321 ASC, River Village: It might come as a surprise for some people, when they find a basket drifting down a river. This was young Jung Hye's case. A little basket had bumped into him as he was fishing in a river. There was something in that basket. Wrapped underneath a light green blanket, was a baby girl with pretty gold eyes. Although he was slightly puzzled, Jung Hye thought she was cute.
He named her Yun Hye, because the little baby didn't come with a note of any sort so Jung assumed whoever gave her away wanted nothing to do with her or didn't have a choice. That was unfortunate, I mean, who would give up a baby like her? That was exactly Jung Hye's thoughts whenever he looked at her. In the end, he came to a conclusion that he'd have to just raise her on his own.
Around 328 ASC, River Village: Yun Hye grew up naive and oblivious to the dangers of life. She only knew fishing by the river with her father, playing in the field of flowers around their house, and warm sun. At six, she discovered how to bend the earth around her; by breaking little rocks, stomping mini-walls of stone, and so on. Even though Jung Hye was a nonbender, he helped his adopted daughter in any way he could. Yun Hye was a very sweet girl, because he raised her to be one. She was compassionate and kind, and the other fishermen were very fond of the little girl. But what Yun Hye thought was the most important, was that her father cherished her and loved her. Life was almost perfect and like any other innocent child, Yun Hye thought nothing could go wrong.
335 ASC, River Village: Seven years later, when she was thirteen, bandits took away the innocent life she lived. Jung Hye was murdered and Yun Hye was almost kidnapped by the bandits, if not for a young police officer who came with a few others and intercepted the bad men. The aftermath found Yun Hye sobbing and hiding inside an empty fish basket, Jung Hye had insisted her to hide the moment he heard the bandits charging into their village, and then left with his spear right after. Bodies were everywhere. Who did this? Why would they do something like this? What did we do wrong? The only father she had was gone, and many others as well, but they did nothing to deserve this.
The police found her an hour later. A younger officer was coaxing her to come out in a soothing voice, assuring her that they wouldn't hurt her. You see... unlike most police officers nowadays, these police officers actually did their job. Most of the bodies were cleared, and the surviving victims were under good care. The officers were such genuine, good people, that Yun Hye looked up to them. That was how she got her motivation to become a member of the police force.
So she began training.
336 ASC, Makapu Village: Needing a better place to go, Yun Hye and some of the surviving citizens of the river village had moved on and were now making new lives in the small village on Mount Makapu. They had been accompanied by one of the officers who helped during the village devastation. Yun Hye recalled that his name was Yang, an airbender. He was the same one who helped her out of her hiding place. Yang was actually really young, around 18 at least. New or not, he knew what he was doing and well, Yun Hye secretly admired him. It was an innocent crush, obviously, nothing alarming... hopefully.
Life in Makapu Village was going fine, Yun Hye assisted her late father's friends with their farming business, looking after the younger children in the family, in return for them taking her in and looking after her. The remaining villagers of River Village had become one big family, you see; they would always take care of each other. Yun Hye missed Jung, she sometimes felt numb from the pain of losing him, but she knew her father would want her to go on with her life. Yun Hye was still determined to become a police officer when she grew up, despite being constantly told of the dangers by her adoptive family. But she was a stubborn little mule and didn't listen, much to their exasperation.
There was a valley in between the mountains, where Yun Hye frequented to practice new techniques and fix mistakes in her bending. Sometimes, Ain, a friend of her dad's (though Yun Hye thinks something had went on between the two back then) followed her there and gave her advice on how to do better. Unlike the others, Ain was supportive of Yun Hye's dream and would assist in achieving it.
340 ASC, Makapu Village: As I said, sometimes things get rough, mountain bandits for example, but this time Yun Hye was prepared. She somehow got a reputation as the town's local warrior a year or two back, as she was a formidable opponent in battle. Her adoptive family realized her abilities, and changed their minds, knowing very well now of what she was capable of. So, the bandits: Yun Hye had managed to defeat these hoodlums and kick their asses to the local jail, and wait for the Earth Republic officers to take them away.
Yun Hye was also told to wait in the local office with one of the senior guards, whom she befriended when she first arrived. Yun Hye was confused at first, but she was assured that she wasn't in trouble at all. The officers from the Earth Republic military had heard of and were impressed by her performance; defeating mountain bandits was never an easy task. An hour later, these officers came, including Yang, who surprised Yun Hye the most. The young officer had only given her a smile before his superior officer began discussing with Yun Hye about joining the Earth Republic military.
Yun Hye's dream came true, the young woman was thrilled at the prospect of becoming an officer. All the hard work paid of and she was just so ecstatic. But then she realized she'd have to move to Ba Sing Se. Yun Hye thought of her family and paused, unsure if she could leave them behind. The young earthbender was given one day to make her decision, so she went back and told her family. Her adoptive family, knowing how Yun Hye had constantly trained over the last four years, told her that she should follow her heart's desire. Their smiles made Yun Hye both sad and happy, thanking them for taking care of her for so long and promising of her return one day.
The next day, Yun Hye followed the officers back to Ba Sing Se. She joined the military, eventually making a name for herself and becoming one of the most loyal members in the unit.
341 ASC, Ba Sing Se: Yun Hye became part of Division 1 in the Earth Republic Military. Like other divisions, Division 1 consisted a band of esteemed, loyal members of the military who work on more dangerous missions. Members were required to be disciplined and responsible, two attributes Yun Hye had already had. The earthbender was the youngest member of the unit, but she wasn't fooling around.
If she wanted to be really honest, however, she really wished her superiors and colleagues stopped assuming she was younger than she looked.
"A little too young to be the military aren't ya, kid?"
Eye twitch. "I'm 19."
"But you look like you're 14!"
Division 1 was led by Yang Tzi, in other words, the same Yang who saved her six years back, the same one she encountered a year ago in Makapu, and now, her superior. It was all very... coincidental, you could say. But Yun Hye knew it wasn't all fun and flirt, so she buried the attraction she felt for him deep under, doing her best to keep their relationship purely professional.
Yun Hye would never admit it, but hiding her feelings was a difficult task. Yang was a handsome lad, with a handsome smile. Yun Hye cursed and blessed the fact that she was often on the receiving end of those little smiles. He teased her, too, much to her annoyance. "Morning, pipsqueak," "You're such a kid, Yun Hye," "Need me to read you a bedtime story, young lady?"
Yun Hye swore to Raava.
But Yang was a respected member of their department as well, but what really got her was just him being him. The compassionate man who helped her old village, who was still just as compassionate doing his job.
She never worried about Yang reciprocating her feelings; she can't be acting like an immature preteen. It was nonsense, and really, she didn't have the time.
Maybe one day, these feelings will perish. Then my mind wouldn't be in such a muddle, Yun Hye had thought.
345 ASC, Somewhere in Earth Republic: Yun Hye thought wrong. Damn. They only got stronger. But that wasn't the point. Her division had been called for a mission that took place somewhere in the Earth Republic. There had been some minor terrorist attacks happening frequently near the area, and the military had sent Division 1 to protect the city's borders from any more attacks.
What should have been a typical, longer termed mission turned out to be a nightmare. At the falling city, people were dying, civilians and officers both. The terrorists were unidentified benders and nonbenders both. The whole battle was a blur of blood, fire and screams, Yun Hye didn't know how many times she had got herself burned or stabbed or almost killed. Much long later, finds her walking among corpses and debris, her expression gaunt.
Yun Hye would find the dying body of her superior, Yang, who's injuries were so horrible that they were incurable. But somehow, as Yun Hye lay shedding tears next to him, he managed to gather the last bit of his strength and kiss her, assuring her everything will be alright in the end. To make it even worse, he flashed her his token smile, and Yun Hye knew that will be the last time she ever receives it.
Help arrived sometime later, and Yun Hye was recorded as the only survivor of Division 1. But she was respected and awarded for her part in aiding the citizens of the city. Aside from the remarks of how young she was... Yun Hye forgot how many times she had to tell everyone she was 23 and very capable of doing her job.
Yun Hye saw the news of the attack almost right after: "There was a minor terrorist attack near Omashu that resulted with the deaths of several members of the Earth Republic Military..." so on.
She was numb for the first part, much to her colleagues' worry, and her family back in Mount Makapu. But she assured everyone that she will be fine. Soon, at least.
Life had to go on.
Today, Republic City: A year after the attacks in the Earth Republic, Yun Hye was shifted to Republic City, where she would carry on her duties as a member of the Republic City Police Department. Life would still have some ups and outs -she knew being told she looks like a kid didn't count- but Yun Hye could pull through. She already did it twice before, what's the difference with a third time?