I got hit by what I like to call 'The Inspiration Truck'.
Disclaimer: No, no I don't own Avatar: The Last Airbender. My head hurts just thinking of all the plot twists that show has had.
The letter from her daughter, her baby girl, her Toph, slips from her trembling fingers and flutters noiselessly to the marble floor. Lady Bei Fong stares ahead at the wall, smooth and pale as cream, and sees nothing.
Because she knows the rumors are true.
Lady Bei Fong was never a gossip. Oh, she'd sit and listen at the gatherings as the noblewomen chatted over tea, but their words shifted into one ear and out the other. She heard the buzz of the commoners when she was escorted through the busy streets, the sound of the lively city rosy-cheeked with life and news.
(Now, she is escorted by guards in flaming red and gold and black. They stand at her doors, keep her locked away, keep her under constant eye while her husband goes about his business in the name of the Fire Lord. She sits quiet in her house, weaving and singing to herself the lullabies she set Toph to sleep with, and laments her choices in regard to her only child. Because now she is a prisoner.)
But she didn't care.
Who married who and if this boy jilted that girl and she ran off with a soldier was none of her business. She had only one priority, and that was her ailing little daughter, her precious girl, who would never marry, never love, never know the world outside the walls of the courtyard. She'd never have to worry about poor, blind little Toph running away with any boy, about Toph falling in love with the wrong sort, about Toph standing on the front lines in a battle she should never know existed.
(As Lady Bei Fong thinks this, Toph cuddles against a badgermole. She feels the dust in their fur and giggles as their whiskers tickle her face. As Lady Bei Fong thinks this, Toph crawls forward on unsteady hands and knees, feeling the earth shifting beneath her yet uncalloused palms. As Lady Bei Fong thinks this, Toph stretches her hand forward, sees the rock in her path with the vibrations of the earth itself, and moves it out of her way without ever laying a hand on it.)
Now though, now there are rumors of interest to her.
They start small, barely a whisper in the throngs of the reds of the Fire Nation. Just a buzz, so the soldiers won't hear it. At first, she doesn't care. Her kingdom has fallen, the Avatar is dead, the Fire Nation has won. What is the point of gossip? She ignores the words 'rebellion' and 'hope', because one is useless, and the other is forsaken. She tunes it all out, pretends it doesn't exist until one day, words slips from the mouth of one of her maids and she can't ignore it anymore.Little Mistress Toph. Th-They're saying…they're saying that she's the Blind Bandit!
The Blind Bandit. An earthbender the likes of which have never been heard of. A child said to be a prodigy in the art. The warrior who taught the Avatar himself, who could feel the earth like no other, who saw the earth as merely an extension of their body.
Her Toph, her precious, fragile little girl, her blind, helpless baby.They're saying she's the greatest earthbender in the world!
The weak, struggling little baby she'd cuddled to her on the feverish night of her breath, terrified to sleep, terrified to breath, thinking only of the creature in her arms fighting for its life.
I heard she could bend metal
The child she'd raised, alone and isolated save for a few loyal guards. The girl she'd known would never fall in love, would never wear a wedding dress. The girl she'd known would grow up as easy to break as glass, unaware of the turbulence and horror of the outside world.
That's unheard of! If she can do that, then she really is the greatest earthbender in the world!
Her daughter…She's fighting the Fire Nation! She's out there right now, fighting back!
Her little girl…Really? Who'da thought it…
…blind,… weak,……our Toph…
Her little girl.
The blind girl she'd raised in isolation, away from the world that could've hurt her, is a hero. Her Toph is the Blind Bandit, the greatest earthbender in the world. Her daughter is taking on the Fire Lord, is fighting back, is fighting for her kingdom, for her friends…
And maybe for her family, like her own mother had never dared to do.
The weak, pathetic little baby she'd held in her arms that night was gone. The Toph she'd coddled and protected and hid away from the eyes of the green earth was no more. Lady Bei Fong trembles as the letter lay on the ground. The letter from Toph, apologizing for worrying them, for not telling them, but not apologizing for doing the right thing and running away to teach the Avatar how to bend the earth to his will. She is well, she is healthy, and she is strong. She's fighting, she says, whether Lady Bei Fong wants her to or not. Lady Bei Fong wonders if she could even object.
The rumors are true.
Her Toph is a hero.
(Two days later, Lady Bei Fong walks with long, determined strides to the entrance of the Bei Fong house. The guards at the door stop her and ask her where she is going and what she intends to do. She tells them plainly. She is leaving. She is going to find the underground earthbenders and she is going to fight. The guards stand stunned for an instant, and this is all the time she needs. As she hasn't done in years, she shifts her feet, moves her arms in graceful arcs, and encases the two guards in rock.)
Lady Bei Fong holds her head high as she marches out of her courtyard, eyes fixed straight ahead, her daughter's inked words imprinted into her mind.
(…I'm going to do this Mom, and nothing you or Dad say will change my mind. I taught the Avatar how to earthbend. I doubt the firebenders would let me live, even if I did come back home. So I'm going to stay with Aang and I'm going to fight back. I'm going to help stop the Fire Lord and end this war no matter what it takes! I'm not that helpless little girl you tried to hide away. I'm the Blind Bandit, I'm Toph Bei Fong, and history is going to call me the greatest earthbender who ever lived. I'm going to fight, and I'm going to save our kingdom, even if I have to die doing it. If you can understand that and accept it, then I promise you, if I survive, I'll come home to see you again.
Lady Bei Fong flips the hair from her eyes and slides into her position, ready to fight, as a Firebender blocks her path.
(After all, she is the mother of the Blind Bandit.)
Because, let's be honest, what mother wouldn't be proud of their daughter in that kind of situation. And also, I just wanted to make Toph's mom an earthbender.
I hope you liked it.