It is some time before the Avatar shows up, but they keep her in chains, held to the grate of the parade ground. Azula barely notices Aang’s arrival. She has sunken in on herself, her rage spent.
No-one has come near her for hours.
The Avatar’s voice is quiet, sorrowful. Azula gives him a tired sneer. What right does he have to apologise to her?
Aang crouches next to her.
“They want me to take your bending away.”
Azula cannot summon the energy to struggle any more, but grunts and shakes her head, her hair clinging in wet strands to her face. Aang doesn’t flinch: she remembers that for the rest of her life. Standing next to a supercharged, crazy firebender, and he doesn’t flinch for a second.
“I’m not going to.” He looks over at where Azula’s fire has carved a massive scar in the walkway behind her. “Your brother doesn’t want me to.”
Azula doesn’t hear him, not really. She has no brother. No mother, no father, no uncle, no friends. She’s alone, and she was a fool to assume otherwise.
“I want you to remember that. You’ll be alone for a while, but Zuko doesn’t give up on people easily.”
Azula snorts, a tiny spark of fire blooming from her breath. Aang may not be afraid, but Azula has surrounded herself in fear: and that fear will quarantine her for the rest of her life.