A very short little thing I had written back in December to share around the New Year yet never got around to doing.
This is based loosely on the tradition of burning what you want to let go of during the Winter Solstice, and so takes place during that particular holiday the year Su gave Lin her scars. Pre-series, Lin and Tenzin are in their twenties.
Lin pinched a small bit of fragrant herbs between her fingers, dropping them onto a square cloth and twisting the corners together to tie the whole thing to the long orange sash resting on the stiff brown grass between where she and Tenzin were sitting. The bundle joined several others already tied there, a physical collection of all the things they wished to release into the world or acknowledge to bring in permanently.
"This one," she said as she finished the knot, "is for my broken cord."
Tenzin gave her a slightly amused look. "You mean the cord Su broke," he specified for her. "The one that gave you your new scars."
Lin hummed quietly, not commenting as she leaned forward to tuck her feet under her thighs. She pushed the sash toward him. "Your turn again."
He took a smidgen of herbs from the bowl and set them onto a clean piece of fabric, his gaze focused on his work. "For how frightened I've been this year." He tied the sachet beside the one Lin had just left. He gave her a small smile. "And also for how that fear has opened my eyes to what is most important to me."
"For all of the arguments Ma and I had." She took the sash back, her fabric and herbs already prepared to tie on. "And, I guess," she added at Tenzin's encouraging glance, "for that also getting me out on my own. With you. Happy?"
"Certainly." He chuckled at her feigned annoyance, readying another cloth and picking up the corners. "For Bumi leaving to join the Forces, and the fight we had before he left. And for Kya leaving right after him."
"You can't put both of those together! Make a different one."
They both started laughing as Lin helped him scoop far too many herbs onto a new piece of fabric, scattering them through the dead grass and across the tail of Tenzin's coat. It took several more minutes of scuffling and laughter before they were able to finish their cord, now fully out of order of Lin's-Tenzin's and instead a mixture of both their sachets in no particular order at all.
"Pretty par for the course, I'd say," Lin said with a grin as she got to her feet and brushed more herbs off her pants. She reached down for the sash and held it up as Tenzin stood beside her. "This is a mess. As usual."
Tenzin just smiled widely and took the rope with their sachets firmly tied from her hand to examine it for himself. "Seems perfect to me! Want to light the fire?"
"My favorite part."
The sun was just starting to set when they stood back from the small fire pit and together tossed their cord into the growing flames. Lin slipped her hand into Tenzin's, threading her fingers through his as they watched all their problems, their dashed hopes – their accomplished dreams – from the last year smoke and furl up into the air, ready to be released back into the universe so the next year could start anew without burden.
"Blessed solstice, Lin."
"Same to you, Airhead."