Chapter 18: Tenzin
Bolin had grown accustomed to his new routine in the last two months. School had picked up for Jinora again, and so had the bending arena. He would wake up at six in the morning to prepare for practice, and after breakfast, he, Korra, Mako, and Jinora would board the ferry together to head to the mainland. The city would slowly wake up as Satmobiles hummed alive and bustled down the streets. He would walk Jinora to school and then head over to the arena for practice. After practice, he would head down to the police station to meet Lin (Korra and Mako would go to City Hall for diplomatic duties) and have yet another gruesome practice with her. Then he would visit Sina for a little while at her job before picking Jinora up from school and heading home with her and watching her practice bending before dinner. It was tedious, granted, but it was fulfilling.
He felt a slight tug on his arm. Looking down, he noticed a timid looking boy gazing up at him. "Excuse me, sir. Do you have any spare change?"
Bolin smiled at the youngster, fishing for his wallet. Unfortunately, he didn't bring it and a pang of guilt swelled within him. Jinora rested a hand on his arm and extended her lunch to him. "We don't have any money, but I hope this will help you a bit. My mom made it this morning."
"Tenzin! Don't run off as you please!"
The four perked up at the mention of Tenzin's name, looking at the distraught mother with worn clothes. Her brown hair was pulled back from her face, revealing her exhausted state. She grabbed her son by the hand, bowing her head to the group. "I'm sorry. My son has a tendency to—"
Korra simply smiled. "It's alright, lady. Are you alright?"
She bowed her head in recognition. "Avatar Korra."
Her chest puffed up slightly with the mention of the word 'Avatar', but a curt look from the other three swelled her back down. The woman offered the lunch Tenzin was previously holding back to Jinora. "I believe this is yours?"
She waved it off with a smile. "It's alright. It has a lot of food, so if you wanted, you could have it."
There wasn't any sense of self-pride in the woman when she accepted the lunch. Relief flooded her face, probably because it meant that her son could have a proper meal today. Korra engulfed her in a hug, which the woman didn't take very well at first. The Avatar released her after a few seconds, giving her a smile. "If you ever need help, I'll be in the arena."
"Thank you," she whispered before being whisked away by the bustling crowd. Mako cocked his head to the side. He wasn't going to question why Korra was all of a sudden 'touchy-feely'. She probably felt something inside the woman; something that needed…a hug.
"So her son's name is Tenzin."
"Guess so," Jinora monotoned.
"Yup," Bolin popped the 'p'.
Korra threw her hands up in the air in defeat. "Let's just get to the arena!"
The two walked in comfortable silence until they reached her school gate. "Bo? You don't need to come pick me up at school today."
"I've got a study group at school and I won't be home until eight o' clock. My friend offered to drop me off at the pier, so I'll just need to ferry home."
He scratched the back of his head hesitantly. "You sure this is alright?"
She nodded enthusiastically. "Everyone is counting on me!"
He crossed his arms and leaned on the gate, an amused smile toying on his lips. "Oh really now?"
Jinora giggled. "You should come and watch. I'm gonna go now. See you at home!"
It was about the time that Bolin would pick up Jinora and head home, but since she had told him not to, he wasn't sure exactly what to do. He didn't trust her 'friends' taking her home safely, and her parents would probably throw a fit if he returned alone. So he decided he would wait with Sina until it was time to go home.
"Bolin? What're you doing back here? Is something wrong?" she asked him, rushing past the counter to examine his face. He tilted his head and sighed.
"Just waiting for Jinora."
She smiled sympathetically, patting his cheek twice before bustling over to clean some empty tables. "You really like her, don't you?"
He shrugged, digging his hands in his pockets. He noticed the 'Help Wanted' sign stuck to the window. It'd be nice to have a job, but considering that Pro-Bending was his original way of making money, he didn't feel the need to apply. The restaurant was slowly filling up with people and he didn't want to pester his girlfriend any more than he had already, so after kissing her goodbye, he left again. "When is your shift over?"
"Not until midnight," she frowned. He nodded, waving her goodbye and crossing the street. It was only 6 o' clock.
A shrill scream pierced the air, stopping him in his tracks. He pivoted in the direction of the scream, his fists tightening when weak whimpers followed suit. In a small clearing was the woman he had met earlier in the morning, fending off a band of thugs. He cracked his knuckles when one of the men swung a bat and hit her side, knocking her to the ground. Oh, this was going to be good.
He stepped into his beginning stance, sliding his foot along the ground—only to have it snubbed by an object in his path. He bent down to the cowering figure in the bushes. "Tenzin?"
The little boy yelped, clinging to Bolin. "M-Mommy is in trouble…get down, please. Mommy was supposed to come alone…they're going to kill her if they find us!"
He nodded, crouching down. He would have to be slick about this then.
Just then, one of the men chuckled when the woman stood up tall once more. "So, one chance meeting with the grand Avatar and you want to call it quits? You're one of our best agents."
"You people lied. You said joining the Equalist cause would bring us freedom. But all it brings us is fear of tomorrow."
He slapped her across the face. "How dare you mock us? We fed you, and clothed you, and even gave you a place to sleep."
She scoffed, wiping the blood from her mouth. "Does your mouth ever hurt from lying so much?"
Bolin covered Tenzin's eyes as the woman's patience was breeched, beating the men to a pulp. Her movements were slick and mimicked the Water Tribe's bending, but it was obvious she was not a bender. Soon enough, the fight was over and the woman scurried over to her child. "Tenzin—oh!"
He smiled nervously before a foot came in quick contact with his face. Then it was black.
Bolin woke up groggily, sitting up and bashing his forehead with Jinora. She reeled back in pain, kicking his shoulder. "Bolin!"
"Jinora? Jinora! What are you doing here?!" he gripped her shoulders and warily looked around for the woman and child.
"What am I doing here? You're the one sleeping outside the school," she retorted. "Let's go home."
"Wha—how? Jinora, listen. There was this lady—"
She huffed, punching him in the arm. "I don't need to hear about your dreams."
"It wasn't a dream! I think."
The airbender rolled her eyes. Hopeless.
In the alley across the street, two figures sat crouched down in the shadows.
"Mommy? Why did you bring him here?"
"You repay kindness with kindness, Tenzin. It's better this way."
"I like him."
"I know," she pressed a kiss on her son's forehead. "Me too."
She was sure he was planning to save her from those men. He was going to be chivalrous and kind and help her out. She didn't need it though. She could handle Republic City well on her own. She smiled fondly at the two figures disappearing in the distance. The girl was laughing with him, her fingers interlaced behind her back. She smiled just like Councilman Tenzin. Letting out a big sigh, she nuzzled into Tenzin's neck. The man that had saved her life so many years before…he seemed to be doing well. But she couldn't face him now. Not anymore.
Oh my goodness I'm so sorry. School has started, as I've said, and guess who is participating in three extracurricular activities! (This person!) Referring to me. Anyway, thank you to the other reviews I have read so far. They all gave me a push to keep working despite the time I had for it. I'm sorry it doesn't focus very much on Jinora, but introducing a new character is always so fun. Personally, I think my favorite new character is still Sina. I'm planning to make her a very good girlfriend and a very cool person. Bolin deserves a good one. And if he has a bad girlfriend, he wouldn't stay very long, now would he? Already working on the next chapter guuuuiiiseeee. Cheers!