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23 September 2008 @ 06:31 pm
"Old Maid" (Zuko & Azula, I, Spoon-fed, #2)  
Title: Old Maid
Author: kaibasgirl
Claim: Zuko & Azula [Not Incest]
Challenge: Individual
Chakra/Themeset: Sound/Silence
Prompt: #2 Spoon-fed



Old Maid


“Tag! You’re it!” Zuko tapped his sister on the shoulder, and began running as fast as he could in the opposite direction.

Azula, ever the competitive one, grinned as she began to chase him around the garden, their laughter and teasing echoing in the air.

“Slow poke!”

“Lamebrain!”

“You’re never gonna catch me, haha!”

“Watch me, dumb-dumb!”

“Nyaaaahhhh!” Zuko stopped momentarily to stick his tongue out at this sister, before turning back around and running pell-mell towards the large cypress tree at the end of the garden.

“Oh yeah? I’ve got you now!” Azula shouted, as she pivoted herself forward to tap her brother on the arm, when, with a cry of surprise, she tripped over a tree root in her path and fell over. At the last minute she stretched out her hand to soften the blow, putting all her weight on it. A sickening crack, and then a cry of pain were heard.

Zuko stopped when he realized his sister wasn’t following him anymore. Seeing her lying on the ground, he immediately ran over.

“Azula, are you okay?” He asked breathlessly, as he crouched down beside her.

“My…hand…” the princess gritted out through clenched teeth, eyes screwing up with pain. “I…I think…I broke it.”

Zuko’s eyes went wide. “Lemme see,” he ordered, grabbing the injured arm, and his sister let out a shrill scream.

“Don’t touch it!” She shrieked.

“I’m sorry!” Zuko backed away.

“What’s going on here? Azula, was that you screaming?” Ursa asked, hurrying over.

“We were playing tag, and Azula tripped, and she thinks she broke her arm,” Zuko said quickly. His sister glared at him.

“Let me see,” Ursa said gently, as she knelt down on the ground.

“Don’t…don’t touch it,” Azula said nervously, as her mother gingerly held her arm.

“Well, it definitely looks broken. Alright, let’s go to the healer and see what she can do about it,” the senior princess said, as she helped her daughter to her feet.

“Is there something I can do, mom?” Zuko asked.

“You can go find your father and tell him what happened,” Ursa replied, smiling at her little angel.

“Is Azula going to be okay?” He asked worriedly.

“She’ll be just fine, I’m sure it’s nothing that can’t be taken care of.”

On that assurance, the prince ran off to find his father.

-

The healer ‘tsked’ and ‘tut-tutted’ as she wrapped the princess’s arm in a cast, murmuring something about dangerous games and unsupervised children.

Azula didn’t say anything, wincing at the pain and gritting her teeth.

“How long will she need the cast for?” Ursa asked.

“It’s hard to say,” the healer answered, looking thoughtful. “I’d say about six weeks.”

“Six weeks?!” Azula cried, her eyes going wide. “But how am I going to practice my firebending?!”

“You won’t.” The healer responded in a stern tone of voice. “Until you get this cast taken off, you will not be allowed to do anything with that hand, and you’re going to have to take extra care to make sure that you don’t get it wet, either. So no swimming for you.”

What?!”

“That’s right.”

“But I have to train!” She protested.

“I’m sure Prince Ozai cares more about your health than about firebending.”

Azula narrowed her eyes, wanting to give a biting retort, but her mother’s hand on her shoulder stopped her.

“It’s all right, darling; I’ll talk to your father. I’m sure he’ll understand.”

“He won’t be happy,” Azula muttered.

Ursa gazed at her daughter for a moment, an unreadable expression on her face. As she was about to say something, the door burst open.

“Is Azula okay?” Zuko asked, panting. “Dad wants to know.”

“Your father’s here? Good,” Ursa swept from the room to go speak with her husband, as the healer finished dressing Azula’s arm, leaving the two siblings alone.

“So…” Zuko began, somewhat awkwardly, as he edged into the room. “How’s your arm?”

Azula glared at him. “That’s a stupid question, it’s broken. How do you think?”

Zuko shuffled his feet, looking contrite. “I’m sorry, Azula,” he said, glancing up at her.

“You should be,” the princess answered obnoxiously. “It’s all your fault.”

“My fault?!” Zuko asked incredulously.

“Yeah, it was your idea to play tag in the first place, and if you hadn’t run to the tree, I wouldn’t have tripped over its roots, so there you have it. All your fault.”

Zuko opened his mouth to say something, than shut it, deciding it was pointless. Instead, he just lowered his head, shaking it.

Azula watched him carefully. Maybe this situation could come out to her advantage after all. She hid a smile as she continued. “Now I can’t do anything with this hand for six weeks, I can’t even get it wet! Which means no swimming, and worse of all, no firebending!”

Zuko looked up, eyes widening. “You can’t firebend?”

Azula shook her head. “Nope. Not for six weeks at least.”

“Oh…I’m really sorry, Azula. You’re right; I shouldn’t have suggested playing such a stupid game in the first place. I wish there was something I could do to make it up to you.”

Azula smirked. Like a puppet. “Well, actually,” she began. “There probably is something you could do for me.”

“What’s that?” Zuko asked, caution in his eyes.

“You could be my slave.”

“What?!” Zuko yelped.

“At least until I can use this arm again,” Azula continued as though he hadn’t said anything, examining her nails. “I mean, it is practically your fault I’m like this, the least you can do is try to make life easier for me. After all, I won’t be able to do anything until I get this cast off, and I’ll probably have to stay in bed the entire time…”

“I don’t know…” Zuko said uncertainly. His sister did bring up a good point, but still, her slave? “What exactly would I have to do?”

Azula smiled sweetly. Hook, line, and sinker. “Oh, don’t worry, nothing too difficult…”

-

“Push it a little more to the right,” Azula called from her bed.

Dutifully, Zuko pushed the desk to the right.

“No, wait, a little more to the left.”

Huffing, Zuko ran to the other side and began pushing again.

Azula tilted her head, looking thoughtful. “No, wait, forget it, I liked it better the way it was before. Push it back to the center.”

Beads of sweat now dotting his forehead, Zuko began pushing again with all his might, as Azula sat on her bed, sipping a tall glass of lemonade the servants had brought her. It amused her to no end to watch her brother do stupid, pointless tasks.

“Do you…have enough…sunlight…now?” Zuko panted.

Azula looked up. “Yeah, that’s good. Thanks.”

“Phew,” Zuko wiped the perspiration from his brow, smiling. “Good.”

“Now could you move that painting over there?” Azula pointed to a tapestry hanging high on the wall.

The grin faded from Zuko’s face. “How am I supposed to reach that?! Besides, that thing’s huge!”

“Yeah, but it’s ruining my view of the wall,” Azula deadpanned.

Zuko mouthed over her words. Ruining my view of the…

“I would do it myself, of course, but you know, my arm is kind of broken, and I’m not allowed to.”

Zuko sighed. “Okay, but how am I supposed to get up there?”

Azula shrugged. “Beats me.”

The prince’s eyebrow twitched in irritation. He looked around for something suitable to climb.

Azula watched with ever-growing amusement as her brother climbed onto the end table, and attempted to reach the painting. His fingertips barely scraped the edges of the frame.

“Try jumping,” Azula suggested with a grin, and she had to use every ounce of self-control not to burst out laughing when her brother actually followed through with her advice. It didn’t work, she ended up letting out a laugh which she quickly turned into a cough, and just as quickly buried her face in a pillow to muffle the sound.

“It’s not working,” Zuko frowned, his back to his sister, as he attempted to jump again.

“I wouldn’t say that,” Azula snickered, as she tried to contain her mirth. Finally getting herself under control, she tried to think of what else he could try, when something outside caught her eye.

“Forget that, Zuzu, I have a better idea of something we can do,” Azula said mischievously, getting out of bed.

“Hang on,” Zuko said, climbing down from the end table. “Mom said you should be resting, you can’t leave.”

“I broke my arm, Zuko, not my leg. I can walk just fine.”

“That’s not the point!” The boy insisted, standing in her path. Then he smiled. “Don’t worry, Azula, I’m looking out for you, and I’ll make sure you have everything you need, so whatever it is, I’ll get it, you should get back into bed now.”

The princess scowled. Since when did her brother tell her what to do?

“I don’t have to listen to you, I can do whatever I want,” she said, side-stepping him.

“If you go, I’m gonna tell mom,” Zuko warned, hands akimbo.

Azula turned back to him with a sneer, ready to give her retort, when the door opened.

“What’s going on here?” Ursa asked, as she entered the room. “Azula, what are you doing out of bed?”

“She wants to go outside, and I told her that she can’t cause she needs to rest,” Zuko hurried to say.

Azula threw him a dirty look from behind their mother’s back.

“Now Azula, I know it must be frustrating having your arm broken, but you’ll have plenty of opportunities to play outside later. For now though, I want you to get some rest. Let’s go, back into bed.”

Left with no choice, the princess threw another glare at her brother as reluctantly climbed back in.

“Don’t worry Azula, I’ll tell Li and Lo why you couldn’t make it today, and I’ll get the work for you from school.”

“That’s very thoughtful of you, Zuko,” Ursa laid a hand on his head, and the boy beamed.

“Whatever,” Azula answered dourly, crossing her arms.

“You know, you have a very kind and thoughtful older brother,” Ursa told her daughter, once the prince had left the room. “He cares about you a lot.”

Azula didn’t answer, choosing to turn her back towards her mother instead.

Ursa gave an inaudible sigh. She waited until her daughter was definitely asleep (Azula had fooled her one too many times by pretending) before leaving the room and closing the door behind her.

When Azula next woke up, it was to her brother whispering her name eagerly, and gently shaking her shoulder.

“Azula, wake up! Azula!”

“What?” She asked groggily. She sat up, rubbing the sleep from her eyes.

“I got your work for you,” her brother answered, indicating a pile of books and scrolls that he was balancing precariously in one arm.

“Classes are over already?” She asked, turning to look out the window where the bright afternoon sunlight was streaming in.

“They’ve been over for a while now, but mom finally gave me permission to wake you up.”

“Oh…”

“So anyway, here’s the stuff we did today. Arithmetic,” he handed her one of the scrolls. “Calligraphy, um…I’m not sure what this is, but Ty Lee gave it to me, history—the pages are bookmarked for you, geography, music, and here’s a firebending scroll with the moves Li and Lo wanted to teach you today. They thought it would be a good idea if you looked them over.

Azula nodded, as she opened the scroll from Ty Lee. She smiled at the get-well picture scribbled with colorful crayons.

“Do you want any help?” Zuko asked.

Azula leaned back on her pillows. “You can do my arithmetic and calligraphy,” she responded easily.

“That’s cheating! I can’t do your homework for you!”

Azula shrugged, and Zuko gave her a cross look. Then he brightened as an idea struck him.

“Tell you what,” he said, picking up the firebending scroll. “I’ll show you how to do these moves! A live demonstration should help, right?” And without waiting for a response, he opened the scroll and looked at the diagrams. “Wow,” he muttered. “These sure look complicated; I think they might’ve given me the wrong scroll.”

“I don’t need a live demonstration,” Azula answered, as she glanced over the math problems, already solving them in her head.

“But it’ll help you, won’t it?” Zuko insisted. “At least let me show you the first one.”

Well, it would be fun to watch him mess up, she mused, as he put the scroll aside. She picked it up and glanced over the pictures.

“Okay, are you ready?” Zuko asked.

“Just go already,” Azula responded.

“Okay,” Zuko took a deep breath, and began to go through the motions as he had seen in the scroll.

Azula spotted the danger just as he was moving into the firebending portion of the move. “Wait, Zuko, your stance is-“

The boy tripped, losing balance as he attempted an exaggerated punch.

“-off.”

“Sorry, Azula,” Zuko picked himself up, looking embarrassed. “I guess I didn’t-“

“The curtains are on fire!” Azula screamed. “Zuko, do something!”

But the boy was frozen in place, eyes wide in horror as the fire began to spread. He was completely paralyzed, unable to move.

Azula began to scream even louder, when the door suddenly burst open, and there stood Ursa, panting, looking as though she had just run the length of the hall.

She took one look at what was happening and began to yell her for her husband. “Ozai! OZAI! The children’s room is on fire!”

In less than a minute the senior prince arrived, and a second later the fire completely vanished, with only the smoldering curtains remaining.

“What happened in here?” He demanded, looking hard at this son, but Zuko found himself unable to speak.

“Zuko was showing me how to do the firebending moves from today, but he tripped and lost control of the fire,” Azula answered quickly. “I told him not to do it,” she added.

Ozai stared at his daughter for a long moment before shifting his gaze to his son, than back again.

“Azula, take whatever you need from this room and give it to your brother to carry. You’re going to be sleeping in the bedroom down the hall until this one is fixed. And Zuko,” he looked at his son, who by now seemed to be recovering slightly. “You and I are going to have a little talk once your sister is settled in her new room.”

He swept from the doorway, leaving a gulping Zuko, a smirking Azula, and a concerned mother.

-

About half an hour later, once nestled comfortably in her new bed, Azula heard a knock at the door, and watched as it opened slowly to reveal none other than her brother, carrying a tray of food.

She watched silently as he placed the tray down carefully on the night table, shuffled his feet, and began to apologize.

“Look, Azula, I’m sorry about before. I shouldn’t have tried showing you those moves, and…that was really stupid of me. I’m sorry.”

The princess studied him critically for a moment. “Dad yelled at you?”

“Wha-no!”

“And mom was there and said you would apologize?”

“Yeah-maybe-so?”

“Nothing,” Azula smirked as she set aside the scroll she’d been reading.

“I really am sorry…about the fire, I mean…and your arm,” he continued, as he brought the tray over to her bed.

The princess shrugged. “Hey, dad yelled at you, that’s more than I could ask for.” She paused for a moment. “Did he yell a lot?”

“Azula!”

“Okay, okay,” she picked up her chopsticks with her left hand, and tried to decide whether she should have the soup first, or the rice. She decided on the soup.

“Wait, Azula, you can’t eat,” Zuko said suddenly.

The princess unconsciously arched a brow. “Oh really?”

“You broke your arm, remember? Here, I’ll feed you instead.”

He reached to take the chopsticks from her, but she held on fast. “I broke one hand, you moron! I can still eat with the other!”

“Yeah, but you won’t be able to hold them as well as you usually do, and you might spill some food on yourself,” Zuko replied, trying to tug them out of her hand.

“It’s fine, I can eat by myself,” Azula snarled, pulling them back.

“But it’ll be harder!” Zuko insisted.

“I don’t need you to feed me!” She snapped.

“I want to, I’m supposed to be taking care of you, remember?”

“I can take care of myself!”

“I’m just trying to help!”

“It’s fine!”

“No it’s not!”

“Yes it is!”

“No it’s not!”

“Yes it is!”

“No!”

“Yes!”

“No!”

“Yes!”

“NO!”

And that’s when it happened. Zuko gave a particularly vicious tug on the chopsticks, and the whole tray turned over. Food, soup, and dishes spilled onto the clean linen, but more importantly, onto Azula herself.

Zuko took a careful step backwards, as his sister went absolutely still. He could see her temper was at breaking point.

“I-I’m just going to go call mom for you,” he said nervously, before dashing out of the room fearing his sister’s wrath.

Azula took a deep breath and let it out slowly. She was starting to rethink the whole, ‘guilt Zuko into being her slave’ idea. It was turning out to be more trouble than it was worth. She knew her brother was a klutz, but really, she never thought he could be this bad.

-

Twenty minutes later, and the princess was, once again, sitting in her bed reading, only now freshly showered and changed. Her mother had scolded her for getting dirty and not letting Zuko help her, especially since they couldn’t get the cast wet, but Azula had tuned her out. She was used to this already.

Now that it was nighttime, she figured it was probably safe to say that she wouldn’t be hearing from her brother until the next day.

“Azula?” The voice was unmistakable.

Spoke too soon.

The princess gave an inaudible sigh, and wondered if she would ignore him, then maybe he’d go away. It didn’t work though, as the door was pushed open gently and Zuko shuffled inside, head bent in shame.

“Look Azula, I’m really sorry about everything that happened today,” he began timidly. “So…I wanted to make it up to you.”

“It’s fine,” Azula said swiftly. “You’re forgiven. Go to bed.”

Zuko frowned. “No, really! So I’m going to read you a bedtime story. See? No harm in that.”

Azula rolled her eyes. “I’m too old for bedtime stories, Zuzu.”

“But you’ll like this one, I promise!”

Feeling like she was going to regret this in a few minutes, Azula nodded. “Okay, fine, but make it quick.”

Zuko’s face split into a wide grin as he hurried over and climbed on top of the covers. “Thanks Azula, I promise, you won’t regret this.” He settled himself comfortably. “Ready?”

She nodded.

“Okay. ‘In ancient times, when the Fire Nation was still a small country, there lived a man…’”

The rest of the story Azula tuned out. She already knew this tale, her father had told it to her one night when she had difficulty falling asleep. It actually had been a good story, she enjoyed it thoroughly. Zuko probably thought he was telling her something new. She contemplated whether to stop him and tell him she heard it already, or just let him finish. Before she could decide, however, she heard a clatter, and she turned to see her brother lying on his back, eyes closed and fast asleep.

She started. He was sleeping. Sleeping! Of all things! The scroll must have slipped out of his hands—she checked—and yes, there it was, the tale unfurling on the marble floor.

He couldn’t even read her a story, without managing to mess up somehow. She shook her head in disgust. Then she noticed he was shivering slightly, and she rolled her eyes.

“You know, dumb-dumb,” she said, as she pulled the covers over him. “Sometimes I think I’m the one who’s looking out for you.”

End.

A/N:

Oh my gosh an update-wut?

Yeah, I miss writing for these two; it’s been such a long while. Hopefully the next update won’t take as long.

Zuko’s about six in this one and Azula’s around five. Hope you guys enjoyed reading this as much as I did writing it, let me know what you think!

Téa