Char/Pair: The Lieutenant, The Protestor
Summary: Everything's back the way it was. Too bad for them.
“Justice is the means by which established injustices are sanctioned.” -Anatole France
In the mountains outside of Republic City, a campfire burns.
A man pokes the flames with a stick and sparks fly up. Without his goggles, crow's feet are evident around tired, faded blue eyes. He has shaved off his moustache.
On the other side of the fire is a gangly man with a narrow face and a mouth curled into what might be a permanent scowl. “Never slept outside before.”
The blue-eyed man, who was once called the Lieutenant, does not respond. The scowling man had been useful as a voice for the movement but now...He's not sure why he lets the man follow him. A lingering sense of duty, perhaps.
The scowling man's still talking. “Least we're not in prison.”
The former Lieutenant scoffs. “Yes, the mercy of the Avatar. 'Let them go, they were tricked, it wasn't their fault.' As if we were errant schoolchildren. And that woman was so grateful to bend again that she went along, though she'd rather see us hanging from scaffolds in the park as a warning.”
“Bending,” says the other man with a sneer. “So damn important. Never mind those who starve in the streets.”
The blue-eyed man gazes at the stick in his hands. “Like we did much for them.”
“We were going to.” He sounds doubtful.
“That's what we kept telling ourselves.” He passes the stick from hand to hand, imagines a blue current crackling through it. “That's how we started out, protecting non-benders who were in danger. I saw a lot of rape victims, beaten spouses and abused kids, people who had lost their livelihoods to flame or rockfalls or floods. And we helped them. But I wanted to do more than help. I wanted it to stop. Chi-blocking takes so long to teach, even longer to master. And you can't carry a weapon around or you get arrested.”
“Amon promised change.”
The ex-Lieutenant's shoulders slump. He nods once.
For a time, only the crackle of the fire breaks the silence.
“Know what I don't get?”
The ex-Lieutenant lifts his head just enough to eye his companion.
“Why it was so bad that Amon...Noatak, whatever, took people's bending away, but when the old Avatar did it, it was fine.”
“Because bloodbending is evil and the Avatar's methods are good and just.”
The man's scowl deepens even more. “I fail to see the difference.”
The ex-Lieutenant tosses him a blanket. “Go to sleep. In the morning we go our separate ways.”
His companion looks worried at that but doesn't argue. He wraps the blanket around himself and curls up on his side.
The blue-eyed man lays back on the grass and stares at the patterns of stars, but his attention is on the ground underneath him. Not for the first time, he wonders what it would be like to make it move.
Like a drug, he thinks.
And he sleeps.
Avatar: TLA 500
Fiction Writing Contest
- Prompt #57: Mercy, "Exiles", Amy Raine, K