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Forced To Be a Family is a Legend of Korra fanfic by AJedistuckintheMatrix.

Lin Beifong responds to a call one day and finds herself taking care of a young orphan named Bolin. Although hesitant at first, Lin slowly comes to accept Bolin as an adoptive son, raising him in the rather chaotic world of both Republic City and being family with some of the greatest heroes of the time. Things only get more complicated with the Avatar's arrival, and the growing unrest among Republic City's Nonbenders.

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This story is completed, with an in-progress sequel titled Ties That Bind, dealing with the fallout from the first story as well as Lin's relationship with her half-sister Suyin.


Tropes present in these stories:

  • Age Lift: Inverted; Su's children are younger than they are in canon, Opal being about seven while Wei and Wing are five.
  • Alternate Universe Fic: Due to the story being written well before seasons three and four, this fic is placed squarely into an alternate universe.
    • Toph dies before Korra shows up here. In canon, she's still living in The Swamp by the end of season four.
    • There's no romance between Korra and Asami, as Asami and Mako are shown to be quite happy together.
    • Bolin learns how to Metalbend. In canon, he can't do that- but he is a lavabender.
  • Amazingly Embarrassing Parents: Toph loves to bring up embarrassing little anecdotes about Lin's childhood.
  • Berserk Button: Threaten Lin's family, adopted or otherwise, at your own peril.
    • Su's Beserk Button on betrayal is in full force when she learns of Hiroshi's ties to the Equalists and what they tried to do to Lin's family.
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  • Blade Below the Shoulder: After the fight against the Equalists, Asami redesigns the Republic City police uniforms with retractable blades in the wrist to act as a last line of defense should the situation become dire enough. This is how Bolin ends up killing Tarrlok.
  • Cannot Spit It Out: Bolin, in regards to his feelings towards Korra. Being the good friend she is, Asami does her best to push Bolin in the right direction.
  • Childhood Friends: Bolin and Asami.
  • Death by Adaptation: Toph dies before Korra arrives in Republic City.
  • Forced to Watch: Lin's father was murdered before her eyes by triad members for killing one of their own in the line of duty.
  • Happily Adopted: Bolin. Mako takes a bit more time to warm up to the idea.
  • Heroic BSoD: Bolin has a severe breakdown after he kills Tarrlok in self-defense.
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  • Like Brother and Sister: Bolin and Asami, having been childhood playmates since Bolin was adopted by Lin.
  • Mama Bear: Threaten Lin's adopted sons, and she'll tear your throat out. Lightning Bolt Zolt found this out the hard way.
  • Mythology Gag: It's pointed out that even though in this story Asami's in a much more solid relationship with Mako, at one point she had a crush on Lin, showing how she has bisexual leanings.
  • Parents Walk In at the Worst Time: Lin's interruptions of Mako and Asami's make-out sessions are a solid Type 1.
  • Poor Communication Kills: On one hand, Su believes that Bolin and Mako are Lin's biological children, thus making for some amusing antics when she accuses Tenzin of running out on Lin. On the other hand, the fact that Lin has children at all and never told her has led Su to believe that Lin has officially disowned her, something that Su takes very hard. It really doesn't help that she got massively incorrect information on Bolin and Mako's parentage from bounty hunters seeking Asami's father.
    • Bolin and Lin almost immediately start looking for Mako after Bolin is brought to the police station, because Lin wants to reunite them. However, when Mako hears that the cops were coming for him, he figures it's because Bolin sold him out, as the two of them, as street urchins, haven't exactly led crime-free lives. It takes eight years before Mako stops running from the cops.
  • Sequel Hook: Forced To Be a Family ends with Hiroshi seeking refuge in Zaofu.
  • Stations of the Canon: While the main plot of Korra Book 1 plays out more or less as it does in canon, there are several major differences:
    • Mako and Asami are in a relationship before "Book One" even starts, and the relationship remains strong all the way through (no romantic triangles here).
    • Lin is Debent at the Equalist Rally, when she joins Korra and Mako in trying to save Bolin.
    • Bolin and Mako join Tarrlok's Task Force until Bolin is injured, thereby missing Amon's attack on the Probending championship.
    • Asami initially sides with the Equalists to keep her friends safe, but goes back soon after once Hiroshi fails to live up to his end of the deal.
    • Tarrlok is attacked and captured by Amon just before his canon fight with Korra.
    • Korra is fully Debent in her fight with Amon, and only gets her Bending Back after Aang helps her go into the Avatar State.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: Amon/Noatak survives the first story, being Debent by Korra and arrested by Republic City police soon after. It's a temporary thing, though- he gets sentenced to death at his trial.
  • Take That!: While the show tended to take Suyin's side in the fight between siblings, this story takes Lin's side, emphasizing that Su used up all her chances with Lin, not to mention her association with the Triads actually got four people killed. Worse, they were Lin's squadmates, so Su's declarations of "I've changed" fall on deaf ears, backed up by Aang's children pointing out both sides of the Su's story. "I was a stupid kid who saved her sister's life and now she won't even acknowledge I exist," sounds a little different from "She made lots and lots of mistakes, and while she saved my life, she did it at the cost of four of my teammates," which is how Lin tells the tale.
    • Tenzin was presented as a wise mentor character in the show, offering platitudes advocating peace and centering oneself. Lin does not even slightly listen, making it very clear to him that while those high morals are all well and good for the monk, she lives in a world where she has to deal with homicides, violence, and terrorist armies. Advocating patience or calm could get people killed in those situations.
  • Widow Woman: Lin was married at one point, but her husband died in the line of duty prior to events in the story.
  • You Said You Would Let Them Go: What causes Asami to betray her father; she only sides with the Equalists on the promise that they'll leave Bolin, Mako, and Korra alone, but when they decide to take them to Amon instead she breaks them out.
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