Kuebiko

BY : GulDukat'sWife
Category: Avatar - The Last Airbender > AU/AR - Alternate Universe/Alternate Reality
Dragon prints: 2134
Disclaimer: I do not own the rights to Avatar: the Last Airbender or any of the characters. I do not profit from my writing.

Kuebiko

(n.) a state of exhaustion inspired by acts of senseless violence, which force you to revise your image of what can happen in this world—mending the fences of your expectations, weeding out all unwelcome and invasive truths, cultivating the perennial good that's buried under the surface, and propping yourself up like an old scarecrow, who's bursting at the seams but powerless to do anything but stand there and watch.

- The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows

....................

The redness in the sky had long passed once the self-proclaimed Phoenix King returned home, his ironclad warship Crimson Star docking into port, nearly stopping all traffic in the capital bay to allow their ruler the quickest route. Ozai always knew it was a mistake for Azulon to have began the Great Dragon Hunt. Old fool. And of course, the one who had proven himself good enough to slay the last one was that bastard Iroh. He had been busy. Messenger hawks had informed the Phoenix King that his traitorous aforementioned brother had claimed his city in the name of their pathetic enemies. It was high time that miserable old fool meet his end, there was no questioning it now. No longer would politics of the nobility prevent the killing of an outright traitor.

The streets of his city had filled with people come to witness their King's return. They, too, would accept his brother's demise as they were meant to. Golden eyes bore outside the small window of the carriage, showing the determined faces of his subjects, which could surely only increase once they heard the news. Phoenix King Ozai, first of his title, wielded the power of Sozin's -hmm, that could use a little renaming- Comet to slay the Avatar where his children had failed him. He did what no man had done in centuries, forever, the history books would say.

The Caldera was eerily in line. Not that the Phoenix King disapproved, but the sight of the green-robed Dai Li on burnt rooftops gave him pause. There was a nagging doubt, an eerie voice.

They aren't truly mine

The evidence of his daughter's battle was everywhere, amplified tenfold by the comet's power. He could see where stone had turned to glass, transmuted by her azure flame as a result of sheer intensity. Those would remain, he would make sure of it. Testaments of the royal family's power, the power of his spawn.

Finally, they had arrived. The palace was almost empty compared to its usual complement. Even the green-robed Dai Li were scarce, the servants few. The Royal Guard present, but no longer patrolling the inner sanctum. Those that remained most certainly gave the respect that was due, Ozai noted, asking harshly where he would find his daughter. The Throne Room, of course. The Phoenix King smiled, his daughter had always been diligent, ever studious in the improvement of herself, ever present in her duty to her father. Just like Ozai, of course.

"-the western flank in that region would be left undefended, Your Highness, surely-"

"Get out!" The Phoenix King demanded, stepping into the azure light of his daughter's flames which encased the Dragon Throne like a tomb, causing the various generals and nobility that she had assembled to flee in order to allow their private conversation.

"Father?"

He came back to me!

Azula found herself overwhelmed, one thousand emotions swirling around inside of her like a maelstrom. No one ever came back - not to her. And yet, there he was...

He's only going to leave you again. This time, for good! Perhaps he's not even here... Mother wasn't, said a voice, that voice in her head always telling her terrible things... things she did not want to hear...

You're a monster. Everyone leaves you, it told her.

Rising from her seated position- her rightful position, she approached with much hesitation, with trepidation as though her father - The Phoenix King - would scuttle off like a frightened animal or vanish into a puff of smoke. Surely, the notion was ludicrous! And still, she felt... she did not know how to feel... only that she wanted Father to stay, that she wanted to be with him - forever.

"Azula" Ozai said, looking over his daughter as she approached, the blazing, brilliant wall of cerulean parting at her wordless command to allow the Fire Lord's passage. She wore her royal armor, an appearance as perfect as ever. The gleaming gold of the Fire Lord's crown sat atop her head. Though the Phoenix King could not help but to be... disappointed. After his exhausting fight with the Avatar and a dreadfully boring journey home, having heard nothing save for traitorous news, Ozai was hoping for her to be a little more... presentable, exciting- alluring.

In fact... Ozai raised an eyebrow.

Her appearance was not perfect. Obviously, servants had gone to excruciating lengths in order to hide it, but any person would notice when not obscured behind a wall of blue flame. Her hair was ragged, cuts at odd lengths and angles painting a wild and wicked picture, accentuated by a fearful look in those inherited golden eyes. No, something had shaken Ozai's perfect little girl.

Ozai took several steps forward, closing the gap between father and daughter. "I heard you fought your brother during the day of the comet. What did he do to you, my daughter?" he asked slowly, running a finger from the edge of her lips, tracking her hair all the way to the crown of her head.

He's here... he's real... Daddy's really here and he's not leaving, the young Fire Lord thought, breathless, silently begging for his touch. She missed this... she actually missed this. She needed more. She craved it.

"Zuko... he...," Azula began.

It was naught but a blur. She remembered the fire - fire everywhere - smoldering ash and smoke and flame, the courtyard burning. Everything burning beneath the crimson sky, a flash of light and her brother screaming... the river... drowning! Suddenly the room was spinning, and spinning and spinning and she wanted to cry. She was going to cry, to weep until her eyes ran dry-

You can't! Not in front of Father, the voice nagged.

No! Let him see. Let him see what he's done to you!, another argued.

Azula, the Fire Lord, did not cry. She held onto her father for dear life, having leapt into his arms as though he were her savior, and she sobbed.

"He tried to kill me, Daddy" she managed to choke out. "Zuko tried to kill me! They all did! And. You. Weren't. Here!"

It was if the clock wound back the hands of time and his pride had become his little girl again, latching onto her father because of the most recent horrors of the world he had shown her. Zuko certainly had done a number on her. The Phoenix King reached for the bun of her hair, pulling it loose from its knot and letting the wounded raven locks spill free, each wicked incision now for all to see. Ozai ran his hand, slowly, from the crown of her head down to her neck. It was a pathetic display from her, but one could only expect so much from a girl. Daughters need their fathers, they need their strength, no matter how much of their own they may posses.

"He's a traitor," Ozai said, finally. "He also aided the Avatar in his attempt to end me. We'll deal with your brother soon enough" he assured.

"But this has made one thing clear to me. We cannot afford to be apart, my daughter. Separated, we are weak. Our enemies like the Avatar and Zuko nip at our heels! Though they have fallen, more will replace them. That is why you must rule at my side, as my Queen - that way, we shall be invincible" he finished with a smile, no longer looking at his daughter but instead toward the war map on the floor, and the tiles that had been placed to mark their remaining feeble enemies.

Queen.

Invincible.

Phoenix Queen Azula, The Invincible - such a title was singularly glorious! She wanted to be invincible. She wanted to be a queen- his queen. Indeed, it was all she could ever want, had ever dreamed of and then some. Everything had fallen into place, and it was beautiful... it was perfect.

They were perfect.

"Invincible," she repeated, positively enamored, heart racing wildly as it threatened to burst forth from her ribcage. "Father... you honor me beyond words."

"Indeed I have" Ozai affirmed, inhaling the faint smell of smoke in the air, raising his daughter's head with a thumb upon her chin, staring spellbound into her eyes. The Phoenix King was no longer disappointed, for there certainly was something alluring about her - ragged hair rousing something primitive in him, accentuated by the safe and certain look in her eyes, ready and waiting for his next command. Indeed, Azula would finally be his. He smiled wide - she would be the perfect queen, producing epic spawn like that bitch Ursa did- but without all the whining. And with the addition of a few other things, he thought to himself, reaching a hand around her waist. "Now come along, Azula. The whinings of the War Council can wait."

The Phoenix King no longer cared about his brother's treachery, nor even his own son's. All he wanted to do was celebrate the occasion and partake in its pleasures - the creation of a new dynasty! The era of the Phoenix, the era of Ozai!



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