Kuebiko

BY : Death_Rattle
Category: Avatar - The Last Airbender > AU/AR - Alternate Universe/Alternate Reality
Dragon prints: 5257
Disclaimer: I do not own the rights to Avatar: the Last Airbender or any of the characters. I do not profit from my writing.

The sky is crimson.

He had given the water wench specific instruction. Bring his queen to him by sunset.

The sky is crimson and his little Phoenix hadn't risen. There was a flicker of his inner fire. An unacknowledged spark in the mind. She hadn't returned to him. Why? A familiar fear. Had his Queen gotten cold feet? Azula never did such things. She wanted him, she needed him. Perhaps the water bitch had fed her lies, poisoning her mind with the tales of his enemies. Perhaps... had his Queen learned her lesson? Or was she still embroiled with the petty issues that had brought about his wrath in the first place.

Whatever it was, Azula was his. She was his creation. And he needed to remind her.

Despite Ozai's assessment of the situation, Azula had learned her lesson all too well. No, she'd never meant her husband disrespect or insult, not after what he had done. The 'water bitch' had not fed her lies or anything of the sort. On the contrary, Katara had performed her duty - rousing the (traumatized) Phoenix Queen and a most painful attempt at convincing her Mistress to answer the beck and call of the man who'd beaten and raped her only hours earlier - to the best of her ability.

Azula answered no such beck and call, not because she was disobedient or in need of further punishment but simply because she could not will herself out of bed.

She was hurt, in ways she'd never been hurt before. She was frightened, of her own father and husband. More than anything, she was completely overwhelmed, a swirling, black stormcloud of inner turmoil hanging over her head.

Withal, the once proud Phoenix Queen was a sight most pitiful to behold, curled up in bed 'hiding' herself beneath the silk sheets, fresh tears staining her cheeks-

He's here

Heavy footfalls just outside the door signaled Ozai's impending arrival, the thought of which caused his daughter to panic. Golden eyes widened with express shock and, as the door swung open, Azula very nearly fell out of bed.

"D-Daddy..." she stammered, fearful, realizing what she had done. "I... I..." There were no words. And so, the Great Phoenix Queen said nothing more as she sobbed and shivered in silence, expecting to be punished- hurt once more.

The Phoenix King had never been more surprised. He had expected many things. Her usual warm embrace, a cold indifference of meditation - other parts of his mind imagining... darker things still. This however, this... weakness, was not expected or conceived. It was the last thing he'd thought he'd find.

Had the water bitch not done what he asked? His little girl had barely improved from the state from which he had last seen her.

Father approached daughter, tentatively.

"Azula" he said her name finally as he looked her over, her porcelain skin mostly hidden by the sheets - but what was showing was most revealing. His little princess had been healed of his physical wounds, just as he had asked. Apparently the water-wench hadn't understood the other part of her duties, however. Ozai secretly wished the circus-bitch was still around - she had always been able to put an early end to Azula's bouts of childishness. "You didn't come"

Azula braced herself, awaiting-

nothing?

No, it was too good to be true. She would be punished for such-

I thought I had taught you the meaning of pain

Chills running down her spine, his voice still ringing in her ears, the Phoenix Queen recalled her most recent punishment... the darkened room with little stars and no sun-

You've forgotten your duty to me

"I was scared."

You're my little girl

"I said I was sorry!"

More tears.

Father moved forward to embrace his daughter. "I know you're sorry" he managed, grasping his phoenix in his arms, giving her his warmth, his touch running through her raven locks. "Now, come back to me, little princess"

"Don't touch me!"

There was life in Ozai's Little Phoenix yet! For the first (and last?) time, Azula raised a hand toward her father-

CRACK!

The sound of her open palm striking his face was deafening.

Had she just... just...?

The bitch hadn't learned her lesson!

Like the suspension of many of the Fire Nation's war machines, Ozai sprung back hard against the force. In an instant, his daughter was pinned against the bed frame, her tears dripping on the pillows, his hands gripping her shoulders and-

And nothing.

A force in the Phoenix King's mind compelled him to stop. Would his Phoenix be lost to him forever?

He withdrew his hands, in shock from his own thunder. His own daughter had struck him.

Silence. The frantic breathing of his frightened Princess. Waves crashing on the shore.

"Daddy..?" Gleaming eyes of gold stared into their mirror image, a daughter's wordless plea for mercy from a father who granted none.

"Are you going to hurt me?"

"...No" he said honestly, decoupling himself from her completely with confused trepidation.

"That was very naughty of you, girl"

An understatement. Vastly. What she had done had conveyed far more meaning than naughtiness. If it hadn't, she would have gotten her well-deserved second punishment.

More silence for a moment.

Azula was left reeling... speechless, unable to fully process all that had-

What had just happened?

It seemed impossible, whats and whys unknown to father and daughter alike. It was impossible, surely and yet the red mark already blossoming, marring her husband's face was so very... real. It was real and despite it all, Ozai had shown restraint, something which his wife and daughter (or anyone, for that matter) would never have thought him capable of.

Hesitant, Azula leaned toward her Daddy and, as though her kiss had the power to will it away, graced the awful red mark with trembling lips.

"I'm sorry."

"I know you are" he repeated, watching her retreat back into the softness of the bed, dark circles where the tears had fallen.

Her kiss had indeed had the power to will away the mark - the Phoenix King's confidence tentatively reaching out from its shelter. His little girl was sorry. Her daddy had erred, that much was clear. Her eyes were wide with fear, much more fear than any girl should feel towards their father, their husband, their King. In tempering his sword, he had warped the metal - blunted his own blade. If he hammered the blade any more, it would shatter.

"You are forgiven - just this once." He said finally, as if the concession weren't practically predetermined. "But should you strike your daddy once more..."

"I won't." There was nothing more that needed to be said. Azula understood the consequences, understood that her father's forgiveness ought not to be taken lightly.

Indeed, she had committed a grievous sin against her husband and father (for which she was truly sorry) yet he did not punish her. Instead, Daddy had forgiven his little girl and that made her feel... grateful? Certainly. Happy, if only slightly ...Confused ...Overwhelmed. Azula was unsure what to do, what to think, what to say-

Once more, the Great Phoenix Queen found herself on the verge of tears.

weak

Scared and weak when she should be-

strong? No, maybe we'll settle for oh, I don't know... strong enough not to go running straight back to the man who did this to you?

She pushed back the little, nagging voices along with her tears and, for the second time, held that piercing, golden gaze. "Daddy? Would you-" she shivered, only slightly. "Would you ever... you know..? do what you did again?"

Perhaps, if she were to disrespect me greatly. Yes

"No, of course I wouldn't." he moved forward slowly, running a hand down her arm and grasping her fingers. "I would hurt you this way again no more than you would strike me. Both mistakes, not worth repeating"

This time, Azula accepted Ozai's touch just as she accepted his words (lies, although she was none the wiser). She wanted what he had said to be true, and so it was. She wanted things to be as they were every bit as much as he did, perhaps even more so. She wanted to be Daddy's little girl again. She wanted- nay, she needed him to care for her, love her...

The Phoenix King felt a familiar embrace. "I need you," his Queen reassured. "Make it all better, Daddy."

Fix me

Gently, the Phoenix King tugged the hand he had grasped, pulling his wife and daughter into the embrace he had attempted earlier - only this time he felt the warmth of his princess-prodigy flow through him as she accepted his touch. Accepted that he was here to make everything better. "I will" he promised, inspecting her much closer than was previously allowed - making sure the water wench had done her job.... which she seemed to have done adequately.

"Come with me, little princess. You look famished, you need to replenish your energy"

Azula concurred, offering a weak nod of acceptance. Daddy knew best - she had not eaten all day, after all. Daddy would always know best, she would always be his little princess.

Succumbing to the most base of needs and her father's (gentle?) request, the Phoenix Queen resolved to leave the comforts of a warm embrace and silk sheets. Bare feet made contact with cold, wooden floorboards, the sensation sending chills all throughout her body. She shivered.

"Azula! What are you doing?"

The Phoenix King wrapped a hand around her waist, slowly. "Come now, there's no need for that." he said softly, into her ear, before swooping her up from the legs until he was cradling his little girl in his arms. "Let's see what we can find..." he mumbled to himself, awkwardly opening the door to the bedroom and walking out into the hallway. Somehow he was sure that he'd find that water bitch nearby...

"You! Fetch your Queen something to eat! And... " he lowered his voice, even though his daughter was right under his head. "A drink for me"

The water wench had tried to follow Ozai's command, she really had. But no matter what she had tried, her Mistress wouldn't budge one way or another. Her father had taken her and broken her, and all Katara could do was clean her up before she collapsed on the covers, sobbing.

And there she was, curled up in his arms. Somehow the man had done it. Somehow. Daddy had made it all better again.

Katara hated him, he didn't deserve her. He didn't deserve her forgiveness, he didn't deserve forgiveness at all.

Neither did he deserve a drink not full of his slave's saliva.

Judging from her expression upon a swift return from the kitchens, Katara was-

disgusted?

Azula nuzzled her head into the crook of Ozai's neck, pointedly avoiding eye contact with the waterbender as she set down a crystal cut goblet, filled to the brim with honey-colored liquid, in silence. Before making her way back to the kitchens, however, Katara saw to another task. Something she had not been explicitly instructed to do although the royal couple would not object - ensuring her Queen's comfort. She gathered several pillows from around the sitting room and, after fluffing said pillows of course, arranged them neatly upon a plush sofa.

Gently, Azula's Daddy brought her down. She found herself enveloped in softness- warmth. The Phoenix King had taken his place beside his Queen, radiating warmth like the sun.

Once more, Katara said nothing as she returned with a serving tray, then left as quickly as she had come.

Azula peered down at her food - an array of various exotic fruits. Although there was nothing wrong with the fruit, objectively, she leaned against her father and husband rather than eating it. "Little Princess..." she mused, recalling the term of endearment he'd used to coax her out of bed. "I've always loved the sound of that. Hm but I'm your Queen now, it's almost a shame."

"I see no reason why you can't be both"

"Though..." he paused, ruffling the hair of his little princess. "Little princesses need to eat, wouldn't you say? So they can be a proud and strong ruler and mother when they grow into a Queen"

Right as always

For the first time since morning, Azula smiled. "Yes, Daddy" she conceded.

Golden eyes fell upon sliced mango. She was indeed famished, there was no denying it. Regardless, the Phoenix Queen would sooner be caught dead than gorging herself like an animal! As such, two fingertips plucked a single piece of mango from the tray, delicately as could be. She took small bites, chewed with her mouth primly closed, ensuring all the while that absolutely no juices dribbled down her chin.

"How did she know-?"

Daddy must have told her, perhaps earlier when she had been resting. He knew everything about his Little Princess.. didn't he?

"To bring the mango, I mean" she looked to him, much too eager. "...you told her it was my favorite, didn't you?"

Truthfully, the Phoenix King couldn't remember uttering two words to the water wench that weren't some kind of command since their arrival here, which had been the first time. But Ozai was never one to let an achievement go uncredited. "A father always looks after the needs of his daughter"

When Azula wasn't looking, he finally let out the breath he had been holding it for some time and took a long gulp from the goblet which had until then remained untouched. Everything would be as it was very soon. By Agni, it was... perfect

...except, something was off about his drink.



You need to be logged in to leave a review for this story.
Report Story