title: fun and games
fandom: Avatar: the Last Airbender
characters/pairings: Zuko, Azula
rating: G
warnings: none
summary: Zuko enjoys freedom.
notes: for kisunenomiko for this request on fic on demand.

He ran out into the field behind the house, his arms spread out, his hair loose and messy. The sun was just setting over the water. It had taken a few hours to get to Ember Island, so he felt really stir-crazy. Plus...

They were away from the Palace and the guards and the Sages and the advisors... They were away from teachers and relatives and everyone judging them. He ran all the way to the cliff... there was a town down the beach, but it was somewhat cut off by some rocks. They could live here like normal people, he'd heard his mother say.

Zuko didn't know what being normal meant, but his mother smiled when she said that, so it made him happy.

"Zuzu, where are you going?" Azula was still pouting, still following him. She didn't want to take a vacation because she wanted to learn firebending faster. She had been sneaking into his lessons, and now she was nearly as far along as he was, which was really scary! "Are you trying to run away from me?" she demanded.

Zuko just rolled his eyes. "Azula, I told you not to call me that anymore. And I was just running for fun!"

Azula crossed her arms over her chest and pouted. Zuko noticed that she was wearing one of his tunics, which was probably why she looked like she might tip over. She just couldn't admit that he was bigger than her... "Fun, huh? Let's play a game. And the loser becomes the winner's slave for the entire trip!" Her eyes gleamed viciously.

Zuko pulled back, and turned away to look at the sky, and the water. He smiled gently. "Nah, I don't want to play a game with losers in it. I just want to breathe free. Isn't it nice? Being away from the palace and all?"

"What could possibly be nice about that? You're going to have wash my hair while we're here, you know! I can't believe what a wuss you are." She ran up to him and kicked him on the back of his knees, knocking him down. "There are always losers in this world, Zuzu!"

He laughed, though. In a few days, Uncle and Cousin Lu Ten would be there. It would be like they were really... family.

Maybe Father would even play with them. Maybe.

"I'll play with you, Azula. See that rocky outcropping there? First one there becomes Royal Hairwasher." Azula grunted triumphantly at him and took off. Zuko just watched her run, grinning to himself. She wasn't gone long before she turned and yelled back at him, figuring it out.

He flopped back on the grass, smiling at the stars just beginning to peek out at him. Tonight, maybe, he'd try to tell Father the tea joke Uncle told him...