The timeline on this is not set anywhere specific during the show, and I purposefully left the nature of Lin and Tenzin's relationship vague enough for you to take whatever you want from it. So basically just Lin/Tenzin goodness, because we all love it here.
Prompt supplied by Amira Elizabeth. Rated for language and adult situations.
Lin rammed her clenched fists toward the wall. A sheet of metal broke free and she shoved it across the large training room, jaw clenched with her frustration. The loud clang of it hitting the opposite wall gave her only a small release and she pulled back with her bending, this time opening her fingers wide to split the sheet into two. She tossed them both high, shooting her cable out along her arms to snap at both halves and hitting them with enough force to send them flying limply to join the several other pieces of scrap she had created over the last hour.
She was glad to be alone as sweat dripped down her neck to disappear under the high collar of her uniform. She was angry and annoyed and needed space to feel the pure untamable energy of her element – to prove to herself, even for a few minutes, that she could.
She paused for just a moment to pull off her belt, gauntlets, and hauberk, too hot by this point to want to keep them on but not willing to give up her pursuit yet. This particular training room was built more toward Earthbenders – the metal on the walls was standard in each room, she would have to fix it before she left – and she slid her exposed feet along the dirt floor. It sang to her, coming up through the chakras in her soles and carrying through the flowing energy of her body.
Her first movements with the earth were slow and fluid, pulling up flowing waves of sand and releasing them again, and then creating larger stone forms up through the floor before pushing them away toward the wall. Simplicity with this, ease, the energy growing and feeling powerful around her even with the gentle actions.
She was still strong. She was still powerful.
Regardless of what anyone said – regardless of what she overheard, the rumors and the words said to her face, Lin felt the power around her. They were wrong, every one of them.
She finally struck out with the flat of one hand, a boulder off the top of the column she had created flying and hitting the wall with a resounding bang that echoed. She turned and kicked out, stopping just short of connecting with the rock and instead using her bending to send it forcefully away from her until it exploded into small shards. It was only minutes later a large pile of rubble was gathered around the edges of the room. She wiped sweat from her forehead with the back of her wrist and slid into another bending stance, ignoring the dampness on the back of her shirt and gathering under her breasts.
Lin abandoned the smaller rocks she had been pulling up before and this time gathered a very large boulder from the ground at her feet, feeling her energy soar as she pushed it high over her head in preparation to throw.
Without warning the door opened at her back, the well-oiled metal silent. But she felt his presence just a moment before he spoke.
"Lin? There you are."
She grunted as she shoved upward and away, dropping the massive rock back to the floor. Several beads of sweat covered her forehead now and she used the bottom of her dirty shirt to wipe at her face, picking it up enough to also let a bit of air brush across her exposed abdomen for that brief moment in the hopes of cooling herself.
"Tenzin," Lin said in response to his questioning tone, turning toward him as she straightened.
"We were supposed to meet for dinner an hour ago," he said, looking around the destroyed, rubble-filled room in confusion. "What have you been doing in here?"
She shrugged, following his gaze for just a moment before bringing her eyes back to his face to watch him. "Nothing," she replied evenly. "I apologize, I got carried away and must have forgotten about our plans. Give me fifteen minutes, I'll go shower and change."
She had taken a step back to pick up her armor, but his voice gave her pause. She remained in her crouch, looking up at him. "Yes?"
"What's wrong?" he asked. "You only get like this -" he gestured around them to the piles of broken rock and metal, "when you're upset. And I can tell you are already trying to avoid whatever has caused it."
"It's nothing -"
But he interrupted her gently before she could even fully brush off his concern. "It is not nothing. Obviously. This is not your normal training." He smiled knowingly at her, and she did not return it.
Lin stood, leaving her armor where it was on the floor, and let out a frustrated sigh. "We got some new recruits in from the Academy last week," she said, frowning and turning her gaze to the dusty ground. She focused on the boulder nearby she had not quite gotten to throw. "I…I overheard a little cluster of them chatting while they should have been working. They were saying – fuck, Tenzin, they were talking about how old some of the current officers are. Old!" she scoffed, expression turning sour as the words came out. "Old, and those brats couldn't – couldn't believe they were still able to work because of their age. They thought it was time for new blood or something."
"They were including me in that group," she added bitterly before he could begin to placate her. "Little children hardly out from their parents' care, criticizing my entire unit – and me."
"Did you say anything to them?" Tenzin asked softly. His eyes were surprised, but his face was filled with compassion. She calmed slightly.
"No. Nothing other than they needed to get back to work or lose those precious jobs they just got."
He looked around them again, at the devastation she had wrecked upon the room, and grinned. "I can see where you brought your anger instead." His lips turned back down a bit as he continued. "I suppose they do have a point, though, don't they? We've been at this for a very long time."
"Don't you start, too," Lin warned, her anger flaring again. "Old is when you are unable to fight and care for yourself. I am not old – we are not old!"
"No," Tenzin demurred, agreeing with her statement. "Come on, let's go get that dinner. I'm sure you're hungry by now."
He turned to leave, his back to her as he went to the closed door. But Lin couldn't move. She could feel his agreement with her through the earth as he spoke – but she could also feel his agreement with those stupid kids, and knowing he might think her incapable of her job, if not now then soon enough because of her age, infuriated her. And if he felt that way about her, he felt it about himself as well. She wouldn't let that go, not for either of them.
He was reaching for the doorknob when she threw a very large chunk of stone at him. It whizzed over his shoulder, close enough to wisp the hair of his beard, and cracked against the door in front of him. A purposeful miss to provoke his attention.
"Lin!" He spun around, robes flying out around him, and glared at her angrily. "What are you doing!"
"Making a point," she said clearly.
She pulled the earth again, taking hold of another small boulder to throw at him. He blew it aside with his own bending. But she was ready again with another and another, and then a large wave of sand. He caught the sand into a sphere of air and siphoned it back of her, and she redirected it away with a simple gesture.
"Come on, Lin, stop," Tenzin said, taking a step back as she came forward.
"Fight!" she snapped irritably. "You are the only person in this Spirit damned city who can give me a real fight, so do it!"
He deflected another hailstorm of rocks, taking a breath to say, "But your officers -"
"Are too afraid to spar with me!" she said, the frustration real and tangible. "Tearing this room apart will only go so far. Prove to me that you and I are still just as strong as we've always been!"
Tenzin only had a moment to realize she was serious before she raised two columns from the ground, throwing the tops of each toward him at a very high speed. He dodged them, and then the other two she pounded at him. These he caught in a stream of wind, one falling to the ground as he focused on pushing the other back at her just as quickly. She caught it herself, her bending taking the energy back, and burst it to dirt.
She grinned slyly, just a mere twitch of her lips, when he finally began to move without her initial attacks. He loosed his outer cloak, at the same time creating a cyclone to lift him from the ground. Dust and debris scattered around the tail of it, and Lin grabbed these toward her. She leapt backwards through the air when he attempted to lash at her legs with a sharp breeze, aiming to knock her over, and she landed easily out of his reach. Still, though, he remained firmly on the far side of the room.
Scowling, she shoved the rocky debris toward him, letting it get caught it the twisting air around his legs, and quickly felt for another piece of stone. He let go of the cyclone, now filled with dirt, and the moment his feet touched the ground, she dug her free hand into the floor and tugged the earth. He was pulled toward her, surprised and momentarily losing his balance. He righted himself quickly, jumping away before he neared her. The rock in her hand flew, narrowly missing his shoulder as he stepped backward and brought several windy currents around himself again to deflect whatever else she might throw next.
Lin watched him for a moment longer and then brought up another column through the floor, already pitted with holes from those she had used previously. But then Tenzin lunged at her, jumping to sit on a ball of air as he swept past her and her attack to the other side of the room. She spun in her stance, keeping him in her line of sight, when he came at her again. She frowned at him, her lips pursed in annoyance, as he attempted to make her dizzy with his darting.
Another piece of rock was ready to be dispatched once he stopped when he suddenly untied his sash and pulled off his robe in a swift motion, letting it drop to the floor in a pool of gold to leave him clad only in his loose pants. She paused, the breath catching in her throat for the briefest of moments when she took in broad expanse of his chest, but that one moment was enough. He propelled across the space between them, knocking her off her feet and into the wall behind her.
Lin blinked in surprise, trying to figure out what had happened and how she had so quickly lost the fight. Her heart beat in her ears, her face flushing with aggravation and disappointment in herself. But the yellow robes, now quite covered in dirt near the door, turned the disappointment to anger.
"You cheated!" she accused, resentment lacing her words. "You…you actually cheated! Tenzin, you distracted me on purpose!"
"Of course I did!" Tenzin replied. His hands were still hard on her shoulders, his lower body tight against hers to keep her pinned to the wall so she would not try to start the fight again. "And not because I was afraid you were going to hurt yourself due to your age or any such nonsense. None of that is true, Lin. You are in excellent shape, you are an extraordinary warrior, and…" He stopped, and she realized his gaze was dropping lower, from her face down her neck toward her chest to where her shirt was now completely wet with sweat. His eyes snapped back up to hers. "And you are so beautiful."
"Irrelevant," she said, though her voice had lost quite a bit of its irritation. "Flattery gets you nowhere."
Tenzin lowered his head toward her neck, not quite touching her as he inhaled deeply. She felt the coolness of it, and then the warmth of his exhale, and something in her stomach clenched. In that one moment, she wanted to feel him against her in every possible way. The desire to fight or spar or release her emotions through bending was replaced with this, far more strongly. Her anger was gone as though it were hours old.
"Are we alone down here?" he asked softly, still so close the words hit her skin.
It crossed her mind to ask him why he wanted to know, to smirk and be evasive with her answer, but all she did instead was say, "Yes."
"I'm so glad," he murmured just before he pressed his lips to her neck. His kisses, while they started gentle, quickly became insistent against her, moving up toward her jaw as his hand found the strap of her shirt. He pushed it aside, laying his palm flat over the curve of her shoulder.
Lin reached for him, wrapping the fingers of one hand around the back of his head and relaxing into the wall as he pressed more firmly against her. Her eyes slid closed when he kissed the delicate skin just under her ear and then, quite without her permission, he pulled away from her, the space opening between them cold and unwelcome. Before she could protest the loss, his hands found the hemline of her thin shirt, now very useless for anything except gathering more dirt and sweat, and pushed it upward. He stopped when his hands were able to press against her stomach and around her waist, ready to pull her close again, but she yanked the garment all the way over her head and dropped it carelessly to the ground at her feet.
His fingers moved over the strong muscles of her arms as they came back down, to her shoulders and down her sculpted back. "You're beautiful," he murmured again, leaning toward her ear. She didn't respond, instead letting her head tilt to the side as he began to kiss a slow line under her jaw. His fingers paused at the straps of her bindings, just as dirty as the discarded shirt, but they crept lower down her back to rest around her waist.
The fire in her stomach was growing quickly, and she wrapped one of her legs around the outside of his to get their hips closer in an attempt to release some of the rising tension between them. That, of course, only made things worse – or better, she supposed, and Tenzin exhaled sharply against her, briefly giving up his attention on her neck and turning his face to bring their lips together.
She smiled against him, returning his kiss eagerly. Lin had to break it herself, though, to take a breath of pleasant surprise when one of his hands slipped under the drawstring of her pants along the back of her hip, coming around closer –
The muffled sound of voices was the only warning they had before the door on the other side of the room opened and a small group of people came inside, chatting amongst themselves and not paying attention to the "Occupied" sign hanging on the hall.
Tenzin's hand snatched away from her undergarments as though he had been burned at the same time a very still silence fell. He went rigid against her, mortified and refusing to turn around.
Lin opened her eyes and gazed out coolly over Tenzin's shoulder to see three sets staring back at her from very reddened faces. It was the same group of new recruits she had overheard earlier that day. "I think you have the wrong room," she said breathlessly through the silence. "Perhaps you should go now." No one moved and she added in a low warning, "I am telling you to leave now."
The recruits shuffled quickly toward the door again, only one lingering for a second longer to keep staring at her with an almost captivated expression. She narrowed her eyebrows and glared at him until he scampered off to join the rest, pushing someone aside to run out into the hall before closing the door with an embarrassed slam.
"You didn't lock the door?" she asked once they were alone again.
Tenzin lowered his forehead to her shoulder, his face bright red. "I wasn't exactly planning on coming here to – well, to -"
"To fuck me in the training room?" she supplied with a chuckle.
His blush deepened and she only laughed again, turning her head to press her cheek to his. "I certainly appreciate the many reasons for your visit," she told him softly. She kissed his temple and then the side of his forehead. "And I suppose my point has been validated. We're not old. Though," she murmured, slowly starting to disentangle herself from his grasp, still so warm and firm around her, "it might be best if we continued this elsewhere."
"Yes," Tenzin agreed softly, his ears still a slight shade of scarlet.
Lin looked at him and smiled before putting her hand to his face to draw him in for another lingering kiss. "They won't tell. No one would believe them, anyway. Our little secret is perfectly safe. But next time -" She smirked as he pulled his robe on, making a little gesture to use her bending to remove most of the dirt and sand from the creases of fabric. Cleaner than her own clothes, at any rate.
"Next time, Tenzin, lock the door."