Scars and Bandages

Summary: Scenes taking place in the same universe/timeline/whatever as Wounds Both Old and New.

Disclaimer: If I owned Legend of Korra, Lin would have escaped from the Equalists in the season finale and rescued Korra from being de-bending'd by tearing Amon's head off with her bare hands. Also, bender privilege and Korra being the link between the spirit and material worlds would have been addressed WAAAAAAY more. But they wouldn't show the first one on a kids' TV program and...well, they'd better address bender privilege and Korra's spiritual side in book 2...yeah, wherever I was going with this, I don't own the show.

Pairings: Lin/Korra ("Korralin")

Author's Notes: I don't like Pema. I'm not one of the "ASDFJKL; PEMA IS SUCH A HOMEWRECKING WHORE" people, but I have problems with the way she was written. So I'm trying to make Pema, erm, use her head a little more in this chapter.


The Edge of Reason

Lin could both sense hear the footsteps as they advanced toward her door. There were two pairs of feet, and she recognized their owners; the two people on her front step were two of her officers. She could overhear them arguing:

"This has to be the wrong address."

"Just knock."

"No, double check."

"I've checked three times!"

Lin was waiting right in front of the door when the knock came, but she waited half a second before opening it to avoid startling them. "Hyung. Zian. Taking the break of dawn shift, I see?"

Zian made a valiant attempt not to look embarrassed; to his credit, Lin could only tell he was embarrassed because she knew him so well. Hyung, meanwhile, was making no attempt to mask his glare that was aimed at Zian and could only be saying "I told you the Chief lived here".

"Er, sorry about this, Chief," said Zian, his cheeks reddening. "We received an anonymous tip this morning...Hyung thought we should check it out..."

"Excuses, Zian?" Lin deadpanned, raising an eyebrow.

"It was my idea to follow up on that tip, Chief, and I'm sorry I didn't cross-reference the address," Hyung spoke up. "I thought we should at least check out any tip that stated the Avatar might be in danger."

"Well, she is here. I take it you'll be wanting to escort her home. And you might as well come in; I don't want the kongee to boil over." Lin stepped aside to allow her somewhat befuddled-looking officers into the entryway and closed the door. "Korra!" Lin called in the general direction of her bedroom. When there was no response, Lin tried again. "Korra! Are you even awake?"

The avatar, still wearing a half-unbuttoned nightgown and her hair in a chaotic mass of tangles, slouched into the room, rubbing her eyes. Her whining response could only have been written as "WHAAAAA-aaaaaat?"

"I think Tenzin wants you to come home now."

Korra turned her bleary eyes toward the two policemen standing in the doorway. "Ugh, he called your own squad on you? Lame."

"Go get dressed. My officers have more important things to do than wait for you in my kitchen."

"But I want breakfast!" Korra whined. "I'm hungry!"

"The kongee is almost done. You can take some with you."

"Kongee is gross when it's cold." Korra pouted.

"Are you capable of firebending or not? Keep it warm yourself and eat it when you get back to Air Temple Island. And stop whinging. It takes a decade off your age, which makes me immensely uncomfortable."

Grumbling incoherently, Korra lumbered back toward the bedroom. "Fine."

"And comb your hair!" Lin called after her. "You look like my mother!"

The sound that Korra made in response did not remotely resemble any word.

Lin went back to the stove to turn off the heat before turning apologetically to the two officers, who were no longer attempting to hide conceal their puzzlement. "I'll have to apologize for the avatar. She isn't exactly a morning person."

Neither of the policemen could think of anything to say; Zian cleared his throat to fill the awkward pause. Fortunately, Korra came shuffling back into the kitchen, fully dressed and having made an attempt to fix her hair. She completely ignored the two officers and went straight to Lin, burying her face in her lover's shoulder.

"Yes, hello, Korra. Good morning. For spirits' sake, have some manners. We have company."

Korra wrapped her arms around Lin and made garbled noises into the fabric of her robe.

"There is no such thing as 'too early for manners'. You're a public figure. What's going to happen when you have to give a speech or present an award before the sun is high?"

More indecipherable sounds. Hyung and Zian exchanged glances, wondering how Lin managed to pick meaning out of Korra's sleepy mumbling.

"Yes, well, sometimes you won't be able to re-schedule. Now stop being a child and say hello, and I'll get you a bowl of kongee to take with you." Lin planted a businesslike kiss on top of Korra's head and went to retrieve a pair of bowls from a nearby cabinet.

Korra waved drowsily at the two policemen. "Morning, Officer Zian. Hi, Officer Hyung. Notice I'm not saying 'good morning' because there is no such thing."

"Really, Korra?" Lin handed a bowl wrapped in a clean white dishcloth to Korra. "Here's your breakfast."

"Thanks, Lin." Korra took the bowl with one hand and stood up on tiptoe with surprising swiftness to steal a goodbye kiss.

"You really need to learn how to behave when we have guests," Lin sighed.

"I'm being dragged away from my girlfriend and Tenzin is being a complete overprotective cloud-brain! I'll kiss you goodbye if I want!" Korra protested loudly.

"Of course Tenzin is being a complete overprotective cloud-brain. But that doesn't give you the right to carelessly make our relationship public."

"It's just your metalbenders!" Korra countered. "They'll keep it a secret, right?"

Lin fixed Hyung and then Zian with a withering look that was colloquially known in the metalbending unit as "The Five-Day Rip Glare". Zian nodded emphatically, and Hyung hastily added, "Your secret is safe with us, Chief."

"Good," said Lin flatly. "Hyung, Zian, I'll see you both later…Korra…" Lin paused to give Korra a quick hug. "I'll call."

Korra nodded. "Okay." She shuffled out the door, followed swiftly by the two officers, who clearly wanted to escape the surreal experience of seeing their revered chief in a housecoat making breakfast.

There was not room for Korra in the front of the police Satomobile on the way back to Air Temple Island, but she didn't seem to care; she was silent for most of it, partly because she was drooping sleepily over the bowl of kongee in her lap. Hyung broke the silence by calling back to her, "You might want to focus by keeping that warm, kid."

"Oh, yeah…right…" said Korra sleepily, but this time she was at least coherent enough for the officers to understand her.

"Dammit, Keh, now you're reminding me how hungry I am," Zian grumbled, tightening his hands on the steering wheel.

"You're just out of sorts because the Chief saw you blushing. You ate five eggs before the shift started," Hyung rebutted.

"The kongee smells good, all right?"

"It does, though," Korra interjected. "Lin's a really good cook."

"Darkest spirits," Zian muttered in response to Korra's use of the Chief's given name.

"So…you and the Chief, huh?" queried Hyung.

Korra smiled almost dreamily. "Yeah, me and the Chief. Except I'm pretty sure she'll tank your career if you tell anyone. That is, if she doesn't kill you."

"Don't worry, kid, we won't say anything," Zian assured her. "Even if our careers and butts weren't on the line, we know better than to let civilians know anything personal about our unit."

"You're a lucky girl, avatar," said Hyung as they pulled up to the ferry dock. Only two Satomobiles were allowed on each ferry to Air Temple Island, but theirs was the only one in line, and soon they were on their way across the water.

"Yep, I am."

The rest of the ride was quiet, although the awkwardness in the air was still fairly palpable, as if both officers were exuding uncomfortable thoughts regarding their newfound knowledge of their police chief's relationship with the young avatar. By the time the car pulled up to the Air Temple and Korra got out after thanking the two officers for the ride, Hyung had decided what his opinion was.

"Hey, avatar?"

Korra turned back toward him, mildly surprised. "Yeah?"

"We're certainly happy for you and the Chief, but if you break her heart, we will have to kill you."

"Slowly and painfully," added Zian.

"And we're not just saying this because we know you'll be reincarnated," Hyung continued. "You break Chief Beifong's heart, we kill you. It's nothing personal."

Korra couldn't help but grin. "Understood, Officer Hyung." She scampered back into the temple, smiling so widely her face began hurting.

In a window two stories up, a figure watched until Korra had disappeared inside. The figure cringed as Korra's voice, hollering for Tenzin about calling the cops on her and Lin, echoed through the hallways. With a sigh, the figure turned away from the window.


It was rather late when Lin got home, as she had gotten into work around the same time most of her other officers arrived, and she was ordinarily the first person to get into the precinct (except for those who had been working all night). She had just gotten her armor off and was dressed in her trousers and tank top when the doorbell rang. Somewhat hoping it was a surprise visit from Korra, Lin went to the door. Unfortunately, she was wrong.

"Pema. What are you doing here?"

"I need to talk to you."

Lin held back a sigh. It was only out of politeness that she stepped aside and let Pema walk into the entryway. "Fine. What is it?"

Pema took a deep breath. "Just how serious are you and Korra?"

"Why don't you ask her?"

"I have. I don't think she's being entirely truthful."

"We're not serious at all. She's much closer to Mako. Now if you'll excuse me, I've had a long day at work…"

Lin turned away, dismissing the other woman in a way she knew perfectly well was rude but was past caring.

"Korra broke up with Mako this morning."

Lin whirled on Pema. "What? Are you serious?"

Pema nodded. "After Korra got home this morning, she raised a stink with Tenzin. Mako was trying to get her to calm down, but he got frustrated with her and then asked her to choose between you and him."

Lin felt as if there were ice in her throat. "So? It sounds like it was just an argument."

Pema bit her lip. "I don't think so. She started yelling at him that she couldn't be with someone who had cheated without thinking he'd done anything wrong, or something like that. She said…she was afraid he was going to end up trying to control her, and even if he didn't…um…and…"

"And what?" Lin prompted.

"She said even if that didn't happen…well, her exact words were 'Lin loves me ten times more than you ever could'."

Lin could think of no other response besides "ah".

"And she followed that up with 'and I love her ten times more than I could ever love you'."

"She said that?" The words left Lin's mouth before she could censor herself.

Pema took a deep breath. "Lin, this is a real problem."

"And why is that, pray tell?" Lin didn't bother trying to soften the edge in her voice.

"Do you think Korra really feels that way about you?"

Lin supposed that if she wasn't going to hide her annoyance, she shouldn't expect Pema to hide her disbelief, but that didn't change her desire to slap Pema in the face. "She has repeatedly said she loves me, and she has…mentioned that she'd prefer that I be her primary. And in case you've forgotten, I'm one of the most accomplished lie detectors in the precinct even without my seismic sense, so I know she's telling the truth. I'm sorry it's so difficult to believe a beautiful, talented young woman could actually care for me." Her last sentence was saturated with sarcasm.

"She's…happy with you?" Pema's eyebrows went up. "We all thought she and Mako were becoming so close…"

"She told me that had caused her to miss me more than she expected. Do you really think I would mistreat her?"

"No, but…it's like I said all those years ago. You just…aren't built for love, Lin."

This time it took a little more self-control for Lin to not strike Pema. When she spoke, her voice was almost a growl. "I would lay down my life for Korra."

"Well…are you sure…are you sure she really feels the same?"

"Didn't I just say that I am sure?" Lin snapped.

"Well, you know how…rebellious Korra is. Don't you think she might care about you because of what you…represent to her?"

"Pema, did you genuinely just ask me if Korra loves me because doing so is a method of…of teenage rebellion? Because if you did, then I'll need you to leave. Right this minute."

Pema held up both hands in a gesture of surrender. "All right, I'll go."

Lin held open the door for her. "And tell Tenzin that Korra is an adult and that he's overreacting."

"I know, but…Lin…" Pema paused in the doorway. "I believe you care about Korra. And if you really love her, you'll do the right thing. You're not the right person for her."

Lin's jaw clenched so hard she was afraid her molars might crack. "Somehow I disagree that breaking Korra's heart at a crucial time in her education as the avatar is the right thing. In fact, I disagree with the idea of breaking Korra's heart at any time is the right thing."

"You really think she'd be heartbroken?"

Lin ground her teeth. "Out. Now."

Pema was headed down the steps when Lin simultaneously heard and felt the now-familiar, heavy paw-falls of Korra's polar bear dog. "Oh, no," said Pema at the same time as Lin said, "Well, speak of the face-stealer and he shall appear."

Pema hustled quickly down the steps just as Naga reached the bottom of the staircase and Korra signaled for her to stop. Korra's beaming smile (she always grinned whenever she saw Lin; Lin loved that, how Korra was always delighted so see her even after all this time) vanished when she saw Pema. "Pema? What are you doing here?" With the typical rawness of teenage emotion, Korra's face suddenly contorted with anger. "Wait, you're here to try to get Lin to break up with me, aren't you? Do you have something against Lin being happy? Or is breaking up couples just your hobby?"

Flustered, Pema tried to reply, but couldn't come up with anything coherent.

"'My waterbender whose veins run with fire, cool the heat behind your eyes'," said Lin. It sounded to Pema like Lin was quoting; Korra apparently recognized the quote, and it took her attention off of Pema.

"Lin…" Korra leapt off of the polar bear dog's back and ran to Lin, completely ignoring Pema. She flung her arms around her lover. Lin hugged her tightly, but shot Pema a look that had made several a young triad initiate who was in the interrogation room for the first time dirty his pants.

Pema knew better than to hang around. She hastened down the road, but after a short while her curiosity got the better of her, and she turned to look over her shoulder. She saw Lin and Korra standing close with their foreheads touching, as if they had no idea that Pema was still watching them. Korra was beginning to cry; Lin cupped her face and brushed her tears away. When it immediately became apparent that Korra could not be comforted, Lin put an arm about her waist and gently led her inside. Korra went willingly, clinging to her lover and still crying.

Pema could have taken a cab, but she walked home because she wanted the time to think.


"I think we're wrong about this," said Pema for the third time.

Tenzin pinched the bridge of his nose. "Lin is thirty-three years older than Korra. There's no 'being wrong' about that."

"Have you ever seen them together? Besides when they told us they were a couple."

Tenzin paused. "No."

"I just don't think it's at all…" Pema searched for the right word to describe what she and Tenzin had previously thought of Lin's relationship to Korra. "…harmful. I saw them today. Korra was crying, and Lin was trying to calm her down…I saw the way they looked at each other. I don't think either of them is doing this to get back at us or because it will stick in your craw. They're just in love. Look, maybe…maybe Lin has gone soft in her old age, or something. She said something to Korra to get her to calm down and it sounded like she was quoting."

"What did she say?"

"Something about…'my Water Tribe girl whose veins run with fire'…"

Tenzin's brow furrowed. "'My waterbender whose veins run with fire'?"

"That was it."

"Are you sure? That's from a collection of love poems by Nama Tsu. Lin doesn't read poetry."

Pema made a helpless gesture. "I'm sure that's what I heard. Maybe she does read poetry now."

"How did Korra react?"

"She recognized it and ran right to her. Like Lin had made a habit of reading her that poem."

Tenzin sighed heavily. "What about Korra and Mako? Do we know if Lin had anything to do with them breaking up?"

Pema shook her head vigorously. "You should have seen Lin when I told her that Korra had left Mako. You'd think I'd have told her the sky had turned to fire. I'm not…I'm not even sure Lin understands how much Korra cares about her."

"I know Lin wouldn't…she's a good person. But her and Korra? It doesn't make any sense."

Pema shrugged. "I don't understand it either. But if they don't work out, they don't work out. Right now…I think we have to stop trying to keep them apart. It will just push them closer together. If they do break up, it will probably happen faster if we just let their relationship progress. And, really, sweetheart…they looked happy. And not silly adolescent love happy, either."

Tenzin ran a hand over his shaved head. "All right…I suppose."


Korra had mostly stopped crying. She lay with her head in Lin's lap while Lin caressed her scalp and hair.

"I wish it hadn't happened that way," Korra whispered. "But…I don't regret it."

"I know you had been considering…making me your primary. I didn't know you were planning to leave him."

Korra sighed. "He doesn't give me anything that you can't. I just…I'm not going to miss being with him. I have you."

"Pema told me some rather interesting things about what you said to him. She said you told Mako that I 'love you ten times more' than he ever could."

"Well, you do." Korra nuzzled Lin's thigh.

"Korra, I don't…I'm not a particularly loving person."

"Yeah, well, Mako didn't really even love me for me." Korra sniffed. "He had this idea of me, I think…that I was so brave and noble and self-sacrificing and perfect…" Korra's next words were muffled against Lin's leg. "I'm really not. It seemed like he just sort of put up with me at first, and then after Tarrlok kidnapped me, suddenly Mako was all over me, and maybe he wouldn't have even noticed me and things between him and Asami wouldn't have gotten all fucked up if I hadn't kissed him…"

"Korra, honey, was there a point to all that?"

Korra swallowed and tried to sort out her words. "I think…I think Mako was kind of thinking of me as something I'm not. It's…it's kind of a relief to not be held up to that or afraid I wasn't going to live up to it anymore."

"You were afraid?" Lin failed to keep the alarm out of her voice. "Why didn't you tell me?"

"I didn't…I didn't really know. Not until it was over. Not until I realized I wasn't so nervous anymore."

"I see." Lin gently scratched Korra's scalp.

"And…I still feel bad about what happened between him and Asami. I was a terrible friend to Asami for kissing her boyfriend, and I got together with Mako after I'd asked you to be with me…"

"You took responsibility for that first kiss you planted on Mako, and Asami forgave you. Stop beating yourself up for it. And I forgave you as well."

"I just…I know you love me. For me. Not because I'm the avatar. Not because I joined a pro-bending team."

Lin traced the lines of Korra's face and neck. "Well, that's certainly true."

"I don't deserve you, Lin."

"Where did that come from?"

"I couldn't choose between you and Mako, and I should have seen from the beginning that I'd rather be with you. I was selfish."

"But you learned from it."

"Yeah…I guess." Korra squirmed, climbing up into Lin's lap and resting her head on her lover's shoulder. "I love you."

"I know." Lin dropped a kiss on Korra's forehead. "I love you too."

Korra made a noise that could have been a laugh or sob. "It's so good to hear you say that."

"Look at me." Lin cradled Korra's face in her hands. "I'll have none of this nonsense about not deserving me. You're seventeen years old and your adolescence consisted of intensive training and completely abnormal socialization. I expect you to make mistakes and I love you despite them."

Korra's face broke into a watery smile. "Yeah, I had a weird adolescence." She leaned forward until her forehead was touching Lin's. "Can I stay the night? Please?"

"I was expecting you to."

"Good." Korra nuzzled at Lin's neck. "This is one of those nights when I just want to close my eyes and let you do whatever you want to me because I know it's going to be amazing."

"I have something else in mind. At least at first."

"Really?" Korra grinned. "What?"

"Hold on." Lin used both arms to support Korra's back and her knees, then stood, taking Korra with her. Korra clasped her arms around Lin's neck.

"Where are you taking me?"

"You'll see soon enough." Lin carried Korra into the master bathroom. "I wish I had a better place to lay you down to be all romantic and such, but you'll have to sit." Lin carefully put Korra down.

"Yeah, okay." Korra sat cross-legged on a small decorative rug. "What are we doing in the bathroom? I would guess bathtub sex, but you said you had something else in mind first."

"I do. Hold on a moment." Lin turned on the faucet, testing the water temperature with her hand.

"Honey, you know I'm a firebender and a waterbender, right? I can fix the temperature."

"That would be making you do some of the work. Which I will not allow at this point."

"Awww, Lin," Korra grinned. "Only you can be gruff and adorable at the same time."

Lin had apparently found the correct temperature; she let the water run and began rummaging in the vanity. "I know it's around here somewhere…"

"There's a bar of soap in the rack next to the tub."

"I'm not looking for soap…ah, here it is." Lin withdrew a ceramic bottle from the cabinet.

"What is that?"

"Have you ever been to a bathhouse?"

Korra shook her head. "No…why?"

"You can pay for a bath with an herbal soak. Some bathhouses allow you to buy some of their herbal formulas. The one in Republic City does that…sometimes after a 72-hour case, it's nice to come home to something unusually relaxing."

"72 hours? Really? Whoa."

"This one is my favorite." Lin uncapped the bottle. "Here, smell. See if you like it."

Korra obeyed. "Mm! That smells awesome. What's in it?"

Lin checked the bottle. "They don't list the ingredients, but this is 'Restful Twilight Accord'…spirits, the names they choose for these things…so let's see if I can remember…I know it has 'Accord' in the name because there's cream accord in it. And…rosehip seed, teak, amber, chamomile, lavender, lotus blossom, and…" Lin sniffed the bottle's opening again. "…mint."

"Whoa. I didn't know you were so into scented stuff."

"Korra, you're dating an old woman. Stop acting surprised when I act as such."

"So does it make me an old woman too when I ask if you can buy me like 3 bottles of this for my next birthday?"

"Oh, so you're still in denial. Good to know." Lin poured some of the mix into the bottle's cap and tipped the cap's contents into the tub. Korra leaned over the tub and sniffed again.

"Ooh, it smells even better in the water."

"That would be the point, honey."

"Can I get in now?"

"You're supposed to wait a few minutes, but you can go ahead."

Korra began wrestling with her shirt and breast bindings. "You're going to get in with me, right?"

Lin shrugged lightly. "My intention was to give you a bath, but I don't have to get in with you if you don't want me to."

"You'd better get in here!"

"All right."

As Lin began to undress, Korra, now fully naked, climbed into the tub. "Ahhhh. I am gonna smell amazing."

Lin folded a towel into fourths and stuffed it into one corner where the bathtub met the wall. "You can lay your head down here."

Korra did, letting out a happy sigh. "Am I going to get pampered?"

"Coming from you, I'm not exactly certain what that means, but I'll wash you…well, at least at first."

Korra giggled. "Okay."

Lin finished discarding her clothes. Korra gazed up at her, her eyes misting over. "What are you looking at?" Lin climbed into the tub and began soaping up the cloth.

"You. You're so damn beautiful. Do you just not age and dye your hair gray to fool everybody?" Korra held her arms out; Lin gathered her into a careful embrace. "Mmm…" Korra nuzzled and kissed her lover's shoulder. "Oh, spirits, you feel so good."

"So do you." Lin kissed the top of Korra's head.

"Now you have me all to yourself," Korra whispered, sliding her hands over the curves of Lin's back. "I love you so much."

"Are you continually saying that because you'll know I'll say it back now?"

"And if I am? I like hearing you say it."

Lin leaned back enough to give Korra a long, slow kiss. "I love you back."

Korra looked into Lin's eyes with a whacked-by-a-hammer grin that was ordinarily seen only on the faces of people who had consumed several helpings of sake. "Yeah, I could listen to you say that all day."

"Wouldn't it get less meaningful?"

"No. Maybe one day I'll follow you around saying 'I love you' constantly and you'll see I mean it every time."

Lin sighed. "You know what's terrifying? I think I would actually not be ready to slap you at the end of that day." She pressed the now-sudsy cloth to Korra's side and began to run it up her torso. "Now stop clinging to me. I'm trying to wash this awful day off of you."

"Yeah, that sounds like a good plan." Korra laid her head back on the towel as Lin began scrubbing her body, firmly enough to wash away dirt and oil but gently enough that Korra could tell it was her lover touching her. "That feels nice," Korra sighed. "Mmm…" Lin gently squeezed each of Korra's breasts as she washed her lover's chest. "Yeah, this is definitely a nice distraction."

"I'm glad." Lin moved the cloth up to Korra's neck and shoulders, then lifted up one of her arms to scrub the armpit.

"Eeek! That tickles!"

"What did you expect? I'm giving you a bath."

"I thought this was supposed to be all romantic! My armpits are not romantic!"

"It isn't romantic to leave you smelling like sweat and bending practice," Lin countered, washing the length of Korra's arm.

"You're right; you are bad at romance," Korra groused.

Lin sighed as she went to wash Korra's other arm. "Thinking you broke up with the wrong person now?"

Korra sat up. "What? Of course not! I'm just really ticklish."

Lin kissed Korra's forehead. "I'm sorry. That's a bit of a…a sore spot for me."

"Yeah, I know." Korra reached up and hugged Lin, then squirmed to kiss her scarred cheek. "Can I wash my other armpit, though? I know you wanted to pamper me, but it really is ticklish."

"All right." Lin handed the cloth to Korra; she gave her armpit a cursory scrub and handed the cloth back to Lin.

"Hey…Lin?"

"Hmm?"

"I know I say it a lot, but…I love you. A lot," Korra whispered.

Lin squeezed Korra's hand. "I know. I love you too."

"And I wouldn't trade our relationship for anything. Anything. I don't care that you're not all…I don't know, hearts and rainbows and flowers and stuff. I don't want you to think that I don't want us to be together because you wash my armpits."

"'Hearts and rainbows and flowers and stuff.' That's an interesting way to put it." Lin stroked Korra's cheek with her free hand. "But…thank you. I appreciate it. Now close your eyes."

Korra did, and Lin washed her face gently, careful not to get any soap in her eyes. Following that, Korra's upper body was now clean, so Lin turned her attention to her legs. "You have such beautiful legs. You always look lovely, of course, but those pants you wear so often are so baggy…it's nice to see your muscles."

"Maybe we're both wrong about you being bad at being romantic," Korra sighed. "Ooh!"

"I have to wash between your legs too."

"Hey, I don't mind," said Korra with a grin. "Just wish you'd done it more…"

"Later. Now turn around so I can wash your back. And I still need to shampoo your hair."

"Awwww. Fine." Korra sat up and turned around. She tilted her head forward as Lin scrubbed the back of her neck, then her shoulder blades, then her lower back. "Mmmm…that feels so good…" Korra leaned forward until her head was resting on the towel in the corner again.

"Korra, sit up. I have to wash your hair now."

"Okay." Korra straightened.

"Close your eyes again." Lin poured a handful of shampoo onto Korra's scalp and began to lather it.

"Mmmm, I love it when you massage my scalp."

"At this point, I could poke you in the eye and you'd say you enjoyed it."

"Or maybe you've just figured out how to make me feel good."

"Well, I would hope so, by now…" Lin picked up a ceramic jug from beside the tub, filled it with water, and upended it over Korra's head. "You're all rinsed."

Korra shook her head side to side. "Ahhh."

"Do you mind? You're not a polar-bear dog."

"Oh, yeah, sorry."

"Or maybe I should put a collar on you." Lin put pressure on the back of Korra's neck until Korra's head was again resting on the towel; Korra squealed.

"Ooh…maybe we should try that."

"Not right away." Lin ran her palms over Korra's back. "Mmm. You are lovely. I love your tattoos. And your shoulders."

"Mmmmm…" Korra arched her back into Lin's touch. "That feels nice."

Lin grasped Korra's hips gently. "Will you get up onto your knees for me?" she whispered.

Korra did. "Lin…? What are you doing?"

Lin fit herself to Korra's back like a shell, pressing tiny kisses to the back of her neck. "You said you always wanted to be facing me when we're making love? It doesn't feel as imtimate otherwise? Well…" Lin passed her hands over Korra's waist and hugged her briefly around the middle. "I'm right here."

Korra began to mewl and whimper as Lin hands slid up to cradle her breasts. "Hmmm…yeah…I guess we can try."

"You can tell me if you're uncomfortable. As always."

"Nnng…" Korra's spine curled downward, pushing her hips back, searching for friction. Lin shifted slightly so her thigh was resting between Korra's legs, providing the pressure she wanted. "Actually, Lin…this is kind of hot!"

"Glad you're enjoying it." Lin went back to her kisses on Korra's neck, moving down to her shoulder and adding her teeth to the equation.

"Oooh, I like it when you bite me like that! And when you do that with your hands…mmm…" Korra moaned as Lin's thumbs flicked expertly over her nipples. "The bath was nice, but this is the kind of pampering I was talking about!"

"I love how responsive you are," Lin murmured against Korra's shoulder. She couldn't help but chuckle softly as Korra continued to grind herself almost desperately against her thigh.

"That's one word for it!" Korra panted. "C-can I have your hand? Please?"

"You don't have to be so polite…but yes." Lin kept one hand busy at Korra's left breast; the other slid down to the join of her legs, two fingers sliding carefully into her lover's tight, sopping heat. "My, my, you are enjoying this." Lin crooked her fingers and began to stroke.

"Mmm…yeah…just there…" Korra's hips tilted again, this time to push Lin's fingers in deeper. "Ohh!"

"You like that?"

"Oh, spirits, Lin…more…"

"If you insist." Lin sank her teeth into the ball of Korra's shoulder, quickening the pace of her fingers.

"Ahhh! Yes! Yes! Ohhh, Lin…!"

Lin could feel Korra's inner thighs quaking; she gave a slight turn to her wrist so she could use her thumb, roughly caressing the swollen pearl of flesh at the top of Korra's sex. Korra let out a wordless cry of ecstasy, her body shaking wildly. Lin softly ran her fingers through Korra's hair and dropped a few soft kisses on the girl's shoulders. "Did I bite you too hard? If I did, I'm sorry."

"No, it's okay," said Korra faintly. She twisted around to wrap her arms around Lin and give her a warm, slow kiss. "What about you?" She trailed her fingertips up Lin's back.

Lin shook her head. "This was about me taking care of you. Maybe after we get into bed." She wrapped her arms soundly around Korra and pulled the girl with her as she lay down with her head on the towel. Korra ended up draped over her, and immediately adjusted to the new position, laying her head down on Lin's chest with a blissful sigh. Lin gently splashed some of the lukewarm water on the girl's body to keep her from becoming cold.

"Lin?" Korra murmured.

"Yes?"

"I, um…I think the secret is out. With Tenzin. He knows how much I love you. He's probably going to try to keep me from seeing you now. Except…I think he called the police on us this morning because I'm going to be eighteen soon, and then there won't be anything he can do. And…today, when Pema was here…um…"

"She was trying to get me to leave you, yes. Both she and Tenzin are convinced that I shouldn't be with you because you deserve better."

"They're stupid," Korra mumbled. "I don't understand what their problem is."

"Well, Pema thinks I'm a cold, bitter, uncaring bitch who never has time for my lover because I'm always working. And she thinks that because that's how Tenzin ended up thinking of me, except not nearly to that degree. Tenzin…I think he's afraid I can't give you everything you need emotionally."

Korra groaned. "Yeah, well, guess what? You can."

"Well, Tenzin may be acting like…oh, how did you put it…an overprotective cloud-brain right now, but he's not entirely unreasonable. He'll come around. He wants you to be happy."

Korra lifted her head. "What about you? I figured that you throwing yourself at an Equalist airship to save his family was a pretty definitive…um…burying-the-hatchet kind…of…thing. Why doesn't he want you to be happy?"

"He does. But not at your expense. And he still thinks I'm going to end up hurting you, if not at all intentionally." Lin sighed. "Can we please not have this conversation now?"

"Yeah, okay. I'd rather just cuddle for a little while." Korra kissed the center of Lin's chest. "I like being in the water."

"I'll bet. 'My waterbender whose veins run with fire'."

Korra smiled drowsily. "I love that poem. Can you read that to me tonight?"

Lin kissed the top of Korra's head. "Of course."


A/N: I just have this headcanon that Lin may be super tough and strong and badass, but she can be really sweet one-on-one.