A little one-shot that suddenly landed on my forehead. I don't know how or why it came to me. It's just...there. Completely random.

I do not own Avatar the Last Airbender, yada, yadah

For Even The Devil Feels Pain

I looked sadly down at the former Fire Nation princess and she writhed and screamed, her sobs echoing about the courtyard, breaking the eerie silence. The smell of smoke was still heavily apparent and though my nostrils stung from the scent and my eyes were tearing up from the acrid stench, I couldn't tear my gaze away from the young woman. She was shaking and wailing for help. I had to go to her. If it would have been me, I would want someone to do the same.

Azula looked up at me, her lips becoming distorted in a snarl. "You, waterbending peasant!" She tugged at her chains, breathing a small burst of blue flame at me. Her dark hair fell into her face, revealing its ragged edges and split ends. "Get away from me!" Her pale skin was flushed a soft pink from her hysterical behavior and I could tell she was becoming feverish.

Despite Zuko's fervent protests from behind me, I continued forward and knelt next to the struggling princess. I placed my hands on her shoulder and patted her arm gently. She tried to shrug away, but I tightened my grip. "Shh, Azula, it's alright."

The princess was panting and glaring at me, still snarling. "Shut up, peasant! You are just a liar. Just like all the others." She snapped at my hands, trying to bite me. "Let go of me, filthy girl, or I will burn you!" Her crazed golden eyes rose to stare at Zuko. "And you. You're just a weakling! I was the chosen child! I'm the perfect one! You're the monster, not me!"

I let her scream for a few moments before I moved my fingers to her lips to hush her. "Azula…it's alright not to be perfect. No one is going to be mad at you if you aren't perfect. No one is a monster, Azula. Not even you."

She pauses from her accusations and stares at me, her eyes struggling to focus. Slowly, her gaze softens and her eyes well up with more tears. Her mouth turns downward in a frown and then becomes a straight line. I can tell she is struggling not to cry. "But I am a monster. Even my mother said so. She said I was just like my father."

I can hear the hurt in her voice that she fights to control. I can tell she is confused. And lost. And terribly sad. Like I was when Mom died. She is deathly still, staring blankly into space. I turned to look at Zuko before I moved around Azula and began to tug at the chains that bound her wrists to the iron grates of the waterline below. Her hands twitch and I freeze for a moment before continuing, freeing the princess who had wanted to kill me.

Azula turns her head to look at me, and for the first time since the beginning of the Agni Kai, I see sanity in their golden depths. Finally, she begins to cry. "I-I want Mommy. And I want Daddy and Uncle Iroh. I want Lu Ten…" Her voice rises into a sob. "I want Zuzu!"

Zuko breaks down and crosses the distance; he is still apprehensive and stays back a few feet. I can see tears forming in his eyes and I feel a pang. Azula is once again bawling like the little girl she never had the chance to be. Without thinking twice, I wrap my arms around her in an embrace I would not regret. To my surprise, she slowly raises her hand and holds it up in a fist. I was afraid that she would strike me, but instead, Azula looked at her fist and then her eyes flickered up to my face. "It's alright, Azula." I comforted, patting her shoulder. She lets out a sigh and her hand drops heavily back to her side.

Her brother finally steps closer and bends down to rest on his knees before staring into Azula's face. "Azula, Katara is right. You aren't a monster." Zuko turned to smile at me. "And I love you, even though your past actions were wrong." He pulled Azula and me into a tight hug, squishing me against Azula.

The Fire Nation princess stops crying long enough to stare up at me. Her voice is cracked as she speaks, but her words are clear enough. "T-thank you."