I took a while before writing this. I’m not sure why I decided to, in the end. It’s not like I expect it’ll do anything. Zuko mentioned it might be good for me to write, but what does he know about anything, right? ha ha.
You never took him seriously, you know. Or Ty Lee. Or the Dai Li or Lo and Li.
Well, that’s not totally true, is it? After all, there’s only a handful in the Fire Nation who you didn’t frighten with those… words you were always so good at spouting, always with an edge of lightning, warning people not to get too close.
There was me,
of course – I think that’s why you loved teasing me so much – I didn’t frighten easy, and you knew it – and you knew embarrassment – you knew I’d take embarrassment silently fuming under some veneer of indifference, but then you’d know all about embarrassment wouldn’t you?
Because while Zuko struggled with honour and shame, you struggled with glory and disgrace, and maybe that felt like a lesser path.
Maybe, that embarrassed you.
And then there was Ursa.
Calm and cool Ursa. Collected Ursa. Controlled Ursa. Always her son’s mother, and her daughter’s…watchful keeper. Maybe the way she loved Zuko made you think love was power.
And then there was Ozai
who just saw himself in you- which is how you tend to see people: reflections of yourself, empty mirrors for you to see yourself in. And maybe, Ozai made you think power was love.
I know what bothers you more than the way Katara – that peasant! that Water Tribe child! (I can still hear you rage) – finally chained you:
Boiling Rock. You. Me. Ty lee – standing right beside you, until the very end.
You never saw Ty Lee coming at Boiling Rock. I wonder if you ever wonder why?
You asked me, that day “The thing I don’t understand is why? Why would you do it?”
But I guess you just don’t know people as well as you think you do.
Me, it was clear where I was standing – I took a stance, stood in front of you but Ty Lee…she was right beside you. If it helps, she surprised the hell out of me too. To be honest, she probably surprised herself, I think. You and me… it was a long time coming, but Ty Lee…god that must have burned at least a little bit.
She’s not faster than you.
She’s not smarter than you.
She’s not stronger than you.
And she was scared of you!
But she still got (under) you – because you never bothered trying to get her.
Really understand her.
When you found her at the circus,
did you give her the choice to join you,
or did you set her safety night on fire?
I guess you miscalculated.
After a point, if you really know yourself, it’s fear that runs out, not love.
And if you don’t…
well there’s a reason you broke all the mirrors in the Royal Palace, isn’t there?