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"Auntie, Auntie, tell me a story!! Please!"

The woman smiled gently, her amber eyes shining faintly. "You will have to tell me which one you want, San-San."

The little girl that she was addressing jumped up and down eagerly, her two long brown braids bouncing with her. "The one about the Fire Prince and his Princess!"

The woman grimaced, and a cloud of sadness veiled her eyes. "Now is not a good night, little one," she said softly. "Besides, you've heard that one ten times already." Indeed, it was not a good night for her to tell the little girl that particular story. Her heartache was especially strong that night. "I will tell you another one instead."

"About what?" San-San asked curiously.

"Let me thinkā€¦" the woman closed her eyes in sad reminiscence. She had to think of another story about her other life, the one that she left behind in the Fire Nation- her life as Princess Ursa, mother of Prince Zuko and Princess Azula, and the wife of Prince Ozai, who had grown from a devoted husband to a power-hungry monster who wanted to be Fire Lord. No- the pain was too great to bear that night.

"I will tell you what happened after the Fire Prince and the Fire Princess married," Ursa replied levelly. "I will tell you about the Fire Princess and her son."

"All right, Auntie," San-San said dejectedly as she crawled onto Ursa's lap. The former Princess felt her heart wince as she held the small child on her lap; the little girl she was now holding reminded her starkly of her children, especially Zuko.

To San-San, Ursa was Auntie, the woman that came to watch her when her parents were away. To her, she was just an ordinary woman living in the Fire Nation colony that used to belong to the Earth Kingdom. She was unaware of the fact that the woman carrying her used to be the highest ranking woman in the Fire Nation; she was too young to understand.

Ursa began her story. "Now as you know, long ago, before the war started, there was a Fire Prince and he fell in love with a woman-"

"And they married and lived happily ever after!" San-San enthusiastically chimed in.

Ursa smiled. "Yes, they did, at first."

"You mean something bad happened?"

"Let me tell the story," she chided lightly. "Soon after the Fire Prince and the Fire Princess were married, the Princess gave birth to a son, and she named him Huo Long. Shortly afterward, she gave birth to a daughter, and she named her Huo Lan.

"Now, the Princess loved both of her children, but she loved her son especially." Ursa was not going to lie; she had to admit that she devoted more attention to Zuko than to Azula. "She raised him with a loving hand, and the two of them, mother and son, were inseparable. When he came running to her with news of his progress on firebending, she congratulated him heartily. When he struggled and became frustrated, she was always there to encourage him. She did everything in her power to be a good mother to him.

"But, unfortunately, the Fire Prince was not as fond of his son. He often criticized and degraded him. There was another thing: He was the second son, second in line to the throne. Although it was likely that he would never sit on the throne, he still wanted it. He wanted it so much that he was willing to do anything to get it. And so, one day, he gathered up enough courage to ask his father, who was Fire Lord at that time, to make him the heir. His elder brother, the Crown Prince Kuji, had just lost his only child."

"Why did the Prince want to be Fire Lord so much?" San-San asked in confusion.

Ursa sighed sadly. "Because he wanted the power; he wanted it so much that it drove him mad."

San-San nodded slowly, her eyes wide with wonder. "So what happened next?"

"The Fire Lord was furious at the Prince, so furious that he ordered the Prince to kill his own son so that he would know what it was like to lose a child."

"He is mean!" San-San gasped.

The former Fire Princess fought back her tears as she murmured, "Yes, he was. And to make things worse, the Fire Prince actually intended to kill his only son to please his father! The Fire Princess would not stand for it; she loved her son too much to just stand by and let her husband get away with his insane intentions. She was going to protect her son at all costs. So she confronted him, and concocted a plan, a very treasonous plan- one that would result in the Fire Lord dying and he becoming the Fire Lord. In return, she made him promise that her son would live. However, she had to pay a high price for what she did." At this, she paused, swallowing her tears.

"She died?!" Now tears were swimming in the seven-year-old girl's eyes.

Ursa managed to smile a small smile. "No. Instead, she was banished from her home. She would never be able to live in the Fire Nation and see her children grow. Though she gladly accepted her exile, she was still heartbroken at the thought of never being able to see her son again."

"But that can't be how it ended!" San-San insisted. "There has to be a happy ending! There is, isn't there?"

Now Ursa had to take a moment and think of a way to end her story. Finally, she answered, "Unfortunately, that is where the story ends. Nobody knows what happened afterward; the rest of the story has been lost. Remember, this all took place a long time ago. The most important point about this story is that the mother loved her child so much that she was willing to do anything for him."

"But what do you think happened?" San-San challenged.

She smiled as she replied, "Well, I would like to think that the Fire Princess got to go back home and reunite with her son, when he became the Fire Lord. Now, that is a happy ending right there, isn't it?" It was a happy ending that had yet to be written; it was the happy ending that she hoped and prayed for every single night that she had been exiled.

The little girl yawned and nodded happily. Ursa picked her up and tucked her in. "I do believe that it is time for you to go to bed." San-San's eyes closed and she let out a deep sigh.

Believing that she was asleep, Ursa turned to walk out of the room. Suddenly, she heard a sleepy voice say, "So no matter what happened, did the Princess get to live happily ever after?"

"Yes." Her eyes sparkled with tears. "She got to have her happy ending after all." Or- should I say- she will, once she has seen her son again.


AN- Well, since Ursa's story was supposed to be a "legend", she had to make up some names to replace the names of her actual family. "Huo Long" is the name I made up for Zuko, and although my translation might not be correct, it's supposed to be the pinyin pronunciation for "dragon" in Chinese. Likewise, "Huo Lan", the name for Azula, is supposed to mean "blue fire".

Most likely this will be a three-shot. Please review and let me know what you think! I'm willing to take any constructive criticism that you might have. And, as always, thanks for reading!