"Come on Angelique! You're supposed to focus!"
Why did this woman keep yelling at her? Angelique scrunched up her five-year-old face, taking the starting stance that most Firebenders took before they would launch an attack. She clenched her fists together hard, trying to feel the burning heat coursing through her veins. So many times she had done this today; each time ended in absolute failure. But this time would be different... she hoped. The heat, it was faint, but it was there - and Angelique seized every opportunity she could get anymore.
"Hyah!" She lunged forward, stomping firmly on the ground and throwing her right fist forward, feeling her blood boil as... as a very minuscule and pathetic flame shot from the air around her knuckles. The tip of the fire barely brushed the singed torch wick before it dissipated in a pitiful flourish. Angelique moaned in distress and dropped down onto her tush. "I can't do it! The fire won't come out!"
Angelique's instructor, Marilynn, shook her head in disappointment - not for the reason that Angelique had failed, but because she was giving up once again. It was the fourth time today; her lack of motivation was absolutely heartbreaking. "Angelique, I've told you a thousand times: you can't succeed if you don't try. Stop giving up because you can't get it to work the first time. No one ever does, believe me. I've been doing this for eight years and -"
"Come on lady, save me the speech!" Angelique griped, crossing her arms and pouting. "I've done a lot of this stuff today, okay? Can't I have a break for once? I'm hungry, and I need a nap! It's been six hours since we started and it's obviously going nowhere!"
Marilynn sighed. "Kid, look, I know you wanna take a break; everyone here wants to take a break. I've been wanting a break longer than you have. Hell, I didn't even want to come in today. But..." She kneeled down, to be close to eye level with Angelique, who had wrapped her arms around her legs and looked away. "You can't just give up like that. I know you want to quit, because believe me, so do I. But if we quit, where's that gonna get us?"
Angelique thought about that question; where would that put them? "I dunno... I guess it'd put me back home, and put you... here?"
Marilynn smiled, realizing that Angelique probably didn't know much about her life. "Yeah, it'd put me at home too, kiddo. But hey, where's the fun in that? Sitting at home, doing nothing; doesn't this sound more exciting? Come on, this is interesting! You're creating fire out of nothing! Don't tell me that doesn't appeal to you in any way at all!"
"Hmm..." Angelique had to admit that Marilynn was right; if she was at home, she wouldn't really get to do much outside of playing ball or sitting by a pond. Here, she was useful, and wanted even. They wanted her to make fire, because fire is awesome! She jumped up, pumping her fists in the air. "You're right! I wanna make some fire! Let's burn stuff!"
"That's the spirit!" Marilynn jumped up too before stepping back. "Now, show me that stance, and set those dumb old torch ablaze! Give me gusto! Give me bravado! Give me soul! But most of all, give me fire!"
A quick stance, and with all the excitement lifting her adrenaline, Angelique thrust her fist forward, watching an amazing, geriatric fire come shooting from her hand, blanketing the torches in wonderfully red flames. As the fire cleared, much more dramatically this time, not only were the wicks on fire, but the torches themselves were on fire too. "I did it! Marilynn, I did it! I burnt the torches! Yeehee! Yay, I did it!" She jumped around happily, continuing her cheers as Marilynn doused the flames.
"See kiddo, I knew you could do it!" Marilynn high-fived her, doing some of her own little cheers alongside her. "Alright, well, whew. So much excitement wore me out, eh? Let's go take a break; we don't wanna wear ourselves thin now."
"Yeah! I like it! Wooo!" Angelique rushed off towards the rest building, with Marilynn following right behind.
Marilynn watched Angelique's olive-colored locks dash off behind the door-frame, smiling at her own little prodigy. You're gonna do great things some day, kiddo. I know you will.