It had been two days since Lin had spoken to Kya. She knows Kya has tried to call her. She has refused to answer her phone at home and has someone pick up for her at work before patching them through to her. They all know to tell Kya she is out if she calls. However, she wasn’t going to be able to avoid her much longer if she planned on seeing Su at the island when she arrived tomorrow.
The metalbender tried not to think about how she must be hurting Kya. The thought made her chest ache and her stomach hurt, to say nothing of the burning eyes and throat. The feelings Kya stirred in her mostly excited her, but since the day after the night they shared on the couch she had been gripped by an overwhelming fear.
She had never been one for emotions. She kept them locked away. All except anger. Kya caused her to feel everything but and so profoundly that all those emotions practically poured out of her anytime she even thought of the waterbender.
She grabbed her best scotch and a glass before collapsing onto the couch.
Lin had consumed a good portion of the bottle as her thoughts swirled. She knew this relationship couldn’t last. They were so different. Kya was otherworldly, kind, beautiful and vibrant and so much more. Lin was dull, had spent her life serving an ungrateful city, and not to mention as cold as the metal she bent. She had driven everyone away from her from the beginning, she had failed all of them, even her own mother and sister. She didn’t deserve Kya or her love.
Tears welled up and spilled down her cheeks as she consumed another glass of scotch. Kya deserved everything she could ever dream of. Lin had nothing to offer her. Kya had told her she was enough, but was she? Kya shouldn’t settle for just enough when she could do so much better. Korra was right. She was just a bitter old woman. She had isolated herself for this very reason. Never getting to close to anyone. She had picked women up every once in a while over the years, but never saw them after that and it was only ever when her stress was pushed past her limits and no amount of training or sparring would relieve the stress. It wasn’t intimate or passionate, it was…cold and distant. Much like herself. The last time it had happened was almost a decade ago. She took up sculpting around then.
In her drunk induced hazed the metalbender thought of when she had sculpted Kya and then after thinking about those meaningless encounters from all those years ago, her memories blended together. It was Kya lying beneath her with a look of disinterest and disappointment, emotionless. The false image caused Lin to let out a sob. Then she became so angry with herself she squeezed the glass in her hand so hard it shattered. Lin almost welcomed the sting of the glass embedded in her hand.
This is why she had to let Kya go. The fear and the anger. Her own pain and heartache would be worth it if she could just save Kya from being exposed to what was beneath the surface. As soon as the newness of whatever this was wore off her true colors would be exposed and Kya would head for the hills anyway. She was already falling apart. Disregarding her bleeding, glass filled hand she placed her face in her hands and leaned forward on her knees and continued to sob.
Lin wasn’t sure how much time had passed, but she was sure it couldn’t have been more than a few minutes when someone started pounding on the door. She wasn’t sure how loud she was being but Lin figured she should answer and apologize.
Standing up so quickly was a mistake. She fell forward and just barely caught herself on her hands and knees. The glass in her right hand got pushed in further and she hissed. Slowly stumbling to stand she realized she was leaving a bit of a blood trail. Without thinking she cradled her hand to her chest, the blood was running onto her sleeveless shirt, turning the white crimson. She finally made it to the door and when she managed to open it, it revealed the last person she expected to see.
Kya stood there with her hands on her hips looking ready to give Lin a piece of her mind when her eyes winded. Her look went from angry to concern tinted with fear. Lin, recalling her memory from only a few moments ago, let go of the door handle and stumbled backwards. She started sobbing again and tears blurred her vision, “I’m sorry. I’m so sorry. Please, I’m sorry.” She stumbled back until she hit her table and fell backwards. The last thing she heard before everything went black was a gasp and her name.
The early morning sun was shining in her eyes and causing her already pounding head to feel worse. When Lin went to roll over she realized that she couldn’t move. After a few seconds of disorientation she realized that she wasn’t alone and that someone had their arm wrapped around her. She was trying to piece together the night before but before she had the time to get past her sitting on the couch with far too much scotch, the body behind her spoke in a near silent whisper. She was sure if their mouth wasn’t so close to her ear she never would have heard them.
It was Kya. All of Lin’s muscles tensed as she prepared to leap out of bed. However, her reaction time was slow due to her hangover and Kya had time to tighten her grip.
“Please Lin.” She whispered once more. She sounded scared. Most of the night came rushing back. Lin choked out in a small voice, “Kya.” Before she began sobbing once more.
Kya forcefully rolled her over and Lin saw the tears in her beautiful blue eyes spill over and run down her face. This is what Lin was trying to avoid, the fear and the hurt. She impossibly managed to pull Lin closer to her. Lin could resist the pull no longer and buried her head in the crook of Kya’s neck and held her tightly as they both sobbed. For the days apart and for last night.
After a while they had both managed to calm down. They laid in silence as they held each other close. Eventually Kya spoke, “Lin what happened? I didn’t hear from you for days and I came here to find out what was going on and…spirits Lin” Kya let out a another brief sob before she could continue. “You answer the door covered in blood and smelling like a distillery. I had no idea what to think, and then when you saw it was me you got this look of absolute sorrow on your face before apologizing repeatedly and stumbling into your table and collapsing. I was absolutely terrified. I brought you in here and healed your hand but I had no idea what had happened.”
Lin could feel guilt tear its way through her. Even when she was trying to do what was best for Kya she hurt her and still the woman came to her rescue. She couldn’t lie to her. Lin had never cried so much and was sure she was out of tears but they came once more as she started to explain to Kya.
“Kya I’m so sorry I scared you and avoided you. I just…” Lin paused collecting herself, “I can’t do this. Not to you. As much as it hurts now you’ll move on and finally find someone who deserves you. I’m cold and hardened and just like last night I’ll end up scaring you and hurting you. I’ve pushed everyone away for so long, even my family, I can’t be the caring person you need. Soon you’ll see the real me and realize that I’m not deserving of love, especially yours. After the night on the couch I realized that you made me feel so much. Things I have never felt and I couldn’t hold it in and it scared me. I lash out or wall off when I’m scared and the only emotion I’m good at is anger. I’m so sorry.”
Lin finally opened her eyes to look at Kya. The look of pure anguish on her face made Lin feel like she was drowning.
“Lin how could you…how could you think about yourself like that?” Kya was a sobbing hiccupping mess. “You forget we grew up together. I DO know the real you. Even more so than you. The person you just described is the shell you put around yourself to try and keep people away because you do care so much. If you didn’t I would have never started falling in love with you. Even now you are so afraid of hurting me you were willing to do some self-righteous bullshit, willing to make yourself miserable by telling me to go and find someone better. But Lin there is no better than you. Especially not for me. You have made me so unbelievably happy. I love spending time with you and getting to know you again. You may not show it to anyone else but you’re so passionate, about your work, your art, and with me. You have this softer side that only I see and it makes me feel so utterly blessed that you are willing to share it with me.” After wiping her eyes Kya grasped one of Lin’s hands in her own, the metalbender was still too shocked to speak just yet, Kya was falling for her too.
“Lin, last night I wasn’t scared of you, I was scared for you. I had no idea what had happened. You do deserve to be happy and I’m so glad that I am the one who makes you happy and feel things you’ve never felt before. I want to be that person in your life.” She brought Lin’s hands to her lips, “This last month you have shown me so many emotions and anger hasn’t been one of them. Not once. I’m sure I’ll see it eventually, a disagreement or fight at some point will be inevitable, but it’s ok to be angry sometimes Lin. Just like its ok to be scared. I’m scared too.”
Lin looked surprised, she finally found her voice, “You are?”
Kya gave a watery smile, “It’s been a long time since I’ve been with anyone and I’ve never felt about anyone the way I feel about you. Even when we were younger I had more than just platonic feelings for you. Now that I have you, I don’t want to mess it up or lose you. I just remind myself that you’re there and that we can work through anything together. Just like this. Let me be there for you Lin. You don’t have to do this alone anymore.”
Lin felt like the world had be turned on its head. Kya had the same fears she did, they just handled things differently. Even the crush Kya had was mutual. Her mind was filled with clarity for the first time in days. They had already wasted enough time. Running away wasn’t the strong or right thing to do. It was the stupid thing. Lin placed an arm around Kya’s waist and pulled her tight against her.
“This is all so new to me. I haven’t dated since Tenzin and it was even different then. I just can’t believe that I make you as happy as you make me. That’s all I want is for you to be happy. I want this, I want you. I promise to try and keep talking to you and not shutting myself away. I’ve never had anyone be there for me, it scares me to need you so much. I’m falling for you so quickly and I can’t keep up with the all the emotions. I’m sorry for how I acted and all the stupid things I said. Will you forgive me?”
Kya cupped her face and whispered ‘yes’ against her lips before kissing her slowly.
They stayed like that until they both drifted back off to sleep.
When Lin woke up for the second time her headache was gone and the sun was a little higher in the sky. She was laying on her back with an arm wrapped around Kya. She looked down to see Kya curled into her with her head on Lin’s chest. She felt so free and light. She couldn’t help but smile.
She let her thoughts wander as Kya slept. Last night Kya had be right. She cared too much, not that she would ever let anyone other than Kya know that, but she was always hurt as a result and in turn she hurt others. That’s what scared her and caused her to push people away. Even going back to Su and Tenzin. She would rather Su hate her for throwing her in jail then continue to hang out with criminals and put herself in danger. She was mad at her mother for sending her away to cover her own ass because Lin felt that it wasn’t really helping Su in the long run. She was also physically scarred forever as a reminder of that day. It hurt physically and emotionally. Today though, Lin was truly pleased with how well Su had done for herself.
With Tenzin she knew it would never work, they both wanted different things from life. Hell he had a whole nation to try and populate when she never wanted kids. It still hurt at the time though. It hadn't been long since the incident with Su and it made her feel like something was wrong with her, it didn’t help that Tenzin was the only person to ever show any interest in her, and that was before she got her scars. It led her to lash out in anger, just like with Su, at the island before going home and breaking down. It wouldn’t do good to make him feel even guiltier for doing the inevitable.
Poor Pema suffered for completely different reasons. Lin had to hold back a small chuckle when she thought of the time she tried to arrest her. It wasn’t because Tenzin had a new flame, Kya had been visiting and it was this particular visit she realized she had long harbored feelings for the other woman. Bumi had made a comment and she panicked. In order to prove him wrong she decided to make everyone believe she still had feelings for Tenzin.
Thinking of Bumi, maybe she should have confided in him, there was a bit of an age gap but she had always liked Bumi, he was like an older brother. It would’ve been nice to have a friend of sorts, she wouldn’t have been as alone. He would’ve been a low maintenance friend at that since, at the time, he was often away with the forces. Maybe he could’ve pushed her in the right direction with Kya. He seemed to be almost overly invested in their relationship. She suddenly started chuckling at the image of Bumi in for a visit, belly side down on his bed, kicking his feet in the air demanding gossip. Her laughing jostled Kya awake.
“Someone’s in a good mood this morning.” Kya was smiling up at her and rubbing her hand on her side.
Lin gave her the biggest smile, “Thanks to you.” Heedless of her morning breath she leaned down and gave the waterbender a kiss.
Kya just chuckled, “You know this isn’t quite what I had in mind for waking up in your bed for the first time.” She gave a cheeky wink as Lin’s cheeks turned pink.
“Yes. Well it won’t be the first time, but perhaps we can soon replace the memories in this bed with better ones.”
Kya opened and closed her mouth a few times before finally settling on smiling softly at Lin, “I’d love that.”
The pair shared a shy smile and a kiss. “Well,” Lin began, “as much as I would love to lounge about all day I really need a shower. Maybe then we can grab some breakfast before having to face the terror that is my sister.”
Kya shook her head and chuckled, “That sounds perfect.”
The couple stepped onto the island and began making their way to the door. Lin was swiveling her head around looking for Su. She was up to something she just knew it, Su would’ve practically tackled them at the docks otherwise. She briefly wondered if she could find a way to discreetly use her seismic sense.
“Lin, I don’t know why you are so paranoid about Su, everything will be fine, and she may not even be here yet.” Kya sounded a mixture of amused and exasperated. She gave Lin’s hand a reassuring squeeze.
Lin relaxed slightly. Perhaps Kya was right and she was worried for nothing. They were early.
Going inside they headed for Kya’s room. She needed things to shower with. Lin had offered her own but Kya had nothing with her. Sitting on the edge of Kya’s bed, Lin watched her search for some clothes.
“Feel free to hang out in here until I get done. There’s some books lying around if you’re interested. Of course…” Kya turned and smiled seductively, “You could always join me.”
Images came unbidden to Lin’s mind and she felt a flush throughout her entire body. In a dry voice she replied, “I think I would like our first time to be a little more than a quickie in the shower with other people around.”
Kya slowly walked over to her, “Who says we have to do anything but shower?” She placed her hands around the metalbender’s neck and leaned in close, “I might need you to wash my back.”
Lin shivered, “I don’t think I could keep my hands on just your back.”
Just as their lips were about to meet Lin felt something grab her ankles and pull. She yelled and jumped up knocking Kya backwards. She was barely able to catch her in time before she fell. She heard laughing and saw Su’s head poke out from under the bed.
“Su! What in spirits name is wrong with you?!” Lin felt her heart about to beat out of her chest, she was too old for this. Su could literally give her a heart attack, her whole body was still tensed. “How did you even manage to fit under there?!” How long had she even been waiting under there?
“I’m a dancer Lin, I’m flexible, and that’s what you get for not greeting me when I landed. Although I am delighted to see you both!” Su was grinning from ear to ear as she got to her feet.
Lin glanced at Kya to see if she was alright, she was still wrapped in her arms, but she didn’t appear as shook up. Actually she was looking at Lin intensely with dark eyes. Lin raised her brow, “Kya? Are you alright?” The waterbender blinked and Lin felt her give her still flexed biceps a squeeze. She started to practically grope her arms.
“Yeah…yeah. I’m uh, I’m just fine. I’m going to, uh, go shower. You all catch up.” Kya gave her a lingering kiss on the lips.
As she headed for the door Su called out, “Better make sure it’s a cold one!” The younger Beifong only laughed harder as Lin shouted, “Su!” and blushed, while Kya sent her a rude gesture.
Lin rubbed a hand over her face. Spirits it’s going to be a long few days.