The sun was reflected in the badge pinned to Lin Beifong’s chest; a proud reminder of her restoration as the Chief of Police.
She held her head high as the ferry reached Air Temple Island. She surveyed the island for only a moment, before knowingly entering the dining hall. All ten people smiled, and plates were shifted and adjusted to make room for her. Pema dished out the roast duck, looking exhausted but delighted to see her.
“I’m so glad that you’re the Chief, again,” Korra said, earning a murmur of agreement from the others.
“Republic City can sleep well tonight,” Tenzin smiled.
As if on cue, Meelo and Ikki leapt up and raced around the table, pretending to catch one another.
“Phew! Phew!” Meelo roared, pretending to emit cables from his wrists, “Look, Daddy! I’m catching the bad guys, just like Chief Beifong!”
Lin chuckled, “Well, I certainly try my best.”
The others lifted their glasses at this, all except one. Bolin was frowning, picking at his roast duck with little enthusiasm.
“You okay, kid?” Lin asked.
Bolin didn’t answer, and instead leapt up and slunk away. Mako called his name, but he seemed to be the only one to notice his brother’s absence.
“What’s wrong with him?” Lin asked.
“I don’t know,” Mako said, avoiding her eye.
Lin frowned, before deciding that she was going to take matters into her own hands. She stood up and stomped after Bolin. By now, the earthbender had made his way up to the cliffs, and was staring out at the Pro-Bending Arena.
“Hey!” Lin called, over the escalating wind, “What’s your problem?”
“Nothing,” Bolin said, his voice an octave higher, “Nothing at all.”
Lin merely raised an eyebrow.
Bolin chose his words very carefully, “Sometimes your best isn’t enough.”
“You failed, once,” Bolin burst out, “Y…you failed. You didn’t catch the bad guy.”
“Are you going to keep rambling, or are you going to explain yourself?” Lin snapped, crossing her arms.
Then, everything seemed to race out, “When I was six years old, a firebender killed our parents. You should’ve stopped him. You should’ve caught him. But you didn’t. Sometimes your best isn’t enough.”
He could find nothing more to say, and instead walked away.
“Wait,” Lin cried. It was too late; he was already gone.
“Bolin,” Lin sighed, “I’m sorry.”