A/N: And The Melancholy of Azula and Ty Lee comes to an end. I tried to stay with the simple theme of this Fanfiction and make the last chapter in a fic about nothing about, well… nothing. Honestly that was the point of this whole thing. I wanted to write an easy read with a happy ending. Not too much drama. Azula has had enough drama in her life don't you think?
I should have said this much, much earlier, but the title "White Cherry Women", has absolutely no meaning. I thought it sounded pretty and cute and thought it would be perfect for a piece of fiction that wasn't supposed to have any meaning other than, ya know, pretty and cute. I got a little carried away and this fic ended up meaning a lot, at least to me, and hopefully to a lot of you.
It's been a ride, I gotta tell you. All and all a great experience but hard as hell. You know how many times I had to ban myself from the internet just to finish a chapter? Oh, well.
I'm sure their are some ends I totally forgot to tie up. Like Mai and Zuko get married and live happily ever after or what ever the hell Azula does with her life. But the whole point of this fic was teaching her that stuff doesn't really matter so much so I'm not going to get into what happens physically. Oh, one of the things was how Azula consistently says she was in prison while everything else says mental hospital. That's not a mistake, she's just being snotty.
Yada, yada, yada. Please tell me if I totally left a big nagging question out there. If I think it's big enough I may have to either correct or write an epilogue.
Um, well, enjoy. Beware of massive amounts of fluff.
Azula never really believed in love, but was tortured by it everyday. As a child she craved it instinctually. Her days were spent trying to please her parents, and her father above all else when he hadn't any love to give her. They were so alike, Azula and Ozai. They were guarded, analytical, ambitious, and proud. Things like emotions or feelings didn't fit into this persona. Never the less Ozai had loved his soft-hearted wife and Azula had loved him without restraint.
If anything, caring so devotedly to her father, taught Azula that nothing good could come from caring for someone. His only flaw was that he cared for her mother so much that he let her into his home to corrupt his children and defy him openly. He loved Ursa like a fool, and she destroyed everything. Ozai had raged for days after she left. Azula had always thought that was the only way a relationship could end, bitterness, deceit, and heartache. She was proven right when her father tossed her aside, used and broken, so he could peruse his own means.
Azula raged. She was so very like her father after-all. So much of her life was spent trying to please him and trying to earn his love and respect and he would never give it to her. She was perfect. She was. It didn't matter though. He could never love her. He'd given up on loving anything a long time ago.
Then if he wouldn't love, neither would she. Caring about someone could only end one way and Azula didn't want the trouble. She could only count on herself and no one else. Still it seemed like it took ages to let go of him and accept that he would never need her the way she so desperately needed him. Even to the present she felt like somewhere deep within her self she needed to hear him tell her that he was proud of who she'd become. Azula knew he never would.
If Ozai could look on her now laying lazily on her newly acquired bed in the Earth Kingdom Palace, naked and vulnerable, with a woman of all creatures, he'd probably have beaten her half way to her death. If he could hear the thought in her head, he'd have finished the job. Homosexual relationships regardless of moral applications were less than average, they were subpar, they were not preferable. His daughter should be better than everyone at all things.
If he could forgive her that, there was still the matter of her lying awake in bed. Time should always be used productively. Azula should be planning, this time spent sedentary could be used on numerous life-changing ideas. She had such a mind, it would be more than reasonable that she could change the world with it. Not to mention how much training she could do.
Then her thoughts, they were the worst of all. Sometimes still Azula flinched when thoughts critizing her father ran through her mind. A good daughter wouldn't even think against her lord. She believed in him until death. Ozai would think her soft and female if he knew how quickly she'd abandon him and everything he'd taught her for the sake of what? A girl? Not only were her thoughts blasphemous they were also things he would deem girlish and emotional. Thoughts about love? Thoughts about intimacy? He would've laughed for days.
What an ideal progeny she'd turned out to be.
Still she couldn't ignore the existence of her father all together. He made Azula every thing she was. Without him she wouldn't have been so shrewd, or intelligent, or powerful. Ozai taught her that she could rule the world with her little finger, that she was worthy or anything and everything, and he made her think she could be as good or better than any man at anything. She would always be grateful for those things. She would always be those things.
He also taught her to fear, to hate, to be suspicious, to subjugate, and even to kill. You can't just unlearn such things. They would always be inside of her. She would always be… evil.
It seemed remarkable that at the heart of all this pain was just the simple desire for a child to attain her father's love. If love could do all that then what was the point of ever loving again? Just another thing Ozai had inadvertently taught her.
If only it were that easy. If only she could just turn her heart, her soul, her body, off and let her brain take over, all of Azula's theories and calculations could prevail. She'd be alone forever more and never get hurt again. Her father had managed it somehow. It didn't suit him well.
There are no right answers. It's pointless to try. But amidst all the meandering thoughts in her head lay some irrefutable truths. First that her father had never been healthy for her even if some miracle he had some love for her. And second, even if the love Azula felt for her father was fading, even if their time together had ended in chaos and pain, that love had been born again with someone else.
So in a move to become very unlike her beloved and hated father Azula opened her mouth in that quiet little guest room and said for the first time in her life "I love you." to a sweet and equally as lethargic Ty Lee.
"You do?" Ty Lee whispered back through the dark. Her dark eyes were glittering in the dull lamp light and the look on her face was so sweet and endearing it was almost painful to look at. They'd been laying in bed for quite a while now, on the edge of sleep and waking. Eyes locked on one another's intense gaze.
Azula smiled gently back, "Despite all of your inadequacies, yes. Somehow."
"I love you too." She squealed into her hands then flung them around Azula's shoulders. Her lips were wide in a bright smile. "Say it again! I want to hear you say it again. Please?"
Azula sighed emphatically. Somehow she'd found herself smiling just as much. "On your life." She paid a little kiss to the side of Ty Lee's neck. "I hope you have a good memory."
Ty Lee pouted adorably and pulled in tighter. She always had the sweetest, most entrancing way about her. Azula could say anything in the world to that pretty face and it wouldn't come out mean, and even if it did, Ty Lee would take it just the right way. It was one of those wonderful things about Ty Lee that no one could ever match up to.
"Hmm…" Ty Lee mumbled quietly to herself, moving from her tight embrace to look Azula more square on in the face. "You're gonna have to tell me why, or I won't believe you."
"Why what?" Azula squeaked in annoyance. That wasn't the way this was supposed to go. When you tell someone you love them they are supposed to want to make out and fool around. Ty Lee was not sticking to the program.
"Why you love me, silly!" Ty Lee squealed. Her fingers began to roam innocently around the bare skin on Azula's back an hips.
Was she supposed to have a reason? Azula always assumed attraction and caring was something inexplicable, in the biology or something. She loved her father because he was her father. She loved Ty Lee because she was just… Ty Lee.
No one else in the world but Ty Lee had ever been so kind and gracious to her. No one else understood her every motivation and cared about her no matter how many horrible things she said. No body else thought she was more beautiful than she was scary. Azula loved that Ty Lee was the sort of person who could find all of the good things about her and ignore all the bad.
Ty Lee was one of the most amazing people she'd ever met. She was good at all the things that Azula cold never grasp, like being nice to any one and everyone, making friends as if it were the easiest thing in the world, smiling when everything seemed awful, and making everything all right when everything was wrong. Azula loved all of those things about her but didn't know if that was why she loved her.
To say any one thing would be inaccurate. She loved everything about Ty Lee in way or another. Azula even loved it when she was annoying and childish, or when she'd make her do stupid things. Anything, even things she hated, when attached to Ty Lee became desirable. She was just a wonderful person, and even more than that she made Azula happy.
Her father had taught her never to love anything because that kind of trust would only come back as pain. She was the only one who could make herself happy, and throughout her life people would disappoint her and be shallow and dumb and shun her. Nobody would ever love the mess that was Azula so why should she grant them anything in return?
Ty Lee loved her despite everything. Azula kept telling herself that it could end badly and Ty Lee would someday disappoint her no matter how much she loved her now. But even if she did the time they are spending together now and the moments of pure happiness they have would be totally worth it. Because she went into that relationship almost an entirely different person. Loving someone is like taking them inside of you. Somethings stick. She took a little bit from all of Ty Lee's best qualities. Her forgiveness and kindness and trust and took them into her heart where they would never leave. In that way love is always worth it. No matter what her father or mother said or did. No matter what the horrors of her childhood were. Being with Ty Lee made her happy and better and she appreciated it immensely.
"Why do I love you?" Azula's lips formed those foreign words much easier than she thought she would. Still "I love you" echoed in her mind over and over again. It felt as if she'd said it much louder than she actually had.
Ty Lee nodded innocently.
"I love you because you're honest. Because your beautiful… Because you love me when it seems like such a feat." Azula whispered through her teeth with a tight smile. "I love you because you make me a better person."