As she watched from the window, dark clouds rolled in over the sea. The water no longer had that pretty blue glow to it, it was now quite gray looking. It would rain soon, she noted, and the weather would be quite fitting for the situation at hand.
Her elder brother's exile.
A smile weaved itself onto her pink lips. Years of being extremely patient were starting to finally pay off. That oaf would be gone now, which meant she would be next in line for the throne. Perfect, just as she had always planned. But that was no surprise to the young princess, no, since everything always turned out in her favor. Whether it be a stupid, petty argument over some dumb, trivial thing or an Agni Kai. She always won.
But now, as all those nameless, faceless men loaded up that ship, she couldn't help but feel something odd. Somewhere in her stomach. It was weird, a strange feeling she never had had before. There was Uncle Iroh, a surprisingly melancholic look spread across his aging features. He had his hands clasped behind his back as he sternly watched the men. Azula figured under the helmets, those men wore similar expressions. Iroh's expression softened a bit, but not much, as he brought his fat arms to his front and walked back towards the palace. To escort the most important cargo onto the ship.
It was Zuko, of course, a thick white bandage wrapped over most of his face. But if the contrast between the cloth and his hair hadn't been so great, the bandaging would have blended in with his skin, for he had grown sickly pale in the last few weeks. There had been an infection, she had been told. There were rumors that he was lucky to even be alive right now, and that it'd be a true miracle if he still could see out of that eye.
But there he was, walking with his head held up high, ebony hair wildly slapping against the uncovered half of his face. He had that look on his face, that look of sheer determination. His visible eye locked onto the dark metal of the ship. Iroh placed a hand on Zuko's shoulder, but Zuko shrugged it off.
She could hear the clank clank from her brother's footsteps across the dock, all the way up from that window. And she got that strange feeling again and she realized something.
She'd never see him again. After this moment, he'd be gone, like a dead man. She'd never be able to torture him, or torment and tease. No more sick jokes, no more cunning little lies. No more games of tag, no more playing with pai-sho tiles (you know, have contests to see who could make a cooler pattern with them). No more anything.
Yes, this was what she wanted, him to be gone and out of the way. So she could rule the nation.
Azula placed her hand on the window as a crack of thunder rang through the city and all she could think of was a stupid lullaby. A stupid lullaby she remember her mother had sang to Zuko and herself, and occasionally, like the idiot he was, Zuko sang to her. Quietly, she began to sing. She could barely hear herself at all.
"Leaves from the vine, falling so slow…" Oddly enough, the princess's voice sounded sad, an emotion she was unfamiliar with. "Like fragile tiny shells, drifting in the foam…"
Memories flashed through her mind's eye. Some were good, some bad, some silly, some stupid, but they were all things she'd hold onto until the day she died, strangely enough. There was a flash of lightning, then a growl of thunder.
It started to rain. With a forlorn look, Zuko looked up at the sky, up towards the palace. Azula could have sworn he was looking at her as that infernal muscle in her chest began to race. Swallowing hard, she continued the lullaby.
"Little soldier boy, come marching home…" Iroh rushed Zuko up the ramp onto the ship then, trying to escape the rain, "Brave soldier boy, comes marching home…"
The princess shot out of her seat, closing the window, then the silky red drapes. She stormed out of the room, hoping to find Ty Lee or Mai somewhere. Anything or anyone to get her mind off of Zuko. She bit her lower lip till it bled, the metallic tang flooding her mouth. She had a feeling that next time she saw her brother, they would both be very different.
"Brave soldier boy…comes marching home…" she repeated, not even noticing that she had started to cry.