Word Count: 1,580.
Warning[s]: Incest (parent-child), age-difference, UST, suggestive themes, lots of semicolons.
Notes: These aren’t in sequential order, instead highlighting various scenarios and runaway thoughts. Fifty ways Azula and Ursa defy blood ties and the status quo. Originally written for 1sentence.
#01 - Ring
How such a simplistic object could seal one’s future baffled Ursa when she thought about it; though the first proposal of her life met an irreparable brokenness, the second band to slip around her finger felt so final.
#02 - Hero
Far-removed from a savior in the traditional sense, it was Azula who both found and exonerated the exiled Princess while she fulfilled her banishment abroad.
#03 - Memory
The visions of the past between them desperately needed to be replaced in both their minds, of that much they easily agreed upon.
#04 - Box
What lay inside the ornate handheld container was all too apparent, as was the once unfathomable reality of the proud Fire Lord lowering herself to one knee, but all the same, Ursa couldn’t contain her gasp once the scene played out before her.
#05 - Run
Ursa’s efforts to sprint across the courtyard in her daily attire never ended well and earned a genuine bout of laughter from the normally stoic tyrant-Princess.
#06 - Hurricane
At times, her second-born was more a force of nature than a human entity, and only she possessed both the courage and gentle conviction to calm the storm.
#07 - Wings
When Azula used her Firebending to propel herself high into the air, her mother glimpsed the outline of leathery appendages inherent to the girl’s draconic ancestors giving her an added boost.
#08 - Cold
Yellow was such a warm, vibrant color, but the chill of her daughter’s dragon-gold eyes sapped the light from such cheery thoughts with every misplaced invocation.
#09 - Red
“Those drab Earth Kingdom colors never suited you,” professed her teenage child as the revered garment of her pre-banishment days was gallantly presented; Azula insisted on remaining in the room to witness the tradeoff to robes of the finest crimson silk from those spun of scratchy brown linen.
#10 - Drink
Jasmine tea was a bit too flowery for her taste -- her favorite was Uncle’s, oddly enough: ginseng -- but she swallowed down the cup with little fanfare to witness her mother’s smile.
#11 - Midnight
It was good fortune for the servants to be in bed long before the night reached its apex, for telltale noises behind private chambers held no secrets.
#12 - Temptation
“You take a risk every time you choose to wear that,” the younger girl craftily advised her senior when Ursa extricated the skimpiest of eveningwear from her closet with the excuse that “it’s too hot to wear anything else”.
#13 - View
Ursa didn’t object to being high above her surroundings -- after all, being betrothed to the nation’s mighty prodigy, she would need to get used to such a perspective.
#14 - Music
When Azula teasingly recreated a failed overture with her brother’s old tsungi horn, Ursa couldn’t contain her peals of laughter.
#15 - Silk
It was remarkable, not to mention unexpected, for such a tyrannical Princess to find the softness of her mother’s nightgown so placating as they shared the older woman’s bed.
#16 - Cover
Tables provided the perfect pretense through which to sneak a furtive caress or grope.
#17 - Promise
Wedding vows were the assurance of new beginnings.
#18 - Dreams
It was never too much to hope that her mother might give the idea of marriage a second try.
#19 - Candle
The long stalks of wax to garnish the Fire Lady’s room were lit each night before she retired; she not once reflected upon the curious gesture with anything but delight.
#20 - Talent
Azula never felt she could impress her mother with her Firebending (the woman had always been far too focused on coddling Zuko’s meager attempts) , so she resolved to display a different prowess behind closed doors.
#21 - Silence
Neither mother nor daughter had ever been adept at communicating with each other through words, and so it was that moments of utter quiet spoke the loudest between them.
#22 - Journey
Their reunion after years of bitter separation had been an adventure unto itself; what lay in store for the newly wedded Fire Lord and Lady promised the deconstruction of social taboos and perhaps the world at large (no one would ever accept them).
#23 - Fire
Only one half of the couple possessed the blessing of their element, but all it meant was that it was far easier for the non-bending party to admire the gift objectively.
#24 - Strength
Time and time again, Azula assured her fiancee of her ability to carry her down the aisle after the exchange of vows, but her mother couldn’t get past the humorous image of being carted around by a girl who barely crested five feet tall.
#25 - Mask
Ursa always clung to a feeble shred of hope that her daughter’s coldness was only a façade; during rare moments of peace, it almost seemed the walls would give way and crack just enough to keep that dream alive.
#26 - Ice
“I finally found a way to melt the wall around your heart, didn’t I?”
#27 - Fall
One aspect she missed to living in the Earth Kingdom was the turning of the leaves on deciduous trees; with feigned reluctance, Azula scheduled at least two visits before the weather turned too cold and miserable.
#28 - Forgotten
There were times Azula scarcely recalled her relation to the magnanimous woman at her side -- it helped that they looked virtually nothing alike.
#29 - Dance
In spite of the art being placed beneath an official ban decades prior, the Fire Lady could enrapture her daughter with but a few well-timed, precisely executed movements: Azula’s favorites seemed to be those with the most hip action.
#30 - Body
Azula was far-removed from being spiritual, but there was one form she paid homage to every night.
#31 - Sacred
If the bond between parent and child was so hallowed, why had it been so easy to exchange it for another?
#32 - Farewells
Closing the chapter on one failed part of her life would open a new door, or so her daughter insisted with an odd vehemence.
#33 - World
There wouldn’t be a single sect of the new empire to not recognize the Fire Lord and Fire Lady’s union.
#34 - Formal
Even promises of midnight bliss couldn’t convince Azula to attend the gathering in anything but her gilded uniform.
#35 - Fever
It was impossible to tell if the prodigy was ill unless she otherwise sneezed fire, and it was then that Ursa was permitted to play the role of doting mother.
#36 - Laugh
Azula rarely produced joyful sounds, her chortles and snickers tinged with an ever-present undercurrent of malice -- it was with great dedication and resolve that her mother evoked the occasional chuckle devoid entirely of venom: a rare and laudable feat, indeed.
#37 - Lies
“Azula always lies,” her son once repeated as his personal mantra of assurance, but she was privately delighted to discover he was wrong.
#38 - Forever
The Fire Lord’s words were final -- if they were to march hand in hand upon scorched earth until the world’s collapse, so it would be.
#39 - Overwhelmed
Ursa couldn’t contain a giggle at the tiny puff of flame to accompany her daughter’s exhale upon the release of tension; planning a proper first date was exasperating.
#40 - Whisper
“Come to bed,” the Fire Lady’s sultry voice teased the shell of her ear, prompting her to finally lay rest to the quill tightly clenched between her fingers.
#41 - Wait
“Not yet,” came the breathy taunt as her mother bid her to delay release.
#42 - Talk
Azula never saw the point in scheduling their chats by the turtleduck pond, but she nonetheless acquiesced with a sigh each time she caved to the older woman’s whims.
#43 - Search
It most certainly wasn’t the idea of regaining a mother to fuel her wide-scale hunt for the banished Princess, but that of obtaining a wife.
#44 - Hope
“There is good in you,” she’d promised despite her daughter’s careless dismissal, though as time passed, Azula wasn’t the only one to need convincing.
#45 - Eclipse
The Day of Black Sun had rendered her husband and daughter powerless beneath the veil of blackness to shroud the source of their inner flames, but even so, a mother’s -- or lover’s? -- intuition assured her Azula would not only survive, but miraculously tilt the handicap to her advantage.
#46 - Gravity
Streamers of fireworks perfectly symbolized their glorious rise to power, but unlike the fate of the dispersing sparks, they would remain perched on high.
#47 - Highway
The road to Azula’s heart was fraught with deadly twists, jolting bumps, and no shortage of acridity, but Ursa had traveled grittier paths before.
#48 - Unknown
Having boldly faced down more daunting futures in the past, Ursa had gained invaluable experience with offsetting the fear of uncertainty when it came time to face the world with the notorious conqueror of Ba Sing Se at her side.
#49 - Lock
Was it actually necessary for mother and child to deadbolt their door each time they retired for bed?
#50 - Breathe
Ursa felt herself inhale sharply when her daughter recited, word for word, the same inquiry to entwine her future with the girl’s father when they were both teenagers (but the two of them had been arranged from the start, and Azula was the only teenager this time around).