"Officer, come quick!" A woman yelled at Lin from the sidewalk, flailing her arms frantically.
"What's the trouble?"
"That boy stole my bread!" She said like it'd been made of gold. Lin couldn't stop a growl from coming out of her throat, it probably just some hungry street kid, let him have the damn bread! There was nothing more she'd rather do than tell that woman to sod off, but she was Chief and because of that she had to enforce the law...even at times like this. There were days she wondered why she took that oath.
Once she got to the alley where the boy ran to she heard a timid voice from behind the store's dumpster say, 'Go 'way'. A really young, timid voice.
"Come on out, boy." She tried to make her voice soft, she really did, but her voice was as gruff as she was.
"I'm not gonna hurt you, kid." Her words didn't convince him.
"I don't have time for this." And she didn't. She was the Chief of Police, not some rookie beat cop and she had better things to do than deal with this little thief. So, being the impatient person she was, she just trapped him in an earth tent.
"Let me out!" He screeched as he pounded his little fist against the stone wall around him. Little tyke managed to break through it too, only to be grabbed by the back of his collar, "Let me go!" he wiggled, trying to free himself from her grip as she lifted him into the air. "Mako! Mako, help!" As Lin brought him out of the alley, tears started rolling down his cheeks, he kept calling for Mako to come and save him.
"Oh, you caught the little runt, officer." The plump woman said over the boy's screams. Like a little boy was such a hard crook to catch...
"Chief, ma'am." Why was she forced to suffer this imbecile?
"It's not the bread I mind," 'Of course not, you look like you could skip a meal or two', "It's just that stealing bread will lead to stealing yuans and then assault and so on. Best to set 'em straight while they're young." 'Don't deck her, Beifong, you're still in hot water with the council'. "I suggest a good whipping-"
"I will handle this, ma'am." She seethed with barely controlled anger. Honestly, the boy looked like he hadn't eaten in days and this dumb broad was making a food thief out to be a triad member in the making. And Tenzin said she had no heart. While holding the boy in the air with her left hand she threw some yuans at the woman with her right, "That'll cover the food." And she stormed away before she did something her mother would do.
Well, the bad news was her entire day was going to be wasted. The good news was that the boy had finally lost his voice, so Lin's ears didn't have to take anymore punishment. Not that it stopped him from trying to scream, but let him knock himself out, he was stuck in that chair and he was going to stay there until she could find a suitable orphanage to drop him in. As she was checking through a stack of missing children's profiles she heard a knock at the door.
"Chief, there are two orphanages that have any room. The 'Home for Misguided Children' down on Jeong Jeong Road."
"Absoultly not!" That was for kids who stole everything for kicks and other, more serious, crimes. She could tell that this boy was way too gentle for a place like that.
"And the Refuge for Abandoned Children on Jet Road." Well that wasn't much better. The place had good intentions, but it was in the slums and was packed too full to feed the children properly. Their motto was 'There's always room for one more'.
"Let me think on it. And get the boy something to eat." Her officer gave a quick glance at the boy and hurried out of the office. Now left with another problem, Lin went back to her work, looking at paper after paper trying to find one with this boy's picture so she could get the his name. Somewhere around the middle of the stack a dull pounding settled in behind her eyes, "Can this day get any worse?"
"I had to ask." she mumbled, not looking up from her desk, "Go away, Councilman."
"What is the meaning of this?!"
"You have a child handcuffed to a chair!"
"I put plenty of combat gauze between his wrist and the cuff, it won't hurt him." she rolled her eyes.
"That isn't the point!"
"No!" she stood up and slammed her fists on the desk, sending the papers flying "The point is that I have a boy who is starving and keeps trying to give me the slip, and if I plan to help him I have to find some way to keep him still and the only other option was throwing him in a cell!"
"You could have your officers watch him!" The red faced man yelled back at her.
"Yeah, and take their attention off their jobs!"
"Why don't you worry about your job and let me do mine? The kid stays in the chair. You don't like it, then go tell on me, Tenzin, you're good at that."
"This has nothing to do with that!"
"Out!" She roared, and the door quickly slammed behind one irritated airbender "Sorry you had to see that, boy." she looked over to the huddled mass in the chair, "The airhead likes to stick his nose where it doesn't belong." There was a breath of air that sounded like it would have been a whimper if his voice was still working, "Alright, boy, here's the deal." she snapped her fingers at her door and the lock clicked. The boy looked so amazed that she couldn't help but smirk a little before locking the windows as well, "The meal you're getting isn't free and you don't have any yuans so you'll have to work for it. If you help me pick these papers up and don't try to escape, you get fed. That clear?" He nodded vigorously as his stomach growled and she released him, "Get to work."
She soon found out that it would be easier to just do it herself, several times she had to stop herself from snapping at him. 'He's just a kid.' She often told herself, and he was trying. It came down to two pieces of paper that somehow managed to get caught under her desk, forcing the Chief into an undignified position on her hands and knees. The last paper was almost in her grip when something poked her in the thigh, making her jump in surprise. A word that shouldn't be said in the presence of a child escaped her mouth as she hit her head on her desk.
"What do you want, kid?" She asked more harshly than she should have. His lip quivered a little but he handed her a piece of paper, "What? I told you to stack them on the..." the picture finally caught her attention, "never mind, Bolin, right?" He nodded, "Alright Bolin, at least I know what to call you."
"Chief, food's here." a man, who's hands were too full to knock, called from the other side of the door. Lin grabbed Bolin's collar as a precaution before opening it, "Got some noodles and dumplings," he set the food on the desk, "and I got some soothing tea to help your voice, little guy."
"Oh, wonderful." Voice restoring tea... that was all she needed.