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16th May, 2014
If she can't see, she can pretend it was a dream–or a nightmare. If she can't see, she can fool herself into thinking he hadn't hurt her.
In the dark, though, she can't help but think of the reasons why she deserves it. Her mother is right.
She is a monster.
The girl is back. In equal parts, Azula wants her there, and wants her to leave. She wants comfort, yet she wants to be left alone.
Lin can tell there is something wrong. She can feel it in the air–see it in the other girl's eyes. She has to be strong, because Azula is trying; trying and failing. She thinks, in that strange, nonlinear way a six year old processes things, that Azula is similar to her mother.
Toph can't let other people see her as weak. Except... she broke out of her cage.
What about this poor girl?
Sneaking past her mother's office, Lin tip-toes down the stairs. The old stone corridors of the lower cells echo something fierce, and she is afraid of alerting someone to her. It is more likely that she will trip than anything else. The swollen cheek on her friend scares her, and she wonders who would hurt such a small person. Why?
She hears an echo down the hall, and squashes herself up against the wall. At least she knows it isn't Toph.
Toph is distracted by a tall man that she had never met, with a scar on his eye.
"How is she?" Zuko is standing in Toph's office. A small figure creeps past the door, but he has no time to wonder who it might be as Toph straightens up.
"She's fine. For someone who went out of her mind on the belief that she had to be better to be loved, she's doing remarkably well in the solitary cell that you prepared just for her, Fire Lord. When you know nothing about her and don't bother to learn what she really needs."
Zuko narrows his eyes. "How is Azula, Toph?"
Toph snarls at him. "She's fine without you."
"What's your name?"
Azula starts. The little girl is sitting just outside her cell, having wandered in only moments before. Azula has never been asked that question before. Lin has never really asked any questions before now, and Azula wonders why it has changed.
"Why?" The question is honest, no hint of condescension or anger. It is just a simple question.
"Because a pretty lady has to have a pretty name."
Little Lin is looking at her badgermole toy, which is waddling along the floor.
Lin looks up, flashing a smile. "See? Pretty name for a pretty lady."
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