note: this is all assuming that lin gets to come back home, which may or may not be true. i don't know.
Lin Beifong's eyelids part. She is suddenly awake. But she cannot tell. When she throws her body over the edge of her bed to stand up, she is lost. She is empty. She is in a small square and she longs to feel the entire world underneath her feet. But like with most of her emotions, she pushes that aside. She steps across the floor, attempting to keep her footsteps light and weightless. She is a fawn that cannot yet walk fluidly, awkwardly stumbling and trying to become accustomed to a new feeling.
She faces her wardrobe; in it is the shell of the former being that she was before she sacrificed everything. She is not that person anymore. She rests her hands gently on the wood. She looks down at the ground. With the total knowledge that she could do worse things, she opens the doors and quietly removes her uniform from the shelves. She places it on her bed and allows herself to look at it for a painfully long time. What good is it to her anymore? She is not a chief. She is not a fighter or a bender. She is not strong anymore. She is nothing.
She gets dressed in her more casual clothes. She picks up her uniform and carries it outside of her house. Outside, it is raining and is very dark. Impending doom is very present, as the city is silent and eerie. But she cannot sense anything other than what she is doing right now.
She walks over to the sea that encompasses Air Temple Island. As she looks resolutely to the mask that covers the statue of Avatar Aang, she tosses her uniform into the wash. With her feet delicate but entirely certain, she turns around. She can see in the distance a polar bear dog carrying four passengers riding into the shadows, the avatar and her crew. Something Lin cannot explain overtakes her heart. Passion? Faith? Longing to aid? It is some combination. But she cannot do anything.
A part of her reminds herself that she's done much. However, she cannot feel as though the feeling that gives her overrides the removed emotions that also came with the removal of something she was born with, something that made her the woman she is today. Something that should be irremovable, and therefore is irreplaceable. She has not cried once. As she walks back to her home, she wonders if she has ever cried.
Now would be a perfect time.
The rain ceases to fall, though the wispy and dark clouds still loom directly above. Inside her kitchen, she finds a tomato-carrot, and though she has never liked them, it's all she can bring herself to eat. She also grabs a knife, made of cleaned metal, and a bowl to place them in. With the knife she begins carefully but sluggishly to slice the tomato-carrot to pieces, concentrating on each division with a firm stare. Suddenly her finger stings, pierces with pain, as the knife inadvertently finds its way into her skin. She grits her teeth. She has definitely experienced worse pain. But she begins to scream loudly, grasping her wrist and tilting her head back to the skies. Her scream becomes an incoherent growl and she shoves the bowl, knife, and portions of tomato-carrot onto the ground in one swift gesture. Eventually she falls onto the ground with it, onto her hands and knees, gasping from the sudden deluge of emotion plaguing her heart, her mind, her soul.
She looks up and to the mess on the floor. Why is she letting this happen to her? Why is she letting her entire being crumble into nothingness? The corresponding feeling will surely blow over like a leaf in the wind. But why is the leaf even so closely glued to her? What is her problem? She is a remarkably strong woman, extremely bright and incredibly admirable. Then her bending was taken away from her, stolen away from her. And she cannot even bring herself to correctly cut a vegetable.
There is absolutely nothing she can do.
The panic on her shoulders lifts slightly, and she picks up her ruined lunch, her somewhat bloody knife, and the now-broken bowl. She throws them all into the garbage can. She has no appetite. She does not want to sit and ponder about her situation. She does not want to go for a walk. She does not want to go back to sleep. There is absolutely nothing she can do.
As she gingerly touches her face, she thinks back to the avatar. She is currently being patient and waiting for the opportunity to save the world, to be something more. If it weren't for Lin's loss, a monster would be after the avatar at this moment. And she also thinks of Tenzin and Pema. They and their children are somewhere safe now. Someone could be proud of her.
Suddenly she doubles over. Her mother. She would be markedly proud of her daughter. Never once was she not. She remembers her mother's touch, not distant, not located across the entire globe that she learned to feel, but directly in front of her, completely near her soul. She remembers her mother speaking of sacrifice and the good and bad in the world. She remembers her mother's never-ending stories of healing recovery. She remembers the peace and love and humor that her mother offered. She remembers her mother's hand resting silently on her shoulder. She remembers thinking that one day, she was going to be just like her mother.
But that's not true. Her mother could bend, and Lin cannot.
Lin realizes that her mother's ability was secondary to her spirit. And that must somehow be true of her, too. She stands up straighter. She takes a deep breath and steps outside to see the rain falling again. As she stomps remorselessly onto the ground and toward the sea, she smiles triumphantly. She decides that she'll go for a swim.