|Turning Tides and Revelations
Author: satomobile PM
After the events of "Turning the Tides" Tenzin takes his family to his mothers home for safety and a bit of insight. Linzin/ Pemzin.Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Angst/Family - Tenzin & Chief Lin Beifong - Words: 1,666 - Reviews: 15 - Favs: 33 - Follows: 6 - Published: 06-17-12 - Status: Complete - id: 8226188
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
The soft glow of sunset settled over the tiny village of the southern water tribe as an elderly woman made her way home. Though Katara's bones, brittled with age, creaked and groaned as she trudged through the snow her face showed no sign of pain or sadness. She was coming from the home of Tonraq and Senna, parents of Avatar Korra. Senna had invited her by to read the latest letter they received from Republic City. Korra was doing well, she may even have a boyfriend next time they met, but airbending was still eluding her. Katara smiled as her mind drifted back to the days when the element of air was entirely hers. As she looked to the heavens in silent memorial to her husband, she swore she could see his loyal sky bison in the distance.
And it was getting closer.
This was no memory of Appa, this was Oogi and she could barely make out her youngest son at the helm, fast approaching. Her heart raced. Last minute visits were not typical of the methodical Tenzin. As the bison banked she identified four figures in orange robes dotting its back. She waved her hand furiously.
"TENZIN!" she shouted. His head turned in her direction and spotting her, guided Oogi over to her location. The bison dropped to the ground with a thud muted by fresh snow.
"Tenzin! What is going on?" she questioned as the airbender propelled himself from his beast.
He landed before her, looking disheveled. She reached out and touched his cheek, "Sweetheart, what's wrong?"
The children began to slide their way off the bison as well, followed by Pema who had fashioned a papoose for the newest addition of their family out of her own billowy robes and fastened him around her chest.
"The baby...?" Katara ventured tentatively looking past her son at Pema.
"Is fine," Pema finished for her, sidling up alongside her husband. She pulled back a strip of cloth to reveal a shock of dark hair and friendly green eyes, "Gran Gran, meet Rohan."
Katara looked back at Tenzin. "He's beautiful, but what are you doing here? What is wrong?"
"The equalists laid siege to the island," Tenzin spoke finally. "I had to get them to safety and this is the first place I thought of."
Katara gave him a puzzled look. She knew about equalists and their leader Amon, but had no idea their rebellion had reached such a scale. Clearly, news did not travel as fast as a flying bison.
"We didn't want them to take our bending," Ikki said in a small voice from Pema's hip. Her mother gave her a reassuring pat.
"Well, come in. Let's get you settled then. You'll be ok here," Katara replied moving back toward her home.
They walked silently down the empty street as Katara's mind worked overtime. She would fix up her spare room to accommodate the children and she may have to borrow a cot from her neighbor for little Rohan, but making space shouldn't be a problem.
"What do you think happened to that lady?" Meelo asked, breaking the silence. Jinora gave him a hard jab to the ribs before he could finish his question and pointedly looked at her father.
"What lady?" Katara asked as Tenzin's face hardened. He looked on the verge of tears, so Pema spoke for him.
"Lin," she offered. "Some airships were chasing after us and she jumped onto one and tore it down the middle-"
"Yeah and it exploded like BOOM KABANG!" Meelo excitedly demonstrated, waving his hands in the air.
"She made it onto the second airship, but... that one just turned around," Pema cast a worried look in Tenzin's direction. "But, I'm sure she's fine," she concluded hopefully giving Meelo her best effort at a smile.
"Oh my poor little girl," Katara whispered. She had so many more questions, but they would have to wait. It just wouldn't do to alarm the little ones.
The group of weary airbenders and their matriarch filed into Katara's small cottage as uncertainty hung heavy in the air. This family, usually so full of energy and life was drained. Rohan began to fuss.
"Looks like somebody's hungry. You can get some privacy in my room," Katara provided.
"Thank you," Pema smiled, rocking her son in her arms.
Tenzin stepped forward and planted a kiss on the boy's forehead and then took Pema's face in his hands.
"I love you," he said solidly. "I will be back soon. When all of this is finished."
A tear threatened to slip from Pema's eye, but she managed to keep it in check when she spotted Meelo's look of concern.
"I love you too. Be careful," she stressed. Tenzin nodded and dropped to one knee, allowing his older children to encircle him in a hug.
"Now, take care of your mother for me."
"Okay, Daddy" they dutifully promised.
After giving each of them a peck, he stood. Katara leaned down to her grandchildren, "Why don't you kids go pick out where you're going to sleep while I walk Dad out?"
"I get the big bed!" Meelo shouted happily racing down the hallway, his sisters in hot pursuit.
As they exited her home, Katara turned to her son who had been exceptionally quiet.
"Honey, its ok," she said simply and his lip quivered. Tenzin was never one to cry in front of people. Even as a child when he would hurt himself, his lip would shake like an earthquake but he would hold back his tears for when he could finally get to his room alone.
"I...I don't know..." he began shakily. He raised his hand to his face and pressed it against his eyes, letting it drag down his face as if to clear away his fear. "I don't know what happened to her."
Salty deposits began to pool in the corner of Katara's eyes as well. She considered Lin to be a second daughter.
"She told me not to turn back, but I should have." Tenzin said, voice catching in his throat. Katara laid a hand on his arm and shook her head.
"What was it Toph always said about Lin?" Katara asked.
"She ruined my body," Tenzin supplied with a hollow laugh. Katara smiled at the memory of her old friend's snark.
"Yes that, but what else?"
Tenzin shrugged. He wasn't really in the mood to guess.
"She always said 'before Lin learned to walk, I was the greatest earthbender in the world'. If there is one person that could fight her way out of that situation it's Lin."
Tenzin shook his head, "There were so many of them, Mother. If Lin had fought her way out, that airship would be at the bottom of Yue Bay. Not on the way to get her killed, or worse-"
"Worse?" Katara asked before it finally dawned on her what exactly Amon's agenda was. "Oh no..." she trailed off.
The idea of Lin losing her bending hadn't crossed her mind yet because it was so unfathomable. Earthbending was an integral part of Lin's life, she used her skills for everything; from her work to mundane household tasks. Katara couldn't think of one person she'd ever known, outside of the Avatar, that identified themselves with their bending as much as the Beifongs did. Lin's soul was in earthbending. It was the strongest link she had to her late mother, it was how they communicated, it was the only way they could truly see one another. To Lin, losing her bending might as well be an execution.
"If Amon took her bending, I will never forgive myself," Tenzin sighed. "After everything that has happened...Mom, she just looked at the children and jumped." His eyes were stinging red.
His mother gathered him into a hug and pat his back, "Of course she did. She would do anything for you. Lin's a good girl and she loves you," Katara said soothingly. Tenzin pulled back to protest the second half of her statement.
"That was a long time ago and-"
"And you love her too, Tenzin. Its ok to admit that. Stop trying to rationalize yourself," Katara said evenly. Tenzin's eyebrows knitted together in disapproval.
"I love Pema," he countered defiantly.
"I know you do," Katara appeased. "But Lin is your best friend. She's been your best friend since day one. Stop beating yourself up about it. I know both of you would do absolutely anything for the other and if -spirits forbid- Lin has lost her bending, she did it to keep you safe. You would do the same thing in her position."
Tenzin nodded. He spent so much time trying to compartmentalize his feelings for Lin that he had come to think of her in black and white terms, guilt being the only gray areas of his mind. It was liberating for his mother to tell him it was ok to love her. It didn't mean he was unfaithful or that he would ever rekindle a romantic relationship, but he could still love her just as deeply as he had before or after their first kiss. Her actions back in Republic City were a testament to the fact that she had reached that conclusion earlier than he had.
"I think it's time for me to go back for her then," Tenzin concluded. Katara kissed his cheek.
"Please be careful. I'll keep your family safe," she said with tears in her eyes. Tenzin gave her a brief nod and with a small jump, ascended to Oogi's neck.
"Oogi, yip yip," he instructed.
As the bison kicked off, Katara sighed knowing that Tenzin was finally alone in his room where he could have himself a damn good cry.