Everything happened too quickly for Ty Lee to process. It started with a tiny splash and a gasp from somewhere in the audience. Not two seconds later, Azula sprinted across the pier and dove into the lake, fully decked out in her armor and formal regalia. The instant she hit the water, all hell broke loose.
"Azula!" Ty Lee called over the din, pushing aside the panicking crowd with her fan.
The only response she got was ripples and bubbles. Azula was not a terrific swimmer, and armor was heavy. Ty Lee jumped into the lake after Azula, still wearing every ounce of her own green and gold armor. The water was deep, much deeper than she'd realized, and she only barely managed to get her head back above water. A series of splashes and curse words directed her to Azula, whose head kept bobbing under the water.
"I have you!" Ty Lee shouted over the sounds of water. Her arm wrapped around Azula, fingers brushing something soft on top of the armor. "Azula, stop fighting!" She gulped down a mouthful of water. "Stop moving or we'll both drown!"
Azula relaxed against her, making choking noises whenever water lapped over her mouth and nose. Ty Lee couldn't help that. She dragged Azula back towards the shore, fighting currents and armor and panic. It was a good thing she'd spent so much time in the water as a little girl.
Katara reached them on a floating ice platform at the exact moment Ty Lee's strength gave out. The waterbender grabbed Ty Lee's armor at the back of her neck and swept the whole party onto the sand. Once they hit the shore, Ty Lee lay there for a second, panting in the lantern light.
Azula rolled onto her hands and knees and coughed up a puddle. "Fix her!" she shouted at Katara, still choking on lake water. "You have to fix her!"
Ty Lee sat up and saw, lying next to Azula on the sand, a bundle of wet red silk and soggy black hair. Katara pushed the hair away and waved her fingers over a shining, wet little face.
Of course, Ty Lee thought. Of course Azula had dived in like that.
Zuko waded out of the water, his dress robes clinging to his arms. "Is she okay?" he demanded.
A high-pitched cough and wail answered his question. Azula coughed too, still kneeling over the crying three-year-old.
Everyone was crowding around suddenly, anxious to know the fate of the young princess.
"I think she's okay," Katara said. "Looks like your sister got to her just in time."
Tiny fingers wound themselves tightly in Azula's long, dripping hair. "I fell in the water," the little princess wept. "I don't like water anymore! Water is scary!"
Mai and Iroh untangled aunt and niece with some difficulty, and someone fetched blankets.
"Azula, that was so brave and stupid and amazing!" Ty Lee threw her arms around Azula's neck.
Azula retched water all over Ty Lee's armor. "That is... the last time I do anything heroic," she gasped.
Zuko hugged Azula tightly from behind, his elbows knocking against Ty Lee's breastplate. "You're the best sister in the whole world," he said. He closed his eyes, and tears of relief spilled onto Azula's hair.
Iroh joined the hug, and a moment later Mai squashed a swaddled toddler between herself and Ty Lee's arm.
"Hey," shouted Toph. "If the royal family 'glad-no-one-died' hugfest is about over, we have a boring wedding to finish. I'm starving."
"That's just hurtful, Toph," Sokka said. "I distinctly remember starving at your wedding, and did you hear me complaining about it? No."
They finished the rest of the wedding right there on the sand with half the witnesses soaking wet. Azula stood at attention between Zuko and Ty Lee, and Mai thrust her daughter into Ty Lee's arms.
If Azula noticed the two tiny hands petting her drying hair for the rest of the ceremony, she never let on.