man, that one with tetsuki and azula made me so excited?? like, now i’m wondering what would have happened if azula got to her first? what about a bodyguard!tetsuki? these two strong, brilliant women, and they see each other’s worth, askjfsblhdbfsg need me more of that

So I know this is meant more as a review to this previous ask box author’s cut than another prompt, but I liked the idea so much and, in a way, it does kind of involve an unwritten headcanon for Iron Will that I’ve yet to reveal so… thanks, anon, and also please enjoy?

~

The only difference between what you will and might have become is this:

When you are six years old, your maternal uncle dies. Your grandparents–who had disowned your mother for running off with a lowly, uncouth Earth Kingdom bounty hunter–are now without an heir.

Your father will not give up ZhuEn–she is near to completing her training and would not suffer going anyway–whereas you are six years old and the reason why your mother is no longer alive.

The choice is obvious because it is not yours to make.

///

It becomes apparent very early on that your grandparents don’t really want you. They’re just making do. But even a second born mongrel of an heiress is better than their line ending.

They are desperate and have a reputation to maintain, and so they send you off to the Royal Fire Academy for Girls in hopes the matrons will make something of you.

You’re certainly made into something, but not by the matrons.

///

You hate school.

You only just started training with your father before he sent you away, but you miss the lessons–how to hide in the trees, rig traps and ambushes, and where to stab a person so it’ll hurt but not maim.

At the Royal Fire Academy for Girls you are taught useless things, like how to eat a meal in a ladylike manner and play musical instruments and the names of long dead Fire Nation nobles.

You smuggle a pair of knives into your uniform and memorize the matrons’ patrol of the dorm at night. During lessons you daydream about escaping, but you don’t actually plan on following through:

You’re sure your grandparents would disown you–heiress be damned–and your father has made it clear there is no place for you.

Still, just in case.

///

You don’t look like your father–whose image is fading quickly from your memories–but you have an Earth Kingdom look about you, grey eyes nearly green.

“Like pond scum,” the princess says with a falsely sweet smile on her face.

One not entirely useless thing you’ve learned at the academy: words can be as sharp as blades.

“Your nose is cute,” you say–and you can practically see the interest fade from the princess’ eyes. Everyone compliments her, wants to befriend royalty–“like a baby boarcupine’s.”

Even the young of that particular species can only be generously considered hideous.

Anger and interest flare. You smile back.

///

After that, your status at the school shoots skyward like a firework.

Your parentage doesn’t matter anymore, neither does the fact that you’re heiress to only a minor house–you are part of the Fire Princess’ cohort.

Even the matrons begin to treat you better, no longer smacking your hands to make you pay attention. Now you are allowed to daydream in peace, but you no longer need to: you’ve found your place.

Or, rather, your place has been found for you.

~

A/N: I have a few ideas for some future scenes in this AU, but this was the core of the idea; this is kinda how that bodyguard!Tetsuki would come about.

Check out the Ask Box Author’s Cut event!

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