By L. M. Boulevardes

She stands before him, proud and fierce and beautiful. Her long hair is done elaborately, with red and gold in her black hair. Her dress is bloody red, hugging her curves protectively. Her eyes are the color of day-old blood, and flicker between the people around her. Her brother just tried to kill her. She was going to return the favor, but by the time she realized it he had escaped.

He poisoned her wine. She muses that it really is true, what they – in vino veritas – or, in wine, there is truth. She learned the truth of his betrayal through the wine. He ran away, leaving her for dead in the streets of Ba Sing Se. "How stupid do you think I am, Azula?" he sneered as she clutched at the ground, heaving her insides before his foot (the other was digging its heel into the back of her neck). "Honestly. You heard me tell Katara that I changed. I'm not you, Azula. I don't lie," he said. Iroh looked at her with pity, and it made her so mad she shot at him. She was horrified to see it turn a sickly red rather than blue.

"I hate you!" she screamed. Zuko said nothing. He removed his heel from her neck and she ran heard Zuko and Iroh run away. Later, Mai and Ty Lee found her face down in her own vomit. They were so good to her. Ty Lee nursed her fever, and Mai help her hair back as she spewed the poison. She was furious when she woke up, and against her friends' wishes immediately left for the capital of the fire nation to see her father.

She was met with a procession, a heroine's welcome. Her father greeted her warmly, and over coffee they bemoaned the failure that was Zuko. Iroh, they'd seen coming – but Zuko? That was a surprise. She had thought that she'd manipulated him, but it appeared not. Her father was disturbed by this, but said nothing, more concerned about the eclipse. She stupidly didn't concern herself when she saw him reading The Iliad.

The next day maids awoke her, bathed her, made her look beautiful. To paint the face, to swath the body, to drape the stones. She stood on the hill, wind whipping at her hair. Her father had promised to marry her – but now she knows that's a lie. The cold silver blade curves over her neck, and the tears fall and hit the ground. He slaps her across the face for crying like a weakling. She understands; with her death, he thinks he'll prevent the day of black sun. When he slits her throat, her last thought is how pathetic Ighigenia was, and how she just became her.

Disclaimer: I own nothing.

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