Apparently today is Avatar's 10th anniversary...here have a fic!
In one year a person could accomplish much.
She had chosen to run away
Run away and not be found.
In two she mostly just stood alone.
Living only off of what the land would give her.
On most nights she was lonely.
The other three years became something of a blur as she counted them off. Everything seemed to be the same old thing. She didn’t know how she’d managed to go for five years all by herself in such a strange place.
She decided after those five years she was tired of being alone, hungry, and silently afraid. Decided that maybe five years was long enough for them to forget her face…and everything else she’d done. Perhaps she could make something of herself.
On year five she left her makeshift home in the Forgetful Valley.
Her cloths were tattered.
Her hair a mess.
She wouldn’t be recognized. She didn’t want to be recognized.
Azula didn’t really know what she’d do when she got back to Hira’a. She hadn’t any money. She hadn’t anything at all aside from her dirty, worn cloths. She was probably lucky to have even that.
On year six she had found herself a place to work.
The Hira’a theater seemed more than happy to hire her.
It was the same one, she realized, that her mother had volunteered at.
On year six she decided that it didn’t matter as long as she had a place to stay and people to talk to. Up until year six Azula never really had a friend who had chosen to care for her without her having to bully them into the friendship. She never had a group of friends that cared for her without her having to buy them expensive things.
They seemed to like her despite her lower class appearance. She thought back to year five when she still didn’t really have anyone to talk to. When she only showed up at the theater to make some money. She still didn’t talk much on year six, but that little group that called themselves her friends, they liked her anyhow. And when she did speak they seemed to listen…to care.
It helped ease the pain when she’d lie awake and long for home. For the times before she’d lost it all.
None of them yet knew about that.
They knew she was sad.
They knew that her sadness is what kept her so quiet on most days.
But they didn’t really know how to make it better.
They still tried.
It was year seven that bought Azula some good fortune. There was one show they put on. She didn’t think it was that wonderful. But the crowd did; it was a sellout. Every time. This just so happened to be the show in which she got the main role.
Her closest friend, his name was Kang-Min, seemed to be the most excited for her. Azula enjoyed his company. He was the one who had managed to pull her out of what seemed like endless sadness. She probably shouldn’t pick favorites, but she liked him the most.
He kept her company. One night he followed her home. Up until year seven, home was in a rundown, abandoned shack. Instead of going back to his own cozy house he had chosen to spend the night with her. It was a cold night, he held her quite tightly to himself. Though they both still shivered, they were warm enough.
The next day he bought her an assortment of things; new cloths, some food, a blanket, and some pillows. He gave her a small kiss and said he’d see her at work.
Year eight was a special year. By this time Azula had bought herself a rather nice home. A real home…one that wasn’t broken down and beaten. It was well furnished and warm. She had a nice closet, this closet was lined with an assortment of outfits.
She was more than happy to invite her group of friends inside. Kang seemed to be the most excited for her. She felt at her best when he was around. He was constantly telling her how impressive it was that she had hit rock bottom and picked herself back up on her own.
One night, when fortunes were particularly high, Azula had thrown a party. Naturally her first friends had showed up. By the end of the night, most everyone in Hira’a had stopped by at least for a little bit. The party was for her birthday, but most people didn’t know that.
It didn’t really matter.
She was happier than she had been in a long time. Everyone seemed to be joyful.
It was on that same night she and Kang decided to escape the festivity for a while. They stood alone on her balcony. He had his arm around her—if her memory proved correct. They were looking off into the direction of the Forgetful Valley and up at the stars. For the most part they just held each other and took in the night. The smell of fruit carried by a balmy wind.
Eventually he smiled down at her. He told her it was amazing how much a person could change. She thought he was talking about how she’d gone from having nothing to all of what was around her. And then he informed her…admitted, that he used to think she’d never be anything but heartless and power hungry. Before she could say anything, he mentioned it took him a while to put two and two together—to recognize her.
She didn’t say anything. What was there to say?
He wished her a happy birthday and stated that he was proud of what she had done with herself. He didn’t seem to mind that she made him find out who she was on his own.
He took her hand in his—or maybe it was the other way around—and stood there with her a little longer…until a drunk Lin-Shi called her attention back to the party. She couldn’t exactly let the girl stumble back to her house unattended.
Azula didn’t think it could get any better than year nine.
Year nine was when Kang introduced her to his parents. They took kindly to the idea of him getting friendly with the princess, even though it was a pretty empty title at this point.
It was on year nine that she and Kang closed another show and decided to utilize their vacation days. Besides, it was someone else’s turn to get the starring role anyhow. Kang used these vacation days to take her to Ember Island.
They bickered for a few moments over whose house they’d stay in; her family’s old one or his. They decided they’d alternate between the two.
Year nine was when Azula lie down in the sand under a palm tree, waiting for Kang to get back from wherever he had gone. He came back around sun down and handed her a clam. She had never been so confused in her life…
Okay so that was a bit of an exaggeration, but she was pretty confused.
He had her pry the clam open. Inside it was a little ring.
They married on that same beach a little over a month later.
In the middle of year ten, Azula found herself holding twins; a boy and a girl. In the middle of year ten they were a family as opposed to just a married couple. Lin-Shi was excited for the party celebrating the birth of the twins.
Year ten was year one for Lin-Shi; the girl had a lot she wanted to change about herself…starting with her drinking problem. Azula decided she’d help the girl. But first she had one last thing to settle.
By the end of year ten Azula was welcomed back home with warm arms. With hopes that year eleven would bring amends between she and her mother. And amends between she and Zuko…and maybe she and Ty-Lee.
Such a long time.
Ten years had changed the princess more than she ever thought they would have.