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Without You
Chapter information

Of Burnt Badgermoles and Broken Dragons



Written by


Release date

8th August, 2014

Word count


Last chapter

Being Girl

Next chapter

Alarm Bells



Zuko leaves shortly afterwards, unable to meet Toph's blind gaze when he knows she is right. The earthbender holds herself up straight until the door slams shut behind him, before sinking into her chair, head in her hands. Everything is still and quiet, pressing down on her.

There are far too many pressures; it feels like her life isn't her own sometimes. She's a single mother, and yet sometimes she doesn't even feel like that. Lin is growing up, and Toph isn't there for it.

Eyes wide, she slowly lifts her head from her hands.

Where the hell is Lin?

They can hear footsteps echoing above them; thick, clunking thrums that remind Azula so much of the Fire Nation military. Reminds her so much of the man who keeps coming to her cell and taking, taking, taking her soul away.

Lin knows what the noise is. It's just the officers, in a bit of a tizzy, it seems, but harmless. It fades to the background as her friend pales.

She grips the bars, pulling them open just enough to slide through. Sitting in front of the quiet woman with the beautiful name, she holds her hand out with a smile.

Toph can't feel Lin anywhere. The whole precinct (well, those on night shift) has pitched in to help find the little girl who may as well be their daughter, too.

It takes a village.

All the thundering, panicking... Toph can barely feel her way through the crowd, head spinning. Lin knows better than to wander off.

"Quiet!" she screams, and everyone pauses. Sucking in a breath, Toph runs the sole of her foot along the floor, seeking out any sign of her daughter.

Lin isn't where she should be. She's nowhere near Toph.

Oh, spirits. She's in the lower cells.

"You can bend?" Azula's raspy voice cuts through the air as she ignores the hand being held out to her. Lin gives a happy nod.

"My mama teached me," she says, proud of herself.

Azula's mind is working double time. Peering at the girl, she forces out a, "What else can you make?", head ticking. Lin is happy to show off, reaching under her sleeve and pulling out a strange metal bracelet.

"Watch this!" she cheers, happy that her friend is talking to her. She doesn't notice Azula's ears pick up at the sounds of footsteps.

She doesn't see anything.

"Let her go, Azula!"

Lin is finding it a hard to breath, though at least she's quiet about it. She doesn't squirm as she hears Azula take a shuddering gasp, her hand tightening around the little bender's throat.

"Back off!" she screams, eyes wild but staring at one officer in particular. Lin's heart sinks, but not for herself. She's looking only at Azula, the only one close enough to see tears.

"'Zula?" she offers quietly. The pretty woman releases a shuddering breath, grip loosening the barest fraction.

Lin's still able to lean forward, her lips connecting with Azula's wet cheek.

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