Characters: Ozai/Ursa, Iroh
Word Count: 400+
Summary: But love is a voice on the wind/and the wages of sin/and a tanglewood tree. -- "Tanglewood Tree"
"I do not want to see you again."
Of every blow Ursa had given him in this fight, that was the one that struck home. The one that cut the legs from under him and sent Ozai sinking to the ground. Blood dripped from his knuckles, from his cheek. His burned shoulders ached. He knew he didn't look much better than Ursa did - one eye swelling shut, and she kept spitting blood. She'd be black and blue in the morning.
But she was still standing, and he knelt in the dust.
"Ursa..." He reached for her, and she stepped back.
"No." Blood dribbled from her mouth, and the eyes that looked down at him were bright and terrible. "You scarred our son, Ozai. And Azula... You don't even understand why any of that was wrong."
"You left-" Nails bit into his palm as his fists clenched. He wanted to lash out again, like she had when their words became too heated. Blue flames had surrounded her hand in an aura when she slapped him after accusing him of driving Azula to madness. He'd denied it, and she'd caught him on the backswing, burning hot enough to make him howl-
His punch was as instinctive as her dodge, then he snapped a kick into her knee and everything broke down in their fury.
She had left him, had abandoned him! How could she have done that, how could she blame him for what he did to their son when she hadn't even cared enough to come home when she heard of it? How could she blame him for what happened to their daughter? He hadn't had anything to do with that! How dare she! How dare she suddenly take anger with him now when he couldn't meet her flame to flame-
So he had met her fist to flame, and those bruises on her face were from him.
"Don't start this again," she snapped. "Your brother is concerned, the young Avatar is upset, and I will not still be fighting you when Zuko arrives."
"No." She turned sharply on her heel and limped away.
Iroh handed him a mug of coffee.
It took three swallows for that fact to register. Ozai blinked and lowered the crimson porcelain from his lips. "Do I look that bad?"
His older brother sighed and arranged himself on other end of the straw mat. He was one of the few people Ozai willingly allowed inside his cell, a privilege Iroh rarely abused by actually making use of it. "It has been four days, Ozai. Miss Tian says she has brought you food, and you've eaten, but other than that..."
"I've pissed too," Ozai murmured, and his brother gave him a hard look. "Never mind. Fine, I'll clean myself up so I don't horrify Ursa when she comes to visit."
"Ursa left yesterday," Iroh said gently, and the coffee could have been mud for all Ozai could taste it.