Police headquarters
Chapter 3: Mementos
Chapter information

Altered Perception



Written by


Release date

December 4, 2014

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Chapter 2: Drop Off

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Chapter 4: Trouble


Toph cursed under her breath. That was her third time cracking the stone. She quickly discarded the stone slab off of her desk.

The chief of police held her head in her hands. She'll never be able to write with such frustrating thoughts. That's right. She was writing. Justifying that he was in fact brilliant, Sokka had figured out that Toph could write into stone slabs. Because of this, she will be able to detect the shape of the characters with her earthbending. Toph would never admit it out loud, but the idea was pretty damn clever.

However, he wasn't the first to think of it.

It was probably six years ago that a police captain had figured out the same thing. The words upon the stone were something she couldn't refuse.

Marry me, Pale Eyes.

The two of them had been working on it for months, reading and writing that is. Being able to read his proposal had Toph thinking that even the farthest limitations of her blindness could be conquered. She accepted the proposal with punching him in the arm so hard that the man had toppled over to the ground. Afterwards, Toph tackled him into a passionate kiss.

But now, he wasn't here to punch. To kiss. To love.

Scratch that.

She will always love him.

Toph moved her left hand towards her neck. Her fingers intertwined with a chain. At the front, a ring hung limp atop her collar bone. Toph held onto it tightly.

"Where are you, Ru?" The earthbender whispered.

Toph snapped out of her trance as heavy vibrations shot up her feet. They were coming straight towards her office. She braced herself for the urgent visitor. The door swung open and slammed against the back wall. Metal on metal, the room echoed with a clank.


The Chief of Police just gave a bored sigh. "Nice to see you too, Councilman Goatee."

Sokka just ignored the sarcasm. "How come the council wasn't notified of this mission?"

Although Toph knew exactly what he was talking about, she still asked like if she were ignorant. "The only thing the police force does is missions. You're going to have to be more specific, Sokka."

"Your mission." The usual comical tone had left his voice entirely. This had caused Toph to straighten.

"If you must know, it was for the very reaction you had given me. I didn't want a bunch of fancy pants council people to be telling me how to do my job. Not like you guys don't do that already."

Sokka let out a frustrated grunt. "You can't just go making decisions like this. This isn't some petty triad group that steals bread. These people are Azulatics!"

Toph responded with something like a chuckle. "I said the same thing to Twinkle Toes this morning."

"Aang knew about this before I did?" His question came out hurt. "Some best friend you are!"

"Sokka, I was going to tell you soon enough." She pointed to the slab on the floor, one that was in pieces now.

The councilman crossed his arms. "Oh really? And you were planning to send it after you left, right?"

Toph pretended to pout. "I'm losing my touch. I'm getting too predictable."

"I can't believe you were going to face these maniacs without telling me! What if something horrible happens? What if you get hurt? What if-"

"You never seem me again?" Toph's voice came out stern. For some reason, Sokka finally noticed that her face was contorted in an expression of what could be accurately called nervousness. That was rare for her. "I know."

Sokka stared at her. Toph was no longer the twelve year old brat she had been years ago. Now, she was the Chief of Police and the best earth and metal bender out there. It seemed that she had also blossomed into a full figured woman. She had officers gawking at her through the halls of the station or wherever they went out. Even now at thirty five, Toph was quite fond of the eye.

And at once, the perfect guy had snatched her heart, amazingly.

Sokka still remembers the day he, along with the rest of the gang, had found out. For several weeks, Toph had been visiting the island less and less. No matter how old they were, Aang, Katara, Sokka, Suki, and Toph still enjoyed seeing each other on a daily basis. They would converse and talk about the day's events while enjoying dinner. It was tradition.

Nonetheless, the earthbender's less frequent visits had worried the rest of them endlessly. So when it occurred that Toph didn't visit the island at all one week, the four were off on Appa at once. The small estate that Toph had set up just outside the city only took about five minutes to get to (For Toph, she had dug tunnels all underground to avoid violating and destroying public property with her earthbending). Once they arrived, the one maid that Toph had to help her with cooking and cleaning did not show up at the door at an instant like she usually did. Instead, the four friends heard yells coming from inside the house. They would know that voice anywhere. Toph's voice screamed out phrases such as stop it or please. If the demands had not alerted them easily, it was definitely Toph's use of the word please.

Aang used the minimal metalbending he had learned to unlock the front door. Successfully, the door clicked and the two couples rushed inside and through the hallway. In the living room, their concern only spiked.

On the couch, was Toph, her hands atop a man's shoulders who was towering over her with his own hands at her sides.

Not even in a blink of an eye, water, air, fans, and a boomerang came hurdling at the stranger. Still in some sort of shock and not even having a second to react, the poor guy was bombarded and flew over the couch and down to the hard stone floors.

Never will they hear Toph shriek like she had that day.

By the time he regained consciousness, thanks to Katara's expert healing, Toph was about ready to explode. Rocks were flying, insults were yelled, and a warrior's boomerang was bent out of shape that day. In the end, everything was explained. A chorus of oh erupted at the mention of a tickle fight. Everything connected at Toph's final words.

"I'm engaged."

And that's how they found out. Toph and Ru had been dating for several months and he proposed three weeks before the incident. Seven months later, the two were wed with little Lin growing for about a week. Now, everyone was living happy lives.

That is until the ambush happened.

Toph was alone and hurting even if she wouldn't admit it. Little Lin was fatherless and has never known him due to her young age. It was a sad reality.

And Sokka wasn't going to let it happen again. He wasn't going to lose someone again. And most definitely, he wasn't going to let Lin lose another parent.

Back in the present, Sokka had stayed silent for a good three minutes and Toph was honestly concerned. "Hello? Earth to Sokka?"

The councilman shook his head and walked around the desk. As friendly as possible, he urged his best friend to stand up. Still the shortest out of the group, she came up to his chin. Sokka grabbed her at once and held her tightly within his body. Toph at first fought the sudden affection, but in time settled into his chest.

"Promise me you'll come back, Toph."

Sokka could feel her scowl into his chest. "You sound like Lin. You are worrying for nothing. Who can really beat me?" They both chuckled a bit. "That's right, no one."

"Still the same old Toph." Sokka's grip remained tight around her small form. "By the way, is Lin at the island?"

Toph nodded, something she had learned people did when confirming.

"I'll be sure to visit her everyday. Hey! Maybe I can teach her how to use a boomerang!" He said excitedly.

Toph pushed him away and smirked. "No way. She is going to be an earthbender. Not a swordbender with a fluffy dog tail."

"Warrior's wolf tail!" Sokka's eyebrow furrowed into a scowl. "Plus she hasn't earthbended at all!"

"Whatever you say, Wolf Boy." She laughed. "And she will! Just you wait!"

The councilman shook his head. His eyes crossed with the stone slab on the floor. He walking over to it, picked it up, and returned to his spot into front of Toph. The stone lay atop the desk, next to their hands. Whipping out a small chisel and hammer, he impressively chiseled something into the stone.

"So you ready to beat up some goons?" He spoke out loud.

Toph's fingers brushed against the slab and picked up the new indentations. Be back soon?

The chief edged her fingers into the stone and crafted each character as she was taught.

"I'm always ready for a fight!"

Upon the stone, her words said, I hope.

They continued back and forth like this.

"That's why you are the Chief of Police, right?" Don't hope. Believe.

"Hey you're the one that gave a bandit a job to enforce rules. Nice judgment." I'm nervous.

"It's what makes me the best councilman ever." You won't disappear. I won't have it.

"By the way, don't you have council duties to attend to?" But it happened to Ru.

Sokka took a minute before approaching her again and kissed the top of her head. "We'll find him, Toph." And with that, Sokka ended his stay and made his way to the door. He saluted at her with a smile. "See you later, Chief."

Toph smiled right back and returned the gesture.

The door clicked and the Chief of Police was left alone in her office. The stone slab still laid on her desk. She grabbed it with an intention to discard it only to find an unread message. However, it wasn't news at all.

We'll find him.

A dark figure ran atop the rooftops. Although it was clear, the thick fog that decided to blanket Republic City that night easily helped the being travel freely. His steps were almost inaudible and his ragged breaths of exhaustion were kept under control. He was totally undetectable.

His destination was the next building over: the building to the right of city hall. Unlike the other structures, city hall was an architectural marvel. One of its main attractions was its large jade dome. That was the problem. The dome had no grip to run on. Only one way to do it.

The figure started to run faster, causing him to gain speed quickly. He was running straight towards the edge of the building. The closer and closer he got, his eyebrows furrowed showing his determination. Faster than any human yet, he made it towards the ledge. His feet pushed hard against the ledge and his body launched into the air.

For seconds, the world slowed. In his head, everything was out of motion and it was only his own heartbeat pounding in his chest. The moment didn't last long, however, as gravity was soon catching up with him.

Quickly, he swept his coat aside and revealed two metal discs hanging on each side of his hips. Two metal cables shot out towards the top of the dome and latched onto the thin, golden pole. Using his body weight, the figure swung around the large dome at top speed. Thanks to the momentum, the being was able to launch off once again to the destined building. His cables retracted before he could tumble onto the dirty rooftop. He grunted at the newly acquired cuts and bruises, but brushed it off. With the job he does, he was used to it by now.

The being dusted himself off and stood up. He walked towards the center of the barren rooftop. Once there, he took a horse stance. With a strong push downwards with his hands, the ground he stood on started to descend down. The only light came from the hole he had made, he was almost in total darkness. But that was no problem for him. He easily reached the targeted destination. The stone below his feet stopped and the wall in front of him lowered at the flick of his wrist. He entered into a medium sized hallway, at the end, a blue light reflecting the walls. He made his way towards it.

His presence was noticed right away. "Status?"

"The police force are heading out in the evening. My best guess is that they will make their move in the late hours. Twelve to maybe four is a probably interval." He answered obediently.

The man in front turned to his left and deposited the glowing blue water from his hands into a bowl. After wiping his hands clean, the man twisted forwards once again and covered the body with a white sheet. "And what about our men?"

"Many of them are transferring the subjects down into the platinum basement underground. All of them are ready to fight at an instant. Water tanks are set all over the facility."

"Excellent." The leader turned and walked to his subordinate. "I suggest you rest for a few hours and then return to patrolling the outskirts." He bowed.

"Of course. Thank you."

"Head to your quarters, Liiru."


The leader rose an eyebrow. "What?"

"Please, call me Ru."

"Your name is Liiru."


"Your name is Liiru. Nothing else." The voice boomed loudly.

Liiru just casted his eyes downward. "I'm sorry."

The leader's face returned to an expressionless emotion. "Your name is Liiru. I found you that day of your accident. You have no authority to tell me what I do or do not know."

Liiru continued to avoid eye contact. "My apologies Leader Shen. That accident is still haunting me I guess."

"I tried restoring your memory to the best of my ability."

"It's just that," He paused to swallow the lump in his throat. "Did I ever have a nickname in the past?"

Leader Shen breathed loudly out of his nose. "Yes, you did. But that was part of your egregious past. I have kindly erased that part of your past. You are better off without it."

"Thank you, Leader Shen. I'm sorry. I wasted your time." Liiru bowed.

"I want to hear nothing more about your past, understand?"

Liiru looked into the blue eyes of his master. "Understood."

"Now, head to your quarters. You are the only earthbender among this triad. Your skills are vital. Especially if the police force is coming."

"I will do that."

And with a flick of a wrist, Liiru sunk into the stone floors. His feet fell to the ground of a dark room. Liiru flipped the light switch at his right and the room brightened instantly. The light revealed a simple bed, a bedside table, a small dresser and a desk. He bended his belt off, including the metal cables at his sides falling to the floor. In a similar fashion, his coat fell to the ground. All that remained was a sleeved green tunic, black baggy pants and matching boots. Liiru's thick, short black waves were disheveled upon his head. His brown eyes, the unique feature of his entire body, searched the room for a familiar item.

His eyes fell upon a small, yellow pouch upon his bed. "Aha!"

He crossed the room and jumped upon his bed as if he were a child. Liiru opened the pouch and pulled out the chain and ring found inside. The earthbender played with it among his fingers and looked at it intensely. A familiar vision played in his mind.

"Mama! Stop it!" The small girl giggled.

The older woman, stunningly beautiful, continued to tickle the young girl. "Melon Lord stops for no one!"

Liiru smiled at the sight. "I've got to get this down on paper."

The man got up and made his way to his desk. He opened the drawer, in search of something to draw on. Within the same drawer, were a pile load of drawings depicting either a young, green-eyed girl, a pale eyed woman, or both. Successful, Liiru placed the paper in the middle of the desk. He grabbed the pastels at the left side of the desk and got to work at once.

"This one might be my favorite."

The pastels shortened as he worked through the evening.

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