Category: Avatar: Last Airbender
Author: Mrs Pettyfer
Title: Never Enough
A/N: First of all, ATLA belongs to Bryan and Mike as you all already know..not me. Anyway, I decided to write this because I find the idea of Ursa and Ozai to be one of the most interesting and mysterious couples of the entire series. So this story was originally going to be a one shot, but I decided to break each flashback into a separate chapter. This story will follow Ozai from the time he was little, up until Ursa's return. Each chapter/flashback will jump several years as this is simply a serious of flashbacks. I've kept some things true to canon while also playing with the holes. Some flashbacks are short..some are long. Enjoy!
Seven years old
"I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." – Maya Angelou
Chapter 1 - It's Not Fair
Seven year old Prince Ozai sprinted down the halls of the palace, ignoring the protests of the woman chasing him.
"Prince Ozai, you must come here immediately!"
"After I tell father about today!" Ozai shouted back, not bothering to turn around to face his caretaker, Lady Sanyu. She was an older woman, possibly in her mid forties with long dark hair and piercing grey eyes. She was the Prince's personal caretaker; the person who made sure the young prince was present at meal times, attended his private Firebending lessons and classes at the Fire Nation Academy for Boys, kept up with his daily activities, and most importantly…stayed out of trouble.
The last, Lady Sanyu agreed, proved to be the most difficult.
She paused, pinching her ribs for a few moments to regain her breath as the prince vanished around one of the corners. Honestly, she wasn't fit for a job like this. Prince Iroh had been much easier, much more reasonable and independent; and most importantly, understood when to leave his father alone.
Prince Ozai however, didn't seem to comprehend this.
Lady Sanyu took a deep breath and once again set off to catch the prince. They had returned from his lessons with Master Jeong Jeong only moments ago, and he had worn the largest smile she had ever seen on his face the entire ride back to the palace.
She sighed, hoping she got to him before it was too late. No matter what he was so excited about, Lady Sanyu knew it couldn't be important enough to interrupt Fire Lord Azulon in one of his war meetings.
Prince Ozai smirked at having lost Lady Sanyu as he arrived at his destination. He had to tell his father what he did today. And it just couldn't wait.
Two guards were standing outside the door to the War Room, arms crossed in an intimidating manner. They both looked down upon the Prince's arrival but their expressions were hidden by their helmet.
"Prince Ozai," they said in unison, bowing.
"I need to speak to my father," Ozai replied, forgetting his manners to bow back.
The guards exchanged looks.
"Sir, Fire Lord Azulon is in a critical meeting with the head generals. I'm afraid you'll have to wait until it's over."
Ozai stomped his little foot. "But I need to see him now! It's really important."
"Where is Lady Sanyu?" one of them asked, glancing around.
Ozai frowned at him but perked up, an idea coming to him. "She told me I could come here."
The guards once again exchanged looks and the taller of the two bent down. "Look, young prince, your brother will be coming out from the meeting shortly. Why not wait and tell him this important news?"
Ozai's brows furrowed slightly. "Iroh is inside? He was supposed to come to my lessons with me today."
"Fire Lord Azulon required his presence," the smaller one spoke.
Ozai nodded, trying to mask the hurt that suddenly overcame him. His expression then hardened, determined. "If you don't let me inside, I'm going to tell my father you kept me from something very important and then you'll have him to answer to."
The guards seemed to fidget slightly at the young prince's threat. Sure, he may be young but he had grown up in a world of bribery and threats. He knew how to get what he wanted.
After a short debate, the guards allowed him to enter. He didn't think twice as he bound inside the room with a large smile on his face. But once inside, seeing all the generals snapping their attention to him…he now wished he would have listened to the guards and Lady Sanyu for the matter.
General Chong, who was currently bent over several maps at the head of the table next to Azulon straightened up and ceased talking, his eyes landing on Ozai. Soon more eyes from the rectangular table found the young prince, who was now frozen in place. It seemed the Fire Lord was the last to see what was going on for he shot a questioning look toward General Chong before following his gaze.
Azulon's cold face formed into a glare at his son.
Thinking quickly, Ozai bowed out of respect. "Father."
"What is it, Ozai?" asked Azulon harshly, clearly irritated by the interruption.
"I-I-I…" Ozai stuttered, his eyes finding his brother's. Iroh was seated on his father's right, his young face looking out of place in contrast to the elders surrounding him. "I wanted to show you what I learned today."
Several Generals broke their gaze from Ozai to look at the Fire Lord while Iroh gave a small smile. But the young prince didn't notice, for he only had eyes on his father, whom he was determined to impress. He waited for some kind of reassuring look, but received nothing.
Azulon's expression was emotionless.
"Prince Ozai, you deliberately waltz in here uninvited and disrupt a very important meeting for no reason but selfishness," said the Fire Lord harshly, his golden eyes darker than usual.
Ozai's expression faltered. "No father, I just –"
His words were cut off as Lady Sanyu entered the room bowing and rushing with apologizes as she scampered toward the young prince.
"What is the meaning of this, Lady Sanyu?" Azulon barked at her, rising from his seat. Several Generals looked far from comfortable as they stared at their hands. Others remained impassive, silently agreeing with the Fire Lord.
"My sincerest apologies, Fire Lord Azulon," said Lady Sanyu, placing her arms around Ozai's shoulders and steering him around. "It will not happen again."
"But…" Ozai protested, attempting to turn around and throw her off. "I just…"
"Silence, Prince Ozai! Turn around!"
Lady Sanyu froze and with her arms still wrapped around the prince's shoulders, slowly turned him to face his father. Ozai felt himself shrink a little into the ground by the intensity of his father's stare. He could tell this wasn't going to be good...
"You have disrespected me and our nation by your impulsive and unjustified behavior. Your punishment will not go unattended to."
Ozai opened his mouth, tears welling in his eyes but it was Iroh who spoke first as he stood from his chair.
"Father, if I may," he said, bowing slightly and sounding much older than the nineteen year old boy he was. Azulon gave him a hard look but a nod to continue. "It's my fault. I instructed Prince Ozai to perform his techniques to you after his lesson today. Please do not punish him for my doing."
Azulon seemed to mull this over before giving a stiff nod. "Very well." He then turned back to Ozai. "You are dismissed, Prince Ozai."
Lady Sanyu steered him away before anything else could happen. He sighed when the guards shut the door behind him, ignoring the rants and scolding of his caretaker. She was the closest thing he had to a mother, he supposed, which meant he should try a little harder to listen to her. His mother had died during his childbirth. His father never spoke of her, but his brother would tell him stories.
Ilah, was her name.
His shoulders slouched slightly as he thought of his mother; his real mother.
It just wasn't fair Iroh got to know her and he didn't. And it wasn't fair his father always listened to his brother over him.
What was so great about Iroh anyway?
A/N: Poor little guy. For the sake of this story, Iroh and Ozai are 12 years apart. I realize they were probably much more than that in the series, but I made a timeline and 12 is what it has to be, lol. Anyway, I'd love to hear your thoughts on this first flashback. What kind of relationship do you think Ozai had with Azulon? I'll post the next flashback whenever I get some feedback..no sense in posting if no one is reading it, lol!