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The following story is indubitably fanon and should not be considered actual canon.
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THE PARTING OF A PRINCESS
"Zuko," his mother smiled, taking his hand as he sat beside her bed... "I'm dying..."She coughed and Zuko's face grew pale... "Mother...how did this happen? Yesterday you seemed fine...are---are you sick? I have a line of the best healers in the world---they can make you better again."
She coughed again and waved her hand through the air... "No, it is my time to leave you my son... I'm just thankful that I got to say goodbye to you---this time..." she inhaled a tired breath and smiled up at Zuko, placing her hand softly against his face, "You are a good man, Zuko---never forget that..."
"Of course---Mother..." he frowned, kissing her hand tenderly.
"Please don't be sad my Zuko..." Ursa smiled, "Be strong for your daughter---and for your sister---your country... I only wish---Ikem and Kiyi could be here as well..."
"They're on their way as fast as we can get them," Zuko stated strongly, "I assure you, Mother."
"Tell them that I love them---so very much---and that I'm sorry to do this so un-expectantly..."
She coughed, "Show me a smile, son. I want only for you to be happy. Please, Zuko."
The Fire Lord grinned and held back the tears forming in his eyes....but he bowed his head into her hand and did not dare look his mother in the eyes again...
Honora waited silently in the background, she had already gotten her farewells...for it was Honora who discovered that her grandmother was ill. They were going to feed the Turtle Ducks and have a quick Agni-Kai for the fun of it...but, when Ursa didn't show up in the gardens, Honora knew something was wrong and came to find her.
Ursa coughed again and her aching voice grumbled, "Where---where is Azula?"
"She's waiting in the hallway Mother---" Zuko's voice broke.
"Poor child---she never was good at long goodbye's..." she almost laughed.
"Grandmother," Honora eased solemnly, "Would you like me to go get her?"
"N-no..." Ursa sighed, "I need to speak with her alone...please."
"Yes Mother...." Zuko frowned, taking his daughter out into the hallway and shoving his sister inside.
"Azula?" her mother stressed.
"I'm here..." Azula stated gruffly, her tone sounded like she could care less, but something in her voice was also making a heartfelt attempt at human emotion. She stepped in reluctantly and took a seat next to Ursa's bed as her old mother took her hand and gave her a smile. All Azula could do at that point was look...she didn't have a single word to say.
"Azula," Ursa eased, "I just wanted---to make sure before I go---that, that you knew how much I love you dear..."
"Yeah..." she shrugged, looking into the corner.
Ursa steered Azula's face back towards her and continued... " You know... you always believed that you would never have love without driving fear into the people you were closest to...B-but, Azula...Listen to me, you always had my love, no matter what horrible thing---" she paused, "You still have people who love you---your niece...she loves you..."
"Ha..." Azula scoffed."She does Azula...you've always been there for her, even when you thought---it was just---for the glory of being cruel---you taught her then my dear...and you helped her when she lost her mother---she looks up to you, you know?"
"Did she tell you this?" Azula rolled her eyes.
"She did..." Ursa coughed, her eyes sinking wearily... "I know that you love teasing your brother---and torturing other people..." she chuckled meekly, "B-but...Honora is the one person---you can love without all of that---and she loves you...just like I do...she—she sees---past---the bad in you---she sees...the good in there---somewhere...you took her under---your wing."
"I'm not going to change," Azula gruffed directly, her eyes arched defiantly... "This heartwarming spiel isn't going to make me nice...you know that, don't you?"
"I know dear..." Ursa mumbled...her voice drifting as she dropped her hand... "I just thought----you should know---that...I was---I---I am proud of you---"
Ursa shut her eyes and Azula stood up... Silence echoed across the room, so Azula chuckled and said, "Nice try Mother...you don't fool me..."
Ursa did not reply and Azula's smile shifted into an uncertain frown... "You're making a fool of yourself...come on now...drop the act."
Azula scoffed and grabbed her mother's hand only to feel how cold it had gotten and she gasped and jumped back, knocking over the chair by the bed. Azula's face was appalled, but she set her mother's stiff hands softly across her heart and shed a tear before pulling the covers up to her neck... All tucked away, Ursa looked calm and peaceful as though she were merely asleep... and while no one was looking, Azula kissed her mother on the forehead and shed a slow surfacing handful of tears before sniffing back to a stand and composing herself. Azula marched out of the room and shut the door behind her as Zuko glared daggers towards her and Honora merely looked with frightening suspense...
"Mother is dead," Azula said with her nose run defiantly in the air.
Zuko and Honora started mourning alone in the hallway as Azula walked away as though nothing had swayed her...however, no one saw her face because if they had, they would have noticed that Azula was crying more so than Zuko or Honora combined. And when she was alone, locked in her dark and dreary room, Azula looked herself in the mirror and saw sadness on her own face for the first time.
"She was proud of you..." Azula grinned to her reflection, wiping away the tears...she fell back against the glass and slid down to the floor, her smile growing before she continued sobbing...all the while Azula kept on repeating in a pleased tone of voice... "She was actually proud of me..."
"Ugh!" she groaned, "What is it now Azula? I'm not in the mood..."
Honora gruffed and shoved the covers over her head, and this made Azula chuckle, so she pulled her up out of bed to get her attention, snickering, "Hey Fire Brat, I just wanted to let you know something---"
"Can't it wait until tomorrow?" she yawned drearily, her eyes not even conscious enough to squint.
"Actually it can't...look kid, I wanted to tell you that I'm proud of what you've grown into---you're deadly, precise, and you are a worthy adversary. I've taught you well, Honora, and I just wanted you to know that you're not all bad---"
"Not that a compliment from you isn't a great rare treasure, Aunt Azula---" Honora hissed, "But I'm too tired to comprehend any of this---I will see you in the morning, GOOD NIGHT!"
She gruffly went back to sleep and Azula let out half a smile before lifting the hood on her robe and turning to walk out the door... She whispered back before vanishing into the shadows, "Yes, pleasant dreams little Princess..."
The next morning Honora shot up out of bed, rubbing her eyes in a tired yawn, thinking about her weird dream the night before. She stretched and walked over to the window, only to see the guards in a frenzy outside...in a gasp, Honora burst out of her bedroom and pounded right into her Father's war room to see him sitting at his throne completely lost in thought...
"Wh-what happened?" she asked half-knowingly.
"It would seem your Aunt has run off?" he gruffed.
Honora let out a gasp and instantly realized her dream wasn't just a make believe fantasy---her Aunt had actually come to say goodbye to her..."Where would she go?" Honora asked.
"I don't know?" Zuko shrugged quickly...
"You aren't going after her?" she gathered from her father's tone... "Are you Father?"
"No..." he swallowed.
There was silence for the longest time before Honora blurted, "She's going to be okay Dad...she's---she's a good woman---in retrospect?"
"That's what Mother tried to tell me---but whatever your grandmother told Azula before she passed---Azula must have gotten a big impact out of it. And it isn't my place to stop her..."
"Will she ever come back?"
Zuko grumbled and looked over to the wall. Honora didn't really wait around for the answer because she knew that her father didn't have it. All Zuko and Honora knew now was that it was just the two of them from here on out...and somewhere---Azula had run off to face her destiny---just as her mother had done many, many years before.
Sadly, this same year, Aang's beloved Flying Lemur passed away after a long lifetime of companionship. Momo died at a very, very old age, leaving the new flying lemurs of Air Temple Island to continue learning for themselves. Of course Appa was the most depressed about Momo's passing, but Aang had to be strong...he had to be strong for his family... After all, Momo wasn't really gone...he was still connected as long as Aang and Appa remembered him in their hearts...soon they would meet again whether it be in the Spirit World or in a dream...in this life or in the next.
- It is assumed Zuko's mother, Ursa, died of an illness and also moderately old age.
- No matter what Azula says...she did love her mother (in her own weird way).
- Every time that Zuko looks to the Right (respectfully) his scar is always on the wrong side of his face in the illustrations... This has happened before and is the cause of most of Zuko's scenes to be of him facing towards the Left.
- Honora's room resembles her father's, but she owns a large bookcase where she lays her crown, and also keeps a tiny portrait of him on the top shelf, that when enlarged looks like this.
- Azula sneaking away in the dead of night? Like mother, like daughter...
- Don't worry, this isn't the last time we hear of the loving Aunt Azula.
- Momo was going to pass away originally around year twelve, but I thought the idea of him and Tenzin becoming pals was a much better idea.
For the collective works of the author, go here.