A/N: I do not own Avatar: The Last Airbender or any of its parts. I have merely borrowed a few of the characters for my own amusement.

I wanted to try a new style of writing that I hadn't done before. I had fun doing this, though I'm not quite sure if it turned out well or not. It ended up being even more vague than I originally planned.

Thoughts of the Princess

Princess Ursa.

Wife of Prince Ozai, the younger son of the Fire Lord, Azulon.

The title sounds strange to her, even now. Even now, married to the prince these two years.

Ozai treats her with all the respect due a princess, which is still less than how she must treat him.

She has not his ambition, nor does she have his cruelty.

She believes he acts the way he believes a husband should. But they are royalty, which means little affection and much protocol.

She accepts him for who he is. She accepts that he is not overly cruel to her, he does not mean to be cruel to her at all. Well, perhaps occasionally. It is his way.

She understands her position. With him, and in public she modifies her behavior so that it is exactly as he wishes it to be. She is the perfect wife. Quiet, she yields to her husband, speaks no opinions on anything important and takes care her appearance is perfect, doll-like.

She is lonely. She has few people to talk to, and fewer friends. It is not proper to talk to the servants. She does not entirely trust her lady's maid. She knows there are spies in the stronghold of the Firelord. Mostly, she suspects, they are spies for the Firelord, Ozai, or other nobles.

She is not as lonely as she used to be. Her son, Zuko, is a great comfort to her. She devotes hours to him. He is so young though, not even two years old. He is gentle now, but she fears his terrible twos. She fears she will discover he has inherited the temper of his father. She has recently discovered she is again with child. She and Ozai are pleased. Zuko is too young to understand properly.

The ladies of the court are a varied bunch. Some of them she knows to be arrogant and manipulative. Some are frightened, cowed. Some are willing to accept that women can have opinions too, but there are not nearly enough of these women. As the wife of the youngest son of the Firelord, it is difficult to have close friendships. She spends much of her time in her official capacity.

She does not blame her husband for his inattention to herself, as a person and not just the wife of the prince, a public figure. She suspects that he does love her, in his own way. That aside, his way adds much of the time, to her loneliness.

There are two bright spots in her life. Today she sees both of them.

Zuko, of course is one.

General Iroh is the other. He is the firstborn son of the Firelord.

She admires Iroh. He is kind, and gentle. He seems at peace with himself. She fears that this, inner peace, is something Ozai will never find. Iroh values peace greatly, she knows. He does not allow Ozai to use him, but he will yield to his brother to keep the family peace. Iroh has little quirks, and a sense of humor. He is not afraid to laugh, to joke. He enjoys life.

His son, Lu Ten, enjoys playing with little Zuko. She in turn, enjoys mothering Lu Ten every once in a while. It has been many years since Lu Ten's mother died. Many days, when General Iroh and Lu Ten come to visit, the two will visit Ursa and Zuko in the palace gardens. Today is the same.

Today, as always Lu Ten takes Zuko a little ways away from the two adults. Far enough that Ursa and Iroh may talk quietly without being overheard, but not so far that Ursa cannot see Zuko, and not so far that it would appear the General and the Princess are alone.

Ursa enjoys the visit. She enjoys speaking with General Iroh. He makes her laugh. He carries on conversation with her and actually listens to what he has to say. He has many fascinating stories to tell her. He treats her as his equal. He is also the only other person who understands Ozai as well as she does.

She savors every moment of these visits, embedding them in her memory. She hates when each visits end. She returns to the palace, and reforms her persona for Ozai. It is more painful after the talks with Iroh, to go back.

She does not tell Ozai all of the times that she visits with Iroh. Only occasionally, when he asks. She is certain he would not approve. Ozai is inclined to jealousy. She does not wish to cause trouble for Iroh.

Nothing improper goes on between her and Iroh. She and Iroh spend many hours talking. Sometimes they touch. It is accidental, or a gesture of comfort perhaps, or other things, but never anything sexual, never anything improper.

She admits to herself, but to no one else, that she much prefers Iroh's company to that of her husband.

Even if spent her time talking to Iroh with perhaps a dozen people present, and spent as much time as she does with him, and Ozai found out, he would be angry. Ozai would be jealous. This she knows beyond all doubt.

She has wished many times that Ozai were a different type of man. She knows she could be much worse off, and so she teaches herself to be content.

She thinks, that in another life, another time, she might have—they might have...

She knows to stop these thoughts quickly, though. She no longer indulges in fantasies of what might have been.

She knows that wanting something that can never happen only leads to madness.

Finis

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