For once, someone seems genuinely happy to see Azula. She waves and grins like one would at an old friend they trust and don't fear.
"For example, if you think you know what fear looks like on someone..."
"Oh. But then they'd notice me and I wouldn't get to just watch them anymore."
"True. I suppose you don't turn heads everywhere you go - you're not particularly good at anything, you're not important, you're not particularly good-looking, you're not even a firebender..."
"I don't need recognition for the things I'm good at. I'm just good at them."
Nod. "Maybe you should spar with me. One moment." Azula turns away, sets all the targets on fire, and scowls when she hits the last one off-center. Not good enough, never good enough, but it's not the time to worry about Azula's failings right now... "Now. Shall we?"
Without firebending, Azula can't beat her. Azula needs to be able to defeat anyone under any conditions. But turning the fear into rage is habit by now and rage keeps her fires hot so it's fine.
She doesn't hesitate, doesn't hold back, doesn't play. She knows what she's doing and does it smoothly, until she has Azula pinned, at which point she blushes and scrambles back.
Azula does not light her on fire and let her beg for mercy.
"You could be worse, I suppose," Azula says, getting up. "I might allow you to keep me company again."
"I'd like that a lot."
Meanwhile, a mostly retired veteran is giving a firebending lesson to a girl who does not have a promising future ahead of her.
...and who is too focused on the lesson to bother arguing the point. The more practice she gets, the better, even if it isn't what she'd rather be doing.
Wherever she ends up working - some ship's boiler room, or some restaurant, probably - she can't expect anyone to remember that she can't see what color her flames are. So today she can practice changing the temperature of her fire to match the colors she's asked for.
"Show me blue."
Blue is a good range, easy to feel now that she knows where it starts and ends. If her teacher could feel blue, he could feel her making her way up and down the range. But he probably can't; he doesn't need to.
But she can definitely show him blue.
"Correct. Show me orange."
Orange has blurrier edges, she knows; she stays closer to the middle this time, lest she fade into anything that could be called red or yellow.
"That's right. You know, you know enough firebending for the sorts of jobs you're ever likely to get, it wouldn't be fair not to tell you that. But if you want to learn more there's more you could learn."
"I want to know more."
"Of course you do. It's a shame you can't use more of it."
"I can," she says confidently, and then "I could. I could show you."
"Oh? You could show me that you can throw fire at an earthbender, and only do it if he's standing in front of stone? You could show me that you can fight an agni kai without maiming bystanders?"
She can show him that she can dance a line of fire around him and never once touch his body heat, how's that.
"You can sense the heat from my body, can't you? But you don't know what's around me. You can't tell metal from wood. You don't even know what I'm wearing. You'd light something delicate on fire by accident. You can find a person, you might be able to learn combat firebending forms that would let you burn them, and you can't do it safely but there's nothing stopping you from doing it just to prove you can."
"Then I'll just have to learn."