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18 May 2008 @ 05:56 am
"Portrait" (Zuko & Azula, I, Poker Face, #4)  
Title: Portrait
Author: kaibasgirl
Claim: Zuko & Azula [Not Incest]
Challenge: Individual
Chakra/Themeset: Sound/Silence
Prompt: #4 Poker Face


Portrait


The door opened of its own accord, and Zuko looked up to see his sister standing by the entrance.

“Get out.”

“Now that’s not very nice, Zuzu,” Azula answered, quite irritated by the way he had chosen to greet her. “It would have been proper manners for you to say ‘hello, how are you’ first.”

“Hello, don’t care, now leave.” The boy replied succinctly, turning back to the sheet in front of him.

Azula, in response to this, simply flounced over to his bed, seating herself down on the comforter, and watched him with her sharp eyes.

Zuko said nothing, as he ran the brush in precise lines along the paper. He didn’t mind she was there, not as much as he usually would have, anyway, because she wasn’t doing anything to particularly bother him. If she wanted to watch, he couldn’t care less, as long as she kept quiet.

“What are you doing?” She asked, after a few moments of observation.

He showed only slight annoyance at her question, eyes still focused on the page. “What does it look like? I’m drawing.”

“Drawing?” Azula repeated, arching a brow.

“Yeah, now be quiet, I’m trying to concentrate.”

A few minutes passed in silence, as he cautiously moved over lines he had already drawn, adding some shading here and there. It was going good, he just had to get the lighting right on this side, and then angle it more over here, and then-

“What are you drawing?”

The prince jumped up in surprise, dropping the brush where it splattered ink all over the parchment. “Azula!” He yelled angrily, having not expected his sister to speak so suddenly, and right at the foot of his shoulder, too. “Look what you made me do!”

She shrugged, smirking slightly as he crumpled up the page and threw it angrily in the bin.

“Why do you draw anyway? It looks so boring.”

“Mom says I’ve got lots of talent,” the boy replied, lifting his chin up in pride.

Azula gave him a derisive look as she started examining the items on his desk. She picked up one of the scrolls lying in a neat pile, and began to unfurl it as she spoke. “And if mom told you that babies come from raven-hawk eggs, would you believe her too?”

Zuko blinked. “Isn’t that where babies come from?”

The princess glanced at him, her expression a cross between pity, mirth, and scorn. “No, dumb-dumb! Babies come from-“ but she stopped talking as she stared at the contents of the scroll. “Hey, this is…me.”

“Huh? Oh, yeah, I drew that while I was watching you firebend,” Zuko said, as he came over and stood next to her. “I had a good view from my window, and the lighting wasn’t bad, not too bright, but not too dark either…”

Azula hardly listened as something like respect flashed behind her eyes, along with something else, too…was it…affection? Maybe she was just touched that he had chosen to draw her…and it really did look like her.

“…fire, I wasn’t sure, so I had to firebend a flame and watch it for a little bit before I could get it right,” Zuko finished his explanation.

“What else do you draw?” She asked, looking up at him, and Zuko was slightly taken aback. Since when did his sister show interest in anything he did?

“Are all these drawings?” She continued, picking up another scroll and ignoring his surprised silence.

“Huh? Oh, yeah, that one’s of mom,” he said, as she unrolled it to find, indeed, a drawing of their mother sitting by the pond. He had even drawn the baby turtle ducks. “I did that one after we finished training. She liked how it came out.”

“Hey, this is Mai!” Azula laughed, as she moved on to the next one, not having listened to her brother.

“Give me that!” Zuko demanded, as she teased him.

“Oooooh! Wait’ll I tell her you drew a picture of her!”

“I only drew her cause she was standing under the tree I wanted to draw!” The prince defended, his ears turning red. “It’s not like I asked her to pose or anything!”

“Right,” Azula snickered, as Zuko grabbed the scroll from her hands and she picked up the next one. “This is…this is Ty Lee…but how’d you draw her while she’s doing a handstand?”

“I asked her to pose for me,” he responded proudly. “It was tricky, but she didn’t mind, and I thought it was pretty cool. See? It’s not cause I actually like her or anything!”

The princess shrugged as she stared at her friend’s grinning face for a moment. Then she went to take the next one, noting that there were only two scrolls left. Picking up the one on the right, she unrolled it. Her breath caught in her throat, and for a moment, she couldn’t speak.

“This is…Dad.”

Zuko, who had been admiring his handiwork on Ty Lee’s picture, now looked over his sister’s shoulder. “Huh? Oh…yeah.”

He didn’t offer an explanation, and Azula didn’t need one. Their father’s face looked severe. His mouth was set in a thin, disapproving line, and his eyes were cold, almost unfeeling.

She knew this look; it was the kind he would give her when she displeased him in some way. Though it was rare that she ever did something wrong, the image of it always stayed in her mind, pushing her to do her best, lest she feel the burning gaze penetrate her.

It was also, she realized, the same look he often gave to Zuko.

Putting it down carefully, she picked up the next one. Again, she found herself unable to speak, as she stared down at the familiar face.

It was another one of their father, only this time he was smiling. Really smiling. Azula had never seen their father in such high spirits before; the most she ever received was a smirk or a very subtle smile.

“When did you draw this?”

She asked not how, but when because she herself could never picture such a grin spreading across the stern face, no matter how much she tried to stretch the imagination. She was certain that her brother had the occasion to see it somewhere, most likely when she had not been present, and she wanted to know what managed to make their father so…happy.

“When? Gee, I think it was a couple of weeks back,” Zuko replied, scratching the back of his head.

“And you saw him smiling like this?” She pressed, still gazing intently at the drawing.

“Oh no, see, I sort of…imagined what it would look like if he smiled like that and I…kinda wanted to draw it and see if it would look real,” he responded sheepishly.

“Oh,” Azula said quietly, tearing her eyes away at last. So it hadn’t actually happened, her brother just had a wilder imagination than she did.

“Yeah, I mean, I saw the way he smiles at you while you firebend, so I just…made it a little bigger, that’s all. It would be nice if he actually did smile like that, once in a while,” he added softly, head bent and eyes cast to the floor, but she heard him all the same.

She was silent, as she contemplated whether she was feeling sorry for him, but decided that, no, she wasn’t, because sympathy was an emotion that weakened her, and she wasn’t weak. She just didn’t like to see her brother acting so pathetic right in front of her.

Setting the drawing aside carefully, she picked up the first one, twirling it between her fingers like a baton as she sauntered passed him towards the door.

“You know, Zuzu, dad doesn’t think you’re a failure.”

“What?” The boy’s head snapped up in disbelief. Was his sister actually telling the truth, or was she lying to make him feel better? He couldn’t decide which concept disturbed him more.

“No, he just thinks you’ll never be a good Firebender. Ever.”

Zuko’s feeling of good will vanished on the spot, as he clenched his fists. “Thanks Azula, that really makes me feel better.” He spat.

“Anytime,” the princess responded with a smirk. “Oh and, by the way-” she turned around and waved the scroll “-I’m taking this.”

“Hey, who said you could take-“ but right before his eyes, his sister set it on fire.

“NO!” He cried out, as he watched the red and gold flames consume it. It took only a few seconds, and the ashes scattered to the floor.

The prince felt tears sting his eyes, as his sister, cackling madly, ran out of the room. Grief washed over him, as he gathered the pile of cinders, thinking of all the hours of hard work he’d put into making the painting look as realistic as possible.

His sister was evil, he always knew that, but now he finally realized to what extent. He would never trust her again.

It was only much, much later, after all had been said and done, that looking through his drawings again one day, he discovered the scroll she had burnt was not that of their father’s smile, but rather his frown.

End

A/N:

See? Azula can be nice, in her own special way.

Oh my gosh, I haven't written these two in such a looooong time! I really hope you guys liked this one. I know that it’s never been confirmed whether Zuko possesses any artistic talent, but he’s a lefty, and lefties are usually very artistic and creative, so it might not be such a stretch, right?

I'm not sure of their ages in this one, but probably between 6-7 for Azula and 8-9 for Zuko.

Anyway, if you guys want to make me happy, you can review :D or you can just read what I typed and then close the browser, whatever works for you.

Disclaimer: I do not own Avatar: The Last Airbender.

Téa

 
 
 
Shalley: these eyes are shadowedhonestly_sangi on May 20th, 2008 08:46 pm (UTC)
Very nice :)