title: pai sho surprise
chapters: 1 of 2
fandom: legend of korra
character/pairing: lin bei fong, tenzin, toph, slight linzin
word count: 1220
summary: Everyone knows that a game of Pai Sho can reveal a lot of things, including things one never expected to hear. Linzin.
author's note: I wanted to write a young Linzin and this is what happened.
Pai sho surprise
Tenzin was not an idiot. He might have been the youngest of Aang's children, but he was the one who was going to accomplish the most. Even at fourteen years old, he knew that. He also knew that, no matter what anyone else said, Lin Bei Fong was not the sweet, innocent daughter of the greatest Earth bender to ever exist. She might have been really pretty and really strong and a really great friend, but she was also a really big pain in the back.
No, literally. A pain in the back.
Tenzin squirmed on his stool in a vain attempt to get out the rocks Lin dropped down his robe. The prickly, tiny pebbles seemed to want to stay where they were, a trick that Lin was no doubt manipulating from her side of the Pai Sho table. He wiggled this way and that before finally he couldn't take it anymore. He leapt off of his stool and sent a strong gust of air down his robe, effectively knocking the rocks down. He turned back towards his friend with a triumphant hmph. So much for the next greatest Earth bender. He sat back down, glanced down at the board, and-
"Lin!" roared Tenzin with a flap of his hands. The angry motion sent the pieces on the table up into the air for a moment, but Tenzin ignored that. Lin did as well, too busy putting on that nonchalant, innocent look that her mother had passed down to her.
"Yes, Tenzin?" she asked.
His eyebrows shot up so high they brushed against the air nomad tattoos. "Yes?" he repeated. "Yes! I saw what you did. You can't act like you weren't cheating."
Lin gasped, bringing her hand up to her chest dramatically as she did so. That wasn't all she did, of course. She switched another piece on the board. Much like she'd done while he had his back turned. She was a lousy cheat.
She said, "I'm hurt you would think I could do something like that."
His lips pursed. "Move them back."
She seemed to get that her innocent act wasn't going to get her anywhere, so she crossed her arms and said, "No."
He wasn't intimidated by her little stance. He stood up, towering over her. "Move them back."
"Do it or I'll-"
"You'll what?" she asked with a mocking grin. "Make the air too chilly in here? Give me a bad hair day? What's an air bender like you going to do to me?"
His eyes narrowed. He hated when she did this. She wasn't the only one. A lot of the other kids in Republic City thought air bending was lame. It was rare, but it wasn't strong like earth, or vital like water, or even cool like fire. It was just there. And he was just sick of that opinion. He was sick of being picked on and being the runt, even when his best friend was a girl! He'd show her. He stepped back and, in an instant, he had Lin dangling upside down above the table.
Lin looked around, her face going as pale as a Kyoshi. Tenzin would've laughed if he wasn't too busy smirking already. How was that for a bad hair day?
He said, again, "Move them back." She glared at him and he lowered her just a bit closer to the board, so she could reach when she was ready. "I swear I'm not letting so much as a finger of yours get close to the ground until you mov-whoa!" Tenzin jumped as a few of the Tai Sho pieces flew at him. Unlike weaker benders (like his siblings), his grip and control only heightened when under attack. Lin was hoisted even higher off the ground.
She snapped, "Wait until I tell my mother about this, Tenzin. She'll have you on an iron lung in no time, and then when I can metal bend, I'm going to make that stupid thing stop and even your stupid air bending won't keep you alive!"
Crap. Lin's eyes widened, and she wasn't alone. Both Lin and Tenzin turned towards the doorway where none other than Toph herself was standing. She ran a lot in Republic City, but that didn't mean she didn't have time to do a little parenting when she felt like it. Tenzin silently prayed to every past Avatar that Toph would only punish Lin for this. He couldn't even finish thinking his dad's name before the metal pinch of Toph's chains wrapped around him. Lin dropped from the sky onto the table, but she was only on the ground a second. That's all it took. Then Toph had her wrapped up too. We were covered shoulders to knee in thick metal, much too strong for either of us to even think about getting out of on our own. Toph stalked closer, and Tenzin had to say that she was lucky she couldn't see how terrifying she looked when she was angry.
"Mom, you've got to hear me out," Lin started, "We were just playing Pai Sho when Tenzin-"
"Hey! Don't blame this on me. You're the one who-"
"I didn't do anything. You're delusional-"
"-Cheats at everything. I swear sometimes you're-"
"-And you don't listen. You're basically the-"
And together, they said, "Worst friend ever." Silence followed their dual declaration. One in which neither of them could even look at each other.
Toph cleared her throat, "You two done yet? Because I've got an entire army to deal with when I'm done here."
Lin sighed. "Sorry, Mom."
Toph shook her head. "You're sorry? You and Flighty over here have been arguing for weeks. I don't even spend most of my time here and I'm sick of it. Don't know how Katara puts up with you two, but since Katara isn't here, we're handling this my way." Both children looked at each other in fear only to quickly look away. Toph went on, oblivious. "Neither of you are moving until you work through whatever issues have you bickering all the time. I'll be back in an hour to check on you, and you better be happy and talking when I come back."
Toph only glared at Lin. It was enough to silence the young bender. Then, without another word, Toph turned and left them there. Chained. Trapped. Together. For an hour.
Tenzin whispered, "I think I like it when my mom does the parenting."
Lin nodded. "Yeah, me too."
Toph could be a bit hardcore. Too hardcore. Tenzin opened his mouth to say something. He wasn't exactly saying her mom was a bad mom. He was just saying that her methods were a little unorthodox, and unnecessary, and bladder confining. But before he could get out something intelligent like that, he wound up asking, "What could we possibly have to work through? You cheated. That's it. Admit it and we're good. It's not like we're secretly in love with each other or something." He laughed to himself. Yeah, that'd be the day. Lin in love with him? Ha! He glanced over towards her chairs and to her face, which had turned as red as the Fire Lord's robes. Tenzin's laughter died down pretty quickly. Whoa. Lin was in love with him!