Azula paced through the halls restlessly, the familiar patterns on the marble floors now becoming imprinted in her mind. There was nothing to do this morning. She had finally finished reading her book last night that Kiyi had interrupted her from to play "House" a few weeks ago. She shuddered at the memory. Never again would she be caught bottle feeding a toy stuffed dragon or falling asleep on top of her brother.
As she passed by one of the windows a glimmer of white caught her eye. She stopped. It couldn't be. She retraced her steps to look outside. It was. Snow was steadily falling from the sky, dark clouds covering the entirety of the Fire Nation Capital. The white fluff had already covered a good few inches on the ground. How long at it been snowing? And why was it snowing here in a place so warm? She narrowed her eyes puzzled. The last time it had snowed here was when she was very young. Her and Zuko had played outside for hours to enjoy it.
The temperature has been dropping as of late...strange.
"Azula! Azula!" the familiar echo of her half-sister reached her ears. She turned her head to see Kiyi sprinting towards her as fast as her short legs would allow. The Prodigy stayed where she was as the girl stopped just short in front of her bouncing up and down with excitement "Azula! Did you look outside yet?" She jumped up on the window to look at the snow her eyes transfixed on the scene in front of her. "It's snowing!"
"Yes I can see that." Azula walked closer to the window to look at the grounds below, the little white flakes accumulating on the ground fast. It was still early morning. The snow must have started in the night. How did she not notice this till now?
"I've never played in the snow before!" Kiyi stated enthusiastically. Her eyes were alight with wonder.
Azula shook her head amused "Well, now's your chance. Better go get something warm on before you do. It gets cold really fast when your outside for too long."
She started walking away when she felt a small hand grab the sleeve of her shirt. "You'll come outside to play with me right?" Kiyi pleaded.
Azula glanced back at her, holding back a huff of annoyance. "No. I would rather not get wet nor be cold. Fire Benders favor the heat. We aren't Water Benders."
"Please? It'll be fun! We can have a snowball fight!" she tugged on her red sleeve.
"Not interested" Azula pulled her arm away proceeding to walk down the hall but stopped a moment later at Kiyi's taunting chant.
"Oh come on Azzie! You aren't afraid of a little snow are you?" She turned to face her little sister's lopsided grin that challenged her older sister's pride. "I mean if you are that's fine...I just thought you were cooler than that."
Azula crossed her arms narrowing her eyes "Oh, so now I am no longer cool just because I hate the cold?"
"Yup! You catch on fast!" Her eyes brightly lit up.
Azula's eyebrow twitched with irritation. When did she learn to be such a wise ass? Her annoyance only growing further as a second voice jumped in. "Yeah Azzie. I thought you weren't afraid of anything?"
Oh...he's going to get it...
Azula turned to face her older brother as he stopped before them, his Fire Lord get up had been traded for something that favored the cold. He wore a red jacket, a maroon colored scarf etched with flames surrounding his neck tightly, black gloves and thick black pants to make up the rest of his supposed to be snow gear. She smirked as she walked to stand in front of him "Trying out a new fashion statement Zuzu? I do say that the little red scarf does make up the outfit." His eyes narrowed as she grabbed the end of his scarf "I have to be honest I love the little orange flames. Did mom make this for her little Fire Lord?"
"What if she did?" his face turned slightly pink as he swiped her hand away "Jealous?"
"Hardly" she said in a neutral tone placing a hand on her hip.
"Zuzu are you gonna come outside to play with me?" Kiyi ran and jumped into her brother's arms. She grabbed his scarf looking at the detail "I think this scarf is awesome just like you"
Azula rolled her eyes as Zuko shot her a smug grin. He turned his attention back to his half-sister "Yes we're gonna go outside. All meetings have been cancelled. No one wants to come here with the snow."
"Yay! Do I have anything warm to wear?"
"I'm sure mom can look through Azula's old clothes to find you something." He placed her on the ground looking at his other sister "Come on Azula. Let's go outside."
"I already said no. I hate the cold" Her arms crossed, voice irritated. What is it about "no" that they don't understand?
"Azula don't be such a grouch" Ursa met them by the window standing before her second oldest kid "Here I made you a scarf." Without so much as asking she wrapped the cloth around her daughter's neck. It was the same as Zuko's only it was a dark blue with light blue flames on it. "There now you're matching."
"Great..." Azula sighed gritting her teeth trying to block out Zuko's snickering.
"Come on Azzie please? For me?" Kiyi pouted wrapping her arms around Azula's waste throwing in the polar puppy eyes for added affect as she looked up at her.
A cloud of smoke billowed out of her mouth as she stared up at the sky, the snow melting when it touched her jacket which also matched Zuko's. In fact her whole Gods damn outfit mirrored her brother's. "I can't believe I got dragged out here." She turned to face her brother "This is all your fault."
He looked at her incredulously "My fault? For what!"
She shrugged her shoulders "I dunno but it's fun blaming you. It makes me feel better." She glanced around them "Where's Kiyi?" Her question was answered as a snow ball hit her in the back of the head. "Ugh! What the-" she turned to see her sister laughing at her from across the garden by a tree that stood in the center. Zuko started to laugh but shut up a moment later as another flew through the air hitting him in the face.
"Tell me Zuko...how does the snow taste?" She smirked one eye brow raised.
He wiped off the snow turning to face his sister, his eyes taking on a playful look. "Why don't you find out yourself?" Quickly he jumped away to the nearest pile of snow grabbing a handful.
Azula darted across to the nearest statue, standing behind it for safety. "Tell me brother do the same rules apply?" she called out as she started forming near perfect balls of snow.
"No Fire Balls Azula!" She grinned with amusement at his irritated voice. Oh those had been fun times...playing fire tag. She peered out from behind the statue, pulling back a moment later as snow flew past her face.
No mercy huh?
She waited a moment before racing out from her hiding spot, snow in each hand. Zuko had already come out from hiding whipping the snow at her to which she twirled gracefully to dodge the first, ducking under the second as it aimed for her head. Taking her opportunity she threw her ammo while his defense was down. He got hit by the first but manged to jump out of the way from the second but was met by a snow ball from the side that hit him in the stomach. Azula looked to see Kiyi taking the chance to get her older brother while he had been distracted. "Good job Kiyi! Together we'll take him down!"
"You guys can't do two against one!" Zuko's eyes widened at the two girls, one in front the other to his left.
"Come on Zuzu you aren't afraid of us are you?" Kiyi taunted, running away to grab more snow.
They ran around throwing snow at each other for a while. Kiyi impressing Azula with her accuracy. Kid might not be as bad as I thought. Azula grinned, a feeling of joy running through her. She hadn't had this much fun since she was a kid. Her eyes took on a child like gleam as she ran towards the pond, sliding to crouch down behind a one of the giant rocks. She looked over to see Zuko throwing snow balls at his little sister, laughing as he got her right in the arm. She charged towards him throwing snow as she did. Zuko ran, slowing his pace down so that she could keep up pretending to fall to the ground so that she could hit him in the face again with snow. Azula felt a twinge of affection.
He's so good with her.
With a smile she hadn't felt in years never leaving her face she created more snow balls. She listened as their foot steps approached, little feet following big ones. Stealthily she crept behind the tree that stood before the pond. She waited a moment before she jumped out and onto her older brother's back. He grunted in surprise by this unexpected move, stumbling to keep his balance as she wrapped one arm around his neck taking her chance to shove a handful of snow in his face. "Azula!?" Kiyi took the moments distraction to throw her snow at him hitting him in the chest and stomach. She laughed before she ran away to the other side of the fountain.
Azula jumped off him her beautiful voice ringing with laughter. "Remember Zuzu I am always ten steps ahead of you!"
"We'll see about that!" he grinned.
She sprinted away listening to his footsteps not far behind. They chased each other around the garden, evading around the shrubbery in their path. Neither sibling giving up in their haste. Azula glanced back to throw her snow ball at him but realized what a mistake that was as she tripped over a tree root, her brother tackling her to the ground behind another statue "Gotcha!"
Snow flitted into the air landing on them, some of it going down her shirt. For once she didn't care how cold it was. She hardly registered it. Azula laughed while trying to catch her breath gazing up at him. Truly she never remembered having this much fun. The feeling of happiness had returned to her. It was such a foreign feeling but one she welcomed whole heartily. She never wanted it to go away. Zuko's eyes were alight with playfulness, as he looked down at her, his arms holding him up. "Looks like I win Azula."
Azula couldn't find the trouble of feeling annoyed with him not when she was feeling like this. She let out a huff of amusement "It seems so..." Golden eyes gazed into ones that reflected her own. Azula's heart beat fast, a feeling of warmth spreading through her. They stayed like that for a few moments before their faces leaned towards each other, her eyes starting to close before she realized her place. Face flushing lightly, she looked away from him, "You can get off me now."
"Oh...uh right." He muttered, his face turning pink. He stood up pulling her with him "Are you ok?"
"Yes fine. No broken bones it seems from your heavy weight." She brushed off the snow from her body.
Smiling he grabbed her hand leaning in to kiss her on the cheek causing her eyes to widen, a blush forming on her face "Good." She glanced at him flustered. They stood close enough to melt the snow that steadily drifted from the sky.
She gritted her teeth as he smiled amused back at her "I hate you"
"I love you too"
They jumped apart as Kiyi rounded the tree finding them. "There you guys are! Are we still playing?" She glanced up at Azula's face. "Why are you so red?"
"Because of this idiot!" she jabbed her thumb at Zuko her voice annoyed, embarrassment coursing through her.
"What did he do to get you like that?" Her innocent question made Azula even more self-concious.
"Nothing you should ever know about." With that Azula made her way back to the palace doors "I'm going inside. It's cold" That idiot! He thinks he's so sly! Even though she was annoyed at being caught off guard the feeling soon lifted. The warmth on her cheek caused her to smile softly shaking her head as she went inside.
"Does that mean she hates the snow again?" Kiyi's expression was filled with confusion.
Zuko followed her retreating form the smile never leaving his face "I guess so. Come on let's got get some hot chocolate. I'm sure Azula will want some too."