The small girl turned into the alley. She was almost home, but her heart was racing and it was dark and all of her senses were telling her to run and run and never stop. She felt so stupid for convincing her mother to let her out when she knew about how easily frightened she was. So what if she was sixteen? Couldn't she get over her ego and allow her brother to escort her when she knew it would be dark? She closed her eyes and put her back to the wall.
Three breaths, her mother had told her. She should take three deep breaths, they should sound like the ocean and should make her stomach expand. This wasn't working. She could not keep her breath steady and hearing it shake only reminded her how scared she was. Her breath was high in her chest and she knew she would begin hyperventalating. She opened her eyes.
A rough hand clamped her mouth and her head was forced against the brick. Eyes darting around, she tried to take in every detail of her attacker. He was absolutely of Fire Nation descent, with dark hair, fine features and eyes that would be gold in better lighting. He had one finger to his lips, telling her to be quiet. Maybe if she obeyed her wouldn't hurt her.
She could not control it now, the panic taking over her body as it often did, causing her to crumble to the ground, tears popping from her eyes as she blinked.
"Please," she looked up at him, her voice soft and terrified. "Please, don't."
He knelt down, relieved she seemed too shocked to scream.
"Come on, sweetie." She flinched at his touch, aggrivating him. "Just give me the money and it will all be over." She would not move her hands from over her mouth, her chin tucked to her chest, shielding her throat. He rolled his eyes as she shook her head and stuttered. "Help me out! I don't want to have to hurt you!"
He really hated when it came to this, but you have to eat, and little girls shouldn't be running around in the dark anyway. A sharp dart hit him in the neck, and two more down his spine.
He collapsed around the girl, who quickly adjusted herself so that he was not touching her, but could not move any more after there was a centimeter between them. She was still shaking and could not breathe.
The first visible part of her saviour were the soft reflections off of the darts around her wrists and ankles and the different knives attached to her hips, next was the outline of the mask. Strong yet elegant in every curve and point, bright red coloured above the eyes, the high cheekbones and the feminine lip above the mouth opening, grey covering everything else. Her thick, dark hair was draped over both shoulders and swung down her back.
"The Shirshu poison darts from Suki and Sokka still seem to be working." She spoke in a monotone, throwing her voice over her shoulder to her accomplice, who was running up behind her , not quite as elegantly. It wasn't that his motions weren't fluid and smooth, but because he seemed aggitated.
"That wasn't fair! You said I could have this one, you got the last one!"
"Ignore him," she addressed the girl. "He's a sore loser."
He was closer now, and his blue and white mask would have been much more frightening if he wasn't speaking.
"I am not! Are you alright?"
She nodded. "Thank you."
"You're welcome," he offered her hand, pulling her up. "You don't have to worry, the streets of the Fire Nation Capitol are safe now."
"Much safer now than during the war, from what I hear. I'm not quite old enough to remember the war well, I was just twelve and it kind of flew over my head."
"Lucky you," he said solemnly. "What do you think of the new Fire Lord?"
"I think he and the Avatar have done great things for the world."
She watched as the woman slid her hands around his waist and rested her chin on his shoulder.
"I, for one, am an exceptional fan of the Fire Lord."
"Lucky man," he replied, wrapping his arm around her.
"I should be getting home," the girl said, feeling like an intruder on a private moment. "I'm almost home. Thank you."
After she turned the corner, the man in the blue mask spoke.
"Was date night better than you expected?"
"It definitely wasn't boring."