She greeted him with a nod and his title, either missing or ignoring the slightly surprised look on his face as she started in on her plans. After finishing, she looked from Tonraq’s retreating form back to the Firebender; Lin’s eyebrows drew together questioningly when she saw his expression. “Are you too old for hugs now?”
It was her turn to look surprised. She glanced at Tonraq, silently communicating, “Uncle, I’m being professional.”
But he just extended an arm and waited until she rolled her eyes and gave in. Though he caught the slight smile. “See, affection is nontoxic.” She crossed her arms and rolled her eyes. “But I wasn’t done.” Her arms dropped slightly and she looked at him with a raised eyebrow. “We’ll call that Iroh’s.”
"Iroh’s what?" Her eyes clearly communicated.
"A few people told me to give you a squeeze," he confessed. "That was Iroh’s. This is from Katara," he leaned in again, wrapping his arms securely around her shoulders. Lin’s hands found his shoulder blades; it had been too long since her last hug, she realized, and he gave a wonderful Katara hug. When he pulled back, he held her arms and smiled. "Uh," he cleared his throat softly, suddenly looking rather embarrassed, "this is from my daughter." He leaned back in, and shook her gently from left to right. "She told me I had to do that," he clarified. "She could have banished me, Lin." She chuckled, her eyes falling closed and her lips parting into a smile; it was something he had not seen in far too long. "This is from me," he informed warmly before pulling her to his chest and tucking her head under his chin. He had been told to deliver the hugs, but he didn’t mind giving his favorite Earthbending niece love. And he knew she was overdue. The relaxed way she hugged back made him smile though. He sighed and look down, letting her take a step back; he smiled and brushed the backs of his fingers along her jaw. Right now, she didn’t look any older than twenty. He was tempted to hug her again and not let go so he could protect the small smile and relaxed muscles he saw. Instead he put his hand on her shoulder and turned her, "Now, I’ll buy us a pot of tea and you can tell me how you’ve been enjoying babysitting teenagers." Her groan and eyeroll made him laugh.
Do You Wanna Do Some Metalbending?
From her place in the doorway, Lin watched her still armor clad mother spin in her chair and growl as she answered yet another phone call. She barked an order to the person on the other line, then grumbled something about idiots after hanging up. She still looked busy, and it didn’t seem like the opportune moment, but it was the first time in the two months since Suyin had been born that she had been alone with her mother.
"Um," her little voice said timidly, her body half hidden behind the door frame, "Mom?"
"Where is that damn," Lin didn’t find out what came after, the chief opened a drawer in her desk and started groping for something.
She glanced down, then resumed, “Do want to do some metalbending? I’m getting really good, and I wanted to show you—”
Toph groaned again when the shrill ringing from the telephone started again, making Lin jump slightly.
"It doesn’t have to be metalbending," she qualified, as her mother listened to the person on the other line. "Earthbending," she suggested, "or no bending. Aang got me a new book, or we could…" Lin trailed off as she heard crying. Apparently she wasn’t alone with her mom, the baby’s bassinet was just behind the desk.
Toph started rocking it and sighed, “You’re gonna give me trouble too now, huh?”
"It doesn’t have to be metalbending," Lin repeated after a long pause.
"I’m busy, Lin," her mom said in that distractedly apologetic way of hers. The baby had started to quiet down and the person on the phone didn’t seem to be annoying her as much.
"…Okay." Lin’s little hand dropped from the wooden frame and she turned.
"Hey, kid," Toph said, taking a break from her conversation, "you alright? Your heart’s goin’ crazy."
"Yeah," she answered.
Walking away from her mother and back into the living room, she fell onto the couch and picked up the doll that rested there. It was the doll that Aang had made, Bumi had stolen, and Kya had retrieved. During one of her many visits to Air Temple Island, the Avatar had declared craft day so he could spend his day off with his kids and his Earthbending niece. They spent the whole afternoon making jewelry— to varying levels of success— leaving Bumi with several man bracelets as well as gifts for girls, Kya with a new necklace, Tenzin with a tangled mess of fishing wire, and Lin with a necklace that only worked as a bracelet.
Aang decided that the necklace was so incredible that it needed to be used for its proper purpose, and made the little girl a doll to wear it.
Lin looked at the toy in her lap and decided to go over again tomorrow.
“L..Lin?” She cautiously approached her sister, who was doubled over on the ground in pain. “Lin, are you okay? I..I’m sorry, Lin. It was an accident” She laid a hand on the officer’s back. The only response she got was the shaky fall of Lin’s body as she breathed out.
With her other hand she hesitantly reached up to move her sister’s hands from her cheek. Lin’s hand lashed out to slap hers out of the air, one bloodied hand still clutching the wound on her face. “Get away from me!”
She’d never seen her sister like this, even when she’d “accidentally” bumped into the officer and caused her to lose a suspect. Lin’s eyes were seething with hate, enough to chill her to the core, her voice, laced with venom, made Su’s stomach drop. She staggered backwards, throwing her sister a backwards glance before stumbling back towards the patrol car.
"Officer down! I need medical assistance!" She ran towards Lin again, leaving the confused officer on the other end with nothing to work with but a mic clattering against the dashboard of the car.
Lin had stood up, one hand still on her face, crimson ribbons running down the length of her her forearm and joining the small puddle on the ground. “Su! What the flameo are you doing now?!”
She gave no answer but threw her arms around her sister, who stumbled backwards. “I’m sorry! I’m sorry, Lin. I’m sorry. I didn’t mean it. I’m sorry.” She sobbed into her sister’s chest, hugging her tightly and not letting go. Lin could do nothing but offer a comforting arm in return.
Nah, but Lin was being a hard-as-nails cop who didn’t take crap from people who wanted to flaunt their privilege several episodes before she was Tenzin’s ex, so if you think that’s her plot purpose or whatever, that’s your problem.
- Korra: It would help if you would all show up looking like a loving, supportive family.
- Suyin: For how long?
- Korra: Ten minutes tops.
- Lin: See if you can get it down to five.