disclaimer: disclaimed.
dedication: generally just the whole Bolinora fandom. you guys are so quality.
notes: ONE DAY I WILL WRITE MAKO/KORRA. ONE. DAY.

title: chase the sun
summary: "Look," she said, and her eyes were hard. "You have to understand something. I'm going to find a way to be happy." — Bolin/Jinora.

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"We can't do this."

"Says who?"

"Says everyone."

Jinora shot him a long, measured look from behind the veil of a book. "Coward," she said.

Bolin choked a raspy laugh back in his throat. She was such a stupid girl—not stupid, optimistic, I don't even know what you're worried about—and that single word had already destroyed him.

She was right, though.

He was a coward.

He could admit that to himself. It wasn't hard; in the dark of his mind, in the deep slow heave of tectonic plates beneath his feet, in the times when the sun had gone down and the surface of the earth began to cool, Bolin could admit it to himself.

Coward.

Yes.

Jinora was the strength in what they had. And it was ironic, because he should have been the deliberate and steady skein that kept them together; something to anchor her to the world, because otherwise she would float away.

She was as flighty as the wind upon which she capered, laughing away until Bolin caught her and brought her home. And he would listen to her as she read aloud, voice gone husky-soft with the chill in the evening air and her fingers in his hair as she bent them a breeze.

The thought of it made him ache.

"Aren't you going to say anything?"

"We can't, Jinora. You parents—"

"Don't care. They never have—and like they would! I'm a big girl, Bolin, I think I'm old enough to make my own decisions!"

"You aren't!"

She stiffened, spine turned to glass, heart turned to diamond. Sheets rustled as she rolled over, and she set her book down. "Do you mean that?"

"Yes," he said, then "no," then, whispered into her shoulder, the word damning them both "…Yes."

They were both very quiet for a very long time.

The sun outside the window began to sink into the horizon.

Bolin tracked her heart-rate, the easy rise and fall of her chest. She was so small, he thought, pale and perfect as porcelain. Once, long ago, he'd tossed her in the air and she'd laughed and floated down and Spirits, he had loved her so much.

(Did love her so much.)

"Bolin, look at me," she said. "Look at me!"

He did.

"Look," she said, and her eyes were hard. "You have to understand something. I'm going to find a way to be happy."

Jinora breathed in deep. "And I'd love to be happy with you. I'd really, really love to be happy with you. But if I can't find a way to be happy with you, then I'm going to find a way to be happy without you."

Her lids closed for a little longer than a standard blink. "Please don't make me choose."

He thought of how she'd looked on his brother's wedding day, in gold and white, the curve of her neck gone luminescent in the sunshine. And how she'd smiled, carefree, and tucked his errant curls behind his ears. Spirits, she'd only been seventeen and he'd known then, even then, that no one could replace her.

He'd wanted to change for so long.

Somehow, he'd forgotten how to start new.

Bolin pressed his lips to Jinora's bare shoulder.

She understood.

(Like always.)

Jinora smiled, and reached for her book.

fin.