Nobody ever knew but Mai that Azula had begun to crack long before her spectacular explosion of insanity during the comet.
mai came to stay in Azula's room every night since she joined the young woman. But she began to talk nonsense and shake and cry at night, staring into her vanity mirror.
Azula's psychotic babbling was growing more disturbing and personal every day since they had returned from Ember island. Sometimes, when Azula was particularly hysterical, mai would walk over and grab her, trying to stop something from happening, like a tidal wave.
And it was very much like a tidal wave - Huge, impending,... and inevitable.
Mai knew it was inevitable, yet she continued to believe that Azula couldn't go down alone. As Azula sobbed, her injured mind a secret to all but the two, mai would stay near, quiet and ever calm in a shadow while Azula screamed her life out. Once, the very last time that Mai ever stayed with hre, Azula suddenly, for the first time, seemed to realize that Mai was there, and threw herself onto Mai's lap, screaming,"Please! Don't leave me here! Never never! Never ever!"
Startled, Mai responded," Of course not, Azula! I love you far too much."
Azula's schitzophrenia-darkened eyes shined a dull yellow, like a cat that is much too old, as she peered up to Mai. Mai, in turn, stared at Azula. They stayed that way until Azula's head was heavy with exhaustion, and she layed it on Mai's lap, looking like a small, frightened child.
The very next night, afte Mai and Ty lee betrayed her, she lay curled up, in Mai's chair, so it would not be empty, and whispered what Mai had really meant.
"I love Zuko, more than I love you. More than I love you. More than I love you, love you... I love Zuko more..."
She curled tighter, but did not cry - simply lay still, silent and brooding in her own madness.