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Today sucked. I think I just blew both jobs (can't really do either). Have some fic.

Title: On the Shoulders of Giants
Spoilers: None
Warnings: Wild mass guessing for The Legend of Korra and blatant character favouritism
Rating: G
Summary: Uncle is a crazy old man. Everyone knows this, so what can Korra learn from him?

Korra trudged across the snow, silently cursing Uncle every step of the way. She was pretty sure that he wasn't even anybody's uncle at all. Everyone called him Uncle, but if he had children or relatives Korra had yet to meet them. Instead he lived in an igloo set a little way back from the rest of the tribe, a real tumbledown pre-War place that was only standing by some miracle of the Spirits, surrounded by junk from half a dozen countries. Not that Korra could imagine Uncle travelling. He was, frankly, older then the permafrost (the ravages of time had made his real age impossible to guess), and since Korra had been sent to him by the Chief he'd used this excuse to make her fetch and carry across half the tundra.

Today it was sea prunes. He needed them to make some kind of disgusting pre-War snack. Korra followed Uncle out to the rocks where they grew, out on the coast where the wind howled in from the north.

"In there." Korra said disbelievingly, staring down into the rock pools where, a few freezing feet below, the sea prunes grew. "You want me to go in there."

"Good heavens no!" Uncle replied. "You'd get frostbite, or worse."

"Okay then." Korra kept a hold on her patience (Chief Kesuk had told her to be respectful, and to learn all she could) and turned to go.

"Ut-ut!" Uncle tutted, blocking her way with his tigerwhale bone cane, "I still want my sea prunes, young lady."

The young Avatar looked from Uncle to the rockpool to the sky (as if the Moon Spirit might conveniently appear and give her tips) and held in a groan. This was another one of those tests, wasn't it? The kind she'd been having since the shaman did the maths and worked out she was the new Avatar. Korra dropped into stance and began to move through the fluid movements of Waterbending. She was stopped abruptly by a rap on the head.

"No bending! Won't work." Korra rubbed her forehead and sullenly followed Uncle's bony finger. He was pointing to the roots of the sea prunes: they clung tightly to the rocks, resisting the sea's push and pull. If they could resist that, they could resist Korra's bending as well. She scowled.

"Well, how else am I supposed to get them?"

"Think." Uncle tapped her on the forehead, hard. "Sometimes bending isn't the answer. How do you think the rest of us manage, hm?"

He pointed to the shore, where birds were fighting over a wolfshark bone. "That looks long enough to be a spear, for instance."

The rest of the morning was spent in a very instructive spear-making lesson, as well as a lecture on the rudiments of algebra when Uncle got sidetracked (as he very often did). They walked home as the sun rose higher, almost blinding as it dazzled off the snow. Uncle was telling her about the time he fought a Firebender.

"Impossible." Korra snorted, disbelieving. "You don't have any bending."

"I fought smarter." And for a second, Uncle's eyes looked right through her, as if seeing the past lives inside. "Your predecessor, he fought smarter too."

In the distance, the sun shimmered off the snowdrifts like a vision of heaven.

"You're the Avatar for everyone, Korra. Not just benders. Time's coming when you need to remember that."


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December 2011

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