Until Sokka, no one had been able to drag Azula out from under and bring her back to a higher place. A safer place. A place where she felt confident, powerful, and cared for. Before Sokka no one had ever put her at a place where she felt loved.
She watched families grow and form; Zuko and Mai and their daughter Izumi. They had a happy family, Izumi was a spoiled little thing and had a pretty decent knack for bending. She wasn’t allowed anywhere near her aunt. There was Katara and Aang who had a family of three, Kya, Bumi, and Tenzin. There were more quips and fights over what kind of bending was the coolest, or if bending was even cool at all. Toph and Teo had two children named Lin and Suyin, this family was the roughest yet. Bickering was constant and far more serious. But the love was still apparent. Even TyLee had a family, she moved in with Suki after breaking things off with Sokka. They adopted a child named Iya.
Azula though, was still on her own. On her own and left to long for the one thing she never had. She never thought of herself as one who would fret over dying alone or not having a romantic partner. Yet she found herself dwelling on such for hours every day. She didn’t want to be alone, she didn’t want to be hated.
But she didn’t know how to fix things and had too much pride to try. She couldn’t imagine that a blush would look good on her nor could she see a stammer sounding good on her lips.
So she quietly watched as everyone around her grew their families out, as they bonded with their children, as they bonded with each other and pined over how cute their kids were. Azula didn’t know if she wanted children, pregnancy was another thing she couldn’t fathom suiting her very well. But she did want someone to spend her time with. There was no more war to occupy her mind, and frequent training was slowly losing its luster now that she had no practical way to put it to use.
She wouldn’t mind having someone to carry out mundane conversations with. It would be better than sitting alone in the palace gardens, doing nothing in particular. And way better than sitting in the palace gardens watching Zuko scoop Izumi into his arms and spin her around as she giggled.
A reminder of what she couldn’t have.
She didn’t notice a body drop down next to her until a familiar voice grumbled, “it’s kind of annoying isn’t it?”
“Everyone has a family and kids now, so no one has any time to do anything fun anymore.” Sokka threw his arms in the air. “I’m talking, epic life changing adventure kind of fun.”
“Why are you telling me this?” Azula muttered.
“Because you don’t have any kids yet.” He replied. “So you’re probably a lot funner than they are. At least I can talk to you without hearing ‘omg guess what Tenzin learned to say today!’ All they ever talk about is kids and babies.”
“You must be pretty desperate.” She rolled her eyes. “If you’re coming to me for conversation.”
It was probably the rudest thing anyone had ever said to her, but those two words gave life to something. Truth be told, she was desperate too. Desperate enough to return his conversation.
Desperation shifted into a strange sort of, almost uncomfortable, friendship. Sokka was dreadfully annoying, but he kept her entertained and drove the loneliness away. Somehow he took the brunt off of being one of the only people she knew to not have a family of her own. At least they would be alone together.
Eventually he was able to work her into his circle of friends. She still felt awkward and out of place for the longest time. They would talk to her, coexist with her, but there was always a hint of tension when she was around and the children were always shooed off.
A year or so further, their awkward friendship deepened into something almost domestic. Azula couldn’t place exactly when the mood had changed but she was bringing him expensive gifts--that he didn’t really deserve--and he was holding her hand. And then holding her.
She couldn’t place when nor how it had happened so it threw her guard completely off when he started asking her if she still felt down about not having a family of her own To a degree she did, but she was afraid to answer because she knew what he would ask next.
Even without answering Azula answering the first question he had managed to bring the conversation to the second. The second question where he got her to confess that she sort of did want a family of her own.
It was what lead her to where she was presently, taking Sokka’s hand in her own and holding it over her belly so that he could feel the baby kick. A thing that had begun only recently and was still throwing her off guard. Part of her wished that she had told him that she didn’t want a family of her own, that she was content now that Zuko started letting her care for Izumi when he and Mai needed a night to themselves. Because she was still convinced that motherhood wasn’t a good look for her. Though Sokka was beginning to take some of the insecurities away. He would carry her to her bedroom, tuck her hair behind her ear, and then whisper into it, pretty words about how she was gorgeous and how they were going to have a beautiful baby. To which she would say that, it would be if it took after her and not him. That earned her an eye roll every time as he kissed her good night and offered another possible name for the baby, that she thought was ridiculous. For it she was glad that they still had at least three months to decide on names.
And on what kind of family they would be.