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|A Sister's Sacrifice|
-"Oh no..." Jinora breathed, and she rushed over to her little brother. Korra busied herself cutting Pema, Ikki, and Rohan loose, while The Airbender tried to feel for Meelo's pulse.
It wasn't there. With a huge panic in her eyes, Jinora looked over to Korra, who helped her in taking a closer look. The bullet had gone into his back, as he wasn't facing the fight, but there wasn't an exit wound in the chest, so it was still in there. They pulled Meelo away from the table, gently lying him on his back so that Korra could attempt CPR, as he wasn't breathing either.
But as soon as she started her chest compressions, a huge pool of blood formed underneath him. The bullet had been a dead hit, straight into his heart. The organ had been completely destroyed, and there was nothing they could do.
It didn't take any words. When both Korra and Jinora stood up again with a disheartened look in their eyes, they both knew it was over. Nothing they could do now could bring Meelo back.
She barely registered what happened next. Somewhere in the distance, Jinora recalled that she started crying, and that she heard an ear-piercing scream as her mother cried out in anguish. Korra pulled her into a tight hug, partly to comfort her, and partly to keep her away from Meelo, which wouldn't do anyone any good right now.
It took a long time. For her own sense of time, it could have been minutes, it could have been hours. The grief was overwhelming. Meelo had never done anything to anyone, least of all to Iroh or Tahno, who was still lying on the floor, not three feet from Meelo, but none of the five people in the room paid any attention to him.
Ultimately, it was Korra who first spoke again. "Jinora..." She looked up at this, seeing that The Avatar's eyes were red as well, she had been crying just as much. "We can't stay here. Iroh is still hunting us, we have to go somewhere safe."
Jinora would have liked to say that it took one deep breath to steel herself, but it didn't. She had to choke back a couple of more sobs before she was able to do that, and finally was able to break free from Korra's hug. "You're right." She thought for a moment, but in reality, she knew there was only one place she had left to go to. It didn't matter anymore. She had sworn to protect her family at all costs, and now here she was, utterly failing at that single goal. "There's only one place we can go." Jinora sighed. "We have to go to the precinct."
Korra's eyes grew wide at this. "Jinora, no. You can't get yourself arrested, Iroh has connections!"
"Lin Beifong, Tahno shot her partner. I'd imagine she has a bone to pick with Iroh, so if I give myself up, she can protect my family," she said, looking over to her mother, who was still crying on Meelo's chest. She looked back to Korra. "If you have any better ideas, I'm all ears."
The older girl opened and closed her mouth several times, trying to come up with arguments to try and change her mind, but nothing came out of her, as she knew Jinora was right on this one. Escaping the Dragon Flats with a family of four plus Korra would be damn near impossible, as Iroh would have taken all necessary precautions to hermetically seal the borough for the Gyatsos. The precinct was only a couple of blocks over, that was more manageable.
-"You'd be locked away for the rest of your life."
Jinora took a deep breath to steel herself. "Then that's the price I have to pay for their safety." Korra didn't say anything, probably because she couldn't come up with a better plan on the fly either. "The only things in the world that I have left are the people in this room," the younger girl continued. "I can't lose anyone else."
Reluctantly, her unofficial sister nodded. "Alright. I'll help you get to the police station safely, and then I'll have to make for Zaofu as well. See if Opal and Asami are still there, maybe they can spare a bunk." She walked over to Pema, putting a hand on her shoulder, upon which she recoiled.
-"Pema..." Korra's calm voice rung through the air. "We have to get out of here. Jinora has a plan, that way you'll be safe."
-"A lot of fucking good it did so far!" she yelled, and Korra looked a little shocked, just as it had taken Jinora by surprise. Her mother never swore.
"Mom..." She started, taking a step forward, but was immediately met with a slap in the face.
It hurt, but it didn't hurt nearly as much as seeing the devastation in her mother's eyes. "I didn't raise a criminal. My daughter was a good girl, and wouldn't hurt a fly."
Jinora looked her straight in the eyes, but she didn't even protest. She knew it was true.
-"Pema," Korra started again, this time a little firmer. "We have to get out of here. It's not safe like this."
The mother sighed. "The police are a joke, you've always said that."
-"There's one who is different, and right now, she's our best shot at staying alive."
A phone started ringing in the room somewhere. It took them a while to realize it, but it was Tahno's. Korra quickly walked over taking the device from his pocket. "It's Iroh. If we don't get out of here now, he'll realize that we're still alive, and he'll send an army. We can't hold them off." She looked the mother straight in the eyes. "It's now or never, Pema."
Pema sighed. "Okay. Rohan, Ikki, get your coats." Jinora walked off too, but her mother grabbed her by the arm first. "If this goes wrong, it's on you."
The Airbender sighed. "It already is." Her mother let her go, and Jinora picked up her own pistol, while Korra took Tahno's, because she was out of ammo. They each took their respective bags with the things they had taken from Iroh's den, and went on their way.
The walk over to the police station was tense. Korra led the charge, and Jinora covered the rear, making sure that there was at least a gun on either end of the group. It wasn't brilliant, but Iroh's men didn't catch up with them before they reached their destination.
"You can't go in there, Korra. They're going to make me tell them everything I know, and that includes you."
She sighed, knowing that Jinora was right on this one. "Okay." She quickly took off her own bag, and too two bundles of money, before holding it out to Pema. "Take this. There's 250,000 yuans in there."
Her mother had a disgusted look in her face. "You think you can just buy your way out of your guilt with this?!"
-"No! I'm thinking that if you take this, you can put something bad to good use. No more lives will be destroyed because of this money. No time to argue with me on this, just take it. Give it to charity for all I care, just get it out of my world."
-"Fine," Pema sharply threw back, snatching the backpack out of Korra's hand.
Korra and Jinora took a little bit of distance. "I'm going to have to give you up, so you get the hell out of here, okay?" the younger girl asked, though it was more an order than a question.
-"I will." Without asking, Korra pulled her into a tight hug, lifting her off the ground a few inches. "You stay safe, okay? Don't do anything stupid on the inside, and maybe we'll see each other again."
Another shocking realization hit Jinora as Korra said that: they'd probably never see each other again. Even if she managed to get to Zaofu, chances were the younger girl would spend so much time in prison that she'd never breathe free air again, let alone be able to travel to the Earth Kingdom. "Okay," she said, another sniffle escaping her. When they separated again, Korra's eyes were red as well. "Good luck, Korra."
After that, she could only watch as her unofficial older sister jogged off, disappearing into traffic and other pedestrians.
Jinora took another deep breath, and walked inside the station, her family right behind her. "Wait here," she said, gesturing to the waiting area. "This isn't going to be pretty." They all took seats with their backs facing the desk, which definitely didn't help Jinora's confidence. Well, it's not like you were expecting them to give you a warm hug goodbye or anything.
"I'm here to turn myself in," she said to the man at the desk, who looked incredibly bored, and from the looks of things, was playing a game of solitaire on his computer. "I want to talk to Detective Lin Beifong."
-"Uh-huh, and what's the charge?" he asked, not taking his eyes off his game.
"Murder, drugs, assault, and I'm pretty sure I'm forgetting a few."
At this, he actually cocked an eyebrow, throwing a lazy glance her way. "You're not going to impress me with your pranks, get out of here."
"For fucks' sake." Jinora rolled her eyes, pulled her gun out of her pocket, and put it on the counter. The guy's eyes grew wide in shock, and he reached for his service gun, but The Airbender quickly took a step back, putting her hands up. "Relax, I'm unarmed now."
Now that she actually had his attention, he stepped out from behind his desk, cuffing her hands behind her back, and reading her the Miranda Rights. "You have the right to remain silent, everything you say can and will be held against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney; if you can't afford one, one will be appointed to you. Do you understand these rights or do you want me to repeat them for you?"
Never thought I'd find myself on this end of the rights. "I understand. Now I want to talk to Detective Beifong, I'm not saying a word until then."
He led her to an interrogation room, where he handed her over to a female officer, who searched her, taking her phone away. Before long, she was handcuffed to a ring on the table, waiting for Beifong to show up, who she still hadn't seen up to this point.
A woman in her early fifties walked in, taking a close look at Jinora. "You asked for me."
"Are you Lin Beifong?"
-"That would be me. And you're the Airbender, meaning you're someone I've been looking for." Beifong took a seat across from her, a slight look of bewilderment on her face. "What's your name?"
She slowly nodded. "Alright. Jinora, you showing up here leaves me with a lot of questions, and not just the interrogative kind. I have been a cop for nearly thirty years, but never has a girl showed up to my doorstep, claimed she was a murderer while there wasn't an arrest warrant out for her, and proceeded to let herself be put in handcuffs."
"The stakes aren't as high for most people as they are for me."
-"Let me move on to the obvious one: why are you here, and why now?"
Jinora sighed. "I'm here to make a deal with you: I give you The General and me, and in return, you protect my family from him at all costs. I want them far away, as far as you can get them."
Beifong didn't look the least bit convinced. "The police has been chasing him for over three years now. What makes you think a teenager can bring him in?"
"Because I am The Airbender. I did everything he asked me to, and then he decided I was a liability, so he ordered a hit on me and my family. My little brother got killed, by the same man who killed your partner."
This hit a nerve. Beifong's face hardened, and she sat up a little straighter. "If you're wrong about this, I can't do anything, so you have to tell me everything you know about him. That way, you have a shot at getting out of it what you want, and I might even be able to cut your jail time by a bit."
"And I take it you want my recorded confession?"
-"That's the price you have to pay."
Jinora slowly nodded. "Alright, I guess that's it then."
Beifong flicked on the recorder on the table, stated the date and a few more essentials, before she leaned back into her seat and held her hand up to Jinora. "In your own time."
She took a deep breath, and started talking. "My name is Jinora Katara Gyatso, and this is my confession."
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