula stated firmly. She knew she should trust him with this but Zuko's soft heart tended to lead him astray more often than not. She knew he had the best intentions but damn he could be stupid sometimes. "I won't speak unless I feel I have to. Just think of it as moral support…"
Zuko laughed with mild amusement "Right...being between two women who absolutely hate each other isn't a bad idea at all. I may as well just sign my will now."
Azula smirked, "So, if you die then I get the throne?" She tapped her finger on her chin as she glanced at the ceiling "Come to think of it…that may not be the worst case scenario…"
The Prodigy laughed, turning to face him once more "Relax Zuzu! As if I would ever let any harm come to you." She kissed him, hoping to ease her teasing. "I love you."
Zuko sighed, smiling as well "I love you too."
Aang followed Katara back into their Royal Suite. He could tell from her silence that this was serious. The only thing that changed recently was when they arrived here. This had to be about her involvement with taking care of Azula. He knew that the Princess was not an easy person to get along with. He didn't doubt that Katara had little patience anymore to deal with her.
He never really got to know Azula outside of the war. From what he had observed, she was still the same personality wise but there seemed to be a softness about her that let him know she had come a long way since going through therapy. She was really lucky Zuko was there to help her. If it weren't for her brother…who knows what may have become of her now.
Once inside their room, Katara closed the doors before turning to face him. This was going to be one of the hardest decisions in her life. It was surely to be a test of faith between them. She made eye contact with Aang, noticing that his eyes were deeply concerned and a bit worried. "Aang...there is a situation that has come up that we need to discuss. It is going to affect our relationship greatly but in the end, I will be doing what's right for another person."
Aang sat down at the end of the bed. He rested his forearms on his knees as his hands laced together. He smiled gently, hoping that would be able to ease her worries "I'm sure whatever it is can't be too bad. If it means helping someone else then I am all for it."
Katara took a deep breath to relax before continuing. It was comforting to know that Aang was willing to hop on board with this plan even though nothing had been said. He may change his mind once she had revealed the truth and she kind of hoped he would "What I am going to tell you must be kept secret. Can you promise me that?"
The Air Bender nodded his head "Of course. You know you can trust me with anything."
"Alright then here it goes…Azula isn't sick from some common stomach bug."
Aang lifted an eyebrow in confusion "Then what's wrong with her?"
"She's pregnant." Aang's eyes widened in surprise, his mouth slightly agape but she didn't wait for him to respond "I found out yesterday when Ty lee asked me to check Azula over after she had collapsed and threw up during their training session. I used my Water Bending to check her over. There wasn't any injury or ailment I could detect but there was no mistaking something was off. I felt a tiny spark within her body. It was faint but I knew it wasn't my imagination. I checked again to find that I could feel the baby's energy. Azula had no idea that she was pregnant at the time and I didn't know how to break the news to her. After dinner when she stormed off and I followed her, we got into an argument. That was when I told her she was expecting a child."
Aang exhaled slowly as he took to staring at the luxurious carpet, trying to take this all in. Azula being pregnant somehow felt ironic. He was sure that the Prodigy didn't take the news well. He himself had never expected her to ever become a parent. It just didn't seem to fit her intense personality but who was he to judge? "That's insane…" He paused for a moment. "Did she plan this?"
Katara shook her head "Azula was completely caught off guard. We talked about it earlier today when I came to check up on her. She has a boyfriend but he is away in the Earth Kingdom at the moment helping to rebuild. He doesn't even know."
"She told you that?" Aang asked, slightly shocked that Azula had opened up to Katara about her personal life. The Princess was usually reserved with everyone except Zuko. Then again, who did she really have to talk to about this situation? "Is she going to tell him?"
She shrugged "I don't know. I told her she should but her relationship isn't stable because of the distance and past relationship issues. Azula said she will but I am guessing it's still a while before she does."
"I'm going to assume that not even Zuko knows his sister is pregnant." Aang stated simply, thinking that Azula must want to keep this whole thing a secret until she could figure out a way to handle it.
"No, he doesn't. Even though he and Azula have mended their broken relationship, there's still a sense of mistrust. I know Sokka and I have kept secrets from each other but we always talked when we felt it was the right time. They may just do the same."
Aang nodded his head, not really knowing what that bond felt like as he had grown up with monks raising him. He was friends with the other Air Bender kids but…their relationship was strained due the revelation of him being the Avatar. He imagined that siblings wouldn't turn their backs on you no matter what. He had a good idea from being around the Water Siblings what that bond was like. "I hope she'll tell him soon. Zuko will want to help her through this. How far along is she?" Aang asked.
"She's two months. She'll be due late Spring early Summer." Katara answered quietly, getting to the point of this conversation. "This is what I wanted to talk to you about. Right now, Azula doesn't have anyone to help her through this pregnancy. The only person she seems to trust is me. That's why earlier today when you were gone Azula asked me personally if I would stay here in the palace with her until her baby is born."
Aang went still for a moment, thinking of his engagement plans and how he could work this out. Another thought occurred to him that what Azula was asking would mean… "You and I will be apart for months…"
"I know…." Katara replied softly, feeling an ache in her heart. Why did she have to get involved in this? She should have just stayed out of it from the beginning. She walked over to sit beside him "That's why I am asking you if this is alright. You can't stay here forever because the other nations require your help. Not to mention the Air Acolytes. It's a long time to be away from each other."
Aang felt numb, letting this all sink in. He felt a selfish desire to tell her that Azula could find somebody else but he knew once that feeling hit that it was wrong. The Prodigy requested his girlfriend to stay for a reason, why she couldn't find a palace servant to be her midwife was beyond him. "I don't like this idea but…I feel like it's the right thing to do. I think you should stay here." He made eye contact with her again, hoping she wouldn't take this personally.
Katara felt her heart break to pieces "I thought you would say no."
"Trust me…I want to but it would be for the wrong reasons. I can still visit whenever it's possible and send you letters. Regardless, this will be tough." He thought about the proposal at the end of the month during the Dragon Festival. He could still make those arrangements. He wondered briefly if everyone would want to go to Ember Island for the festival… He would have to talk to Zuko later.
Katara was silent, thinking of the months ahead. She was hoping Aang would disagree but his heart was in the right place as always. She smiled "If you're alright with this, then I'll tell Azula tomorrow. We'll just have to make the most of our time together while you're still here."
Aang smiled, his grey eyes filled with love "I couldn't agree more." He leaned in to kiss her softly on the lips, as his right hand brushed aside her hair. He felt her melt into his kiss, making him aware that he was going to miss her terribly. Her voice, touch, and gentle nature…he was going to be lonely but that thought was pushed aside by the future of them being together for the rest of their lives. Gently, he pushed her down on the bed, never breaking contact with her. He decided that he could part with her for half a year if it meant being with her for a lifetime.
The darkness of night concealed the man hiding in the shadows of his home as he stared out the balcony, thinking of how he would proceed with his plans. It was truly annoying to think that they had come to a standstill now that the Avatar was in the city. How could they achieve the ability to save their Nation from such an under qualified leader? His grip upon the railing tightened until his knuckles turned white. Sprits above, there had to be a way of gaining back the upper hand!
A sharp screech tore through the starless sky as the sound of heavy beating wings alerted him to a messenger hawk approaching. Turning to look upwards, he made out the dark red of the proud animal soaring straight to him. He wondered briefly who was sending him a message so late. He hoped that there wasn't any trouble regarding his New Ozai Society.
He backed up a bit as the bird landed gracefully down before him, it's sharp yellow eyes piercing his gaze as if it looked mistrustful. Ukano reached down to grasp the small cylindrical container on its back holding the letter. Opening it up to pour out its contents, his eyes widened as he recognized the Fire Lord's gold seal upon the parchment. Surely, this wasn't another invite to join his court…
He unfolded the scroll, side eyeing the bird for a moment as it turned its head to preen its feathers before he started reading. It took only a moment to understand that this letter was clearly for Mai but his daughter was down stairs helping her mother clean up after dinner. His eyes eagerly scanned through the writing picking apart word for word. This was no love letter…this was a letter confirming to meet up to bring closure to their relationship. Apparently they had broken up, not that he was upset about that but he had to know why since they seemed so happy with each other.
"Azula…?" Ukano murmured quietly. "What does she have to do with this?" reading the last few paragraphs, something started to click into place.
…I know this isn't right but…I can't imagine going on in my life without Azula…
The letter then finished off concluding that they would meet in two days time. Ukano felt puzzled upon what he read. He went over it again to make sense of it. "Why does it sound as if…" then it gradually dawned on him. He felt a horrible disgust wash over him. Were those two twisted siblings actually…together? The letter started to become clear after re-reading it again. He wanted to puke upon this new discovery. Sexual intercourse with your relative was an indecent act and against the law! It could even be considered punishable by death! How could they be so foolish and why!?
"If they were to be found out then…" he smirked, as his devious mind came up with a plan. He needed more solid proof than this letter and he would soon have it. This would ruin not only Zuko but his crazy sister…both of them deserved each other, disgracing their father with such a despicable act. He felt anger surge through him that his daughter had been tossed aside like this but he felt grateful that she was now out of his grasp. She deserved so much better.
He thought carefully about what he should do next as he re-sealed the scroll, before going down stairs to give the letter to Mai. In the kitchen he found her tidying up, talking to her mother quietly. He smiled calmly "My dear, Zuko has sent you a letter."
Mai turned to look at him, her eyes flashing briefly before resuming their cool stare. Ukano did not miss how they alighted with pain and turmoil. "Where's the letter?"
Ukano pulled the scroll out of the sleeve in his robe "Right here," He passed the scroll off to her "It just arrived."
Mai grasped the scroll in her hands "Thanks. May I be excused?"
Mai's mother turned towards her, smiling gently "Of course dear. I can take care of the rest."
Ukano watched his daughter leave the room as his wife resumed her work when a new thought occurred to him. Mai was going to meet Zuko in two days, according to the letter. He couldn't go spy on them as it was surely to be on palace grounds but there was someone whom he could rely on to help him. If he could get Kei Lo close to his daughter enough for her to open up to him, then he would have all the evidence he needed. It seems favor was on his side.