"And the look upon the young Fire Lord's face as he saw his sister on the floor, with medics hovering over her broken body, was one of determination. From that day, sweeping reforms began. Support systems for veterans. Resources flowed to the colonies. And Earth Kingdom soldiers were booted from the Capitol.
Was there really an attempt on Fire Lord Zuko's life on that night? Was the perpetrator the princess or a rogue Earth Kingdom soldier? One couldn't say. Nevertheless, Princess Azula went down in history as one of the most reviled women in the four nations."
She closed the tome with a thud.
"But what happened to the princess? Did she die? And what of Ty Lee of the Kyoshi Warriors? Oh please continue reading, Grandma!"
She chuckled into her hand.
"The point is not what happened, my dear. What did you learn?" she said with an air of mystery, but truth be told, her old eyes were tired and her back stiff.
"That the victors write the history books?"
She chuckled again. "So you were paying attention. What a sharp child you are. What else?" She reached over to tuck a loose strand of hair behind her granddaughter's ear.
"That war is bad. And that…we need to take care of our friends."
"Yes. Yes. And as I remember it, forgetful as I am these days, you promised to meet your friends by the old elm tree today, dear."
"Oh no! I'm late. Thank you, grandma!" The young girl kissed her on the cheek, and sprinted off.
Ty Lee smiled as she watched the child leave.
"Taking care of our friends," she sighed, "What a bright child you are."
Two years. Only two years. And not one soul was told of her crime. But now, she left that mirror-less cell with the grease stain that could not be cleaned. Free once again.
An ornate gold carriage was ready for her as she marveled at how bright and warm the sun was on her face. She afforded it a bitter smile, noting her mother's crest on the door.
Her mother had visited her once, retelling the same story many times. 'But the peasants are cold, that's what you told me, the peasants are cold,' her mother recited, laughing into her white hand.
She couldn't help but laugh, herself.
She couldn't hide her shock, eyes growing wide, her breath caught in her lungs.
Then, she remembered, as she always remembered. The words that Azula whispered into her ear so long ago.
"They'll take you. They have to. For two weeks, two months, or two years. I don't know. But they'll help you, Ty. And you have to let them. Don't mind the chains, you haven't been free for a long time. Then they will let you go. You'll see the sun. Breathe sweet air. You will fall on your knees, and kiss the Earth. And she will be there. She will. Friends are there. Friends will forgive you. That's what they're there to do. You will thank her, and you will cry. And you'll be happy. You'll finally get to live."
She hates me, she had wanted to argue that night. But all she could think of was how she was not there, when Azula was freed. And so she had replied dumbly, a dumb reply.
And now, she stared dumbly at Suki, the one Azula had predicted would be there. The Kyoshi captain was two years older, and looked that way, a weariness weighing on her shoulders. But it was what she held that struck her. A uniform. Green silk, and golden insignia.
The older girl smiled the same old smile, following her line of vision.
"I told you. Kyoshi Island will welcome you whenever you're ready."
She fell to her knees, and kissed the ground near Suki's feet. She wrung her arms, and cried, red-faced but not ashamed.
"Thank you. Thank you, Suki."
A/N Thanks for reading! I have to say, "Two years. Only two years." was kinda a shoutout to my favorite book ever, Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoeyevsky. The whole story, I hoped to have kinda a Sonia/ Rodia (Dunia/Rodia too to an extent) relationship going on between the two girls. I found it beautiful the way they "saved" each other, and Sonia helped Raskolnikov choose redemption. I recommend the Pevear translation, it is a way better read than the Constance Grannet one, though I read the Grannet one first, so when I think of quotes I like, I think of her version. Obviously, my story in no where near as great or quotable as his, but inspiration should be given credit where it's due. Thank you again.