derpderpderp it's all sara's fault she wrote angsty things and that made me want to write angsty things and it's her fault all of it sdjkgbhdsg
you're all so lucky that i can't write proper angst
You only know what I want you to.
Bolin didn't trust easily.
Despite that he had a naturally friendly disposition and was exuded a cheerful air, he did not truly trust anyone but his brother. It stemmed from the early years of his lives. He had trusted his parents, but then they had to go and die, leaving the two of them homeless and scared. He had trusted countless women and they broke his heart. The only person he could truly count on was Mako.
His brother was the one constant in his life. He had been there when their parents died. He had been there with Bolin when they were wandering the streets in search of shelter. He was the only person in the world that Bolin found worthy of his trust, until they met Korra and everything changed..
Korra, the Avatar and the girl that would eventually become his sister-in-law, he had not trusted at first. He was friendly and believed that she was special, but he did not trust her. Eventually, Bolin came to trust her marginally and allowed her to take his brother's heart and melt the ice from it. It was a good decision because Mako was like Bolin; he couldn't trust either. With the arrival of Korra, they saved Republic City (possibly the world) and Korra saved them.
She didn't steal Mako's heart; he willingly gave it to her, and the brothers were better off for it.
As for Bolin, he came to meet the Airbenders that Korra lived with on Air Temple Island. One of them in particular caught his eye, mostly because she exuded grace and sleekness in all of her movements in a way that reminded him much of his mother.
(Bolin didn't remember his mother much, but he did remember that she had a sweet voice and moved like the air even though she was an Earthbender.)
Years passed. When he had reached his twenty-eighth year and she had barely turned twenty, Bolin had thought of Jinora in more than a friendly sense for more than two years and though he suspected that it was the same for her, he refused to let her in.
They were friends, he reasoned. If they continued to be friends, there would be no reason for her to know anything about his past. Right now, the only things she knew about his life were things the general public knew. There was nothing anyone knew about his life except for what he and Mako had approved; they were orphaned at a young age and had a hard life.
(It said nothing about how Mako used to tell stories about how their paternal grandmother was almost Fire Lord and their paternal grandfather was an Earthbender that encouraged rebellion because of Avatar Aang's wife. It said nothing about how Mako used to fish in the park for their meals and that's why fishing was made illegal in Republic City. It said nothing about how Mako and Bolin used to sleep in the bush with the nice man that took care of them until Mako was twelve and they decided to part ways. Sometimes, they visit him in the park and buy him lunch.)
There would be no reason he would have to tell her about everything that he had been through. But if they were more, he supposed that the right thing to do would be to tell her.
He didn't want to tell her.
(But he loved her and wanted always to be more.)
I know everything you don't want me to.
Jinora wasn't stupid.
She knew that the story she got from Bolin could be easily found in any newspaper article about the Fire Ferrets. It was easy to find that sort of information out if one wanted to. When they had met for the first time back when she was still ten and he was eighteen, she had already read up on Korra's teammates. Everything he told Ikki then when the loud little girl had asked, Jinora had already known.
But just because Bolin had trust issues didn't mean that Jinora didn't know how to find out things that she wanted to know.
She watched, and she noticed.
There was a flash of…something in his eyes whenever the subject of family was brought up in front of him. The topic of parents evoked the same reaction. He spoke of the park fondly and hated fish, citing that he had eaten far more of it than any kid should have in his younger years. That there were no records of arrest or charges filed against him was a given, seeing as he wouldn't have been able to participate in pro-bending matches otherwise. When Korra brought up the story of her first day in Republic City, she always mentioned that man that lived in a bush; both brothers' expressions (Mako's neutral and Bolin's cheerful) faded into a fond one whenever she told that story.
"They were good boys," The man told Jinora when she sought him out. "It was always unfair that their parents had to die so young."
"What happened to them?" Jinora asked curiously.
"I don't think the boys knew themselves how they died, but it was in a fire. All over the papers, that one; how the Equalists killed some of the best pro-benders by chi-blocking them and setting the place on fire." The man shrugged. "Lucky Toza remembered their ma and da; they would have never been allowed to stay in the arena otherwise."
Jinora stared at the arena, bright against dusk's crimson sky. "Who were their parents?"
"I don't remember their ma's name; it was some fancy Earth Kingdom name, but their da's name I remember." He cackled as if it was some big joke. "His name was Haru. Apparently, his mother insisted on naming him after his father. It was a big joke at the time; his name was Haru, like the Earthbender boy that was friends with Avatar Aang, but he had blue flames like the Fire Lord's crazy sister."
Jinora's eyes widened. After the war, Azula had vanished from the history books and her grandmother recalled Haru with a fondness that seemed sad. She had asked Katara once about it, and all she had said was, "He made the decision of marrying someone that once tried to kill us. I lost him as a friend much earlier in life than all my other friends because he didn't die; he just fell in love."
Jinora cleared her throat. "Were Haru's parents a Firebending woman and an Earthbending man?"
"His father, the first Haru, was an Earthbender." The man that lived in a bush said, thoughtfully stroking his chin. "I never saw his mother bend…well, anything. But she was a beautiful woman, even in her mid-forties. You could just tell she was noble. Something about the way she walked and the look in her eyes." He snapped his fingers as if recalling something, "Mako looks a lot like her, especially the eyes. He's got her eyes. Bolin just has her hair color."
Jinora thanked the man for taking the time to talk to her and presented him with a meal ticket to the seafood restaurant downtown. "I don't eat meat, so I couldn't make anything for you to eat…"
"Don't worry about it!" The man laughed. "You know, funny story, fishing wasn't illegal here until the park security caught Mako fishing for dinner one too many times!"
On the way home, Jinora thought.
Your mouth is poison; your mouth is wine.
It was the kiss that did it.
Bolin knew that Jinora wasn't a confrontational person, but when she sat him down one day and placed everything she knew about him out before him—she had known things that even he didn't know—he didn't know what else to do.
He didn't even think about it; it was reflex for him to kiss her.
Bolin didn't normally shut her up this way. Normally, he'd push her shoulder teasingly or flick his index finger against her forehead. But with his repressed feelings and the situation, it didn't call for a push or a flick. Of course, it didn't call for a kiss either, but that was what happened.
He had never wanted anyone as much.
The flavor of her lips, the feel of them against his, were addicting. He never wanted it to stop; it was like drinking well-aged wine. He had waited for so long and he finally had her. On the other hand, he knew he had to stop.
He didn't plan it. He didn't think it would happen like this. Hell, he didn't even think it would happen at all. It had been so long since he had let someone in that he didn't know how anymore.
So when the kiss ended, and Jinora looked up at him with glassy eyes and parted lips, Bolin did what he did best.
You think your dreams are the same as mine.
Jinora knew what she wanted in life.
She wanted many things, but the one thing she wanted most was Bolin. However, even though she wanted him, she couldn't bring herself to have him like this: broken and jaded. He didn't trust anyone, save Mako, and he loved her—she knew he loved her. He had to love her; why else would he kiss her otherwise? Even broken and jaded, he wouldn't play with her like that.
She wanted the Bolin that she knew he could be.
Every time she looked at him, she saw glimpses of the man that she knew he could be, given the chance. With every sad glance, she saw the man who could love her better than anyone else could. With every look he sent her way, she could see the Earthbender she had loved for years and years, back when he thought her a little girl and she just wished.
Jinora hated that Bolin thought that she didn't want him. Just because he didn't want her to want him didn't mean anything to her. Bolin pushed her away because he knew that if he gave Jinora half a chance, she'd worm her way into his heart and never leave.
She wasn't stupid. She knew that it wasn't that he could trust, but that he was afraid to. He trusted Mako well enough, Jinora noted. He could trust her just as well, if only he let himself. Bolin seemed to think that he just didn't trust and didn't want to be with her for the same reason, that he couldn't trust her.
But not trusting her didn't make her want Bolin any less. It wasn't the trust issues that made her want him any less. She wanted him regardless; she didn't care that he would never be able to let her in. He could have been so much more than the shell that he had become.
Jinora wanted to help him break free of that. It was the nature of her bending styles to want to. Air was the element of freedom; earth was being grounded. She was the very embodiment of air; prejudice and stubbornness were foreign things to her. Likewise, Bolin was the very embodiment of an Earthbender; he was grounded and stubborn in his beliefs.
They truly were opposites.
I don't love you, but I always will.
He couldn't love her; he never wanted to.
All he wanted in life was for her to be happy, but not with him. He wasn't good for her. He was too old for her. He loved her too much. He was too poor for her. They were complete opposites. He couldn't trust her; what kind of relationship could they build if he couldn't trust her?
Years, he constructed excuses as to why he could never love her. He told himself, day after day and night after night, all the ways that he didn't love her. He told himself all the little things about her that he most certainly did not love.
He told himself he didn't love her.
I wish you'd hold me when I turn my back.
The day Jinora told him that she was leaving, she waited for him to tell her not to go. She was prepared for it; she didn't want to leave.
He simply stared at her with wide green eyes, and so she turned away, her own eyes brimming with tears that she refused to let spill until she was sure that he would not see them. She put one foot in front of the other, forced herself to walk away from him. Still, she was hoping—praying—that he would stop her, that he would give some indication that he didn't want her to leave.
Bolin let her go.
The less I give, the more I get back.
He had given her almost nothing.
The words he had given her were insubstantial; she would never remember any of their conversations in years to come. Any indication of his feelings towards her were hidden underneath a mask of gaiety and cheer that could have been mistaken for anything else. The kiss he had accidentally given her would be forgotten too, in time.
But everything he had given her, she had returned almost doubly. With every word he said, she returned. With every touch, every hug, every brush of their hands, she gave him a part of herself in the lingering touch.
With that kiss, she left him.
He would never tell anyone about the days he had spent doing absolutely nothing, staring at the skies outside his bedroom and dreaming of her voice. No one would ever know about the nights he dreamt away with memories of their times together. He thought of her, always.
He gave her a kiss; she gave him memories.
Your hands can heal; your hands can bruise.
Bolin's hands were calloused; they were the hands of an Earthbender. They were physical evidence of the hard life he led. He didn't have an easy childhood; he and Mako worked to survive.
In pro-bending matches, his opponents walked away with bruises and scrapes received from his Earthbending. They faded eventually, but they remained for a while as reminders of his determination to come out on top.
But his hands didn't destroy.
They hurt, but they healed. It was his hands that bandaged up his brother after training. It was his hands that held Jinora's when she was ten years old and her mother was giving birth. He used his hands to build sand castles with her and her siblings. His hands did so much more than bruise and break things.
When Jinora left, she could only think about how he had never hurt her in any way. The ten years she had known him, he had always helped her in any way he could. It was ironic that the only time he hurt her, it wasn't in any way physical.
Her heart begged to differ.
I don't have a choice, but I'd still choose you.
It took months before Mako made him get off his ass and do something about Jinora.
During those five months, Bolin thought a lot. It was mostly about his childhood, his parents, Mako, and Jinora. He had lost his childhood because he had lost his parents, but he had Mako and Jinora. He loved her, but he couldn't trust her.
He thought he couldn't trust her; it took Mako's logical mind for him to realise that it wasn't Jinora that Bolin couldn't bring himself to trust.
It was him.
Jinora had been in love with him for the better half of ten years. Even though he had only recently returned her feelings, he never felt as deeply for anyone. He didn't trust easily, but did it make any difference as to whether he should trust her?
Mako didn't think so.
When Bolin left on his borrowed Sky Bison, Momo, he now knew that even though he didn't want to trust, that he was afraid to trust, Jinora was worth it.
I don't love you, but I always will.
Jinora stayed for weeks in the peaceful Earth Kingdom town. Early on in her stay, she had learned that this was the town in which the exiled Princess Azula and her husband Haru had lived and raised their children. She made friends with the locals and learned so much more than she had even thought she would. There were statues dedicated to the late Princess, who had saved the town from rebels that intended to restore her to the crown. She looked at the statues and thought of how much Mako looked like her.
Thinking of Mako brought thoughts of Bolin.
Jinora told herself it was futile for her to love someone who could never trust her. She didn't mind loving him, but as long as he didn't trust her, they could never be together because he wouldn't let her in.
She didn't love him anymore, she told herself. It was time to grow up and move on from the crush that had gripped her since she was ten.
But then one day, she opened her door and he was standing there with Momo behind him and a sheepish smile on her face, and she knew that she loved him always.
"Don't trap yourself because of me," He began but she tugged him forward into a searing kiss.
When it was over, she looked at him with a mischievous smile, "Then I guess you'll just have to come with me."