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|Fire Nation Earthbender|
April 23, 2013
Gre's head was spinning from the multiple changes that one day had made.
Neru was sitting in his wheelchair by the corner. He still hadn't regained the ability to walk since that night. Was it really only two years ago? It seemed like much longer.
"Gre, I haven't seen you since you were just a tiny baby. How are you?"
"I'm doing well, Aunt Lio," Gre said respectfully. He ignored the look on his father's face that said otherwise.
"Why is Neru in a wheelchair?" Lio asked innocently, not knowing that everyone instantly got a bad taste in their mouths from the simple question.
Vef Hai tightened his fist then relaxed it again. "Kero threw him off the roof."
Lio raised an eyebrow but the impact seemed to finally sink in with her; she didn't ask any more questions.
"Hello, sir," Kero responded automatically when Quir walked into his vision.
"Mr. Hai, I'd like to explain something to you and the girl if you don't mind."
Naera poked her head out of her tent and quickly stepped out. "Yes, sir?"
"You're both Fire Nation, that much is pretty obvious. You see, my wife and I, we had a bad experience with the Fire Nation. She's originally from a colony, but she managed to get to the mainland as a servant. It was an easy job and she loved it, until Princess Azula banished her."
"What about you?" Kero inquired softly.
"I was a member of the Dai Li."
Naera interrupted--maybe it was rude, but she hated not knowing things.
"It WAS a secret group of earthbenders that worked out of Ba Sing Se. They-that is, we-declared allegiance to the Fire Nation late in the war. We were the ones that made the capture of Ba Sing Se possible."
"And Azula banished you," Kero said into the silence. "Now I remember. There was a project we had to do on how Fire Lord Zuko still hadn't gotten around to getting rid of the banishment Azula had placed on all of those servants."
Quir nodded. "My banishment at least makes sense in a twisted way. Hers? It was arbitrary. Harsh. So I hope you'll understand that my wife doesn't want to ever see any Fire Nation citizens ever again."
Naera stood there awkwardly. "I guess that makes sense."
Quir nodded. "I felt that you deserved an explanation. It would be best if you were gone by morning."
When Quir was gone and the sun just beginning to go down, she climbed into Kero's tent instead of her own.
Lio had gone upstairs by nightfall. They'd set aside a guest room for her and she was sound asleep.
Wulon smiled. "I really owe Shoji for bringing her here. It means a lot."
"Well, maybe you can pay him back someday," the patriarch responded gruffly.
Wulon looked from Gre to Vef and back again before it dawned on him. "Do you two want to talk?"
Gre looked uncomfortable but said nothing; Vef nodded slowly.
When Wulon was upstairs, the elder Hai gave his son a look.
"Alright. I have to say, you should have just told me. It would have been easier."
"You are not punished for being an earthbender."
Gre's eyes lit up at first but then went dark again. "Then what am I being punished for?"
"You deliberately deceived myself and your family. You're grounded for the next month. Lies are unacceptable."
Vef's expression softened suddenly. "There's nothing wrong with being an earthbender, son. In fact, I think the Fire Nation could benefit from a few more earthbenders." With that he smiled.
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