Disclaimer: I don't own Avatar: The Last Airbender. Sadly enough.

Warnings: Speculation, General Spoilers, Implied Character Death

AN: For spyridona as part of AtLA Land's Valentine's Day Exchange over on LJ. The prompt was "But tell me now, where was my fault/In loving you with my whole heart?"

Ozai has loved her since she was just a girl with her hair in braids. She was the only one who didn't make eyes at his older brother, to look at Ozai standing off to the side and offer a smile.

Ursa is the first girl he ever kisses, the only to ever share his bed. He does everything save beg his father to arrange the match, but it's not until Iroh intercedes that Azulon finally agrees.

Their son is born a month too soon, and Ozai strokes her hair as she weeps over the baby they both think will soon die. The first few weeks are like a waking nightmare, and they fall exhausted into bed with barely enough energy to curl around each other.

Zuko cries whenever his father reaches for him, and he's still squirming in Ozai's lap when their daughter is born. Ursa is radiant as she smiles. He kisses her like she's the most precious thing in the world and breathes her name into her lips.

Their first fight isn't over the children. They've never been separated by more than a day, and her parents live over a week away. Ozai doesn't raise his voice as he makes his point; Ursa doesn't scream back at him. But the silence that night as they lay turned away from one another is deafening.

Ursa won't let him train their son until he's nearly seven, and the boy's attempts are pathetic and humiliating. He forces Azula to start early, and she quickly surpasses students twice her age. Ursa doesn't speak to him for a month.

Ozai hates that damn play, but he goes every year just to make her happy. He doesn't notice when they stop. Doesn't even realize they haven't gone to Ember Island either until he is elbows deep in reports and can't remember the last time he saw his wife aside from sleep.

Their boy is an embarrassment, and he's happier clutching at Ursa's skirts that learning to firebend. She slaps him when Ozai accuses her of coddling the boy and marches off with Zuko's hand in hers. Ozai is left to stare after them, Azula playing with her headless doll at his feet.

He forgets what she tastes like they haven't kissed in so long. Her face and voice are that of a stranger. Ozai wakes one day to wonder where his wife has gone and who the woman is beside him.

They eat in silence. They watch the children in silence. They go to bed in silence and sleep on opposite sides.

The boy is Ursa's son and not his. Ozai is glad to be rid of him. Both of them.

He sees the knife in her hand, and it still drips his father's blood. Ozai simply turns away and says nothing. Does nothing but walk back to his chambers and go sleep. But come morning, he's still trying to convince himself that the coldness of their bed is just his imagination.

Ever Hopeful,