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Inferior Empires

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Cornelia rolls over gracefully and takes up her strange foreign clothes - tights, tunic, long gloves, cravat. Her fine robe still lies abandoned on the far side of the room, crumpled to the floor, singed around the edges. Azula doesn't bother to cover herself at all - the sensation of cool soft sheets against her naked skin pleases her - and lets her gaze linger on Cornelia's bare back, on the fresh scratches and fingerprint-shaped burn marks that mar her skin. Idly, she calls a flame to the tip of her thumb, then begins to rotate it from finger to finger, juggling it without letting it go out.

Cornelia disappears slowly behind her vestments of state.

"So I presume that this - Brittania is eager to seek an alliance with the Fire Nation," Azula drawls. When Cornelia glances back, over her shoulder, Azula draws up one knee lazily and extinguishes the flame in her hand. Cornelia's gaze flickers gratifyingly between the two spectacles.

"We have no need for your little country," Cornelia returns, and her voice is cool enough to fool almost anyone, but not Azula. Shameful, the way these Brittanian princesses are let out into the world without proper training. There's fear behind her eyes, and Azula can feel it.

Azula laughs. Cornelia doesn't shudder, but Azula can see the force of will that prevents her from doing so. It's clear that the Fire Nation is the more powerful of their two empires, and that Cornelia wishes to hide that fact.

"You don't have bending, where you come from," Azula says. And now Cornelia turns to her. Azula lets one hand drift to her chest, dances fingertips over her already-tortured nipple as if she isn't aware of what she's doing.

"We have war machines the like of which you have never seen," Cornelia fires back, and Azula wonders if she was mistaken, if this Brittania has power that could be useful to the war effort after all. If Cornelia might be of use to her, after all.

Now Cornelia, fully dressed, gives a last tug at her cravat and crawls back over the bed on her hands and knees, hovering over Azula's naked body. Azula raises an eyebrow.

"We would crush your forces, even with your - bending," Cornelia whispers, and her hesitation on the last word is all the confirmation Azula needs.

"Would you?" Azula lets her sticky thighs drift apart. Cornelia puts three of her long gloved fingers inside her without teasing and without asking permission, and although she's still wet, Azula's sex has been well-used and she feels . . . raw. She does not wince, but perhaps now Cornelia sees some weakness behind her eyes. Against her will, Azula bites her lip, closes her eyes at the pain and pleasure that course through her.

"Yes," Cornelia answers, matter-of-fact. Azula fucks herself forward on Cornelia's hand, bracing back on her elbows and taking what she wants. "But," Cornelia adds, "it would be a great battle. I'm sure you would . . . struggle."

Azula laughs, then gasps as she begins clenching rhythmically around Cornelia's forced intrusion of her body, pleasure crashing against her hard and inevitable, like waves of an invading army.

"You - would - die," Azula manages, as the fire surges up behind her eyelids and she comes hard, crushing Cornelia's fingers within herself.

When Cornelia gets her hand back, her glove is wet and sticky, dripping. She licks one finger experimentally. "Perhaps," she allows. Then she pushes herself up and stands, takes up her robe. "Perhaps not."

"Go," Azula commands, because this is still her territory, because she will be Firelord one day, because her power is here and Cornelia's is not. "Return through the portal that brought you here. I have no further need of you."

Cornelia's hair flows down her back as she tips her head back and laughs. "Very well, Princess Azula." She bows deeply, in a strange foreign style that makes Azula uncomfortable. "As you wish."

She turns to knock on the door for the guards to let her out, but before her knuckles reach the polished metal surface, Azula speaks again.

"Cornelia li Brittania," she drawls. Cornelia turns to face her, amused.


"If the portal remains, then return one day." Azula grins, and sees again the weakness that Cornelia can't quite hide. "Bring your army."

Cornelia doesn't answer; just knocks on the door, then lets the guards lead her out.