The Dragon, the Heart, The Knife
What the Dragon Thought
Why was she in love with them?
Why should she care?
She just is. She is Azula, she is the next in line of the most powerful country on the entire planet, she is the Dragon and she is mighty, and she will be damned before questioning her own actions. She loves them both, in a way that no love ever really was before- not fire and passion and heat, but lightning, calm and cold and powerful.
She loves them because they fill her; something is wrong with Azula, even she knows that, something in her brain that makes her a monster and prevents her from really caring about anyone else. It's not a shell, some wall she throws up; it is her, and few have ever entered into the gap where most people have a heart.
These two have, because between the two of them- calm Mai and cheerful Ty Lee- they have managed to make her care about someone other than herself, make her care about companions she has been with through thick and thin. She was there when Mai developed that terrible sickness, and she found herself admiring- admiring!- Mai for the stoic way in which she dealt with her flu. She was there when Ty Lee broke her leg, and found herself admiring- admiring!- her for the nonchalant way she traveled on her hands until her leg was okay, for dealing with the trouble in the calmest way possible.
Perhaps it's not an emptiness inside of Azula, some cold space with no heart, that makes her dismiss so many others; perhaps it's simply that she finds so few people worthy of care.
(Her father counts, surely, because he is so incredibly powerful and strong-willed that Azula still thinks of him as a role model, though she realizes now- like she didn't when she was younger- that he's not perfect. That's okay. It's not perfection she wants, just something close to it.)
These two, though; these two are worthy of care, of giving a damn, and Azula is surprised to find that she gives them her love.
She loves them.
She decides to tell them that night.
Because Azula is a person with goals, and she only ever had one until this moment: to rule the world.
And now a second one is there, and that is to make Mai and Ty Lee her lovers, and then keep them there, and she will pursue it the same way she pursued the throne of the world.
She would pursue it with everything she had.
The First Night
Assuming that Azula had been awkward when she told her two companions that she desired them would also be assuming that she wasn't Azula. She'd told them flat out, that night, over the campfire, and they'd all piled into the same small space on the ground to figure out how in the hell they were going to do this.
Why'd they do it? Azula had fallen in love with them, but for Mai and Ty Lee it was for something different. Ty Lee had thought a lot of Azula, and to hear that she wanted to become her lover… thrilled her.
It was because she was bored.
They'd been seventeen at the time.
It hadn't bothered Ty Lee at all. She'd thought it was awesome, even if Mai's hands had started out so very cold. Probably from all that time she'd spent handling her knives, she figured. She'd awoke in the morning with a giggle and a laugh in their arms; Azula herself had actually laughed out loud, which had woken Mai with a surprisingly snappy comment on being quiet in the mornings.
Ty Lee'd felt great. She skipped along all day.
For her own part, Mai was just glad not to be bored anymore.
And… it was rather pleasant, after all the repression, after all the keeping of self back, to have someone to care about.
Not that her face was ever going to show it.
Knife and Heart
Mai and Ty Lee weren't quite sure how they were supposed to act around each other when not with Azula- wasn't she the only thing holding them together?- but they'd been friends before it all, and it's amazing how fast friendship can turn into love.
Even if it was just simple things like Ty Lee's honest appreciation of Mai's ability to cook, or Mai's enjoyment- in small doses- of Ty Lee's good cheer.
It surprises both Mai and Azula that Ty Lee is sometimes a lazy lover; the girl who couldn't be stopped by a hurricane will sometimes just lay there, soaking up the attention of the two of them with the biggest smile on her face.
She was so glad to be different, to finally have all the attention she ever wanted.
Albeit that the other two never let her be that way for long; there is something to be said for a lover flexible enough to touch her toes to her head.
It amazed absolutely no one, but Ty Lee didn't drink and Azula could handle her alcohol with absolute aplomb.
It amazed everybody that alcohol stripped away every single inhibition Mai ever had and turned her into- of all things- a giggler.
They try hard to keep Mai from drinking these days.
One of the many reasons Azula is proud of her nation is that they do not hold to any notion or concept of what is "proper" in relationships. They couldn't give less of a damn (as long as you had children- had to keep the nation going).
When she announced on their next trip home that she was planning to marry both Mai and Ty Lee, the general reaction of the court and public was one of applause and congratulations. Her father even privately complimented her on picking two such strong, noble-blooded women, which he thought was particularly clever of her.
All of this genuine respect made her enjoy her father's treatment of an ambassador who declared her marriage "offensive to the court" even more. You have to love a parent who will- slowly- burn a man alive for disparaging his daughter or her women.
When Zuko found out, he did the last thing anyone expected.
He cracked up.
He thought it was hilarious. The evil younger sister, all blue fire and lightning? Falling in love with the emotionless girl and a hyperactive acrobat?
Oh, it was rich as hell.
Azula was so mad at him she couldn't even shoot lightning properly, which rather stopped her from chastising him properly; Mai solved that for her by chucking rocks with pinpoint accuracy at his head whenever he laughed at the three of them in public.
….It still didn't stop him from laughing about it in private, though.
They hadn't caught the Avatar or his group yet, even after all these years, but he hadn't been able to stop them either. They owned most of the world at this point, and the best the boy- now the man- with the wind staff could do was launch guerilla raids of annoying efficiency.
Azula wonders if he will simply tire of the game. She has- he's one boy, and since the day of the Comet, he has not had a chance to win yet.
And the way things were going, he might not ever get that chance. Good luck in the future, Avatar, she thinks sometimes.
You were fun while you lasted.
The Drunk Knife
Once, when they'd been returning from yet another successful conquest of a remaining Earth Kingdom town, they'd passed by Mai's parent's house. Mai slipped out of the tent the three shared that night and went to stand before her parent's house, and- completely drunk off of some liquor she bullied a soldier into giving her- shouted down the walls.
" How does this work out, Mother? I'm the lover of two of the greatest women in the world; one's lightning and the other's heat. They take me every night and I damn well love it! I love them, how's that for not showing any feeling? I feel for them, did you know that, Mother? I feel everything with them! I don't give a damn about you anymore, not you or my father's political career! I give a damn about Azula, I give a damn about Ty Lee, I give a damn about the most beautiful women in the world and you two can go straight to hell!"
Then she passed out, which was where Azula found her ten minutes later and had Ty Lee's help in dragging her back to the Royal Procession.
Azula was rather pissed at her for the loss of self-control, but she had to admit, the compliments were rather nice.
Ozai will die someday. Much to Azula's own surprise, she probably won't have anything to do with it; Ozai has already privately told her that he will retire in five years, in order to allow Azula the throne while she's in her prime. During the time she's waiting to ascend, he wants Azula to produce some heirs for him; he wants grandchildren.
Azula's fine with giving him them. She herself wants a few children- someone's got to take over when she's dead. (She won't relinquish the throne until then, though- unlike her father, she wants to die with the scepter in her hand.) She will find men who will get her pregnant, be damn glad of the honor, and then go the hell away. Azula doesn't need anyone other than her two women by her side.
She has Mai and Ty Lee, and she will have them forever.
(Author's Notes: Why? Because there is a disturbing lack of Azulaboth fic on the internet. The three have such an unusual, unique relationship... I thought I'd just expound on it.)
(Leave some of the thoughts you bring with you!)