Everything's Different

I found this on my computer and decided to share it with you. Basically they don't search for the Avatar right away, and wait until the Avatar (Korra) is sixteen before they reveal to her that she's the Avatar and it's the story about what would be different if they did it the traditional way. A review would be nice... Sorry it's so long.

He sat slumped in his chair, staring down at the piece of paper in front of him; the paper, even though he might not have known it at the time, would change his life completely. You see, sixteen years yesterday his father, Avatar Aang had passed. Usually that day was a day to mourn over the loss of a great and powerful man, this year was different.

A few months ago the White Lotus had informed him that had begun looking for the next Avatar, and, as the cycle goes, he or she would be from the Water Tribe. All the letters before this one had sadly reported no new news about the Avatar (although they did get one letter about a boy in the Northern Water Tribe who showed signs of being the Avatar, but it turned out he had used an air vent to make it look like he was earthbending.).

But now the White Lotus had finally found the Avatar, a girl from the Southern Water Tribe. A feisty one, as told in the letter; very independent and always ready to fight.

"What is that?" a voice behind him spoke. It was his wife. She walked over to his side, carrying a tea pan that held a large tea-pot and two cups. She put the pan beside the letter on his desk.

He looked up and smiled at his wife. "A letter... from the White Lotus," he answered, handing over the letter to her. "They found her. A girl, named Korra, of the Southern Water Tribe!"

"Your mother must be so proud," his wife commented as she read the letter. "It says here we'll be meeting her in three days time," she said, "after that she'll be heading to the Earth Kingdom to start her Earthbending training."

"Yes," he said, getting up from his chair, "I'll go tell the children... I'm sure they'll be just as excited as I am.."

"What about work?" She asked, grabbing his arm, stopping him from walking away. "It says here she'll be here a full day... Now, Tenzin, I'd love to meet her but my duties to Republic City come first. I can't afford taking a day off."

"Can't you just do it... for me, Lin?" He asked, wrapping his arms around her waist. "You did promise me that you would spend less time at the Police Force and more time at home, remember?" Tenzin said before placing soft kisses down her neck and onto her revealed collarbone.

She smiled, enjoying the attention he was giving her, letting Tenzin's beard tickle her neck. "..Okay.." she caved. "She better be worth it," Lin said jokingly, pulling away from her husband and handing him the letter. "I'm going to bed, don't stay up too late. Enjoy your tea."

"Love you," he called out, sitting back down in his chair.

"Yeah, I know," she replied. "Love you more.."

"Don't bet on it, sweetie.."

The next day Lin Beifong rushed into police headquarters; she was late. Her husband insisted that they stay and tell their children about the new Avatar: Liko, their oldest son, didn't seem to care as much as his twin sister did about the new Avatar. He did seem a little enthusiastic about her airbending training, for either his sister or him, or maybe their father, would be training her. But that was a long ways from now. His sister, Aura, was glad the new Avatar was a girl, being the only girl in the family besides her mother (mothers aren't girls, they're mothers). Their younger brother Duke, however, only seemed to care if the White Lotus attached a photo to the letter so he could rate her ("You can't "rate" her," explained Aura sternly. "She's a human being who deserves respect... Plus she's technically related to you spiritually, so if you think she's hot, you have the hots for Grandpa Aang!").

She passed a crowd of police officers all standing around the water cooler, apparently well aware that their boss was late. "What are standing around for?" she said in a commanding voice, making her officers jump. "Get back to work!"

She then, after making sure every one of her officers were back in their desks working, walked into her office. Captain Saikhan stood beside her desk, eyeing the chair in front of the desk. She followed his gaze and saw that there was a young man sitting in the chair. He had black hair and fire-red eyes, no older than seventeen. He stared down at the ground, not making eye contact with the Captain. Lin wondered if this was a trouble maker.

"Chief," Saikhan said, moving his gaze from the young man to the chief, "you're late."

"Yes, well, I'm here now," she replied, walking to her desk and taking a seat. She looked at the young man, who had finally looked up from the ground and made eye contact with the chief. "What do we have here?"

"He's -" Saikhan began, but was interrupted by Lin's hand of silence.

"Now, Captain, with all due respect, I think this rookie has the right to speak for himself," she said, not taking here eyes off the young man. "Why are you here, son," she asked the young man.

"I-I'm here to apply for a job, ma'am," he answered shakily as he pulled out a paper from his coat pocket. He handed her the paper.

She read it carefully. "Mako, is it?"

"Yes, ma'am.."

"Do you have any experience?"

"Well... Not exactly, but I'm only seventeen, you see," Mako explained. "If I work here as an intern until I turn eighteen, I'll have the experience I need to work here."

The chief read over his papers again. "I like your thinking, Rookie," the Chief said, handing over his papers and getting up from her seat. "You'll work as Captain Saikhan's assistant from here on out and until I say otherwise. He is your boss now, you answer to his orders or mine. You got that?"

"Yes, ma'am," Mako responded, shaking the Chief's hand in excitement.

"Captain," she said, looking at Saikhan, "meet your new assistant. Show him the ropes around here."

"As you wish, Chief," Saikhan replied, leading the young man out of Lin's office.

She sat back down and started flipping through some Agni Kai Triad paperwork. They attacked downtown a few nights ago and she needed to know why. A few minutes of reading up on the leaders of this group, she looked up from the paperwork and looked at the photos on her desk: the first one was of her and her mother. They were in front of the Police Station, arm in arm. They both smiled with pride, for Lin had just graduated from the Academy and was about to start her first day at the Police Force. Like Mako, Lin was starting out as an intern to gain experience. Her eyes moved to the second picture: it was of her and Tenzin. Tenzin held tightly to Lin's waste as they smiled for the camera. Lin could remember the kiss they shared right after that picture was taken. They were both so happy on that day, the day Tenzin asked Lin to marry him... for the third time - The first time he asked her it had kind of slipped out. He was pleasuring her on her new desk at the police force. Now normally Lin wouldn't approve of such inappropriate behavior in such a public place, but Tenzin was so alluring and it was a special occasion. Lin had just been promoted to Captain of Police. It all started as an innocent make out session, until Tenzin began trying to grip Lin's breast, which was covered by metal armor. Lin metalbent her suit off and the next second Tenzin had lifted her up onto her desk, not hiding his erection under his robes. He popped the question in the spur of the moment, moving in and out of her. He had apologized the moment he had said it, though it had already ruined the moment and they put their clothes back on immediately. They didn't talk about it again until he asked her the second time; they were on a romantic outing near the bay. He told her about his worries and how his father would not be around forever and how he dreamed of producing an airbender child to present to his father. She gave him a soft kiss and told him her duties were to her city right now, leaving him heartbroken. This put a strain on their relationship. Tenzin's father died, they began to grow more and more apart, until a girl named Pema arrived at the Air Temple. Lin was suspicious of her from the start and when she overheard her confessing her love to Tenzin, Lin was furious! But, when Lin thinks about it now, Pema was the reason she married Tenzin. If Pema hadn't confessed, Lin wouldn't have remembered how much Tenzin is in her life. How everyday, for the past forty-nine years of her life, the joy in her life is all thanks to the man in her life, Tenzin - Her eyes moved to the third, and last, picture on her desk, the children: Her daughter, the oldest of the children, had a hand on her youngest brother's shoulder and smiled up at the camera, her long brown, though the photo was black and white, hair flowing down to her shoulders. Her twin brother beside her, putting his hand on his brother's other shoulder. A small light reflected off his bald, shaven head, making it shinier; he looked so much like his father. Below was Lin and Tenzin's youngest, smiling broadly at the camera, his black, curly hair messily placed all around his face. They were all so beautiful.

"Chief Biefong," one of her officers said from the doorway, interrupting her thoughts, "Councilman - I mean, your husband is here."

"Send him in," Lin instructed.

Tenzin walked in almost immediately with a soft smile; "Hello, Dear!"

"You should be working," Lin said, greeting him with a hug. "But I'm glad you stopped by."

"You are?" He mocked. "That's a first."

"Get used to it, Darling," she teased, offering him a seat and sitting on the edge of her desk.

"I'm here because I made arrangements for Korra, the new Avatar," he explained. "She'll, of course, be staying with us on Air Temple Island with us. During the time she's here, this is where you come in, I'd like to show her the ways of Republic City. How we run things and such and such.."

"In other words you want me to be her tour guide?"

"Yes! - No! Not tour guide... Well I guess if you want to get technical -"

"I know what you mean, Tenzin," said Lin with a warm smile. "You want to show her around - like if it were your father we were showing around Republic City."

"Yes, Lin, I'm glad you understand," he spoke sincerely, getting up from his seat and hugging his wife. "What was it you wanted to talk about?"

"I'm thinking about.." she began, looking at him nervously, "retirement."

"What? No!" Tenzin said, shocked. "You love what you do! What brought this up?"

"I've been thinking about it for a while," Lin said, removing her husbands embrace and walking to sit at her desk. "Everyday I find myself thinking about you and the children... Everyday I wonder what would happen to you and the children if I wasn't here."

"Don't think like that, Lin!" Tenzin said in a commanding voice, though his voice was trembling. "That's not going to happen, you know that!"

"No, I don't, Tenzin. I don't know," Lin replied with a frown.

"But you love this job," he told her like she didn't already know that. "What will you do after you retire? This has been your life, Lin!"

"Duke's earthbending training could use some improvement," she said, "and I'll have more time with you and the children, like we talked about."

"We said cut back some hours, not retire, Lin."

"It's either my City or my family, Tenzin," Lin said. "There's no in-between, you of all people know that."

"If you leave," Tenzin replied sadly, "you won't be happy anymore. This job brings joy in your life."

"Yes, but you, Liko, Aura, and Duke bring joy to my life more," she explained with a smile.

He was silent for a moment, trying to find the words to express to her. He turned to the metal wall, not wanting to make eye contact with his significant other. Tenzin noticed the clock, his break was over and he needed to return to work.

"Think about this a little more, Lin," he said, finally looking at his wife. "I have to go," Tenzin told her, walking over to give her a small kiss on the cheek before leaving her office.

The thing about "thinking about it" was that she's been thinking about it since her twins were born. Suddenly, in all the years that she's lived, her life didn't matter, her happiness wasn't as important as theirs: her children. She never knew she could love something so much and worry about them... This was a decision she's making for them. This is a sacrifice she's making for them. This was for her children.

The hours of the day seemed to zoom by and soon it was the end of a working day... And Lin was more than ready to leave the station. She had to question two people who were involved with the Agni Kai Triad, break up a fight between two jail mates, and fire an officer for leaving a secret file out in the open for anyone to see... And that was just the first hour! It was like this almost every day; on the good days, Lin only had to do half of what she had to do today.

She took a deep breath of relief once she saw the clock strike five, got up from her desk (which was a bit of a pain for her since she's been on her feet the whole day, but she was going to a place where she could relax and have her husband message her feet (and possibly some other things, too), home.), gathered her belongings, and fled for the door.

Just before she was about to exit the building, a woman she didn't recognize waved at her with joy and ran up to her with excitement:

"Hello," she said, shaking Lin's hand enthusiastically, "I just wanted to thank you -"

"For what?" Lin asked, forcing her hand out of the woman's grip.

"Oh, gracious me," said the woman, her cheeks turning pink, "I haven't introduced myself to you." She grabbed Lin's hand once more (much softer this time) and introduced herself, "I'm Uriti, Mako's mother. I can't thank you enough for giving him this opportunity. He phoned my husband, Jori, and I the moment the Captain gave him a chance. He was quite nervous at the breakfast table, I'll tell you that. It didn't help that Bolin, his younger brother, was joking around with him about how he didn't get the job. That's why I'm here, though, because he did get the job!"

"Well... I didn't see a reason to not give him the job," Lin told her with small smile. "I see a lot of potential in him. I think he'll be going far in this business."

"Thank you again," Uriti said, not shaking the Chief's hand but hugging her, making Lin feel uncomfortable.

Lin looked to her side and saw Chief Saikhan and Mako, who seemed to realize what was going on and had a face as red as the fur on a Fire Ferret, walking over to the two.

"Chief," Saikhan said firmly, "you have my word that while you're away tomorrow I will secure the station."

"Thank you, Captain," Lin said with a struggled voice, pulling away from the firebender woman.

"Mom," groaned Mako, his red face not changing, as he pulled his mother off the chief completely.

"I'm sorry," she said, wiping her face from the tears that were dripping down from her eyes. "I'm just so proud of you." She looked at the chief with a kind smile. "Things have been rough in our household. First the whole incident with the Agni Kai Triad - we could have been killed by them, you see. My husband ran some numbers for them, just for a few extra bucks, he messed up and there was this whole incident. We almost got killed. My husband begged them to reconsider... Thankfully they did, in exchange for everything we had, our house included. We left broker than we were before. This internship is the beginning of great things for our family. We're just getting back on our feet, thanks to love."

"I understand," Lin said. "And I'm sure once Mako turns eighteen he'll be a great officer."

"Thank you," Uriti spoke, "thank you."

"Yes," Lin said awkwardly, slowly walking toward the door, "if you'll excuse me, I have my own family to get to. It was nice meeting you, Uriki... And Mako, welcome to the police force, and Saikhan, don't mess up my city."

With a wave of her hand and a small nod to her officers, she exited the building, finally.

The sight before her put a smile on her face: there stood Tenzin, with Oogie behind him.

"I was just about to go in and fetch you," Tenzin said as he gave her a loving hug and a kiss on the cheek. "What took you so long?"

"I was stopped by a mother," she answered him as he airbent them both on top of Oogie. With a swift of his hand and those three famous words ("Oogie, yip, yip!"), they were off on their way home. "I had hired this young man early this morning. His mother came up to me just now, wanting to thank me for giving her son a chance."

"That must have been nice," he commented, putting an arm around her as they flew over the city.

"But it made me decide on my position in the police force, Tenzin," Lin announced, seriously. "I'm quitting the force."

"Lin... I told you to think about this," he said with a sigh.

"And I have.."

"If it's what you truly want to do, then... I will support you," he said sadly, just as they flew over the bay. "But you love your job... I feel that I'm the reason you no longer want to keep it."

"You are, Tenzin," she reassured lovingly, putting a hand of comfort on his chest. "So are the children, our family. We make sacrifices everyday for each other..." He still looked unconvinced. "Think of it like this, Tenzin," Lin said. "I'm doing this so I'll be able to watch our children grow and become the loving and caring people we know they are and are capable of being. I don't want to risk my life, and risk me not being there for my children."

"I understand your point," he said as they landed on Air Temple Island. From a distance they could see their children and Tenzin's brother, Bumi, and sister, Kya, walking up to the sky bison exultingly. "..But let's not make this announcement until after the new Avatar leaves.."

Lin nodded in agreement as she jumped off Oogie and greeted her sibling-in-laws, who were just like real siblings.

"I just got in this morning with mom," explained Kya, who was hugging Lin. "She's in the kitchen fixing a traditional Southern Water Tribe meal."

"And I arrived just a few minutes ago," said Bumi. "And I'm famished," he added, rubbing his belly.

"Let's all go and enjoy a meal together," suggested Tenzin, leading his family inside. "We have a long and exciting day ahead of us."

They all ate the lovely meal Katara had made for them. The room was filled with laughter and conversation about how everybody was doing: Bumi had just singlehandedly fought off a group of pirates in the Si Wong Desert with nothing but a sword and a Sand-Sailer ("There must've been dozens of those pirates. There eye patches and Do-rags didn't scare me, no! While my fellow United Forces officers all fled the scene in fear, I stayed behind and fought, coming out victorious!"). Everyone except Duke, Tenzin and Lin's youngest child, an earthbender, seemed unimpressed by Bumi's, in his words, "brave sacrifice." Kya had just gotten back from a vacation on Kyoshi Island, coming back relaxed and in peace. The two less chatty bunch were Tenzin and Lin, who stayed quiet the whole meal; Katara noticed this.

After dinner, the children thanked their grandmother for the meal and kissed her goodnight, then Lin sent them off to bed. Lin helped Katara with dishes as Tenzin showed his siblings to their rooms. Again, the metalbender was silent.

"..Lin," Katara spoke, breaking the long silence that lured around them, "is everything okay with you and Tenzin?"

"Yeah.." she answered, as she washed a soapy plate. "Why wouldn't they be?"

"I just noticed you two were... quieter than your usual selves," she said with a concerned look on her face. "Is everything okay in the bedroom," she asked in a whisper. "You know, I can help with that. It's normal to grow tired of the same position. When I was your age I purchased a book, A Hundred and One Sex Positions, it really improved me and Aang's sex life and brought back the passion we had for one another. I lent it to your mother... And Suki. They both seemed pleased with it. I could lend it to you..."

"No... No," Lin said with a blush. The thought of her Aunt Katara, or even her mother for that matter, having active sex lives and giving her tips on it made her shiver. "We don't have problems... in that area," she said awkwardly.

"Then what area is it? Are you two fighting?"

"No, he's just not pleased with my decision in..." She went back to cleaning the dishes.

"Decision in what, Lin?"

"We promised not to talk about it until after Korra's visit," she answered.

"She's leaving the force," Tenzin's voice behind them revealed. "And yes, I may not be pleased," he said, wrapping his arms around his wife, "but I will support you in every way I can. I want you to know that, Lin."

"..Lin.." Katara breathed in shock. "What brought on such an important decision?"

"I've been thinking about for a long time," Lin admitted with a frown. "I guess what really made me start thinking about it was when I started holding off Duke's earthbending lessons.."

"Well, I'm proud of you in any path you decide to choose, Lin," Katara said with a smile. "I'll be heading off to bed. No need in showing me where I'm staying, I'll find my way. Goodnight, you two. I love you both."

"Good night," they both said, waving goodbye.

"Shall we head off to bed," he suggested, taking his wife's hand.

"Of course," Lin said with a smile as they walked out of the kitchen and into their bedroom. Tenzin suggested they fool around for a bit, claiming he wasn't tired, but, for some odd reason, Lin wasn't in the mood tonight.

The next day came quickly. They all got up early in the morning, awaiting for the Avatar's arrival. The letter said that she, the Avatar, and several members of the White Lotus would be arriving on the island on a boat in the early morning. The letter explained that the new Avatar would only be staying for a short while, then she'd head straight to the Earth Kingdom, where she would begin her earthbending training immediately.

They all stood on the tip of the island, searching for a glimpse of the boat out in the clear waters. Finally, after fifteen minutes of waiting, they saw the boat that held the Avatar.

"Now remember, everybody," Tenzin said, looking directly at his youngest child, "we are to be on our best behavior for Korra." He made Duke look him in the eye. "Best behavior!"

The boat stopped once it reached the deck and slowly the boat doors began to open. Two White Lotus members, wrapped in blue and white robes, walked out first. They shook Katara's, Tenzin's, and then Lin's hand and they all chatted with one another as everyone else had their eyes glued to the boat, waiting to see the new Avatar.

Finally a young woman walked slowly out of the boat, looking anxious and excited all at the same time. All eyes were now on her as she made her way off the boat. A man and a woman followed behind her, they too looked anxious and excited, but also showed a sense of pride in the way that smiled at the young woman.

The young woman walked over to where the White Lotus members were. She gave the crowd a small smile. Tenzin saw confidence in the young Avatar's eyes as she stood before him and his family. And, for the first time since his father's death, he felt like today was a new day, new beginnings. He was no longer mourning his father's death... But celebrating a life. Aang was the past, Korra is the future.

"Welcome," Tenzin said with pride, "Avatar Korra."