"Rahhh!" Zuko shouted, jumping onto the royal bed.
"Raaaaahhhhh!" Azula echoed her brother. She threw herself at the bed, but her little legs weren't quite tall enough for her to make the jump. "Zuzu, help!" she shrieked. "I'm falling in the lava!"
Ursa hid a laugh behind her hand as Azula clawed at the crimson silk. The red bow was slipping out of the four-year-old's soft baby hair, making half of her hair fall unevenly across her eyes.
"Kiyahhh!" Zuko waved his wooden sword at an imaginary monster, ignoring his sister. "It ran away, Mom! You're safe from the dragon!"
"My brave little soldier," Ursa said, smoothing Zuko's hair. "Thank you for saving me, Zuko."
"Me too!" Azula finally climbed onto the bed and sat back on her ankles. "I helped! I'm a brave little soldier too!"
"Silly Azula," Ursa giggled. "You're my beautiful little princess."
Azula's lip quivered. "But... but I want to be a soldier-princess."
Ursa sighed. "I suppose it doesn't hurt anything if you pretend to be a soldier-princess," she said. "Let me fix your bow, Darling."
"What on Earth is happening in here?" Ozai asked, opening the door to his bed chamber. "We could hear the ruckus all the way from the war room."
"Daddy!" Azula ran over to her father, leaving her mother holding the ribbon, and hugged Ozai's robes against his knees.
"There was a dragon, but we scared it away," Zuko explained. "It was trying to eat Mom."
"I'm sorry, Ozai." Ursa bowed her head. "Should I have them play more quietly?"
"Nonsense," Ozai scoffed. "Today is supposed to be my family day. If they make enough noise, my father's advisers might cancel this inane meeting. How many meetings do we need to determine rations for the soldiers?"
Azula had to tilt her head all the way back to stare up at Ozai's face. "We're soldiers too, Daddy!"
"Of course you are." Ozai picked her up and pressed her face to his. "You're my clever little soldier, Azula. Perhaps someday you'll be the one to claim Ba Sing Se for the Fire Nation."
A huge grin dominated Azula's face. "Zuzu can help me," she said, throwing her arms around her father's neck. "Brother and sister are s'posed to cooperate."
"Such big words for a little girl," Ozai cooed. "I have the smartest daughter in the entire Fire Nation." He kissed her on the cheek and then set her stockinged feet back on the floor. "I should return to my meeting. Ursa, if you could please dress the children before lunch with my brother?"
"Of course," Ursa said. "Azula should be big enough by now for that beautiful dress her uncle bought her."
"Thank you, my Fire Lady."
Ursa smiled at the pet name. She had no particular desire to be the next Fire Lady, but she admired Ozai's ambition.
Ozai stalked off towards his war meeting, letting the door close behind him. Zuko stared after him with a disappointed look on his face.
"Soldier-princess, soldier-princess!" Azula sang. She shot a weak puff of fire into the air. "Kiyah! I'm gonna be the greatest soldier-princess of all time!"
"Come here, little soldier-prince." Ursa wrapped Zuko in her arms and kissed all over his face. "I love you so much."
He hugged her back, and his smile was almost enough to make up for the prospect of forcing Azula into a dress.