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.

Father's embrace felt constrictive... possessive- like a dragon, guarding his hoard of treasure against those who would seek to have it as their own.

Is this all that I am to him? An object? Something pretty, to be kept and coveted... a trophy?

Sometimes, admittedly, the sentiment pleased her-

What is wrong with you?

But, she was more than that... wasn't she?

Daddy used you. He used you like a whore. Stumbling, drunk, reeking of opium smoke... pawing at you with those greedy hands... and you just let him. You let him do whatever he wanted. You even begged him for it, too... just like he said you would!

She was his queen; she pleased him. What shame was there in that? Besides... there was no denying the fact that she had enjoyed herself as well.

Is that the only card you have to play? Pathetic. He knows it, too. Just like-

No. Azula, the Phoenix Queen, was nothing like her stupid, vapid, empty-headed whore of a mother!

Keep telling yourself that.

Though the indulgences of the night previous had certainly taken their toll on the Phoenix King, Agni's crimson call of morning did not fail to wake him. Or perhaps...

Already up, father regarded daughter, looking at his precious gem sitting up, lost in her thoughts as she often was. Ozai would pay hefty sums to know whatever it was she was plotting with that devious mind of hers. Even as a little girl, she had used it to great effect, sometimes even on himself! Ozai couldn't be more proud. But still, it definitely was intimidating to know that his daughter could see things even he could not. A power Ozai was going to tame. After all, he had created it, and therefore it was his, just like everything else.

"Azula" he mumbled quietly as he shifted under the sheets, trying to remember the events of the night previous - only managing to find images of scheming in one of the caldera's basement opium dens, and... and his daughter's tender breasts in his hands, fearful golden eyes staring up...

For only two images out of dozens, Ozai was satisfied with this.

"Father," Azula purred, slinking back down onto the bed beside him. When she turned on her side to face him, however, she winced in pain. It still hurt. Granted, she was not at all surprised, bruises upon her naked body as testament. Nor was she unaccustomed to her father's rough treatment, being manhandled and held down, forced into whichever position he liked- more times than she could count. Merely, she wished...

What? You want the Phoenix King to hold you and kiss you? Ask permission before he fucks you? ...No. Ozai shouldn't fuck you... he should make love to you. A father really ought to make love to his little girl!

Agni, you are being ridiculous.

Ozai smiled at his daughter's sensual voice, accompanied by her equally well-formed body. Much better than trying to remember fleeting images of yesterday, he thought to himself, running a finger across her cheek. "It's morning, my daughter," he said simply, breathing in their shared scent and wondering if there was anything he couldn't accomplish with her, once he put that plotting mind of hers to work. Those squabbling nobles would be biting at his heels soon; one of the things Ozai did remember is promising them a morning session to hear their petty audiences. Another indulgence, one which even Ozai could admit may have been the fruits of untamed rice wine rather than political wrangling. "And I wish for you to attend court with me, as my right hand."

Right hand

Father wanted her there for all to see-

Of course he did.

Indeed, it was her place ...A place of respect, honor ...power! ...befitting of a queen.

"Once more, Father, you honor me beyond words," The Phoenix Queen said, heart racing, possessed by the man whom had sired her. She leaned in close, her lips nearly touching his ear and whispered "Thank you."

She could ignore the pain. Pain was weakness leaving the body- one of her father's many lessons.

With the smile of the daughter came the smile of the father. It was one of the many other great things about her, the girl lived for her duty, to his nation, to her father the Phoenix King. She was obedient and enjoyed being so, the perfect weapon - a single edged sword with which he could use to destroy his enemies. "Of course. It is high time people get used to seeing you at my side, and I won't wait until the damned wedding bells to make it so" he grunted, unceremoniously sliding out of bed to dress himself for the day.

Though it was nothing she had not already seen, Azula gave her husband-to-be an appreciative once-over (or two) and asked, offhandedly "Father, do you have to get dressed?" with a coquettish smirk, before following his lead and slipping out of bed as well.

Despite the lingering soreness, various aches and pains that plagued her on this fine morning, she stretched- willing herself not to let her discomfort be exposed, not to clench her teeth nor squint her eyes- and exaggerated every motion, making a show of it for Ozai's sake.

Once the pair were finished with the most basic of preparations (though neither of them seemed to be in a hurry, especially him, whose gaze lingered exactly where his daughter wanted it to, especially the marks he had left the night previous) they made their way to exit. "Azula, there is something else I want you to wear" Ozai said, after painstakingly trying to remember and track down where it was he put the item (not that it wasn't important... but in the Phoenix King's experience rice wine doesn't discriminate on the memories it takes).

The flat, letter-sized box (barely thicker than one's thumb) was embroidered, and freshly fashioned, clearly made from one of the palace artisans. On the front was the gold-crimson sigil of the phoenix, which Ozai had adopted as his own. He held it in his hands with a smile, a finger on the clasp that kept hidden what was inside.

"Of course, Father," Azula replied, somewhat hesitant. "What is it?" she asked, golden eyes alight, unable to contain her excitement nonetheless.

He meant to give her a gift, that much was obvious. And it was not as if her father never did so... on the contrary, Ozai doted upon his daughter beyond what could be considered expected. More often than not, however, there was a price to be paid- strings attached- whether quid pro quo or something else entirely.

What's he giving me and what's the catch?

"It is as I said on the day of my return, my daughter. The position of Fire Lord is no more. There are no more Fire Lords, ladies, princesses, any of them!" he exclaimed, yanking the hairpiece of said position out of her hair and letting the metal fall to the ground. "To create a new dynasty, a new rule in my name, the old one must be cast away for the archaic and foolish system it was." Ozai opened the box, letting the newly-designed hairpiece shine in the morning sun. "You deserve a new crown to mark your important position, the position of being my Queen."

Azula, the great and powerful Phoenix Queen, wanted to (and nearly did) scream. She wanted to squeal- like a little girl! Though such silliness would be inappropriate, surely. And so, she refrained. Then all of the sudden, she thought of Mai and Ty Lee... instinct urging her to run along and show them, as she once did so many (not that many) years ago. Granted, only Ty Lee ever used to react in the ostensibly childish manner which Azula wished to- by way of excited, nauseatingly high-pitched squeals. And Mai? She would-

That doesn't matter. I don't care. They're not my friends anymore.

Pushing away obtrusive thoughts and sentimental nonsense, Phoenix Queen Azula chose instead to savor this... the warm, fluttering sensation in her abdomen, the fact that her father (her King) had given her such a gift- something wonderful for all to see, which she would wear with pride each and every day- a reward. Just as he had intended.

"It's beautiful," Azula confirmed, with worshipful fascination. Holding his gaze, she then said "Thank you, Daddy."

Ozai briefly smiled as his daughter said that magic word again, handing her the open box along with its opulent contents. "Now, come along, my daughter, it's time to show everyone else your gift as well"

Not that the foolish courtesans were likely to understand exactly what it meant (though some might guess, Ozai figured. Rumors of the then-Firelord's various wonts didn't have any difficulty spreading throughout the caldera), but he held no such sentimentality to specific days nor would he wait for anyone's permission. Azula was going to rule at his side now. The wedding day is a mere expression of an event that has already happened - as far as the Phoenix King was concerned, an event that had happened a long time ago.

And so King and Queen entered their Court.

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