If she had known then she wouldn’t have killed him. Azula liked the power she had, she didn’t particularly care to make any wild snatches for more. She certainly didn’t want the Avatar’s powers. She wasn’t ready to wield them. Truth be told she was probably iller prepared than even Aang was. But she had struck him down quite literally. His body hit the cavern floor, the waterbender cried out and in her frantic scramble to get to him her vile of spirit water clinked to the floor. Azula didn’t know why, but Zuko was quick to empty it. Aang still had a few ounces of life in him, but not enough of it to mean anything at all. Not enough to last him until he found safety and a powerful healer.
His powers, his duties, they were supposed to dissipate. That’s what the fire sages and scholars had told her. That’s why Aang’s capture or death was so important to the Fire Nation. But they were wrong. Energy like that doesn’t just disappear.
No, it finds a new home.
It came to her in a burst too vivid for her own eyes. A hundred lifetimes seemed to flow into her in a relentless and confusing overpowering barrage. Images of Avatar’s through the ages, their love and their loss. She felt their power, raw and unchecked in a body not accustomed nor equipped to harness it. Part of Azula felt as though it would tear her apart from the inside out. But that passed and she felt their mourning and their confusion as Aang stepped in to join them and his memories bled into her own. She knew things about him that she ought not to.
And then she felt their anger.
It was personal, very personal.
She had killed one of them.
They were one in the same. She may as well have killed them all.
She knew that they wouldn’t help guide her towards mastering the other three elements even if she wanted to. In fact they wanted her out and resented that she was now one of them. And Azula began to fear death for the first time. The idea of dying and then falling in line with a crowd that loathed her, a crowd that would torment her. The notion that she would be reborn. What if she didn’t like her successor. She’d be like all of the other avatars who hated her.
Just like that she wanted the goofy kid to wake up. He wouldn’t, the dead don’t come back and she could feel him still on the fringes of her consciousness, pitying her. Maybe he could sense what she knew already.
Maybe he could sense that she had two fates in store.
She was going to be a weapon or she was going to be killed as well.
It would be her hard to cover secret, one that she would take to her grave. Deep down she feared that she would find a grave sooner rather than later. She dwelled on it as she lay in her bed. She wondered if she should at least tell Zuko her secret. No, she decided, if he got angry with her he would run his mouth to Ozai. He would try to use her as a weapon, the past Avatars wouldn’t work with her, and he would beat her for her incompetence.
She was good at lying, but never good at lying to her father. She stood before him, praying to herself that she would be able to keep her mouth shut or twist her words to a point where he couldn’t guess the true meaning. It would have been lovely if he never asked at all.
“You’ve exceeded my expectations, Azula. You killed the Avatar and brought your brother home.”
“Yes.” She nodded, trying to add an adequate degree of enthusiasm.
“So why are you so somber?”
She swallowed hard. “Why would you think I’m not happy, father?”
He chuckled, it was a low menacing sort of sound. “I know you, Azula. Where’s that exhilarated mood, that I’m so used to?”
“I am tired father. It took a lot of energy to kill the Avatar and bring down Ba Sing Se.” The excuse had fallen so naturally from her tongue and seemed to fit so well.
He narrowed his eyes, she wanted to say, skeptically. “Well I hope you won’t be so ‘tired’ at our victory party.”
“I’ll get some rest, father.” She forced a smile that only sent the butterflies in her stomach reeling more. He lifted his arm and waved her off, she was dismissed. Her heart pounded as she made her way down halls that had once seemed so inviting and secure. They seemed oppressive now, like they would close in on her at Ozai’s command.
And she was afraid. For the first time ever, she was truly and helplessly terrified.
Azula couldn’t even complain, she had brought it on herself. This time karma had been swift and instant. She had killed a boy and for it she had to live in fear or die after him. She pulled the covers over her head, wondering how many times she would be able to do so.