a/n: Written before the finale...

The city was waking.

Lin stared down at the streets below from her hospital window, holding her arm to her chest, and stared at the food carts and the merchants and the Satomobiles maneuvering through the rubble. She stared at the people walking around with nervous eyes and tense bodies, still on the lookout for Equalists, still afraid, still hurt. It was going to be a slow process, but the city's wounds were finally starting to heal, thanks to Korra. It was even improving enough that Tenzin had left a few days ago to retrieve his wife and children from the South Pole.

The smoke was finally clearing.

Lin herself was healing as well. Most of her was healing, that is. Her broken arm, her deep cuts, her bruised back, her shattered knee. There would be scars, visible and invisible scars, but all that would heal. However, there was still a part of her that would be left broken forever.

She rested her hand on the window, reaching for all the earth and metal below.

It was the only part of her that had broken.

Amon had tried to break her, even after having taken her bending. He'd tried so hard to pull the information from her, information about Korra and her friends, about the police force, about Tenzin and his family's location. He'd tried many things. Many, terrible things.

And a few times she thought she was going to cave, that he really was going to break her.

But as the electricity coursed through her body once more, as the Lieutenant took a hammer to her knee, as they ripped the skin off her back, she'd close her eyes and drift away. She'd close her eyes and go back to that day, when she'd thought she was going to lose.

When the children came and saved her.

Jinora had rushed in first, sweeping away an Equalist with her glider. Ikki came in second, pushing them back with her air scooter. And Meelo took down so many of them, all by himself.

She was certain that the little boy had no idea the gravity of what he'd done, how he'd saved her that day, how he'd saved her those cold nights when she'd been pushed to her threshold, when she was pain. She couldn't wait until she was released from the hospital so she could go thank him, thank all of them. They'd risked so much, so much that they didn't even know, all for her, someone who they barely knew. She couldn't have cracked, not after what they'd done.

So when she wanted to break and wanted to crack, she'd close her eyes and remember them, those little yellow blurs that had saved her, and she'd chant to herself about how it was worth it. All the pain was worth it. It was worth it if those three were safe.


She jumped slightly at Tenzin's voice, and she turned from the window. Her knee ached. Tenzin and his family stood in the doorway of her hospital room.

She hadn't expected this.

They looked like they hadn't either.

The girls clutched Tenzin's robes. Pema held little Rohan in her arms. And when they all looked at her, she felt it. When she looked at little Meelo, staring up at her, at her bruises and her pain, she felt it. She felt his sadness. And she felt his gratitude. So when he ran forward, when she stooped down to him and hugged him back when his arms wrapped around her neck, she felt it.

She felt his love.

"You're my hero," he told her.

She pulled him closer and smiled. "You're my hero, too."