They have been at the Southern Air Temple for a month when Aang makes a terrible discovery.
His gray eyes stare at her with something close to horror. "You can't be serious!"
Azula's response is predictably disdainful as she pushes the plate away.
Aang shakes his head. "I thought I knew you."
"Really? That seems like a bad move on your part." She regards him with cold eyes. "You should have known better by this point." It's his optimism that causes him to forget just who he married. Azula is always quick to remind him.
He leans back in his chair, eyes bright and wide. "You always said you would betray me but I never thought like this."
Azula smiles. "That wasn't my only promise." Her eyes have made him many promises throughout their marriage. Promises that she has delivered on again and again.
"I may not want to live after this." It's as near hopeless as the normally optimistic Air Bender has ever sounded.
She stands, staring him down with glittering eyes. "That can be arranged, Avatar." With that she leaves the kitchen.
Aang follows, of course, because he can't leave this alone. It's far too important to him to let this go.
"I think I want a divorce." He announces when her back is turned to him.
She doesn't stop what she's doing. "You'll have to petition the Fire Lord, but he may not be pleased you are trying to dishonor his sister." There is a veiled threat in her voice.
Aang laughs. "I think Zuko will understand." He's confident of his friendship with the Fire Lord.
She turns to him with a glare. "You can't divorce me because I don't like fruit pies."
"I'll have you know in the Air Nation it's a viable reason." He's using the know-it-all voice.
"We were also married by Fire Nation standards and I assure you it's not."
He sighs but falls silent for the moment. Azula knows him well enough to know he's working on something.
"Shouldn't you have come with a dowry?' He asks thoughtfully.
This gets her attention and she pauses to think about it. "Normally, I would have had a substantial dowry, with lands, titles, and coin."
His gray eyes light up at this. "I'm definitely filing a complaint with Zuko."
She scrunches her face at him. "You're a monk. What do you care about any of that?"
He gives her that smile.
She ignores it. "Besides, the dowry is conditional on you not sampling the merchandise beforehand."
He narrows his eyes at her. "You jumped me."
"You're the Avatar. You should be able to control yourself when naked women climb on top of you. I'm quite sure that some of the people you've saved over the years were women more than grateful and willing to show it."
"We've already been over that, Azula." His voice takes on a placating tone. "That only works on me if the naked woman is you."
She looks towards the ceiling, throws her arms out, and says dramatically, "I could have ended the war so easily if I had only known."
He slides in closer wrapping his arms around her waist. "Except I was only 12. I would not have had the same reaction."
Smiling at him, she wraps her arms around his neck. "You would have flushed red and fainted."
He smiles back as he kisses her. "Most likely."
"And I still would have won the war." Her eyes glint at him.
"I'm much more fun now though so think of all you would have been denying yourself." There is that charming voice he's using on her. Soft kisses work down her neck.
She hums with pleasure, eyes closing. "I could have just kept you locked up until you were old enough to enjoy properly."
The same look of horror shines in his eyes again. "You would have too."
Azula thinks it over. Ruling the world and having him as her personal plaything….that would have been something she would have taken great joy in.
Her smile says it all.
Aang shakes his head. "The joke would have been on you. I wouldn't have been so enthusiastic and willing."
She knows him better than that and her curious hands soon have his stern look melting. "I think I could have convinced you."
"Good thing I won then." His voice falters as he lets her pull him into their bedroom.
The moon shines through the windows of the Southern Air Temple and they lay awake in their bed.
The palace was never quiet but the temple halls are eerily silent.
Her head rests on his chest and she absently traces circles on his stomach. In the next room she can hear the soft breathing of Athyer.
"Does it feel strange being back?" He hasn't been here since before the war ended.
"A little bit." He admits as he sighs. "When I was left, it was in a blind panic and I was caught in a storm that nearly killed Appa and me. After I was out of the iceberg and came back, I nearly took the temple down in my rage when I seen everyone was dead."
It's not something he has really spoken about with her before and she considers what he is telling her.
"Do you regret it?"
Another sigh. "Yes and no. I never would have met you but maybe I could have made a difference and saved the Air Nation."
His hand caresses her lower back, lulling her.
He turns it around on her. "Would you have done anything differently?"
"Anything at all?" She asks sleepily.
She thinks it over. The idea of going back and fixing her mistakes does not appeal. She can't really say they were mistakes if they have lead her to this point. Azula is, dare she say, happy.
"No, I would do it all over again."
His hand stills on her back. "Really?" There is a slight hint of disbelief in his voice.
She smiles against his skin. "Absolutely."
The sound of his laughter sounds against her lips."I would ask you not shoot me with lightening next time. I'm sure Zuko would say the same."
Rolling onto her back, she stretches out. "No such luck. I wouldn't change any of it."
He pushes himself up on one arm to look down at her.
"You could just decide to join me from the beginning. I'm sure it would have ended up the same way." He sounds very convincing. Pairing that with the big gray eyes and the nicely toned physique and she may almost be convinced.
Azula won't let him win that easy. "Except you were only 12. That wouldn't have been much fun for me." Fifteen year old Azula sadly would not have been so easily convinced by twelve year old Aang.
"It's all lust with you." He rolls his eyes acting disappointed.
Azula puts on a pouty face mocking him."Oh, poor Avatar, his wife finds him irresistible."
It works and he is soon laughing.
The next morning he finds her perched on a stone bench overlooking the cliff. The wind currents are gentle and lulling and he breaths in the scent of home.
When he approaches, she slowly raises her finger to her lips shushing him. Thinking Athyer is asleep he steps closer and sits beside her, eyes focused on the bundle in her arms.
Athyer is awake and staring out beyond the cliff too.
Aang follows their gaze and his eyes take on a look she has only seen once before. The day he discovered Athyer was an Air Bender seems so far away now.
"I never thought I would see this again." He stands and steps to the edge. His voice filled with awe and amazement.
Azula moves to his side and looks at a sky filled with a giant white sky bison herd. There are numerous adults and several babies. Scanning the group, she picks out Appa mingling with them.
"The Air Benders return and so do the sky bison." She moves to stand by his side, unafraid of the sheer drop. "It would seem the Air Nation is recovering nicely, Avatar."
He takes her hand in his. "With the help of the Fire Nation, I think it will be fine." His voice is still soft and quiet.
Azula takes this time to study her husband.
Fifteen year old Azula would never have thought she would one day be standing at the Air Temple with the last two Air Benders in the world.
She never would have thought she would be married to the man she had once killed and bear him a child with the plan to bear him more.
The idea that she would support Zuko as Fire Lord or execute Ozai by her own hand would have been ridiculous.
As a child, Azula knew she was destined for greatness. She was to have a crown, a throne and her own nation.
Azula just thought it would be the Fire Nation.
She draws close to her husband and thinks that fate may have finally did something right.
Author's Note: Thank you for reading as this completes this story. I may continue with some one shots. I have truly appreciated the feedback.
If you enjoyed this you can read on in the companion piece "He's Only a Child" to see more.