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March 7, 2014
Sanaki stared at the flames rising from her cupped hands, small as they were. She smiled as she closed her eyes, willing the fire to grow slightly larger. As it grew, she heard the door to the backyard creak open, and the six-year old quickly extinguished the flames.
"Are you ready to go, San?" Ty Lee smiled as her daughter whirled around. "We're going to meet your father for lunch."
Ty Lee furrowed her brow. "Is everything okay, Sweetie?"
Her head bobbed up and down rather quickly. "Uh-huh."
"Okay..." Ty Lee raised an eyebrow, but that quickly gave way to her characteristic smile. "Let's go; we're meeting your daddy at The Iron Dragon."
Sanaki's eyes widened. "Wow..."
"I know," Ty Lee replied. "It's a rare treat, isn't it? Are you excited?"
The young girl nodded vigorously, and Ty Lee giggled. Both of them began to make their way to the restaurant. As they walked down the street, hand-in-hand, something nagged at her. She glanced at her daughter, who half-skipped as they walked toward the restaurant.
"San, honey..." She stopped and knelt down to talk face-to-face. "What...what were you doing earlier that you didn't want me to see?"
"Uh..." Sanaki's eyes widened, and she glanced down at the ground. "I..."
Ty Lee smiled. "You can tell me, Sweetie."
San cupped her hands and held them away from her, and within seconds, a small flame appeared. "Mommy..."
Upon seeing the fire, Ty Lee's smile widened into a grin. "San, you're a Firebender!"
"Uh-huh!" Her demeanor changed when she saw her mother's face, and she beamed. "I've been practicing!"
"How long have you known?"
Sanaki pursed her lips. "A while."
Ty Lee blinked several times. "Well, we have to show your father; he'll want to—!"
She shook her head. "No."
"What do you mean, San?"
She winced. "He'll hate it."
Ty Lee gasped. "What makes you say that? He'd never—"
"You told me he used to hate Firebenders..."
"That was a long time ago, Honey, and he would never hate you."
Sanaki's lower lip stuck out as she glanced at the ground. "Please, Mommy...I don't want him to know. I don't want him to hate me."
Ty Lee cupped her daughter's face in her hands and raised her head to meet her gray eyes. "He loves you, San, and he'll be happy that you've discovered your bending. I promise: neither of us will ever love you any less."
"It'll be okay," she said. "You'll see."
Yun smiled as Ty Lee and Sanaki approached him just outside of The Iron Dragon. His wife bore a reserved smile, and San hung back slightly behind her. The captain inclined his head and reached into the earth. Ty Lee's heartbeat was slightly irregular, and San's was downright fast. It was then that he noticed that she was shaking slightly. She was afraid.
He kissed Ty Lee before kneeling down and hugging Sanaki. "Hey, Sweetheart."
She remained stiff in his arms, which surprised him.
"She has something to show you, Yun," Ty Lee said.
"Yeah?" He smiled, but she just took a short step backward and looked away. "San, is everything alright?"
The young girl shook her head, and tears began forming in her eyes.
Yun's eyes widened, and he quickly, but lightly, gripped Sanaki's shoulders. "San, what's wrong?"
"I..." She sniffed and glanced at Ty Lee. "I don't want you to hate me..." The last part came out in a choked whisper.
"Why...why would I hate you, Sweetheart? You're my daughter; there's nothing you could do to make me hate you."
Her lips quivered, and she cupped her hands together. In seconds, a flame rose from them and grew. Yun stared at her hands for a moment, and a smile broke out on his face. He glanced up at his wife.
"Our daughter's a Firebender!"
He turned back to San just in time to see thin lines of salty tears rolling down her cheeks.
"Careful, Sanaki, or you'll douse the flames," he chuckled at his joke, and the young girl glanced up at him and sniffled.
"You're...you're not mad at me? But I thought—"
Yun picked her up in his arms and embraced her tightly. "You are my precious little girl, San. Your mother and I will never hate you. Ever."
She buried her face in his shoulder, and he turned to Ty Lee. "I take it she just found out today?"
"She told me that she's known for a while. I guess she was just afraid of how we'd react."
Yun set San back on the ground once more. "Sanaki, could you show me what you just did?"
She nodded slowly and formed the flame again. "Like..." She sniffed. "Like this?"
The captain brought his own hands under hers. "Firebending is a manifestation of life, San. I never want you to feel ashamed of your abilities, and I certainly don't want you thinking that either of us would think anything less of you. Your mother and I love you with all of our hearts. Do you understand?"
"I...I guess so..."
Ty Lee knelt down and rested a hand on her shoulder. "I love you so much, Sanaki; I can't wait to see you become an awesome Firebender."
San swallowed, but a slight smile began to grow. "Okay..."
"Now, then," Yun said, "Shall we get something to eat?"
Yun sat down on the bed and rested his hands on his knees, and Ty Lee stood in front of the mirror and let her hair down.
"Well, that was not how I expected lunch to go today," he said.
Ty Lee glanced at him. "Once she calmed down, lunch was fine." She turned to face him. "Are you alright, Yun?"
"She...she was afraid, Ty Lee. Our own daughter, based on stories about my past, was afraid of how I'd react. Sanaki thought I would hate her. What does that say about me?"
She sat down next to him. "It doesn't say anything about you. Yun. She's young; she thought that the stories we've told her were who you are. We both know that's not true, and now, so does she. San loves you, Yun; she loves both of us. You and I know that; we've seen it."
He nodded. "I know. Still, it tore me apart to think that she was afraid of me, even for a moment. I am so happy to know that she's a bender, Ty Lee, and I want her to see that."
Ty Lee grinned. "She will."
Yun folded his hands and rubbed his temples with his thumbs. "What if...what if she's like me?"
Creases formed in her brow. "What do you mean?"
"What if...what if she can't bend like normal Firebenders? What if she suffers from the same condition I do?"
She pursed her lips. "I don't know."
"I guess we'll just wait and see." He sighed. "There isn't much else we can do."
Ty Lee stood and moved to the window. "I guess so." She pulled back the curtain, only to see Sanaki sitting in the backyard and staring intently at the fire in her hands.
Yun came up beside her and wrapped his arms around her waist. "She seems to enjoy it."
"Yeah, she can already control her fire, too. Zuko had a lot of trouble with that when we were kids."
"Thank you, Ty Lee," Yun said, after a moment of silence.
She glanced over her shoulder at him. "What for?"
"For being here for both San and I."
Ty Lee giggled. "Where else would I be? Who else would I be with? I love you both so much."
They glanced out the window and smiled as Sanaki's face lit up with joy when she separated the flame into two.
Their daughter was a Firebender.
- Just a little story to elaborate on how Yun, Ty Lee, and Sanaki interact. :)
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