kaberett: Overlaid Mars & Venus symbols, with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)
kaberett ([personal profile] kaberett) wrote in [community profile] white_lotus2012-06-18 10:33 am

[Fic] ashes to ashes

Title: ashes to ashes
By: [personal profile] kaberett
Rating: G
Character(s)/Ship(s): Tenzin, Korra, Lin, Ikki, Jinora, Pema, Naga
Content Notes: SPOILERS up to and including Korra 1x10.
Elsewhere: ashes to ashes on AO3

"Korra," says Tenzin gently, "they had to cut her out of her armour."

Korra can't believe she didn't know – can't believe how long she didn't know for.


The best part of a week has passed by the time Korra and Naga find their way to the Beifong Metalbending Academy. Lin is seated on the steps, gazing at her garden, and she does not look up at their approach; nor does she look up when Korra dismounts and kneels. She smiles, though, when Korra bows to her and says – tentatively, out-of-character - "Sifu Lin?"

"Not any more, girl."

But Korra is Korra and she is not easily dissuaded. "You're here. You're here, in the academy. You're the best metal-bender in the world except for Toph." (Lin snorts.) "And I know you can explain it to me. I know you can teach me the forms. Please, Sifu Lin," she says, and looks up: she's got that glint in her eye. "I've mastered air-bending. I'm sorry I didn't come to see you before. I – didn't know." (Lin waves away the apology.) "But now I need to know this, and – and there's no-one I'd rather learn it from than – you."

For a moment, Korra listens to the sussuration of the trees; stares at the wind in Lin's hair. Lin stands and turns. "I'll see you at dawn," she says, and walks into the building, closing the doors behind her.

Korra is too tired to do more than make a fire and drift off against Naga in the early evening light. She dreams of stars.


Messages arrive occasionally. Tenzin writes to Lin about the baby; Pema writes to Lin about the city; Jinora writes to Korra demanding pressed leaves and flowers. Ikki shows up one late-summer day with only her glider, and insists on campfires and ghost stories and candy. A rather flustered Tenzin shows up shortly after dark with a bison, having apparently persuaded Meelo to spill the beans – but allows himself to be persuaded to stay, to sit, to drink tea, while Korra builds tents that Ikki promptly knocks down.


It is a quiet existence. Korra moves into the echoing dormitory shortly after her arrival; she sleeps with the window open, and Naga beneath it. She learns to cook; she learns to wash up; she learns her forms. She practices her hard-earned patience, too.


It is half-light and it is spring on the morning that Korra walks uninvited into her room. Lin turns from her tea. (The tea set is a gift of her mother; and before that was a gift from Iroh.) "Hmm?"

Korra moves smoothly out of her bow and unclasps her fist to reveal a coin. She hesitates for only a moment before spinning it into a filigree ferret. "I think I might've worked it out," she says.

Lin is surprised to find that she is crying.

"Sifu Lin," says Korra softly, "may I ask you to kneel?"

Lin is distantly surprised to find her body obeying.

Korra places her hands on Lin's forehead and her cloth-covered chest. And then she steps back, and places the ferret in Lin's hands. And nothing at all happens.


Lin finds her, later. She is sat on an outcrop and she is staring to the south and towards home. "I'm sorry," she says. "I should have asked. I didn't know whether it would work. I thought I'd worked out how to energy-bend, you know, the other way. I'm sorry."


She looks up.

"Do you mean to say you were experimenting on me?"

"I. I wanted you to be the first."

"Well, it worked," says Lin, all dry humour. (Korra notices, with a jolt, the coin that Lin is idly rolling between her fingers.) "But I can't help wondering whether you've noticed that I am old enough to be your mother. Young lady."

"I know," replies Korra.

1am insta-reactions are what they are, and I apologise for the lack of polish. And, yep, it is indeed Lin/Korra if you squint. (I'm still not convinced by the Korra-works-out-how-to-energy-bend-the-other-way theory, but I couldn't resiiiiiiiiiiiiiist.)
unjapanologist: (Default)

[personal profile] unjapanologist 2012-06-18 11:30 am (UTC)(link)
Oh, Lin. This is painful and beautiful.
pts: (Avatar: China Mieville)

[personal profile] pts 2012-06-18 12:50 pm (UTC)(link)
I'm getting hung up on the fact that Lin wouldn't have been able to take her own armor off. Such a heartbreaking detail.

Nicely done.
leonhart: barret, tifa & cloud standing outside of the shinra building (avalanche)

[personal profile] leonhart 2012-06-19 05:16 pm (UTC)(link)
Same as [personal profile] pts, that little detail hit me right in the heart. Very nice and moving.