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What Fire Can Be

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"Sifu Azula!"

As soon as Azula slides down from her dragon, her feet landing on the ground, she's assaulted by an excitable Avatar. Well muscled arms wrap around her without the fear of being maimed which usually give people pause before stepping into Azula's personal space. 

Azula allows herself to pat Korra's back once, twice, three times, before extracting herself from the girl's grip. "That's enough hugging for a year."

"Sorry," says Korra, not looking sorry at all. "It's just that I haven't seen you in ages! Also, you're late. Katara arrived in the city days ago!" 

"I'm a busy woman, Avatar." Azula's eyes wander away from her former student to the two people standing nearby. She sees her wife first and though Katara's face doesn't betray anything, her eyes speak an entire sentence at Azula. 

Azula has to stifle the childish urge to roll her eyes. Yes, yes, the kid is getting married. I'll play nice.

Katara walks over to them, arm in arm with a tall young woman who Azula quickly identifies as the Sato girl. "Good, you're here in one piece."

"Please, those bandits were no match."

Korra perks up, frowning. "Bandits?"

"Dragon hunters. Delusional amateurs, really. I could've just sent some of Izumi's men, but I had to deal with them myself, a display of power lest others entertain the idea of disturbing our great ancestors again." Azula runs a gentle hand over her dragon's bright cerulean scales. "It's sort of my job."

"Well, you'll always have my help if you ever need it." Korra tells her with a genuine smile. A retort nearly escapes her lips before catching Katara's eyes. She keeps it to herself.

Azula turns to Korra's betrothed. "Asami Sato, a pleasure to finally meet you. Korra has spoken about you in her letters."

"It's an honor, Your Highness." Asami says with an elegant bow. Aside from her bright green eyes, Asami has the sharp features of her people. Her clean cut look betray none of her notorious reputation as one of the Avatar's companions, and Azula thinks that as an advantage. Satisfied by her assessment, Azula engages in a conversation with the non-bender as they make their way indoors.

They enter Azula and Katara's house together, which is right outside of Republic City limits. Its imposing red and onyx exterior melts into calmer shades of Water Tribe blues and whites when they step inside. It's one of their many homes. They have one in each places they frequent, since the two of them used to travel around the world like Air Nomads in the very early years of their married life. They also have one in the South Pole, Ember Island and Kyoshi Island.

The four of them dine together, Korra leading the charge as she wolfs down both Water Tribe and Fire Nation dishes. Asami is a lot more reserved, moving with a natural elegance that doesn't look forced nor practiced, as if taking precise and measured bites is second nature. Azula can't help but smirk at the contrast between the two.

If her experience is to be trusted, which is usually the case, contrasts aren't always a bad thing in marriage. 

 

~

 

Asami has to leave after dinner, citing a problem at a factory or the office or whatever stressful business matter. They see her off and Azula lets the girl hug her briefly, ignoring Korra's sappy expression at the sight. Katara retires for the night after what she said was a long day at one of the city's healing houses. 

Korra and Azula decide to spar. After all, Azula is never too old for this. She's the greatest firebender alive for a reason. 

"So, what do you think of her?" Korra asks while she stretches. 

"I can see why your wording was so giddy in your last letter, when you broke the news." Azula remarks. "I'm surprised she agreed to marry you."

Korra laughs, used to this by now. "Yeah, I got lucky. Good 'ol Avatar charm, I think. 

She continues stretching in silence for a while, but before they both shift into a fire bending stance, Azula ventures to tell her what she believes she has to.

"Asama is a capable and lovely young woman, and you seem happy together. So I guess I'm also... happy. For you. Katara and I both are."

Korra, oblivious to the strain in Azula's voice whenever she expresses sentiments like this, or simply doesn't care, runs up to her and embraces Azula for the second time that day.

"Thank you, Sifu."

Azula rolls her eyes but smiles against the Avatar's shoulder anyway.