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Suyin didn't know what to think. Her own mother was kicking her out of the city. Of course, she deserved it. Even if she was just the getaway driver, she was caught with her hand in the cookie jar, so to speak. Being sent away to your grandparents was a light punishment, considering the crimes she would otherwise be accused of. Especially if you take into consideration that said grandparents were some of the richest people in the world.

Lin was cold, more so than usual. After Toph decided the course of action, she had ordered Lin to take Suyin home so that she could pack. She would be put on the first train to Gaoling, which was scheduled to leave later that night. You'd think that someone who won't see her sister for the foreseeable future would feel something, anything, but no. Lin was cold, calculating and methodical. It was nothing Suyin hadn't come to expect from her sister, but there was something different about it this time around.

On the drive home, the sisters didn't say a word. Lin was still angry at her sister for the cuts on her face, and at Toph for letting Suyin walk again. They arrived, and as Lin stopped in front of their house, Suyin tried to apologize.

"Lin ... I ... I just want to say..." But her sister didn't let her finish.


"Just let me..."

"I said get out!" Lin jerked her head to face her younger sister, meeting her eyes with a hard stare, filled with anger. Suyin couldn't do anything but abide her sister, so she quickly got out of the car.

She had barely shut the door, or Lin had driven off again with screeching tires. Suyin went inside, and the size of the mess she had gotten herself and her family into started to dawn on her. Her grandparents already disapproved of Toph's methods, and Suyin had never gotten along with them. They were strict, controlling and insisted on doing everything in the traditional way. "No way I'm going there. I wouldn't be caught dead at a place like that," Suyin muttered to herself.

As she packed a single suitcase with the bare essentials, passport, money, and some clothes, she tried to figure out her own course of action. She knew the train to Gaoling would stop a couple of times on the way, and she would get off as soon as she was clear of the United Republic, where she would cause trouble for her mother.

She didn't see Lin again. Toph got home later that night, and Sokka picked the two of them up later and drove them to the train station.

"Su, you have worked me into an impossible position. I know you don't like this, but this isn't the first time, and I can't keep covering for you forever."

"So you just send me halfway across the world, taking all my problems with me? Is that it? Out of sight, out of mind?" Suyin couldn't repress the disbelief in her voice.

"You know that's not true, but I don't want you to end up in jail. It would ruin both our lives. This way, I can keep you from spending the next twenty years behind bars..."

"And save your precious career," Suyin interrupted. "I wonder which one is more important to you."

"Su! Don't say that! I am doing this to protect you, don't you see that?"

They arrived at the station, and Toph and Suyin got out. They walked down to the platform, where Toph bought her a ticket to Gaoling. One-way.

As Suyin got a hug from her mother, the blind chief shed a tear. "Do me a favor, will you? Stay out of trouble. I know that's difficult for you, but it's for the best. And try to remember: I can't protect you out there."

"I know mom. I'll try." She got into one of the cars, where she managed to procure a seat by the window. Lin wasn't there. Even though Suyin knew it was only a fleeting chance, she couldn't repress the disappointment that her sister didn't wave her off. The train started moving, and Suyin could still see the tears her mother shed by the time they reached the border.

The first stop in the Earth Kingdom was Omashu. To Suyin, it was as good a place as any to get away from it all.

Dear mom and Lin,

I have decided not to go to Gaoling. You said you were sending me away to keep me from going to prison, but it doesn't matter, because the Beifong Estate would be a prison, only one made out of gold. I have gotten off the train in Omashu, and by the time you get this letter, I will be far away. Don't bother looking for me, you won't find me. I'm going to reach my own highest potential, and I don't know what that is going to take. I hope you can still find a way to respect my decision, even if you disagree with them.



After deciding not to go to Gaoling, she ended up free-falling through the Earth Kingdom, and ended up in a small town. The pirates were nothing like the stories lead Suyin to believe. They were looking for extra muscle, and Suyin decided she was a good a hand as any, and they reluctantly accepted her as there were no other volunteers. She had expected them to be the blood-thirsty swashbucklers from the stories she read, but they were nothing like that. Most of them used to be fishermen, who were outmatched by a newer generation of fishing trawlers, and they ended up without a job. That is why they resorted to piracy. They didn't do it out of greed, but because they didn't have any other choice. They had families, and they could choose between piracy to provide or letting them starve to death.

Some of them were earthbenders, and Suyin taught them metalbending, increasing their potential. Most of the newfound metalbenders stopped after discovering what they could do, and decided to take their family and try their luck in Republic City.

But Suyin couldn't stay out at sea. Every time they set sail, she missed the solid ground. She hated the water. Cold, deep and infinite. So when they made port in a small town, she noticed something interesting. An ad for the circus. While they were in town, she and a group decided to check it out. It was a good show, with wild animals, clowns and acrobats.

Suyin felt drawn to their lifestyle. Expressing themselves in their art, pushing themselves to the limit, formed in a tight-knit group. Even though the pirates had almost become a family to her, she left the ship for the circus, where she became an acrobat. She kept her last name a secret, even to the person with whom she did her act.

Her natural agility and proficiency in metalbending allowed her to perform with a man who was remarkably light on his feet. He was a large man, and kept his head shaved clean, every day. Tiny Suyin and massive Zaheer were a good team, and they were good friends.

"Can you believe it, Su? We're finally going to Republic City!" He was excited to see the city, he had been looking forward to preforming there for weeks.

"I don't know, I have sort of a history with the city."

"You never talk about your past. What happened that made you run away from it all?"

"Zaheer, I know you mean well, but it's kind of personal and if it got out, I would end up in jail."

"Do you see these?" he said, pointing to the scars on the left side of his head. "I didn't get these picking flowers for my grandmother. We all had our reasons for abandoning our homes and join the circus. There is no shame in that."

"Alright then." Suyin recounted to Zaheer how she constantly got into trouble with the law, and how Toph kept bailing her out. How it put stress on her relationship with Lin. How she was eventually forced to leave the city. How much she really misses them. At first, it was easy for her to deny it. That she hated Lin for forcing this on her. But as time went on, she started to realize more and more that Lin had been totally, totally right. As that sunk in, she started to feel guilty. To her mother, for forcing her to cut all ties with her daughter. To Lin, for never being there for her, for never trying to help her out, or even care about her feelings. Suyin had been selfish her entire life and she had be forcefully removed from the people she loved to realize that.

By the time Suyin was finished, she had been pulled into a tight hug by the barrel-chested acrobat. She was silently sobbing on his shoulder, while he was gently rubbing her arms, trying to comfort her.

"You should write them. Tell them what you just told me. If you love your mother and sister, and they love you, then they will forgive you. But they can't do that if you keep yourself hidden from them."

"Do you really think so?" she sobbed, looking up to her friend.

"I really do. The people you love are the only things in your life that really matter. You shouldn't hold yourself back from trying to reconnect with them."

So Suyin did just that.

Dear Lin,

I know I haven't written to you in a while, but I want you to know that I have joined a travelling circus and that I am coming to Republic City in a few weeks. I've come to realize just how much I miss you, and I really want to make things up to you. I have been selfish for most of my life and I hope that we can put that behind us, and turn over a new page. I have included tickets to the show on opening night. That is also the day it has been five years since we last saw each other. I know it probably won't be much fun for mom, but even if she decides not to come, I am in the city for ten days, she can seek me out there. Maybe you can come with Tenzin, if you two are still together.

I'm sorry for everything that I did to you and made you do. I hope that you can still believe that I love my sister, and that we can start over.



Showtime. Suyin was nervous. Not for the show, she and Zaheer had rehearsed and performed it so many times she could do it backwards and blindfolded. The one thing she was nervous about was whether or not Lin would or her mother would show up. It was crazy. Their entrance didn't allow Suyin proper time to scan the stands for familiar faces, so she just preformed their act, deciding to wait for the end to look around for Lin.

After a lot of swinging, launching herself and Zaheer around the arena, several trapeze acts and an expertly performed quadruple somersault, Suyin and Zaheer turned to the audience to receive a round of applause. She let her eyes glide over the stands, looking for the seats she had bought tickets for. Third row, middle quadrant. She saw a familiar face. With an arrow. Tenzin had earned his tattoos in the five years she had been gone. As they locked eyes, he slowly shook his head. The seat beside him was empty.

Author's notes

It took me a while to come up with a good entry to meet the prompt of round eight of the fanon contest. Ultimately, I realized that the episode "Old Wounds" had a good setup, but too little time to fully work it out. Su is one of my favorite characters, so I decided to dedicate a one-shot to her.

As to the choice of having Zaheer with her, that was an idea based on a conspiracy theory that is rooted in the episode "The Metal Clan". On the photo of her in the circus, Suyin is sitting on the shoulders of a man bearing a remarkable resemblance to Zaheer. Google it if you don't believe me.

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