Korra waltz in to the police station, hoping to run in to Lin on her way home. She tapped her knuckles on the desk, earning the front desk officer's attention.
"How can I help you avatar Korra?" he asked politely.
"I wanted to meet chief Beifong," Korra said looking at the chief's office door over his shoulder. "Is she in?"
Korra's crisp voice captured quiet an audience. They goggled at her as she suddenly grew an extra arm.
Her eyes darted around the front office, slowly observing the people with surprised looks on their faces and eyes on her.
"Why is everybody goggling at me?" Korra's lips barely moved as she leaned forward over the counter to whisper at the front desk officer, still wandering her eyes at the many stunned faces.
"We don't speak of her till next Monday," The officer whispered back.
"Why is that?" Korra asked. "Is she alright?"
"Sush!" The man leaned forward as well so that his forehead was on Korra's. "All I can tell you is Avatar," he breathed shifting his eyes from side to side. "That the ninth day of every ninth month, she disappears from her office at the dusk."
Korra blinked in confusion. "Isn't that normal?"
The officer's rolled his eyes at Korra's ignorance. "The chief usually doesn't leave until it's almost midnight." He told her impatiently. "Now listen closely young Avatar," he snapped. "So, she disappears from her office at the dusk on ninth day of the ninth month every year and doesn't show up till it is the twelfth day of the ninth month!" He narrated in the same raspy voice.
Korra's hand rose to his forehead and she shoved him backwards in annoyance. "Seriously, what's going on?"
"Nobody knows!" The officer said as he rubbed the sore spot of his harassed head. "All we know is that she returns, unforgiving and snappy, on the twelfth day."
Korra blinked at him. "More than usual!" he added. "And no one is to disturb her until it's the thirteenth day, unless it is absolutely crucial."
Korra landed softly on her toes, right in front of Lin's country house that night. The officer had freaked her out so much; she had decided to check on Lin even if she'd got told off by the woman in question for doing so, which she hardly doubted. She had gone in to so much length as to metal bend Lin's apartment's door lock and look inside. Only Lin wasn't there. The only other place Korra could think where Lin'd be was the Beifong country house. Korra's lips dragged downwards as she noticed the turned off lights.
She approached the front door cautiously and knocked. There was no answer. Korra knocked again. "Lin?"
There was no answer. Korra hesitated for a moment and used her metal bending to unlock the door and bent a small flame on her palm. The living room was deserted and she saw Lin's armor in a heap, by the sofa.
"Hello?" Korra called walking in to the house. "Lin, are you here?"
Korra turned the lights on and took a look around. The house was apparently empty. Lin wasn't home. Korra decided she'd check every room just to make sure. The living room sported luxurious furniture which was mostly stone work. Except for the few photos hung from walls along the stairwell, the room lacked decoration. Strangely, the living room of Beifong country house was radiating its own grace, just like Lin. From the four other rooms Korra checked, Lin's bedroom was the only room that someone has been using for a while. It was a spacious and mullion-windowed room with giant four-poster. By the bedside table, there stood a three and half decades old photo of Lin, Toph and Su. A teenage Lin, scar free and radiant, was staring at the camera with a lopsided grin while an adolescent Su with a toothy grin, made a victory sign with her index and middle fingers. Behind the two of them stood Toph sneakily making horns appear on Lin's and Su's heads with her index and middle fingers; the trademark Beifong grin across her face. Korra found herself laughing.
She carefully placed the framed photo back on the table and descended the stairs to check the study. It was a hall which was neat and seemingly used in a regular basis. The magnificent granite table in the midst was surrounded by high racks filled with a vast collection of books. Korra let out a low whistle. "Who knew she's a book worm!" She absent mindedly shuffled the books on the table. Suddenly, she stopped. There was a parchment addressed to Lin. It contained no sender's details. Apparently, they used the old method of messenger hawks to send it in. Korra couldn't help noticing the one lined message it contained. 'Same time same place same date'
Korra scratched her head. "What does it mean?" She asked herself, picking up the parchment and shaking it stupidly as if to make the pull out the rest of the message hidden in it. By the looks of it, parchment seal was recently broken, very recently, like a day or two ago, Korra decided. Was Lin Beifong secretly dating someone? In that case, Korra didn't want to invade her privacy. But she was itching to know who this mysterious Mr. Right was. That sort of juicy gossip will be honey in Bolin's ears.
The tenth day of the ninth month dawned and Korra's first stop of the day was the Beifong country house. Lin wasn't back yet. She decided she'll check the apartment as well, just in case. But it was too still vacated. She wasn't back by evening either. Korra sat on the stoop of Beifong county house grumpily that night, determined not to leave without meeting Lin. She had called the air temple island telling them that she'll be eating out with Mako. Mako has agreed to play along just to keep Lin's private life out of discussion. But Korra was too curious for her own good. She had to know who Lin was seeing.
It was almost passed ten when a vehicle screeched in to a halt in front of the Beifong country house. Korra jerked awake by the loud noise and wiped away sleep from her eyes. She saw a man got out of the vehicle and help someone out.
Korra got to her feet hurriedly and hid in the shadows. She saw someone, too weak to stand on their own, been helped by a buff man in through the gate. They walked up to the front porch and Korra saw Lin wavered on her feet. She was standing only because she was been helped.
"That was too much Lin!" The man told her as he helped her in to an arm chair. "We aren't young as we used to be."
"Bullfrog shit!" came out Lin's slurred voice.
The man chuckled and bent the door open. He helped Lin inside the house. Korra watched as he came out in about ten minutes. "I mean it you maniac!" He shouted from the porch. The only reply came to that was a loud hiccough. "See you next time!" Man shouted back, locking the door shut behind him and he took his leave.
Korra patiently waited until his car was gone and jumped in front of the door. Lin clearly was in no shape to tell her off at this point. And by the looks of it Korra knew Lin's going to go through a terrible hangover next morning. She easily unlocked the door and went in. The pantry was lit and Korra was surprised to find Lin with a half empty sake bottle in hand, feet on the pantry top, slightly wavering on her chair, and admiring a shiny belt around her waist. Korra had to clear her throat loudly to get Lin's attention.
Lin was so much drunk she didn't seem surprised to see Korra at all. "Helloo Avitar!" She asked struggling to form words properly. "looook I wun!" She pointed a wavy finger at the big shiny belt around her waist.
"Where were you?" Korra asked, giving the belt a sideway glance. The inscription read 'Earth Rumble Champion'. This made Korra's eyes go wide in both awe and disapproval. "Were you at an illegal sparring ring Lin?"
Lin did not reply. Her head dropped to her shoulder and the Sake bottle in hand fell to the floor with a clatter. She started snoring.
Korra did a face-palm. She never pegged Lin to be someone who needed to be babysat at any situation, but apparently, she did. Korra made Lin's limp form stand up and fell on her own back. She half dragged the Chief to the bed room and tucked her in, remove the belt, the overcoat and the shoes Lin was wearing and covered her in a blanket. Turning the lights off, Korra left the room. She chose a comfortable looking guest room and settled in for the night. She figured Lin will need a healer next morning and also, Korra wouldn't miss the promising scene of Lin's hangover for anything.
Korra was awoken by the noise of someone gagging loudly. She threw off the blankets and ran down stairs to find Lin doubled over the commode. She was throwing up. Korra hurried towards her side and gently patted her back.
Lin was so surprised by her sudden companion that she turned in a flash and pinned Korra to the floor with an elbow. The vomit seemed to stuck somewhere in her throat for a moment as she recognized the Avatar to be her uninvited visitor at such an early hour.
"Relax!" Korra croaked. "It's just me. I dropped by to see if you were back last night and found you asleep in the pantry."
Lin blinked for a second, taking the information in and then suddenly the vomit stuck in her throat poured out without warning. Korra yelped covering her face with her two forearms while Lin fell on her back, muttering "sorry!"
A half an hour later, Lin was sitting in her pantry draped in a comfortable dressing gown while Korra, her face all blistered due to the rough scrubbing she did, prepared them tea. Lin's head was buried in her hands. "Could you not stir so loudly?" Korra heard she mumble to her hands.
Korra knew the only reason Lin hadn't yell at her for snooping around was Lin's pounding headache.
"Here," She said handing Lin a mug full of steaming jasmine tea. "You'll feel better after drinking this."
Lin's right hand gestured Korra to leave it on the pantry table. She didn't seem like she'll sit up any time soon. Korra sighed and walked around the table to stand behind Lin. She summoned two handfuls of water from the tap and started healing Lin's headache. Lin slowly gave in to the soothing sensation, allowing Korra to cover her entire forehead in glowing water.
"What are you doing in my house?" Lin asked as Korra worked.
"sooo, who's the mystery guy?" Korra answered with a question of her own.
"Korra!" Lin said warningly.
Korra chuckled. "I wanted to meet you yesterday, but your front desk officer babbled about you being untraceable till 12th this month." She explained. "He kind of freaked me out, so, I guess I just wanted to check on you."
"How curious of you!" Lin said sarcastically. "You know, you are way too snoopy, even for a water bender."
"So who's he?" Korra asked ignoring Lin. "Who knew Lin Beifong has a boy friend! Tenzin will cough his lungs out when I tell him."
"Korra go home!" Lin groaned. "I need to sleep."
"So he's your boyfriend." Korra continued. "Why didn't he stay the night and help you out?"
"One, he's a friend I see once every year" Lin groaned again. "Two, you have a lot to learn about people's privacy! Get your butt out my house or I'll make you!" She threatened weakly. Korra laughed from behind.
"As soon as I'm up and about!" Lin added through gritted teeth.
Korra stopped her healing and walk around the table to stand right in front of Lin. One hand went on her hip and other made a fist which slammed on the table top. "Start talking!" She mocked, imitating an interrogation.
"Quit it Korra!" Lin snapped. "Stop fooling around and go home."
Korra straightened herself up. She started pacing around, hands behind her back. "You better talk Lin Beifong!" She said again in a mock threat, grabbing a saucepan and a wooden spoon from one of many pantry cupboards. "Or, I will make life very difficult for you!"
Lin crack opened one eye to glare at Korra. Her jaw dropped seeing what the Avatar was holding. "You wouldn't" She whispered.
"Oh yes I would." Korra assured. "Now, who's the guy? And what's with the belt you brought home?"
"Korra!" Lin said in an exasperated tone.
Korra bang the wooden spoon on the saucepan, making a loud clatter. Lin yelped, covering her ears with her hands. "STOP! Fine I'll tell you!"