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April 21, 2013
Zeya mixed the broth into the soup as the doors opened. Quickly, she wiped her hands on her apron and turned.
Quir, her husband, walked into the room with two teens behind him. "Zeya, these are nomads. They've asked for shelter for the night." His whole manner was more on guard than usual.
"Well, the boy can sleep in the same room as our sons, the girl-"
"I already told them the sleeping arrangements."
"Very well." Zeya turned and shouted up the stairs. "Boys! We have guests!"
She turned to the nomads. They couldn't have been more than 18 by her count. The boy looked a little older than the girl, but not by much.
"I'm sorry for looking like this. I was making dinner," she said abruptly.
The boy made a motion with one hand. "It's fine."
"What are your names?" Zeya asked.
The girl smiled. When she opened her mouth it was immediately clear that she was Fire Nation. "I'm Naera. This is Kero."
The night was dark when Wulon opened the window and let Lio out slowly.
"This is such a fun dream, Wulon."
"I know," he whispered as they walked side by side, her limping still apparent, to the car that waited in the pathway up to the mental institution.
They got back an hour later. Wulon's mechanic friend dropped them off and left in his brand-new automobile. Lio was laughing but her body was beginning to show that she was tired.
"Ah, Wulon. Thank you."
She began to walk up the stairs to the institution door.
"Wait," Wulon called, and ran up to her. "I want to kiss you goodnight. May I?"
Lio smiled. "And now my dream is perfect."
Gre sighed and hung his head as the ranting continued. As soon as his firebending teacher had explained and left the yelling had started and was showing no signs of stopping. Despite his fear, Gre felt strangely calm.
"Now tell me why in the name of the Fire Lord you decided not to tell me you couldn't firebend!"
Gre looked up and met his father's eyes. "Because I was afraid you would be disappointed in me."
"Why!? There's nothing wrong with not being a bender! Your mother isn't a bender! Why did you tell me that you could bend?"
Gre stood, a defiant gesture that under normal circumstances would have earned his chores doubled. "Because I am a bender. I bend earth." With that he thrust a fist out to the side and a rock sailed through the window and into his open hand.
Vef Hai sank down onto the couch. "This is too much... Go to your room and give me time to think."
After Gre had gone Kerya walked into the room. "Husband," she began, but he raised his hand.
"Did you know?"
"No, I did not."
"Then what should I do?"
"There is nothing wrong with being an earthbender."
"He must be punished for lying."
"Then punish him, but do not resent him."
"You don't do a good job of passing for nomads," Zeya snapped.
Kero raised one eyebrow. "But we are nomads..." he began.
"No, you're Fire Nation."
"So are you," Naera suddenly remarked.
Zeya sat down roughly. "Azula banished my husband and me. For what? Because I accidentally left a pit in a cherry and he was too slow getting to a room. I am sorry but I cannot allow any Fire Nation citizens on our property. Ever!"
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