I wrote this a while back and found it the other day. Short, sweet, and no spoilers. Set...let's say after season 3. Enjoy!

(Still taking Lin/Tenzin requests! Let me know if you have any.)


"Where are you going?"

Tenzin reached out a sluggish hand across the blankets as Lin pushed them back, slipping to the edge of the bed to stretch. He wasn't quite able to touch her, and his fingers stopped a few inches short of her hip. "Sorry," she murmured, "I didn't mean to wake you yet."

"It's still so early, Lin, lie back down." He craned his head on the pillow to catch a dim glimpse of the clock on her bedside table. As he thought, it wasn't even five o'clock yet, still hours before sunrise and, ideally, plenty of time for her to continue sleeping. With him, yes, but she had been so exhausted when she finally got into bed only four hours ago; her already having to face the day simply wasn't fair.

"I can't, you know that. There's too much to do at the station and I need to make some headway on a few big cases." She turned her upper body to gaze down at him, a strained expression pulling the lines around her eyes taut. "I wish I could. When will you be back, do you think?"

Tenzin didn't know how to answer her question. Pema thought he had slept in his office, an excuse he only gave her perhaps two or three times a month to come stay here instead. No to be unfaithful, but to give himself a bit of a mental break – if he could even be honest with himself enough to call it that much. He didn't think about it very hard when doing so would force him to think about several other things he was afraid to face. He scooted forward enough to grasp at Lin's arm when she leaned for the table lamp, stopping her before she could turn it on and cast the room with its glow.

"Just this morning," he pressed instead of trying to give her a response. "You're pushing yourself too hard, you're going to be ill. Two more hours is all I'm asking." Her eyes fell downward in thought, the lights coming through the window throwing shadows across her pale face. "Please? Do it for your health – or do it for me, whichever will get you to stay a bit longer."

"Easy for you to say," she grumbled, "retired as you are. The president only needs you a few days a week unless there's some kind of emergency. I'm starting to envy your life."

He smiled softly up at her when she turned her tired face toward his. "And when will you be retiring, then, if you like the sound of it so much?"

"I'll retire when I die."

"That is not funny," he said sharply, the smile vanishing because he knew she was serious.

"It wasn't meant to be funny, Tenzin. Now really, I need to get ready."

She started to stand from the bed, but he moved again, enough to slide his arm completely around her waist from behind. She could have easily pushed him away, in the more advantageous position sitting up, though she just looked at him again incredulously that he had done something so bold. "Two hours, Lin. Sleep for two more hours, let me hold you for only two more hours. Getting four hours a night as often as you do is killing you, I can see it all over your face."

"Then I suppose I'll be hitting retirement sooner rather than later," she muttered, turning away.

"Lin," he scolded weakly, rather appalled. A sick pit opened in his stomach, kept at bay only by the fact that she wasn't yet pulling away out of the bed the way she had been before. "Please, lie back down. Reset your alarm. No one will miss your presence for such a short time, will they?"

"Enough, Tenzin. I hear you." She removed his arm from her waist, and his heart dropped. But she heaved a sigh and reached for her ticking brass clock, twisting the little knob to reset the alarm to chime in an hour and a half. A silent compromise.

The relief pooling through him was indescribable as she slid back under the blankets beside him. Her back was facing him, and he quickly covered the distance between them to wrap his arm over her midriff and up across her chest, holding her to his body tightly. "Thank you," he whispered into her neck.

But she was already asleep.