“Green suits you,” Azula says from behind her, voice as diverting as ever. Tetsuki doesn’t tense up, though with anyone else she would–hating the idea of anyone else putting her in such a vulnerable position. With Azula physical location means nothing.
And plus, her houndsnake continues to lounge lazily across her shoulders: he would not be so relaxed with just anyone. She’s travelled with the Freedom Fighters for months and he still growls when they draw too near.
Tetsuki turns around to face her princess, “It suits you far less,” she responds, smile immediately curling on her mouth at the sight of the Fire Nation princess in overly traditional Earth Kingdom garb.
“Yes, well, needs must.” Azula sniffs, adjusting the headdress she took from the Kiyoshi warriors, “Terribly impractical, honestly, but it’s not as if I expected any better.”
“It seems effective enough,” Tetsuki nods, gesturing at their surroundings. If she had to be honest, she’d admit that she much preferred the throne room in Ba Sing Se than the Fire Lord’s–though she had only been there once. Something about the solidity of the stone, as if this palace were as old as the mountains itself.
Too bad the same could not be said of its monarchy.
“Was your ticket to entry as impractical as mine?” Azula asks, though surely she must already know.
“I wouldn’t say impractical so much as annoying.” Jet–and the Freedom Fighters through him–have been useful in many ways, especially in capturing Zuko without expending too much effort on her part, but managing his ego to guide him has been tedious.
She’ll be glad to be rid of the both of them.
“You’ve done adequately with the resources available,” Azula says and Tetsuki blinks at her, surprised. That… was a compliment, perhaps?
“You seems to be in a good mood,” she remarks, hesitantly, not wanting to spoil it but unable to ignore it. Tetsuki always wants Azula to be happy.
Fortunately, Azula’s satisfaction is not so easily soured, “Why wouldn’t I be? My idiot brother has been handled, the Dai Li is mine, this city is mine, and soon enough the Avatar will fall. Our victory is assured.”
“Our victory?” Tetsuki reflexively repeats, internally scolding herself. Azula is always careful with word choice, to question her is to doubt her.
Instead of answering her, Azula meets her eyes and reaches a hand out. Tetsuki can feel a twitch run down her arm, an attempt to reach back swiftly aborted. Tetsuki’s houndsnake sniffs at Azula’s hand, tongue flicking against her fingers in greeting. Those fingers can wield lightning, can form flames so hot they run blue; it seems neither Tetsuki nor her houndsnake are afraid.
Finally, Azula says, “I knew it would be a good match.”
A/N: Not quite on top of the world, but definitely “before things started going to shit”–for Azula, that is. Mostly, though, I’m not sure how much impact Tetsuki would have in the world. Like… maybe Ozai still loses, but surely Tetsuki wouldn’t let Azula fail as in canon?
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