Title: No Fire
Author: plazmah
Rating: PG
Fandom: Avatar
Pairing: none
Summary: Azula's is constantly thinking, constantly taking apart the situation, even as everything is falling apart around her. But thinking is hard with this distraction on her back.
Notes: Crazy formatting ahead, which I can't really get right here. You'd be better off reading the fic at my LJ. Many thanks to sporkyadrasteia for the beta and feedback; I feel much better about this fic thanks to you. :) I don't own Avatar or its characters, blah de blah enjoy!

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Fear was easy
Fear was safe
Fear just worked

Now I have doubts. That's the first and last time I'll admit it.

Everything I did was perfection. I was the best firebender, a prodigy unlike any other. I was clever, a master strategist who could mold the world around me into whatever I wanted. I was perfect. And she still chose him over me. She was the one black stain on an otherwise pristine record. So when she left, it didn't matter to me.

Not.
Really.

Except that she's back.

I see her everywhere, all the time. It's annoying. Used to be that she'd
pop
up
on rare occasions to offer a weepy diatribe about my supposedly heartless actions. At first I thought she was my conscience. Which doesn't make much sense considering I

don't have one.

She'd sigh and sob like a little girl, like I was the mother and she was the daughter somehow. I told her to leave me be and she did. It was a relief every time I saw her evaporate in the corner of my eye.

But.
Now...

I see her everywhere, all the time. She won't leave me alone. And she's had a change in disposition. She doesn't weep anymore. She smiles. She talks to me about stupid nothings, her favourite flower or the smell of incense I don't care I don't care about any of this why is she still here? Can't she see I'm about to be Fire Lord?

Ugh. Zuzu's home.

I can still see her, standing
over
there
by some pillars, watching as I battle him. Doesn't warm your heart, mother? Watching your children do battle with each other?

You
always
told him
to be true
to himself. Why
didn't you ever tell
that to me? I'll tell you
why: because you knew.
You knew that being true to
myself would require a ruthless
detachment that could have brought
me an unimaginable world of glory and power.
You're a hypocrite.
You didn't want me to be true to myself.
You wanted me to be like Zuko.
You should have loved me
for who I was. Isn't
that what mothers
are supposed
to do?

You were always weak, mother.

I'll show you just how powerful I am.

I don't think like other people.

I have a sharp mind, a quick tongue.

A heart made of fire and steel.

I...

I...
can't focus. My fiery strength... why doesn't it stop him in his tracks? Oh, I know. He continues to evade my wrath because she's standing
over
there
watching us and she's not even sad. Why are you looking at him? Look at me. I'm the one who will soon be victorious. Watch as I do what must be done. I will destroy my brother and the waterbender and all his pathetic friends. I will reign supreme

no
no
no

no NO this cannot be happening. Don't come near me with your smiles and insipid tenderness, don't deny that you cannot stand the very sight of me. Where are they? I will burn them to the ground and rip them to pieces they will fall beneath my might.
Or.
They will pay dearly for this when my father returns. He will finish this, all of this, even you, mother. You dare to chain me here like a pig-dog in the mud? I thought you said you loved me? Lies. Filthy, vicious lies.

How is this happening? It's like I'm watching myself from the outside, watching this shameful, beaten creature who does nothing but scream and cry.

You say:
It's going to be alright.

And brush matted hair away from my eyes.

Don't you dare look at me like that, it's mortifying it's humiliating. I don't see any fear in you. I don't. Not now. There's something else in your face and in your voice... pity. How can you pity me? I did everything right. I did everything to succeed. Why is nothing the way it's supposed to be?

Trust doesn't work. Fear doesn't work either. What am I going to do? What do I do now, mommy?

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