dedication: to saucepansong because Age Difference and to B, because as usual, EVERYTHING IS ALL YOUR FAULT.
notes: someone please take the internet away from me.
title: some people have real problems
summary: Jinora may or may not have a boyfriend. Either way, Bolin reacts badly. — Bolin/Jinora.
Bolin was vaguely horrified to realize that somewhere along the line, Jinora grew up.
It shouldn't have been as unexpected as it was—people grew up and little girls turned into women and people got old; he knew that. Well, rationally, anyway. He knew rationally that it shouldn't have been a surprise.
Suffice to say the day that Ikki came bounding into the Fire Ferret's training rooms, clearly hunting for Korra and giggling so loudly she was probably interrupting the other teams' training downstairs, Bolin was not expecting the whole world to crash down around his ears. Except that, yeah, you know, it kind of did.
Ikki's feet scarcely touched the ground as she skated to where Korra had flopped after the match, scrabbling at the corner of her shirt and tugging wildly. Her grin was wide across her lips, and she seemed to be only barely containing herself. "Korra. Korra."
"What, what, what's Meelo done now?"
The Avatar brushed her bangs out of blue eyes hurriedly as she tried to discern who she'd have to go beat into the ground this time, but Ikki just shook her head excitedly. The girl was, quite literally, bouncing off the walls.
"Korra, you won't believe it—Jinora has a boyfriend!"
"What?!" Bolin half-shrieked the words before Korra could even open her mouth.
Both women turned to look at him. Korra's eyebrows were rising rapidly.
This was not a good sign.
Bolin backtracked, gone stock-still and sheepish. "Uh. Isn't she—young? Like really young. Too young to date!"
Korra's eyebrows had almost disappeared into her hairline, and oh Spirits she was smirking this was not good.
"She's seventeen, Bolin. I think she's old enough to date," she told him.
"What? No, she can't be—"
"Why do you care?" Ikki broke in. At fourteen, she was old enough to smell something fishy and turn it into something it was not. "C'mon, Bolin, tell! Why do you care?"
(Bolin was slowly realizing that he needed to learn to keep his mouth shut.)
"I don't!" he sputtered because Bolin did not care that Jinora was dating someone at all. "I just—I need—"
He booked it out of the training room before the interrogation could go much further. No, no, she was too young and he did not care, she was like his little sister, he had to protect her—
Ikki glanced up at Korra, wide grey eyes mischievous. "Do you think he'll realize?"
Korra blinked. "Realize what? Where's Bolin going?"
Ikki exhaled a long-suffering sigh.
Idiots, she thought. All adults were idiots.
"I'm trying to sleep, Bolin."
"JINORA'S DATING SOMEONE."
"My sleep, Bolin. You're ruining it."
"WHAT DO I DO, I CAN'T FIND HER ANYWHERE."
"Do you want to die?"
"MAKO, LISTEN TO ME. JINORA. LITTLE JINORA. DATING. SOMEONE. WHAT DO I DO."
"Bolin, you—she's probably down by the docks."
A moment of silence, then:
"OKAY. UH. SORRY."
The door slammed behind him, and Mako groaned into his pillow. Why did this always happen to him?
The girl in question whipped around, wide-eyed. She stared at him, nearly lost her grip on the book she was holding—it would have hit the water and been washed away if Bolin hadn't caught it first.
Bolin stood there in front of her, struck dumb. He'd forgotten what he'd come to say.
Korra was right. She didn't look like the little girl he remembered. She was too tall, hair caught on the wind and all around her face, long artists hands that were—wait, no, he was supposed to be protecting her.
(When had this happened?)
"Ikki said something—" Bolin tried not to sound too gruff.
(Or too much like he was choking on his own spit, but at this point, he figured that idea was pretty much moot. He was long past choking—he was just going to bury his head in the sand.)
Jinora flushed darkly. "What did she tell you?"
"ARE YOU DATING SOMEONE?"
He hadn't meant to yell at her. It just sort of came out that way.
Jinora was a little taken aback. "I—"
"NO. YOU ARE TOO YOUNG TO BE DATING. YOU'RE LIKE A BABY. GET BACK HOME NOW—WAIT, ON SECOND THOUGHT, I NEED TO GO—WHAT'S HIS NAME—"
The next thing Bolin knew, he'd been knocked off the dock and his lungs were filling up with seawater. He came out spluttering, drenched and cold.
Jinora was staring down at him, utterly appalled. "Do you actually—who do you think you are? You can't just come out of nowhere and yell at me about something that isn't even true—you're not my father!"
"Wait, what? Not true?"
She didn't bother to answer him. "Come talk to me when you feel like being an adult," she growled. She snapped her glider wings open and took off without a second thought, well-hidden fury in her every movement.
"I DIDN'T MEAN IT," he yelled after her.
She was long gone.
Bolin slumped down in the sand. He was going to have fun explaining this one to the others. Jinora was probably never going to let him live it down. Bolin moaned, and went to find something to bash against his head.
He had an awful feeling this was not going to be the last time this happened.