Written for avatar_500
prompt #73, Revolt.
Summary: Even when Sokka says the right thing, it becomes the wrong one.Small and Afraid
He used to joke about it. He told the kids the story a couple of times, shaking his head and smiling. It isn't a funny joke anymore, not with the Equalists saying that that's what all benders really think, and how they treat anybody who can't bend. Tenzin sometimes tells the story, with a tight, unhappy look.
She asked her uncle Sokka once, about it, when she was fourteen and gawky, and taller than her mother already; he was the one who kept telling the story anyway. She remembers folding herself up on a bench in a back room of her mother's school, and watching him attempt some new fighting move. "You want to help me practice?" He asked her.
Lin stood up reluctantly, shoulders hunched. "Okay."
"Your mom riding you hard?"
He waved her close. "She does that to everybody, don't worry about it. You know what she said to me first time we fought together."
Lin rolled her eyes. "Yeah. You only told us all the story a million times. Why she say that anyway? You can fight as well as anyone."
Grimacing, Sokka rested his hand on her arm. "I think when she was a kid, she hated the way people pitied her, and assumed she was helpless because she was blind, and that for a little while she believed it."
"What does that have to do with anything?" She stood back and slipped into a guard stance, waiting for him to do the same.
Sokka didn't move. "What I mean is, and I don't think your mom's got any idea she's doing this, she decided that we're the ones who should be pitied everybody who isn't Toph Bei Fong. She has these amazing powers, and she feels like that's all she's got, so she has to think that's the most important thing, or she'll feel small and afraid again." He sighed and copied Lin's stance. "She used to say she felt bad for everybody who can't see with their feet, the same way people felt bad for her because she couldn't see with her eyes."
"But I can see with my eyes and with my feet," Lin pointed out.
"And nobody will ever pity you," Sokka assured her. "Now, I want you to block this punch, and I'll try to get around the block."
Lin snorted weakly, aping her mother's bravado. "Yeah, you'll try."