Chapter Fourteen- Coup d'état

Azula's spine tingled in excitement. But honestly she couldn't help it. After six years of wallowing in madness she was free and oh so close to her deserved place of power. There were only a few things standing in her way.

Ozai was one, she had yet to decide if she truly had it in her to kill the old bender, but it might be necessary. And that simpering traitor Mai was the other. Azula's blood boiled whenever she thought about the young woman that had found a way into her father's bed.

The only thing about the entire situation that made Azula smile was the fact that she would get to tell her brother of his wife's betrayal. That would be very humorous, Zuko was such a baby when it came to the women in his life, and he would breakdown when he learned that his faithful wife was fucking his very own sire.

With that thought Azula stood, stretching her thin limbs. The sun drained from her bones as it set over the horizon. They were leaving in mere minutes and that time couldn't pass fast enough. Feeling restless she walked over to the tent of her lover and rapped on the tarp covering the door.

"Come in," a muffled voice called. As she entered she saw Vachir glance her direction and offer her a broad smile. Azula's heart did a slight flip, and that made her anxious, knowing she didn't want to feel too strongly for the archer. After all, trust was the first step to deceit.

Despite those thoughts Azula managed a small smile in return. She had never had a man of her own before, and she thought this particular one in her life was a magnificent specimen.

Sometimes she could see his age in the lines of his face, the slight graying of his hair just above his ears. But when he had his shirt off, like it was at that very moment, she could not decipher his well toned chest from one of a man ten years his junior.

He caught her staring and tossed the shirt in his hands to his cot in the corner. Slowly Azula sauntered over to his tall form and placed a hand on his torso, gently tracing his muscles with her sharp fingernails.

He cupped her face and kissed her roughly, his hands went to her hair and mussed her top knot. It only took him a moment to pull the band from her hair and run his fingers through her silken locks.

Azula's hands were busy as well as they drifted below the waistband of his pants and rubbed his manhood hastily, causing a low groan to escape from his lips before his flesh sprung to life, becoming hard in her grasp. She squeezed him lightly as she stroked.

"Are you as excited as I am?" she asked in a whisper as their lips parted.

"Yes," he hissed, her fingers drifted lower and cupped his sac. "Right now, I would say more so."

"I find that hard to believe," she said with a smirk.

Her husky tone caused him to assault her mouth yet again; she smiled as his lips trailed her jaw line, stopping just above the collar of her armor. If it wouldn't take forever for her to remove it and then put it back on—they would be leaving for the palace within the hour— then Azula would have let him undress her, perhaps take her quickly from behind.

Azula sighed. There was never enough time to get everything done.

Her attentions became firmer; she enjoyed having him so vulnerable in front of her. She loved being the one to control pleasure, and pain for that matter. Vachir took both in stride, he was a willing participant in all of her sexual attentions, she smiled to herself; she knew he liked it when she dug her nails into his back, or bit his flesh.

Their whole relationship had started because Azula liked to be in control. She had only been playing with him in the river; it had been a test for her father sake, to see if the man was strong enough to resist the temptation. Obviously he had not been. But just as she moved to push him away his searing kiss met her lips, his hands roaming her body in the most intimate of ways, delicious sensations filled her limbs and she held him tighter to her instead. She realized in that moment that she wanted his body and his loyalty, and so she took Vachir as her own.

Vachir was a passionate lover, clumsy at times, which puzzled her, because his skills as an archer and a soldier had provided him with the grace of a dancer. Perhaps it was just in comparison to her. Azula knew her abilities as a bender aided to her stamina as well as flexibility during sex. And she did not fault him for his awkwardness, she knew in time his nerves would fade and he would become more confident with her, it was just the natural order of things. Besides, what she valued most in him was outside of their actions in the bedroom, it was his continuing faithfulness, will to survive, and the anger that burned in his core. It was like a beacon she was drawn to. Like a mirror into her own soul that she could fully appreciated.

As her thoughts came full circle Azula glanced up at his face, a mask of ecstasy and agony. She felt him tense before her, as his whole body clenched and he shot his seed over her hand.

His breathing was ragged as he pulled her shoulders to him; his kisses became slow and thoughtful. The Princess removed her hand from his pants, as he left her suddenly and came back before her with a small rag. Vachir finished dressing as she cleaned the stickiness from her fingers. She tied his armor in place in silence, and then made her way over to his small shaving mirror and fixed her hair back in its knot.

As they stepped from his tent he pulled her close one last time, and in full sight of everyone he kissed her with all the passion in him. She heard several catcalls and whistles, and she tensed in his embrace. He held her firmly, and eventually she melted into his kiss and sighed when he released her. She knew he had been staking his claim in front of the other men, and she bristled at the thought. Part of her couldn't fault him, Azula supposed if any other female was around she would do the very same.

But Vachir wasn't the Princess of the Firenation; the look she gave him could have frozen her father's strongest flame. She was about to verbally reprimand him when a throat cleared behind her.

"It's been a long time Princess," the man and green bowed with a slight smirk.

Despite her annoyance at the man's tone Azula cracked a smile. There were few warriors less competent than the Earthbender's that had followed her to the Firenation all those years before. This coup would be a piece of firecake.

"It has lieutenant," she looked the man over. "I see the years have been just as kind to you as they have been to me."

"Yes," he said with a grimace.

"I suppose you want an apology of some kind for banishing you all those years ago," she said slowly, and the man's eyes grew wide. "Well, no. I don't do apologies; they are for the weak and foolish. And I am neither. Do I have your loyalty?"

The man gave a small smirk and bowed deeply. The other soldiers followed suit. "As long as we can have refuge here, we will serve you completely."

"Excellent," Azula nodded and looked around to the other soldiers. "Where's Mongke?"

"I am here," the old general emerged from the crowd.

The Princess looked at the army around her with optimism and a feeling of anticipation in her heart.

"Okay," she said motioning to the palace. "Let's get this show on the road."

Mai paced back and forth through her rooms. There was still time to tell Zuko of what his father was planning and guilt was eating her alive. She knew the whole situation was wrong; Ozai was dangerous and violent without provocation. He would tear the world apart yet again, like his forefather's had.

Without her guilt, she was sure the week would have been exquisite. Since giving him her promise, Ozai had treated her with so much passion, she thought her heart would burst. It was akin to how he treated her years before, when they first became involved. Before she and Zuko had married and Zuko became Firelord, before he lost his mind in defeat.

The week had given her time to think everything through, and she found herself just as troubled. Mai began to wonder how long Ozai would keep her around. There were vast rumors of the women he went through before and after his marriage to Princess Ursa, there were even a few rumored deaths.

It was like being caught between a rock and a hard place. She knew the consequences of her actions and the results that would ravage the world, and she also knew she owed Zuko some vestiges of loyalty for taking her as his bride and for loving her.

A thought struck her then, he could have chosen Katara, and she hadn't been married to Aang at the time of their wedding. Perhaps after all her betrayal, Zuko could find it in his heart to forgive her, especially if her honesty cost Mai his trust.

As her eyes focused, the Firelady realized she was standing in front of her window, staring at the ocean. The Avatar's vessel sailed off into the distance, with him his wife and concubine. Mai was pleased some of the tension in the household had departed. In that moment her courage doubled. Katara was gone; perhaps Zuko's involvement with her had been a passing desire. She didn't delude herself that everything would be okay after the truth came out, but at least her own guilt would finally leave.

Mai ran from her room, she was sure there was still time for Zuko to gather the necessary troops and prevent his father's attack. Her body was filled with adrenaline; the nervous anticipation of doing what she knew was right in her heart. But as she rounded the next corner, all those emotions that flooded her core, were instantly gone at the sight of Katara's dark hand wrapped securely in her husband's pale one.

The looks they held in their eyes were of bliss and utter happiness, as Zuko leaned down to whisper in the woman's ear, Mai turned and walked straight back to her room.

As she sat before her mirror she combed her hair and wondered how she had ended up in such an abhorrent situation.

Katara had stayed; Mai presumed the situation would go on for an extended amount of time and her heart was suddenly filled with bitterness. Zuko had forced her to play a part in his downfall; his actions had pushed her into silence. She would do nothing to prevent Ozai taking back the throne. Agni help them all in the days to come.

Ozai sat on his bed, a deep frown on his face. Mongke had said that he would be free within the hour after sunset, but it seemed the minutes were dragging by. Not content to simply wait anymore, the old bender approached his door and swung it open. The guard was dozing to the right of it and Ozai looked at him disdainfully. As he continued on his way out the man grabbed his shoulder.

"This isn't part of our agreement, you can have whatever visitors you want," the man gripped him roughly and pushed him back towards the room. "But there is no way I'm going to let you just walk out of here, the Firelord will have my hide."

"Our agreement has changed," Ozai sparked his fist; it blazed brightly in the dim corridor, bright enough to see the terror in the man's eyes. "And you should know that I am the rightful Firelord, just for making that mistake, I think I will kill you."

"How is this possi—" the man's question was cut short as Ozai pushed the man to the ground, his enflamed fist crashing into the soldiers skull, the firebender smiled at the crunching of bone against the stone floor.

Ozai killed three more guards before Mongke arrived with the earth benders in tow. They escorted Ozai to the throne room, and then took their places kneeling before their leader.

Ozai sparked the fire behind him, it glowed a bright yellow, and that pleased him greatly, his powers had all but returned completely.

"Where is my daughter?"

"Azula is capturing your son as we speak," Mongke said from the floor.

"Very good," Ozai purred. "You will have to tell me what you desire as your reward for putting me back into power, I always reward my most faithful of subjects."

Mongke was thoughtful for a moment, "Well there is one thing that I desire…"

"Name it and it will be yours."

"The princess," he said lowly.

Mongke met his leader's eyes and was surprised to see the approving smile.

Azula gripped Vachir's arm as they spotted him walking down the hallway. They were currently perched on the rafters, just above the Firelord's head, waiting to pounce.

"What is she doing here?" Azula balked, anger filling her bones as she caught sight of the Waterbender.

"It seems your brother has yet to have his fill of her," the archer said, failing to hide his smirk. "And it's not hard to see why."

"Watch it," she snapped. She was still upset about the stunt he had pulled in front of his tent. "Zuko I can handle, but with the Waterbender by his side," Azula looked away in shame. "I just don't know."

"She's the only one who ever defeated you?" Vachir asked, though he knew the answer, everyone in the Firenation knew.

"Yes," she spoke through her teeth. "But there's something else. When I first arrived at Nan Byouin, there was a general there, perhaps you know him, Shin Yusha."

"The leader of the Southern Raiders?"

"Before they started to medicate him heavily, he would go on hour long rants about a young blue eyed witch, how the girl could control his movements with her bending."


"She can bend the fluids in our bodies."

"Agni," Vachir swore, realizing the immediate danger. "And her bending strength increases as the moon waxes."

"The full moon is in a few days," Azula pressed a hand to her temple and sighed. "Even tonight she will be very powerful, and will need to be properly restrained."

"We'll take care of it," Vachir motioned to the soldiers in green behind them. Azula could only nod.

They jumped from their hiding place shortly after, the Dai Li incapacitating the guards as they approached Zuko's rooms in stealth. The doors were wide open.

"Honestly," Azula murmured. "They make this too easy."

They found the lovers in the corner, flushed against the mirror, making all sorts of obscene sounds, moaning and groping like horny teenagers. Azula nearly laughed aloud.

She did snicker when she heard them whisper their endearments to one another.

"How sweet," she nearly choked in laughter. "You love her. Here we all thought you were just fucking her. Congratulations brother, hopefully she will be more faithful."

The confusion on his face as he turned was quite comical. He placed himself in front of the Waterbender and then lowered to attack. He didn't get the chance to strike as Vachir drew a knife and threw it at Zuko's side, causing him to fall to the floor in a lump. The naked girl bent over him quickly, glancing around for water to heal him quickly. Azula's anger doubled at the sight of her blue eyes.

"Azula!" Zuko ground out, writhing in pain. "How is this possible?"

"Anything is possible brother," Azula said, walking forward she placed a knife under the girls chin. "Don't worry Waterbender; he won't die from that scratch. But I wonder if I should kill you here, you definitely weren't involved in the plan."

Vachir grabbed her arm gently, "Later," he whispered. "Your father might want to use her against Zuko."

"Yes," Azula growled. She vaguely registered Zuko sealing his wound with fire bending. She ordered the Dai Li forward and motioned for them to find something for the girl to wear; she knew how her father reacted to naked young women. Agni forbid he fall for the water slut as well.

Minutes later they walked single file down the hallway towards Mai's room. Both Zuko and his mistress looked nearly sick with shock, both with gags around their mouths to prevent the screams they had elicited before as they secured their hands in Zuko's quarters.

Before they could even knock, Mai opened the door to Zuko's muffled yells. She was genuinely surprised by the arrival of the earth benders, but still she placed her hands before her and they were shackled in no time.

Azula led them to the throne room, hoping to beat her father there, though she knew she failed at that when she saw the distinct glow of the fire behind the Firelord's throne.

She stopped short and allowed Mai to pass her, "After you mother," she added a mocking bow.

Azula turned immediately to Zuko and smiled at his confused expression.

"I guess I should tell you brother, your wife is going to marry father so that she can remain Firelady," her smile grew as she saw Vachir shaking in slight laughter. The whole situation was very amusing. "But it's okay, they've been fucking for years anyway."

Zuko used his teeth to remove his gag, a moment later her retched on the red carpet.

A/N- I know it's been forever since I've updated, but schools getting really hectic as I'm finishing out the semester, but I'm sorry I haven't had more time to write this story. Hopefully I'll finish the next chapter this weekend and post it monday or tuesday, but I can't promise anything... but I will try.

Thanks so much for all your reviews and for reading, it really helps get my creative juices flowing. I'll keep Zutara and In the Cover of Night in my thoughts as I stuff myself with turkey, Happy Holidays everyone!