Do not worry, an update to All Their Light is coming soon! I actually have six full chapters written and am about to begin the seventh. This is just a short interruption, and a small gift for Amira Elizabeth – and anyone else who needs a cheering up.
It is not set anywhere specific in Legend of Korra's timeline, only after Book 1.
Lin sighed and lowered her head into her hands, closing her eyes to block out the stacks of paperwork still awaiting her attention.
A group of so-called peace keepers – vigilantes, really, who acted out the moment they caught a whiff of some governmental action they did not like the sound of – had been gallivanting through the city for the last two weeks, causing far more damage than good. They had gained members since their burst uprising, and just last night one of her officers was injured trying to protect a young man these people were convinced was a member of a trial council that was not even in session.
Their "peace-keeping", when they were not harassing members of the city council, the president, or any other citizens they deemed unworthy of their respect, involved blaming much of the current discord in the city on her. As Chief of Police, they reasoned in their anonymous manuscripts left pinned to buildings and poles alongside the street, she should have a stronger hand on the crime! She should stop it before it starts! She should have foreknowledge of where the criminals will strike next! And of course, people were buying it and the uneasiness only grew.
It was a temporary setback, this group, and Lin knew they would either fizzle out on their own when the members lost interest or she would find them herself when they started getting lazy – but the injury to her officer had upset her far more than anything else.
A small bump, really, and his armor had protected him very well from the rock the person had thrown. It was the lack of respect that sent her anger over. She could handle disrespect from people like this aimed at her – it certainly came with the territory of her station – but when it was given to her officers, and in such a way, a line was crossed.
She felt as though she were losing steam, if she were honest with herself.
Burning out was too strong a phrase, though even still she could feel herself losing sight of why she was even here at all when there would always be people who did not care – about her, about her officers, about the city, about the people around them.
Lin turned her head to the side, looking at the paperwork again, and felt overwhelmed by it all for the first time in several years. The apathy of others, the selfishness, was startling sometimes.
A soft knock on the door of her office startled her, and she raised her gaze to see Jinora coming inside with a rather large basket over one arm. "May I come in?" she asked politely.
"Yes, of course."
Lin sat up, somewhat confused, as the girl came toward her desk and set the basket down. "I heard my dad talking a while ago," she said softly. "He says you forget to eat when you get busy or stressed. So I brought you dinner. It's not much, just what was left over from ours. Rice and buns, and there are some beans here, too, and steamed cabbage. I made sure to get a cake, it's wrapped here at the top."
Lin was quite sure she had not heard correctly, and it wasn't until she came forward and saw the food herself that she believed what was happening. "Did Tenzin ask you to do this?"
Jinora shook her head. "No," she whispered, looking down at the basket as well and blushing slightly. "Actually, I don't think he and mom even know I took the food and left. I don't think they'll mind, though. I just…well, I wanted you to have a nice dinner, like us. You've been working a lot."
"Thank you, sweetheart."
The girl's eyes widened and shot up to her face at the genuine endearment, and Lin felt a surprising heat rise in her cheeks that usually came just before she began to cry. This simple act of heartfelt kindness was exactly what she needed in that moment, and she smiled, the pressure that had been building over her shoulders just minutes ago beginning to relax.
"Thank you," she repeated, putting her hand on Jinora's shoulder. The urge to cry eased, replaced with a weightless happiness brought only by the sincere compassion of another. "I am rather hungry, now that I smell all this. Would you like to share the cake with me?"
Jinora beamed at her. "Yes, please!" she said quickly. "Meelo always eats the extras before I can get another, this is the last one!"
"Then by all means. Have a seat and I will get us some plates."
Lin listened contently as Jinora began to talk about the goings-on in her life – her studies and her siblings, her mother and father – and remembered for the first time in too long what it was like to have someone want her attention not because of her job or because of a case or because she needed to sign a silly piece of paper, but instead because the person cared. This was enough, sharing a cake with this girl who cared so much, to remind her of what the rest of her life was about.