Chapter 1: Desperation
Chapter information

Altered Perception



Written by


Release date

September 8, 2014

Next chapter

Chapter 2: Drop Off


Her little squishy feet.

Her small hands.

Her belly full of milk.

Toph kissed the bottom of the infant's feet. They were smooth and not callused. They made her feel dirty. This little girl was actually hers. Toph placed the small feet against her cheeks. The newborn scent was all she could inhale and it was the most wonderful smell she had ever smelled.

This was probably the only time Toph was able to do this. Most of the day was spent at the station or at Air Temple Island alongside her childhood friends She had to put on her usual persona, Toph: the sarcastic, hard-headed earthbender. The others could say confidently that nothing had changed. The "gaang" (courtesy of Sokka) would sit around conversing while the children scattered about. Due to their ages, Lin and Tenzin stayed in close watch, playing on the floor of the living room or sitting upon their parents' laps. That was the only contact Toph had with Lin during the day.

Once the two Beifongs were home, Toph didn't at all hold back on affection. Lin was smothered in kisses, hugs, and love. The little girl deserved it. Toph knew she deserved it. Love came from both a mother and a father. Toph was going to compensate for both.

A low gurgle filled the chief of police's ears. Such a wonderful sound. Toph gently let go of Lin's feet and scooped her up from the bundle of sheets upon the bed. The little girl's feet and legs kicked powerfully below her and her arms flailed almost whacking her own mother across the face. Toph held her daughter up until they were at eye level.

Toph closed her eyes and opened them.


She closed them again and with more hope, she opened them once more.

Nothing. Forever nothing.

Fiercely but carefully, Toph hugged little Lin up against her chest. The infant squirmed to the sudden smothering. However, as time passed by, she realized what her mother was doing and settled to nuzzle against her breasts. Toph just hugged her tighter. With a hand, the earthbender stroked the baby's head and her fingers tangled into the short hair she had. It was soft. Silky. A color.

A color she will never know.

Black. That's what Katara had told her. Just like her own hair. The waterbender had also told her that Lin's skin was a gorgeous tint of peach. Her eyes were emerald green, one of a kind gems. Lastly, her lips were full and pink. Black. Green. Pink.

Three cruel words that meant absolutely nothing to her.

If she were somewhere else, Toph would have said something along the lines of seeing is for the weak. But when it came down to Lin, the chief of police could admit to herself, and only herself, that there was nothing in this world she wanted more than to see her own daughter.

"Not really fair, is it, badgermole?" Toph whispered. Lin jostled around in her mother's grasp but only returned to her original position. Toph took in her baby's scent.

"I know you are beautiful, Lin."

At the mention of her name, the little girl sprang into action and grabbed above with her chubby fingers. Her appendages clawed gently at her mother's lower cheeks. The child's voice suddenly emerged.


Toph smiled. "What are you mumbling about, badgermole?"


The earthbender positioned themselves so they were facing each other once again. "What in the spirits are you saying? You are worse than your Uncle Twinkle Toes."

Once again, Lin grabbed at her mother's checks and spoke loudly. "Mama!"

The entire world stopped. Toph's world to be exact. Lin just called her mama. Lin knew that Toph was her mother, something that hit home for Toph. She had spoken her first word and it was referring to her. Toph's mouth hung open in disbelief.

The infant, on the other hand, cocked her head to the side. One minute, her mother was smiling and in just seconds, her expression changed. Taking Toph's surprise as a negative response, Lin's face scrunched and turned into a frown at the thought of upsetting the woman in front of her. Her pink lips started to quiver and long behold: Lin began to sob.

Lin's cries brought Toph back to reality. In her arms, the child squirmed and fought. Toph instantly brought the little girl against her chest once more and rubbed her back, just as Katara had shown her.

"Shh, shh, shh. Come on, Lin. Don't cry. Mama was just happy, that's all." She explained.

After about two minutes, Lin hushed her cries and stared to the side, her green eyes halfway behind her eyelids.

"Mama." Little Lin whispered.

Toph smiled a genuine smile. "Yes. Mama's here, Lin."

The small child closed her eyes entirely. Lin's thumb made its way into her half toothless mouth. Toph's heightened sense felt the perfect heartbeat of her daughter slow. Her soft lips pressed against Lin's head to send her off to sleep. Toph laid down onto the pillows of her bed while Lin remained atop her chest and stomach. Her exercised arms stayed linked around Lin's small form.

"Badgermole, you said your first words today!" Toph celebrated into the air. "Er, actually word." She chuckled. Internally, the chief of police made a note to remind herself to ask Katara if a nine month old should be talking by now.

Suddenly, Toph was brought back to her previous dilemma. Lin had just said her first word. She had a desperate need to see Lin's lips shape the word. She wanted to watch each syllable leave Lin's mouth.

But she can't.

She never will.

"It's not fair." Toph whispered once again. She closed her eyes.

Never will she see Lin say her first word.

The little girl jostled above. Her small voice rang through Toph's ears like music. "Mama!" Toph rubbed back, and in just seconds, the girl was back to sleep.

For now, just hearing it was good enough for Toph.

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