An Arrangement Between Old Friends - Chapter 7 - Kyalin whor* (mayurasbutterfly) (2024)

Chapter Text

The couple’s small eternity stayed between them for about an hour as they stayed cuddled up under the quilt. It soon came to an end as much as Lin selfishly wanted it to stay as it was. It was the sound of the door from the dormitories opening and closing that alerted the two women they weren’t the only ones awake anymore. Lin glanced over her shoulder back towards the direction of the dorm to see Katara and Ikki walking towards the gazebo. Both grandmother and granddaughter were still in their pajamas like the two women tangled up in the quilt.

“Seems we have visitors. Your mom and Ikki are coming this way.” Kya pushed the mugs out of their cocoon and went back to burrowing into the woman holding her.

“Disappointed?” Kya asked in a hushed tone, getting a shake of the head as a reply.

“No. It could have been either of your brothers or my sister.” She pointed out, sounding relieved. Kya nodded in agreement as she peered over Lin’s shoulder to the two other individuals climbing up the gazebo’s stairs.

“Good morning, polar pup. You too, Lin.” Katara greeted the two women shuffling over to kiss both of their heads. Both women greeted the elderly woman in turn as she kissed their heads. Ikki walked in front of them, hands on her hips clearly peeved about something.

“You two scared the spirits out of me. I tried coming in your room for a cuddle and you two weren’t there. I thought you were kidnapped or something.” She griped as Lin held back a chuckle.

“You really think we’d get abducted without putting up a fight?” The chief asked, raising a brow at the young airbender. Ikki tapped her chin as she briefly contemplated the chief’s point.

“Okay fair. The dormitory would have been split in half.” Lin opened the blanket, offering an opportunity for the tween to climb in. Kya raised a brow at the woman.

“Cuddly mood, chief?” She jested, getting an eye roll from the younger woman.

“It’s only fair to offer it up since I kind of dragged you out of bed and scared her.” She pointed out as the brunette climbed in with them immediately melting into her aunt’s embrace. Katara used Lin’s shoulder to sit beside them.

“Did you all have a good time down on the beach last night?” The elderly woman asked as Lin untucked half the blanket from underneath them for her to sit on. She tucked the other part of the blanket between her own shoulder and Kya's, keeping her and her niece cocooned in warmth. “Ah thank you sweetheart.” Katara leaned over and kissed her scarred cheek.

“It was a nice time till the very end of it.” Lin answered simply, trying to leave it at that as Kya snorted at the response.

“What happened? I heard the music stop for a little bit then it turned back on a few minutes later.” Ikki inquired, resting her head on her aunt’s shoulder. Kya scrunched up her nose.

“Your father was being a prick. Turned off the music complaining it was keeping up Rohan and then proceeded to have a go at me and Lin.” She complained, tensing up at the thought of the argument. Lin rubbed her back as Katara heaved a sigh.

“Your brother has every right to be upset b-“ Kya scoffed as she rolled her eyes. Lin had a feeling Katara wasn’t choosing his side, but her daughter wasn’t about to have it.

“He’s acting like a child who got his toy taken away.” She fired back before looking at Lin. “You’re not a toy. It’s just how he’s acting.” She clarified, getting a kiss on her temple as recognition. “He needs to stop being such an asshole about this. You didn’t see me acting like that towards them out in public around everyone else. I respected their relationship and traveled to distract myself from it.” She pointed out to her mother. Katara nodded her head in agreement.

“You are right, but I think you need to reflect from his perspective. Have you tried talking to him on your own? Either one of you?” She questioned, getting puzzled looks from the couple. “I don’t think he ever really fully grieved that seventeen year relationship he had with you, Lin. I’m not defending his behavior at all. He should know there is a time and a certain manner for things like this. Lashing out at you both with everyone else having to watch is a poor decision on his part and you two have defended your relationship admirably. But if you and your brothers keep going after each other, I will step in. Do you want me to step in?” Kya shook her head quickly, hiding her face partly in Lin’s shoulder.

“No, Momma.” She muttered. Lin understood her behavior in that moment. She wouldn’t want Toph getting in on her spat with Su if one ever arose. Even as two of her mother’s top pupils, the woman has been able to wash whoever she fights even in her old age.

“Good. I do hate having to intervene in your spats. I know Lin didn’t enjoy it either.” Lin huffed at the thought as the healer kissed her collarbone.

“Yeah getting buried up to my neck in dirt and rock is not a fun time.” Ikki raised her head to look at the chief.

“You buried Aunt Kya?” Lin chuckled softly at her puzzled face.

“And your uncle and father. When your grandparents weren’t around and they would argue, I used to bury them up to their necks till they talked it out. I’d sit off to the side and read a book or go keep Su occupied till they could play nice.” The metalbender explained with a nonchalant tone. Ikki giggled and looked at her aunt.

“Good thing you three had the chief around back then.” Kya patted the chief’s leg under the quilt and nodded.

“Definitely a good thing.” Katara watched the two women with a smile.

“You know we were talking last night, Zuko, Toph, and I, about how nice it is seeing all of you back together again with your respective significant others.” Katara rested her hands in her lap as she watched them. “Then Zuko pointed out all the weddings we’re going to have to attend in the future.” Kya moved to scold her mother. “Your brother is more than likely proposing to Rita tonight.” She lifted a hand holding up one finger. “Then there is Izumi and Akira.” She held up a second finger to the trio. “Korra and Asami. And before you say anything, I see their relationship mirroring your father and I’s relationship, so that is a given in my mind.” She held up a third finger. “Your niece and Bolin.” A fourth finger went up. “Then there is you two if you choose to.” She held up her fifth finger. “See that’s five weddings right there and those are just the guaranteed gut feeling ones.” Kya’s face heated up as she shot her mother a look for tacking them on in that list.

“Oou! Oou! If you two get married, can I be a bridesmaid, Auntie Kya?” Ikki asked excitedly, shooting up right with a big grin. Katara chuckled at her granddaughter. Kya squished her niece's face in her hands.

“If we get married, you and your sister will be the first two I ask.” She assured the young airbender, kissing her forehead. She quickly turned to Lin holding her niece’s face. “The keyword was ‘if’. I would only want to if that was something you wanted down the road obviously.” She provided herself potential damage control as she tried getting a read on the woman holding her.

“Noted. Don’t get yourself all bent out of shape because of it.” Lin commented, kissing the healer’s temple. Kya let out a deep breath she didn’t realize she was holding in as she let her niece’s face go. The younger waterbender untangled her leg from the quilt and nudged her mother’s hip.

“You are really turning into a little menace in your old age, you know that?” She jabbed at her mother, getting an eye roll from the elderly woman.

“We know Toph takes the cake on that one.” Lin heard her mother scoff behind them and turned around to greet her.

“You know what Sugar Queen?” Katara glanced back over her shoulder at her old friend. “I was naturally gifted with being a menace. You only learned how to become one when you started hanging out with me.” She walked up the steps and stood behind the elderly waterbender tapping her shoulder with her knee. “Thanks for waking me up like I asked.” Katara let out a small laugh.

“Sorry. I went to go get a glass of water and found Ikki checking different rooms for these two. Obviously I had to help her find them.” Lin co*cked her head off to the side confused.

“Did you sleep in Katara’s room, Mom?” She asked slightly concerned. Toph turned her head in the direction of her oldest’s voice.

“Yeah, I slept on my futon on her bedroom floor. I prefer to sleep in rooms I know the layouts of. You should know that better than anyone.” She responded to her daughter.

“You were going to stay at my house before Tenzin decided to have everyone stay here.” She pointed out to the elderly earthbender who shrugged.

“And I was going to spend the next few hours before the party learning the layout of your house.” She deadpanned, waving a hand in her direction. Lin couldn’t help but chuckle at her mother.

“You would have set yourself up in the living room I’m sure.” Toph hummed in response as she reached out putting her hand on Lin’s head.

“I did have a habit of doing that when we would go places didn’t I?” Lin nodded, glancing up at her mother.

“You did it quite a bit when we’d go visit Uncle Zuko and everyone. You slept in the guest quarter’s living room with Su, Aang and Katara got the master suite, Kya and I bunked together, the boys bunked together, and Uncle Sokka and Aunt Suki got the other room with a bathroom attached to it.” She recalled vividly with a small smile. “I always liked those vacations.” Kya watched her friend reminiscing as she rested her head on her shoulder again. Toph nodded, combing her fingers through her daughter’s hair.

“Your hair is getting long again. You still have a while till you get to my length though.” Her mother pointed out letting the hair slip through her fingers. Ikki craned her neck up at the old chief.

“How long is your hair, Toph?” Ikki asked curiously looking at her updo. Toph chuckled as she started bending out the bobbing pins holding her hair in place. Lin watched as her mother’s hair tumbled down just past her waist as she pulled her headband down around her neck. “Woah. That’s a lot of hair.” The young airbender climbed out of her aunt’s arms to stand to touch the elderly woman’s hair. “Can I touch it? I really want to touch it.” Kya bit back a chuckle towards her niece as Toph held up a strand for her. Ikki stroked it in aw. “It’s so soft and silky.” She murmured enamored by the texture of her hair.

“Alright, kid. Don’t make it weird.” Toph took the strand from the tween’s hands and turned towards the two women. “Comfy there, Flower Child?” Kya snuggled against Lin as she nodded.

“I am.” She chirped as Toph walked around Katara and plopped down in front of her.

“Put it back up for me. I’m too lazy to bend it all back in place.” Katara rolled her eyes as she dropped her head on her friend’s shoulder.

“And if I am too lazy to do it for you?” Ikki’s hand shot up.

“Can I try? You can tell me what you do and I can put it up for you.” The young airbender offered eagerly. Toph weighed her options before sliding over in front of the couple and the tween.

“Tug my hair and you will be in the bay before you can blink.” The threat was as empty as the two mugs sitting on the ground near the railing. Ikki saluted the blind former chief before taking the bobbing pins from her hand. Ikki knelt behind the former chief ready to listen. Toph began to describe to the youngest in the group on how she put her hair up before she could metalbend to give her some guidance. Katara offered to hold the bobbing pins for her as she started to gather up the mass of white hair. The airbender let out a huff as she tried doing as Toph described while kneeling to no avail. Ikki let the hair fall for a moment as she rolled up her sleeves.

“I need to stand up for this.” She declared rising to her feet to start over in the act of putting up the woman’s hair. Lin watched her intrigued by how concentrated she was on making sure her hair was right. Katara handed her a bobbing pin at a time as she began to pin the bun in place. It took the girl probably five minutes to get all the bobbing pins in. She took a step back to look at her work in full. “I think I’m done. How does it feel?” Ikki asked as the old woman repositioned her headband.

“I think you did pretty well on your first try. It’s a little loose, but I can live. It’s pretty solid still. I think Lin and Katara got you beat.” Ikki raised a brow, turning back to her aunt and her girlfriend.

“You did your mom’s hair?” She asked with a curious look on her face. Lin shrugged nonchalantly and pointed over at the girl’s grandmother.

“Your grandma and Aunt Ty Lee taught me how to do braids and Aunt Mai and Azula taught me how to do buns. I did Mom’s, Su’s, and my own hair some mornings. I practiced on your aunt since she’s got the tenderest scalp out of everyone.” Kya let out a small huff as she glared at the chief.

“I do not.” Lin lifted a hand up to attempt to run her fingers through the healer’s silver locks. Kya caught her hand by the wrist. “Okay I do.” Lin chuckled and dropped her hand to her friend’s knee.

“That’s what I thought.” Ikki giggled at her aunt and turned back towards the temple.

“Oh boy. Thalia looks like she got run over by Naga.” Both Lin and Kya turned towards the temple to find Thalia trudging over, shielding her eyes from the sun. Her blood red robe tied haphazardly with one side of the garment hanging at the middle of her upper arm. Pale pink pajama top was off by a button on the bottom and her pants were wrinkled as if she had balled them up and tossed them in the corner untouched for days.

“Why have none of you made coffee yet?” The princess complained as she ambled up the stairs and greeted the tween with a one armed hug. Lin bit back a chuckle as the princess walked up behind the two women. She nudged her younger godmother with her knee. “Don’t laugh at me. Your niece is just as hungover as I am from what I heard when I walked past her room.” Kya bit her bottom lip as she avoided the chief’s gaze. Lin heaved a sigh knowing it was going to be either her or Su the young woman gravitated to for help. “You’re both lucky that Pema is on her feet and fine. She mentioned getting started on breakfast earlier than usual since there are so many of us.” She explained, keeping her eyes shielded from the sunrise.

“We should probably go help Pema with breakfast.” Kya suggested as she untangled herself from the quilt. The waterbender moved to stand up from Lin’s lap. A supporting hand on the waist guided her up onto her feet before Lin stood up next to her. The chief extended a hand to Katara and took her mother’s hand.

“Whenever you two are ready.” Toph scoffed and squeezed her daughter’s hand.

“Just pull.” She instructed, bracing herself to stand up. Katara nodded in agreement and prepared to do the same. Lin pulled the two old women up to their feet as gently as possible, letting go of their hands once they were upright. Thalia leaned into her godmother’s side as they began to walk and groaned.

“Trying to keep up with Aunt Kya and Mom is a bad idea.” The princess murmured against the chief’s shoulder resting her cheek on it. Ikki followed the two women carrying the tea supplies and Kya carried in the quilt keeping a hand on the princess’s shoulder.

“That was your mistake right there.” Kya pointed out. “We’ve got over thirty years of drinking and smoking under our belts. You don’t even have half that.” Thalia sighed and closed her eyes letting Lin guide her with a hand on the middle of her back.

“Now, I know.” Toph chuckled at the princess as she followed Katara inside.

“Well, little sparky. Give it another fifteen years and you’ll be running laps around the next generation.” Lin shook her head at her mother as they entered the dining room to see Opal curled up on the floor on the opposite side of the room where it was the darkest. Kya cringed as she stepped into the kitchen quickly.

“Opal, sweetheart, you need to be drinking water or juice. Hydration is important.” Pema called into the dining area, getting a whine from the young woman. Lin walked over with Thalia and had her sit down at the table as she moved to her niece.

“She’s right, kid. You need to be hydrated and have a good breakfast.” Opal peeled one eye open and pouted at her aunt.

“Aunt Lin, I’m dying. This is awful. I have thrown up like four times already.” She complained as her aunt knelt down beside her and had her sit up slowly.

“That’s what happens when you party with them. Trust me I’ve had my share of hangovers because of a particular hippie healer.” Kya peeked her head out of the kitchen to gape at the chief.

“And I nursed you back to health when you were hungover for the first time.” She mentioned before ducking into the kitchen as Lin scooped up her niece and sat her down at the table next to Thalia who rested her head on the table with her eyes closed.

“Hangovers are evil.” The princess murmured, lifting a finger up into the air. “Public enemy number one. Forget evil spirits and cults; this sh*t is the public’s highest threat.” Lin chuckled at her goddaughter as she sat in between the two of them. The healer re-emerged from the kitchen with five glasses of various liquids all frozen stacked strategically on a tray and her quilt still tucked under her arm.

“Alright girls water and lychee juice. Hydration and electrolytes are going to zap you out of this, so no complaining. Drink up. Ikki is making you both toast as we speak. You both need something light in your stomach till breakfast is ready.” She instructed placing the tray down on the table. She pushed two glasses towards Opal thawing the liquids before doing the same with their goddaughter. Lin raised a brow at the fifth glass on the tray and looked up at her. “Do either of you have a headache?” She asked as Opal took a drink of her water. The airbender nodded and dropped her head on her aunt’s shoulder. Kya rounded the table and called forth the water from the fifth glass coating her hands.

“Kid, she needs your temples. Head back.” Lin instructed, giving her niece a gentle nudge. Opal did as she was told and let out a soft hum as the healer set to work using her healing abilities to alleviate the headache for her. Kya knelt down behind the young Beifong and let her rest against her as she worked her magic. After a beat of silence, Opal forced one of her eyes open to look over at her aunt who was observing them.

“You’re not allowed to break up with her ever.” Opal insisted, lifting a hand pointing at her aunt. She poked the chief’s cheek and watched her nose scrunch up in response. “You’ll have to marry her.” Lin felt her cheeks heat up as she rubbed the back of her neck. Toph chuckled at her granddaughter as she sat on the other side of the table listening to them.

“Leave them be, Opes.” Toph told her granddaughter as Ikki came in with the toast for the two hungover women.

“Here is your toast. I just put butter on them to keep it bland.” Opal put her hands together in gratitude as she mouthed a ‘thank you’ to her. Thalia sat up accepting the toast. She nibbled on a slice and sighed softly.

“Not gonna respond to Opal on her little decree?” Thalia asked, offering her godmother a tired smirk. Lin waved a hand dismissively at the princess.

“I certainly don’t plan on letting her go anytime soon. Becoming public was a step forward.” Kya hummed in agreement as she wrapped up with Opal, pressing a kiss to the airbender’s forehead.

“It is about the journey, not the destination, girls. I have waited decades for this journey in particular; I am not about to skip seeing the sights along the way.” Lin felt the blush take over her entire face and down her neck. She watched as the healer sent the water to the potted plant in the corner, before feeling her wrap her arms around her shoulders from behind. Lin leaned her head back to look at her, resting her head on her friend’s sternum.

“Eloquently put, beautiful.” The taller woman leaned down and pressed a kiss in between the earthbender’s brows with a smile. She moved forwards kissing her softly on the lips.

“I am going to go help Pema with breakfast. Watch the girls.” She instructed the chief, getting an eyebrow raise in return.

“You really enjoy telling me what to do, don’t you?” Lin asked with a small smirk as she watched a smirk grace the healer’s lips.

“I do. It is good to see you can still take orders from time to time, chief.” The healer bent down for one more quick kiss before standing up and walking back into the kitchen. Opal leaned back into her aunt as she munched on her toast. Ikki picked up her aunt’s quilt and shook it out before draping it over the three women’s shoulders.

“Mom plans on making hash browns, scrambled eggs and pancakes. The coffee is still brewing. I’ll bring mugs out when they’re done. Toph, are you gonna want a mug too?” The tween asked as she adjusted the blanket on Thalia’s shoulder for her. The retired chief nodded as she turned in the young airbender’s direction. “Okie dokie! Keep drinking those fluids like Auntie Kya said.” She reminded the two women on either side of Lin. Opal took another drink of her water watching the tween disappear into the kitchen.

“She could’ve made a good healer down the road if she were born a waterbender.” Opal commented before letting out a small yawn. Thalia nodded in agreement as she also let herself get cozy against her godmother like she used to when she was young.

“Jinora seemed to inherit the spiritual affinity that her grandfather and aunt have, but Ikki definitely has Aunt Kya’s compassion and big heart.” Lin listened to the conversation and the sound of the radio turning on in the kitchen.

“It is a beautiful thing to have that big of a heart especially in the healing profession.” Lin thought aloud watching her friend move around the kitchen with her family. Opal observed the small smile on her aunt’s face as she finished off her glass of water.

“It is.” She agreed, laying off teasing her aunt for the moment. After a few minutes, Ikki returned with two of the four mugs. She sat them in front of Thalia and Toph before going back for the other two mugs.

“Do you guys put anything in your coffee I need to grab?” Ikki asked as she gave the other two Beifong women their coffees. Lin and Toph both shook their heads in response.

“Sugar and milk?” Opal asked, tilting her head up to look at the other airbender.

“Thalia?” The princess pointed at the youngest Beifong woman.

“She took the words out of my mouth.” Ikki smiled at the two women as she skipped back into the kitchen. Lin watched her mother cradle her mug in front of her face blowing on the hot dark liquid. Ikki came back in with a milk carton, a bowl of sugar, and three spoons. The two women thanked her as Toph sipped her coffee.

“Badgermole, I can feel you staring at me.” The elderly woman spoke up as she sat her mug down on the table. Lin sat up a bit straighter and cleared her throat.

“Sorry. I was just thinking.” Toph raised a brow at her oldest.

“Oh yeah? About what?” She inquired leaning against the table. Lin shrugged as she looked around the room.

“Just that it has been awhile since we’ve all had breakfast together.” She responded nonchalantly. Toph let her brow rest as she let out an amused scoff.

“You’re right about that. I think someone at this table was a babbling toddler at that point.” Thalia stirred her coffee and chuckled.

“Well that babbling toddler is thirty-five now and hungover.” The princess commented as she moved to take a sip of her coffee. Lin rubbed her goddaughter’s back and kissed her head.

“And now we know not to try to keep up with your godmother.” The nonbender nodded, tugging the blanket around her more.

“Yeah, thank you chief obvious.” She muttered, nuzzling her face into her godmother’s shoulder. “I think I’m gonna close my eyes for a little bit, Auntie.” Lin glanced over at Opal to find her eyes closed, arms wrapped around her aunt’s loosely with a fist holding the blanket around her.

“Well Opal is already out. I guess it’s only fair that you can fall asleep too.” Thalia let out a tired sigh as she closed her eyes.

“Wake me up when the food is ready.” Lin nodded and pulled her coffee closer to her so she could continue to drink her coffee while the two women slept. The chief listened to the music coming from the kitchen as the four women cooked breakfast.

Over the next thirty minutes, the group started to slowly trickle in. Jinora was first to arrive with Rohan on her hip as she walked in. Jinora put the toddler down to help with breakfast which gave the young boy the opportunity to crawl under the table and emerge on the chief’s lap with his toy sky bison. He proceeded to tell her the name of the toy and rattled off basic facts to her. Iroh walked in with Meelo on his tail asking him questions about the United Forces and their requirements to join. They sat beside Thalia who was still passed out on her godmother’s shoulder. Korra and Asami entered together and split off with a quick peck on the lips; Korra went to sit by Toph and Asami went into the kitchen to offer any assistance. Bolin was not far behind with Pabu on his shoulder. He sat down beside his girlfriend and pressed a light kiss to her temple as she slept. Su, Baatar, Rita, and Bumi all walked in together chatting amongst themselves. Su caught a glimpse at her daughter and moved around the table.

“Hangover?” The matriarch asked, crouching down beside her sister as she put the back of her right hand to her daughter’s forehead. Lin nodded as looked back at her sister.

“She was curled up in the corner over there when we walked in here. I had to pick her up and move her over to the table. Kya used her healing ability for her headache and she had a piece of toast and some water.” She explained to her sister as she pouted watching her little girl sleep.

“Poor baby. I guess you have to go through it to know your limit.” Su kissed the top of her daughter’s head. “I think she’s in good hands though. I have soothed every other sickness and ailment. Looks to me like she just wants her aunt.” Lin felt her younger sister give her shoulder a loving squeeze before she took a seat on the other side of Bolin by her husband and the other couple. Kya came in and started setting the table with Asami. She paused at her girlfriend and chuckled.

“Arms numb yet?” She asked as she reached down, carding her finger’s through the chief’s hair. Lin shook her head in response as she looked down at both of the women.

“Surprisingly, no.” She responded as she looked over her shoulder up at the healer. Kya bent down and kissed her softly.

“Good. It would make eating breakfast a bit difficult wouldn’t it?” She teased with a cheeky grin. Lin rolled her eyes at the woman as she felt Thalia begin to wake up lifting her head. As she sat up right, Lin took the opportunity to snag the waterbender by the collar of the shirt pulling her back down. Kya let out a shocked squeal before Lin’s lips were pressed against her’s in a quick searing kiss. Thalia turned her head to see the public display and covered the toddler’s eyes for the short duration of the kiss.

“Come on now. Don’t you all have an outstanding rule on ‘no face sucking at the table’?” Thalia chided them, getting an elbow from her brother.

“You are just grouchy that you don’t have a girlfriend yet.” Thalia crossed her arms over her chest once the two parted.

“Damn straight I am. It sucks being the only single adult here.” She complained before turning to see Toph sitting at the table with her arms also crossed over her chest. “Let me rephrase, only adult under the age of sixty-five that is single.” Lin let go of Kya’s collar and watched as Kya wrapped her arms around their goddaughter’s shoulders.

“And that is why we are going out tonight, but to do that you need to sober up. Keep hydrating. Breakfast is almost done.” She kissed the princess’s head and gave her a squeeze. The nonbender sighed as she dropped the blanket and scooted over to give the healer some room to sit by her girlfriend. “I figured your mom and Akira would have been in here by now.” Thalia and Iroh turned to each other and chuckled.

“Oh they are up. They have probably been up since sunrise.” The princess confirmed with a small shudder. “Mother’s on her own schedule since we aren’t here on royal business.” She deadpanned, getting a cackle from Toph.

“Just like her mother. What was it Mai always used to say to us, Sweetness?” Toph called towards the kitchen. Katara popped her head into the doorway with a smirk.

“About the sheep hens and tiger foxes?” She inquired, getting a boney finger pointing at her.

“Yep. How did it go?” Thalia groaned and shook her head.

“Please, I have been hearing this damn phrase since I turned eighteen.” The princess complained before taking a sip of her juice. Katara chuckled at the nonbender and ducked her head back into the kitchen.

“I believe it went; ‘We fire nation women may be sheep hens in the kitchen, but we are tiger foxes in the bedroom.’ Does that sound right, Toph?” She called out to her friend. Rita snickered at the quote and clapped Bumi on the thigh, causing him to jump.

“The former Lady of the Fire Nation was a wise woman.” She praised the memory of the woman as Izumi walked in tightening her robe with damp hair with Akira walking in behind her stretching her arms over her head in a matching robe and a damp messy bun on top of her head.

“Why are we singing my mother’s praises?” Izumi asked, raising an eyebrow as she moved to sit beside her son. Rita smirked, leaning against the table, the captain’s bare shoulder peeking out the large t-shirt she was wearing. If Lin had to guess, she had snagged one of Bumi’s shirts at some point last night or early this morning.

“Her sheep hen and tiger fox analogy.” Izumi threw her head back, letting out a cackle.

“To be fair she waited to tell me that till I was twenty, then by twenty-two I had this one.” She said, ruffling her son’s hair with a grin. Iroh rolled his eyes at his mother as she kissed his cheek. As Iroh smoothed back down his hair, Zuko and Mako entered the room.

“I think you guys killed Wu.” Mako announced plopping down next to Asami at the table. “He said the room was spinning and that world was going to collapse in on itself.” Bumi shuddered.

“He’s having a hangover and he’s tripping. Now we know not to give that kid weed.” Toph rolled her eyes at Bumi’s analysis.

“I could have told you not to give that kid weed. He’s too skiddish as is. You just amplified it. Now he’s thinking the world is ending.” Kya chuckled and shrugged her shoulders.

“To be fair, in most cases weed mellows people out.” She informed the table as Izumi crawled over to her daughter to check on her as she stared off at her empty juice glass. Opal began to stir as Pema entered the room with a giant serving plate stacked high with the fluffiest pancakes Lin had ever seen.

“Alright, pancakes have arrived. Jinora is wrapping up with the scrambled eggs and the hash browns probably have another few minutes.” Ikki walked in with two bottles of syrup and two sticks of butter placing them next to the serving tray. Pema turned to her youngest seeing him still seated on the chief’s lap. “Ro, why don’t you let Lin eat and you go to Auntie Kya?” She suggested to her toddler. The young boy shook his head and stayed planted in Lin’s lap.

“No tank you.” Kya pursed her lip at her younger nephew with a fake wounded expression.

“Rohan, you are hurting Auntie Kya’s feelings.” The healer told the small child who looked up at her with a furrowed brow. The child slid off the chief’s lap and crawled into his aunt’s lap to give her a hug. The ‘wounded’ expression was replaced by a look of pure adoration for the little boy.

“I’m sowwy.” Pema chuckled as the waterbender hugged her nephew and pressed a loving kiss to the top of his head.

“We’re still working on the R’s.” She said, wiping her flour coated hands on her apron. Lin handed the toddler his toy sky bison and ruffled his hair. Rohan pulled his aunt’s face down to look at her without craning his neck.

“Auntie?” He asked, squishing her cheeks with his little hands.

“Yesh?” She responded with squished cheeks and a brow raised.

“Is Miss Chief you gilfwiend?” The waterbender chuckled at the serious tone in the toddler’s voice.

“Yep! That’s my girlfriend.” As she answered proudly, she reached a hand out to squish Lin’s cheeks.

“Good!” The toddler responded giddily as he let go of his aunt’s face. “I like you gilfwiend.” He declared with a big smile. Kya kissed her nephew’s forehead and grinned over at Lin.

“I’m glad. I like her too. Gills and all.” She joked at her nephew’s mispronunciation.

“And here I was just gonna say I didn’t realize I was a fish.” Lin chuckled, getting a puzzled look from the child.

“A fish?” The two women laughed at the young boy as Lin reached for two pancakes tossing them onto her plate.

“The word is girlfriend, Ro.” His aunt attempted to correct him. The toddler looked his aunt dead in the eyes, determined and confident.

“Gilfwiend.” Kya squished the little boy’s face in response to his youthful confidence.

“Fine. Lin apparently you are my gilfriend according to Ro. I’m wrong, the child is right.” She stated, getting a proud smile from the child.

“Alright. Still not a fish.” Rohan looked confused between the two women.

“When did I call the chief a fishy?” He asked, utterly perplexed. As Kya proceeded to explain to the child what gills were and how they correlated to fish. Lin swapped plates with Kya and grabbed two more pancakes, putting them on the empty plate in front of her. Lin felt her niece’s hold on her arm tighten as she began to stir.

“Feeling any better, kid?” Lin asked as she took the syrup from her goddaughter, pouring a generous amount on her pancakes and Kya’s. Opal blinked the sleep out of her eyes as she assessed the table.

“For the most part. I’m famished though.” The airbender replied as she stretched her arms over her head. “You make a pretty good pillow by the way.” She tacked on with a grin before greeting her boyfriend with a peck on the cheek.

“So I’ve been told.” Lin glanced over to her right to the three people closest to her. Thalia pointed her fork in her direction.

“Hey it’s not our fault we really only napped with you or Aunt Kya.” She defended herself and her brother with a chuckle. Jinora walked in with a large wok filled with eggs and Katara on her tail with another wok full of hashbrowns. Pema walked in with two spatulas and stuck them in the woks. Ikki filtered in behind her with a tray holding two pitchers; one of water and another of lychee juice.

“There is another pot of coffee going. I’d give it five minutes.” She said, moving to take a seat by her mother-in-law. Meelo stood up from the table and walked towards the doorway.

“Dad’s on the couch right?” He called back to his mother hanging in the doorway awaiting her answer.

“Yep.” She replied, popping the ‘p’. “If you want to wake him up, be my guest.” The acolyte watched her son air scooter off with a devilish look in his eye. Lin scooped a helping of eggs onto her plate and snagged two hashbrowns out of the wok dropping one onto Kya’s plate after seeing her eyeing them. The waterbender reached a hand out and rested it on the earthbender’s knee. As everyone ate, a booming sound could be heard from down the hall followed by Meelo’s voice.

“Get up, soldier! Grub is served!” He hollered at the top of his lungs before a gust of wind blew into the dining room and the young boy was back beside the general. “He’s awake.” The boy announced with a proud expression on his face. A moment later, Tenzin appeared in the doorway disheveled and near seething. Bumi bit back a laugh as he ate his hashbrown.

“Well good morning, sunshine. Did you sleep well?” He jested as he chewed. Tenzin rolled his eyes at his older brother as he sat beside his oldest.

“Don’t talk with food in your mouth. Mom and Dad taught you better than that.” He scolded his brother, ignoring his question. Ikki poured herself some lychee juice as she glanced up at her aunt and the chief.

“Hey, Aunt Kya, what time did you guys wake up? You were outside really early this morning.” Ikki pried with a curious look on her face. It seemed the tween was attempting to divert the attention away from her father’s sour mood. Kya turned her head to Lin, not sure of the exact time.

“Before sunrise. We made a pot of tea and watched it from the gazebo. Do you know what time we got up?” Lin shrugged as she dipped her hashbrown in the syrup on her plate.

“Around five probably.” Bumi looked bewildered to hear her sister had actually been up before the sun was high in the sky.

“And what got you out of bed that early?” Kya gave Lin’s knee a squeeze as she moved to answer.

“I woke her up.” She responded before the healer could answer. She felt Kya’s head drop on her shoulder before glancing down at her. Lin pressed a kiss to her forehead and glanced back across the table to see her mother with her head co*cked to the side as if she was analyzing something.

‘What I said wasn’t a lie. Why is she-’ Her thought was interrupted by her mother’s voice cutting through her train of thought.

“You had a nightmare didn’t you?” Lin’s body tensed up as she slowly nodded in response, not able to find her voice. Her mother sensed it as she was rhythmically tapping her foot against the floor. “You’re not mad at anyone in this room, so it wasn’t the day you got your scars. It was when you took that fall on the docks wasn't it?” Lin looked down at her plate as she stayed silent. ‘That fall on the docks’ meant the day Lihua died. Her mother knew better than to mention what actually happened on the docks that day.

“How did you know a nightmare woke me up?” She inquired, steering the topic away from what her nightmare was about. Toph lifted her head from off her shoulder as she continued to look in Lin’s direction.

“I sleep on the ground for a reason. If something happens to any of you, I would like to know about it as quickly as possible. I sleep with an ear to the ground with a thin pillow. I felt your heartbeat shot up earlier this morning. It woke me up, and I was going to go check on you. Then I felt your heartbeat start slowing down, before I could even get up. Flower Child’s doing no doubt.” She explained as she scrunched up her nose like she always did when she was trying to not be so abrasive. “We all get them, Lin. You don’t have to be ashamed of having them.” Lin lifted her head and pushed her plate away from her, not having an appetite anymore. Her eyes scanned everyone’s faces around the table as they looked between the mother and daughter.

“I would prefer not to keep talking about this. You are all looking at me like I am some sad, helpless puppy.” Rohan climbed over into the chief’s lap and booped her nose when she looked down at him.

“You a fish not a puppy, silly chief.” Lin wrapped her arms around the smallest airbender as she let out a laugh. The earthbender’s laugh was accompanied by everyone else around the table laughing aside from her ex who sat there perplexed as to why his youngest was calling her a fish.

“Why is Rohan calling you a fish?” He asked once the laughs died down. Lin looked down at the toddler then up at his father.

“Ask him to say ‘girlfriend’.” She answered simply as she glanced over at Kya seeing her holding in a giggle.

“What does that have to do with-” Jinora flicked her father’s arm and shot him a look. “Alright. Rohan, can you say girlfriend?” He asked his youngest. Rohan nodded his head excitedly as he stood up on the chief’s thighs.

“Gilfwiend!” The airbending master raised a brow at his son, then looked towards the woman holding him for answers. “Chief is Auntie Kya’s gilfwiend, Daddy.” The toddler took to explaining for himself. Lin shrugged at her ex as she offered her hands to the little boy to keep him steady which he took happily.

“He says gilfriend instead of girlfriend. Kya explained to him what gills were before breakfast and now I am a fish I guess.” Rohan turned his head and looked at the woman he was standing on.

“You not a fish silly. I just wanted you to smile.” Lin felt her heart melt as she looked at the little boy. He wanted her to smile? The boy was more of an empath than she originally thought.

“Well mission accomplished, bud. Thank you.” He gave her a nod as he sat back down in her lap. “It seems you have a little empath in the making.” She commented, looking towards the boy’s parents. “I guess you can’t have too many in one family, huh?” Lin turned her gaze over to the healer at her side. She leaned over and kissed her nephew’s head before turning to her girlfriend.

“I suppose not in this family anyways. Ikki and I can’t carry the whole load on our own.” She jested, getting a bright smile from her niece from across the table. Lin ruffled the toddler’s hair again, getting a giggle from him as he walked his sky bison across the table. Kya’s head returned to Lin’s shoulder as conversations ramped back up again leaving Lin’s nightmare talk behind them. Lin felt Kya’s fingers interlace with her’s as they sat there listening to the group. As dirty dishes were gathered up, the two elderly women sat side by side talking, when Toph’s demeanor changed and she slammed her hands off the table causing everyone to pause.

“We aren’t going to have a f*cking draw. I am going to win our bet, Sweetness.” She announced to the elderly waterbender and the rest of the table. Katara raised a brow as she turned her head to look at her old friend.

“What in Agni are you talking about? You have Su’s kids and that is it. We aren’t counting Korra, Asami, Mako, and Bolin, so if you are trying to pull a fast one on me it won’t work.” Toph waved a hand dismissively at the mention of the four young adults.

“That isn’t who I am talking about. I am talking about Tana. Lin took over as her legal guardian when she was twelve. The girl has been calling me Granny Toph since she could talk.” Toph pointed out with a cheeky grin. Both Lin and Tenzin froze at the mention of the girl’s name.

“Mom, not everyone here knows about Tana.” Lin chimed in as she felt Kya’s hand let go of her’s. Dread and fear washed over the chief. She didn’t need this to be a nail in another relationship’s coffin.

“Lin, what is your mother talking about?” Kya inquired with a concerned tone. The chief of police pinched the bridge of her nose as she took a deep breath. She listened as someone stood up from the table.

“Ikki, grab Rohan. Meelo, let’s go brush Pepper and Oogie.” The eldest of the airbending children announced, reading the room and the way the conversation was steering. Lin dropped her hand from her face, feeling the toddler in her lap stand up and hug her arm before running over to Ikki. The tween hoisted the toddler up into her arms and kissed his head.

“Come on, Meelo.” Ikki grabbed the boy by the under arm to hoist him up. He let out an annoyed groan as he rose to his feet.

“Why can’t we hear the grownup talk?” He complained following his sister obediently for once. “I wanna know about the chief’s daughter. Maybe she’s pretty and single.” He quipped as they exited the room. Ikki gave the boy a bewildered look as she disappeared.

“Dude, you’re ten!” She chided him as they walked down the hall. Lin couldn’t look at anyone other than her mother who sat there stoic and unblinking.

“Flower Child doesn’t know? Why would you keep that from her?” Lin put her face in her hands, raking her fingers through her hair.

“Because we weren’t talking and I wasn’t ready to reconcile.” Lin lifted her head up to look up at the ceiling for a moment trying to think of how to explain it to them. Other than her mother, Tenzin, Katara, Opal, and Izumi’s family, none of them knew about what happened twenty-two years ago.

“Who’s Tana?” She heard Kya ask, breaking the silence in the room. Lin turned back to her friend to respond, when Izumi raised a hand in her direction. The fire lord was ready to take the healer on a quick jog down memory lane.

“Do you remember a little girl that always hung around Lin at functions? She had dark coppery hair. You called her Tangerine or Tambourine given the day.” She reminded the healer, causing her brow to furrow.

“Well yeah, but that was Lihua’s daughter.” As Kya attempted to make sense of the information, Lin glanced over to see the realization dawn on her sister’s face.

“She's dead isn’t she?” Lin’s body tensed at the question. Her fists clenched at her sides as she nodded.

“It was my fault. We got into a situation I couldn’t get us out of and the idiot sweet-talked them into letting me live.” Lin shook her head at the memory, feeling her chest tightening and the sorrow building. “She died a few months after Aang died. Tana had no other family and Lihua had asked me to take care of her in the event of her passing years beforehand. She was twelve at the time.” She explained to the table, looking down at her lap. The more she talked about it; the harder it was to look at any of them. “I told your mom and brother not to tell you specifically because I didn’t need you thinking you had to come apologize and try to fix things like you always do.” The chief wrung her hands together in her lap. “I’m sorry I didn’t tell you sooner.” Lin stared down at her hands and contemplated walking out of the room. To get away from all the eyes on her. It was the soft touch of the healer’s hands on her’s that forced her to look up towards her.

“I’m not mad at you, Lin. You had every right to not tell me. I can’t even begin to imagine how you felt losing your partner and having to take care of her daughter.” She reached a hand up and rested a hand on her scarred cheek. Lin analyzed her face. There was no anger or hurt anywhere to be seen, just sympathy and compassion. “I’m sorry about Lihua. I know you two were close. She was a lovely person to be around.” Lin nuzzled her face into the hand cupping her cheek and closed her eyes. She felt soft lips on the tip of her nose then her forehead.

“Thank you.” Lin opened her eyes after a moment and turned her head to look at the rest of the table. Su was watching her sister closely mixed emotions across her face. The chief found she couldn’t get a good read on her younger sister at that moment.

“Su, if you’re mad I-“ the matriarch was tangled around her sister in an instant. Lin stopped as she wrapped her arms around the smaller woman’s upper back after a moment of sitting there in shock.

“I’m not mad at you. Spirits, why would I be mad at you? If I’m mad at anybody, it’s myself. I thought all these years that you had Lihua around to console you, and that she had retired or something. I should have known she wouldn’t have just up and left you to work with someone else.” Lin rested her chin on her sister’s shoulder.

“It’s okay. It’s not like we were exactly on speaking terms.” Su pulled back holding her sister’s shoulders. A stern look on her face that nearly matched their mother’s.

“I would have tried a hell of a lot harder to apologize if I knew you were shouldering all of that on your own.” The chief pointed across the table at her ex who looked at her worried as to what she was going to say.

“I had Tenzin. I wasn’t by myself.” Su rolled her eyes and waved a hand dismissively at him as he relaxed.

“For like two years then he dumped you. You still had a pubescent teenage girl to raise by yourself.” The older earthbender rolled her eyes.

“Tana and I made it out alive. Besides, she was a cake walk compared to your teenage years.” Lin jabbed at her sister to lighten the mood. Su snorted at the thought.

“I was a brat, wasn’t I?” A chorus of hums could be heard from the group, getting a pout from the younger Beifong sister. “Rude.” She muttered as she turned back to her sister. “Is she still in the area? Maybe she’d want to go shopping with us?” Su offered, steering the conversation away from her teenage years. Lin rubbed the back of her neck slightly anxious.

“She’s helping a new tenant move in and get acclimated to the city today, but she’ll be at the bar tonight knowing her. If we’re going to Kyoshi’s, I assume we are, knowing Kya.” The healer eagerly nodded her head with a smile. “There you go. You can get reacquainted with her then.” The matriarch appeared to be satisfied with that answer as she let her sister’s shoulders go.

“Alright. Do you have any pictures of her? I’d like to know what my niece looks like considering the last time I saw her she was just learning to walk and talk.” Lin moved to grab her wallet before remembering she was still in her pajamas.

“Well if I had my wallet I’d show you, but it’s back in Kya’s room in my dress pants still.” Kya moved to get up only to be stopped by two separate hands grabbing each wrist.

“Sit down. Lin can show me later.” Su insisted, giving the healer’s left arm a little tug. Kya slowly sat back down beside Lin. The chief leaned over and pressed a quick kiss to her cheek.

“It was sweet of you to try and grab it for me though.” Kya blushed and dropped her head on her girlfriend’s shoulder.

“Acts of service. I’ve adapted over the years to the love language you respond to the most.” The waterbender commented as she laced their fingers together again. Katara chuckled at the two women, giving Toph a little elbow in the upper arm.

“She should be in one of the papers today. She came and told me happy birthday after Tenzin walked away. She gave me a card before the party started. One of the photographers took a picture of us. I can’t remember which one though. She is a spitting image of her mother though if that’s what you two are wondering. A beautiful and respectable woman. You did a wonderful job with her, Lin.” Lin bowed her head in Katara’s direction as a ‘thank you’ as Su raised a brow.

“Why did she wait for Tenzin to walk away?” Tenzin’s body went rigid at the question, clenching his jaw. Toph crossed her arms over her chest as she turned to her friend’s youngest.

“The two don’t get along anymore. She caught him arguing with Lin one too many times about her stance on not wanting to have children of her own. She came in firing on all cylinders defending Lin like her life depended on it. If I remember correctly, she called him ‘an heir driven airhead’. She was talking so fast on the phone that I might have misheard her.” Toph explained with a slight smirk. Tenzin’s face turned beet red as Katara pinched the bridge of her nose. Bumi cackled at the new information about Lin’s adoptive daughter.

“I love this kid already.” Tenzin shot his brother a glare. “Hey you picked a fight with a twelve year old girl. You had to get roasted like a Komodo chicken.” The airbending master heaved a small sigh.

“I have never held any animosity towards Tana. I held her mother in high regard. She has every right to dislike me. I was being selfish and was worrying only about myself and how I was feeling. Tana was just defending the only family she had left like her mother would.” He explained, highlighting his faults that night leading to Tana’s dislike towards him. Toph let out a fond sigh before speaking again.

“She’s just like Lihua was. She never spared feelings when it came to the topic of Lin either. Everyone called her spitfire for a reason back at the precinct. You got her pissed off enough they said she had flames sputter out every once and awhile.” Lin chuckled at the thought.

“Tana does the same thing. You should have seen her when I put her on front desk duty after she broke her arm in a tussle with some triple threat goons.” Bolin’s jaw dropped as he connected the dots.

“We’re talking about that Tana?!” He exclaimed bewildered. Mako slapped his forehead, shaking his head at his younger brother.

“Way to catch up, Bo.” He deadpanned. Bolin let out a small chuckle and turned to the chief.

“She’s very intimidating at work. Especially before she broke her arm. Makes sense that you raised her. She exudes ‘try me and you’ll bite the curb’ when she’s out in the field in triad territory.” Bolin complimented his superior. “Off the beat she’s super nice though. She showed me how to fill out arrest reports the way Lin likes them done.” Kya chuckled as she glanced up at Lin.

“Sounds like someone is trying to save the rookies from getting chewed out.” The healer jested, giving Lin’s hand a gentle squeeze. Bolin stood up collecting the dirty plates around him.

“Since you and Katara moved back, she’s been a lot less…” he paused searching his brain for the proper word. “Scary tough love? And a lot more just tough love, but that could also just be the fact she thinks of us as her kids.” Lin made no effort to correct him as he walked towards the kitchen with a big smile. Kya used her free hand to pat her knee as she suppressed a giggle.

“Aw, have you been in a better mood because of little old me?” She pried, fluttering her lashes at the metalbender to tease her more. Lin scoffed at the teasing from the waterbender and looked towards the doorway.

“Merely a coincidence.” Opal giggled at her aunt’s brooding look.

“You say that now, but when those papers get here and they all have the same picture of you admiring your girlfriend. You will be backpedaling so fast.” Opal teased her with a big grin. Her aunt rolled her eyes as she turned to look at her. “Don’t even try to deny it. Thalia saw you too. You were making heart eyes at your girlfriend and weren’t listening to the photographers.” Thalia let out a hearty laugh as she reached across the table to high five the airbender.

“She’s right. If someone could physically have heart eyes, it would be you last night. Even Iroh made a comment about it. If General Tight-Wad makes a comment, you know it is practically fact.” Thalia put in her two cents as she nudged her older brother. The crowned prince offered a shrug to his godmothers as he nudged his sister back.

“I think I prefer you hungover and asleep. You clearly became a chatterbox when you trained with Great Aunt Ty Lee.” Thalia flipped her hair over her shoulder and stuck her tongue out at her brother.

“I enjoyed hanging out with Great Aunt Ty Lee. I not only learned to chi block, but I also learned the ways of a Kyoshi Warrior as well. I can use war fans like nobody’s business. Let’s not forget that Grandpa taught me how to wield a sword and Grandma taught me knife throwing.” Iroh remained quiet as he got momentarily lost in thought.

“I remember. Gram always had a smile on her face when she trained you.” The prince finally spoke up, getting a chuckle from his grandfather who sat in between Toph and the royal consort.

“It made her day. She’d have me wheel her out under the big tree in the courtyard after lunch to wait for you to come home from school. You’d come running to her and she’d light up.” The former fire lord recalled fondly. Korra meekly raised a hand looking towards the royal family slightly perplexed. Izumi chuckled at the young woman and waved her to put her hand down.

“You want to know what Dad meant by wheeled her don’t you?” Korra nodded, looking slightly embarrassed that she felt the need to ask. “Mom had a stroke when I was pregnant with Thalia. She lost mobility in her left side. She used a cane for a while then her right leg started bothering her from all of the…” She turned to her father trying to think of a word. “Dead weight I guess would be the best way to describe it.” Her father nodded in agreement as she continued. “The royal physicians and Aunt Katara suggested a wheelchair after about a year or so of using the cane. She didn’t love the idea, but she warmed up to it when she was able to let the kids ride with her.” The active fire lord explained to those in the group who didn’t know her mother was wheelchair bound in her later years. Lin watched as the princess nodded along as she adjusted her robe on her shoulders. Iroh gathered the dirty dishes around him and hauled them into the kitchen to clear up the table.

“Bolin, why are you trying to do the dishes by yourself?” Lin heard Iroh questioning the young earthbender.

“Because the ladies cooked, so I thought I’d do the dishes.” He replied with a somewhat confused tone as to why his actions were being questioned. Iroh marched back out of the kitchen towards his uncles. Baatar was already on his feet walking into the kitchen to help his daughter’s boyfriend. “In the kitchen, the girls cooked, so we’re doing the dishes. Follow the kid’s example.” Bumi hopped up without a complaint giving the general a salute as he walked past.

“Bud, if you would have said you were doing the dishes, we would have come to help you out more.” Bumi chided the young man with a laugh. Iroh looked down at the airbending master as he slowly rose to his feet.

“Getting ordered around my own house.” Tenzin muttered, shaking his head. Lin chuckled at his complaining as she glanced down at Kya as she rolled her eyes at him. Mako stood up with the clean plate from next to him and filled it up with food.

“Do you have a thermos I can fill with water?” He asked Pema. “I should go check on Wu and get him to eat something.” Cabinets were opened and slammed in the kitchen in quick succession before they stopped.

“Here kid. Catch!” Bumi shouted before a thermos was launched into the dining room zipping past his younger brother’s head. Mako caught the metal thermos with his free hand as Tenzin marched into the kitchen seething.

“Are you insane?! That could have hit me!” Tenzin shouted at his older brother. Katara looked across the table at her daughter who lifted her head off Lin’s shoulder.

“Well at least one of us is behaving.” Kya pointed out with a grin, getting a soft chuckle from her mother as she stood up.

“Mako, I’ll go with you to check on him. Perhaps a bit of healing will get the room to stop spinning.” Katara offered as she took the arm the young detective extended to her. Zuko rose to his feet and moved to follow the two out of the dining room.

“I am going to check on Druk. Excuse me for a moment.” He announced to the room before exiting the room with the duo. The two left the dining room going towards the men’s dormitory, while Lord Zuko moved towards the courtyard. Lin stretched her arms over her head and popped her back. Korra’s eyes wandered around the room before honing in on the chief’s right inner bicep. Her eyes grew large as she pointed at the flying boar tattoo that was about the size of her palm if not a bit smaller.

“Since when have you had ink?!” The Avatar exclaimed, rocketing to her feet rounding the table to get a better look at the tattoo. Izumi raised a brow watching the Avatar gawk at the tattoo as she peered down at it.

“They rarely see you out of uniform; I take it?” The fire lord inquired as she scooted closer to her daughter. “The three of us all have tattoos. We all have a matching one together.” Izumi shrugged off the right side of her robe and pulled up her silky pajama top to expose the side of her ribs without flashing the table. An open Kyoshi Warrior war fan about four fingers in length resided just above her sixth rib. “We all got them in the same spot. They’re for Aunt Suki and by proxy Aunt Ty Lee. We got them after Aunt Suki’s funeral services. That was Lin’s first tattoo if I remember correctly.” The chief nodded her head as she rolled up her tank top carefully to show the Avatar and the rest of the group who was interested.

“I don’t have as many as Kya.” Kya showed off her war fan tattoo, before pulling her hair over her shoulder to reveal the back of her neck. At the base of her neck was the ancient banyan-grove tree from the swamps.

“You act like I am inked head to toe.” Kya stood up and faced the back wall as she started pulling up the back of her shirt. “I’ve got the war fan, the Banyan-Grove tree from the Foggy Swamp, the moon phases going down my spine, a boomerang and a sword crossing on the other side of my ribcage, Dad’s air glider on my left inner bicep with ‘I love you’ in Mom’s handwriting, and a have the kiddos birth flowers on my right ankle in a little bouquet. The bouquet was the last one I got. I needed confirmation there wasn’t going to be a fifth one that I’d have to wiggle in there somewhere.” Thalia stood up and held up her godmother’s shirt for her to reveal the back piece with the moon in its different phases trailing down her spine. Pema made a X with her arms as the healer turned back around from showing off her back piece.

“We are one hundred percent done. There are plenty of airbenders out and about now. Besides, the age gap being in the teens now is not something I want to deal with.” The acolyte assured her sister-in-law with a smile. Kya gave the woman a thumbs up as she sat back down after showing off the cute little bouquet tattoo on her right ankle. “What all do you have, Lin?” Pema asked out of pure curiosity. The chief showed the flying boar symbol on her right inner bicep.

“Well I have the Beifong family symbol, the war fan like Izumi mentioned, Tui and La circling each other on my right hip, and a dragonfly hummingbird on my left shoulder.” The captain co*cked her head to the side at the mention of Tui and La.

“Tui and La are the Spirit Koh with deep ties to the water tribes right?” Rita questioned the chief, getting a nod in response. Toph chuckled at the question as she rested her elbows on the table.

“The story of Tui and La was one of Lin’s favorite stories as a child.” She divulged to the captain as she waved her hand over at her oldest.

“It is definitely tied for my favorite tattoo that I have gotten along with my dragonfly hummingbird.” Kya looked at her clothed hip, then up at the younger woman’s face.

“Less telling, more showing. I want to see this tattoo.” Lin looked towards the kitchen doorway as she stood up.

“Fine, but for a second.” The chief pulled her shorts and underwear up past her hip to show the detailed tattoo of the two koh spirits circling each other. The tattoo started at the chief’s hipbone and stopped about a third of the way down her thigh. The women at the table admired the tattoo for a beat before the chief covered it back up. Lin looked over at the healer as she moved behind her to look at the dragonfly hummingbird.

“I thought you weren’t a big fan of birds.” Kya quipped as she moved the tank top over a bit to get a better look at the tattoo. Lin shrugged at her comment.

“I don’t, but Lihua was fascinated by them. Tana and I went together when she turned eighteen. She’s got it on her right shoulder. They face each other when we’re side by side.” The waterbender admired the line work with her fingers ghosting over one of its wings.

“Which one of you drew it?” Her curiosity peaked at the tiny signature hidden in the bird’s tail. Lin chuckled as she looked back at it.

“Tana did. I told her if she could think of a good way to honor her mother that we could spend her eighteenth birthday getting tattoos together. Figured it would be a good present for having to put up with me fumbling through figuring out how to parent a teen.” She explained, getting a snort from her mother.

“You did fine. She’s alive, healthy, happy, and a contributing member of society. That’s all you can ask for.” Toph leaned against the table and let out a yawn. “I never worried about either one of you when it came to raising kids. It was just a matter of whether you chose to have them or not.” Lin raised a brow at her mother. “I trusted you with your sister, didn't I?” She asked, sensing her daughter’s facial expression from her rhythmic tapping. Su hopped up to look at her sister’s shoulder tattoo with the healer.

“Fair point.” Su peered at the tattoo and smiled at her sister. The younger Beifong made no attempt to hide how impressed she was by the tattoo.

“Did she pick that up from you or Lihua?” Su asked, tapping on the tattoo for good measure. Lin snorted as she turned around. The thought of Lihua trying to teach her daughter anything artistically inclined had the chief fighting back fits of laughter.

“Lihua couldn’t even draw a stick figure without it looking like some obscure thing. Tana found one of my sketchbooks in my desk at home one night when she and Lihua came over to have dinner with Tenzin and I. I found her flipping through it on the couch like it was a picture book. If memory serves, it was one my sketchbooks I dedicated to landscapes. She demanded to know how I drew them, so I told her what I did when I sketched. She was only maybe five or six, but she took to it fast and absorbed everything I told her. She was so invested that the next day Lihua had to buy her a sketchbook on our lunch break.” Lin explained with a fond smile. Su grinned at her sister and squeezed her shoulder.

“How old is she now? She’s in her thirties right?” Su inquired curiously as she reached down to ruffle Opal’s hair who was looking up at the three women.

“She’s a year younger than me, so thirty-four going to be thirty-five.” Thalia answered before the chief could open her mouth to respond. The group of women all turned to the princess puzzled by her speedy response. Izumi smirked as she wrapped an arm around her daughter’s shoulders.

“That was awfully fast, turtle duck. Who would have thought in the handful of times you two were around each other growing up that you’d remember how old she was that fast.” Izumi teased her youngest, causing her to back pedal cheeks turning red from embarrassment.

“Why can’t a girl just be able to remember an old friend’s age? I mean her birthday is easy to remember since it’s four days before Aunt Lin’s.” The nonbender’s cheeks turned pink as she quickly turned to her godmother’s younger sister. “Anyway! What about you, Aunt Su, are you tatted at all?” She asked quickly, attempting to change the subject away from the topic at hand. Su obliged at changing the topic as she pulled up her left pant leg to reveal a vine that spread from her ankle up to what looked to be her hip with how it traveled. The vine was adorned with various flowers with initials and dates.

“The kids’ birth flowers with their initials and their birthdays. It starts with Baatar and ends with Wei. Then,” she dropped her pant leg and began unbuttoning her pajama top. Baatar emerged in the doorway holding a dish towel and a plate he was drying.

“Showing off, honey?” He jested, causing the matriarch to stall halfway down her shirt. Heather gray sports bra partially exposed as she offered a cheeky grin mirroring that of the twins.

“Just a little bit. Everyone else was showing off first. It is only fair that I show them up.” Baatar playfully rolled his eyes at his wife as he handed off the plate to someone out of view.

“Cheeky as ever. Can’t say I am not proud of that back piece though.” The architect admitted, tossing the towel over his shoulder as Su wrapped up unbuttoning her shirt. Su slipped the shirt off and faced the wall to show the women the tattoo that took up seventy-five percent of her back.

“It’s Baatar’s first full design for Zaofu with his favorite flowers as the border.” Lin raised a brow impressed with the attention to detail of the design and how it translated to becoming a tattoo.

“I won’t say it’s not impressive, but that had to have been tedious. I am sure that it took multiple sessions.” Su nodded as she glanced back at her sister.

“It took four sessions ranging from eight to twelve hours depending on how the artist and I were feeling. I napped through a portion of it. I didn’t think getting this was that bad, but then again my pain tolerance is a bit skewed compared to others.” She divulged as the rest of the group admired the tattoo. Toph hummed from her seat as she flicked her hand off to the side.

“It runs in the family. You two have always been tougher than most. At least among the women, can’t speak for your boys with Danity over there being the other half of their genetic pool.” Toph jabbed at her son-in-law, getting a dramatic gasp from the architect in the kitchen. Lin let out an amused chuckle as Su shook her head, shrugging back on her shirt.

“Mother, be nice to Baatar.” Su chided her mother with a tired sigh. “Not everyone is all brawn. Some of us need to have smarts and creativity. You can’t build cities on brawn alone.” Toph rolled her eyes and turned to her oldest.

“Help me out here, Lin. Your sister seems to think I only pick on Danity.” Lin shrugged her shoulders with a smirk tugging at her lips.

“Danity is a fine architect, Su. We both know that. Mom has to jab at him because she likes him. You know how she is. She’s been doing the same thing with Kya and Tana. That is just Mom being loving.” Toph let out an annoyed huff at her oldest’s response.

“I don’t love that twerp. The only person I will claim out of that,” she waved her hands in Lin’s direction. “Is Tana. Flower Child has won her right to some flowers from me seeing as she finally decided to be selfish for the first time. I’m sure it was hard for you, Kya. You truly are your father’s daughter. He negated unlocking his last chakra choosing to keep his ‘earthly possession’ of loving your mother. Seeking out that which you love most over sparing your brother’s feelings is an immense task. Earthly tethers aren’t always a dooming thing.” Toph crossed her arms over her chest and shrugged. A small smile graced the waterbender’s face as she chuckled at the old woman.

“If I didn’t know any better, I’d say you almost sound wise and all knowing rather than a grouchy old bitty, Toph.” Toph cackled at her daughter’s girlfriend.

“And that sounded a lot like your mother.” Lin watched as her mother fought herself not to smile. “See Danity, you gotta know how to take my banter with a grain of salt. I have always been an asshole. You just have to know how to take it and dish it back.” She lectured the architect as he exited the kitchen. “Kya has an edge on you because she grew up hearing my sh*t talking.” Baatar walked around the table over to his daughter and wife.

“I understand, M-Toph.” Su reached out and ruffled his hair with a smile. “Darling, is that really necessary?” He asked, embarrassed by his wife messing up his hair as if she was comforting a child. The matriarch offered him a shrug as she snaked her arms around his waist.

“To me it was. Why? Got some hot date later?” She teased, giving her husband a tight squeeze with a cheeky grin. The architect rested a hand over her lower back while the other went up to his forehead dramatically as he turned his face away looking fake wounded.

“Sadly no. She’s going on a girls day with her friends and daughter leaving me to fend for myself. It’s quite a pain, but I suppose I will endure nonetheless.” Su let out a bubbly chuckle and dropped a kiss to his nose.

“I doubt we’ll be out late into the night. You can figure something out with the boys and I’ll make it up to you later.” Baatar let out a chuckle as Opal scrunched up her nose in disgust scooting closer towards her aunt.

“Gross. I don’t care if I am twenty-one and with a boyfriend. I never want to hear about what you two do behind closed doors.” Lin felt the young woman scoot behind her legs like a young child causing her to instinctively reach a hand down to pat the top of her head.

“I’m with the kid. Keep what you two do to yourself. The lot of us don’t need to know about your escapades.” Su rolled her eyes at her older sister as she removed an arm from around her husband’s waist to flick her hand at her dismissively.

“Oh honestly. Try loosening up every once and awhile sour puss. Live a little.” The matriarch advised her older sister who just crossed her arms over her chest and nudged an elbow in Kya’s direction. The healer raised a brow at her friend as she wrapped her arms around her shoulders from behind.

“I do. I am just not as crude as you, dork. I have always been more refined than you.” Su scoffed as she let go of her husband to turn fully to her sister poking her in the sternum.

“More refined? You were totally going to be on your ass last night if it wasn’t for me catching you both. What do you have to say about that?” The chief shrugged nonchalantly as she dropped her head on the waterbender’s collarbone.

“It would have been worth it. Either way I achieved my goal and that is all that matters.” Kya’s embrace became more snug as she pressed a light kiss to Lin’s temple. Su co*cked her head to the side resting her hands on her hips.

“What goal? Wiping out in front of every important public figure from around the world?” She pried, utterly befuddled by her older sister’s response. The chief chuckled at her sister’s expression as it twisted between annoyed and perplexed.

“To get Kya to laugh that’s all. If it required me taking a fall in the process, it was going to be worth it.” The simple matter of fact tone in her voice caused Su to crack a smile at her sister as she looked at the couple.

“I can’t say it wasn’t an honorable goal. It was just slightly out of character for you.” The chief reached out a foot, hooking it around to tap the back of her sister’s knee causing it to buckle. The dancer switched her weight to her other leg and gave her a light kick in the shin in retaliation once she regained composure.

“Oh honestly. Loosen up, Su. You have got to live a little.” Lin paraphrased to her sister with a small smirk. Su stuck her tongue out at her sister in response like she used to as a child.

“Oh very funny. Nice to see your sarcasm has stayed intact after all these years.” Kya let out a reminiscent sigh as the sisters bickered.

“I’m glad you two made up. I missed you two egging each other on.” The healer spoke up over the bickering, causing the ‘insults’ they were slinging back and forth to end. The matriarch lightly slugged the chief in the upper arm with a grin.

“It took Opal becoming an airbender, acupuncture, a small brawl, someone napping for sixteen hours, and a lengthy one-on-one talk, but we got there.” Lin rolled her eyes as she uncrossed her arms to punch her sister back in the shoulder. Opal rose to her feet and rested her hands on her hips.

“Small brawl? You two had the courtyard looking like a war zone. I’d hate to see the outcome if Aunt Lin was firing on all cylinders.” Korra’s hand shot up quickly.

“I’d love to see it. You two totally should do that.” Opal shot her friend a glare along with her girlfriend. The Avatar quickly put her hands up in self defense. “Without the ‘I am going to f*ck you up’ energy.” She tacked on quickly, offering a lopsided grin to the two women. The sisters chuckled as they shook their heads at the young woman.

“Hate to break it to you, kid, but we only ever turn our bending on each other when we need to get things out. Mom taught us to fight if we’re going to fight. Actions speak louder than words.” Toph blew at her bangs and leaned back onto her hands.

“It was a sound solution at the time. They both got better at fighting because of it. I wanted them to be able to hold their own and stick to what they believed in. Now, they don’t take sh*t from anyone and they command respect in their respective fields.” The former chief praised her daughters as she continued to lounge on the floor at the table. The two women looked at each other and then to their mother seemingly confused by the sudden praise. “I am stating a fact. Don’t go thinking I’m getting wishy washy like Sugar Queen. That isn’t my style. You should know that by now.” Opal let out a small giggle at her grandmother as she wrapped an arm around her mother’s neck and the other went around her aunt’s. Kya released the chief from her embrace and took a step back to admire the small family moment.

“I’m with Kya on this one. It’s nice you guys are getting along.” The airbender grinned at the two women in her hold. Lin chuckled at her niece before glancing out of the corner of her eye towards the healer. She stood a few steps off to the side with a tender, content expression taking over her face as a small smile tugged on her lips. Her hands were clasped in front of her as she looked on at the three Beifong women. A frustrated shout from the hallway pulled Lin’s gaze away from the waterbender.

“Some help please!” Huan could be heard shouting followed by the twins chuckling at their older brother. Korra was the first one out the dining room followed by the boys’ mother and their aunt. Huan stood at the other end of the hall struggling to carry a large bundle of newspapers while his younger brothers walked ahead of him each carrying two bundles. Lin held back a chuckle as Korra trotted up and took the bundle from the struggling young man. “Thank spirits!” Huan shook out his arms as he followed the Avatar back towards the doorway where his mother and aunt had stopped seeing Korra had it under control. The twins walked up to their mother and dropped their heads to allow her to kiss them both on the forehead. “We got stopped on the way here from the dorms by the messengers for the different newspapers.” Huan explained to his mother as he allowed her to kiss his forehead once he was in range. The youngest of the three young men gave his mother a fed up look.

“They wouldn’t let me or Wing sign for the bundles. They didn’t believe we were nineteen. Huan had to sign for it all.” He griped to their mother as she bit back a laugh.

“Well you have genetics to blame for that I suppose. Typically it is a blessing to look younger than you actually are unless you are just getting into your early adult years I suppose.” She pondered aloud as she watched the twins drop their bundles onto the table. Wei began untying one of the bundles he sat down as Korra peeked at her own bundle.

“Oh ho ho. I hate to break it to you, Lin, but your heart eyes are on the front page.” The Avatar revealed with a smirk tugging at her lips. Before Lin could even process what the young woman had said, Kya was next to Korra peering down at the front page. A bubbly laugh erupted from the healer as she untied the bundle Korra was holding.

“I’m framing this picture. I don't care if it’s a newspaper clipping.” The giddiness in her voice briefly caused the chief to forget the looming dread she felt knowing the entire city was going to be seeing the same picture. Kya picked up the paper and held it up for her girlfriend to see. Sure enough, the chief’s eyes were on her date completely enamored with her. A look of pure admiration painted on her face.

“My office is going to be covered in these pictures come Monday morning I can feel it.” She let out a defeated sigh. “At least everyone else is looking at the camera and smiling.” The older woman pressed a feather light kiss to the tip of her nose. A big smile plastered on her face as she pulled away.

“I think you look adorable. It’s been a while since someone has looked at me like that.” The candidness in her voice was enough to push the dreaded thought of Monday morning from Lin’s mind. Izumi peered at the other news outlets' prints as she chuckled.

“Well look no further. Lin’s been all about admiring you since we were children.” She chimed in unfolding one of the papers from Wei’s second bundle. Lin rubbed the back of her neck avoiding the healer’s gaze.

“You didn’t have to call me out like that.” Izumi chuckled as she shrugged her shoulders reading the article.

“If it makes you feel less called out, I caught Kya on more than one occasion last night looking at you that same way. You just got caught on film.” The earthbender turned back to the taller woman to find her blushing as she offered her a crooked smile mirroring her father.

“And here I thought I was being sneaky about it all night.” Lin moved into the woman’s bubble taking the newspaper from her to look at the article in it’s entirety.

“You liked my outfit that much, huh?” A hand cupped the shorter woman’s chin and tilted her head up. She was met with the healer rolling her eyes at the question.

“While the outfit was sensational, I was more captivated by the woman wearing the outfit.” Lin wrapped an arm loosely around her waist with a flattered and slightly embarrassed expression.

“Well I am sure she was just as captivated by you.” Lin took another look at the main photo for the article. “I suppose it can be argued that its frame worthy.” The waterbender nodded in agreement as she snaked an arm around her shoulders. Izumi flipped the paper she was reading over to see the bottom half of the front page.

“Oh Lia. Here’s that picture Katara was talking about them taking of her and Tana at the party.” Akira peered over her partner’s shoulder. Her eyes scanned the page as she rested her chin on Izumi’s shoulder.

“Aw. She’s beautiful, so she’s a carbon copy of her mom?” The chief nodded as she watched her goddaughter snatch a paper from the same stack as her mother.

“The only give away is the height. Her mother was shorter than me by three or four inches. Tana has about two inches on me the last time we compared.” Lin peered over at the woman in her hold to find her fondly observing her. Thalia let out an alarmed squeak at the picture her mother was talking about.

“Holy f*cking Agni. She might be taller than me now. How did I miss her last night?” Lin shrugged her shoulders at her goddaughter as she tore her attention away from the waterbender.

“Is she wearing tactical gear or a regular uniform?” Thalia furrowed her brows in confusion and held up the paper for her to see. The earthbender squinted at the paper. “Just bring it over here and let me look.” The princess rose to her feet with a teasing smirk as she walked over.

“Eyes going bad, Auntie?” She jested as she showed her the photo. Lin rolled her eyes at the youngest royal and huffed in response.

“Still have better eyes than your mother.” She retorted, getting the fire lord to lift a hand nonchalantly and flip her off as she read the article with her lover. The healer on her arm chuckled as she peered at the photo too. With the image clear in front of her, Lin gathered that the detective was in her tactical gear. Her hair pulled back in a tight, slicked back bun. No exposed skin aside from her face with a utility vest dubbed over her long sleeve shirt. She was head to toe in all black by the looks of her outfit seeming to be the darkest thing in the image.

“Tactical gear. Saikhan probably had her on one of the surrounding buildings last night. She typically requests to do her surveillance outside.” The chief explained to her goddaughter as Kya continued to peer at the photo. The older woman let out a chuckle as she pressed her free hand to her forehead. “What is it?” Lin asked, furrowing her brow thinking she had said something wrong. Kya shook her head with a grin as she dropped her hand back to her side.

“Just realizing that I am ditsy, that's all. I had a brief conversation with her at the front desk the day I came to see you at work to discuss Mom’s party. I remember looking at her name on her uniform and thinking that it was pretty. It seems I was too preoccupied to connect any dots.” Lin rubbed the waterbender’s hip and offered her a shrug.

“Well last time you saw her she was twelve and hadn’t hit her growth spurt yet. I think you have a pretty good reason not to connect the dots, honey.” Su peered over her sister’s shoulder at the photo. The matriarch’s eyes grew wide upon first glance.

“Holy sh*t. That is nearly a mirror image right there. You hide Katara and I totally would have believed it was Lihua.” The twins turn to their mother with befuddled expressions.

“Who is Tana?” Wei spoke up first. Wing glanced over at their older sister as she picked up a paper from each of the five stacks.

“She’s our older cousin. Aunt Lin’s adopted daughter.” Lin watched as the twins snapped their attention onto her.

“What?!” Huan sat at the table near his grandmother unsurprised by the revelation. Wei turned to their older brother bewildered.

“Did you know about this too?” The eldest of the four children present shrugged at his twin brothers.

“I visit more than you two do. She came to one of my expositions with Aunt Lin and Opes. It’s not my job to spill Aunt Lin’s personal life to you lot. You guys stay anchored to Zaofu unless you leave with Mom.” Opal stifled a chuckle as she tapped her older brother on the shoulder.

“Now, now Hu. You know they don’t like to stray far from Mom. Whatever will they do today when the girls go into the city?” The artist couldn’t help but smirk towards their brothers. Wing waved them off dismissively as he turned to their aunt.

“So this cousin of our’s, is she around currently or did Huan just happen to cross paths with her?” Huan raised a brow at the question while Opal pressed the heel of her palm to her forehead.

“You dunderhead she is on the force with Aunt Lin. Appears to me the brains stopped at Opal and you two just turned into meatheads.” Su heaved a sigh and looked towards her husband who offered her a shrug. Lin clapped her sister on the back with a smirk of her own.

“They’re all blessings, right Sis?” Su elbowed her sister in her side and moved to defuse the bickering.

“Alright all of you! Can we please get along? I don’t want to hear you arguing every time we get together. It is exhausting.” Lin rubbed her side with a small smile. The four siblings muttered apologies to their mother before Wei looked from their sister to their aunt.

“So is she a bender or a nonbender? Maybe we can get her to play power disk with us.” Su patted her youngest on the back sympathetically due to his adorable enthusiasm.

“Firebender. Sorry, Wei.” The teen shrugged, not bothered by the answer like his mother expected.

“Hey we’re an element away from having every element in the family then. We just need a waterbender now.” The family turned towards the chief and her girlfriend who had glided over to her side after Su had given Lin a swift elbow. Lin let out a dramatic sigh as she crossed her arms over her chest. Kya chuckled at the woman beside her as she gave her upper arm a squeeze. Opal mirrored her aunt’s posture with a cheeky grin.

“I already told her they aren’t allowed to break up. This family needs a skilled healer. Especially once you two are able to drink out in public legally. She cures hangover headaches like it was never even there.” The twins’ eyes lit up as they looked towards the healer.

“That is fantastic news…” Wei started then trailed off seeing their parents eyeing the both of them.

“For when we turn twenty-one. We have never even tasted a drop of alcohol.” Wing swooped in quickly. Su narrowed her gaze on her twin sons.

“I know what you two do. Don’t think you can deceive me.” Wing let out a nervous chuckle scooting closer to his brother. The airbender chuckled at the two teen boys.

“Busted.” Huan bit back a laugh as he turned to his grandmother who sat there slightly amused by her grandsons.

“You can’t be too hard on them. I seem to recall someone tried to be just as sneaky as them at a much younger age.” Su rubbed the back of her neck as she bit her bottom lip.

“Yeah, well… I never claimed to be the ideal youth.” Kya chuckled at the matriarch as she snaked an arm around Lin’s waist.

“Most of us weren’t. Just Lin and Ten I suppose if you had to choose. I had a easier time convincing Lin to go along with my stupid schemes and pranks compared to Ten.” Izumi snorted at the statement, getting a pointed glare from Lin.

“Shocker. She totally wasn’t in love with you or anything.” The fire lord jested to the healer, getting a giggle from her. The earthbender huffed at the duo.

“And this is my life again whenever you come to town I see.” Akira gave Izumi’s shoulder a squeeze.

“Izu.” The consort’s tone was a warning to her lover. The firebender pushed up her glasses before resting her hand atop her consort’s.

“I’ll ease up on her. Besides, we need a place to get ready at, before we head off to the bar later. More importantly, Rita is going to need to get dolled up for her date.” The captain peered up from the paper she had snagged during the conversation.

“If Lin doesn’t mind. It wouldn’t be the first time I’ve had to change on the back of a sky bison either.” Pema heaved a sigh at the quip.

“I’m still sorry about that. I didn’t anticipate Rohan throwing up on you.” The older woman chuckled and turned to the chief.

“Don’t force yourself into offering up your home if you don’t want to.” The chief shook her head in response.

“I was going to offer it up when we split off to get ready for the day. I have plants to water anyway.” Kya raised a brow at her girlfriend’s response. “Looks like I don’t get to clean before you come over anymore.” Su rolled her eyes at her sister.

“Clean what? It looked clean when we were there yesterday packing your bag. I did find paint cans in the hallway closet though so maybe that’s not what is clean to your OCD standards. You know you could just hire someone to clean and renovate right? You don’t have to do everything yourself.” Kya pressed a kiss to her girlfriend’s forehead. The shorter woman’s twisted expression relaxed as she pulled back with a smile on her face.

“It probably allows her to think of something other than work.” Su cackled, resting a hand on her hip while the other wiggled her fingers at her sister.

“Yeah, so can fu-“ Opal groaned at her mother, pinching the bridge of her nose briefly.

“Mother! I think you have talked about that topic enough this morning.” Wei opened his mouth to question what she meant only for Opal to yank them both to her by their collars. As Opal whispered to them, Lin watched a mortified expression taking over their faces.

“Ew Mom! Keep that sh*t to yourself.” Wing complained, getting a laugh from their mother.

“It’s a natural thing that everyone takes part in at some point.” Wei gagged and put his hands over his ears. Thalia chuckled at the teenagers as she tucked the paper under her arm.

“They get cruder the older they get. Don’t know why. They just love to embarrass their kids.” The princess shared her wisdom with the boys as she glanced back at her mother. Akira gave her lover a poke in the side, making her squirm.

“I am not crude. I am blunt. You want to know what took us so long to get from Point A to Point B. I am going to tell you whether you would like to know or not. Like this morning for example,” Thalia flew to her mother’s side covering her mouth with her hand.

“No, didn’t ask. Don’t want to know. Good for you, but please I don’t need that thought in my head.” Izumi licked her daughter’s palm causing her to reel back. “Real mature, your highness.” The youngest royal wiped her hand off on her robe as her godmothers laughed at the duo. “That is my queue to get the hell out of here. I am going to change.” She announced, quickly snagging the other four newspapers she needed on her way towards the door. The princess stalled in the doorway a moment before turning towards the kitchen.

“Hey General Tight-Wad. Are you shipping out in the next fifteen or do I have time to go change?” An amused chuckle could be heard from the kitchen from the former commander.

“Sounds like someone is going to be referred to as Fire Lord Tight-Wad in the future.” Iroh walked out of the kitchen rolling his eyes. “It must run in the family. Your grandpa being Lord Hotman after all.” Zuko shook his head with a fond smile at the airbender as he entered the dining room from checking on his dragon. Lin noted how the man smelled of brimstone and charred fish. Druk must have made a meal of some of the fish in Yue Bay from what she could deduce by the smell alone.

“Your father’s son.” The former fire lord commented as Bumi followed his godson out of the kitchen with a blue garment over his shoulder. Iroh checked the clock and let out a displeased groan.

“Well technically I should have left thirty minutes ago based on what I promised Hue. I should have notified the crew a while ago.” Zuko clicked his tongue as he glanced at the clock.

“How’s about Druk and I fly you back? You will get home faster than by boat.” His grandfather offered. The prince shook his head in response.

“Gramps, I don’t want you missing out on things here by flying me back.” Zuko clapped his grandson on the back.

“Nonsense. The girls are going to shop and go have drinks. The guys are going to the probending exhibition matches for a bit from what I overheard. I will be back before sunset. Besides, Toph and Katara were talking about a spa day last night. Flying you back home is merely killing time till everyone is back on the island tonight.” He explained to the crowned prince with a smile. “We can leave when the girls go to town and I can have you back at Hue’s side just after lunch.” Iroh went to protest again only for Izumi to interject.

“Ro, take the offer. Your grandfather will be a worry wart if he isn’t the one dropping you off.” His mother advised him as she moved to stand from the table. “We’ll all go get ready for the day. The stores open at ten on Saturdays if I remember correctly.” The fire lord offered her hands down to her consort as she glanced over at the chief for confirmation. Akira allowed her lover to pull her to her feet.

“Your memory is still impeccable as always.” The metalbender offered her praises to her friend, getting a wink in response.

“It would be worrisome if I didn’t have a good memory. I am fire lord. Imagine a person of power without the ability to remember simple things.” Korra crossed her arms over her chest as she snorted.

“Raiko was president before Zhu Li. The only thing he had going for him was being a prick and that his wife drew attention to them at events.” A defeated sigh was heard from the kitchen.

“Korra.” The airbending master warned his protege from the doorway. Korra crinkled up her nose at him.

“What? I just said she draws attention. I didn’t say how. I think we can all figure that out on our own.” Bumi walked up to his sister as Tenzin gave the avatar a disapproving look. He took the blue garment off his shoulder and held it up to the waterbender pinched between his thumb and index finger.

“You really need to not leave your clothes around the temple, little sis.” Kya rolled her eyes and snatched it from her brother’s grasp unamused by his jest.

“Oh no a robe. How scandalous.” Sarcasm evident as she slipped her arms into the robe. “It was hot in the kitchen. Sue me.” Rita chuckled as she got up from the table.

“Don’t go biting the hand that feeds you, Bum.” The captain warned her boyfriend as she walked up behind him. Her arms snaked around his shoulders from behind as she stood on her tiptoes. “You are lucky to have a sister.” She reminded him, squishing his face with her left hand. The retired commander let out a hum in response.

“I suppose I can’t really argue with you.” Kya rested her hands on her hips and grinned at her older brother childishly. Lin noted how Bumi’s face softened all the more. She could only assume that he saw the little girl he grew up with in front of him beaming like a ray of sunshine. In the blink of an eye, the healer was reeled in for a bear hug. Rita slipped past the pair to stand beside the chief.

“What’s this for, Bum?” Kya asked her older brother as she wrapped her arms around him dropping her head on his shoulder. The man shrugged as he tightened his hold on her.

“No special reason. I just wanted a hug.” The waterbender chuckled at the candid answer. A tap on the shoulder alerted Lin causing her to glance back to find her goddaughter.

“I’m going to go get ready. Are we just going to meet out in the courtyard?” The nonbender asked as she tightened her robe around her waist.

“Seems like the best place to meet up. Go ahead. Grab Ikki and Jinora on the way if you see them.” Thalia gave the chief a nod and exited the dining room, moving towards the women’s dormitory. Huan and the twins picked at what was left of the hashbrowns.

“Are you guys sure you don’t want me to go make you something fresh?” Pema asked the boys as she hovered near the kitchen doorway. Su chuckled at the acolyte and patted her on the shoulder.

“The boys' stomachs are iffy on eating right after they wake up. They’ll get food in town at some vendor. Don’t worry about them.” She assured the younger woman with a smile. “Opal, Baatar and I are really the only ones in the family that can eat breakfast.” Pemaa watched the three young men for a minute then nodded.

“There is a bowl of fruit in the kitchen if you get hungry before you all go into town.” She offered up to the Beifong men before turning to her husband. “I am going to get ready to go shopping with the girls. Do you plan on going with the boys to the probending thing today? I think Meelo would enjoy it.” Tenzin looked over at his older siblings from across the room.

“I suppose so. Most of the airbenders are on assignment or are training on their own today. He has been asking about it recently.” Lin watched as Kya retracted herself from Bumi’s hold. She moved back to Lin’s side, taking her right hand lacing their fingers together.

“It isn’t a shocker that your son enjoys the sport. You always seemed to have a good time watching us when we used to participate. You and Su would be screaming from the front row.” The waterbender recalled, getting a chuckle from Su as she walked up to punch the bald man in the bicep.

“You were a pretty good cheerleader back in the day. Quiet, reserved in everyday life, then you get to a probending match and you turned into yelling buffoon.” Lin couldn’t help but crack a smile at the memory. Pema glanced at her husband then over at his ex.

“Aw, were you a super fan for your sister and friends?” Pema inquired of her husband as she reached up and squished his face in her right hand. An amused scoff was heard from the master as he peered down at his wife.

“I was just interested in seeing how other benders fared against them. I mean not everyone learned how to bend by our parents. They certainly had a leg up on their competition even as teenagers against full grown adults.” He spoke matter of factly as he turned his gaze to the three women across the room from him. Lin watched as Kya flicked her hair over her shoulder with a proud look on her face.

“We were pretty formidable in the arena not to toot our own horns or anything.” She spoke cheekily, getting a laugh from her former teammates. “It would do you good to show that side of you in front of your boys, Ten. Show them you enjoy things aside from training the next generation. Letting them see a glimpse of ‘Fun Dad’ is always a good thing. Even if they think it might be corny, it is still a core memory for them to have. Like how Dad used to always do that dorky trick just about everywhere we visited growing up.” Bumi snatched up two pebbles from the potted plant in the corner of the room to demonstrate what his sister was referring to. The older airbender forced the two pebbles to spin around his hands with a derpy grin mirroring that of their father’s. Tenzin cracked a smile at his older brother as he nodded.

“You are right. I will keep that in mind today, Kya.” Lin reached her free hand up to pick up a small lock of silvery hair to hold in front of the healer’s face.

“You know Bumi. I think the gray hair might be all the wisdom she’s acquired over the years.” Kya gasped at her girlfriend as she snatched the lock from her grasp. The eldest of the three siblings howled with laughter. The waterbender’s gaze narrowed on her older brother.

“I don’t want to hear it, dye job.” Rita slipped behind the chief making a b-line for the door.

“I am going to get ready to go. Bye!” She called over her shoulder as she fled from the dining room as quick as lightning leaving her boyfriend behind in shock. Tenzin raised a brow looking towards Lin and Pema for an explanation.

“Your brother has been dying his hair for at least five years. Maybe longer. He won’t disclose that information to us.” Lin explained to her ex as Bumi tore off after his girlfriend without his bending this time. A chuckle escaped the airbending master as he looked at his sister as she examined her silvery hair.

“I pluck mine from my beard if it makes you feel better. I have been since Meelo was born. I imagine if I let my hair grow out that I would be nearly as gray as you.” Lin noted how the man was trying to make his older sister feel better. The earthbender reached up and cupped the taller woman’s face in her hands.

“I think you look all the more ethereal like this.” Lin watched as the concerned expression melted into one of pure awe.

“Really?” The chief furrowed her brows together slightly puzzled at her questioning her statement.

“What do you think? I don’t just say things to hear myself talk, baby.” The waterbender wrapped her arms around the chief’s waist and placed a gentle kiss to her lips.

“I know. Still takes me by surprise from time to time.” The metalbender let out a small hum as she glanced up at the clock. “We should go get ready, huh?” Lin let her hands fall to her girlfriend’s collarbones where she lightly drummed her fingers against her t-shirt.

“To get you ready to go in time? Yeah.” A dramatic gasp escaped from the older woman as Lin backed out of her embrace towards the door with a grin plastered on her face.

“Oh ho no, ma’am. You don’t get to just get away with that.” Lin raised a brow as she continued to back up towards the doorway.

“And what do you plan to do?” A sparkle could be seen in the healer’s eyes as she turned to go after her.

“You are about to find out, Beifong.” Without warning, the taller woman lunged at her girlfriend aiming to grab her by the waist. Lin found herself moving on instinct as she nibbley danced out of her range and sprinted off down the hallway letting out an uncharacteristically loud laugh. “Lin Poppy Beifong!” Kya shouted after her. With a quick peek over her shoulder, she could see the waterbender chasing after her three paces or so behind her. Su watched them from the doorway with a big smile.

“You better run, Kya!” The matriarch shouted after the couple as Lin turned the corner sharply. She knew she’d have to let herself get caught eventually, but the younger woman wanted to make it back to Kya’s room before she allowed that. As the short jaunt progressed, Lin expected to hear the woman behind her slowing down the longer they ran. When they entered the women’s dormitory, an obstacle arose in the form of the healer’s nieces walking in the direction of their rooms. Ikki was the first to sense them as she swiftly pressed the two of them against the wall. Lin blew past them shouting an apology as she continued to outpace their aunt. With another quick glance over her shoulder, Lin figured she had a split second to open the door to the bedroom before Kya caught her. Knowing the woman behind her wasn’t going to gauge her momentum when she inevitably caught her, the two were going to be on the floor in an instant. The metalbender preferred that if she was going to get tackled that it would be onto the bed and not onto the hardwood floor. Much to her surprise the bedroom door was already partially open, the woman could only surmise that it was from when Ikki had come looking for them earlier that morning. Lin willed her bending to use the small metal handle on the door to slide open more as she continued to close the gap. Quickly the chief scrambled into the healer’s bedroom and braced herself for impact. She had barely planted her feet when the older woman came barreling into the bedroom with an eager and determined look on her face.

“Got ya!” She shouted as she lunged at her girlfriend, tackling her onto the bed. Lin gladly accepted her fate and took the brunt of the impact. The healer let out a bubbly laugh as she sat up pinning the shorter woman to the bed as she straddled her thighs.

“I am surprised you could keep up with me after all these years.” Kya proudly placed her hands on her hips as she beamed at her girlfriend.

“You aren’t the only one who works out.” Lin raised a brow at the woman’s jest. “Alright. Alright. I used to chase Korra around the compound to get her to practice her waterbending.” She explained with a shrug. The metalbender chuckled at her explanation as she gazed up at her girlfriend.

“Well you caught me. Now what are you going to do to me?” She inquired of the woman pinning her to the mattress. If she truly wanted to, the earthbender could turn the tables on the healer and flip them without so much as breaking a sweat. But where was the fun in squashing her girlfriend’s hard work keeping up with her. The older woman got a devious look in her eye as she raised her hands wiggling her fingers.

“This!” In the blink of an eye her hands were at the chief’s sides tickling her. Lin’s body tensed as she tried to roll over trying to get away from the attack.

“Kya!” She whined trying to push her back as she laughed uncontrollably. As she wiggled and rolled under the woman, Kya continued to tickle her till the woman couldn’t catch her breath. “Please… I can’t… breathe.” She pleaded as she gasped for air. The healer removed her hands from the woman’s waist with a small giggle.

“Now you know not to go running off after telling me to take too long getting ready.” Once Lin caught her breath, she rested her hands on the waterbender’s knees.

“Did I lie though?” The older woman rolled her eyes as she gave her a shrug.

“I suppose not.” She replied with a small smile. “Hey what are you-” Lin’s left hand ghosted up from the healer’s right knee to find a jagged scar from the side of her knee up to the middle of her thigh.

“Your leg,” She moved to sit up to get a better look at the scar only for a hand anchoring her back down onto the mattress.

“It’s just a scar. It doesn’t bother me anymore. Mom fixed me up pretty good when we got back to the South.” Her girlfriend assured her with a small smile. “You saw me running. I am fine.” The waterbender bent down and pressed a kiss to the tip of her nose as she brought hand to cup the chief’s jaw. “You are sweet for worrying about it though.” Lin felt her hand stroke her jaw as she moved her hands to rest on the older woman’s hips.

“We really should get ready to go.” The woman above her let out a hum of recognition as she brought her other hand up to card through her hair.

“In a minute.” Her blue eyes wandered down to her girlfriend’s lips. Lin brought a hand up to the back of the taller woman’s neck.

“Well are you just going to sit there or are you going to do something?” Kya tilted the younger woman’s head up and kissed her. It started out sweet and passionate like it had at sunrise. The way they molded together perfectly was something she had so desperately wanted in a partner for decades. Lin threaded her fingers into the waterbender’s hair cradling the base of her head as she pulled her closer by her waist. The tighter grip on her waist caused the waterbender to melt into her. As she felt the woman’s full weight resting on her, she took her bottom lip in between her teeth giving it a gentle tug mirroring their kiss out on the dancefloor. The older woman allowed the earthbender’s tongue to explore the familiar territory as she dropped her hand from her hair down to the hem of her shirt. As soon as the two of them noticed where this was inevitably going to steer towards, Kya pulled away sitting up right as she slid off Lin’s lap onto the mattress. Lin sat up next to her swinging her legs off the side of the bed.

“I’m sorry. I kind of egged you on there a bit.” The younger woman found herself apologizing to her friend who looked at her confused.

“You have nothing to apologize for, Lin.” The earthbender watched as she placed a light kiss to her forehead and pulled away smiling. “I have all the time in the world for you. I was the one getting a bit eager.” She patted the chief’s thigh before moving to stand. “We need to start getting ready before we have a displeased princess waiting to scold us.” She jested, getting a small chuckle from the woman on her bed as she moved towards her closet. As Lin moved towards her bag to begin to pull out an outfit for the day, a light knock caught both of their attentions. Opal’s head peeked around the doorframe with a smile.

“I take it you got caught?” Lin waved a hand dismissively at the young airbender as she glanced back at her girlfriend.

“I let her. She couldn’t ever catch me when we were younger.” Kya rolled her eyes at the chief as she turned her attention to the young woman.

“Did you need something, sweetheart?” Opal stepped into the room, rubbing the back of her neck.

“I was wondering if I could borrow Aunt Lin to help me get ready?” The young Beifong woman’s shy demeanor caused a small giggle to escape the healer.

“That is fine. She has only distracted me thus far.” Lin snorted in response as she retrieved the outfit from her bag, laying it over her left arm. Her free hand fished through her bag for her dress pants from the party to retrieve her wallet and the winnings.

“Right, I distract you. You were the one doing the distracting. I was trying to get ready and you were the one keeping me from getting ready.” A fake wounded look took over Kya’s features as she pulled an imaginary dagger from her chest.

“You wound me, honey.” Lin shoved her wallet and the winnings into her boots and picked them up. The chief walked over to the waterbender as she stood at her closet.

“Sure I did.” She chuckled as she stood in front of her. “Now do you want a kiss or are you just going to continue to pout at me?” She asked, resting her free hand on her hip. Lin watched as she cracked a smile and reached her hands out to cup her face gently.

“I will see you in a little bit.” The chief nodded as she rolled onto the balls of her feet to peck the healer on the lips.

“Don’t keep us waiting alright?” She asked, backing up towards the door. Kya stuck her tongue out at her girlfriend and waved her off.

“Yeah yeah yeah. Get going so I can get ready without distractions.” Lin gave her a salute as she exited the room pulling the door shut behind her leaving the waterbender to her own devices for the time being. As she followed her niece into her room next door, she could hear the sound of Kya’s radio as it began to play her favorite radio station. Opal glanced back at her aunt as she closed the door behind them into her room.

“She is going to be one of the last one’s to meet us in the courtyard isn’t she?” Her niece asked with a slight smile. Lin laid out her outfit on the foot of her niece’s bed.

“Absolutely, it wouldn’t be Kya if she wasn’t the last one to be ready to go.” The earthbender spoke with a fond look on her face. ‘But it is always worth it seeing when she first glides in.’ She thought to herself with an amused chuckle. ‘I wonder what outfit she is going to pull out for this occasion.’

An Arrangement Between Old Friends - Chapter 7 - Kyalin whor* (mayurasbutterfly) (2024)
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