Author's note: So! Hey there! This right here was supposed to be part of my fic Ladies' Man and all, but I got a little carried away and decided to publish it as a stand alone.
I got this idea while watching a report on TV about a sighted little girl born in a home of sightless refugees in Brazil and how her sensory notion differ from other sighted kids. Lin is one of my favorite characters in Legend of Korra and I'd love to play a little with her relationship with her mother and sister. However, this is not completely about her and Toph and Suyin is not here at all; as you'll see, and being a part of Ladies' man you can only suppose that Sokka is in here.
Well, I hope you enjoy it. I sure loved to write it.
Legend of Korra and its characters do not belong to me. Beta'd by littlecajunlady88.
A Legend of Korra/Lin Beifong fanfiction
"Linny, don't be upset," Tenzin said with that airbender soothing voice of his. Lin wished to be that calm. "Some people are just mean."
She looked up at the boy in front of her. He was a year older than her, but she was taller than him. In the background stood the huge statue of his father and even if Ten had a lot of black hair, she couldn't deny that they looked very much alike.
"What's going on?" a man inquired and Lin tilted her head towards the voice before turning to look at uncle Sokka, who was coming in their direction.
Because mother was working, Lin would always come to Air Temple Island with Tenzin after school, and this time she was happy to see that uncle was back, but her excitement was clouded by how bad she felt after school.
Kindergarten was hard. Harder than Mother's training and Lin had never imagined that such thing was possible.
"Linny," Sokka said kneeling in front of her. He was so nice and friendly, she wished he'd always stay. "What is it? You look upset."
Lin didn't say anything and avoided eye contact by starring at her hands, which wasn't a good idea, because her dirt stained fingers reminded her of the fiasco. Why didn't she ever think that she was doing things wrong? Tenzin, Kya and Bumi never warned her, and they should have, as her friends. Wasn't it how friends work? Or did she have another misconception due to her mother's lack of explanations?
Mother wasn't good at explaining things to Lin, she didn't have a way with words like uncle Sokka did, and she never had enough time when Lin needed. At five years old, the little bender already had learned to pick up things on her own.
Uncle put a hand on Lin's shoulder brushing her curls away and his other hand messed with Ten's hair, making him giggle.
"How you doing, buddy?" he asked and Tenzin hugged his uncle.
Ten didn't like contact much, but uncle was different. Even Lin's mother acted differently when he was home. There was also the fact that Sokka was really Ten's family, being aunt Katara's brother and all, unlike Lin, who mother's one and only good explanation was that he was a honorary member of the family, meaning that their only bond was by consideration.
"I'm good, we planted flowers today," Tenzin answered. "But kids were picking on Linny at school because she sees things different and now she's sad."
"What do you mean?" uncle asked firmly, frowning and turning to her. "How so, Linny?"
Lin thought back to what had happened in that morning. The teacher had brought a bunch of flower blossoms to class that they were going to grow to adorn the war memorial at the city hall building, and she had been one of the first kids to choose, her last name being Beifong.
It was no secret that Lin loved flowers. The colors and smells were so kaleidoscopic, but what she enjoyed the most was the dirt of new buds and freshly planted greens – it was always moist and rich and the plant's source of strength. Lin always took everything in consideration when she picked a plant. Smellerbee had suggested the house garden to Mother to give her some distraction, but Lin was who spent more time there, doing all the things mother couldn't and Bee had taught.
She had already spent quite a few minutes examining flower by flower out of the options given when one of the kids interrupted her process. Why is it taking so long, just pick one! That made no sense at all. Flowers were special, and so was the memorial. Everyone Lin loved had fought in the war, mother included, and she wanted to do something that mattered.
Lin reached for the next flower. Her fingers found it before her eyes did and she felt for the cable and the leaves, got closer and closed her eyes taking a deep breath. Jasmine. It reminded her of Pops Iroh and Kya, but this breed was different from the one in Air Temple Island, the petals' texture didn't match the one of the flowers that adorned Kya's hair. It didn't mean it was a bad breed. The minerals running in it would make it strong and it'd stand out, the black dirt provided good nutrition to it. She made her choice and picked her flower.
It was only later, when they already had planted their memorial garden that the kids started to make fun of her, of the way she took so long to pick a stupid flower, feeling for the plant and the dirt. Lin always thought it was an earthbender thing, her mother always did that, but coming to think about it, Smellerbee never did, neither did aunt Katara nor Pops Iroh. There were other benders in her class, and she was the only one doing that. What was wrong with her?
"I thought it was how to see," she said with a small voice, head low. Uncle Sokka had sat down in front of her and she peeked to check his expression. To her surprise, he was smiling.
"Linny," he said gently putting a finger under her chin and making her look up at him, head high. "There's nothing wrong with you, you know?"
"But they said it's stupid to take so long to pick a flower," she argued. "They said that all you have to do is choose the one you think it's pretty and be done with it."
Uncle thought for a moment, elbow on his knee, chin on his hand.
"Were there prettier flowers than the jasmine you chose?"
Lin thought about it and then nodded. Tenzin's lavender was really beautiful, but it wasn't as resilient, and the orchid that was the first option wouldn't last much without a tree to support it.
"Why did you choose the jasmine?" he asked.
"Because it was strong and hungry," Lin answered.
"How do you know?"
Uncle was fast with the questions, and he wanted quick answers too, Lin knew that.
"Because I felt it."
He hummed in agreement.
"And by feeling it, you truly saw it," he told her softly. He took her hand and had her sit on his lap, and then he pushed back her hair. Tenzin sat by his side. "Lemme explain you something, badgermole, that I think you already know but didn't process. Your mommy is different, she can't see with her eyes. She's an awesome bender and completely independent, but her eyes don't work. Even though your eyes do work, you are your mother's daughter, she raises you, and you learn and adapt from her. Do you know how your mother see?"
"With her feet," Lin answered right away and uncle raised an eyebrow. Think better, he meant to say, and she chewed on her bottom lip thinking of mother.
Lin remembered a day not so long ago when she went grocery shopping with mother. She remembered to see the woman feel for the fruits and vegetables in wood stools, bring them to her nose, smell them. How's it looks like, Linny? Describe to momma. And Lin described it, item by item, and them mother would have her touch the fruit or vegetable, have her smell it, describing what she was sensing and what did it mean. See? She had said, and then she'd proceed to put it in their shopping cart or back in the stool to look for something better.
"With her senses," Lin said. "She sees with her senses."
"Not her eyes, but everything else," uncle agreed. "And she taught you that. If anything, Lin, you're smarter than everyone else, you are the one doing it right."
Lin smiled, feeling much lighter. Uncle Sokka was good at cheering people up that way and she loved him for that. The little girl hugged him tight.
"I'm glad you're home, uncle," she said and her whole body shook when he laughed.
"It's good to be here," he answered and easily picked her up, put her standing in front of him.
"How long are you staying this time?" she asked, but he didn't answer. Instead, he looked at Tenzin.
"Can you teach me that senses thing?" Tenzin asked distracting Lin, and she nodded excitedly.
"That way you can pick something that won't be dead by the end of November," she exclaimed.
Ten took her hand and they both bolted to the garden leaving uncle behind. He was no longer needed after all.
a/n: thank you for reading! reviews are welcomed and loved ^^ x