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the greatest thing you can learn is to be kind

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“It’s not—”

“Don’t say it.  Don’t you dare say it.”

“W—what?”

“What I know is absolutely on your mind, on the tip of your tongue right now.  ‘Oh, it’s not the end of the world, bending isn’t everything!’  Everything, all I hear, is just that trite, repeated over and over again, and when it’s not that, it’s people looking at me, just looking, and I can see in their eyes the same mixture of contempt and pity.”

Asami stopped, bit her lip.  Glanced to the side and fiddled with the gear shift.  Opened her mouth to say something more, but before she could:

“And when they stay long enough, when they’re done playing the doting fangirl or the manic pixie, behind all of them?  Is fear.”

Asami turned back and this time, this time, Tahno was looking into himself, somewhere she couldn’t see, wasn’t supposed to be able to see, so she turned away again.  The light changed and the cars began rushing by her, merging into a line of metal and colour from her spot pulled over on the street.

“The fear that this will be them one day,” he continued, circling a finger on the stone .  “That they’re next.  I’m the example.” he spit the word out and kicked at a brick on the ground.

Asami bit her lip, hand still on the gear shift.  She was starting to think that she really, really shouldn’t have pulled over in the first place.

A moment passed, and then, “Well?”

Asami blinked and looked back.  “Well what?”

“No pep talk?” He asked, taking his hands out of his pockets and holding them to the side, palms up.  “No, ‘I know we’re not best friends, but sorry anyway?’”

“Well, you just said you didn’t want that, so I wasn’t going to.”

“… oh.”

The light changed again and the line of cars slowed to a halt, this time some of occupants turning to look at her.  Asami saw one child lean into the front seat to whisper into the driver’s ear (her mother, Asami guessed), pointing towards her, still awkwardly pulled over outside of the bar.

Tahno apparently had nothing left to say, so she thought quickly, and blurted out, “Hey, do you… wanna get in?”

Tahno blinked.  “What?”

“Get in,” she repeated.  “I could, I don’t know, take you to your apartment, or find your teammates and drop you off with them… if you’re still talking, that is,” she added, when she saw Tahno’s face twist in an unreadable emotion.

“Why would you care?” he asked.

Asami smiled.  “I was a Wolf-Bat fan before I was a Fire Ferret fan.”