Author: aviating-elephants PM
Korra's nightmares start exhausting her emotionally and physically. Mako provides some unexpected support. Fluffy.Rated: Fiction T - English - Romance - unknown 7 & unknown 5 - Words: 1,899 - Reviews: 19 - Favs: 111 - Follows: 10 - Published: 05-02-12 - Status: Complete - id: 8078894
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
For the fifth evening in a row, Korra wakes up in the dead of night. She wakes up in a cold sweat, teeth chattering and skin breaking out in goose bumps. Amon's threatening, foreboding presence still pushes at the back of her consciousness, and she knows the next time her eyes close, his face will appear, and she'll be hurtled into another nightmare.
She doesn't want to sleep. She's too afraid to close her eyes, yet too afraid to get up and look around the room. Instead, she tugs the sheets higher up her neck, tugging them as close as she can to her body, and tries to disappear into the fresh, comforting scent around her.
There's a cool breeze on her face, most likely from the open windows, and Korra (fortunately) gains the courage to raise her ocean-blue eyes to the shutters, watching the curtains wave peacefully against the forever-illuminated city backdrop.
There's a certain type of content, light-headedness that washes over her after watching the poetic ebbing of the fabric in the wind, and soon enough, she drifts off to sleep.
Less than an hour later, Korra jolts awake again. Her legs are coiled in the blankets, and her arms are splayed protectively across her face. She's breathing hard; it's a shallow, panicked rhythm, and she spends the better half of ten minutes trying to regain a normal flow of air.
Eventually her shaky, distressed breathing stops, and her chest begins rising and falling with a familiar sense of normality. As the back of her hand brushes against her cheekbone while she tugs the sheets up again, she realizes she has been crying. Some of her tears are dried and stuck to her brown cheeks, while others, newly formed under the realization of her uneasy sadness, begin to flow freely.
There's a loud bang from the hallway when she draws an obscenely loud, shaky breath, and Korra's heart leaps into her throat. Her first thought is chi-blockers, her second is Amon. Neither are particularly warm, welcoming thoughts.
Korra finds herself ducking her head under the covers, burying her face into the plushy cushion of her mattress as footsteps near her door. Her stomach flips, makes her feel nauseous, and she produces a flame in her palm, ready to attempt to ward off any attackers.
At the jump of orange light that springs to her fingers, the footsteps stop.
"Korra?" a familiar voice asks, quietly, so softly that she stops breathing for a moment. "Korra, are you …are you okay in here?"
Korra sighs with exasperation and frustration, a spot-on expression of her emotions. Mako is in her doorway, asking if she's okay. He hasn't spoken to her in two weeks, not since the night Amon ambushed her. Then again, she hasn't made an effort to converse with him, but there are reasons for that. Reasons that, coincidentally, go by the name of Asami Sato.
"Yes." she whispers back, hoping that her monosyllable response will remove any will of his to check on her further. She's not entirely sure if she can deal with this sort of thing right now – she knows that the words, the ones that she so desperately needs to say, will trip up on her tongue, fall off in either an echoing argument, or a few "never mind"s.
"Why aren't you out on the town with Asami?" she suddenly asks, envy controlling her lips as the question just slips out. She can feel Mako's eyebrows rise, and she winces as his footsteps near the bed.
"Bolin didn't tell you?"
"We broke it off awhile ago."
Korra is suddenly guilty for asking, is guilty for not speaking to her friend sooner, and is guilty for bringing those feelings of heartbreak in him to the surface. She knows all too well what those types of emotions do to someone on the inside. She didn't realize they were eating away at her, until Bolin pointed out her obvious jealousy.
And of course she was jealous. Asami was gorgeous, kind, and, at the time he began dating the industrial heiress, Korra's world was being thrown upside down. She remembers the horrible self-hatred, the jealous glances, even the way she would feel ashamed and conscious-stricken for watching him train.
"Not your fault," he replies, and to her surprise, kicks off his shoes and sits on the edge of her bed. Still, Korra doesn't peek up from her hood of blankets. Something in his voice says otherwise, and while it unsettles her, it makes her cheeks flush.
It's a personal question, and she regrets her forwardness as soon as the inquiry leaves her mouth. Mako seems surprised too, or he's just unsure how to respond, because he stays quiet for a moment before answering.
"There was something important missing."
He suddenly flops onto the mattress next to her, and she stiffens before shifting and facing him. She feels adorable, possibly for the first time in her life, when Mako grins at the way she's hiding under her sheets.
"What was missing?"she sounds like Meelo, asking questions nonstop, but Mako's smile only widens further. It makes her unbearably happy, because his stoic, indifferent ceramic reflection is now melted into thousands of bits and she's the cause of it.
Instead of replying, Mako takes her hands, unwraps her from the blanket, and slides under the sheets as well, discarding and folding his jacket and scarf as he does so, and leaving them at her bedside table.
Korra is suddenly thankful for the spacious privacy she gets in the arena's attic, happy that Bolin asked her to stay whenever she wanted – the Air Temple was just too crowded and impersonal; besides, there was no way Tenzin would let him get away with something like this in the first place.
Mako wraps his arms behind his head, lazily intertwining his fingers and staring up through the large skylight above her bed.
"Go to sleep, Korra."
Not surprisingly, the presence of another human being puts her to sleep incredibly fast – maybe even faster because it's Mako, and all she's wearing is her under bandages and he's wearing breeches and a tank top and they're so close and heart is pounding .
Instead, she falls asleep.
When Korra wakes up again, when her eyes flicker open, it's not the terrifying mask of Amon that greats her frightened blue irises. Instead, when she turns her head to investigate the unfamiliar, comforting heat pressed against her back, she finds Mako asleep next to her, looking vulnerable, peaceful, and innocent.
She's resting on top of one of his forearms, tucked against him in such a close, comforting way that she has only heard of married couples using. His right arm reaches across her collarbone, grasps her strong upper arm, his fingers digging in just enough to remind her of their presence. Mako's other limb is flung over her torso, wide palm pressed flat over her hip, protectively situated around her body and keeping her close.
Her heart does a silly twist at the sight of him, hair in a mess, eyelids flickering with the movement of his dreams, and she can't help but smile. She watches him breath for a moment, watches in wondering amazement that he has no weight on his shoulders. Not like her. Everything seems to depend on her lately; the weight of Republic City is weighing her down.
Envious of his ability to be so at-rest and collected, Korra quietly rolls herself over, twists her body to face him. When she's satisfied with her new position, arms tucked against his chest and his forearms flung lazily around her torso, she bravely reaches out to touch his cheek. She hopes, childishly, somewhere in the back of her mind, that some of his gentle contentedness will somehow zap into her fingers, relax her, put her at ease for the first time in weeks.
It takes a spur of confidence, but eventually Korra leans in to kiss his face; his cheekbones, forehead, nose - and even, when she gains a bit more courage - the corner of his mouth. Korra shifts her entire body closer, trying to cozy herself up against that solid, accommodating heat even more.
This time, when her fingers drag softly down his cheek for the second time, she watches the dented trail they leave, watches his skin fold under her touch and then move back to place. She's enamored with the softness of it, despite his childhood and current living situation, and repeats the gesture, flattening her entire palm against the side of his face.
She drops her hand, sneaking in one last brush on his skin with a single finger, and is suddenly caught unawares and breathless when his eyes slowly flick open in time with her careful touch.
Korra draws in a breath, caught off guard by the steady, unwavering gaze she's receiving. They lay at eye level, and all she has to do is look straight forward to get lost in memories of firebending at the compound. The only way she can describe this feeling, of being able to see this content, frozen happiness on his face, is uncharted territory.
Korra realizes, as she curls her knuckles against his jaw, that she loves this boy. She loves this boy. She loves Mako.
He continues looking her in the eye, not even flinching when she lowers her palm to his neck, strokes the short hairs at the base of his skull with careful longing.
It's strange to describe this as love.
Mako leans forward to kiss her, and keeps their gazes locked as he shifts his mouth closer. Korra happily obliges him, accepting the chaste peck with a slight smile on her face. The kiss isn't filled with raging hormones or lust or poor judgment, but instead with absolute understanding.
He doesn't say anything when he pulls away, and she doesn't expect him to.
"This is an interesting turn of events," she observes, unable to hide the cheeky tone from even a whisper. Mako just smiles, presses his forehead head against hers with a bump, and tugs her closer with his pair of strong hands. She wants to say a lot, wants to share her fears with him, but a voice in the back of her head tells her there's another time for that, another place, and that she should just enjoy what's going on now.
So she does, and when Korra follows him into blissful sleep, counting the seconds until his breathing becomes shallow and regular again; she doesn't wake up until the next morning.
When she does, Mako is gone, the spot next to her empty, and she feels crushingly lonely for the barest hint of a moment.
However, it doesn't take her long to realize that his scarf, his crimson scarf, reminiscent of him and only him, is tied tightly around her wrist, tied in a pretty bow like it's supposed to remind her that she's protected, that she's safe.
And, in many ways, it does just that.