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"Agh!" Zuko yelped in pain as he was sent flying back into the grass of the fire nation's fields on the outskirts of the crater of the capital city.
Landing on the tip of her boot across from him, Azula let out a grunt of satisfaction as she brought down her other boot and moved a lock of hair out her face with her thumb and index finger.
"Agh…" Zuko winced in pain as he rose to his knees and hovered his hand over a red welt over his left eye.
"Did little Zuzu hurt himself falling down?" Azula called out in a mocking tone of sympathy.
Zuko looked up to her with a glower as she smirked at his anger.
"You…What if this leaves a scar?!" Zuko yelled.
"I don't know…" Azula said indifferent as she folded her arms and cocked her head back and to the side.
"Maybe you'll thank me. Some girls find scars attractive." Azula said smirking.
"You…" Zuko seethed as he rose to his feet in rage. Rumbling through clenched teeth and trembling fists, Zuko glowered at Azula's smirking face.
"I hate you!" Zuko shouted, flames igniting from his hands as he dropped into a fighting stance.
"And I you…brother." Azula said with a smirk as she dropped into a fighting stance as well.
Ten yards was all that separated the two as they stared each other down. Zuko's eyes glaring in an angry edgy quiver as Azula's watched him calm and coolly.
Zuko made the first move as he shouted thrusting his two fists in succession, launching fireballs from each blow toward Azula.
Smirk widening as the fireballs approached, Azula hopped into the air as she negated the two projectiles with a spinning kick each of her feet. Turning in midair Azula shot out two more spinning kicks toward Zuko that unleashed waves of blue azure fire, before dropping to her feet and dashing toward Zuko.
Scowling at the incoming projectiles, Zuko dove under them as they slashed over and past his head.
Rolling onto his knee from the dive, Zuko looked up in surprise to see Azula in front of him smiling sinisterly with a loaded back fist.
Rising to his feet, Zuko barely managed to put his hands in the shape of an X to block as Azula unloaded a bone shattering blow into his body. Zuko's entire body resonated from the force of the blow as it shook in place.
Dropping his guard, Zuko scowled as he sprung forward and threw a heavy right at Azula's face. Azula smirked as she sidestepped past the blow and gripped Zuko's arm with her hands. Zuko's eyes rose in shock as Azula using his momentum span him around in a 360 before flinging him forward.
Zuko fell into a roll as he turned on all fours and scowled over at Azula. She smirked enthusiastically at him, seemingly getting a thrill out of this.
Taking off toward him, Azula sprinted as Zuko rose to his feet and scowled at her.
She was doing this on purpose, Zuko knew she knew as well as he did that he couldn't hold a candle to her when it came to firebending. The only area he stood a chance against her was hand to hand combat. Despite him being older than Azula, the two were practically equal in hand to hand in relative terms compared to firebending. Zuko was even known to come close to beating her a couple times. Azula was more agile and faster than him, but he was still stronger than her… barely. Was fighting him in his strongest field of combat, hand to hand just to make defeat that much more painful, Zuko thought with a glower.
Dropping into a defensive stance, Zuko affirmed to himself that the closest times he ever came to winning against her came was when he out powered her.
Azula opening up with an elbow missed as Zuko moved to the side.
Passing by each other, Azula smirked at Zuko as he scowled at her, winding back his fist ready to swing at her.
Shooting off her back foot, Azula quickly stuck a fist into his cheek as Zuko's feet slid back in the dirt from the blow.
Scowling in a half grimace, Zuko pushed back against Azula's fist with his face giving her an enraged glare, before making a swing at her face.
Azula easily ducked under the blow as she shot a quick blow at his cheek again.
"Agh!" Zuko shouted in a rage as he ignited his fists in flames and swung at her wildly, leaving trail of flames behind his blows. Azula backed up smirking as she easily dodged the heavy fists from Zuko.
Grabbing onto one of his arms, Azula kicked one his one leg out from underneath him, digging her knee into his body as soon as he fell to his knees, before kicking him behind his back sending him forward into the ground.
Sliding face first into the dirt, Zuko quickly blasted back at Azula with an explosion of flames he used under his hands as he came at her with a flaming fist. "Aghhh!" Zuko shouted throwing the fist at her head.
Zuko's punch missed Azula's face by inches as she moved it to the side. The two stood face to face, Zuko's right arm still extended past Azula's left shoulder from the punch as she smirked at him and he scowled at her.
Just then Zuko's face contorted in pain as coughed up blood.
Looking down, Zuko saw the cause of his pain: a flaming fist into his gut.
Grimacing, Zuko fell to his knees gripping his stomach as Azula backed up away from him.
There was only one thing better than torturing her brother verbally and that was torturing her brother physically, Azula thought as she watched him grovel in pain. It actually made these otherwise pointless sparring sessions with him worth her time. She even went so far as to go out of her way to arrange today's session here in the fields where she could….kill him if she wanted, Azula thought brimming with sinister delight.
"You know I don't know why father wastes my time making me spar with you. You don't even make a good punching bag." Azula said hands on her hips as she put on a look of indifference.
Zuko groaned in pain angry at her words as Azula looked back at him smiling sinisterly.
"You should get used to that position you're in. When I'm firelord you'll be groveling at my feet all the time." Azula said arrogantly as she leaned slightly forward, hands on her hips.
Zuko grumbled out something inaudible as his face still lay face down in the dirt.
"What was that? You're going to have to speak up Zuzu." Azula said smirking as she cupped a hand behind her ear and squatted down next to him.
"Aggggh….I said…" Zuko groaned lifting up his face off the ground.
"You'll never be firelord…" Zuko grumbled angrily glaring at her.
"Oh, tell me dear brother why's that?" Azula asked her eyes flat and stoic.
"Because…" Zuko choked out. "Everyone would hate you…" Zuko spat.
Azula's eyes twitched, narrowing in anger as she stood to her feet, winding back a fist and throwing it down at him.
Zuko's eyes widened as springing toward Azula he dodged the incoming punch and winding back his own punch, unloaded it under her chin.
Azula snapped her head back invading the punch at the last moment as Zuko's eyes widened in shock.
Shifting her feet, Azula winded back a punch and stuck it into Zuko's stomach, knocking the wind out of him.
Head bowing, Zuko's body drooped from the punch.
Eyes narrow and icy, Azula watched Zuko's body begin to fall from the punch when suddenly her eyes widened in surprise as his hand gripped her wrist.
Raising his head, Zuko glared at Azula as he held her wrist tightly in his hand.
Struggling to release herself from his tight grip, Azula glared at Zuko as his face reflected his iron resolve.
Winding back her other fist, Azula shot it at Zuko's face, only for it to be caught in his other hand as Zuko now had both of her hands subdued.
Azula struggled to squeeze her hands free from his hold as a grin crossed upon Zuko's face.
He did it; he had got her in a hold where she couldn't bend or escape due to his superior strength.
"Lets see you get of out of this, Azula." Zuko thought smugly.
Azula suddenly stopped struggling as the scowl on her face suddenly changed into a smirk, causing the grin on Zuko's face to fall.
Jumping off her feet, Azula wrapped her calves around Zuko's neck.
Zuko looked down at her with a look of shock as she smirking up at him in a suspended slanted position, tensed her legs.
Zuko's bottom sides of his face squeezed in and his eyes shut as he could feel his throat constrict between the enormous pressure of her legs.
"Dammit…" he choked out as he forced back open his eyes and looked down at Azula. She gave him a sinister smile as Zuko glared at her.
"At this rate…" Zuko choked out closing his eyes as he could feel the increasing deprivation of air.
Zuko didn't want to do it, but he had to let go of his hold on her arms.
He was the only thing holding her up; if he just let go he could…, Zuko thought releasing her arms.
Zuko's hands were gripped back as his eyes shot open in surprise.
Looking down grimacing, Zuko saw Azula holding his wrists as her sinister smile widened.
"You…." Zuko choked out in a seethe. Azula smiling tensed her legs even further as Zuko's eyes clenched shut and he began visually choking.
Zuko's hands flailed to free themselves against Azula's tight grip as she used her body weight for additional pull.
Focusing, Zuko finally managed to free his hands as Azula gripped onto his garb instead to support herself.
Opening his eyes, Zuko brought his hands up to up neck as he tried to loosen her grip around his neck.
His arms may have been stronger then hers, but her legs were a completely different story.
He felt at any second his head would pop off like a cork if he didn't stop her.
Darkness began to overtake his consciousness as he felt his body begin to feel heavy.
"No…" Zuko choked out his hands trying to pry off Azula's legs.
"Not…" his grip began to falter as his eyes closed.
"Not like this!" Zuko shouted his grip reaffirming under Azula's legs as he hoisted her up into the air.
"Agh!" He shouted as he brought all his weight down on her.
Just before it would seem she would hit the ground, Azula caught herself in a one armed handstand as she released her grip on Zuko's neck with her legs.
Zuko let out a gasp for air as he fell down to his knees.
Only he never reached his knees as something pointy under his chin stopped him from falling.
Opening his eyes, Zuko had his worst fears confirmed as Azula stared face to face with him, her fingers under his chin.
"Funny isn't it?" She asked smirking as electricity cackled around her fingers.
Zuko scowled rumbling nervously through clenched teeth as Azula rose from her crouch
"I hold your life at the tip of my fingers. I only have to will it and…Bang!" She said making him flinch.
"You'd be dead." She said smiling sinisterly.
Zuko gulped much to Azula's delight as she could feel it travel down his throat.
"If you killed me, someone would find out and-" Zuko started before Azula cut him off as she jammed her fingers up his chin.
"Aren't you paying attention, dum dum?" Azula asked disenchanted as she tilted her head to the side.
Zuko looked at her confused.
Azula sighed. "We're in the middle of nowhere in this field. If I killed you no one would know." Azula said dully.
"Tsk." Zuko let out angrily. "So that's why you wanted to train out here today. I should have known you were lying about wanting to see the beauty of the nation." Zuko said.
"Not my fault you're so gullible Zuzu." Azula said smiling sinisterly.
Zuko rumbled angrily through gritted teeth.
"People would suspect you were involved. Father would suspect-" Zuko started before Azula cut him off again as she rammed her fingers up his chin.
"Suspect what? He hates you. All he would suspect of me doing was getting rid of his biggest failure." Azula said cruelly with a smile.
Zuko grunted angrily through gritted teeth at her words as her smile widened.
"Besides…" She said bringing her face close to Zuko's.
"You of all people should know what a great liar I am." Azula said.
Zuko looked at her taken back and confused as she smiling slyly drifted her head back into her hair as her facial features became concealed by it.
Zuko felt increasingly unsettled as her demeanor became completely unreadable and she still kept those two fingers under his chin.
"Dammit…" Zuko thought. "What was she up to…?"
Zuko's eyes raised in shock as he couldn't believe what he was seeing.
Rolling down Azula's porcelain cheeks were tears...
Azula let out a soft whimper before lifting up her head slowly to reveal her face.
Zuko gasped ever so softly as he beheld her.
She...She was crying.
Her big golden orbs staring at him were drooped in sadness as tears streamed freely down them. Her thin pink lips curled in a frown quivered as they tried not to cry.
Taking a step closer to him, Azula kept her eyes locked with his as they seemed to bore into his soul.
Placing a hand softly on his chest, Azula looking up at him seemed to begin to break down as she bowed her head and began sobbing.
Zuko was completely dumbstruck by this development as he stared down at her trying to wrap his head what was going on.
Hand twitching at his side, Zuko rose it up slowly behind Azula before placing it comfortingly on her back.
Azula nestled her body into his chest as she sobbed pitiably in his half embrace.
"Ha…haha…" Azula's crying distorted.
Zuko's eyes widened in shock.
Her features hidden by her bowed head, Azula swayed back from Zuko.
"Haha..Hahahahaha!" Azula lifted up her head from behind her hair as she laughed manically, tears flying from her eyes.
Zuko was taken back once again as his face lit up in surprise and confusion.
"You should have seen your face! You're such a sucker!" Azula laughed cruelly.
Realization hit Zuko hard as he felt like an idiot for not seeing it earlier. The whole thing was an act. She never had even removed her two fingers from under his chin, Zuko thought as his hands curling up into fists.
Azula continued to laugh cruelly as he clenched his teeth and glowered at her stupid face.
His fists trembling in anger it looked like he would strike, but then suddenly, the trembling stopped.
Zuko's glower changed to a look of bitter disappointment as his eyes drooped ever so slightly in sadness.
"Well aren't you going to beg for your life, before I fry you Zuzu?" Azula asked still laughing.
Zuko didn't so much as acknowledge her words as he just stared at her seemingly lost in thought.
Azula's vein in her temple bulged in a cross as her laughing ceased and she rammed her fingers up his chin.
"Earth kingdom to Zuko." She said irriated but, her voice and demeanor composed.
Zuko snapped out of his stupor as a look of surprise then anger washed over his face.
"What?!" He shouted completely oblivious.
"I was asking aren't you going to beg for your life?" Azula asked coyly smirking with a tilted head and raised eyebrows as she seemed happy again now that he was angry.
"What for, nothing I can say would change your mind anyway." Zuko spat as he turned his head and seemed resigned to accept his fate.
"True…" Azula said jaded as she leaned back slightly and tilted her head.
"But, I'm curious…"
"What were you thinking just a moment ago?" Azula asked keenly looking at him dully.
Zuko's entire body tensed, something that didn't go unnoticed by Azula as she smiled sinisterly and leaned back forward into Zuko.
"Oh, keeping secrets from your sister? Shame on you Zuzu." Azula said teasingly.
Zuko grunted nervously through clenched teeth.
"Come on Zuzu, spit it out. You know how I hate waiting." Azula teased as she pressed her fingers more firmly into his chin.
"What were you thinking…?" She asked in a whisper.
Zuko grunted angrily through clench teeth before answering.
"I was thinking about how much of a pain in the-" Zuko was stopped as Azula dug her fingers into his chin.
"Wrong." Azula said unamused, making lightning crackle at her fingertips.
"I'm getting bored. I'll give you to the count of three to tell me or I'll just kill you anyway." Azula said with raised eyebrows and a smirk.
"Dammit." Zuko thought. No way could he tell her what he was thinking, it was way too embarrassing and even if he did she was more likely to fry him if he did tell her...Right?
"One." Azula started, smirking, lightning cackling at her fingers.
"I…" Zuko hesitated. Maybe he could just lie to her and-
"Two…" Azula seem to read his mind giving him a small nudge with her fingers.
Dammit he couldn't even plan to lie to her without her reading his mind. No way could he slip one past her without her seeing right through it.
"I was thinking…" Zuko struggled to finish.
Dammit I can't do this, Zuko thought closing his eyes as he bowed his head.
"I was thinking you looked pretty!" Zuko blurted out.
Zuko opened his eyes shocked he said the truth as he looked at Azula. She had a look of shock equivalent to his as the two stared at one another.
Snapping out of their shock at the same time, Zuko turned his head away with a look of defiant embarrassment as Azula scowled and reaffirmed her fingers under his chin; both of them blushing as they did.
"When you're not smirking and leering I mean…" Zuko clarified in a defiant mumble eyes cast sideways.
That's it, Zuko thought. He was dead for sure. She was going to kill him, he thought, closing his eyes and waiting for certain death.
A few seconds passed…nothing.
Zuko opened back up his eyes as he mustered the courage to look at her. Her face was stoic and unreadable as she looked deep into his eyes, almost as if she was looking for something. Zuko didn't dare as so much as blink, when suddenly…
Zuko's face recoiled from the blow as he stared in surprise his face now to the side.
He had prepared himself to be electrocuted, incinerated, punched, kicked, and maybe even all of the above, but never did he think he would be…
Zuko rumbled aggravated as he turned his head back toward Azula.
Soon as he did his face lit up in surprise as his pupils dilated.
There in front of his eyes Azula stood leaning to one side, arms folded, looking away annoyed and embarrassed with the faintest of blushes. The sun seemed to shine around her illuminating her in a ray of divine light as she almost seemed to sparkle.
"She looks…" Zuko thought.
"Close your mouth if you're going to gawk idiot." Azula chided half-heartedly looking at him, before her cheeks brightened in a deeper shade of red and she looked back away.
Zuko realizing he was gawking and with his mouth open to boot, composed himself, before he turned his head and looked away embarrassed.
A gust of wind blew through the grass and by the two as they stood in silence.
Turning around with her back to Zuko, Azula spoke in a soft voice. "Let's go home." She said trying to have mustered up as much scorn in her voice, but failing miserably.
Watching her begin to walk forward, Zuko raised an eyebrow at her tone of voice before following her.