AN: Hey I haven't posted shit on a long time but I got the idea while listening to "Surefire" by John Legend in my car and I just totally started typing this shit out and boom, here we go.
It's Sokkla (obviously) and is rated M because it has nudity and language I guess (there's like one scene of nudity for now). It's based off parts of the aforementioned song and will be a shorter story. Not like a multi-chapter fest or a two or three shot, but like 5 to 8 chapters depending.
Anyway, here we go.
"Can you just stay through the night?" the question asked.
It stops her in her motions. She sits upon the cheap and dirty mattress filled with layers upon layers of various substances she'd prefer not to think about. A dingy location, littered with irritating smells and annoying feelings. Both physically and emotionally.
She narrows her eyes, the single layer of coverage acting as a damaged shield, dangling from her left arm and covering only her right breast. The sticky sweat remaining on her skin acts as her armor against him. She glances up at the locked door in front of them, her shadow broken by the only light filtering in through the blinds behind.
Moments pass before she realizes she's been sitting there, opting against answering him, lest her voice betrays her actual thoughts.
"Azula?" he asks.
Her name. It causes her to look towards the hard floor. A floor that, two hours ago, did little to hide their intentions. If it did succeed, then the cheap walls as thin as her brother's skin would have revealed both of their identities to the world.
In the corner of her eye she notices the light sparkle. She turns her head and sees her belt, hanging off a nightstand. Just thrown there without a care.
Her eyes flicker around the room, noticing things her often observant mind failed to in her distracting moments of lust. The stains on the wall. His boomerang. His sword. How loose his pants are.
The last thought causes her to turn her head back towards the floor. She ignores the heat that rises to her cheeks.
She realizes again that she's failing to respond to the question asked.
"Azula…" he says.
It's not a question. It's not him wanting to see her face. It's not her wanting to see his face. It's just him…
Letting out a breath she'd apparently been holding, she opens her mouth to speak.
"I—" she croaks out.
Her answer is interrupted by a small cough. She feels a not unwarranted hand start massaging the top of her back. Another cough rips through her lips. Using her still sticky right forearm, she wipes away the remnants of spit. She doesn't know why. Agni knows her body is littered with worse things than her own saliva.
"I can't," she finally says.
She hears him release his own breath. Nonetheless, he does not stop massaging her back. Thinking him disappointed, she continues.
"We're already risking so much…if…if it gets out we keep coming here…" she says.
He mistakes her hesitance for something else. The hand stops on her back. The sweat on both their bodies causes the hand's removal to feel like a suction cup just removed itself from its desired possession. She likes to think she's his possession, if only to distract her mind from missing his touch.
"I understand. For these people, sometimes money isn't enough to keep a secret," he says.
He can be so foolish. But then does that make her foolish for following in his path? Does that make her just as much of an idiot if she follows the fool? Or more so?
She can feel the bed moving. She grips the covers tighter against her skin, refusing to let go of her last protection in a momentary field of desire.
Desire for what? This humane pleasure? A lifetime of moments like this? It's ironic that for how naturally hot and how attractive she is told she is, the only heat in her she wants gone can only be quenched by him.
Is that lust? Is it more?
These feelings are new to her. New enough that she deigns the idea of being afraid.
"I don't want you to go, but…just…turn down the bed and close the blinds before you leave," he says.
"I know how this goes. We've only been doing it every other week," she says.
"I'm sorry. I know how you can get after these…sessions," he says.
Agni I wish he'd just call them what they are. He continues to bypass what it is.
Booty call, friends with benefits, a call for coffee, sex—
She realizes too late those words escaped out of her body. The small snicker she hears behind him only intensifies the heat on her cheeks. She shakes her head, the smallest of smirks crossing her lips at his continued indecency.
"Who knew I rubbed off on ya Azula? In more than one way, I mean…" he says.
She can hear that stupid smile on his face, which doesn't help the one growing on her own from disappearing.
"You are insufferable, Sokka," she says.
Another breath escapes, this time through her nose. The smile dissipates down into a sneer.
These moments are always hard to leave, but, being the sensible one of the two, she's always the first one to make the trek.
The covers around her fall down, exposing her body to the world around her. She stands up, her flowing locks falling down around her shoulders and across her breasts, reaching just above the nipples. She takes two steps forward, heading for her clothes bundled in the corner of the room. She feels his eyes on her, not necessarily on the burn marks across her back, no, he's smarter than that. His sight lingers on her form. The epitome of perfection, his words, honestly.
"Can you just stay through the night?" he asks again, the desperation leaking through his voice.
She doesn't stop this time. She leans down, grasping her bundle of clothes on the floor.
As she stands up, the clothes censoring her topmost area of privacy, she hears the bed behind her creak.
She doesn't even move, allowing those bulky arms to surround her. He presses her close, and hears him smelling her hair. She doesn't know why, given how clumpy and no doubt disgusting it is. She might not be the beacon of perfection she once was, but a girl still has her limits. And this girl needs to wash her hair.
All the same, she leans back into his body. Both of them finished. Both of them complete. Both of them not wishing to let this moment go. Both of them praying to whichever god or gods they believe in that that door will never open and that they'll be forced to stay here forever.
He sniffs again. She likes to think she hates it. It's so bestial, below her, beyond somebody like her…
But she can't say that. Despite herself she admires how stupid he gets around her. She'll never say this out loud, but she respects him the most out of his cavalry. When most of his blood doesn't reside below his waist, he uses his mind better than a lot of the generals her father ever sat beside. Had she not sunk to using his former girlfriend as a threat, she has no doubt who would've won during that eclipse. Furthermore, she has no doubt that it was his ideas and his brilliant designs that proved influential in her father's defeat during the following eclipse.
The man holding her close helped her brother become a respected Fire Nation leader. He helped pave the way for the Avatar's future. He proved a beacon of light in her otherwise dark world. He proved to be…everything. A good man, a respected soldier, and a brilliant mind, yes, but also funny, clever, witty, indecent as he is innocent, a fair lover, and everything she ever wanted.
"Shhh…" he says.
She hadn't said anything for a minute or so. She doesn't know what to say. Time tends to meld together as she thinks. It might be because her own thoughts often take more time to ponder upon than most, but then again, most don't have as many demons as she does.
"Let me breathe you in 'til gravity bends...and we fall in the hole...in light," he says.
He's a creative and imaginative man. He's also sweet and romantic when he wants to be, and even when he doesn't want to be, his own stupidity only makes her smile more. He knows it's not through some sick pleasure, but because she loves every aspect of him.
Is that it?
Is that what it is?
More than lust and continued again and again?
Having been preoccupied with her father's desires for so long and then protecting her brother's crown further still, love is not an emotion she sought out. Her brother claims to have found it. He claims to have found it once. Sokka's sister says she found it, as does the Avatar. But her?
"Let's make this our kingdom somewhere where good love conquers in all divides," he continues.
Here is his foolishness again. She starts to try and escape to the shower, but he tightens his grip.
"Sokka…" she says, hoping the desperation hasn't come out.
But he knows. He has that way about him where he knows what's wrong with her, long before she even cares to admit it to herself.
He begins to speak once more.
"Think about it. We've been coming to this place for a while now, and even before then, it was just places like Zuko's garden, the Air Island's pier, the alleyway downtown, the City Hall's corners…we've never really had a place of our own. Now I'll admit, I imagined someplace more refined, or at least with thicker walls, but given our circumstance, I think we have to accept the hand we've been given."
She doesn't fight him. She just stands there in his embrace, gripping her clothes closer to her. I wonder if he knows they're not hers. Does he know where she's been staying? Would he care? Should she tell him?
"I know it sounds stupid, and yeah, I'll admit it, I've had better plans."
Of all things, that causes a snort to release from her nose. A smile creeps on her face as he begins placing small pecks on her shoulder. He creeps up to her neck, and she tilts away from it, opening up the area once more.
It doesn't last long as he continues to speak, this time into her ear.
"Look…I may not know a lot of things, but…" he mutters.
He stops speaking momentarily. For a moment she's afraid she's lost him, or that something is wrong. She turns her head towards him, but his grip disallows her body from following.
"I feel it in my chest. There's something here Azula. I don't know…I don't know if you feel it too. I don't know if you want to feel it…but Azula there's something more here than two people calling each other to a seedy hotel outside of Republic City for some fucking. We've been through enough together to know what the other is thinking usually, and…if there's something inside you, than I know I don't want it to die out."
She feels her eyes start to prickle. She closes them, refusing to cry in front of him. Not again.
"You're passionate. You're strong. You're beautiful. You're unbelievable. Sure you can make me angry and irritate me at times, but even at your most annoying moments, all it takes is one look at you and I immediately fall under your spell once again. You shine, Azula. You may not know it but when you're in a room filled with all of our friends, you shine the most, and I can't help but look at you. I know I made a joke out of it when we first started this, but…that blue fire in you…it's special. And…I won't let that blue flame die."
Forcefully letting him off her, she turns around fully, pressing her lips to his. This isn't passionate, it's not even a beautiful kiss, but when he wraps his arms around her once again, pushing her closer, she knows what it is.
It's more than lust. It's something she wants every day. Every time she sees him. Every time she's around him, she wants to share this moment with him.
It's then she knows that, yes, this is love.
To her dismay, he lets their lips depart. However, they remain closer. Their naked bodies still exposed to the world, but to them, they serve as clothing enough for each other.
He takes his left arm and unwraps it from her. He uses that hand to wipe the tears from her cheeks.
"We can't lose hope just yet, Azula. I can't guarantee they'll be okay with it, but if they can't accept this, than it's their own damn fault," he says.
"Are you sure you want this?" she asks.
He answers with a quick peck on her lips. As he lets go, she follows him. However, he doesn't return it, opting to speak.
"This is once in a lifetime Azula. You don't find things like this with just anybody. I know you're scared to love…and that's alright. I might not be a beacon of beauty like you, but I can only hope I'm good enough."
She places her forehead against his. Her forgotten hair falls around them.
"You idiot…you're more than good enough. I can't remember having these…feelings for anybody else. This is special, Sokka. It's…I don't know," she says.
He smiles. Of course he does. He already knows what she's thinking.
He takes his free hand and cups her chin. He brings her closer and their lips meet once more.
This time, it's her that breaks it, allowing him to follow her this time. When he opens his eyes, he sees her. The her he always saw, always sees, and will always see. The real her. The her that he fell in love with.
What started as two people needing to relieve tension with sex has turned into two lovers finding themselves in each other. A lost soul with nowhere to go and a lone wolf having lost all but himself.
"I may not know a lot of things, but…I know that we're surefire," he says.
The two remain staring at each other's eyes, neither saying anything.
Eventually, she snorts once more, pounding her right fist into his left shoulder. He lets go, moving backwards to allow him freedom. He holds his 'hurt' shoulder, mockingly pretending it's broken.
"Oh, Azula, why?" he asks, the sarcasm clear in his tone.
"With a pun like that, you deserved more than a punch," she says.
"Ooh, what else can you offer me, my highness?" he asks.
He releases a small growl to accompany his rhetorical question. This lets another laugh filter out of her mouth.
That was the last time night they spent with each other.
She doesn't cry. She doesn't weep or wail. She just stares at the floor of the carriage.
She can feel the sun shining in from the outside of the closed shade. It adds heat to her body that she doesn't want anymore.
All she can hear is the beating of the horse's hooves against the concrete. A few voices filter in through the wood of the carriage. Most of them are confused as to who the strange carriage is holding inside. Who deserves a military escort like this, led by the Fire Lord himself?
He hears a few rumors. Sokka's sist—Katara…she hears a few of them mumble. Maybe a secret mistress come to bear his children. A war criminal from Republic City sought to face punishment from the Fire Lord. She laughs in her mind at that last one.
Others start talking about Suki. Once Sokka left her, she turned to Zuko and are now a couple. Or that she came to him begging for a position, and Zu-Zu being Zu-Zu, obliged. Others assume she's having Zu-Zu's younglings.
But then she starts hearing the truth. A few peasants start to gossip that it's her. They're laced with falsehoods though. She was caught as a prisoner from the Earth Kingdom. She was found out in the desert and brought home by Zuko as a hero. A few of them even assume she had Zuko's children.
These peasants either really want their Fire Lord to have children or enjoy hearing leaders incestualy bed with their sibling. And to think, these are the people she wanted to rule? Zu-Zu deserves these people. They can be as naïve and thick-headed as he.
The carriage suddenly stops, causing her to lurch forward a moment. There's a few mumbles from the soldiers outside, most of them wondering why they're keeping her alive. Fools. Nice to see Zu-Zu continue to disappoint his people by not telling them what they need to know. That's how the last coup almost happened.
Consistency is at least something she can count on from him.
But…there he is, the fool. As the loud and familiar thud of the palace doors close behind her, she starts to hear him defend his choices. He also lets slip that if it wasn't for her, there would be no Republic City, or those nice incentives they get now as soldiers.
Leave it to Zu-Zu to defend something, even as foolish as her.
With a sigh releasing from her lips, she hears the driver of her carriage speak.
"You'll be fine. Despite everything, they won't turn against the Fire Lord. Even they're not that stupid," he says.
Despite herself, she smiles. One that he can't see, but still, it's the thought that counts, right?
"Thank you, Rui Shi," she says.
"My pleasure…Lady Azula?" he asks.
It's a fair point. As her recently returned personal bodyguard, Rui Shi knew her since she was a princess. Following her imprisonment, escape, and exile, she was shocked to find him still a member of the Fire Nation Army. He was also shocked to have him hug her, but it was certainly a moment she needed.
Rui Shi was always her closest confidante. Even if she herself cared little for him, it was his loyalty that kept him from betrayal much like everyone else around her. The fact that he'd continue to stick with her despite her being…preoccupied, said a lot about what he actually meant to her, and vice versa.
Her 'illustrious' return to royalty was not popular among Zu-Zu's cavalry. As a member of Republic City's Council, Sokka maintained his position, but as the outsider, and since she did kind of help try and kill the Avatar—succeeding at one point—they soured on anything less than exile. The blind Earthbender even recommended killing her, which wouldn't have been a bad idea had it not been her own life at stake.
But alas, it was Sokka's insistence that led to at least letting her brother know. Zu-Zu being Zu-Zu, essentially claimed her as a member of the Fire Nation, something she supposed she still was, and said that she was his problem.
'Problem.' That was the word he used. She's still unsure if that was honesty or just him playing to their anger and hatred.
Knowing Zu-Zu it was probably both.
The carriage door opens, and her brother is the first thing she sees. To anybody else, the Fire Lord before her is a beacon of stone. His face lacking emotion and his stance solid as a rock that blind bandit threatened to crush her with.
But to her? Zu-Zu was as conflicted as she.
She descends the carriage's tiny steps, standing face-to-face with her brother in their home for the first time since he beat her in that Agni Kai forever ago.
As her feet hit the stone base of their bailey's ground, she looks at Zu-Zu. Not into his eyes though. Even she is unsure of his plan, and will admit she has fear of what his plan even is.
She might be a royal again per his orders, but she knows royalty doesn't mean anything to the Fire Nation. Zuko and that scar across his face is proof of that.
Releasing a deep breath, Zu-Zu begins speaking.
"Welcome home Azula. You're confused, and I get that. I want you to know that this can be a safe haven for you from whatever the world wants. It may not be what you desire, but for now, it's what you need, given my friends want you dead, sent to Boiling Rock, or your bending stripped away and exiled to some Earth Kingdom village in the middle of nowhere."
"Not that hard to assume which one is which…" she mumbles to herself.
"Yes well, I am willing to offer you this. Your old life back as the heir to the throne. Considering you won't try to kill me and start a coup given your recent…adventure…"
She closes her eyes and turns her head away from him.
"…I am willing to trust you enough to have input on meetings. I'm willing to allow you freedom within the capital given that you listen to your personal bodyguard when he warns you against something. I'm willing to allow you access to a messenger hawk to send letters to whomever you wish. I just want to ask you one thing, Azula. And if I find your answer satisfactory, I will allow you all of these things."
Azula opens her eyes, but keeps them focused on the armor encompassing her brother. The armor of a leader. The armor of the Fire Lord.
"Not much of an option here Zu-Zu," she continues to mumble.
"Azula…" there's that anger rising in his face.
A small smirk crosses her lips. Nonetheless, she nods her head.
"Ask away," she says.
Breathing in and breathing out in a brief clearing of his mind akin to that of their Uncle's, Zuko allows the air around them to heat up. A small intimidation tactic that would often frighten those not familiar to interrogation techniques of the Fire Nation. Given she came up with it, it doesn't work on her.
All the same, she can feel that nastiness in her stomach. That disgusting doubt creeping its way up in her.
He opens his eyes, piercing her with unyielding seriousness.
"Azula…do you love Sokka? If given the chance, would you run away with him and never look back? Would you bear his children and live a life together in peace if nobody was to ever come and find you? Tell me Azula…is that a life you would take?"
If she hadn't had that moment with Sokka, she for sure would have spent more time pondering the question. However, she takes this time to think on what that idiot would say.
It takes her a good minute before she harkens back to those words.
With an uncharacteristically goofy smile adorning her face, she begins speaking, her eyes looking right into Zuko's for the first time.
"I may not know a lot of things, Zu-Zu…but I know we're…" she begins to say.
However, the act she was putting on weakens. That idiot. That lovable idiot. He's going to make her say it and she will punch him the next time she sees him.
She holds her arms up, showing off something of a shrug.
"…sure…fire…" she mumbles out.
With a hardened sigh, she drops her right arm and places her left hand against her face. A further hardened grown escapes her lips.
She removes the hand from her face, staring further into his brother's eyes.
"That sounds like something he would say…" Zuko mutters to himself.
Zuko starts to scratch his stubble of a beard with his right hand, using his left as a stand of some sort for the elbow.
"Do you…Azula?" Zuko asks.
Azula's cheeks start getting warmer.
She folds her arms, forcing her hands under her armpits.
She looks at the ground, finding the soldier's boots to the right of her much more interesting then Zu-Zu.
"Damn you! Yes I love him..."
Zuko suddenly lets out a huge grin. Azula looks up at him, allowing the blush to widen even further.
"Welcome back Azula."
"Shut up Zu-Zu."