Like Ripples In A Pond
There was a knock on her door. Azula made no motion to open it. All the nurses had a set of keys, Shou could just let herself in. Frankly, Azula was too tired to actually get up or even switch positions.
"I talked to Lu-Ming. He's allowing you an hour of bending a day." Shou declared cheerfully.
Naturally Azula would have been ecstatic but today she just didn't have the energy to muster up any enthusiasm…much less any blue flames. "I'll take it tomorrow Shou."
"Tomorrow? You sure? You've only been compla… talking about how much you missed bending since you got here."
Azula found the strength to roll onto her belly and burry her face in the pillow. "Sleep, Shou, I need sleep." Her voice a muffle lost within the pillow.
"Did you not get to sleep last night?"
"Shou, if I was able to sleep last night do you really think I would skip an opportunity to burn shit to the ground?" Azula asked.
"What kept you up this time?"
"This time, I just couldn't sleep. It was too cold, I was hungry, and I couldn't get comfortable without another pillow." Once again these weren't lies. She was rather hungry, the roomwas kind of chilly and Azula really wanted those pillows.
Shou sighed. "I'll talk to Lu-Ming about the pillows. But you're going to have to start eating lunch with the other patients."
"Tell him, if he's willing to give me the pillow, I may just be willing to try eating with the peasants."
"I'll talk to Lu-Ming while you talk with your brother. And try to make it a real visit this time."
"He's back already?" Azula frowned. She didn't think she ever frowned so hard in her life. She was exhausted, fearing consumption, and still pretty hungry. And now she'd have to deal with Zuko—he probably wouldn't go down easy this time either.
He was waiting for her by the pond again. "You ready to tell me what you know about mother?"
"Good morning to you too Zu-zu." Azula greeted with a yawn. "I had a rather rough night. You?"
Zuko rolled his eyes. "My night was fine Azula. I have no guilt to keep me awake."
"You also can't see dead people." She shrugged. "Mom says hi."
"I'm not playing around!" Zuko yelled.
"Neither am I." Azula perched herself on the largest rock she could find. "Did you ever once consider, Zu-zu, that maybe your dear little sister wasn't insane? That she could just do special things." She looked Zuko in the eyes. "Blue fire, lightning. I was always…different. I could always do strangely talented things."
"But seeing the dead? That's just—"
"Crazy? Insane? Psychotic? You wanted answers Zu-zu. I give them to you and you still complain. There's always something with you." Azula sighed.
"As if you're any better." Zuko shot back.
"I suppose you're right about that. Ever since you hauled me off to this place, I've had a lot to complain about—even more now that you've arrived."
"Do you really think you can see spirits?"
"Your good friend Aang can. Why is it so hard to believe that I can too?"
Zuko chewed the inside of his lip and shuffled around a bit. "Bring her here."
"Bring her here. Ursa. Our mother…bring her to me, I want to talk to her."
"It doesn't work like that."
"You've been seeing ghosts for what? 3 months now? And you already think you know how to do it?"
Azula snarled. "If I 'knew how to do it' do you really think I'd let them hang around and keep me up at night? That I'd let them throw me around?" She rolled up her sleeves to show him the scratch mark etched into them. "That I'd worry about them…consuming me!?"
She, still positioned on the rock, turned her back on him, folded her arms over her chest, and crossed one leg over the other. Eyes fixed down at the water shimmering in the pond. And then her eyes met Ursa's. She squeezed her own shut.
"You wanted to talk to her Zu-zu? Here she is!" Azula shouted. "You can't even see her can you?" Her voice dropped to little more than a whisper.
"I. No, I can't." Zuko sighed. He sat down next to Azula. "But you can."
Azula shot him a brief glance…a surprised one. He'd caught her off guard. She wrapped her arms around herself and looked back to the ground.
"Please just give her a message for me." Zuko started.
"I'll give her the message if you give Aang one from me." Azula declared.
"If it has anything to do with 'how dare you beat my father', I'm not going to deliver it."
"No. I want you to tell him to teach me how to get into the Spirit World." Azula paused. "And then you have to get me out of here so I could do so."
"The Spirit World?"
"Just ask him Zuko!" Azula hollered. "Ask him before it's too late…"