The もっと見る days that passed, the wearier Azula grew. She was tired of long flights on Appa listening to the Water Tribe siblings bicker. She was tired of setting up camp on chilly nights. And of finding some 宇宙 to sleep that provided enough distance from the gang. But that always left her a distance from the 火災, 火 and heaven forbid she tried to start her own.

She was tired of sleeping cold.

Most of all she was tired of trying to sleep with her mother talking so loudly in her ear.

Azula folded her arms over her chest, waiting for the アバター and his フレンズ to mount Appa. She huffed in disgust. The shaggy thing smelled terribly and needed a good wash. Even he hated her, of course he did, he’s the avatar’s pet.
Naturally she hated the バイソン back.

Zuko extended an arm.

She swatted his helping hand away, “I can climb up myself.”

“He was just trying to help.” Katara muttered in a tone that sounded all too close to the one Azula’s mother so loved to use when speaking to her.

“The last time he helped me, I found myself locked away and all bound up.” Azula hissed, she hadn’t meant to say it, lest she sound hurt. That was the last thing she needed; for them to know that she was hurting. That she kind of did want Zuko’s help—actual help.
But those feels were a weakness she knew.
A venerability.
Azula didn’t need to feel any もっと見る venerable then she already did.

She folded her arms across her chest, dead-set on trying project anger または at least indifference. Anything but the sadness, desperation, and helplessness clawing deep inside.

That afternoon she got the pleasure of hearing the siblings banter over which city to stop in for a bit of shopping, and for Sokka, a bathroom break.
Clearly the Water Tribe boy sought to stop at the first village they came to.

“Oh come on Katara! There’s a village right down there.” He whined. “I’ll be quick. Come on!”

They were just about over the village when Aang reluctantly bought Appa down. “Alright, hurry, I was hoping to get back to the Forgetful Valley によって nightfall. That means no もっと見る breaks.”

“But what about the food?”

“Food または bathroom Sokka? I’m with Aang. We haven’t made any progress, and I’d like to start doing so.” Zuko replied.

“I suppose we can look for 食 in the Forgetful Valley.” Katara muttered, “I think it would be もっと見る practical to buy it though.”

As much as Azula resented it, she had to agree with the waterbender. Nuts, seeds, and berries were just another thing on the 一覧 of things Azula was tired of. “I think we should go out and buy ourselves a real dinner.”

“That settles it,” Sokka declared with a wave of his boomerang, “I’m taking my bathroom break and we’ll look for 食 in the forest!”

Aang tried to stifle his giggle, leaving Azula to scowl to herself.

“You have ten minutes, Sokka.” Zuko stated.

And another thing she loathed; no matter what she 発言しました they’d either dismiss または do the opposite. If she told them Appa was about to fly into a 木, ツリー and that they should fly around it, they’d probably fly right into it for the sake of spiting her.
Everything she 発言しました was a joke to them. または some psychobabble to be ignored または mocked. The only one who really took no part in that was Aang. Instead the boy would spare her looks of pity that were almost worse the mockery itself.

It was another 時 before Aang instructed Appa to land. In that 時 the sun had made its way down, hanging significantly lower in the sky.

“You want to actually help us find 食 this time?” Katara asked.

“I’m not going to eat it, why would I help find it.” Azula dismissed.

“You’re worse than Toph was!” Katara hollered.

“Actually, I think she’s about the same.” Sokka pointed out.

“At least Toph is pleasant to be around.”

“Come on guys, stop fighting. We need food.” Aang motioned to the forest.

“Yeah, I we probably should. It’s not like we have a fifth person to help us.” Katara scowled.

“I suppose あなた guys do need me considering the water peasant is pretty much useless.” Azula muttered

“Says the one who…”

“Come on Katara.” Aang looped his arm around hers and tugged her along.

“Boy, this is like Toph and Katara all over again.” Sokka muttered to Zuko.

Azula watched the quartet disappear into the jungle. It took them long enough. Truth be told she hadn’t exactly wanted a battle of wits—or a battle of any sort really. She just wanted them to hurry off into the forest so she could get some alone time.
But of course they wouldn’t have left her alone if she didn’t anger them enough to do so, so a flurry of insults was really the only way to do it.

Azula sat herself down in the middle of the clearing and crafted herself probably the most pathetic campfire anyone had built in a long time. It was the kind of half-hearted effort she’d been putting into most things lately.
And she couldn’t seem to break herself of this heavy lack of motivation.

She could practically feel the stupid バイソン watching her judgingly.

She threw herself into a standing position. “You have a problem with my campfire!?” She yelled, flames bursting higher with her temper as she thrust an accusatory finger in Appa’s direction.

The バイソン merely let out a lazy groan.

Azula returned to a sitting position, legs drawn up to her chest, arms wrapped around them, chin resting on her knees. “I’m yelling at a bison.” She murmured softly. “Is this really what I’m going to be doing with the rest of my life—listening to voices that aren’t there and insults that really are?”
“And yelling at 動物 for questioning my life decisions.” She added.

She sighed. “I suppose I just thought this trip would go…differently. I don’t know why I thought—”

Of all the scenarios she could have come up with, she didn’t expect the バイソン to cut her speech off with an absolutely putrid lick.

“This is disgusting.” Azula glared up at the bison, her body tense with pent up rage and hands balled into fists. “You are disgusting.”

As if the animal couldn’t be anymore infuriating, he circled leisurely around her. He couldn’t possibly seem anymore indifferent. She couldn’t even get a バイソン to fear her anymore.

“I hate it here.” Azula hollered at no one in particular. “I should be in the palace sitting on my 王位 right now.”

“I shouldn’t be out here sleeping in the dirt and eating berries.” She knew she sounded like a child. The only ones around to hear her fit were the バイソン and the キツネザル and she still felt her ears growing hot and her face flush with embarrassment.

“I’m an embarrassment to myself. Lovely.” She grumbled.

Azula felt the bison’s wet, slimy tongue slide up her back again, practically knocking her over in the process. She cringed. “Is that supposed to make me feel better!?” She screamed at the bison. Rather she tried to scream, it just came out all choked up and wrong.

Azula’s entire body was shuddering now, wracked によって heavy sobs.
She wrapped her arms around herself.
No one else would.

Appa grunted and flopped down nosily beside her.

Gripping her hands into his fur, Azula bawled, thanking Agni the others still hadn’t come back yet. She could only imagine what a sight it would be to see her wailing into a flying bison. The thought alone was just so absurd.

But they’d be back soon.

Azula once again found herself battling her own mind, this time to regain her composure.

She roughly rubbed the tears out of her eyes with the back of her hand, only for もっと見る tears to spring to them.

She tried distracting herself with finding a change of clothes to replace the 記事 Appa had drenched. The distraction was short-lived and she found herself in tears again as soon as she had her new outfit on.

Azula kicked at the ground and buried her face in Appa’s 毛皮 again. The バイソン was comfortingly warm and soft. She loosened her grip on his fur, she didn’t want to lose the only living thing that seemed to care for her.

“I suppose I don’t want あなた to fear me. Everyone else, sure. But I guess I like you.” Azula murmured. “And I suppose I’ll forget about your judgmental looks.” She wiped the tears out of her eyes again. This time they stayed out.

Azula turned around, pressing her back against Appa looking at the point where the 木, ツリー branches seemed to meet the sky and mingle with the stars.
The stars…

She wouldn’t mind being with the stars.

Azula let herself slid to the floor once again, this time curling herself up against the bison’s front paw. Maybe she’d finally get some sleep.

That was how they found her in the morning, snuggled up against Appa, hands tucked under her head, sleeping rather soundly.
For once undisturbed.
Untroubled.

Azula pushed herself upright no one seemed to have noticed her, and if they did, they made no mention of it.

Zuko thought briefly of teasing his sister for cuddling with the バイソン she claimed to hate so much. Apparently Sokka had the same thoughts. Zuko put a hand on his shoulder. “Let her have this one, it makes her happy. And it keeps her from scorching us.”

“She even complained once this morning.” Katara pointed out.

Across the clearing, Azula rubbed her eyes. Still feeling rather sleepy, she sat down in front of Appa. She cast a glance over her shoulder. “I would thank あなた for helping me sleep…if あなた weren’t just a バイソン I mean.” She shrugged.

“That means a lot to Appa あなた know?” Aang pointed out. “He may be a バイソン but he can still understand you.”

“Is that right, avatar?”

“I like to think so.” He scratched the back of his head. “Funny, I kind of didn’t think the two of あなた would get along. Good to see that あなた worked things out with someone. He’s really great to talk to, he doesn’t even judge Sokka when he sings the secret tunnel song in his sleep.” Aang laughed.

“The secret tunnel song?”

“It’s a long story.”

“I don’t really want to know.” Azula brushed her hand over Appa’s fur.

Since that morning Azula would often curl up close to the bison. She’d mostly sleep near his front paw but sometimes she’d simply fall asleep with her back against his belly, other times she’d steal Aang’s spot and sleep between his horns.

Either which way, the large ball of fluff made her feel less alone.
And when no one else was around, he gave her someone to talk to.
For now that was all she needed.

In which Appa is literally just a giant fluffy dog for Azula. This is my headcanon and I refuse to see it any other way!