AN: We're going to try this note at the beginning now. Yeah, that's good, I like that better.
Super depressed the S. S TOKKA has officially been sunk. Guys. it was my favorite ship in ATLA. Aside from Zuko X Honor. BUT THE LINZIN. LET IT BE KNOWN FROM THIS DAY FORTH I SHIP THIS PAIR SO HARD. I WILL GO DOWN WITH THIS SHIP. FOREVER. Is it wrong? Maybe, but it feels SO RIGHT.
Anyway, this story took a bit of a twist than what I had intended. BUT MY GOD MY LINZIN FEELS. I CAN NOT. So, I hope you like this next little part.
"All better—for now, at least."
Asami nods as Korra moves away to take the scraps of bandages not used and place them in a pouch she's got tied to Naga's saddle. The dog sleeps in the corner of the alley, her chest moving up and down with gentle pace. Korra gives the dog a loving scratch behind the ear before returning to her circle of friends and family collected in the middle of the narrow street.
"This brings back old memories," Bolin comments. He intends for the comment to be lighthearted but the words feel wrong the moment they spill from his mouth. He glances at his brother who wears an unreadable expression in his face.
"Guys, we need a plan," Korra announces, fixing her legs to cross each other. Asami runs her fingers over her bandages a few times before she focuses, her green eyes an alluring bright green in the dawn of the morning. She fishes in her pocket and produces two large wads of cash.
"It's all I could grab." she sighs. She looks away from the group and out toward the open streets. She begins to wonder what has happened to her father, to her home. She bites back the nagging feeling reminding her that history repeats itself and takes a calming breath. "Though, with the state the city's in, we might not need money."
Mako shakes his head. "It may not be useful here, but outside the city it might do us some good. Republic City isn't the world—" his eyes flicker to Korra, "We could go elsewhere."
She narrows her eyes accusingly. "I'm not leaving Republic City. I promised to fulfill my Avatar duties. And I'm not leaving until I do."
Mako rolls his eyes. "I never said we wouldn't come back."
"Mako, the city needs me! I can't just leave!"
"It's dangerous here!" he sputters, "You could get hurt!"
She can't firebend but she feels a fire rumble in the pit of her stomach. "I'm already hurt! I can't bend most elements, remember? And in case you forgot, neither can you!"
A sweeping silence washes over the group like the tides. Asami looks on at surprise at the pained expression that engulfs Mako's face. Bolin stares at Korra, an odd mixture of emotions etched across her features. She breathes heavily and draws a hand to press against her side, but doesn't gruff in pain.
Mako finally speaks again. "I'm sorry. I just…we almost lost you Korra." His voice is controlled now, quiet.
She looks down, ashamed. "I know."
Jinora sneaks into Mako's field of vision as she crawls toward him, settling her head in his lap. The caregiver qualities he adopted over the years come flooding back and his hands instinctively run through the small girl's hair. "You didn't see it." Mako snaps, his voice tainted with anger. "Amon baited you, baited all of us. He got you into that state and-and-!"
Korra throws her hands up, exasperated. "I know, I lost it! I went into the Avatar State, and—" she chokes on her own voice. "He used me. Amon used me, because I didn't have control over my own body. And then he just—" Her fingers grab at stale air. "Let me fall. "
"He tried to kill you," Bolin pipes in. He twiddles his thumbs and looks to Asami, grief-struck. "He blew up City Hall and the rest of the damn city and tried to kill us all."
Mako pinches the bridge of his nose. He isn't liking where this conversation is going. "But he didn't," Mako reminds her. He reaches for Korra's hand, careful of the small child who just fell asleep, her cheek presses against his leg. "He didn't kill you."
Korra opens her hand, flexing her fingers and inspecting her knuckles. "But he did something, Mako. What—what did he do to us?" Mako suddenly grabs at her palm. He's as quick as winds and his touch as warm as the fire he lost.
"We'll figure it out."
She smiles and relaxes her hand into his touch. Her fingers align with his and she notices how slender and pale they are, not a scar to count. Her own are chapped and knobby, covered in white lines and purple bruises.
"So," Bolin starts, "What is the plan?"
"Air Temple Island?" Korra mumbles, her eyes still trained on their entangled fingers. She briefly looks up to find he's doing the same.
"No, not safe, " Mako answers quietly. His eyes are clusters of gold, shining and glistening against the violet sky above.
"My house?" Asami offers. She looks back to the streets. Bolin follows her gaze, detecting her worry. "I don't know," he shrugs. "I don't know what's safe."
Asami bites her lip. "I just…want to make sure he's okay."
Bolin tries to toss her a grin. "Hey, he's Hiroshi Sato! He's got a million and one escape vehicles. If he's anything like his badass daughter, I'm sure he's fine."
Asami manages to return the smile. "Yeah, you're probably right."
"Besides," Bolin breathes, "I'm not exactly sure what he could do to help us. I mean, sure he has a lot of money and resources and maybe he has a lot of land and—wait what was I saying?"
Asami tries not to giggle—it feels wrong. "My dad knows this city, you know? I just thought maybe he could help us."
Bolin smiles gently. He positions himself to lean against her. "We'll find him, I promise." He now faces the fire-engulfed streets. "He's out there, somewhere," he whispers.
"I hope so," she yawns. Her head doesn't hurt as much anymore. "What about the police station?" she asks, her voice sleepy.
Her tired voice is contagious. "I don't know. Maybe we could find the Chief. She'd—" he yawns. "She'd know what to do."
Quiet settles over them. Korra starts running her fingers along Mako's engraving the feel of his skin in his memory. It's soft and smooth with uneven complexion. Some places are paler than others, especially the tips of his fingers. It's only then she notices he doesn't have his gloves.
"We need to find Tenzin," Korra finally mumbles. She watches as Jinora stirs before starting to pull her hand away. Instead, his touch grows warmer as he pulls her hand and the rest of her closer to him. She can feel his pulse—steady and alive.
"Tenzin," Mako mumbles back. She thinks about getting up right then and there, assembling their supplies and starting the search party. But when she looks around she spots Asami and Bolin, their backs pressed against each other, asleep. Asami has her head rested on Bolin's shoulder blade and Bolin has his face to the sky. Jinora sleeps as well, her mouth parted slightly and her knees drawn to her chest. And as she looks to Mako, she watches as his eyes close and his head lolls and even after she suppresses a yawn, she doesn't stop herself from resting her head in the crook of his head and falling asleep.
She awakes like a crack of lightning ripping through her veins.
Everything is foggy. She blames it partially on the fog, partially on the uncomfortable heat that seemingly burns in the back of her eyes. There are flickers of light and areas of intense heat making appearances in the corners of her vision but it's nothing compared to the fire that's set her lungs ablaze. She gasps for breath, falling into a fit of coughs and swatting clumsily at her face. She wipes off an alarmingly thick layer of ash off her cheek. Her fingers brush against the textured tissues of her scars before she sits up.
He lays feet away, the blues of his tattoos serving as a beacon. She follows the arrow to the bridge of his nose, where she sees a gash that produces sliver of blood that snakes around his nose and collects at the corners of his lips. His beard is smeared and matted in grime and she thinks she spots a dark bruise on his arm where his sleeve was ripped off.
The worst part of all is his eyes are still closed.
"Tenzin." Her voice is strong despite the pollution that litters her lungs. "Tenzin, get up."
She stands with ease, not a grunt of discomfort to count. Her joints crack but it's nothing new. She skips over to him and lays a firm hand on his shoulder, giving a strong squeeze. The blood on his face is dry. "Tenzin, dammit, wake up!" She shakes him fiercely—it isn't kind, but it's all the necessary. She searches his face for a sign of consciousness, but the blues of his arrows and the reds of his wounds brighten and fade as her vision plays cruel and disorienting tricks on her. She pinches the bridge of her nose and slams her eyes shut. She takes deep breaths, recalling her teachings and reopens them.
The damn world is still foggy.
She shakes him again, and this time he stirs. Unlike her, he awakes slowly, like the slow brush of an autumn breeze. His eyes, a murky grey just like the rest of the world, are muted and weary. He doesn't cough, doesn't groan, but let's out the softest of sighs.
She nods, her hand still on his shoulder. "What's broken?" She helps him sit up. He adjusts the scraps of his robes and rolls his necks a few times before answering, "Nothing." He grabs her wrist and pulls her close, looking at her face with scrutiny. "What about you, are you okay?"
She jerks away, a slight sneer on her face. "Of course I'm okay." She ignores the pulsing behind her eyes. Tenzin's brows come together in concern as he reaches for her again. He holds her cheeks in the palms of his hands, careful not to touch her scars. He stares at her and she closes her eyes and tries to ignore the familiar touch to his skin.
"No, no, keep them open."
She's curious by the tone of his voice. She meets his grey eyes once more and is a little surprised at the worry lines she's never noticed that burst from the corners of his eyes and lips.
"Does your head hurt?" He asks.
"Yeah," she snorts. "Just a big bump in the head, I guess." She reaches to scratch her head nonchalantly, but is disturbed by how much it hurts. Tenzin is immediately behind her, parting her hair and clicking his tongue in that disapproving manner he's always been so good at.
"A big bump indeed. You sure you're okay? How's your sight?"
Lin pushes him away, this time a bit more gently. She stands on her feet, and looks down at him, ignoring the blackened edges of her peripherals and the blurred lines that stand before her. The fires behind them ignite and extinguish themselves and Tenzin looks like a pool of pastel paints. She inspects the world around her and frowns. She can feel the heat, taste the ash and smell the smoke. She hears the crackling of flames and the whipping of wind and she bets if she concentrates long enough, she can hear the sound of her mother's voice.
"I've always been blind, but I've never had a problem seeing."
She takes a breath of air; it's dry and heavy. She feels his hands moments later, one on each shoulder. His fingers lay still, unlike the winds she's so used to him wielding. The warmth that radiates from his fingers is nothing searing or uncomfortable—it is warm and fresh and everything an airbender would be. She closes her eyes and focuses on that feeling, those smells, those sounds. They are strong and poignant and remind her that she's alive. Her senses are sharp and quick, just like they always have.
But when she opens her eyes, her world is cloudy.
"Crystal clear," she lies.
If her mother managed, then so would she.