attackfish: Jet and Zuko fighting in the teashop, text "Obviously this is the place to come if you want to get murdered by lunatics" (Jet Juko TDL quote)
[personal profile] attackfish
Written for the [ profile] comment_fic prompt: Zuko, "Set Fire to the Rain"

And all the Games You Played, You Would Always Win

"We should..."  Katara stopped, whatever she thought they should do lost.

Underneath his sister's wracking sobs, Zuko could hear the crackle of fires, the remnants of their Agni Kai, slowly reducing more and more of the palace complex to ash.  "We can't leave her here."

"We have to."  Katara's eyes flicked to him, sweeping over the smoldering rooftops.  " We can't stay here."

"There's uh," Zuko swallowed. Azula's lightning still pulsed through every cell in his body, the brief respite Katara's healing had given him ebbing away. "The Fire Sages will be around here somewhere. They will be watching so they know who to crown."

"Yeah," Katara said.  "Okay.  I'll get them to send for the guards.  They'll listen to me; they do what fourteen year old waterbenders tell them to do all the time."  Her breath came out of her as a nervous giggle, that infected Zuko, and their laughter rose together, until it seemed to spill over and away, leaving Zuko without air to breathe.  Before Zuko had caught his breath again, Katara had taken off running, flashing him a smile full of relief and exhaustion, and terror all at once.

And suddenly, he was alone.  And he was so much more used to being alone in his sister's presence, than being alone with her.  Stumbling, he found himself being drawn to his sister like lightning to a lightning rod. He could feel the energy from Sozin's comet burning away, leaving behind only the throbbing pain of Azula's lightning, and the terrible fatigue that came from knowing nothing was over yet.  He knew Azula could feel it too.  Her screams had turned to sobs.

He collapsed in front of her, tucking his legs in against his chest as he faced her.  The torrents of flame that had poured from her mouth as Katara had chained her down were gone.  Tears had taken their place, tiny flickers of blue fire making them sizzle away, leaving incriminating trails of salt like ribbons down her cheeks.  He couldn't help staring at her, stripped of her artifice, all of that fear and devastation left naked. She stared as if he weren't there, and there was nothing in front of her at all.

It felt as if the air between them had become a stone wall.  There was no reaching out to touch her.  She wasn't something that could be touched.  She was Azula.  She was unbeatable.

Except that she wasn't.

For a wild, panicked moment, he wished they could trade places.  He knew what to do with losing, with powerlessness, and being trapped.  He hadn't won, he simply hadn't lost as badly.  He hadn't beaten her; Katara hadn't even beaten her.  They had simply been there when she had beaten herself.  But when he left here, he was going to have to be firelord, living proof of her defeat. And it was her turn to be alone in his presence.  So he waited until the guards came, watching her burn her tears away.

Date: 2014-08-23 01:16 am (UTC)
sholio: Zuko with fire (Avatar-Zuko fire)
From: [personal profile] sholio
I really like this - great Zuko POV!

Date: 2014-08-23 06:33 pm (UTC)
lokifan: black Converse against a black background (Default)
From: [personal profile] lokifan

Great last line.

Date: 2014-08-23 07:59 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Thank you. Always good to know I made someone cry.

Date: 2017-06-01 04:34 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Wow...haunting. I love how deeply Zuko's conviction of Azula's superiority, his belief in the myth of her perfection, is. "I didn't beat her - she beat herself" - and that last line, so deep. Bravo


Date: 2017-06-01 05:56 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Thank you! One of the things I like best about writing from inside character's head is that I can show how they perceive something, even if their perception is inaccurate. It's always a bit of a balancing act, staying true to their perception while trying to communicate that their perception is not an objective truth, and I'm glad I succeeded here for you.


attackfish: Yshre girl wearing a kippah, text "Attackfish" (Default)

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