A nose black as coal flared as it scented the air. A large furry paw pulled on the blanket as the creature released a concerned whimper at the occupant of the small wooden bed. The girl in the bed turned to her polar bear dog as it gave another loud whimper. The massive beast's eyes shimmered in the dark. An arm, deep cocoa in color, shimmied out from under the covers and rested a palm on the large snout of the arctic dog. It was engulfed by a big slimy tongue that hoped to bathe the person worries away. But it wouldn't; not at this hour. However, she cracked a smile to try to convince the worried animal that she was managing.
"I'm alright Naga."
It did nothing as the polar bear dog released another disheartened whimper.
The girl in the bed sighed. It was late. A half moon shown high towards the end of the western sky outside her open window. Soon day would come. With it the biggest challenge this girl would ever face. More so than anything the spirit world could throw at her. And she'd been there. As part of her duties as the current Avatar, Avatar Korra, and one of the few people who could bridge the gap between the physical plane and the spirit would.
Water tribe blue sheets were cast aside. The large furry head of her polar bear dog rose. It's snow white tail did not move in excitement at the prospect of its master rising; perhaps to play? No, the creature knew something was off and again made it's worry known.
"Not gonna get any sleep tonight girl. Might as well do something productive." Or at least something that could distract her from the thoughts which plagued her. Anger. Rejection. None of which she felt. Only words to describe the only viable outcome to how the person she had to talk to would react.
With not so much grace the girl exited her room. Hitting every creaking floor board on their way through the hall. Well, not her, the thousand pound polar bear dog that was following her was. Korra gave the beast a silent shush. Knowing it would do nothing.
When they passed through the entrance of the girls sleeping quarters Korra felt her skin burst out in goose flesh. Leaves tumbled across the stone path she took; passing stone effigies of airbending monks. Most of them in the traditional meditation pose. The girl scoffed. How she hated meditation. She didn't mind sitting for long hours at a time as long as she was comfy. Namely in Lin's lap. That airhead Tenzin probably would never believe that she could sit still for more than a minute. Even if his friend told him it were true.
Again her thoughts consumed her, even at the simple mention of her airbending master. What was she going to say. Was there any real way to just insert the topic into everyday conversation. Oh, hey Tenzin can you show me that one form again. You know the one where you do the twirly thing with your hands. By the way I like women. And...and aaaa...
"I'm in love with Lin." Shoulders drooped as a shaky breath was taken in. The night air did more than sting her lungs it stung her eyes as well. What was she going to do. There was no way she could go through with this. But she didn't have a choice. One way or another the truth was coming out. Lin was going to be coming over on the first ferry ride available to be there for moral support. And if Tenzin didn't happen to see eye to eye with what had to be said then Lin would be knocking him down a few pegs. Still it was Korra's fight. She couldn't let Lin do all the work for her. It would be so much more easier if it was a simple fight. Physical confrontations were her thing. When it came to the emotional ones Korra never knew how to handle them. It was easier when she could just hurl a fire ball at it.
Though having Lin for backup cut the edge down somewhat.
Korra entered the air temple's training area. The giant water fountain with ornate statue of avatar Aang . The past avatar had his arms out and curling around in the air in front of him. Bending the streams of water that shot out from the statues base.
There were plenty of stone for earth bending and the trees were kept outside the area of training so they wouldn't be burnt by fire bending either. And just up a small path there were the air bending gates. The new ones.
Naga took her place at the edge of the training area. Padding a soft spot of grass before settling down. Making sure her master was well within her gaze.
Korra took up her position in the middle of a ring in the training area. With a calming breath she took her stance for her earliest learnt element. Waving her hands and body in gentle arcs. Korra pictured the water swirling around her in a figure eight. Another idea of Tenzin's. To practice bending without bending. Focusing solely on the forms in order to further achieve mastery. Seemed like a whole lot of stupid nonsense, but when Lin talked about how she did it that's when Korra didn't consider it a bad idea to try out. Tenzin paid no mind nor asked the reason why she had decided to see things his way. Only taking it as a few and far between win in his column.
With the thoughts again leading towards the unavoidable get-together in the not too far away morning. Korra shifted her efforts. Punching and kicking the air. Her mind getting away from her as a short burst of flame spat out. She cursed herself for forgetting to keep control.
So abandoning fire bending she decided on a calmer element. This was no help cause it only further reminded the girl of the man she would have to face. Her master, and someone she had thought of as a second father far away from her home in the south pole. The thoughts seeped into her movements. A missed step here. Half a rotation around an imaginary opponent spelled disaster. With fraying emotions it felt like her first year in republic city when she couldn't get how to airbend. An inkling in her head wouldn't let go. The thought that if she had tried to do it then and there would she be able airbend?
Naga whimpered as the air crackled with fire. "I'm alright girl." The polar bear dog kept its head up and eye's trained on her master. "Don't worry I'm fine." Korra tried again to feign well being, but the animal didn't settle back down.
So airbending wasn't the way to go; one element left, Korra thought. Sinking into a deep stance. Her rear parallel to the ground. She slapped a bare left foot on the cold stone beneath her. And punched the air with her left hand. Then repeated the action only reversed with the other leg and foot. Making a slow creep across the training area. Taking harder, deeper steps. Feeling the muscles in her feet start to throb painfully. Visualizing, but never actually moving the earth beneath her. It was the only right form she'd been able to do so far. Then again she imagined Lin while doing it. That hard unyielding form. Back muscles twitching and those rock hard thighs. That tight rea...ah clenched hand; yeah, go with that. Korra shook her more distracting thoughts away. Even if thoughts of Lin were driving away the bad ones. It didn't help to be distracted in that way. Sure they'd done some...playing. Nothing to heavy, after all they'd never even stayed overnight with each other yet. Maybe that could happen when this was all done. Or Korra could be placed under house arrest on the island never to see Lin again.
The pale purple light of dawn began to fill the training area. As it hit her skin the sweat upon it began to evaporate, and with it Korra felt warmth flow into her at the knowledge that it wouldn't be long now till the ferry started running and with it...a chill sunk in as her stomach fell. Because with the ferry running it meant that the time when she would have to have the talk was drawing closer.
Ignoring the pain in her leg Korra left for the bath house. If she wasn't rested she could at least smell like she were fresh. Naga followed her into the room. Taking a sizable spot in the middle of it. Korra gave a couple of scratches along the furry beasts back, Naga wagged her tail happily at the treatment, before Korra climbed over her to get to her dresser. Standing before the open wooden door's, carved in the middle of it was the symbol for the air nomads, she considered the expansive options of her wardrobe. Would she go with her water tribe outfit. Or the other water tribe outfit. She stopped and ran a hand up the flimsy sleeve of her airbending uniform. Then shoved it deeper into the closet. Nagging thoughts at the brain even before anything was said or done just wasn't worth it.
Korra felt a rush in her chest. And gripped a hand tight over her heart. To many things going on in there. She needed to calm down, but the beating speed up. Faster still. The time was drawing near. Could she take his answer.
Buried in the back of the closet were a rumpled pair of tattered sweat pants and a white tank top. Bringing them out. Korra shoved them into her face and took a big snuffle. Heart slowing. Brought under control by the fragrance of tea and dirt. Sometimes when she couldn't finagle a way to get out to see Lin for a couple of days or so. Korra would curl up with these clothes she'd 'borrowed' to help her sleep. Though after today maybe she could finally spend a night getting to sleep with the real owner of the scent and not the withering one barely clinging to her clothes.
With the anxiety attack under control Korra grabbed some fresh clothes and shut the doors. Ambled over Naga again to her window. Looking out over the bay which separated the island from the shore. That quickening of her heart started again as she caught sight of the ferry starting on its way to the main land. The symbol of the air nomads stamped high on its sail waved in the breeze at all passersby. Korra looked away. Down to the small wooden desk in front of the window. Korra picked up a small rectangle of ice. The barest edge of what looked like a snout poked out of the rough block. It wouldn't be finished for some time; not till it was perfect. Which in Korra's case meant a really long time. This was her fourteenth attempt. Numbers one through thirteen found themselves smashed outside the window only to later be swept away by the staff that maintains the grounds.
She turned the block in her hands. This way and that. Up and down. Till the right inspiration struck her. A quick wave of her toned forearm and a few bits of ice were shaved away. Revealing a right forepaw. Satisfied Korra set the block down and began her trip to the bath's.
The corridors were empty. Thankfully. No one to bug her. No bowing from the white lotus guards or other staff. She hated the constant coddling by the air temple staff trying to get her things, or be especially nice because of her title. When Lin coddled her it was different. Completely different. There were no titles involved it was simply because she wanted to do something nice for Korra. Like pour her tea, or make sure she was warm by cuddling her extra tight.
As she walked a voice called out. Korra turned to look down the way she had come and saw Pema with her baby boy, and fourth edition to the airbending family, coming towards her. The boy, Rohan, stood on two chubby legs. And followed his mother at a waddle. Already dressed in the yellow and orange colors of an airbender at the age of two.
"Hey Pema." Korra said with a sleepiness seeping into her voice.
"Hello Korra. You're up early today?"
"Ah yeah, just heading over to wash up." Korra said.
"Big day today." She gave the other a sympathetic smile. Korra turned her head so the women wouldn't see the bags under her eyes.
"Pssh. What. No way."
A delicate hand rested on Korra's shoulder. "It's ok to be nervous Korra. It'll be fine though. I promise."
Could she really say whether or not Tenzin would be able to digest the truth she was going to lay down on him?
"Lin's on her way?"
"Yeah. Where's Tenzin?" She asked fiddling with the spare set of clothes in her hands.
"He's in the mediation pagoda. I told him to be at his father's fountain when he's done. I just told him you needed to talk to him about something important."
The rock in her chest was back. Seemed like it were beating like her heart. "Ok. Cool. Ahh...how did he take it?"
Pema couldn't help but think the way the girl was acting was just adorable. "The usual. He thinks you're just skipping out on another meditation lesson. Other than that he doesn't suspect a thing...Korra you shaking."
She hadn't notice the trembling of her own body, and it took every once of will and last bit of waning strength to stop it. "I'm fine. Just the jitter's. I'm gonna go take a bath. That'll help." Korra turned to leave.
"Korra." Pema gently spun the girl around and hugged her. Pema's nose only came up to Korra's shoulder, but the hug felt like it were coming from someone as big as Naga. "Everything will be fine. Please don't fret over nothing."
Korra tried to muster a rebuttal.
"Hush. Now, go get ready. Lin will be here soon." Giving a playful swat to her rump Pema sent Korra on her way.
The water was just the right temperature; with a little help from firebending. The muscles in korra's legs and arms were unwinding and should of felt great. But the lump in her chest wouldn't dissolve no matter how steamy the air got. What would Tenzin say? Would he be angry? Say hurtful things about Lin, or just blast them both off the island. Korra shook her head. No, Pema was right; she shouldn't be thinking like this. Everything was going to be fine. But why wasn't the weight on her chest going away?
Dawning her fresh change of clothes, forgoing putting her hair in its three ponytail style, Korra was making the trek back to her room. When suddenly a pair of arms circled around her torso. A husky voice whispered in her ear. "Hello, little penguin." Korra shivered at the hot breath brushing the nap of her neck. Lin gave her a gentle squeeze then let go. Placing a friendly distance between them. "How are you today?"
"I'm fine." Korra said.
A hand brushed the untied hair out of Korra's face. "How are you?" Lin asked again.
Korra wrung a length of hair between her hands trying to straighten the ends. "Nervous." She squeaked out.
Lin chuckled. "Don't be. I can handle Tenzin. Trust me I've been doing it since twinkle toes Jr. was in diapers."
The nickname brought a laugh out of Korra. But it quickly vanished. "How...can you be so sure he'll be okay with this? With us?"
Lin draped an arm over the water tribe girls shoulder. Steering them towards her room. "Korra, I'm old."
"Lin don't talk about yourself like that. You could beat anyone on the probending circuit with both arms behind your back." The other said flustered. She hated when Lin brought up her age. Age was just a number to her.
"I'm old." She began again. And hushed the girls attempts to interject with a finger. Playing with her lips a bit for fun. "I have seen, and experienced many things. A lot more things than you. Even if you're the Avatar." It was one of the few times Lin ever brought up her title as meaning anything else but that. "Tenzin is a stuffy airhead. But he's also your previous incarnations..." There she goes again. "...son. And Uncle Aang raised him right. He'll be fine with whatever you have to tell him. Or else." Lin growled out. Her fingers twitched, and if she'd been wearing her metal bending uniform, and not the simple garb of a green shirt and pants that came down to her calf's, it would of meant a lashing for anyone.
Korra stopped them outside her room. "Wait here." The statue was out in plain sight. Korra didn't want Lin to see it prematurely.
Lin looked at her incredulously. "I know how messy you are Korra. You don't need to hide it from me."
"Well, if you come in there's a chance we'd be late." Korra smirked when Lin's cheeks grew red.
"Korra I'd never do any funny business...at least till after we tell Tenzin." A quick glance around the empty hallway before Lin planted the kiss. Then pushed the girl into the room. "Go. I don't want to be late and start this off on a bad note."
The door shut as Korra just tossed her clothes into a growing pile in the corner. She marched over to the desk and picked up the block. Hoping just looking at it would give her courage, or at least solace for the ever growing tightness in her chest. It felt like her heart was skipping beats. The statue gleamed as it was hit by a stray beam of light. Catching Korra in the eye. She saw something else hidden in the ice, and with a wave of her hand revealed the other forepaw. She was doing this for Lin and her, Korra thought; as she set the statue down and left the room.
Be the leaf. The catch phrase of his eldest son Meelo brought a smile to Tenzin's face. He had allowed his children to take an early leave from meditation practice today. There was something else on the aging airbender's mind. And he didn't need Meelo's snoozing to distract his thoughts. Korra had shirked her duties again. His lungs drew in a breath. Held it there to stir and feel the pressure of his element; just as his father had taught him. Then exhale. How could she skip another lesson? Regardless of how boring she may of thought meditation was it was still a very important part of her training. In airbending and as the Avatar. That's probably why she wanted to talk to him. Just to give him another excuse on how she didn't need to do that part of training.
Tenzin let out a harsher breath. Opened his eyes and gave his beard a thoughtful stroke. What was he going to do with her, Tenzin thought. Then smiled. What would his dad have thought of her? They were so similar in certain respects. His father always thought Tenzin meditated too much. Needed to have more fun, and not be like the other monks at the air temple before his father had been frozen.
"Well, let's get this over with Korra." Tenzin rose. Adjusted his robs and left the Pagoda.
Avatar Aang watched over the training area with his stone eye's. Lin sat beneath him on the edge of the fountain. She gave the statue a glance. Then returned to the figure in front of her pacing back and forth. Her hands in constant motion; up, or down, or wringing something out. Whether that be a length of hair or her clothes. Korra hoped the constant motion would help quell her thudding heart.
"Korra why don't you come sit." Lin patted the spot beside her. The visible anxiety her little penguin was showing made Lin want to grab hold, and stroke those pensive brows till they softened. Lin didn't want her to have creases between the eye's like she did from too many a taxing case.
"I'm fine." She said hurriedly. "I just-just want to get this over with." Korra turned to look at Lin. There eyes met and Korra felt self conscious by the other's scrutinizing gaze.
"You didn't get any sleep did you?" How could Lin not of noticed this sooner.
Korra didn't react till she felt Lin's hand cup her face; she leaned into the touch closing her eyes blissfully at the warm feeling spreading from the touch. Sleep would of come if Lin's thumb hadn't began picking at the blackened skin.
"We should drop it for today. I'll tell Tenzin you were up all night training, who knows if he'd believe that though." She chuckled; not knowing how close to the truth she was. "We can tell him another time."
Korra shook her head. "No, I'm not backing down now. I want him to know. I'm-I'm tired of hiding it." Her voice quivered. "I like you a lot Lin." Korra stepped forward and placed a hand on Lin's cheek.
Lin tensed and took a step back. Korra's lip quivered at the withdrawal.
"I'll be here if you need me. Just ask." Lin said.
Korra felt her heart stop when she heard that voice behind her.
"Lin...what are you doing here?"
Korra spun on her heels, and saw Tenzin drawing near. Cloak drawing back as he extended an inviting hand. Korra shrunk back trying to make herself as small as possible. Lin excepted the gesture and nodded her head.
"I'm just here for Korra. I believe she has something she wants to tell you." Gesturing towards the hunched girl.
Damn Lin's straightforwardness, Korra thought.
Tenzin turned and crinkled his nose. "So...what's your excuse for skipping out on meditation today?" His tone light and even a bit amused. What reason could Korra need Lin there for to just throw out an excuse for missing valuable training.
Korra couldn't bring herself to raise her head and look the man she had thought of as a father in the eye. Instead she watched the heel of her boot trace squiggles into the ground. "Um that's not why I asked you here." She nearly choked on the lump in her throat.
"And what is it you wanted to speak about?" Tenzin asked. Confused by the normal blunt and very outgoing girls attitude.
"I...I a...have to tell you something."
Now he was confused, but kept his mouth shut.
Lin watched them both. Keeping herself out of the way but between the two.
"I don't know how to say this." Korra grumbled and looked at Lin.
Tenzin looked between the two; confused by the non-verbal exchange. Even more shocking was the little smile that Lin directed at Korra.
"Think of it as a blood sucking leech. Just pull it off." Lin said as a joke to lighten the girls mood.
This was getting them nowhere. Korra really didn't need to go through all this trouble just to get out of a meditation lesson. Tenzin wasn't even that mad. He'd grown used to the girls hatred of meditating and counted it a victory when he could even get Korra to sit down for a measly ten minutes. "Korra, I don't really care..."
Korra mumbled something under her breath, and if possible seemed to shrink even further into the cocoon she was making from her water tribe clothes.
Tenzin stopped. Worried by Korra's face. Her eyes were closed painfully tight; Lin was worried too.
"Could you repeat that again Korra."
"I like girls."
"You like them?" He questioned. Tenzin looked at Lin brows risen and a playful smile tugging at his lips. Was this what this was all about. Lin did not return the look. She wore that same pensive and calculating look she always did. But she almost seemed a little antsy herself with that tapping foot.
"I like girls...like...romantically."
Oh, Korra, my dear Korra, thought Tenzin. "You like them that way huh." Stroking his beard.
Korra flinched when she saw the hand movement out of the corner of her eye.
Tenzin froze. Visibly shocked by the girls behavior. "Korra...Korra, come here." He opened his cape and spread his arms out. "It's ok. Please Korra just come here." He gestured in a come-hither motion with his hands. Hoping to coax the stricken girl into his comforting arms. "I don't care who you like. Many of your past lives have...had those kinds of feelings. Avatar Kyoshi for one..."
Lin interjected. Stopping this boring rant before it got too long. "That's not all."
"It's not?" Tenzin looked to Lin then back to Korra.
"It's not." Korra parroted. "I-I like...I-I-I like...like." There was another glance between the two women. This exchange seemed to give Korra just enough to hold her trembling body still for a second to get the words out. "I like Lin. The person I have feelings for is Lin." She blurted. And shrunk further away from the two. Head bowed. Tears brimming in her eyes.
Lin studied Tenzin as he took in the words. What was going through his head not even she could read. His eyes stayed glued to Korra. Lin dropped her hands to her side to be ready.
Tenzin didn't go forward, but fell back. Butt sinking onto the edge of the fountain. All he could do was stare at the shivering girl in front of him. To shocked to do anything.
"Well, what do you have to say." Lin bit out.
Tenzin looked at her in a new light. "I don't...know what to say."
"Please..." The two turned their head's.
"Please...please...please...please...please don't hate me." Korra looked at him with tears freely flowing. Her body shook uncontrollably. And the tightness in her chest only tried to strangle her further. "Please don't hate me."
Tenzin couldn't move. How was he to handle this? None of his years of training could ever prepare him for this. His student. The incarnation of his father was in love with his ex.
Luckily someone knew what to do. Glaring at the sulking cloaked man as she rushed to the other's side. Lin wrapped her arms around the crying girl.
However, Korra paid her no mind and only looked at Tenzin. Beginning a mantra. "Please don't hate me. Please don't hate me. Please..."
The voice of reason that got through his fog came in the form of the angry voice of the women he once had feelings for. "Tenzin." She only need say his name once. Only once to snap him out of his thoughts and convey to him what to do next.
"It's ok, Korra." Enveloping her in his cape and arms. "I could never hate you." He cupped the back of Korra's head and hugged her close. The rope made for an excellent tissue.
Korra's only response was to sob. Tenzin held tighter. And Lin stayed only an arm's length away. Holding onto a brown hand and massaging the fingers gingerly.
Tenzin noticed this. They'd have to settle down and have a chat about this later, but for now...there was someone more important to consider first.
Head filled with many thoughts each vying to be heard. But his heart knew what was needed. Tenzin held the shivering girl tighter. He let Korra cry till it settled into small sobs. Pulling on her face to look at his. Tenzin wiped a few stray tears away. Puffy cheeks. And bags under her eye's; Tenzin felt shame. A deep shame at himself. Had he not presented himself clearly to her. That she should know he would accept her for all that she was. No. It seemed not.
"I think she needs to get some sleep." Lin said; still at a distance but keeping the others hand held tightly.
"Yes, I think that would do you good, Korra." She looked at him with a droopy face. Tenzin peeked a small kiss to her forehead. "Come, let's get you to bed."
The three moved as one. Tenzin still held Korra and guided her towards her room. While Lin stayed by her little penguins side.
When they entered the room Lin took charge. It was Tenzin's turn to watch. The women he had thought had become like the element she could bend. Was showing a rather different side. He had seen her soft side when they were together. This however, was new. Lin seemed more attentive to her...partner. When they were together Lin was deeply involved in furthering her metalbending career, and there relationship had suffered for it. Now...what was different in this situation? What made it work?
Lin pulled back the sheets and ushered the girl to bed. Not having to do much to get Korra to cooperate. Rubbing her cheek as the others head hit the pillow. Tucking her in. Lin pulled over the chair from the desk. And regarded the mess beneath the sheets with loving and tenderness. Korra cracked an eye it's blue gaze searching the room till it found her. The covers shifted and were wrestled with till Korra could free her hand. And held it out to Lin; who laced their fingers together and leaned in close to whisper something into her ear then placed a kiss on her forehead next to the spot where Tenzin had.
Korra closed her eyes.
This felt wrong to Tenzin. He shouldn't be there. He was intruding on a very private moment. So he quietly moved towards the door.
A voice, gruff and stiff, came from behind his back. "You better be going to get a chair and coming straight back."
Tenzin stopped. "I just thought I should leave you two alone. It's seems like you can handle this." Really it did, Tenzin thought, how far Lin has grown from their time together.
"Your right, I can handle it by myself." Lin's tone was joking...and truthful. Had she done this for Korra before? "But someone wants you here?"
Tenzin saw the blue eyes staring at him pleadingly from the bed. Korra looked so delicate peeking out from behind the cover. He gave her a comforting smile. "I'll be right back." Leaving the room he took a chair from Jinora's room across the hall.
When Tenzin came back in he placed it right next to Lin's. Sat down. And adjusted his cloak. Seeing the girl in the bed still staring at him Tenzin brushed her forehead and whispered. "Get some sleep now."
Korra nodded weakly and soon dozed off leaving Lin and Tenzin alone with each other and their thoughts.
First, Tenzin would peek at Lin as she watched Korra. Then when Tenzin looked at Korra Lin would take a quick look at Tenzin. Back and forth. Each of them knowing what needed to be said but not knowing how to start a conversation of this delicate nature. Tenzin fidgeted like crazy. Leaning to one side then the other of his chair. Adjusting his airbending robe. All the while Lin didn't move a muscle except to breath.
A groan made Tenzin jump in his seat. Lin simply leaned over the bed. Korra was flipping her head back and forth. Another groan. Her eyes dashed around behind closed lids. A frown on her face. The signs were all there of something Tenzin had experienced three times over with his other children. The remedy for any nightmare was a simple one. The wooden chair creaked as Tenzin leaned out of it. Hand outstretched towards the bed. However, he was cut off when Lin leaned over and rested her other hand on the girls forehead. Squeezing the young women's hand that she still held in the other.
Tenzin shrank back into his seat; and watched.
Lin soothed Korra's knitted brow's with her thumb till they came undone. Then ran a hand through the girls hair. Combing calloused fingers through brown locks. Giving the scalp a light scratch to which Korra responded immediately. The frown became a light smile and her movement subsided replaced by a sigh that sounded like a purr.
She has become very gentle since our time together, Tenzin mussed. Glad to see this shift in Lin's personality. Certainly it was weird given the age difference. Maybe not too much considering how far apart his wife and he were in age. And maybe they each had benefitted from someone younger than them. Lord knows how much Pema had changed him. He never would of been the man, nor father, that he was without her by his side.
"Lin I..." Tenzin was cut off by a soft shush by the women who wouldn't even look his way. Unbelievably, there was a small smile on her face that matched the one of the person in the bed. It had been a long time since there had been one of those on Lin Beifong's face. Not since they were young.
"You don't need to say a thing. If you were in any way unhappy I would of been blown off the island by now." She did look at him this time. Those light green eye's able to catch all the tiny shifts of emotion. From the twitch of his beard. To the widening of a crinkled eyelid. To the chapped lips wanting to say more.
"Still we should talk about this."
"I think you know my intentions. And that's all we need to talk about." A quick glance at the bed. Korra had rolled onto her side to face Lin. Pulling on the hand in her grip till she awkwardly hugged onto Lin's forearm. Half of her in the chair legs pressed into the side of the bed. And half of Lin's upper body in the bed. Lin tried to keep liberal room between them because of the other person in the room.
"That I do." Cloak ruffling as a light touch made contact with a powerful shoulder. So much for a long talk. This would have to suffice; knowing the way Lin dealt with things. The matter was closed and no amount of prying could open it back up for discussion. Tenzin would just have to accept what was happening, get out of the way, or be hauled off to jail.
When Korra awoke she was greeted by the most beautiful sight ever. The dimming daylight coming through the open window painted the most beautiful shadow's upon the face of the women she loved dearly. Soft lips half cocked into a greeting of welcome on her return to the waking world. This was the first time she had ever woken up with the women by her side, and the joy she felt by this simple action was better than any trip to the spirit world.
Till she felt her heart sink at the empty chair next to Lin.
A thumb rubbed the back of Korra's hand. Korra looked at Lin who kept the smile on her face. "Tenzin went downstairs to check on dinner. He said when were ready we can join them."
"You worried yourself to much my little penguin." Lin hoisted herself out of the chair pulling Korra from the bed too.
Korra's energy did not return much even after the long nap. Still wobbly on her feet Korra leaned into the warm body at her side. Lin Wrapped her arm around the other's lower back and rested a hand on her hip. Gave it a rub. Then moved them as one towards the door.
"Korra. Lin. Nice to see your up. How are you feeling?" Pema was feeding Rohan when she saw the two entering the doorway to the dining room.
"Better." Lin answered for Korra.
Korra smiled brightly. "More than better." Moving the hand away from her hip. Lin moved to give her space, but korra quickly grabbed hold and laced there finger's together. Just standing there in front of her second family.
Pema smiled and simply continued to feed her son. The kids seemed to have no clue about anything that was happening around them except for the ever clever Jinora. Who seemed to of puzzled out some of what was going on. And with a look to her mother for guidance she simple matched the smile of her parent and let the matter rest. Till later on that night when she would sneak into Korra's room to pester the girl for all the details she could drain from her.
All but one seemed to go about business as normal. Tenzin was watching the couple standing in the doorway. He raised an eyebrow. Korra shrunk into Lin's side. Until...
"Lin. Korra. Are you two just going to stand there, or are you going to join us." A twinkle in his eye and a airy smile on his lips.
Korra stood tall; felt the squeeze of the hand at her side. They sat down side by side and ate. Laughed. And chatted as one big family. All the while their two tender hands remained entwined beneath the table.
"I can't believe you talked Tenzin into this." Lin wore a heavily modest set of air acolyte robes. Her form barely readable under the long frumpy clothing. "For just finding out about this." She gestured to the space between the two women. "He's taking a big step letting us sleep in the same room." Spreading a spare bedroll out next to the bed, and throwing the supplied pillows half hazard at the head of it.
Korra pouted; shoving her fist into her hips and cocking them at the older women. "Hey, why wouldn't he think I'm trustworthy."
"You know why my little penguin." Lin hugged the water tribe girl clothed in blue PJ's with furred cuffs on the ends of the wrist's and leggings. Her upbeat attitude a joy to have back. "I think Tenzin is trusting me to be the responsible one here."
It was Korra's turn now. "Yeah, if only he knew huh?" Running a pair of fingers up a yellow clothed arm.
Lin blushed. "There will be no funny business. Got it." She grabbed the fingers and gave them a tender kiss on the knuckle. "...I don't know what I would do if Tenzin happened to..." Lin trailed off.
"Please we'd have to worry more about Jinora walking in on us."
"That girl asks to many questions." The young airbender had to be shoved back into her own room for the fourth and last time that night by Pema when she had gotten out of bed to question, or interrogate in Lin's opinion, Korra about their relationship. Cheeks flushing deeper when the child went and asked to many personal things. She was thirteen now and getting to that...curious age. Oh spirits, how Tenzin had his work cut out for him. That gave Lin a laugh. Pema would have to handle that conversation. Even then Lin doubted the women would be able to satisfy all of that Childs burning curiosity.
Korra crawled into bed and hugged her back to the wall. While Lin sunk onto her knees. Making sure her temporary sleeping arrangements were nice and ready.
"You're not seriously going to sleep on the floor, right? This is our first time sleeping together and you're going to miss a chance to snuggle." A tender pat to the small space left on the bed.
"I don't think it would be wise." Lin answered.
"Please, Lin. For me." Lip pouting. Cheeks blushing. A hint of dark thoughts returning in those blue eyes.
Lin sighed. "You will be the death of me Korra." She climbed in.
"I'm the Avatar. I'm only suppose to bring life, peace..." Korra planted a chaste kiss to Lin's thinly lips. "And Love." Their bodies pressed intimately close. The action a joy for both. One they had been waiting so very long to enjoy. The heat grew as Korra threw the covers over them. Lin rested her head on her arm throwing the other over the other body in the bed.
"I was scared."
"Why?" Lin could not see her bedmates face. But she could feel the shaking of the fist nestled between their bodies. Lin held tighter.
"I thought...he, Tenzin, would make you leave me."
Lin hushed the girl. "You know he could never make me do that. Right, Korra?" The tone joking. But underneath they both knew how dead serious she could of been.
"I thought he might...make me leave." The body in Lin's hold shuddered. A crack in the voice of someone usually so very strong. It pained Lin to hear the thoughts of her little penguin.
"That would also never happen."
"How, how can you possibly know that it would turn out alright?" Korra asked. Squirming till they were face to face on the pillow. Those ocean blues a beacon in the night.
"As I said. I'm old. I just know." Lin brought her hand out from beneath the warmth of the covers and dashed a few tears that had managed to escape. Then traced the moistened finger along the tan cheek. "Next time. Please, ask me. I'd be happy to dispel any unpleasant questions you may have...I don't like to see you like this."
"Don't be. It's what I'm here for."
With a kiss to seal the conversation away. The pair drifted off in each other's arms.
Lin and Korra were sprawled out underneath the endless blue sky. Hands clasped between them. Drinking it all in like somebody on a bender. The warm sand sifting beneath them. The loud crashing of the waves in the distance. Not a soul or spirit in sight. Just peace and quiet, and the sound of the earth calling out to Lin.
Yet slowly, the earth changed tunes. Became more coherent. More human. Feminine.
"What's up little badgermole?"
Lin lifted herself onto her elbows. Staring at the sitting figure to her side.
Tall and hard jawed. But quick with a witty comment. Those foggy green eyes looked as though they could see for miles. Yet, unfocused when they stared off to the side of Lin's head.
"Mother." Lin spoke softly.
"Hey kid." A mischievous smile on Toph's lips. "Been a while since we've been here, huh?" The summer home. Once it belonged to her grandparents. Then her mother. Now it was Lin's to never use.
Korra had decided to join in the conversation. "Hello." She said. Crawling over Lin to greet the women. Regretting it when she cradled her crushed hand. Staying close to Lin so the women could rub the soreness from her finger tips. Korra relaxed and wrestled her way into Lin's lap. Forcing the older women to wrap her in a hug while blowing raspberries at Lin's mother
"You must be Korra. Twinkle toes replacement." Toph chuckled at her own pet name for Aang.
"And your Lin's Mom, Toph Beifong."
"Duh. We got a genius over here." Lin chuckled under her breath. While Korra glared at the snarky older women with her hair done up in a large bun. Her eye's showed the age that her body neglected to. Unblemished skin. With neither a line nor wrinkle.
"This is a dream isn't it mother. Neither of you are real."
"How should I know." Toph said waving a hand in front of her face. "Can't exactly tell can I."
"And I'm pretty sure I'm real." Korra said snuggling closer to Lin's chest. A flush breaking out on the women's face. She gawked when a ridiculing laugh came from beside her.
"Geez Lin. Your hearts beating a mile a minute. What's the big deal. She just wants to cuddle." Came her mother's slide remark. Fingers like sand paper gripped her cheek and gave it a playful tug. "You always enjoyed snuggling with your mom when you were a kid."
"Is that true Lin?" A hand laid down on her thigh were fingers brushed the hard flesh.
"You kidding me? Badgermole couldn't get a wink unless she snuck into my bed and choked me to death in my sleep."
Lin grumbled her face flushing deeper.
"Badgermole. I like that. Can I call you my badgermole Lin?"
A rough hand tousled Lin's gray hair. "I think that's a great idea, little penguin. Badgermole here has always been one for pet names."
Lin shooed the offending hand away. "That's only because of you mother."
"That's not bad is it Lin?" Toph feigned offense.
"Never." Dead serious with jaw clenched tight. "Never at all mother."
"Ahhhh." Toph ruffled Lin's hair again. "Stop being so serious I was only joking badgermole. So Korra. You and Lin huh?"
The girl grinned, and rubbed her body into Lin. "Yup me and Lin."
Toph's face split; wondering if her daughters heart could get any louder. From the fuzzy images in the sand she got a jumbled picture of the young women cuddled in her daughters lap. Impressed by the physical might this new avatar had. It was definitely an improvement over wimpy twinkle toes. In a way even she was envious of those arms. But, it wasn't like she could take Toph on even if she had all four elements.
"What are you laughing about mother?"
"Oh, nothing badgermole. Nothing." With a swipe of the hand the grin shrank to a placated smile. "So you two are together huh."
Lin scoffed. "We've already established this mother. Korra and I are...in a relationship."
A heavy slap to Lin's back was felt through both women. "Don't be a wussy Lin. Be proud. You're my daughter after all. Never be ashamed. Be proud that you love her."
Lin wrapped her arms around Korra and rested her cheek on the back of the her head. "I would never be ashamed of loving her mother." Planting a kiss into the back of that brown head.
"Damn right." Toph pumped her fist.
The conversation drifted away on a wave. As the three women sat an enjoyed the light breeze on their skin. A warming heat beneath their feet. As for Lin just the simple pleasure of having two of the most important people in her life with her was better than the scenery.
"I've missed you mother." The other two looked at the whimpering girl. Toph rubbed Lin's back as Korra straddled her and brushed the tears as they fell down her cheeks.
"I know badgermole. Me too. And I'm sorry but I think our time is almost up."
"I know I can feel it too. I think we're going to be waking up soon." Lin held Korra chin and stared into it. Both understanding that little increasing itch in the back of their heads.
Toph smiled as she scooted closer to the pair. Taking each of their hands in her own she interlocked them clumsily together; then laid hers on top. "Be good to each other." Then she took on a predatory grin. "An don't you dare break my badgermole's heart. Because not even the spirit world can keep me from beating you to a pulp."
Korra could only nod, and try to force down the large stone in her throat.
Then they settled back. Korra snuggled up to Lin; who rested against her mother's side. Till everything seemed to just disappear.
The first and most pleasant thing Lin saw when she woke up was the tan face next to her own. The second was those blue water tribe eye's flutter open. Blinking rapidly to get out the drowsiness.
"Morning badgermole." Slipping her hands behind Lin's neck to massage the flesh.
"H-how did you do that?"
"Not sure. Some weird Avatar thing I guess." Korra shrugged.
Calloused hands gripped tan cheeks. Forcing them against their will till thin lips met puckered pink ones. Lin's eyes instinctively shut while Korra remained clamped open. Watching the twisting movements of the other's face. Lips were wrenched apart so an eager tongue could explore. Moistness. Saliva swapping. Moaning. Groaning. And other pleasurable noises in between. Before pulling apart with a strangled gasp. Lin panting with mouth agape.
And Korra a flopping fish laying on the pillow with a puddle of spit dripping from her goofy smiling, and bruising, mouth.
The door was thrust open by a large gust of air. A small lithe figure flying through the open door. Jinora greeted the two dazed women with a small bow and low hello. Though the brat was smiling like the moose lion that had caught the canary. Staring at the two women embracing in the bed.
"JINORA!" Korra screeched. Fighting a losing battle to untangle herself from the bed sheets. Lin hopelessly getting the brunt of the girls anger as she tried to crawl over here to get at the young airbender.
"Breakfast is almost ready better hurry downstairs before Ikki and Meelo eat it all." The girl blew out of the room as Korra stumbled over the side of the bed. Face hitting the floor and taking the covers with her.
Lin sat up and chuckled at the heap on the floor. The heap twisted over till Korra could glare at the women.
"Spirits Korra. What are you shouting about this early in the morning. And what was that loud...oh." A voice stifled a giggle.
Lin immediately froze at the second intruder. Korra smiled sheepishly at Pema who hung in the door way.
"Jinora burst into my room and woke me up." Untangling herself from the mess of covers Korra sat on the unused sleeping mat on the floor.
While Lin refused to draw any attention to herself to avoid being pulled into the conversation. Spirits, she thought, this was something she had tried to avoid being caught doing. At least till some time had passed for people to get adjusted to the idea of Korra and her being together.
"Well breakfast is ready. So I suggest you two get yourselves together before you go down and eat. I had the acolytes clean your clothes for you Lin" Pema set them down on the floor just inside the doorway.
Lin watched as the women she had once tried to arrest for stealing the man she had once loved walk away with her mouth behind her hand; and a mischievous glimmer behind those eyes.
"I was sleeping on the floor. I let Lin use my bed." Korra shouted at the empty door way.
A laugh echoed back.
"I see why Tenzin fell for her." Lin looked down at the girl on the floor.
"Yeah but I think you pull off those robes better than her." A burning stare tore at certain areas of Lin's robes.
Lin defensively crossed her arms over herself. "I think one rush is good for today little penguin."
"O-K." Korra huffed. "Let's just get ready for breakfast." Staying in her spot on the floor and smirking at the women on the bed.
"Your no fun."
Korra was met with a pillow to the face; and a playfully swatted bottom when she took her sweet time getting to the door.
Creaking shut. Lin leaned against the door. Taking in the scent of the room. From all the use it had gotten it was thoroughly saturated with her little penguins scent. It made her feel at ease. Here she was without having to hide her feelings no longer. Finally getting to of spent the night sleeping next to the one she most cared for. Ever the investigator Lin wandered over to the dresser. Inside were much of the same day wear Korra always sported. Her airbending uniform all the way in the back along with something else.
"So that's where they went." Lin smirked at her supposed lost pair of training pants and shirt. "Oh Korra." Her heart swelled as she placed the item back where it was found.
Closing the chest she walked over to the desk by the window. A rather interesting object found its way into her hand. Rough, but unmistakable the little carving of Naga glistened in the morning light coming in through the harbor. It was the most beautiful thing Lin had ever seen regardless of its unfinished nature. This was a new side to Korra.
"She's very good."
Lin set the piece back down in the exact same way and direction so as not to arouse suspicion. Folded Korra's bed, though she felt this was something it wasn't used to. Then cleaned up her unused sleeping arrangements as well.
Slipping the robe off Lin put on her clothes from the previous day. Tossed them into a pile of used garments in the corner.
As she exited the room Lin bumped into her little penguin. Hair still damp and a towel around her neck.
"You bathe a lot." Lin noted.
"Hey, not my fault. Waterbender."
The towel was plucked from Korra's shoulders as it was used to pat down the still damp hair. "You don't want to catch a cold do you?" The hot breath tickled Korra's nose. As hands wove the cloth gently around her head.
"You'd take care of me right?"
"Oh course so long as I have a long enough pole to use."
Korra swatted Lin's arm playfully. "Lin!"
"I'm the chief. I can't afford sick days."
Powerful arms circled Lin's hips. "My chief badgermole." Korra joked.
"Only when I'm in uniform can you call me that."
They were greeted at the breakfast table the same as if any other day the Chief of Police were sitting down to a meal there. The kids ate voraciously. Jinora taking little peaks and when Korra caught her she smiled wickedly. Thinking about the payback that was to come to the unsuspecting airbender.
The ruffle of paper came from the head of the table. Bending it at the edges Tenzin studied his children's eating habits with dismay. Particularly Meelo, who was currently making some sort of building project out of it. How he achieved it with oatmeal and a spoon was beyond imagining. The laughing caught him of guard. Not a normal laugh. Something rarer than any airbending artifact. A light chuckle came from Lin. Who was being entertained by an animatedly talking Korra. Sitting close enough for their shoulders to brush every so often. Only there opposing hands on the table. The others stayed hidden underneath were Tenzin pictured them intertwined. And it made his heart flutter. It had been so long since he'd heard Lin's laugh. Far too long indeed. What Korra was doing to mend the women's heart brought a joyous sort of pride. Pride in the knowledge that the Avatar could heal anyone.
Laying the paper down caught the two's attention.
Tenzin smiled at Korra. Who gave him a chipper one in return.
"I think you'll be happy to know that I'm canceling this morning's meditation practice. I think It's only fair so you can spend time with your guest." Gesturing at Lin.
Korra pumped the air. The kids imitating her to their fathers dismay.
"But there will still be afternoon airbending training."
The collective groan was expected. Even the rather loud one from Korra.
"Korra, training is a very important part of your mastering your bending. You can't expect to master the elements without practice."
Another lighter groan came from beside Lin. "Yeah. I know. I know. I'll be there."
As Lin sipped her tea she caught Tenzin watching her. Mouthing a thank you when he knew she was looking.
Lin smirked behind her cup.
Pleasant walks and simple talks. Korra and Lin spent their time walking the island. Starting on one end then to the other and repeating the trek several times.
They fed the sky bison's breakfast. Korra laughed when Lin received a big wet lick from one grateful bison. Big fat wet goobers hung from her face. Hair stuck in a permanent case of fright.
The airbending kids eventually found them resting under a tree. Too bad Lin couldn't feel them coming as they were bombarded from above by fruit. The children came as quickly as they left on their gliders. A rather furious Korra nursing a bump on the head shouted promises of payback.
"Those brats. I swear I'm gonna..."
"Do what exactly. I can't we'll let you hurt the only airbender's in existence." Removing the hand on Korra's head Lin examined the bump. Nothing to worry about. A kiss should take the pain away. Lin touched her lips to the small bump.
Receiving a purr as thanks. "I wasn't gonna hurt them...just ruff them up a little."
That made Lin laugh. "You don't know the meaning of being gentle."
Offended that her badgermole would think those things. Korra set out to disprove the theory. A straying hand on a hip. A little rub of a cheek. Finally, a sweet warm kiss to rub the doubt out.
Good day to be wrong, thought Lin.
And soon the time came to depart. Given the chance for a private goodbye. Tenzin said his farewells when the two had popped in while he was helping Pema with the baby.
They stood on the dock. A team of skilled acolytes waited on the boat to take Lin back to shore. Face to face. They held each other close.
"Now remember to be good during your training. Don't give Tenzin a hard time."
"Sounds like your getting soft with him."
Lin shrugged it off. Not bothering to elaborate. But Korra could figure out the reason for the change in attitude. Taking Lin's hand Korra pressed it against her. A little low and a little fresh. Lin bristled at the intimate contact yet did not withdrawal her hand.
"When will I see you again?" Everything quivered at those words.
"Soon." Lin said.
Korra fiddled pressing Lin's hand even more uncomfortably into the yielding flesh. "When's soon."
"How about this weekend. I won't make any promises that I won't get called away. But we could do something nice." Lin panted the last words. Warmth spreading all over. A tingling in her feet and a throb of yearning in her chest. Without having to hide now...well, they could do anything they wanted to do.
"Like a date."
"We've done many things that were date's. Remember when you made me lunch and brought it to the station. We ate it out on that bench in the courtyard."
Korra bopped Lin on the nose with her index finger. Flabbergasted by the women's idea of dating. "I'm talking the real deal. Dinner, candles, flowers."
"Do I bring the flowers?" Lin asked unsure of how it would work considering.
Korra fidgeted. "I could bring them sometimes too." After all she didn't want to be the only one who gets nice gesture's in the relationship. Lin deserved it too.
Lin placed a hand on the girls shoulder. Squeezing it. "Ok. Where do you want to go?"
That was a good question; Korra mussed over. "I don't know somewhere nice. At least where you have to wear that dress you wore at the president's ball a month ago. You know the one with no straps and the low-low back." A fox like grin with roving eyes looking back on events passed.
"I wore it because I knew you'd love it. You know I don't like dresses...but, if that's what you want then that's what my little penguin gets." Another kiss. Wet and harder pressed then before. Provocative enough for the acolytes to avert their gazes.
"I love being spoiled by you."
"And I love spoiling you."
Lin boarded the boat. The acolytes set to work getting her out onto the water.
"I can't wait for our date." Korra shouted as the space between them grew. The sail caught a gust of wind and started to drift.
"Remember, no promises. I'm not going to let the city fall into chaos because you want dinner."
"I know." A beaming smile. Because that's why she loved Lin. Always putting other's ahead of herself. Just like Korra did. It was why they could work. They knew how to be patient with the other. Knew what the jobs entailed. Knowing that no matter how long the time, nor how far the distance. They'd always wait for each other. And when they met again it would be with open hearts and many kisses.