Location: Republic City.
Sentence: How could you?
Atla character: Toph
Lok character: Lin
for the pro-bending contest. read, review and enjoy
The first time Lin Beifong questioned her mother about her father, she was four. Toph's response was to teach Lin a new move.
"Mum? Who's my dad?"
Toph nearly choked on her tea. She knew she would be asked this question sooner or later, she just hoped it would be later. "Why do you ask?"
"Well, all the kids at school keep calling me a bastard. I thought that if I knew who my dad was, they would stop."
Toph's chest tightened at the thought of her daughter constantly being called a bastard by children that were meant to be her friends. "Why don't we go outside, and I'll teach you how to shoot rocks like little projectiles?"
Tomorrow, Toph would go to the school and take Lin out. Katara had always offered to home school Lin.
Lin continued to ask Toph who her father was at various points in her life. When Toph was pregnant with Su, Lin had asked if they shared the same father and in response, Toph showed her how to form pillars. When she was eleven, Su asked who her dad was and Lin decided to take this opportunity to ask who her own dad was. That day, Lin learned seismic sense.
Lin was a smart girl and soon caught on that her mother teaching herself and Su a new bending move, was Toph's way to deflect the question. So when she saw her mother doing a move she wanted to learn, she'd ask 'who is my dad?'
Lin was now twenty years old and the only thing she knew about her father, was that his name is Kanto. She managed to learn this when Sokka was drunk and mumbling about how he missed his chance with her mother.
Lin was currently sitting across from Katara, starring into her tea. "Lin? Hello? Earth to Lin."
Lin looked up and blinked a few times before registering where she was. "Oh, sorry aunt Katara."
"What are you thinking about?"
"What do you mean?"
"Well, you've been blanking out so much recently that it has me worried. Is it the wedding?"
"Yes and no." The young earthbender let out a sigh. "I'm excited about the wedding, I truly am, it's just that, every girl has their father to walk them down the isle and I don't have mine."
"I don't even know what my father looks like! All I know is that his name is Kanto, and that he is a man. All I want is someone to walk me down the isle." Lin covered her eyes with a hand, trying to hold back the tears.
"Lin, why don't you ask your mother?"
She let out a bout of fake laughter. "Oh yeah. Because I never asked her before." Lin looked up at the clock. "I have to go. My shift starts in thirty minutes and I really don't want to miss the ferry."
"Talk to her."
Lin walked into the station to find it completely silent, which wasn't unusual on a Friday as most cops were on the streets ahead of the weekend. Ask my mother who my father is? What a stupid suggestion. No one other than my mother knows who my father is. Lin came to a halt when she realised she was about to walk into a door. "What the?" Lin looked into the records room to find it completely devoid of any personal. Then she realised something, if she wanted the information, she could have just helped herself.
Given that the files was in alphabetical order, Lin found her father's file with ease. "Let's see who you are." Opening the file, she found a photo of her father when he was in his mid thirties. He was grinning like an idiot in his police uniform. He had a strong jaw line with a bit of stubble. Skin appeared to be a tad darker then her own, given that it was a black and white photo. "Well, now I know where I get the jaw line and hair from."
The folder contained a large number of successful cases he had completed. Seeing all of his accomplishes brought a smile to her face. She flipped through the pages for his profile, and came up empty. "What the heck? It should be here. This can't be all of it." Lin put the file back where she found it. Time to ask around.
She waltzed up to the second longest serving member of the force and her mother's second in command. "Hey Tao."
"Hey Lin. What can I do for you?"
"I was going through the files to make sure they were up to date and I noticed an incomplete file belonging to an ex officer."
"What's the name?"
Tao quickly found interest in his paperwork. "Didn't know him."
"Well we both know that's a lie."
"Lin, please don't make me tell you."
Lin's eyes narrowed in anger. "I've had enough of people hiding things from me. I will give you one more chance to answer me and it better be the right one. What happened to Kanto?"
Tao's eyes widened when he realised Lin was extremely angry and anything might set her off, so he found it was in his best interest to tell her. "He was your mother's second in command before I took his place. Republic City was still new, so we were trying everything in our power to stop any organised crime from entering the city. We were one raid away from shutting down the Terror Triad for good, when a bomb went off. Kanto heard someone scream and took off into the building. Many off us wanted to go in after him but your mother stopped us. All we heard were his screams, as he was burned alive. We recovered his body and found a recording of the scream. I'm the only one your mother told of your true lineage."
The doors to the office opened to reveal Toph Beifong with her trademark grin. "Sup?"
Lin let out a growl as she walked passed her mother. "I'm taking the rest of the day off."
"Okay then." The door slammed shut. "Sheesh. What's her problem?"
"Uh, Chief. I need to tell you something."
Lin was back on Air Temple Island in the matter of minutes and she was tearing it up. The Island shook as she bent the earth at her will, in an effort to keep her emotions under control. Her father was dead and she will never get to know him.
"Lin! Stop!" Lin ignored her fiancé, as tears pricked her eyes. Tenzin took her into his arms, effectively putting an end to her bending. He looked down at he face, now covered in tears and sweat. "Lin, what has you so upset you're trying to destroy the island?"
Her face contorted in sadness at the thought of what her father went through and buried her face into his chest. "My father is dead."
"Katara! Where is Lin?"
The waterbending master looked up to see her friend panting heavily in her doorway. "Toph? What's going on?"
"Bloody Tao told Lin about her father."
"What's wrong with that? You told us he was just some guy you had a one nightstand with." A sheepish look found itself on to Toph's face. "Which is clearly not true." A quake was felt throughout the room.
"Training grounds." Toph took off towards the grounds with Katara hot on her heels. When they made it to the training grounds, they found Tenzin holding a crying Lin. Toph let out a sigh at finding her daughter upset. It was something no mother wanted to see, or in Toph's case, hear. "Lin?"
She pulled away from Tenzin to glare at her mother. "What do you want?"
"I came to apologise."
"Apologise for what? Allowing my father to burn to death? Allowing me to grow up without knowing anything about him? Not even his name?"
"What was I meant to say? 'Yeah, you have a dad, but he's dead?'"
"You should have told me everything he did while he was alive! All I wanted to know was who he was and what he was like! But oh no, you were too bloody proud. Why would your kids need their fathers if they have a stand up mother like you!" What happened next, no one expected. Toph's fist made contact with Lin's face, sending her stumbling back. "Oh shit." Toph felt instant regret at hitting her daughter, she never thought she would lay a hand on her children and here she was, fist still clenched. "Lin, I am so sorry. I di- oof"
Lin had her arms raised from summoning a pillar that slammed into her mother. "I have to say, that is one thing I never expected of you."
Toph pushed herself up from the ground and took a stance, preparing for Lin's attack, what she didn't count on was Lin to forego bending. One solid punch to the stomach had her mother on her knees gasping for air. "You always told us to wait and listen, yet when it comes to hand to hand, it becomes useless." Toph stood up and tried to punch Lin, only to have her step under her arm and elbow her back. "You let my father die. You stood back with your squad and listened to him scream in pain as he was burned alive. How could you?"
"You don't think I don't know that?! You actually think I wanted to let him die? Cause I didn't. I made a call and I regret it. I regretted it when I felt your heart beat inside me, when you took your first steps, when you said your first words, the first time you bended, your first day of school, the day you graduated, the day you joined the force and I will regret it the day you walk down the isle, without your father to say how beautiful you look." Tears were now falling down Toph's face as she listed everything Kanto wouldn't be there for. "When you tell us you're pregnant and then the same process all over again. True, I probably should have told you about him, but I made a call and I still believe it to be the right one."
Silence overcame the duo as they thought about everything Kanto wouldn't be there for. Lin fell to her knees in front of her mother and pulled her into a tight embrace. "You hug just like your father and you have his strength." A loud boom sounded around them.
"It's going to rain." Katara placed a hand on both their shoulders. "Why don't you two come inside and I'll make you some tea and fix your nose, Lin."
"Huh?" Lin touched her upper lip to find blood trickling from her nose.
"Sounds like I landed a good hit. Not bad for a blind woman."
Lin is still twenty and the only thing she knew about her father, is that his name was Kanto.