Hi, guys here is the next part.

Beta by WritingSchizo101


Sharks In The Water

Ursa looked at the water in the tub and thanked Agni for the people who worked in the palace. It was just past sunrise and breakfast would be served soon. She was expected to there, but didn't think she would make it.

The sun shined in bright from the room's many windows, the patter of feet only increasing her urge to go outside. She would have preferred to be outside on a day like this, or at least in a sunroom. A small scream echoed outside and Ursa could hear children playing. Her grandchildren wouldn't be out this early, but the children of the palace workers would. The sound of construction buzzed in the background, alerting Ursa to the work being done on the last pieces of the city. A deep voice called out, a machine turned on, and the last bit of quiet was ruined.

Ursa breathed in deep and took pleasure in the sounds that blocked out her thoughts. She stripped and dipped on foot in the warm water. The heat had been cooling down, and for a moment she wished a certain bender was here to warm the water, but for now the cool water would do. Gripping the edge of the large tub, she stepped into the water and let the coolness surround her. The cold water did nothing for her bruised body, but helped her relax. Arching her back, Ursa sank deep into the tub, lying on her back until only her face was above water. A sharp pain raced across her back, but she consoled herself with the promise that it would fade in the time. She ran her fingers over her skin, feeling where nails dug too deep and bite marks surrounded red skin.

She closed her eyes and let a moment of peace warm her: the feeling of the water like silk against her skin and sound of the small waves as she moved her hands. Sleep was calling to her, luring her to peaceful slumber, but she couldn't stay in this tub forever.

Azula looked at the dark curtains in her room and sighed. The sun wasn't shinning here and every servant was quiet in hopes not to wake her. She hummed a sound and stretched out her arms and legs. A low ache had spread over her limbs, a reminder of the last few hours. The sound of feet outside her door and a small knock alerted her that the day was starting.

"Come in."

Azula watched with lidded eyes as a young woman entered. She left a tray of food and all but ran out the room. Azula couldn't blame her for being frightened, for she had burned people for coming into her room this early and did worse to those who made a lot of noise.

The Firebender glanced at the tray briefly, then rolled over and closed her eyes again.

Quite a bit of time had gone by, but Ursa wasn't ready to leave the tub just yet. She wanted to stay there all day, but knew someone would come looking for her. When she finally pulled herself out of the tub, the air quickly warmed her skin, promising a heated day. A thought of swimming crossed her mind, but she pushed it away. She had done enough swimming for a while.

There was a set of dark red robes laid on her bed and her silver hairbrush shined on the vanity in the corner. The curtains were closed slightly, but the thin fabric allowed a generous about of light inside. Ursa garbed a towel, knowing it was well past breakfast and soon her son or grandchildren would be rushing into the room. It was normal for them to come and wake her if she missed breakfast, but she almost never did. Ursa dressed quickly, parting her hair the way she liked, and donned a pleasant smile before hurrying from the room.

She wouldn't give Zuko the chance to question her.

"Mother, you missed breakfast."

Ursa looked up at the speaker and sighed. "Sorry."

The older woman strolled through the courtyard leading her to find Zuko, Katara and the children playing. It was the one thing she knew would always happen. It was the same courtyard in which she played with Zuko when he was a child.

"How is everyone today?" she asked, sitting next to her son.

Zuko glanced at her and sighed. "The children missed you at breakfast."

Ursa looked down. "I know."

"Where were you?"

"Out. I took an early morning walk." Ursa didn't like lying to her son, but he gave her no choice. She couldn't tell him about her "relationship" or even with whom she was spending all her time. Not only would he not approve, but he might force an escort to accompany her on visits— Ursa nearly frowned at the thought, but managed at the last moment to keep her face neutral.

"You could have taken the children with you. They love to spend time with you."

Ursa turned toward her daughter-in-law and smiled, making sure the girl was blind to the conversation she and Zuko were having. "I know, but sometimes I need to be alone."

Zuko smiled at her and she could see he really just wanted her to be happy. "Why? You have us?"

Ursa smiled at him. "I know."

By the time the sun went down, Ursa was exhausted. Her grandchildren were wonderful, but drained her every day. They took more time and energy than she had to spare. Today seemed to put more stress on her than usual.

Zuko asked her to watch the children for few hours, while he and Katara went to a meeting. The meeting was supposed to be over at noon, but dragged on until 3:00 and by then Ursa just wanted to leave. Katara apologized, quickly stating they had run into a few problems, but Zuko just hugged her and asked the children if they had a good time. The next few hours were no better. Dinner had been a mess after a noble family from the Earth Kingdom stayed for dinner. Both grandchildren seemed to have lost all sense of manners and wanted to see just how much they could act up. She and Katara had their hands full and the other family seemed entertained with watching them. When dinner was over, Ursa was ready to run as far away as she could without leaving the island— but what bothered her most was the talk she had with Zuko after dinner.

Ursa was sitting in the courtyard watching the sunset. The heat around the crazy was blinding, but the sun looked beautiful. She could hear footsteps and knew whose they were, but didn't want to talk to anyone. A moment of being alone was what she wanted, but no one wanted to let enjoy her alone time. She turned to the source of her interruption: "Son. How are you?"

Zuko looked at her and smiled, murmuring, "I'm good. Enjoying the day."

Ursa patted the grass next to her, but only out of obligation. "Sit. Enjoy the view."

The Fire Lord quickly sat down, but didn't look at the setting sun. "Yeah . . . What happened in there?"

"I'm not sure what you're talking about," Ursa replied coldly.

Zuko messed with his hair piece, something Ursa always knew he did when he was nervous. "At dinner . . . the children were out of control. Yelling and throwing food. . . ."

Ursa looked at him with the corners of her eyes. "They're your children."

"And I asked you to watch them. Mother, they're getting out of control lately."

Ursa sighed wearily. "I watch them because I love them, not because you ask me. I would rather them be with me, than a nanny, but I can't watch them all the time."

Zuko, unaware of her anger, pressed, "I know, but I would think you would discipline them more—"

"Stop!"

Zuko raised a thin eyebrow. "What's wrong?"

Ursa sighed. "Zuko, that's not my job. I'm their grandmother, not a parent. You have to set rules and make your children follow them."

Ursa knew this conversation was going nowhere because it was one they had many times before. She could tell by his expression— he wasn't even hearing what she was saying. "Mother, I know that, but I turn to you to do what I can't."

Ursa could feel a headache coming and wanted to lie down. "I can't do it. I raised two children. One of them is sitting next to me."

Zuko smiled. "I know, but I need you to do this for me. . ."

Ursa asked him to leave and finished watching the sun go down in peace. After that, she rushed to her room and collapsed on her bed. The sunset was beautiful, but did nothing to ease her headache. She had a few hours before she went to see Azula and decided it would be best spent lying down.