Nine months later…
“Almost there! Just a little more!” urged Bolin. He had been saying that for the past twelve hours so he doubted Tenna believed him anymore. Beside him in the hospital bed Tenna yelled, arching her back with effort. Sweat soaked her hair and dripped down her face.
“You’re doing great, sweetheart!”
Tenna glared at him. “Just get this kid out before I blow a hole in the ceiling!”
Bolin squeezed her hand, unfazed by the threat. Tenna always made those sorts of threats when she was angry. He was used to them. Explosions just sorta came with the territory when you married a combustionbender. But Bolin also knew Tenna would never just blow random holes in buildings unless someone threatened her or someone she cared about.
Bolin stopped smiling when he saw the very real fear on the nurses’ faces. He held up his hands, well, the one hand not currently being crushed by his wife’s grip.
“She’s kidding!” He looked to Tenna. “You are kidding. Aren’t you, dear?”
Tenna threw back her head and shrieked. It was like nothing he’d ever heard. A scream to end all screams. Even Mako came in, pale as a sheet.
“Is everything o–” was all he managed to blurt before he fainted.
Bolin wanted to faint, too. And he was pretty sure he was going to if Tenna squeezed his arm any harder.
A cry sounded. Not his wife’s this time. She was panting for breath, a look of sheer relief on her flushed face. She relaxed her grip on him, allowing Bolin a moment to remember he needed to breathe, too. The cries went on, shrill and angry and strangely wonderful.
“Congratulations, Bolin. Tenna,” Grandma Yin said with pride. “It’s a beautiful baby girl.”
A daughter. Bolin thought. I have a daughter!
He wanted to shout it from the rooftops but couldn’t seem to find his voice as he stepped out of the delivery room and into the waiting area.
In the sitting room just outside, Korra and Asami waited. Mako was there too, sprawled on one of the couches while Asami fanned his face with a magazine.
“Nerves of steel, huh, Mako?” Asami was teasing.
“I told you not to go in there,” Korra chimed in, rolling her eyes.
Mako “marumphed” in reply and rolled from his back to his side. He was the first to notice his brother standing there. “Bolin?” He sat up.
“I have a daughter.” It wasn’t quite a shout. More like a happy sort of sigh.
“I have a niece,” Mako said slowly, as if trying the words out for size. After a second of deep thought, he grinned. “I’m an uncle.” Then he raised his voice–calm, serious Mako who never overreacted at anything–stood up and actually shouted, “I’m an uncle!”
Korra and Asami were already at Bolin’s side, embracing him.
“That’s great, Bolin. Congratulations,” said Asami.
“How’s Tenna?” Korra asked.
“She’s tired, but doing great. They’re moving her into recovery now.”
The recovery room looked completely different from the delivery room. That place had lightbulbs whose only rivals might have been the giant spotlights used in the movers. It had metal tables with white, sterile towels, white, sterile face masks, and generally looked like the type of thing that had ominous music playing in it and an evil scientist laughing in the background.
The recovery room was like a little home. Here there was only one light–a small lamp with a lavender lampshade–sitting on a bedside table. The bed didn’t wheel around, just held its spot in the corner, being a soft support for the woman who (in Bolin’s maybe-only-slightly-biased opinion) had just proven herself the most amazing person in the universe. Bolin watched her chest rise and fall, loving every peaceful breath. Other people filed into the room, but Bolin was only vaguely aware of their footsteps. That was, until–
“Ahem!” an elderly voice sounded behind them. Bolin turned and for second it felt as though someone was trying to bend the floor out from under him. Grandma Yin came over and handed him a soft yellow-blanketed bundle. A little face peeked out at him from the folds of cloth.
Bolin felt himself smile. Then grin.
“Hey there, little girl,” he crooned. “I’m your daddy.” He lifted his eyes slowly, taking in each person who’d come here to support his new family. “And over there is your Uncle Mako and your Aunties Asami and Korra.” His daughter gave a little squeak in reply.
Mako came over. His amber eyes were soft and weepy with brotherly pride. “She looks just like her mother,” he observed.
“Yeah,” said Bolin. Then with a little chuckle he added, “Thank goodness.”
His friends broke into quiet laughter, and Bolin felt a gentle tugging on his arm. He looked over to find Grandma Yin standing beside him. Coaxing him away. “Come now. They’ll be time for visiting later,” she said.
And Bolin realized she wasn’t talking to him but to Mako and the others. “Let’s give the new parents some time alone, shall we?”
Tenna was resting so comfortably, tucked in the clean bed in the now-quiet recovery room, Bolin almost felt bad disturbing her. But the living treasure in his arms was too precious to keep to himself.
“Tenna?” He leaned down and kissed her forehead, unfazed by the combust-bending tattoo that so many people still feared.
She stirred and looked up, her tired amber eyes falling instantly on the bundle he held.
He laid their daughter in her arms.
“Oh,” breathed Tenna. “She has your eyes.” Her voice warmed his heart.
“Almost,” he said, stroking his daughter’s silky black hair. Their baby looked up at them with Bolin’s large, curious eyes–the right one a mossy green like his, the left a bright amber like her mother’s. He tickled his daughter’s hand and smiled when she gripped his finger. “She’s definitely got your grip, for sure.”
His wife laughed, then winced. “Ow–oh, Bolin–please–don’t make me laugh.”
“Sorry.” He helped her readjust herself against the pillows then sat down in the bed beside her and wrapped one arm tenderly across her shoulders. Tenna leaned wearily into him.
“What should we call her?” she asked.
Bolin had thought long and hard about this. Since the day he learned he was going to be a dad. “Actually I did have one idea.” He reached over and gave her hand a gentle squeeze. “We’ve been though so much together. Helping Korra defeat a bunch of rogue bloodbenders. Saving the Fire Nation from a corrupt cult of airbenders. Rescuing hundreds of Fire Nation citizens from a life of torture and slavery…”
“Starring in a bestselling mover,” Tenna added.
Bolin smiled. “I don’t know where I’d be now without you. You’re the most precious thing in my life, Tenna. That’s why… I want to name our daughter after you.”
Tenna smiled, a warm appreciative smile, and then shook her head gently.
“That’s sweet dear, really. But, no. You helped give me the name Tenna. It’s special to me. She deserves her own name. One that is special to her.”
Bolin nodded. She made a good point. Tenna was not always as she was. Once, before they had met, Tenna went by a different name. Fuse. A slave name forced on her by a corrupt man whose allies kidnapped firebending children and twisted their gift into the power of combustion. These children, in turn, were trained for years as assassins. “Fuse” was tormented into forgetting everything from her old life–even her own name. She hadn’t even considered herself human at all–but a living weapon.
Bolin had helped free her from that life. He and Korra and Firelord Izumi. They had even discovered her stolen identity. But it was Tenna who had chosen to re-name and transform herself. Tenna who had learned to love him and had chosen that love over her master’s brainwashing. Bolin couldn’t take that from her. No more then he could bring back her stolen childhood.
A thought struck him then. And with it, a name. “Mica.”
Tenna blinked at him. “Mica?”
Bolin nodded. “I want to name her after you. That’s the name you were born with.”
Tenna’s eyes warmed. “Mica,” she repeated, snuggling down. “It’s perfect.”
“Just like her.”
To our readers: Thank you so much for sticking with this story! It was one of those stories we just had to write and would have finished no matter what, but seeing people enjoying it each week meant a lot to both of us.
We are currently working (and very close to finishing) the final story in this trilogy, which is entitled Power Struggle. It follows the story of Mica and Shyu in their teenage years. (Firelord Izumi will still be around, though sadly, Zuko will have passed on by then.)
Thank you again and we hope you enjoyed Hidden Powers!