Disclaimer: I do not own Avatar or any of the characters. They belong to Nickelodeon. This is not for profit, strictly for creative purposes. Please don't sue.
A Broken Reality
The faint sound of chains and dripping water bring you to but you don't fully awaken until you hear the sound of your own chains. You momentarily begin to panic and your muscles tense but then your memories return and you relax.
You'd been captured by little Zuzu or more precisely, you'd been captured by her. Your jaw clenches briefly. What did you expect? If betrayal could touch those as close as Mai and TyLee, what could you have expected from someone who fought alongside those who opposed your father as well as yourself. But still...
The muscles in your arms begin to tense and you wince at the pain in your shoulders. Once you'd exhausted yourself and finally stopped crying, they'd captured you and Zuzu had you chained the same way. With you hands and legs chained behind your back, you were less likely to bend with the risk of hurting yourself in the process. So you stay chained, like some sort of animal.
You smile to yourself bitterly. Who knew little Zuzu had it in him. You gave him credit for not being so trusting a fool as to leave you unrestrained as he'd left your father...then again, your father wasn't a threat anymore. The avatar had seen to that. Zuko had requested that the avatar did the same to you but he had refused. He'd claimed that it was too dangerous and that he wouldn't bend another person's spirit unless it was absolutely necessary. You personally believed that he couldn't do it again unless pushed to his ultimate breaking point and you were grateful for that. Your bending was the only thing you had now.
You were alone. You had always been alone but you hadn't realized just how alone you were. Not until Mai's betrayal followed swiftly by TyLee's. You weren't sure what had hurt most, their actual betrayal or the fact that you'd actually trusted them enough to let your guard down. Either way, after all was said and done and they were locked away, the only thing you wanted to do was go to her, to let her hold you.
But you couldn't because that's not why you'd started sneaking away to see her. It was a simple plan really. Get one of them to trust you enough so that when the time was right, you could break the group from the inside. Seduction hadn't originally been a part of the plan but you couldn't help wanting to see that alluring little blush she got when you said something unexpected. That should have hinted to you that something was off. Also the fact that you'd chosen her over her idiot brother, who would have been an easier target, should have given you a clue but still you persued her. And the moment you kissed her, after she'd smiled shyly at you, a light blush gracing her cheeks, you should have known that things had gotten out of control.
Instead, you chose to ignore all the warning signs and continued to see her.
You thought that you were so clever. That you had all the cards. You'd taken their little invasion during the black sun and turned it against them, getting some laughs as well as their whole 'army' in the process. And you were the one whose idea it was to burn Ba Sing Se to the ground, and eventhough father had elected to go by himself, he'd made you firelord of the fire nation to make up for it.
Everything was as it should be, or atleast you thought so until the moment you'd almost swallowed a cherry pit. Then it dawned on you, they knew of Mai and TyLee's betrayal and they thought you, Princess Azula, daughter of fire itself, weak. All of them.
You banished that pathetic servant girl and many after her and went to recieve the Dai Li. You banished them too for their arrogance in assuming they could be late. The Imperial fire benders were next. You made sure no one would be able to betray you. You would be damned if you let that happen again.
And then your advisers suggested that you postponed your coronation. How dare they?! They didn't think you could handle being firelord. Father didn't think so. Well you would just have to prove how terribly wrong they were.
But just as you were going to recieve your crown, Zuzu showed up on the avatar's bison to claim the crowm for himself. You laughed and disregarded him but then she was there, threatning to help him defeat you but you wouldn't let her interfere so you challenged Zuzu to Agni Kai.
It should have lasted a few moments at most but after a while you realized something was wrong. It shouldn't have taken so long to defeat him and then he got into your defenses. And if that wasn't bad enough, he taunted you.
"No lightning today? What's the matter? Afraid I'll redirect it?!"
So he wanted lightning did he? Well you would give him just that. And as you let the energy and power course through your body, she stepped out of hiding and everything became clear to you. You shot the bolts of lightning straight at her and Zuzu jumped to intercept it.
Of course. It all made sense now. It was her. She was the problem and she would be the solution.
And as Zuko writhed in pain on the ground, you knew what you had to do.
It was all about control. Because of her, you'd lost control over Mai and TyLee and they'd noticed and took advantage. After that, you couldn't control anything. Not that servant girl, not the Dai Li, not this Agni Kai. You'd lost control of yourself. She had taken it away from you and now you were going to take it back.
So you chased her. Taunted and toyed with her. She made an effort to try to fight back but it was futile. Finally you'd cornered her.
"There you are filthy peasant!"
You squared off against her and she glared at you, dared to challenge you. She was mocking you, mocking your weakness. Well you would show her just how weak you were. But then, she had been the one to show you. She had lured you and trapped you. And as you watched her run to Zuzu, you realized that you had lost everything. Your power, your control, your respect and most important of all, you had lost her, to him.
Rage burned inside of you, forcing it's way out of your mouth and nostrils and then you were taken over by anguish.
And now here you were locked away in the same prison that your foolish uncle had been held in. It was over. Everything you'd worked so hard for, gone, but you weren't so angry anymore. How ironic, you were more at peace alone in this dark filthy cell than you had ever been in the palace surrounded by servants.
You sigh and try to start flexing your cramped joints when you hear the dungeon door open. You still to listen to the footsteps, hoping that the avatar hadn't been convinced to change his mind. You tense as the footsteps get closer, deciding that you wouldn't give up without a fight.
The door to the room your cell is in is opened and a hooded figure stops in front of your cell and gazes at you. You watch tensely as the figure raises it's hands to lower the hood and then your eyes lock with a pair of bright blue ones.
It was her.
You're surprised at first, then happy to see her until it dawns on you why she must have come. You smile bitterly but you're sure it came off as a sneer.
"So, you've come to see the great Azula humiliated and shamed, is that it?"
She doesn't answer, just continues to stare into your eyes which only serves to fuel your anger more, your hurt. You shift to sit as tall as you can while chained and glare defiantly at her.
"Well I won't let you have that pleasure," you hiss. "I'll die before I ever-" you continue but she moves in three long strides and cuts you off, her lips soft yet firm against yours.
You don't hesitate a moment as you close your eyes to the sensations that is her. Her lips moving against yours softly yet urgently. Her hands, one buried in you hair, the other touching your face and neck lightly. Her warm body pressed close to yours. You kiss her back just as urgently, afraid of the moment this ends. Then you feel it, moisture on your cheeks and you open your eyes slightly to see tears leaking from her closed eyes.
You pull back, shocked by her tears. When she opens her eyes, you gaze into them and ask,
She holds your gaze and answers unafraid,
"Because I love you."
The words hit you like a shock to you system. Your mother, or the vision of your mother had said she loved you and it had hurt then but nothing compared to this. You think back to the moment she caught you. You had every intention of killing her. Had she hesitated, had the slightest doubt in her mind that you would hurt her, you would have killed her.
The reality and truth of your actions hurt as if you yourself had been struck by lightning and you can't bare to look her in the eyes, afraid she would see the shame and weakness of what you could've done. The monster that you truely were. You look away from her, but she grips you chin firmly in her fingers and forces you to look her in the eyes.
"It's okay...I love you Azula, I truly do." She says softly.
Your eyes widen and before you know what's happening, tears are streaming from your eyes and your body is shaking from unrestrainded sobs. You bury your face in her neck and shoulder and she holds you as you cry silently.
"I'm sorry." You whisper after a moment and she lifts your head to look into your eyes once more. As you gaze into her bright blue eyes, you know you had never meant it more in your entire life.
She smiles softly at you, her eyes wet with new tears and she leans in to kiss just below your right eye. You let your eyes slide closed and a moment later you hear the sound of water and your binds fall away.
You open your eyes and wince as you move your hands from behind your back. You reach to hold her face in your hands and lean in to catch one of her tears on your tongue. You then move your lips to hers and kiss her softly.
After a long moment she pulls away and gets to her feet. She reaches her hand to you and you take it, standing for the first time in what seems like ages.
She hands you and extra cloak and you understand that you're escaping, not being set free. But you're escaping with her and that's all that matters.
You leave your cell with her and just as you're about to pull your hood up, your name is called.
It's low and raspy and you turn to see your father hunched in a corner of his cell. His golden eyes just as fierce as you remember, yet the fire you had always known was gone.
"Help me. Release me." He rasps as he moves closer to the bars.
You watch him for a moment, the strong ambitious force you'd looked up to, your father, now reduced to the man in rags before you. As you contemplate him, you think about how you'd always done what was best for you, did what benefitted you the most. He had taught you that, and you wouldn't let his teachings go to waste.
"Azula!!" He calls out, enraged as you turn away from him and walk to where she is waiting for you.
She smiles at you, her eyes shining against the dark of the prison and you really smile for the first time since the western air temple.
You would make an exception for her.
A/N: So? What'd you think? Let me know. Oh, i've decided that i'm going to turn this into a series so look forward to this continuing. Thx Cab for all your help and brain power for the title and catching my mistakes, u're awesome, :).