Title: Over a Silent Sea
Rating: K
Summary: The earth, if Lin were asked to describe it, sounds like breathing.
Genre: Drama
Word Count: 435

Notes: Spoilers for episode 10, "Turning the Tides."

Over a Silent Sea

The earth, if she were asked to describe it, sounds like breathing.

Her mother would have said it sounded deep, guttural and firm to the core, but Lin thinks it changes. Sometimes it's light, sometimes it's heavy. Sometimes it has too much to say at once for her to understand. Other times there's not enough for what she needs.

And sometimes the earth has very little to say, like a heartbeat or a tender emotion, so quiet she would barely know it's there. Her mother would always listen anyway, drinking the sounds, the noise, the breathing in like wine, but Lin is busy. Lin lives in a faster, modern world. Lin could not always go barefoot. Lin does not always have the time.

She's starting to regret it, but there's no time anymore. All she knows is that it wasn't enough. But maybe that's all right, because it never would be. There would always be more to hear. Lin knows that no matter how quiet or loud it may seem, underneath everything the earth says something in a hum, always, a low and steady rumble, like a voice from nature itself. Her mother had spent years trying to decipher its messages, but it is too much, always, for one person to understand. Lin cannot quite make it out, either. But the spirits know she has tried.

She'll remember how it could feel like, of course, but it won't be enough. And then she'll remember remembering, if just for a little while, at least until the memory of the sensation will leave her, too.

But she'll do it for Tenzin, for Pema, for the kids, for Korra, for Aang. Her mother would understand. She's doing it to save the city and the last airbenders in the world. She'll live. She'll have to.

It is enough.

Amon's thumb comes down. She closes her eyes, concentrating, listens to the breathing and the echos - and the earth goes beatbeatbeat, skips, and then stops altogether - before there's a single, throbbing moment, and her ears fall silent.

There's the sound of falling, the sound of vertigo. The sound of her own inhaling, exhaling, disconnected and uneven, and when she hits the ground, she can't stand the sound of herself alone.

She listens, she listens so hard, and then she hears it, she finally understands: there is nothing there. The hum is the silence. The world is crying out to her in ten thousand breaths and heartbeats, and each of those voices is calling out precisely nothing.

So Lin will hold her breath too, steady, and let her heart fall finally silent.