disclaimer: I don't own Avatar The Last Airbender or Return of Ozai

"Why? Why, why, why, why are you letting her come with us?" Sokka continued to complain after just a few minutes Zuko agreed to try to give Azula a chance. The fire princess was behind them in a cloak Zuko just bought with the hood up to hid her face.

Zuko rubbed the bridge of his nose in annoyance. "Sokka, would you please just shut up!"

"I have to agree with Sokka on this one Zuko." Said Toph. "After everything she did to us, why would you even consider trusting her?"

"I don't trust her. She saved our lives, I don't really have much of a choice."

"What the heck are you talking about?"

It was Azula who answered his question. "It's Royal Protocol."

"Was I asking you?" Sokka asked her sarcastically.

She rolled her eyes. "You asked a question, and I answered. Royal protocol states that anyone who saves a member of the royal family, even if it was unintentional, then the debt must be repaid, whether said royal wants to or not."

"That's the stupidest thing I've ever heard!"

"It may be stupid, but it's true." He pulled a little book out of his pocket and tossed it to Sokka who opened it and read it. When he finished his eyes widened. He handed the book back to Zuko.

"There should really be an exception..." Sokka muttered as they continued to make their way to the palace.

When they made it to the palace Zuko snuck Azula inside through a secret entrance that his Uncle Iroh had shown him while Sokka and Toph went through the regular entrance.

"I'll need to hide you in one of the spare rooms." Zuko informed her. "It's too risky to put you in your room." He opened a door to one of the empty rooms. It was as comfortable as her old bedroom only it wasn't decorated to her liking; there weren't any pictures or books or her weapons. "I'll talk to Uncle Iroh about giving you your second chance. I'm sure after I tell him about the marketplace today he'll consider it."

Azula rolled her eyes. "Good luck with that. And how are you going to keep this a secret with the big mouth Water Tribe savage and the blind girl knowing this too?"

Zuko glared. "Their names are Sokka and Toph. And they're not going to say anything." At least Toph isn't... "Just stay in here until then. I'll get you food later tonight."

"And what am I supposed to do in here?" She demanded, crossing her arms and giving him an annoyed look. "There aren't even any books in here!"

"Try not to burn anything!"

Azula glared at Zuko as he quickly shut the door behind him. She heard him lock the door and rolled her eyes.

Like a lock can keep me in this room.

"This is a bad idea..."

"Sokka I heard you the first five times..."

"Just making sure you knew that."

"So how do we tell Katara and Iroh?" Toph asked Zuko. Sokka gave them an annoyed look which they ignored. The three of them were walking through the corridor, looking for Fire Lord Iroh. Zuko was hoping to get a head start on trying to convince him to give Azula a second chance.

"No idea." Answered Zuko. "This isn't exactly something we can flat out tell them...We're going to have to prepare them for it."

"Hey guys!"

Zuko, Toph, and Sokka immediately stopped talking when they heard Katara's voice. She was coming out of a room, wearing a formal Water Tribe robe.

"I was looking everywhere for you," She told them. She gave Zuko on the cheek. "Where were you guys?"

"We uh..."

"We went to the market place for a bit." answered Sokka. Zuko quietly sighed in relief at Sokka's somewhat honest answer.

"Oh, I wish I could have gone with you, Mai only just taken Tom-Tom off my hands." She looked at Zuko. When she saw how nervous he was looking she frowned and took his hand. "Is something wrong?" She asked.

"Everything's fine." Zuko answered a little too quickly.

She raised an eyebrow at him. "You're not hiding anything from me, are you? Like more secrets?"

Zuko tried to relax himself. "Of course not, Katara." He gently squeezed her hand. "I almost lost you once that way. I'll never make that mistake again." He gave her a soft smile which she returned. She leaned to kiss him when Sokka cleared his throat.

"Sorry to interrupt, but do you know where Iroh is?"

"He's actually in a meeting right now." answered Katara, looking annoyed that her brother interrupted them. "He won't be available until dinner."

They suddenly heard a loud groan coming from above and looked up to see something big, white, and hairy with horns on its head and a long slightly flat tail. The creature had two passengers on it.

"That's Appa!" Yelled out Sokka.

"Aang and Ty Lee are back!"