Disclaimer: I do not own Avatar.
Korra peered at herself in the mirror, touching at the area that she knew that there was a fifty-fifty chance would be a bulging mass in just a few months. Swallowing nervously, she turned around and shook her head, trying to convince herself that it was not true.
That there wasn't the possibility that she was pregnant.
The idea had only just recently struck the Avatar after a month and a half of sudden, debilitating illness bouts. One second she would be fine, training away with the boys, and the next, she'd be rushing out of the gym to the bathroom. Mako and Bolin had been worried, but she had assured them that it was just a simple, passing sickness – she'd be fine soon. And, sure, she got better - it just took too long for her comfort.
The week before, was when Korra really began to accept the possibility of it, dread flooding her veins. At one point, about three weeks ago, Asami and her had been hanging out when the non-bender had speculated if maybe the Avatar was pregnant or not, having regarded her symptoms and her current relationship with the Firebender. Korra vehemently denied it, but it sunk deeply into her mind and hadn't let go since.
That day, it had hit her particularly hard, and she didn't know why. She had gone to the gym in hopes of training and getting her mind off things, but one look at Mako, and she felt ready to burst into tears and so promptly exited the vicinity and arrived back to her bedroom on the Island. She figured that it may be the increase of hormones her body produced that had caused her to feel so emotional. However, while the logical part of the Avatar's brain told her that this was the truth, the part that really wanted her not to be expecting a baby was holding on to the idea that she was just paranoid and that it was really nothing at all.
Stretching out on her bed, she turned to face the wall and thought about what would happen if she really were pregnant. Korra, personally, had never thought about having a child – the possibility, when she was older, was there if she wanted to, but it wasn't something she thought about when she was younger. When she was little, the other tiny, delicate, motherly girls around her would play with their dolls and talk about how they couldn't wait to have babies of their own one day. Korra had never been like the other girls of the Water Tribe, though – she was tough, independent, and the thought of a child actually disgusted her to extent when she was younger. Why would she want a crying little mass that would keep her awake all the time and hinder her ability to have fun? To little Korra, the desire to have a child made no sense.
Now that she was older, she didn't really know what to think. Well, except that she wasn't ready for it and that she felt she was way too young. The Avatar had turned eighteen years old a few months before – she was so young, or at least, certainly too young to have a child to worry about!
Korra's stomach dropped within her, and she placed her hand to her abdomen again. She didn't even know where to begin – how would she tell Mako? Another wave of dread crashed down upon her – how would the Firebender accept being a father? She knew he had experience around children, having practically raised Bolin after they were orphaned... but still. Mako was young, too – like her, too young to have a child. He had recently turned twenty – he had a bright, certain future ahead of him if he continued his Pro-Bending career. But a baby would just mess that up for him... how would he react when she told him? Would he reject her? She certainly hoped not – she may have been the Avatar, but she wouldn't be able to raise the thing without him by her side. She was still a kid, and would be easily overwhelmed.
At the thought of Mako completely disregarding her, she felt tears prick her eyes and she cursed her hormones. But, Korra, she told herself hopefully, you may not be. You could just be being irrational. Keep that in mind. Keep that in mind.
She breathed in deeply, collecting her thoughts and emotions. She had to be strong about this – she had gotten into this mess, and she would get out of it – and when she did, there was the chance that there would be a kid involved in her life after it all.
All Korra knew for certain when it came to Mako was that she would have to tell him sooner or later about the kid – or the possibility of there being one. Nothing was quite certain yet, and she knew that, but he still had the right to know.
Her mind passed on to the other people in her life – though, ultimately, Mako's input on the situation was the most important, she knew that the support and approval of the others in her life would help hugely. She knew for sure that a few select people would help her through this, be there for her immediately – Pema and Asami would. Pema had had her child about nine months ago, and so she would be invaluable to the Avatar if her case were what she suspected. She could help Korra, considering she'd gone through it four times.
Asami was one of the Avatar's closest friends – Korra trusted the Sato heiress with many different things in her life. And she knew that Asami wouldn't judge her or criticize her – she would support her and be there for her when things got even worse, if they could begin to. The non-bender always had a warm embrace or a thoughtful word waiting for her friends, and Korra would be no exception.
Bolin would be there for her, too, even though he would be more clueless about the situation than the two other women in her immediate life. He would joke with her and help Korra keep light-hearted through the rather draining events that were to follow.
All of this brought a smile to the Avatar's face – it was highly reassuring to know that she had these people in her life. But there were others that she knew, for a fact, would be horrified and disappointed with her. Tenzin would be one. Korra hated the idea of disappointing the man – he had become like a father to her, and he saw her as a daughter. And so to find out his "daughter" was pregnant... and at such a young age? He would positively flip! He'd be at Mako's throat with threats about Korra's condition and it would only add to the stress the older man was under. But the irresponsibility of it would make him look down on her, too, and it was what she feared most. How was she supposed to be the protector of the world if she couldn't even take of herself and prevent this from happening? He would never trust her from leaving Air Temple Island again.
To a lesser extent, even Chief Beifong's reaction would matter. She would go off on a tangent about how irresponsible Korra was and how she just knew that something like this would happen. That this would render Korra from properly protecting the city, like she had promised to do. That this would just, somehow, cause more trouble for Lin. She would probably try to get the White Lotus to haul Korra out of the city the first second she found out.
The kids would be indifferent – Meelo would be confused, passive, even. He'd just ask questions about why Korra was so... ugh, big, like his mother had been. Ikki and Jinora would know perfectly well what was happening to the Avatar and would be excited for her and would want to help with every little thing.
Her parents, too. She didn't even know if they knew she was in a relationship with Mako. Her father had never been a fan of the idea of his daughter dating, and much to his happiness, she never had when she was younger because she spent all of her time in the compound. So if he and her mother found out, it would be a similar reaction to Tenzin's. They would be utterly shocked and angry and disappointed and, again, Korra knew she couldn't handle this.
And then there was the deal with the paparazzi and press around the city. They followed Korra around a lot, and would have a field day at the knowledge she was having a baby, just like when they had found out she had begun dating Mako. The newspaper would blow up – she was lucky they hadn't found out yet and that there hadn't been any speculation. She didn't want anyone finding out by the stupid paper – she wanted to tell those who mattered in person, first.
Sighing, Korra thought about the whole responsibility thing again. Naturally, she was a rambunctious and irresponsible person for someone who had so many responsibilities and duties to handle. She didn't know if she was mature enough to just halt her entire life for a child – she didn't have too much patience and she was easily distracted. Those were not good qualities for a mother to have.
Mother. The word left a funny taste in her mouth.
And probably the scariest thing about all of this was all of her aforementioned duties. The threat of Amon and the Equalists was prevalent in the city – she'd already been in a few scraps with them. They were a handful. And on top of that, she was still mastering Airbending. Her training over the last couple of months had only gotten longer and more rigorous. Lastly, she also had Pro-Bending. She couldn't possibly continue with it once she got into the later stages of the dreaded pregnancy, which was completely unfair to Mako and Bolin. The thought of letting the two men down made her head spin and her stomach clench and churn.
Through of all of this, where could she possibly find time to raise and take care of a child adequately? It just didn't work – there was too much going on, and it was all too dangerous. What would stop Amon from targeting her kid? Nothing, and it didn't help that there was a good chance she or he would be a bender.
Korra groaned, turning to face the ceiling and bringing her hands to her face. This was all too much for the young girl – despite the fact that she was the Avatar, she was still a human being, and this was all too much for her.
"We should have just held out..." she moaned into her hands.
She heard a knock at her door then, and she was glad for the distraction. Sitting up, she said out loud, "Yes?"
"Korra." It was Pema. "Would you mind looking after Hakoda and the kids for a little while? I need to go to the market and Tenzin's already in town for a conference."
Korra wrinkled her nose at the mention of the baby. Of course, this opportunity would arise as she speculated her own pregnancy. Spirits, life was just cruel sometimes. Korra stood up then and walked over to the door and opened it. Pema was standing there, her kind face smiling. Korra nodded – how could she say no to this woman that fed her and took her into her home?
"Sure," Korra grinned back at her, trying to repress her previous thoughts.
Pema's smile grew. "Thank you, Korra. He's just sitting in the kitchen right now – Jinora's feeding him – and he should be put down for a nap soon." Korra nodded again, before following the woman down a flight of stairs, down a corridor, and into the kitchen where, indeed, the baby was being fed by his older sister. Pema went to the other side of the room, grabbed a basket, kissed both her daughter and son and the head, and then walked through the living room to the main entrance. Korra, once again, followed.
Pema turned to the Avatar. "I really appreciate this. I won't be too long, I promise." At this, she placed a kiss on Korra's cheek motherly, and then opened the door and left with a quick wave and, "Goodbye!"
Korra sighed as the door shut, before turning around and returning to the kitchen. Jinora had just convinced the baby to finish eating a small bowl of mushy peas, and now he was slapping about the highchair and crying, done with his lunch and wanting to be paid attention to beyond being fed. Jinora was trying to get him to calm down, but couldn't, and so she turned to Korra with a desperate look on her face.
"He likes you, Korra. See if you can make him stop crying," the Airbender motioned to Hakoda frantically.
Korra bit her lip. Along with never really wanting a child, she'd never been good around them like Mako. Her boyfriend got along with baby Hakoda perfectly fine, and the other Airbending kids, too. He was a natural at it, while she was awkward. She just didn't know what to do – what if she dropped him? It was even worse that the little baby had taken an affinity to her – when he didn't want his mother or father, he was usually crawling or motioning for Korra. The Avatar found him cute and voiced this, but she didn't feel the constant need to coo at the baby or pinch his sensitive cheeks. She would awkwardly cuddle him at times, feeling as though she was a danger to him by just being in his presence. He was just so small, so terrifyingly breakable, and though she was rather awkward about him, she would do anything to protect the small soul.
And now, with being faced with the possibility of being a mother herself, Korra felt even more odd and out-of-place around the baby. However, the racket he was making was nearly unbearable, and so she quickly strode towards him and removed him from the highchair. Patting his back and bringing him to her shoulder, she shushed him while looking at Jinora desperately. Why couldn't the little girl calm her brother for her? Jinora simply shrugged – everything she had learned from the books about calming a baby hadn't worked.
Korra sighed, before turning down to walk down the hallway and to the baby's room. "I'm going to try to put him down for a nap," Korra told Jinora, who nodded and turned to the kitchen table to continue reading the book she always carried around.
As Korra walked down the stretch, Hakoda calmed. He stopped flailing his arms and his wails softened as he was paid attention by one of his favourite people. Korra was thankful for his quietening – he'd fall asleep easier. She gently patted his head as it fell against her shoulder, before arriving at his small nursery. Walking in, she surprised herself, because instead of immediately putting him down in the cradle, she sat down in the rocking chair beside it and peered at the baby in her arms.
As she rocked it slightly, soothing the baby, she studied his features closely. He had the bright blue eyes of his grandmother, Katara, and Pema's olive skin tone. He had brown hair, darker than Tenzin's, but Korra suspected that Tenzin's had once been the same color. His nose was small and button-like like his mother's, but he had a wide smile that Korra figured he had gotten from his grandfather – from her previous life, Avatar Aang. She played with the wisps of hair on his head, humming to him an old Water Tribe lullaby. His eyes were half-lidded, lulling with the heaviness of sleep. He wanted to look up at Korra, but was too tired to. Eventually, Hakoda succumbed to sleep and small, soft snores exited his mouth, and Korra smiled at him. This was the first time she'd ever really looked at the baby, that'd she ever been so attentive to him. She was glad for the distraction from her predicament, even if it was by another baby.
The peace of the environment around her crashed when she heard two familiar voices coming from the main entrance, though. She'd heard a knock at the door, and before she could react, Ikki had answered it. Korra stood up and made her way to the door of the nursery before she heard the voice of the person who had knocked.
"Hey, Ikki. Is Korra home?"
Korra swallowed. It was Mako. Oh, no.
She didn't exit the room, instead stepping back and listening to the conversation that was unfolding. She was willing Ikki to tell him 'no', but of course, she didn't.
"Yep! She's around here somewhere. Why did you come see her, Mako?" Korra wanted to facepalm – here came the onslaught of questions. "Did you come to kiiiiiiisss her? Go on a date with her? Hm? Did you, Mako?"
Korra could only imagine the blush on her boyfriend's face. "Actually, Ikki, I just want to talk with her. Do you know where she is?"
Ikki answered by calling her sister, "Jinora! Have you seen Korra around?"
Korra froze as Jinora called back. "Yes. She's in Hakoda's room."
Ikki reiterated her sister's clear answer to Mako. "She's in Hakoda's room. You know where that is, right?" Yes, Mako did. "Well, go on ahead!" she told him enthusiastically, and then Korra heard his light footsteps down the hallway and towards the room.
She began to get extremely flustered, looking around the brightly-colored room as though it held the answer to somehow avoid seeing Mako. Taking the door handle, she shut it quietly so as not to wake Hakoda, before sitting back on the rocking chair, deciding that acting as nonchalant as possible was her best bet.
Almost as soon as she sat down, she heard a knock at the door and then saw the knob twist. Breathing in sharply, she willed herself not to look at the door. A few seconds later, Mako's head popped in, his amber eyes looking troubled, but then brightening as he caught sight of Korra.
He smiled at her before entering completely and shutting the door behind him. "Hey."
Korra had to force the greeting out of her mouth. "H-hi."
Mako came around the chair and peered down at the baby. He didn't say anything as he admired the precious life, and Korra turned her head to the side and watched Mako. His eyes were gentle-looking as he reached a hand down and caressed Hakoda's cheek. This was a perfect example of how much more child-oriented Mako was than her. He had no qualms about children and for a short second, she envied him. He would be a good father to their child, as much as she didn't want to admit it.
Upon feeling her eyes on him, he turned to look at her, his face close to hers. He smiled again before standing up and coming around the front. "So," Korra began awkwardly, trying to make idle conversation to avoid the topic she knew he was there about. "How was training today?"
"You would know if you were there," he told her, crossing his arms. He kneeled down and placed a hand on her leg. "Why did you leave? I mean, you just walked in, looked at me and then left." The look in his eyes was concerned.
Korra shrugged, trying to be passive. "I just... didn't feel up to it. Some days are just like that, you know?"
His furrowed his eyebrows – he wasn't convinced. "You're lying, Korra," he told her, frowning, worrying etching his stark, angled features. She felt him squeeze her kneecap, and she tensed ever so slightly. He looked away and sighed before speaking again. "You've been acting odd lately. You've been avoiding me a lot, too. I'd like to know why."
"I have not!" Korra lied, growing flustered. But it was true – she'd be distant from him ever since Asami had speculated her being pregnant. She felt as though if she got too close to him, she'd end up spilling over and telling him it all.
"Korra, you can trust me," he told her, instead of getting angry. He squeezed her kneecap again, trying to comfort her, noticing her emotional influx. "Just tell me what's going on – this isn't normal of you."
Korra stood up then, careful to mind Hakoda in her arms. She wasn't going to make a scene with him asleep. She quickly put him into his cradle, giving him a once over before going to the door, giving Mako a look that told him to follow her. His eyes flashed, but he followed her directions and they exited and she closed the door.
Not wanting to be too far away from the baby in case he woke up, Korra looked around. She wasn't going to have a potential fight with Mako in the middle of the hallway, where the kids would try to get involved – she looked down the corridor and then noticed the door to Tenzin and Pema's room. Taking Mako's hand, she dragged him down the hallway and into the room, shutting and locking the door so the kids wouldn't bother her.
"Korra, what is this all about?" Mako asked her, frustrated, as she turned around to face him. He had his arms outstretched to her, begging her to tell him what was bothering her.
"Nothing," she shrugged once again at him, and his eyebrows came together, further annoyed. Korra really didn't know why she was putting off telling him anymore, beyond the fact that she was scared of his potential reaction. She wanted to put if off because of this, but if she kept doing so and it turned out she was pregnant, then he would still find out – and it would be even worse if he found out that way, or by way of gossip or rumour. She had to tell him. But she, for once, couldn't find the courage to do it. "Really, Mako."
He gave her a hard look. Stepping closer to her, he touched her hand tentatively. "Are you sure you're okay?" The look in his eyes was no longer annoyed or irritated, but once again full of concern. He was genuinely worried about what was going on.
Korra shivered at his look, turning her gaze to the floor and feeling the overwhelming need to tell him. She breathed in sharply, and bit her lip, her voice trembling. "No. N-no, Mako, I'm not okay. I'm not okay at all."
He intertwined his fingers with hers then and placed his other hand on her hip, pulling her closer. "What is it, then? Please, tell me, Korra."
The Firebender's warmth radiated into Korra at their close contact, and she wanted to hug him, but knew if she did she'd just be further putting off her confession by doing something to distract herself. "I..." She couldn't believe she was doing this, but it had to be done. "I've been meaning to tell you this for a bit now..."
Mako gazed intently at her, but she didn't meet his eye. He didn't say anything, but a squeeze to her hand signified he was ready to hear what she had to say.
Breathing in shakily, Korra bit her lip and whispered, almost inaudibly, "Mako... I'm pregnant."
And the Firebender's world stopped momentarily. It felt as though the blood stopped running through his veins, like his heart ceased beating, and he stopped breathing altogether. Nothing moved or happened for a few split seconds. His mind spun and he felt dizzy as the impact of her words hit him. Then suddenly the blood rushed through his ears and his heart was beating uncontrollably and he was gasping for air – he had been holding his breath. He looked down at the woman he loved, who was staring at him with wide, blue eyes. His tongue felt impossibly heavy as he spoke. "W-what?"
Korra opened her mouth to speak, but was interrupted as a piercing screech broke the air. It was coming from the room beside them – it was Hakoda's. Korra's heartbeat spiked and she gave Mako a frightened look before opening the door and bolting to the baby's room. Upon arriving at it, she noticed that the door she had shut was slightly ajar, and she opened it to find Meelo in the room, floating above his brother's crib on an airball and poking the baby in the face.
Korra could barely contain her temper at the little Airbender. "Meelo!" she hollered, stomping up to him. He turned around in shock and tried to shoot out of the room, but Mako grabbed him. Meelo squirmed around before giving up. Korra gave him a fierce look. "Leave your brother alone!" She wanted to give the child more of a talking-to, but Hakoda needed to be attended to. Shaking her head, she allowed Mako to release the Airbender, who scooted off in terror at her annoyance with him.
Instantly, she went to Hakoda's crib and picked him up, bringing him to her chest and examining him. No marks, scratches, or bruises. He was fine, just making a fuss. She bounced him in her arms gently, speaking nonsense to him and stroking his back tenderly. Quickly, Hakoda calmed down at being in Korra's arms. As he calmed and began to drift off again, Korra swayed with him, almost forgetting about the man behind her.
She heard the door click shut behind her, and jumped slightly, turning and seeing Mako. She blinked, and then remembered what she had told him just moments before. She had told him that she was pregnant.
The Firebender was blinking at her bewilderedly. Walking closer to her, his eyes went to her abdomen and he stared at it. Korra realized what he was doing, and she said quickly, "Mako, the thing is, I might not be, too. But more likely than not... I am." She sighed, turning away, "I-I should have told you sooner. But I was so scared of how you would react – but you're not saying anything." She suddenly became annoyed. "Don't you have anything to say about this?"
Mako released a breath, before giving her a long look. "I... I'm surprised. A... a baby." He stepped closer to her, and raised a hand, allowing it to hover closely to her lower stomach.
Korra caught his actions, and she said again, firmly restating her words, "Like I said, I might not be, too, Mako. I don't know yet." Looking away then, she continued, "I'm sorry I didn't tell you sooner, but I was scared. I didn't know how you would react to it, what you would say or do." She looked at him again. His eyes were blank, as was his expression. He was still shocked. She repeated her earlier words. "Do you have anything to say beyond that?"
A few silent moments passed between them, and when he still didn't say anything, surprise still registering on her features, tears pricked in Korra's eyes. She knew it. She just knew it. She turned away from him, concealing her tears. But just as she did, Mako strode up to her and wrapped his arms around her. He held his arms around her tightly, her back to his chest, as she held the baby in her own arms. They stood there for a few moments, resounding silence strung among them.
Eventually, Mako turned her around to face him. He wiped the tears from her face with the pad of his thumb. A realization had set in Mako – a part of him was still shocked, but a part of him was also happy. It may have been completely unexpected and unplanned, but... that was his baby. That was their baby. He was not sad or angry as Korra had suspected, but instead filled with sudden, intense love.
"Korra," he finally spoke, a small, shaky smile forming on his lips. "We're... having a baby. A baby." The more Mako said the word, especially in relation to himself and Korra, the more amazed he felt about it. He was going to be a father... or at least, possibly.
The Avatar looked up at him then, the flow of tears slowing down. "Wait... so you're okay with this?"
Mako raised an eyebrow at her. "Why wouldn't I be?"
"I..." Korra bit her lip. "Well, I..."
"Korra," his tone was serious, steady upon realizing what her eyes were conveying. "I wouldn't leave you like this – don't ever think that. I love you and this baby. I'm surprised, yes, obviously, but... I'm happy." Korra blinked up at him, her eyes confused. He chuckled a bit, "If I was going to start a family with anyone, I want it to be with you, Korra. And now... now I am."
"Maybe not," she warned. Mako actually felt his happiness drop a bit at this. "We don't know for sure yet." But still, at everything he had just said, Korra felt relief in her shoulders and her heart beat wildly. She turned and put Hakoda back in his crib before wrapping her arms around Mako tightly, putting as much emotion into the embrace as possible. His arms easily encircled her, and held her snugly against him.
They held to each other for a long while, Hakoda's soft snores in the background. Eventually, Mako pulled away and gave her a smile, before placing a hand on her stomach. Obviously it was too early for there to be anything there to feel, but the Firebender didn't care. In there, was his baby. Their baby. "I..." was all that escaped his mouth.
"Mako," Korra looked down at his hand, placing her own on it. While she was endeared by his acceptance and love towards the situation, she did need him to understand that it may all be a fluke. There was still a chance that she wasn't and that it had all happened by coincidence. "We still don't know yet, okay?" She gave him a soft look. "Just... please, realize that before... before you start getting attached."
Mako's face fell – this was all too true. It would make his life easier if it weren't true, but he almost didn't want that. No – he didn't want it at all. This may not have been the way he had expected to start a family – hell, it was a few years before he wanted to even think of it – but if this was the way it was happening, then he couldn't go back and undo it, and he didn't want to. He wanted to be here for both of them. "I know," he rasped out. He closed his eyes, letting the impact of it hit him. Either way – pregnant or not – it would be a blow to Firebender. He repeated himself. "I know."
Korra nodded at him, before hugging him again. When she pulled back, he asked the question he had itching to inquire. "So, if you are..." he stopped, then started again, "how far along are you?"
Korra blinked, thinking – she had to be under three months. "I'd say... two and a half months?" Korra thought aloud. She couldn't believe they were discussing this – they didn't even know officially yet! But the Avatar found herself accepting it the more and more she talked about it to her boyfriend. All of this scared her, but also excited her in a way. But still, a large part of her wanted none of this to be true. But an almost equal part was okay if it was.
Mako smiled at her answer, before kissing her softly. Against her mouth, he whispered cheekily, "So, around our anniversary?"
Korra blushed, remembering the moment, and Mako noticed with a bit of a chuckle the heat radiating from her cheeks. It would make the most sense, after doing the math, that it was conceived on the night of their first anniversary together – they had been together for a year. It had been a rather... momentous occasion. There were a few firsts for both that night, and Korra knew she would remember it for the rest of her life.
"I would suppose," she murmured against his lips, before effectively shutting him up by kissing him again. She had missed their contact, and so despite the fact there was a sleeping baby beside them, she was kissing him rather heatedly.
Mako complied, pressing his mouth against hers fervently. After this, he pulled back and was answered with a slight protesting growl from her. He laughed before speaking, "Why don't you come and stay over at the arena tonight?"
Korra didn't even half to think about that. "I would love to," she answered, smiling at him. "Just wait until Tenzin or Pema comes home, and then we can leave." He nodded, before pulling away from her completely and turning back to Hakoda, who was waving his fist about in his sleep.
He admired the small creature, and Korra turned, watching them. There was such care resonating in Mako's eyes, and she knew that if it was all true, then he would be a fantastic father. Maybe he could help make up for her being a lousy mom.
"I'm going to have one of you soon," he whispered then to Hakoda. "I bet you two will get along well."
Korra blinked, before stepping forward and taking his hand, squeezing it. "Mako," was all she said, and her tone held something that told him to stop. He looked up at her and closed his eyes, before sighing and pulling back.
"You know, this isn't going to be easy to get through," Korra told him when he joined her on the other side of the room, having decided to stay in it and patrol in case Meelo decided to come back. Korra caught herself. "That is, if it's true."
"I know," he squeezed her hand again. "But we'll get through it, all of it, together. I promise."
She simply smiled, before sitting back down in the rocking chair and watching Hakoda as he napped away, his features relaxed and soft. Maybe... maybe a baby wouldn't be that bad.
Korra spent a few nights at the attic apartment, but she didn't tell Bolin. She knew it would be better for it to be official before spreading the news. She didn't want it to be false and then a lie going everywhere. But even Korra didn't believe it anymore. She knew she was pregnant, and it was alarming.
She and Mako waited one more month before confirming it. And much to Korra's dread – though it was not as severe as before – her once toned stomach began to turn grow a small bump, signifying life within her. Each day, Mako watched her, looking for signs, and upon her tummy growing more prevalent, he gleefully embraced the fact that he was going to be a father.
Korra even had to admit she found his enthusiasm adorable. He peered at her with such love in his eyes that she swore she would burst from it. He doted on her ridiculously, which she told him was completely unnecessary – but he didn't care. He was going to take care of his woman and baby!
A few days after confirming it (and wearing different, hiding clothing), did she admit her condition to both Bolin and Asami. The Earthbender was confused but excited to be an uncle and Asami wore a face that told Korra she knew she was right the entire time, but that she was ecstatic for her at the same time. And while Korra could accept her friends' happiness, she knew they held the same underlying uncertainty she felt – how was she going to manage this child?
Next issue – informing Tenzin. The man would not take it lightly. But Mako stood by her side as she walked up the steps to his office.
"Mako," she turned to her boyfriend. "I can't do this!"
"Of course, you can," he reassured her, wrapping his arm around her shoulders. "And besides," he stopped their short trek up the stairs and turned to her, "it's not like you can hide it forever, Korra – he'll find out eventually. So stop putting it off – I'll be right there for you, anyway." He smiled at her, and she felt a little better about the situation.
Sighing in defeat, she crossed her arms and grumbled, "Why do you always have to be right?"
"I just do," he remarked, a light smirk playing on his lips. "Now, c'mon."
Korra hung her head, but allowed him to pull her up the rest of the stairs and closer to Tenzin's office. Despite Mako's confidence, though, he knew that admitting would be difficult – the older man would not, by any means, be impressed, and he wouldn't take it lightly. He'd lecture Korra, but he'd be very damn near murderous to Mako for getting her to where she was. Now that Mako had really acknowledged this, he swallowed a bit. Tenzin could be frightening if he needed to be.
Quickly, they arrived at the door to his office, and stood outside it. Raising her hand, she knocked at the door and a few moments later, a gruff voice answered back, "You may enter."
Korra frowned, before placing her hand on the doorknob. Mako placed his on top of hers and gave her a nervous smile before they both twisted it open and entered the room.
Tenzin, expecting his wife, was instead greeted by the two teenagers. Raising an intrigued eyebrow at them, he stood up. "Why, hello, Korra," he addressed the Avatar, nodding at her and smiling, before turning to the boy he infamously knew as her boyfriend and as Mako and frowning a bit. "And hello to you, too, Mako."
"Hi, Tenzin," Korra answered back awkwardly, kicking at the rug on the floor with her boots. Mako just nodded in response, murmuring something.
Tenzin looked over the two, and easily noticed the Korra was wearing her parka jacket, but didn't comment on it. "Is there something I can help you with?" he inquired, turning his head a bit. He was a busy man – he had some paperwork to finish before he could retire for the night.
The room was silent for a few moments before Mako elbowed Korra, and she reluctantly looked up at her Airbending master. "Actually, Tenzin," she managed quietly, "we have something to tell you." Tenzin noted his apprentice's quiet tone, so unlike herself. He quickly realized that something was wrong.
Stiffening, he gave them a stern look. "And what is it?" Korra didn't make eye contact as she mumbled something inaudible. "Korra, you have to speak up, please."
"I'm pregnant, Tenzin," she told him bluntly, looking up at him with stormy blue eyes. Tenzin's reaction was similar to Mako's, except no positive feelings followed afterwards. He watched, face going red with fury, as Mako reached over and grabbed her hand, pulling her closer to him.
"What?" A part of the older man wanted this to be some sick prank that his kids or Bolin had put the couple up to. But the graveness in his apprentice's eyes told him this was no joke.
"I'm... we're having a baby," Korra told him, breathing in deeply and looking over at Mako with a shaky smile.
Tenzin eyed Korra closely – this was wildly unacceptable. By allowing Korra to live with him, he had expected that nothing of this nature would ever occur. What, had it happened under his roof, too? He felt insulted and disrespected, but mostly furious at the Firebender before him. The child had no idea the repercussions of his actions!
"I'll talk with you later," Tenzin hissed to Korra, before turning to Mako. "You!" He jabbed a finger accusingly at Mako, who took a step back, bracing himself for the yelling that was about to begin. "You are an irresponsible child, Mako! Do you even realize what you've done? You've jeopardized the safety of the entire city – world! How is Korra supposed to do her job as Avatar if she has a child to take care of?" A more fatherly side then took over Tenzin, "And do you know what you've done to Korra? You've ruined her future! Now she's going to be left raising your child while you run off, gallivanting everywhere!"
Mako looked to his side, and saw the shame painted on Korra's face. At this, he felt a push of confidence he shouldn't have had, and stepped forward at the man. "I am not irresponsible!" he countered, clenching his fists as he felt his temper flare. "And don't you think for one second that I'm leaving her! I love her, and I love our kid! I am going to stay with her and help her raise our baby! I would never go off and leave her all alone, so don't assume!"
Korra's eyes were wide as she peered at Mako, willing him to shut up and stop fighting against he already infuriated Airbender. Tenzin stepped back, taken aback at being challenged by this teenager. His face was still bright red, but he was surprised by Mako's words. He spoke passionately and it compelled Tenzin to revaluate the young man in front of him.
Crossing his arms, his glare still prominent, he asked through gritted teeth, "Who else knows?"
"Bolin and Asami," Korra explained, "and Pema." She had informed Pema shortly after officiating it to herself, and the older women had promised not to tell her husband or children, though she wouldn't dream of it.
Tenzin sighed heavily, pinching the bridge of his nose. As if he didn't already have enough to deal with... "How far along are you, Korra?"
"Three and a half months," she told him confidently. He looked away from the pair, suddenly sad. How could this happen to Korra – to be someone he looked at like a daughter? When that child was born, he or she would live there with them, and he would feel (and practically be) like a grandfather. It pained him like it would her own father to look over at this girl and see her so young, so vulnerable, with so much responsibility on her shoulders. It was too much for her. "Tenzin? Are you okay?" To the older man, she sounded like a frightened little girl. And in a way, she kind of was.
"I'm fine," he lied, straightening up again. He repeated himself, as if this would reassure his statement. "I'm fine." He peered over at the two again, a grim look in his gray eyes. His stern demeanour, however, belied his true feelings towards the situation. He was highly flustered and confused – for once, the older Airbending master didn't know what to do. But he couldn't let the young woman in front of him know this – because if he didn't know what to do in this situation, then she would be lost. "We can't tell the press about this – they'll run away with it, make up lies. And then Amon will find out, and he will try to target you even more – except the target won't just be you singly. It will be you and that child."
Korra blinked in surprise – she hadn't even thought about Amon being more ruthless against her if discovering her secret. But Tenzin was right – the crazed Equalist leader would just be that much more intent on killing her. She crossed her arms. "I-I understand that... but you can't just keep me locked up on the island for the next six months and the somehow expect the baby to be kept a secret," she sighed, the realization hitting her. "He'll eventually find out... because the baby's not just going to go away after it's born. He'll still try to capture him after." She felt tears well up in her eyes and cursed her fluctuating emotions. "Oh, Mako." She turned to her boyfriend and he wrapped his arms around her, giving her a sad look.
"You know I'll always protect you and him, Korra," he whispered to her, rubbing circles on her back soothingly. She mumbled something into his shoulder, and he murmured something back.
Tenzin watched the young couple with despair in his gray irises. Sighing heavily, he pinched the bridge of his nose again. "You're... right, Korra. We can't keep you locked up here – but you won't be able to go wherever you want, whenever you want anymore after it is announced – at that point, there will be too much at risk to just let you wander like you like to. There could be Equalists waiting for you at any point in time, and even if Mako or one of the others is there to defend you, they might overpower you and besides, you won't really be able to defend yourself as your condition progresses."
Korra pulled away from Mako and grinned goofily, trying to lighten the mood. "Don't remind me."
Tenzin smiled forcedly. "We shall discuss this later, when... when the shock has worn off and I am not as muddled mentally. I promise, Korra." The Avatar nodded, and turned to Mako.
"We should go now," she said hurriedly, obviously wanting to leave the uncomfortable situation as soon as possible, and Mako nodded, before nodding again at the older man and regarding him with thankful look in his eyes. Tenzin returned the gesture, even though he was still more than a little ticked at the Firebender. It would take more than just one discussion and one night for the Airbender to both get over this and accept it with open arms. But he loved Korra like a daughter, and he would regard the situation like a father would - with patience and perseverance.
Mako and Korra turned and left the office, and at the sound of door clicking shut, Tenzin gave into the full brunt of it all and collapsed to his chair with a groan and ungraceful flop. He turned to the paperwork that he had been working on previously, but found that he just couldn't focus on it. All he could think about how Korra was pregnant. How this eighteen year old child was having a baby. It was ridiculous to the older man. But it couldn't be reversed.
Shaking his head, he collected and organized his documents together and put them away for the evening. He sighed as he stood up, brushing off his robe, head spinning. As he exited the office, the fresh breezes of Yue Bay hit him and he eagerly breathed them in like the Airbender he was. It immediately helped clear his mind and think a little bit straighter. Looking around, he caught sight of the meditating pavilion a few hundred yards ahead and decided that a late night meditation session wouldn't hurt one bit – not with this new knowledge he possessed.
His tired shoulders slumping, Tenzin walked over to the little building, eyes closed as he expertly manoeuvred around the obstacles leading to it. As he walked in, he was surprised to see a figure hunched over in it, and with a start, he realized it was Korra.
"Oh, Tenzin," she looked up at him sadly. He regarded her with a raised eyebrow, silently asking her what she was doing there. "I told Mako... I just needed some time alone... you know, to think? And you always tell me that the best way to clear one's mind is to meditate... and so, here I am."
Tenzin examined her posture. "You're not in a meditative position."
"I didn't say I was meditating now," she remarked bluntly. "I tried to... but I just can't. I'm just so... so... distracted. I can't think straight and I'm confused and I don't know what to do and-and—" He saw tears begin to well up in her eyes and the moonlight reflect light off of them and felt instantly horrible. Here was this little girl – his little girl – so terribly upset, and he felt like he couldn't do anything to make it better for her.
Kneeling down, Tenzin took her in his arms gently, feeling the fatherly need to make her tears cease as soon as possible. Korra clutched at his robes, and finished her sentence, "I'm scared."
This struck Tenzin, but for her sake, he didn't show it, instead pulling his arms around her tighter. "Korra," he began, "we are going to figure this out. Together, one step at a time." He petted down her hair and felt a sorrow take over him, too. Her vulnerability was affecting him, too.
Korra said nothing, and her sobs calmed down a bit, but did not stop entirely. She didn't quite know if Tenzin knew, but she was showing the emotional, truly frightened side to her fatherly Airbending master – the side that she didn't want Mako to know existed. She wanted her boyfriend to think that she would be able to get through this entire ordeal with a constant air of confidence, but in all truth, she was extremely frightened at the uncertainty of what was to become of her future now. But she knew that Tenzin could help her through this – he had the advice and experience to help her. And so she revealed these brewing emotions within her, and didn't stop.
After venting to the older man, they eventually branched off, and for the first time in a while, Korra slept without nightmares plaguing her mind.
The next morning, when the entire Airbending family was seated at the kitchen table, did Korra admit her pregnancy to the children, who, in all their innocence, were extremely excited for the arrival of yet another baby. Ikki enthused about how she wanted to help Korra prepare a room for the child, Jinora offered the knowledge she had garnered from reading parenting books, and Meelo just wanted to know when it would be in the world so he could see it and hold it. Korra laughed and for once actually felt positive about the situation.
Korra and Tenzin and Pema all discussed what was to be done about presenting the information to the public, which they unfortunately would have to do. Tenzin explained that he would talk with the mayor and set up a small press conference with some of the more trustworthy reporters and magazine editors of the city, so that the news could be released with words straight from the Avatar's mouth. Korra agreed that this was a fine idea, and while she was chaffed when he told her so, she understood when he told her she could no longer participate in Pro-Bending tournaments. She argued that she should still be allowed to train, though, and with a little input from Pema, Tenzin reluctantly agreed.
Later that week – Sunday, precisely – Korra told the world of her news, and both outrage and excitement spread over the city. Some – most – thought she was much too young, but still, some were happy for the Avatar – a new Avatar child already? It seemed like only yesterday, to the Airbender's embarrassment, that Tenzin had been born. The news was like gold to the gossipers of the city. Others thought that she was sluttish for getting pregnant. Did she not realize what she had gotten into? they would ask, how young she was? How she had practically – in their minds – destroyed her future? Some of the shadier magazines of the city posted that it wasn't even Mako's baby, but everyone knew that that was a lie – it was wholeheartedly the Firebender's child, and if anyone wanted to challenge that, they could take it up with the Avatar herself or Mako. But Korra didn't care – much, at least – what with the excellent support system she had around her. For a few weeks afterwards, photographers followed her about, but as she kept herself to a more reserved section of the city and they received multiple threats from Mako and Bolin, did they back off.
The months passed by rapidly for the anxious couple. They argued on the gender – Mako, surprisingly, thought it was a girl, while Korra was set on it being a boy. As time progressed, the Firebender only continued to dote on his girlfriend, which she insisted she didn't need, but he still did so – he would make her favourite meals, get her ridiculous cravings, deal with her mood swings (in which she would go from yelling at him furiously to crying to kissing him within a matter of seconds) and every single second he was around her, it seemed, he told her he loved her – it was completely true, and while she tried to swat him away at those times, she couldn't help but feel her heart swell with joy.
The Avatar felt odd having something grow inside her. She would touch her growing stomach and just stare at it at tmes, wondering about the little life inside her, that she was admittedly excited to meet someday soon. She would inspect herself in secret, and sometimes Mako would catch her and sometimes he would keep quiet and just watch her admiringly, while other times he would question her on her actions. Korra would try to scramble away and make up an excuse, but the Firebender would simply shake his head and pull her into his arms, kissing her and telling her he was excited, too.
Much to everyone's joy (but paranoia), the Equalists were inactive, it seemed. While Korra found this a good thing, Tenzin was paranoid and at almost every instance, it seemed, he was upping security around her. The Avatar, at first, was happy for her luck, but as it sunk in, she did begin to find it odd. But still, she embraced the quiet of the city. It was, admittedly, nice to have peace and not to have to worry about him... for now, at least.
The pregnancy progressed gradually, normally. However, panic struck one night, paralyzing the couple. Korra slept beside Mako, his arms wrapped around her rounded stomach possessively. It happened in a flash – Korra didn't even know what was happening.
She turned in his arms, snuggling closer, but tangling her legs in his. The sleepy Avatar was awoken with a start, however, when she felt the sheets below her become wet. Sitting up quickly, she pulled away the blankets, and much to her horror, a pool of blood sat below her.
Mako groggily sat up alongside her, confused by her sudden stirring, and when he saw what her eyes were so focussed upon, his blurry vision cleared and instant panic set in his brain. As Korra sat there, he jumped up and out of the bed, trying to shake her out of her horrified stupor.
"Korra." She didn't say anything, tears forming in her eyes. "Korra." Nothing. "Korra!"
"M-Mako," she cried, pointing at the growing mass of red liquid and feeling warm tears fall down her cheeks.
"Korra, we need to get you to... to a clinic or something. Now," Mako told her quickly, panic reaching his heart and making it pound wildly. Turning to his side, he saw Bolin stir out of his bed slowly, a frantic expression in his green eyes.
"What's going on, you two?" It only took two seconds for Bolin's eyes to adjust to the mess before him, and they widened. "Oh, my Spirits...!" The Earthbender hopped out of his bed and into the bathroom, retrieving some much-needed towels. He rushed to Korra's side and he and Mako placed them around the panicking Avatar.
As they cleaned her up, Mako slowly got her out of the bed, and when she clenched over in pain and tears poured from her eyes, he immediately pulled her into her arms. Turning to his brother, a mess of words escaped his mouth, "I-I'm going to take her to the hospital. Can you... can you go get Tenzin or Pema or... or...?" The fright in Mako's voice was very prevalent, and Bolin nodded at his brother hastily.
"Just go, Mako. I'll go and get them. Just go!" the Earthbender turned from the mess of bloody towels and sheets in front of him in favour of getting dressed, pulling on whatever clothes were convenient for him. Mako grabbed his jacket, which he covered Korra in, who wouldn't say a word beyond the frantic muttering escaping her lips.
He rushed down the plethora of stairs, and as he ran, just narrowly escaping tripping several times, he was sure that the staircases had multiplied because he never remembered the trip down being so long. The look of pure agony on Korra's face pushed him forward, and he ran down the corridors of the arena desperately. Arriving at the front door, he simply ran and ran and ran until he realized how damn stupid running was as it was just jostling the sobbing Korra around. Slowing, he looked around, but of course, no cabs were to be seen because of the ungodly hour of occurrence. But he couldn't just stop – so he continued his strides, trying to make them as wide but as steady as possible. As he travelled to the closest clinic – that he knew of – he muttered to her so she would calm, but the Firebender was spinning out of control himself.
"Korra," he whispered to her, looking down at her and then up to judge what direction to go. "Please, this is going to be over soon. You're going to be fine. He's going to be fine, too." She simply clutched his jacket around her closer, crying harder at the sound of his voice.
A few more blocks of running later, adrenaline pumping through his veins to keep him going, Mako finally arrived at the smaller, local hospital (as compared to the massive central one in the middle of town). He rushed in, scaring the nurse at the front desk. It was a quiet, locally-owned little thing, open all hours of the day. But still, the young nurse at the front was all but prepared for the sight that entered at three in the morning.
She didn't even have time to ask as Mako jumbled out his words. "S-she... I don't know what's going on with her... but she's bleeding everywhere. Please, help h-her." The mousy woman simply nodded at Mako, trying not to stare at the mess of blood that had pooled on the backside of his jacket. She was young – she hadn't been in the business long enough to have seen this kind of thing up close, but she'd read about it. She just hoped she was prepared to deal with a real life case of it.
She hastily directed him into a room – a white, white sterile room and instructed him to place the silently bawling Avatar onto the bed. She went to exit the room, but before she could, a slew of older, more experienced women came from somewhere and entered the room.
They began to whisper frantically amongst themselves, Mako staring in between them and Korra wildly, clutching her hand as though this would stop the steady flow of blood beneath her.
Quickly, an older woman stepped forward, and without a second to waste, asked him what happened. The poor Firebender explained the suddenness of the event and just how much blood there was and how scared both of them were. The women – not including the younger one – quickly got to work on Korra, who was losing mass amounts of blood as they spoke.
The older woman from before quickly propped Korra up against some white pillows and removed Mako's now blood-stained, ruined jacket. The Firebender felt sick at the sight of it, but quickly turned his attention to the Avatar, who still had tears running down her face, but whose eyes were lidded with the exhaustion and blood loss that was looming over her.
"Korra," he clutched her hand, squeezing it to keep her conscious. Korra's usually bright eyes slowly travelled over to meet the Firebender's, tears spilling over from them, uncontrolled. For the first time since he had met her, Korra's expression radiated pure fright, and he felt helpless. Mako then filled with unmitigated panic – nothing could quell his fear until he knew for sure that Korra and their baby were okay. He needed to know and he needed to know as soon as humanly possible. When he saw Korra begin to drift off some more, he instantly jolted her back with a strong tug of their interconnected hands. "Korra, d-don't—" The Firebender was trying to keep his emotions under control – he really was – for the sake of the woman in front of him, but he found himself spiralling out of control, as well. Feeling angry, indignant, but desperate and worried, tears beginning to well in his eyes, he squeezed them shut, but instead of preventing them, they simply cascaded down his pale, angular face that much faster. "Korra," he repeated her name for the third time, looking at her paling complexion. Upon watching her eyelids flutter shut and then open again a few moments later, he felt himself flush internally with emotion and whispered over and over again, "I love you, I love you, I love you."
He heard the women working behind him and heard one of them yell something frantically to another, but could not make it out, or perhaps, he didn't want to. Instead, he focussed solely on Korra and keeping her comfortable. Wrapping his arm around her frame, he quickly composed himself (to the best of his flustered ability) and brought one hand to her chin, turning her face away from the disaster unfolding in front of her. "Korra," he said to get her attention. "You're doing so well – this will all be over soon, I promise. You're fine, I promise that, and he is, too. Just hold on a bit longer. Tenzin and Pema will be here soon to help."
When she didn't reply, he realized just how desperately he wanted to hear her voice, but her current weakened state of major blood loss wasn't allowing for such actions. And it struck him hard then, the inevitability of what could be happening right then – he might lose both the woman he loved so desperately and the child that he never got to meet but loved, as well. His heart beat so rambunctiously in his chest, so filled with panicked adrenaline, it almost pained him. He could hear the blood rushing in his ears and his heartbeat but nothing the women screamed or the clanging of tools and other clutter around him. For a short amount of time, Mako was in hysteria. He couldn't lose them – he couldn't lose his family all over again.
He heard something then – the most satisfying thing he had heard in years. Her voice – softened – in his ears. Turning to her, he seemed to hear through the loud din around him, and only heard her. "Korra?"
"Mako," she whispered, her once boisterous tone hushed, breaking his heart just a bit more. "I love you." If it had not been for the way she had said it, Mako would have been overjoyed by this bit of progress she was making. But her voice said it as though it was the last thing she would ever say, that it was a final goodbye to her lover and the world in which she lived.
"No," he told her forcefully, "don't say it like that, you stupid girl! You're not going anywhere!"
Korra didn't have the strength to shake her head at him, and so simply sighed, before settling her eyes closed and through the frightful calls and clatters around her, found peace in a restless blackness, the last thing she heard being Mako's frantic voice ringing in her ears.
"How long will she need to stay here for?"
"The rest of the week – she could start hemorrhaging again... it's completely unpredictable. She can return to the Island after that, but I'd like her to be kept under close watch. We can't have this happen again – next time, she won't be so lucky. Also, Tenzin, I must inform you that because of this, the birth will be even more difficult. It could have similar effects to the degree of this – anything could happen, but we'll do our best."
"I understand. Thank you, Saiyu."
Korra awoke to two voices conversing somewhere in the room she was in, one of them a familiar, gruff voice and the other a hushed, whispering tone. She kept her eyes closed, a headache splitting through her head, and heard footfalls as one of the two left the room. She suddenly heard more footsteps, some further away, pacing, frantic, quick. Some more then as someone approached her.
"Oh, Korra," she heard the familiar voice say, and with much difficulty, did she manage her eyes open, instantly regretting it as light poured into her vision and magnified the intensity of her headache.
She heard a clamour around her as she blinked, sensitive eyes adjusting to the light.
"What? Oh, my...!"
"Oh, Spirits, Korra..."
As she sat herself up, she felt her incredibly weak and the simple gesture was very difficult for the young Avatar. Her limbs felt sore and her entire body ached and breathing was difficult and she was lightheaded.
"Hm?" she managed out as her eyes focussed on the blurry image of a human being in front of her. Slowly, she made out the scruffy beard and unwavering grey eyes of her Airbending master, whose eyebrows were contorted in an extremely worried fashion, but for the life her, she didn't know why. Come to think of it, though, she didn't even know where she was and why she was there.
Blinking, her eyes focussed to the bright light of the morning filtering in through the window beside her, flooding the white room and making it seemingly illuminate, causing her to turn her eyes to the side to stop the piercing, stark contrast that flashed before her, before adjusting painfully once again.
Looking around the room, she saw the entire Airbending family, Asami, Bolin, and beside her, a bloodshot eyed Mako. Inspecting the room around her, she noticed how sanitary and sterile it seemed – cleared of the previous night's events, of which she was still not aware – and all the tools and medical supplies around her. Concluding she was in a hospital, she still lacked a reason as to why.
Looking down at the foot of her bed, she saw a pile of white towels gathered around her lower half, and quirked an eyebrow at the tightly-packed mass. Turning to the right, she became aware of the tight grip Mako had on her hand. Looking at the boy, eyes brimmed red, she wondered what had him so stirred up.
Peering up at Tenzin, she saw him wearing the same worried expression. Finding her voice, she spoke, her voice surprisingly raspy and quiet. "What... what's going on, guys?" She noticed the faces of the others – even the kids' faces were a mix of worried and relieved. "Why am I here?"
She heard Tenzin speak before he looked over at Mako. "Korra..." The Avatar cast a glance at him before directing her gaze to her boyfriend's, and noticing that his jacket was absent, his hair a mussed mess, eyes unblinking... she finally made the connection, and tears sprung into her eyes as she pulled her hand away from his and brought them to her face, a horrified expression breaking out on her features.
"No," she said loudly, forcefully, as if trying to convince herself otherwise. "No, no, no." She didn't try to stop the tears that ran down her cheeks, and the others backed off, letting her have some time alone to comprehend everything before informing her of the news.
The memories hit Korra light a shock of lightning – jolting, unpleasant, and ungodly. She remembered blood – oh, there was blood – and she remembered her mind glazing over in her own internal panic. She remembered telling Mako she loved him before passing out and the frantic screams of the nurses and that was it.
Korra looked up frantically then – if the situation was as she thought, then she should be feeling something – incomplete? Like something – someone – very dear to her was gone, missing, never to have been in her life. But she didn't feel the loss she knew she should have been feeling.
Flushing with newfound panic, Korra threw the blinding white covers off of her bottom half and saw, much to her surprise, that the bump she had sported just hours before was still very much so there. Placing her hands on it, she looked around the room, thoroughly confused.
But... shouldn't it be... gone? Korra hated to think of that possibility, but after what had occurred the night before, she had every belief that she was no longer going to be a mother and was horrified. But the little life was still growing inside her, as proved by the bulge of her tummy.
Though confused, now tears of happiness instead of fright poured from her eyes. She smiled, before feeling a pressure over her hand again and knew instantly it was Mako's. Turning her head, she saw a small smile forming on his face, and she would have turned and thrown her arms over his neck in sheer glee if not for the lack of strength she possessed.
Squeezing his hand, she used the other one to wipe away her seemingly never-ending tears and asked the question on the tip of her tongue. "W-what happened?"
Tenzin, who had water building at the corner of his grey eyes, smiled before sighing at her. "You gave us quite the scare, and rightly so, Korra," he explained. "Bolin came to us at around four in the morning going off about how you were bleeding and how Mako had taken you here. We didn't understand at first, but didn't care about that, either – all we needed to hear was that you were in trouble and we were off the Island in seconds. When we got here, you were unconscious, and while you had stopped hemorrhaging significantly, there was still a, um..." the man paused, composing himself as he remembered the horrifying hours that unfolded before him just hours before, "...a steady stream going. Mako was... Mako was..." Tenzin looked over at the Firebender, whose eyes were wrought with emotion, before deciding he could tell his own side of it – that he could inform her of the medical half of what happened. "Mako was hysterical, I'll just say that. We couldn't get him to leave your side and he hasn't since. You've been here for a few hours now – it was only around two hours ago that you were stabilized, though, Korra." He sighed before continuing, giving into his emotions, letting a single tear fall as his wife joined him by his side. "We were just so worried about you, Korra. And the baby. We... we thought you were going to die."
The tone of Tenzin's voice dropped significantly as he said the last part, and Korra realized how difficult it must have been for him to have been faced with the possibility of watching a second Avatar – loving both herself and the previous – dying. It had been too much for the older man.
Reaching her hands up, she smiled at the man. "But I didn't, Tenzin," she reassured him, before his repressed sobs bubbled over, as did Pema's, and she embraced the two. Squeezing them as tightly as she could, she closed her eyes and just held them there for a long, unspecified amount of time. Eventually, she looked over at Mako, who was smiling at her, eyebrows upturned in a sign of relief.
Soon, the couple retreated from the Avatar's arms, and Tenzin, upon seeing Mako's expression, realized he needed to speak to her alone. Ushering his questioning children and Asami and Bolin out of the room, the door clicked shut, signifying that Mako and Korra were finally alone.
Breathing in shakily, he looked at her again, and forced out a wheezy, "Hi."
Relaxing into the plethora of pillows behind her, Korra greeted him back softly, "Hey." The pair sat in comfortable silence, staring at each other, for what seemed like forever, but both were more than content with it.
Soon, though, Mako's resolve for staying composed broke and his own tears strayed down his cheeks as he stood up and embraced her, squeezing her as though she would disappear at any given second in his arms. After pulling back, he placed a hand on her stomach, and Korra asked shakily, having not received a direct answer from Tenzin, "So he's okay?"
"Thankfully, yes," Mako sniffled, rubbing his hand into the stretched flesh affectionately. He looked at the floor then. "I don't know what would have happened if I hadn't gotten you here in time though – Saiyu, the head nurse here, told me that if... if..." Korra simply embraced the tearing up Firebender softly, holding him closely.
"Like I told Tenzin," she whispered in his ear. "I'm here now, Mako. I'm not gone, and neither is he. That's all that really matters." Mako breathed unevenly against her neck, before nodding and pulling away again. He then answered the question that hung on Korra's lips, the medical reasoning behind what had happened.
"Spirits, it was awful, Korra. Like Tenzin said – blood, oh, Agni." He stopped and looked away, as if reliving the painful memory, before continuing, "After you were stabilized, Saiyu told us that you were hemorrhaging. I-I know you thought... thought you were miscarrying – I did, too – but no, hemorrhaging." The word – miscarrying – was forced off the Firebender's tongue, and Korra noticed, taking his palm in hers and squeezing it. "But still, you lost so much blood and it was pretty severe. But, thank Agni, she told us that, if kept under a careful watch, you and the baby should be just fine. But she said that the birth could be just as bad if not worse, and so we'll have to be extra careful around the due date. You'll have to be in here a few days prior, probably."
Korra was silent as she took in the information – blood, hemorrhaging, birth, due date, herself, baby, fine. All that mattered to her was the she hadn't lost her baby – that he was still okay. Tears of utter relief and happiness brimming in her eyes, she leaned forward and embraced Mako suddenly, wetting the flesh of his arm with the fresh waterworks. He wrapped his strong, lean arms around her weakened frame, and whispered into the crook of her neck, "I love you, Korra. I don't know what I would have done if I had lost you." Pulling back, he gave her a long, hard, serious look, before crumbling into his own currently unstable emotions, feeling tears tug at his own eyes, as well. "I-I wouldn't – I was so damn scared, Korra, you have no idea. It was unbearable. You passed out and I thought I had lost you and I couldn't breathe and I thought I was going to die, too, and-and—" Mako had already begun to accept what had happened so early that morning, but a new fear had washed over him before she had woken up when he was informed that a similar incident could possibly occur again in just a few months' time. It was rattling and unsettling for the Firebender to hear. "Korra, I-I—"
Korra muffled her boyfriend's frenzied rant with her lips, pressing her mouth to his softly, but firmly. Mako took a few seconds to adjust to the sudden feel of her lips, but upon re-familiarizing himself with the flesh he had missed so dearly, did he give her a response, which she relished. They held their lips together for a long, unbroken moment, the lovers suspended in their sweet lip lock. The kiss reminded Mako that she was there, beside him, kissing him and that she wasn't gone from his grasp for forever.
When they pulled back, they smiled at each other, and Korra placed her hand on Mako's cheek to comfort him further. Pulling her thumb against the skin comfortingly, she whispered to him, "I love you, too, Mako. And I'm here. I'll always be here." And it was kind of the truth, considering after her death, that the Avatar spirit would simply be reincarnated, like it had so many times before...
But that didn't matter right then – only that they were together, their fragile family still intact and safe. So as the Firebender leaned over and murmured the words, "I know..." to her before planting another fluttering kiss atop her lips, did he promise himself that he would do anything and everything to ensure her safety, just as he did with Bolin. He was going to tell her this, but by the look in her livening blue eyes, he knew that she knew, and that it was a mutual arrangement and agreement.
Korra spent the rest of the week at the small clinic, slowly gaining back her lost blood supply and strengthening her body again. Mako virtually didn't leave her side, only leaving to go home to clean up before returning. At one point, Saiyu got annoyed with his constant presence, although Korra didn't mind it one bit, and so the nurse shooed him off, telling him to go get at least one night of proper rest. Korra, though enjoying his company, agreed he should – he had been sleeping in broken periods upon constantly staying with her, and by the fifth day there, he looked as rugged and broken down as she once had.
Mako left the facility reluctantly, but not without a verbal fight and having to be escorted by Tenzin. Bolin reassured the distressed Firebender that all would be okay, but couldn't blame his brother's apprehension. There was nothing preventing the same accident from happening again, but if it did, the consequences would surely be graver than the first time. And so the Earthbender spent the night at the clinic with Asami by his side, both watching the resting Avatar intently, allowing his brother a much deserved night of full, undisturbed slumber.
The next week, Korra returned to Air Temple Island, never happier to see the sun directly. Much to her chagrin, she wasn't allowed to spar or train in Pro-Bending anymore, not at least until a few months after the baby was born. Mako and Bolin postponed their Pro-Bending participation in order to spend more time with the girl, which she was incredibly appreciative of, knowing how much both of them loved Pro-Bending. Meditation was encouraged, but nothing physically strenuous, and so for the next few weeks, Korra, bored without her regular training, ventured in between the arena, the Island, and the Satos' mansion listlessly, itching for a good fight that did not come.
Mako would scold her when she came to the arena and tell her how irresponsible she was being, but she barely paid his rants any mind. Half the time, she just wanted to see him, ridiculous hormones driving her to the man. One time in the upcoming months, she tripped and narrowly missed falling, earning a justifiably worried talking-to from Mako.
At one point that the Avatar couldn't point out directly, the Firebender started to act oddly, avoiding her or making up lame excuses to leave her be, acting flustered and concealed when in her presence. Korra's unrealistic emotions caused for her to get angry at his leaving her, but he could easily cease her yelling with a simple touch and kiss, calming the young pregnant woman.
His blocked off, awkward behaviour continued on when he asked her to go out with him one evening. While she was annoyed by it, as the evening continued on, it lessened and he relaxed (but still remained a little tense) and she began to find it adorable and endearing. Eventually, they branched off from the restaurant they had been having dinner at and found their way back to the arena.
Korra wanted to hold hands with the man, but every time she reached for one, he would pull away and place the hand in his trouser pocket. After several unsuccessful attempts at trying to grasp at his fingers, Korra stopped and turned to him, emotions and hormones flaring.
"What is your problem?" she asked him in a harsh tone.
Mako turned to her, wiping his sweaty palms on his pants for the umpteenth time that night nervously. Surprised by her words, he opened his mouth to answer, but she didn't allow him to as her emotions flew out of control and she started to rant.
"I don't get you, Mako!" she went on and on, and Mako stepped back. The Firebender, after dealing with quite a few of these hysterical emotional fits over the past few months, knew it was better to just let her run her mouth off and tire herself out or let her own body get its chemicals back in balance before speaking to her. She carried on and on about things not relevant to the situation at hand, and after several minutes of bombing the boy with barrages of words, did Mako pull her down one of the many piers that jutted off the harbour in front of the arena.
"Korra," he squeezed her hands, which were resting in his. Korra looked up at him with questioning, still-slightly annoyed irises, quirking her eyebrow up. He looked around – anywhere but her – before taking one of his hands and brushing it through his hair nervously. Next, his hand travelled to his pocket, where, deep inside, a glittering ring sat.
Korra watched, getting over her childish anger and beginning to become worried about his current, overly quiet demeanour. "Mako?" she brought her hand up to his cheek and touched at it gently. "What's wrong?"
Fingering the metal object in his pocket, Mako started at the sound of her soft voice in his ear, turning his distracted thoughts back to the woman in front of him. Breathing in deeply, he caught her confused gaze and gathered all the courage he could, beginning his extremely practiced speech, but finding himself forgetting phrases and words left, right, and centre.
"Korra," he began, wrapping one arm around her and pulling her close to him – as close as possible, considering her protruding stomach. "We've been dating for a while now – we've loved each other for a while. And now – soon – we'll be starting a family together – we'll be parents. I, uh-h—" He forgot his words, then remembered them to the best of his ability and continued, "And every day, I think to myself how lucky I am to have you in my life. What did I do you earn you, Korra? I honestly don't know, but I won't argue with whatever brought you to me because now that we're here, together, I plan on protecting you and doing everything in my ability to keep you by my side.
"Korra... that night... I realized just how precious life is. I mean, you could have been taken from me so easily in that moment and I don't want that to happen again if I can prevent... which... which I know I can't. It's happened to me before, and it's not going to happen again if I can stop it. W-what I'm saying, Korra, i-is it made me realize just how much you mean to me, and I know that I should have done this sooner, but I was just so scared of the consequences, that'd you say no, and I—"
Mako was rambling, Korra knew, but she didn't interrupt him. She could see something glowing in his amber eyes that signified that all this talk would culminate in something staggering. As he continued to speak, she became nervous for some reason and to distract herself, put her hands on her stomach and played with the fabric splayed over it, but still held eye contact.
"B-basically, Korra, I-I love you, you know that, an-and—" He took one of his hands and dug into his pocket, and Korra's heart stopped. Kneeling down slowly, he continued to speak, "I don't know how you do this in the Southern Water Tribe, but in Republic City, one usually proposes with a ring." He revealed the gorgeous, silver, glittering band to the pregnant woman, and indescribable emotions swept over her. Taking her other hand, eyebrows upturned and a genuine, but nervous, smile stretched out on his angular features, Mako asked whisperingly, "Korra, will you marry me?"
For a few minutes, no words were exchanged, no movements made. The moment was suspended in air, and Mako waited eagerly, impatiently for her response, unfaltering, unmoving, and damn near not breathing.
Swallowing to wet her suddenly dry throat, her mind and heart racing a mile a minute, Korra regained her wits and nodded, slowly at first, then quickly as the question sunk in and a smile extended over her face, her cheeks flushed rosily.
A wide, bright smile like none other spread across Mako's face, and he shot up quickly, slipping the ring on her finger and wrapping his arms around her. Placing a sweet kiss on her lips before she could say anything, such elation had flooded through the Firebender that he thought he was floating for a second, before coming back to reality.
When he pulled back to study Korra's expression, with a jolt, he noticed she was crying, but instead of the tears being of happiness, they were quite clearly frantic.
"K-Korra," he started, placing a hand on her cheek to wipe away the tears. The Avatar brought her hand to rest atop his, and began to spout nonsense again.
"Mako—" She peered down at the ring on her finger and felt a fresh bout of tears hit her, biting her tongue before continuing, "—you... you shouldn't have to do this."
Mako blinked at her, raising an eyebrow. "What are you talking about?"
"This," she whispered harshly, eyes motioning to the ring on her finger. Her heart was beating, so overwhelmed, so happy, but she couldn't help but voice her feelings to him. "All of this." Next she motioned to her stomach. "Y-you're so young, Mako, both of us are. You should at least get to live out your dreams before you're forced to take on this responsibility. I want you do be able to go off and do what you want, but I'm just dragging you down at this point. This kid is. But... but at the same time, I don't know what I'd do without you, Mako. I'm in too far, I know, but I love you and want to spend the rest of my life with you. I want you to go out and live your life, but at the same time I selfishly want you by my side, all to myself. That's what I'm talking about – you shouldn't have to sit here with be, but at the same time, I want you to."
Mako blinked at her, knowing that half of what she said was true, the other half another hormone-induced spiel. His surprise fading away, his eyes softened, and he smiled at her before rubbing circles on her temples. "You silly girl," he murmured. "Do you not realize that my dream is that I want to be with you, to start a family with you? I can still accomplish things and be here for you and the baby, Korra. I love both of you so much – I could never just leave you like you think I should. And I never want to. It's not selfish of you to want be to be with you, because that would make me a greedy idiot for wanting you by my side constantly, too. Realize this, Korra—" He kissed her nose. "I love you and I always will. I proposed to you tonight not because I feel like I have to or because it's required, but because I wanted to. Because I want to call you my wife soon, along with the mother of my child. This is what I want in my future, Korra. You."
Korra didn't make eye contact with him, refusing his searching irises, processing his words. Some were the obvious – like how he loved her, she knew that – but how fervently he wanted her in his future took her by surprise a bit. But she didn't complain – both were going to hold onto each other for as long as they could, and Korra would ensure that.
Sniffling, she raised her head and peered at him, eyes half-lidded. Shaking her head, she bit her lip. With a smile, she whispered, "How did I end up with a guy like you?"
"I could ask you the same question – how the hell did I manage to snag you, Korra?" he blinked, lips curling up in his own charming grin. At that, he repeated his question from earlier, now that their minds were clearer. "So, you'll marry me?"
"Yes, Mako!" she laughed, planting a firm kiss on his lips.
Mako had never loved another word in the English language more then, and feeling it surge through his veins once again, he wrapped his arms around her to the best of his ability, kissing her passionately. Korra easily fell into the kiss, having not been in a lip lock like it for a while. Eventually, the pair pulled back, annoyed by the impassable distance between them, but eyes and hearts glowing with a noticeable fervour and love for each other.
Glaring down at her large stomach, Korra growled out, "I wish it would just be born already." She heard Mako laugh, and she looked up at him then, eyes soft. "You're going to be a great dad, Mako." Her tone was clear and genuine.
Mako returned her look, placing his hands on the round bump. "And you're going to be an excellent mother, Korra." Her heart swelled at his statement.
A few seconds of silence passed between them before they embraced. "Thank you, Mako," Korra breathed into the nape of his neck, his scent calming her down even further until her eyelids began to lull heavily.
"Thank you, too, Korra," he whispered back, stroking her hair back tenderly. The Firebender had closed his eyes when he felt a strong kick in his abdomen, sending him back. He blinked at his new fiancée's stomach, tears welling up in his eyes. Korra smiled at him as he stepped forward to her again, and when his hands touched her stomach again, she placed hers on top, feeling the lively life within.
Mako couldn't help but shed a few tears at the life that he was being presented with. It was something that he had helped create, something that he loved so much yet had never even seen before. "He's going to be a strong little bender," Mako whispered. "I can feel it already." A comfortable pause stretched between them. "I can't wait until he's born. I'm excited, Korra, seriously. I agree with you – I just want to be a dad now. But I guess I can wait a few more months."
Korra swallowed the justified fear in her throat, feeling love and reassurance well up instead at the look he was giving her. And for the first time, she admitted her growing feelings on the subject. "I'm excited to be a mom, too."
The next day, Asami visited the arena, and nearly fainted when she saw Korra's engagement ring. She began to babble about wedding plans – how it would be the biggest, most extravagant wedding of the century – while Korra sat there, nodding every few seconds to show she was acknowledging the girl's thoughts. Korra, while happy and eager to be engaged to Mako, did not understand the woman's – or any woman's, for that matter – fixation and hype on marriage. It was something special, sacred, pure and lovely, sure, but the months of preplanning didn't make sense to the Avatar. She would probably just have a small ceremony, consisting mostly of friends and family. Quite honestly, she wanted the thing to be as private as possible – hell, it could even be kept secret for a few months afterwards so that she and Mako had some time to adjust to their new lifestyle together. She wondered faintly if she'd be allowed to move in with Mako, or if he'd move to Air Temple Island with her, or if they'd be separated as per the usual for the beginning of the marriage. She didn't really know at that point – she'd cross the bridge when she got there.
After spending the morning with the brothers and Asami, did Korra travel back to the Island and inform them all of her new engagement. Tenzin was shocked, then irritated at the suddenness of it all, but at the same time, you could see how happy he was that Korra herself was so cheerful, and just the slightest bit relieved that she and Mako were a bit more serious than they had originally let on. Pema began to cry as though she were her mother – she practically was – and began to go off about the wedding like Asami, telling the Avatar that they would have to begin making plans. Jinora and Ikki were expectedly excited, while Meelo was both not interested and typically-little boy disgusted by it.
The last few months passed easily, leisurely, with Mako and Korra making the mutual decision to tie the knot after the arrival. Mako became increasingly nervous and doting as the due date – as determined by Saiyu to be August 14th – approached and barely let Korra out of his sights. The Avatar no longer found it irritating, but endearing. He just wanted to be a father so bad, but at the same time, he wanted to preserve the short amount of time he had left of just it being him and Korra. Soon, their nights would be filled with the soft, constant cries of a baby, of which would keep them up regularly.
So when a week after her due date passed, Mako was a bit more than annoyed and confused, while Korra just wanted to birth the thing in favour of having her mobility back and the ability to wear normal clothes and to just be comfortable. Where was their baby? Mako just wanted to hold the little life – right then! He stayed by her side at every waking second – what if she went in to labour when he wasn't around? What if another hemorrhaging episode took place and no one was there to help? Mako couldn't even bear to think of what the consequences could be if he left her alone! So after a few more days passed, Asami waved the man away – she needed some time alone with her friend, too, and she insisted that Korra needed some time away from Mako. She advised the Firebender to go home and get some sleep and stop worrying – it's not like that night was going to be any different than the rest. In the morning, Korra would still be pregnant, and he would still be able to see her. Nothing would change. Mako was, obviously, reluctant, but after some arguing with his brother's sort-of significant other, he caved in and left the Island and returned to the arena, expecting that Asami was right: nothing of significance would occur. Oh, how wrong the non-bender was.
To quell Mako's fears and to finally get some talk time in with her friend, Asami was staying with Korra on Air Temple Island. Korra enjoyed spending time with her – she could be a ridiculous, normal teenage girl for once, instead of an impending mother. They talked about trivial things – Korra teased her about Bolin and they giggled about how stupid Tahno's hair was. They even went over baby names for a short bit – something that Mako and Korra had neglected up until then. While Korra liked some of the names she could think of – mostly of Water Tribe origin – and a few Asami proposed, none of them struck her. She decided that she'd just have to see the baby first to make the final decision on a name – that's what her parents had done with her, after all. And discuss it with Mako, of course.
After a while, the pair crawled into their beds, murmuring gently until sleep overrode their brains and caused them to fall into a slumber. Asami fell into an easy sleep, but Korra, unable to get comfortable and grumbling about the size of her stomach, laid on her side and closed her eyes. She began to speculate how the child would look and be like – first off, would it be a boy, or a girl? She and Mako had been unanimously referring to it as a boy up until then, but neither of them really had an idea. They'd just have to wait and see. Second, would it be a bender? Korra suspected so, having such a prevalent bending bloodline behind the child. Would he or she be a Firebender or a Waterbender? Would they have her aquamarine eyes or Mako's ochre ones? Korra knew that it didn't matter in the long run – she'd love the child unconditionally either way.
As the thoughts raced through her head, Korra's exhaustion finally weighed down on her eyelids heavily enough that she was able to overlook her discomfort and lull to a gradual sleep. But as Korra's luck would have had it, just as her mind began to succumb to the tempting darkness of sleep, did she suddenly feel something wet between her legs.
With a jolt, she sat up and threw the blankets to the side, observing the liquid. Much to her delight – and deeply-instilled fear – there was not a spot of blood in the liquid. It was clear, it was water. And then it hit Korra – oh, Spirits, it was water. Her freaking water had broken.
Her heart beating wildly, it took Korra a few minutes to find her voice before she called to her friend frantically, "Asami." No response – the raven-haired non-bender simply flipped over, facing the wall. "Asami." Still nothing. "Asami!" Korra shouted, and the girl shot up.
"What? What is it?" she asked, looking at the Avatar.
Korra swallowed, and pointed to the end of the bed. Eyes widening, Asami jumped up. "Oh, Spirits, Spirits, Spirits... I, uh, I'll go get Tenzin or Pema or whoever—just stay here!" Korra could see that Asami was just as flustered as she was, the only difference is that in a few hours, she wouldn't be having a baby.
"I wasn't really planning on leaving," Korra called sarcastically as she lay down, trying to grasp the situation. Of course, this would happen when Mako wasn't around. Of freaking course. She felt useless as she lay there, and after a few moments passed, she began to feel faint. She then heard a series of footsteps, and then Pema, Tenzin, and Asami entered her room.
Pema immediately went to the girl, who sat up with much difficulty. "Remember, Korra, to breath evenly," she directed. The woman kind of liked to think she was an expert in this – she'd done it four times before, after all.
Korra nodded, breath laboured, and Tenzin joined his wife by the Avatar's side. "We need to get you to the clinic," he told her quickly, not inexperienced in this at all, either.
Korra groaned. "Seriously? Can't I just stay here – we have everything to successfully complete this. Pema was allowed to have Hakoda here!"
"Pema didn't have a hemorrhaging incident six and half months in," Tenzin told Korra bluntly, helping her to stand up. The Avatar glared at the man, but knew this was true. As much as she wanted to lie down, she couldn't take the chances of having the child on the Island. They'd have to get to the mainland, and Korra judged, having read a plethora of birthing books out of fear of "screwing up", soon.
Pema and Tenzin led Korra out of her room slowly, Asami following behind, completely out of her element and trembling as a result. As they arrived outside, towards the dock of the Island and to a small boat – it was the best they could do, no ferries were running at that time in the morning – Tenzin turned to Asami and directed her, "You should go and get Mako and Bolin as soon as possible and tell them to meet us there when we get to the mainland. The sentries can look after the children for a short bit - they're sleeping, anyway. Then, if it's not too much trouble, would you mind, if they want, bringing them to the clinic? They'll be a bit alarmed by our whereabouts, and will want to see Korra."
Asami nodded, joining the three other people in the boat. Fuelled by a fatherly sense, Tenzin rowed the boat furiously, making the usually leisurely, long trip in ten minutes. Pema and Asami tried to make Korra as comfortable as possible, which was proving difficult to do. The Avatar had grown grumpy, quickly. Tenzin quickly docked at one of the piers, and pulling Korra out of the small rowboat with his wife, headed in the direction of the clinic, knowing hailing a cab would be useless. Asami quickly bolted in the direction of the arena, slamming on the doors furiously.
"Dammit, Toza, open up!" she whispered harshly, irritated that the doors were locked. After a few more loud, raucous bangs, she saw the older man waddle out from the dark, rubbing his eyes, equally as annoyed as she was.
Yanking open the front door, he glared at the non-bender. "Whaddaya want?"
"I need to speak to Mako," she breathed.
Toza's glare intensified. "He's asleep. Leave 'im alone. It can wait 'til tomorrow."
"Korra's having the baby! Get out of my way!" Asami pushed the crabby older male out of the way, his eyes widening at her words. He blinked at her, shook his head, and then muttered something to himself as he allowed the door to shut and lock, returning to his room.
Asami ran down the many corridors of the impossibly large building and after what seemed like forever, arrived at the staircase that led to Mako and Bolin's attic apartment. Catching her breath, she ascended the long set of stairs, huffing along. Upon seeing the front door of the cramped apartment, she raised her fist and knocked obnoxiously until she heard some stirring from inside and it opened, revealing a sleepy Bolin.
Upon seeing the girl, his green eyes brightened and he held out his hands. "Asami!" he said her name cheerily, but then it sunk in. "Uh, not that I'm not glad to see you, but why are you here? It's, like, three in the morning."
Asami stepped into the apartment and looked around frantically for the Firebender. She spotted Mako sitting up from his bed, groggily staring at his brother and the girl, not quite comprehending the situation. Turning back to Bolin, she crossed her arms. "Think, Bolin. Why would I be here at three in the morning?"
Bolin blinked, clueless for a second, before it hit him like a ton of bricks. Eyes widening to the size of saucers, he jumped over to his dresser and began to pull on some half decent-looking clothes.
Mako was rubbing his eyes, and Asami walked up to him. He blinked at her. "Don't you understand? Korra's having your kid! Get the hell up!"
At these words, Mako's heart seemed to jumpstart and he felt like he was having a momentary cardiac arrest. Bolting up, he collected his everyday clothes and pulled them on like his brother did, his mind spinning. This was it – he was going to be a father, responsible for another human being, another life, in just a few hours. And honestly, he was so scared it was almost debilitating, and he had to stop to catch his breath a few times, flitting in between his utter incomprehension and his fear all at once.
He tripped on his own two feet and fumbled a bit, but his brother caught him, and finally grasping the situation a bit, they all bolted out of the apartment. They were still caught in between sleep and shock, and so it was some work to exit to building, especially for the extremely flustered Firebender.
Upon exiting the building, Asami turned to the pair. "I've got to go get the kids," she explained, and Bolin took her hand, nodding at her and causing her to blush despite the situation.
"I'll go with you."
Both turned to Mako. "You should go – we'll meet you there with the rascals in a half hour, okay?" Bolin told him, and when he saw the concern swimming in his brother's pupils, he smiled good-naturedly and wrapped his arm around his brother's shoulders. "You're gonna be a great dad, bro. And I can't wait to be an uncle – so go!" He shooed Mako off then, who stumbled a bit. "Go on! Go to Korra for us!"
Mako breathed in, centering himself – he had prepared himself for this mentally beforehand, had read about it, but nothing could really prepare one for the birth of their child – before smiling nervously at his brother and nodding, before taking off.
Bolin grinned back at his brother's minimizing form, before turning to Asami and nodding, both entering the docked rowboat and returning to the Island.
Korra grumbled, stretching out to the best of her ability and laying uselessly against the pillows placed behind her. Pema sat beside her, giving her an all-knowing smile, and telling her about how she would be fine. Korra knew she was inclined to trust the woman – she had more experience that the Avatar really ever wanted to have – and so she listened somewhat intently, before another contraction shook her weakening frame.
She clutched Pema's hand, whom squeezed it back. Tenzin felt useless as he paced at the other end of the room, feeling guilt pass through him as he watched the poor girl in pain. He wished he could prevent her from feeling it, but it was inevitable. He also felt bad that the Avatar's actual parents couldn't be there to help their daughter through such a significant milestone in her young life – but they were so far away, and Korra had insisted that they didn't need to visit her during the pregnancy, that they could afterwards. They had reluctantly agreed, and even though Korra denied needing them, he knew she wanted and needed them there just as much as she needed himself and Pema.
Sighing, he pinched the bridge of his nose. There it was – the feeling that in a few hours, he'd technically be a grandfather. The thought terrified him, but then he looked at Korra and remembered she was only eighteen and that she must extremely frightened at the moment. Unable to bear watching her be in pain, he joined the pair on the other side of the room, and walking to the opposite side of the bed, took her hand and squeezed it life his wife was doing.
Korra relaxed as the contraction disappeared, blowing hair out of her sweaty forehead. Almost immediately upon arriving at the clinic and getting placed in a room by Saiyu, did the dreaded contractions rock Korra, shaking her to her core and renewing her fear, rooting it deeply.
The horrid things had simply gotten worse and longer as time passed, and though Korra was undoubtedly a strong-willed person, they were riding on both her patience and her body. She was exhausted, having gotten no sleep since the day before, and all she wanted was for Tenzin and Pema to tell her that she didn't have to do this and to see Mako. She knew the former, however, wasn't going to come true.
Biting her tongue, she wondered where the hell her boyfriend – no, fiancé, she still hadn't adjusted to that! – was. She was beginning to hate him for putting her in this situation, and she was going to let him know it when he arrived.
As though Mako had heard her mental pleading, he entered the room frantically a few moments later, huffing heavily. He leaned against the wall to regain his breath, before he looked up and saw Korra, and his breath was taken away all over again.
Wandering over to the girl, she smiled at him slightly. Pema moved away from the Avatar to allow him closer access to the woman he loved, and with a shaky smile, he bent down to her and was about to place a light kiss on her mouth when he was grabbed by the scarf and yelled at. "How could we be so stupid, Mako?" Korra shouted at him, tugging at the red material. "Why would we even do this? Now I... now I have to push this thing out! Ugh!"
She threw her arms out, exasperated, hormones fluctuating. Mako blinked at her, before smiling softly and sneaking a kiss onto her forehead. "Love you, too," he whispered, taking a seat beside the bed. Korra crossed her arms and turned away from the man, and his smile widened before he turned to Pema. "S-so," he began, "any news on how much longer?"
"She's barely dilated," Tenzin spoke for his wife. "This could take until tomorrow if the baby feels like being difficult."
Mako nodded, frowning. He just wanted to meet their baby now – not in another day, now. Sighing, he frowned and stood up, squeezing Korra's hand. Korra's eyes drooped and then closed, and her head turned a bit, noticeably drifting off.
Mako blinked down at her form, before walking over to Tenzin. The pair stood by each other quietly, before Mako placed a hand on the older man's shoulder. The intense look in the Firebender's eyes told Tenzin it was important, and so they wandered out of the room, despite wanting to constantly be watching the Avatar.
Upon shutting the door, the two men stood silently, unmoving. Swallowing, Mako spoke up. "Did—" he coughed, clearing his throat, before continuing, "Did you ever feel nervous, Tenzin? Like, when Jinora was born?"
Tenzin stared pensively at the ground, but upon hearing his words, smiled slightly and looked up. "You have no idea," the older man nodded at Mako. He sighed, chuckling to himself a bit as he remembered his first daughter's delivery. "I was already so old, but still, nothing can prepare you for your first child – it doesn't matter how old or young you are. Either way, you're going to be undeniably scared, Mako. It just comes with being a father, it's natural. But it gets easier, I promise." Mako blinked at the man, wide-eyed, and Tenzin guffawed. "Not that I expect you two to jump on having more immediately after this one," he gave the boy a dark look then. "No, seriously, I expect you to wait a few years."
Mako nodded hastily. "I have no plans about rushing into another kid, Tenzin. I just want to appreciate this one first."
Tenzin smiled, placing a hand on the young man's shoulder. "You really love her, don't you?"
Mako smiled genuinely. "What was your first clue? The engagement ring or the baby?"
The Airbending master let out a noise between a sigh and a laugh, shaking his head. "I didn't use trust you, Mako, but now I do, because I see how genuine you are and how much Korra loves you back. You've been incredible to her, and I just... I just wanted to thank you for that," Tenzin looked away, not used to speaking his feelings to anyone besides his wife.
The scene was awkwardly quiet for a few seconds afterwards, before Mako broke it, sheepishly rubbing the back of his neck. "Thank you, too, Tenzin," he admitted. "For just... being there. For all of us." He spied the man then, whose perpetually serious grey eyes had softened.
They stared at each other for a short bit, before nodding. The silence between them was broken by Korra's shout, and Mako tensed and immediately made for the door, Tenzin following swiftly and shortly afterwards. The Firebender saw tears of frustration and pain running down Korra's face, and he made his way to the side of the bed Pema wasn't on, clutching her hand, trying to comfort her to the best of his ability. Placing his other hand on her stomach, he gave her a reassuring, soft smile. "Just a bit longer, Korra," he promised whisperingly.
Biting her tongue as the contraction, stronger and more excruciating than the last one, rocked her body, Korra managed to choke out, "Easy for you to say! You don't have to give birth to it. Dammit!" She clutched at her stomach as it became unbearably painful to deal with.
Mako kneeled down and wiped the sweat off her brow and the tears from her cheek. "You're right," he frowned, "I'm sorry. But... but just think, Korra, it'll all be worth it in the end, won't it?"
Korra, through the curtain of pain in her mind, focussed on his words. He was right – it would be all worth it after it was all over. They'd have a little baby to call their own in the end of it. And that thought made Korra more scared and elated than any other in her entire life.
Petting back her hair, he turned around to Tenzin. "Is there anything they can give her to lessen the pain?" he asked, wanting to relieve Korra's tension as much as possible.
Tenzin shook his head sadly. "Unfortunately, no," he answered. He looked to the ceiling then, rewording his answer. "Actually, Korra's already taken some basic painkillers, but that the extent she's allowed. Saiyu doesn't want risk giving her something heavier when it could react adversely – she's still weak from the hemorrhaging, and most of the more potent medicines here will help momentarily, but have long-term, unpleasant side effects later on. We're just not willing to take the risk."
Mako nodded, he understood. But as he heard Korra whimper from beside him, he wished he could take her pain away. He then got an idea, and standing up, he instructed Korra to sit up a bit and lean forward to the best of her ability, which wasn't much considering the literal ball in front of her preventing her from enjoying anything at the moment. Korra groaned, disliking all the movement, but when she felt Mako's fingers gently, but firmly, knead into her tense back muscles, did she let out a little contented sigh.
The Firebender smiled at her reaction, knowing that a good massage would do the trick to relax her a bit. Pema looked at her husband from across the bed and smiled at him, signifying they should leave the couple be for now. Tenzin nodded and the husband and wife pair left them.
Mako worked from her shoulders downwards, and talked to her casually to soothe her even more. "So, now would be your final chance to put down whether or not you think it's a boy or a girl... I'm still going with girl."
"Boy," Korra countered, "definitely a boy."
Mako grinned behind her, leaning forward then and placing a tender kiss on her shoulder and collarbone. "Soon, Korra, soon."
Korra placed her hand on top of his, which was resting on her shoulders. Curling her fingers around his, she whispered with a faint smile, "I know."
Just then, another contraction hit her, and her fingers dug into his hand and she clenched her mouth shut, fresh tears rolling down her cheeks. Mako wrapped his arms around her and held her back flush against his chest, swaying back and forth comfortingly.
Korra contained her pained cries this time, and it eventually ended. Turning to Mako, she gave him a pointed, unimpressed look. "Soon isn't fast enough, Mako." He laughed.
Another hour passed when Asami, Bolin, and the kids eagerly arrived. The children were already awake upon the pair arriving – they were confused why they were being looked after by the sentries and not their parents. At hearing the news, they insisted they go and visit Korra – like Tenzin had predicted to Asami – instead of going back to sleep.
Upon arrival, the children began to ask Korra a bunch of questions, mostly "how much longer?". Korra laughed when they asked these questions – she wanted an answer to them all, too.
Hour after painfully long hour passed, and each time Saiyu checked to see how much more dilated Korra was, it never seemed to go up. She was certainly dilated and it was definitely progressing, albeit excruciatingly slowly. The contractions grew so frequent and violent that Korra swore she was dying, and Mako did, too.
It wasn't until late that evening that it all started to happen. Korra was drifting off in between contractions, desperate for just a wink of sleep, and Mako snoozed lightly beside her, rubbing his thumb over her knuckles soothingly. Saiyu came in for the sixth time that day, and upon checking, with a smile, she announced, "Well, you're completely dilated, Korra. It shouldn't be much longer before he's born."
Mako caught her words first, and with a bright smile, whispered to Korra softly, "Almost there, just a bit longer." He pressed a kiss to her temple and watched as a calm smile spread across her features.
And Saiyu was right – because twenty minutes later, Korra was wide awake and the baby wanted out! "Oh. My. Spirits!" Korra cried, in complete and utter pain, unlike anything she had experienced with the contractions. If hell had a real life equivalent, Korra was damn sure it was the birthing process.
On one side of the bed, Pema and Tenzin held one of her hands, and on the other, Mako. The Firebender kept brushing back her hair, which fell into her face. Saiyu and the younger nurse from before stood at the end of the bed, directing Korra.
"Come now, Korra, push," Saiyu instructed, and Korra did as she was told. Considering this was the first try, the baby was obviously not born just like that. With the pain that flowed through the Avatar, she felt a situation-induced bout of hatred for the father of the child. Just why did she have to be put in this situation? Why her, of all people? Saiyu spoke again, and with a bit of irritating encouragement from Mako, did Korra reluctantly cooperate. The Avatar promised right there and then that she was never having another child again if this is how difficult and painful it was!
Saiyu spoke again, but at this, the woman's eyes when wide and she frantically called for towels. Mako's heart clenched in his chest and he felt himself stop breathing. One of Pema's hands went to her mouth and Tenzin wrapped his arms around his wife, and Korra noticed, and so lifted her head up.
"W-what?" she asked. "What's going on? Please, Mako." Korra couldn't even see what was going on through the panic of the room, and so she felt the fear that clung to her foggy mind intensify, hitching her breath and making it difficult for her to breath evenly.
Mako, not wanting to scare the woman any further than she already was, placed one of his hands on her face and turned to it to look at him. "Korra, you're doing fantastic," he reassured both her and himself. "You're doing so, so well. I promise, this is almost over. You won't have to wait any longer."
Korra nodded, smiling, but with a start Mako noticed her pale and her eyes look less lively. No – this wasn't happening a second time. Not when they were so, so close.
He looked up then and saw Saiyu pull away two towels, drenched in a thick, red blood, and panic coursed through his system. Pema's eyes went wide, and so did the young little nurse's, and both turned away. Tenzin looked like he was gasping for air, and looking down at Korra, he watched as the literal life was pulled away from her and felt a violent tug at his heart that made him feel ill.
Justified tears formed in Mako's eyes, and he wiped away at them furiously, not letting Korra see them. His heart broke when he saw her eyes drift shut, and he shook his head. "No, dammit!" he shouted, surprising the weakened woman below him, effectively keeping her awake.
Saiyu looked at Tenzin quickly. "If we can get this baby born, we'll be able to treat Korra more successfully." The Airbender nodded at her, and took Korra's hand when his wife – who had experienced four perfectly normal, safe pregnancies, and was horrified at the possibility of losing Korra and sight of so much blood – turned away, hands to her teary face, not able to watch her practical daughter fade away in front of her.
Saiyu nodded at both Mako and Tenzin, and then commanded Korra once again, "Push!"
Korra completely lacked the strength required for the task. She had no will left to move in her. "Korra, please," Mako begged from above her, kissing her nose. "We're so close."
Korra forced her eyes to look up at him, and saw the tears dripping from them. From the sniffles from her left, she knew Tenzin was now joining in with the tears. Pain shooting up her body, Korra gathered all the strength she had and followed through with what Saiyu had asked over her, tears spilling down her own cheeks.
This was all too much for the young Avatar. Again, Saiyu shouted at Korra, and she continued to draw strength from some unknown source within her, but when another five minutes passed, towel after towel getting soaked and then removed from the room only to be replaced, did the dam officially break and tears flooded over Korra's face, falling into her hair, and she screamed. She couldn't do this anymore!
Turning to Mako, she choked out, "Mako, oh, my, Spirits, Mako, I can't do this anymore. I just can't. It hurts so much, you have no idea!"
He blinked down at her – he had never heard her admit defeat to anything. With a determined glint in his amber eyes, he clutched her hand tighter and tried to regain his composure to the best of his ability, sniffling back his tears – he'd be damned if he let her accept it this time. "Korra, listen to me," he spoke clearly, calmly, despite his inner, spiralling emotions. "You can do this. There isn't anything you can't do – because you're Korra. The woman I, quite frankly, don't deserve, but loves me anyway. I'm here, I'll help you. Let me support you, Korra. Let's finish this together."
Korra peered up at Mako was dull eyes, tears pouring from them. He squeezed her hand and tried to project to her how much he cared about her and how strong he knew she was. Korra bit her lip, and with the last bit of her strength, did she give another push, and the soft screech of a newborn broke the heavy tension of the air.
Tears of a different variety filled Mako's eyes – the sound of his baby's voice struck his heartstrings, and pulled at him. He was a father now, and Korra was a mother. Together, they were parents.
The sound of the baby flooded Korra with a new energy, renewing her resolve and helping relieve her aching muscles in just the slightest. She blinked away the tears that sprung to her eyes, and without any direction, continued to push.
She heard Saiyu shout something at her, but couldn't make out the exact words. She was focussed on seeing this baby, holding this baby now. She, however, could make out the next three words, clear as a bell as they rung through her ears.
"It's a girl!"
Korra's heart swelled with indefinable love, despite the hardships she was currently facing. Mako felt his stomach flop at the announcement, pride surging through his veins. The proud father of a beautiful little girl. Mako could barely remember a moment he had been so deliriously happy, besides when Korra had accepted his proposal. A smile breaking out on his face, wide and prevalent, he bent down and pressed a kiss to Korra's lips. "You did it," he cried, pressing another one to them, tasting the salt from her tears. "You're a mom now."
Korra, with much difficulty, raised her hand to Mako's cheek and held it there, unconditional love being communicated through their unbroken eye contact. "We did it, Mako, together," she whispered, "We're parents." He nodded at her, before dipping his head to capture her lips in his again.
Saiyu handed the bloody baby to younger nurse who handled her with great care. She severed her umbilical cord and cleaned her off, while Saiyu continued to clean the never ending mess of blood Korra was producing. Despite the fact that she had just given birth, Korra was still hemorrhaging horribly, and Saiyu was doing her best to quell and stop the bleeding.
Their daughter's cries could be heard in the background and Pema's own happy sobs became evident, too. She had turned to her husband and wrapped her arms around his neck, relieved. But Korra was still losing blood, and lots of it.
Saiyu swore under her breath, before turning away quickly, going to a cupboard on the other side of the room, searching about and then grabbing a vial of medicine and needle. She hurriedly deposited the medicine into the syringe and then rushing back over, quickly administered the dose of medication into Korra's thigh.
She continued to place blankets and towels around Korra. "That medication should help clot the blood. Then we can finally get this under control. For now, we'll just have to keep replacing these towels and checking on her until it kicks in."
Tenzin nodded at her, before walking over with Pema to see Mako and Korra's daughter. She was a beautiful little thing – she had her mother's darker skin, her father's angular features, a dark patch of hair on her head, and from what both could see, piercing, amber eyes. She was flailing about, arms wildly flying around, wailing. Pema smiled down at the little baby girl, and Tenzin did, too, feeling his heart swell. He was a grandfather.
The young nurse – Setsuko, Tenzin realized her name upon reading her name tag – saw the couple admiring the baby, and weighing and measuring her quickly, wrote down the amounts (seven a half pounds, nineteen inches), wrapped her in a cozy yellow blanket and then handed her to them and she instantly calmed down. They smiled. Tenzin brushed the baby's soft skin tenderly, and Pema beamed at her. She was going to be a well-loved little thing on Air Temple Island.
They continued to watch and hold the baby as Mako held tightly to Korra's hand, speaking comforting nonsense to the woman, reassuring her that all was okay and telling her how beautiful their baby was. When Korra began to drift off to sleep, Mako smiled at her form and reluctantly left her side. She was getting some well-deserved rest, and while he knew she wanted to see their child, it could wait.
Mako stood then, and walked over to Tenzin and Pema. Tenzin reluctantly handed the baby to Mako, wanting to continue holding his technical granddaughter all to himself. Mako peered down at his daughter with wide eyes, and she looked up at him before closing her eyes and tottering in between sleep and wakefulness like her mother just had.
The older couple watched the emotions pass through Mako's face with pure happiness for the young man – they remembered feeling the same way when Jinora was born. Mako studied his daughter – ten toes, ten fingers, a cute button nose not unlike Bolin's. If Mako needed a definition of perfection, it was his daughter. He felt so much love for the little being that had only been in the world for fifteen minutes, and it was incredible. Smoothing down her jet black hair, he kissed her forehead and felt tears form in his eyes when he heard her squeak in reaction and then hiccup.
This baby was theirs, an expression of their love, and Mako held her closely as he realized this. She was no longer the mistake that wasn't meant to be – but the ultimate connection between Mako and Korra. "Hello," he spoke to her for the first time, and she blinked at him. "I'm your daddy." He tilted the healthy little girl towards the snoozing Korra, who had a smile curled on her lips. "And that's your mom." She blinked at him again, before she tapped her hand with his and his smile just widened, and he brought forth his finger for his daughter to grab, which she did. "Welcome to the world, little one," he said then, and then the room was filled with a comfortable quiet, only interrupted by the baby's frantic babbling and Korra's soft snores. He tickled her toes a few moments later, which caused a short noise, not a laugh, but a noise, to escape her mouth, touching his previously broken up heart.
Saiyu watched Mako admire his baby for a few moments longer, before directing everyone towards the door and out of the room. "Let's leave Korra be now. She deserves a nice, long rest."
Everyone nodded, and Mako eagerly exited the room to present the baby to Bolin, Asami, and the children, but not before he delivered a kiss to Korra's forehead.
Bolin was instantly enamoured with the child, grasping at her and holding her and cooing over her. She smiled at her uncle's antics, which made his animated grin grow even larger. Asami was initially awkward about holding the child – she felt like Korra had seven months before: like she'd break her or something. But once she got used to the feel of the soft baby in her arms, did she begin to hold her close and admire her black tousles of hair. Eventually, the nameless child was handed to Jinora, who peered at the baby, studying her. She brushed back her black hair, blinking. She smiled when the baby smiled up at her, before handing her to Ikki to see. Ikki calmed right down – she held the baby perfectly still, afraid she might drop her. She said nothing as she watched the baby. Mako held his daughter as Meelo looked at her, unmoving, unblinking. "She's cute," he said after a few moments, and everyone laughed.
"I think so, too, Meelo," Mako smiled down at the boy. Hakoda, who had been previously being held by Asami, was now in Pema's arms. Mako, for some odd reason, felt the need to show even the slightly older baby his own offspring. Hakoda's large, expressive, blue eyes blinked at the pretty little girl, and he smiled, reaching out an unsteady had to pat at her head gently. The Firebender grinned at this show of curiosity, before pulling away. He sat on the small sofa behind him then, everyone watching and closing in on him as he cuddled the baby to his chest. His steady heartbeat lulled her into a sleep, an adorable yawn rising from her mouth before she drifted off. As he watched her, he felt a yawn catch him, as well, and before he knew it, he was falling asleep, too. He wanted to spend more time with his daughter – hell, he wanted to never let her go – but he didn't want to drop her, either, and so handing her off to Tenzin, who gladly took her back, a tug in his heart as he gave her up, he settled against the sofa cushions and easily accepted sleep.
Meelo almost woke the exhausted Firebender, but his parents dragged him away, and the small party wandered away to allow Mako some much needed, much deserved sleep.
Mako woke up early that morning, and entered Korra's room to find her still fast asleep, dark skin still as pale as ever. He walked over to her bed, and his fingers grazed her cheek, wishing it would flush with the blood she so desperately lacked. Settling in a seat beside her, it took a few seconds for the grogginess of sleep to wear off and realize that he had a baby, who was nowhere to be found. The Firebender hopped up, fear seizing his heart. She may be with people he trusted unconditionally, but he was still a new father, uneasy about not knowing the whereabouts of his daughter.
Just as he turned around, he saw Tenzin open the door to the room, baby in tow, gurgling against his red and yellow robes. "I bet you were wondering where this little girl was," he chuckled upon seeing his expression. "Judging by your face as of now."
Mako swallowed and nodded. Tenzin stepped forward and handed the little, glorious life to her father.
The Firebender looked up at his name, and saw the Airbender peering at him intensely. "She's beautiful, young man. She's a joy already – they can't stop talking about her."
Mako smiled, and looked down at his baby admiringly. "Thank you – I love her so much already."
Tenzin nodded and smiled to himself, again reminded of Jinora's birth. He had immediately fallen for the child – she was his perfect little girl, and always would be. A question then pricked Tenzin's brain. "Do you two have a name picked out yet?"
Mako was a bit shocked by the question. To tell the truth, he didn't have the frankest idea of what they were going to name her – it still had to be discussed. "No," he shook his head.
Tenzin nodded again. "Whatever it is, it will be gorgeous and suiting – I know it." Mako grinned at the man, grateful for his presence in his life. The Airbending master turned towards the door again. "Pema and I are going to take the kids home, Hakoda and Meelo are getting fussy, and quite frankly, they could all use a good nap... I'll be back in a bit," he explained. "Bolin and Asami are just sleeping down the hallway if you need anything, and Saiyu and Setsuko are at the front."
Mako nodded. "Okay. We'll wait for you here."
Tenzin peered around Mako at Korra and his face fell, frowning. "I hope she wakes up and feels better soon," he whispered. "I want to her to see the baby – we all do."
Mako looked from his daughter to Korra and back. "True."
The pair exchanged a short glance before Tenzin stepped towards the door again. "Well, I'll be off now and give your new family some alone time," he smiled at Mako by the door, bright and wide through his scruffy beard. "Congratulations, Mako."
"Thank you," the Firebender called softly, and the door closed with a gentle thud. Pulling up a chair, he sat beside Korra's bed, content with idea of waiting until she woke up.
A half hour passed, in which he and his daughter stared at each other silently, both well-rested and waiting for their missing third to join them. For a short second, out of curiosity, Mako broke contact with his daughter's matching irises, and peered at the end of Korra's bed, which was free of the red liquid he had come to hate and rid of any overstuffing of towels or blankets. Whatever medication Saiyu had given Korra, it had apparently worked, and the Firebender felt relief in his heart at this. Korra was going to be okay – they were still going to be a family. Not that Mako wanted to think of the possibility of Korra dying, but it had been very prevalent just hours beforehand, and a chill ran down his spine, the thought of it haunting him a bit.
Korra's breathing with shallow, uneven, inconsistent, and short, but soft and at least there. Mako frowned as her brow furrowed in her sleep, signifying discomfort. Taking one of his hands, his other arm around his daughter, he held Korra's hand, determined to make her as comfortable as possible. As he rubbed his fingers over her knuckles, he looked at his daughter, eyes glowing with love and pride.
A few more minutes passed in silence, and then Korra shifted, and slowly, but surely, did her heavy eyelids flutter open. She sat up with difficulty and stretched a bit, but found she could barely move from the perpetual weakness of her blood-deprived body. Her head flopping against her pillow, she closed her eyes again and let out a sigh.
And then she heard a voice and a soft coo from beside her that made her heart stop and restart.
Her aquamarine eyes flew open and blinked at the man beside her, who was smiling tenderly at her. She took in the sight beside her with hitched breath – the man she loved with... with a baby. Her baby. Their baby. Their daughter.
"H-hey," she said back, straightening a bit. She looked at the yellow-blanketed life in Mako's arms and felt something wash over her, leaving her feeling stunned and breathless. The Firebender noticed where she was staring, and his smile grew. "She's here, Korra – finally. She's here."
Korra blinked, unable to comprehend everything. She was a mother now. Mako released her hand then as he lifted his daughter away from his warm chest to let Korra finally hold her, knowing that even though she wasn't currently saying so, that she wanted to desperately, as he had.
Korra slowly lifted her arms, which ached. She took the small bundle in her hands and then, as she retracted them to her chest, readjusted her arms to accommodate the baby in them. Korra felt her heart swell as her daughter blinked up at her mother, amber eyes bright and curious as to whom this new person was. An immediate smile broke out on the Avatar's face as she trailed her daughter's rosy cheek with her finger, and she felt tears spring to eyes as the realization of it all hit her. She was okay – this baby and herself. All of it - everything - was okay for once and Korra had never felt more content in all her existence.
Mako watched the two girls he loved most in his life with happy eyes, before standing up and wrapping an arm around Korra's shoulders, peering down at their daughter with her. "She's beautiful," Korra choked out after a while of just studying her daughter's features.
"Like her mother," Mako commented, and Korra felt a blush arise on her cheeks.
She craned her neck up then to look at him. They peered at each other passionately for a few moments before their lips connected softly, and they held them there before the baby below them began to wail, wanting attention. Korra smiled against Mako's lips before pulling away and snuggling her daughter against her chest, shushing her and trying to comfort the small being, who carried on for a short bit before calming to a gurgle.
Mako pulled Korra's hair back from her forehead and placed a kiss on it. "You did fantastically, Korra. I know it was difficult, but you got through it because you were so strong – and... and now she's here with us. Finally." Korra bit back a sob of utter emotion, instead lifting one of her hands and intertwining it with Mako's. As he sat down on the side of the bed, he drew his mouth to his ear and whispered, "I love you so much, Korra."
She turned her face to look at him, and their eyes were only millimeters apart, burrowing into each other. Korra blinked, her eyelashes brushing against his nose and with her warm breath beating against his lips, she said it back. "I love you, too." She looked back down at the baby. "Her, too. I love her."
"I do, too," he admitted easily, squeezing her hand and wiping away a stray tear that fell down her cheek.
Another comfortable silence cast over the room. The family stayed huddled closely, quiet. Eventually, Korra laughed a bit, and the chiming noise shook in Mako's ear, causing his heartbeat to speed up, having missed her lively laugh. Stroking back the baby's black hair, she watched as she began to drift off again. "I guess you win – it's a girl."
Mako blinked, trying to understand what she was saying, before a good-natured grin broke out on his features. "You're right," he nodded, "I win this time. Maybe next time it'll be a boy."
Korra turned her head then and raised an eyebrow. "Next time? You must be crazy if you ever think I'm doing this again. And besides, even if we did, I want to raise this one a bit first before even thinking about another, thank you very much."
The Firebender chuckled at Korra's cynicism. Blinking from Korra to their daughter, his eyes lingered on the baby as he asked then, "So... names. What do you think?"
Korra shrugged. "I honestly don't have an idea. I don't like any of the names either of us have thought of so far. None of them seem... her."
Mako nodded, studying the baby as he tried to think of a name suggestion that he thought would suit the little wonder. The Avatar turned to him and saw he was thinking, before turning and looking at their daughter, too. What to name her... what to name her... and then Korra got an idea, and her eyes brightened to their usual colour as she turned to him with a barely contained smile tugging at her cheeks.
"Mako," she began, and he turned to his gaze to her, a black eyebrow raised in question. "What was your mother's name?"
Mako's heart stopped as she spoke the words and he felt insurmountable emotion fill him. "S-Saki," he managed out. "Her name was Saki."
Korra allowed the entirety of her smile to shine on her face, and she looked from him to the baby. "I love it," she whispered, bringing her face down to nuzzle noses with her daughter. "She looks like a Saki."
The Firebender, not wanting to break the moment between mother and daughter, waited until she turned to him out of wondering of his silence. "Mako? What do you think? Do you like it?"
Mako swallowed with difficulty. "O-of course, I do," he nodded at her, before looking away. "But... but we don't have to name her after my mother. We can never her whatever you like, granted it's not stupid."
Korra's features softened, and she took his hand and squeezed it. "Mako, I want to name her after your mother. It's honouring the woman who raised you. And besides, I really do love the name. It's beautiful – it suits her, too, don't you think?" She raised her daughter to show Mako then, and the Firebender blinked at her.
As Mako looked at her, he had to admit she did. She looked a bit like her late grandmother, too, considering Mako himself had inherited his own golden eyes and angular features from his mother, which in turn his own daughter had gotten from himself. Reaching out to touch the baby's cheek, he nodded in agreement. "It does."
"So, Saki it is?" Korra asked him hopefully, peering closely at him, waiting for his approval of the name.
Turning his face, he kissed her cheek and nodded again. "Saki it is."
Korra kissed Mako quickly then and looked down at her daughter then, her eyes and heart brimming with tears. "Well, then, hello there, Saki," she kissed her daughter and cuddled her. "I hope you like it here in Republic City." Saki squeaked then, waving her arms around, as though expressing her approval at her newly dubbed name.
Mako's heart felt as though it could burst in that moment, so filled with indescribable emotion, mostly love. This was his new family, the one he had to protect and the one he held so dearly to his heart. Letting a joyful tear escape his eyes, he leaned over again and pressed a kiss to Korra's temple and brushed Saki's forehead with his lips. As he sat on the bed again, it took him a few moments to find his voice, but when he did, he murmured, "Our Saki. Our little, little, unconditionally loved Saki."
Korra turned to look at him then, noticing his tears and wiping them away quickly, placing a solid kiss on his lips before turning her attention back to the drifting baby. "Yes," she managed out. "Our Saki."
Korra decided right then that no matter how scared she was about being a mother, that she could do it with Mako by her side.
Mako was reluctant to leave Korra and Saki's sides at all, but had to after a while to return home, which was inevitable, and while Saki was able to leave after two more days at the clinic, healthy as could be, Korra was still considerably weak and needed more time to regain her lost strength.
The Firebender didn't want to separate Korra from the one comfort in her life then and couldn't bear to be away from Saki for any longer than a few hours, and so stayed there at the hospital (despite Tenzin's urging and Saiyu's annoyance), looking after the fussy baby while Korra slept, and joining in on admiring her when Korra was awake.
After two weeks passed, Korra was deemed strong enough to leave, but was ordered to refrain from participating in any strenuous physical activity. She may have gotten stronger, but she was not fully healed, and wouldn't be for a while.
Livings arrangements had to be sorted out. Tenzin was not willingly to allow Korra to move in with Mako – despite the fact that they were engaged and now had a baby, he felt she was still too young, not yet responsible enough to live without any one significantly older than herself. Korra tried to protest that it was not fair, but the more she thought about it, it sort of made sense, and she eventually backed down from the argument. Korra remained with Saki on Air Temple Island, and Mako visited every day. For the first few weeks, Tenzin even offered Mako to stay there with the baby, wanting the young man to adjust to fatherhood, being with the baby the easiest way.
Weeks passed, but not leisurely as Korra had thought and wanted. While at first Saki proved quiet and easy to calm and control, she quickly showed her true colors – if she wasn't getting paid attention to, she made a commotion until getting what she wanted. Mako made the comment that her personality was a lot like Korra's – obnoxious until she got her way or paid attention to, and then once satisfied, she'd remain quiet and sated. Korra promptly told him to shut up and to hold Saki.
The press exploded at Saki's birth, but remained contained enough by Chief Beifong and Tenzin so that they weren't too much of a problem. Plans were made with Korra's parents and Master Katara so that they could visit a little later in the year.
Though the Avatar received a little extra help with Saki, she wanted to do most of the mothering herself, as would only make sense. She lost much sleep because of this decision, and while some nights, as she watched Mako sleep soundly on her bed and she sat to the side feeding Saki, after refusing his help, did she wish she could fall into an endless slumber, one look at her daughter's content face helped quell these feelings in favour for being there for the baby.
The only complaint besides the lack of sleep, caused by Saki being a displeased little thing when being left alone to nap, Korra had was breastfeeding. She hated it! But she did it because she knew it was extremely beneficial for Saki. The baby was a feisty thing when it came to it – she was more than a little eager and most of the time ended up nipping, suckling, and pinching Korra viciously, earning unhappy groans from her mother.
Three months passed easily, and Saki grew quickly. She was still small and precious, but her hair became darker and longer, and her eyes larger and brighter, more curious of her surroundings, which Bolin encouraged. Mako and Korra spent most of their time caring for their daughter, and to the Avatar's surprise, she nearly forgot about the Equalists, who had seemingly become inactive.
Until one night that is.
Korra had brought Saki over to the arena to spend the night there with her father instead of the other way around. The Firebender had childproofed the apartment to the best of his ability, though she was still so small she couldn't really do anything, but he wanted to take the extra precautions.
After settling Saki down with much difficulty in her crib close to Mako's bed, did Korra join the Firebender. Upon spending some time alone, Bolin already sound asleep, did they drift off easily and gratefully, glad that Saki had decided not to begin crying just before they began to nod off.
It was in the early hours of the morning that disaster struck them all. Turning to cuddle into Mako's arms, her head in his nape, the smell of something burning struck her. Her groggy state of mind didn't allow her to register panic, but when she squirmed a bit and then heard Saki's loud screech, she shot up from the Firebender's arms in a fraction of a second, and horror spread across her features as she took in the scene around her.
Everything was burning.
Every slab of wood, every piece of furniture – everything. Korra's face frantically turned to Bolin's bed, but he was nowhere to be found, sending a wave of terror passing through her veins. Smoke had built up quickly – how long had this fire been going on for? – and it made it difficult for her to breathe and see, the cinders burning her eyes and throat. Heat surged in the air around her. She jumped out of the bed, and immediately directed her strained gaze to the direction of Saki's crib, but it could not be seen through the thick blanket of smoke before her.
Mako, suddenly aware of the situation upon Korra leaving his side, joined her, his eyes wide and frantic. Korra looked at him quickly before thrashing her hand through the fire, sending it to the side as she stepped through the scorched passage it left. She ran forth and stopped on spot at the sight before her, her heart ceasing to beat for a few moments, then starting up wildly again.
There, at Saki's crib, stood Amon, holding the wailing baby by the blanket that had been tightly swaddled around her. Saki's eyes transitioned from wide and bawling to closed and tearful from the smoke that periodically entered and exited them from each round of waterworks. Her cries were muffled through the thick air, and though Korra wanted to run up and kill Amon in that second, she knew she couldn't, for he held the life of her baby in his very hands right then.
He looked up at the shocked couple, and behind his mask, you could see him smirk maliciously and snigger to himself, before closing the sobbing baby to his chest and wrapping his arms around her to protect her from the fire, walking away through the flames as though they were nothing. Korra launched forward, tears entering her eyes not only from the fire but more so from the situation at hand.
"Saki!" she cried out, as though the baby could speak back to her. Tears began to run down her furiously burning face, and she turned back to Mako, anguish evident in her frantic words. "Mako! I'm going after them! You go find Bolin!"
Mako stood there, nodding dumbly, trying to process the anger that ran through him and just the crazy situation in general. Korra blinked at him, seeing his lost look, before calling his name one more time and breaking him out of his trance and then taking off into the flames.
Mako blinked in the direction his love had gone, morally confused, before looking at the bed where his brother had previously been. His heart thudded in his ears, louder than even the flames that licked his belongings around him. Who was he supposed to choose – Bolin, his baby brother, whom he had protected all his life, or Korra and Saki, the love of his life and his own flesh and blood? He felt conflicted tears enter his eyes, and he tried to blink them away, but to no avail. How could he choose which party to go after it? Time seemed to suspend as he stood there, wracking his brain for an answer. He stepped back out of his confusion, and a flame catching his ankle broke his fog of uncertainty and with a start in his heart, it became evident who he had to choose.
Turning back in the direction Korra had taken off to, Mako closed his eyes and whispered, "I'm sorry, Bo..." The Firebender realized that his brother was not six years old anymore – he could take care of himself, and if he had any sense, Mako could trust that he had already exited the building and had gone to get Tenzin or Police Chief Beifong.
At this, the Firebender took off, determined to find both Korra and their daughter, while also more than a little bent on making Amon suffer dearly for his actions.
Korra ran, nothing stopping her, not the intensifying flames or the falling debris – absolutely nothing. She was going to get her baby back and get her somewhere safe and away from the clutches of Amon if it killed her!
She hopped over scorched debris expertly, becoming hopelessly lost in the licking flames. Stopping, she looked around and screamed out, fear overtaking her and letting her hope evaporate for a few seconds, in which she let a sob regretfully leave her lips.
"There you are, Avatar."
Korra tensed at the deep voice that belonged to the man she so desperately hated, and she spun around in a tight circle, inspecting each of the flames surrounding her closely, looking for any sign of his mask.
He spoke again. "I thought you would never arrive."
She stopped, and he stepped out of the engulfing flames, Saki still held steadfast to his chest, but instead of wailing like usual, she was perfectly quiet, perfectly still. Korra's heart clenched in her chest and she stepped forward menacingly.
"What did you do to her?" Korra yelled, in no mood for words but knowing that this was what it was leading to... at least for now.
"Oh, calm down, Avatar," Amon laughed. "She's fine. Just sleeping. She puts up a fight... just like her mother, I suppose."
Korra's teeth grinded together as she responded. "Give her to me. Now."
"Now, now," Amon chided the Avatar as though she were a young child throwing a fit. "I don't believe you are really in a place to demand such things, now are you?"
And just like that, the Equalist leader had her backed in a corner. He was completely right – she was not in a place to command him, for he currently possessed her baby. Her little, defenceless Saki.
Korra wanted to kill him, wanted to make him suffer, all of this evident in her violently trembling stance, but she couldn't. In a deep, amused drawl, he spoke again, the smirk evident in his voice. "I am willing to bargain, though, you know, for the life of your daughter."
Korra's heart started violently. He wouldn't... he wouldn't kill Saki. Or would he? Was he really so cold and damaged and insane to break Korra's very happiness in front of her? From the look in his soulless eyes, he was.
"What—" Korra's voice croaked, and she swore she saw his lips curl beneath his mask. Coughing from the smoke filling her lungs, she looked at her helpless daughter and found her voice again. "What do you want for her?"
"Simple," Amon stepped closer. "You." Korra blinked at him and his obscure answer. He sighed, as though he were explaining something to a simple-minded person. "I will spare her life in turn for yours, Avatar. Do you understand that? If you join me and my Equalist movement, I will return her to your Firebender."
Korra crossed her arms. "And if I don't?"
Amon laughed, a deep howl that resounded through the crackling flames. The sound chilled the Avatar, and she shook a bit, scowling. "If you don't, I will not hesitate to kill this precious life. Besides, it would count towards the family I, myself, have lost. Basically, Avatar, I could leave you feeling the same empty, hollow pain that I have for the last twenty six years of my life. I could let you suffer – it would never go away. It's a never ending ache. Or..." he drawled, "I could spare her life... for my own bidding, of course. I could steal this little one away and raise her to hate benders – to hate you. And if she's a bender, which she more than likely is, we both know full well I can remedy that." As he spoke, he lifted the unconscious baby out of his arms and held her by the back of her blankets threateningly over the flames beside him.
Korra's heart started – Spirits, he would kill Saki, and right in front of Korra. The very real life possibility hit Korra hard and furious tears bubbled from the corners of her eyes. But he also threatened her daughter's currently dormant bending abilities – the Avatar would be damned if she let the evil man rip away a part of Saki's very being like that.
Stepping forward cautiously, resisting the overpowering urge to run up and strangle the very life out of him, did Korra growl out, "F-fine." It wasn't a difficult decision for the young Avatar – her freedom or her daughter's very life? Korra immediately knew what choice she was going to choose if it meant protecting Saki.
Amon chuckled darkly before nodding, "Good girl." As the words left his lips, his right-hand man, Lieutenant, hopped out of the flames and beside Korra, taking a cable out of his belt and restraining her wrists behind her back. Korra would have put up a fight and jerked about if it weren't for Saki dangling dangerously close to the fire beneath her.
Lieutenant walked Korra over to Amon, but stopped when they were within a few yards away from the Equalist leader. Pulling the baby back to his chest, he fiddled with her puffs of black hair, smirking behind his mask. "Actually, you know what, Avatar? I'm not feeling particularly generous today. Too bad." And at this, he lifted Saki up again and time seemed to slow down as he dropped her. Korra's eyes widened and tears fell out, and a hollow, deafening scream left her dry throat.
Saki, still put out by whatever Amon had done to her, fell quickly into the flames. Korra was just about to break down in a mixture of sobs and pure, unmitigated fury, feeling some kind of ancient, unidentifiable power overtake her, when an arm reached out from behind Amon and grabbed Saki. In a matter of seconds, Bolin jumped out from behind the man, kicking him down in the process and running to Korra.
It took the flustered Avatar a few seconds to calm down and process the situation, but as soon as she did so, she yelled at Bolin, "Get out of here! Take Saki and go!"
Bolin stopped, his innocent green eyes wide, and looking in between Amon, who looked furious despite the mask covering his supposedly-burned up face, and the frantically kicking Korra, he nodded, knowing what he had to do. Casting her one last look, he ran in the opposite direction of the three, determined to get himself and Saki out of there quickly and to safety.
Lieutenant was about to drop Korra and run after the Earthbender, but upon standing up and brushing off, Amon yelled at him, "Don't. We have the Avatar. She's what we came for. Let's move out!"
His right-hand man blinked at him behind his goggles, before nodding and tightening the cables around Korra's wrists. Korra struggled now, thrashing her arms about and putting up a fight now that Saki was no longer in danger. Lieutenant managed to restrain her enough to bring her to Amon, who was seething.
Bringing a hand up to her, he placed it on her chin and shoved her face closer to his. "You make think you've saved her from death now," he spat, "but I can come after her and kill her whenever I please now that I have you in my grasp." Korra growled something, kicking her legs at him, but was unable to land a solid kick anywhere upon him stepping back. He laughed at her futile efforts. "Let's go. Now," he said as he turned around nonchalantly.
He stepped towards the flames and was about to walk through them when they suddenly intensified to an unbearable heat and raised twenty feet.
"You're not going anywhere!"
Korra felt hope – but also indistinguishable fear – take over her at the sound of Mako's voice. Amon turned and eyed the huffing Firebender behind him, in a fighting stance, a dark look glinting in ochre eyes.
"Ah," he clapped his hands together as if amused. Lieutenant turned as his leader did, allowing Korra to face Mako. "So nice of you to finally join us, Firebender!"
With a start in his heart, Mako noticed that Amon no longer had Saki and that Korra was chained up. Barring his teeth, he raised his arms so that he could throw at attack at a moment's notice. He mouthed Korra's name before shouting, "Where is she? Where is my daughter, you asshole?"
Amon chuckled loudly. "Why don't you ask your lover? She watched – doing nothing – as I let your little bender burn to death in these very flames, didn't you, Avatar?"
Korra's eyes widened and she looked from the tall man across the expanse to Mako's defeated look. "Mako!" she yelled, voice strangled. "It's not true! Don't listen to him! Saki's f—ahh!" Korra fell to her knees upon Amon's hand flying violently into her side, blocking all the chakras in her right side and rendering her unable to bend temporarily.
"Korra!" Mako's voice was strained as he ran forward towards her, but Amon stepped in front of her to fend off the infuriated Firebender. Mako reluctantly stopped and got into another fighting stance before flinging a just-barely controlled fireball at the man's head, which he avoided expertly.
"You know you are not powerful enough to defend her and fight me off, Firebender," Amon taunted. "So don't pretend you are."
This may have been true despite the fact that Mako was a skilled and talented bender, but Amon seriously underestimated the young man's anger at that point. In that moment, Mako let his fury overtake him, losing all judgement and control, and he launched forward, fists flaming and the flames around him lashing out violently, reacting to his severe bursts of animosity.
He punched furiously, unrelenting towards the man. While Amon blocked them off easily at first, eventually, as Mako's rage grew and grew, did he have a harder time fending off the barrage of attacks. Amon turned as the Firebender began to back him into a wall of flames and yelled something at Lieutenant. He then turned his attention back to Mako, and allowing his carelessness to be used to his benefit, waited until Mako presented a vulnerable side to him before punching him squarely in the side, sending him to the ground, where Amon pressed his foot on his chest.
"Mako!" Korra cried, biting back the stinging tears in her eyes and struggling against the cable that dug into her flesh.
Amon's right-hand man was about to take off with the Avatar after allowing her to witness the scene, but Korra kicked his shin with all the force of a komodo rhino, aiming so that she knew she would either break it or render him out for a good amount of time. The man tumbled back and down, and Korra broke from his grasp. The same ancient, rumbling power began to overfill her from before, and her blocked chakras relaxed so that she was able to bend again. Setting her hands aflame, the licking flames were so hot that they burned away the iron cable tightly bound around her wrists.
Disregarding Lieutenant for the time being, Korra launched forward towards the fight that Mako and Amon were in. Running up beside the Firebender, who had managed to shake Amon off and stand again, they exchanged looks and nodded, before channeling their shared anger and sending a barrage of furious, uncontrolled attacks at the man, bent on the idea of him suffering for his actions and making him burn to death right there and then.
Eventually, they pushed him back and into the circle of flames, and despite knowing he was not out for the count, relaxed momentarily and turned and ran to each other. Arms open wide, Mako took Korra in them and squeezed her to his chest, letting tears fall down his cheek as he slipped out of his deranged mindset. "Korra..." he muttered against her hair, and she pressed a kiss to his cheek, muttering sweet nothings in his ear to comfort him. He took a few seconds to himself, to take in the familiar feel of Korra's pressed against him, before his heart burst with the dreaded curiosity he had been holding back, and holding back a sob, he asked, "Where is she? Where is Saki?"
Korra pulled back and placed a hand on his cheek, assessing the bruises that were forming from Amon's foot to his face, wiping away his tears gently. "She's safe, Mako. Bolin has her – they're out of the building."
At this, a new wealth of tears escaped Mako's eyes, knowing that both his brother and daughter were okay and safe. Pulling the woman he loved closer again, the moment was short-lived as Amon appeared out of the flying cinders, his mask burning hauntingly in the fire and his fury, almost as though he was stepping directly out of hell.
Mako and Korra pulled away from each other reluctantly and stepped back, putting space between themselves and the man. The Firebender, however, was not willing to divert too far from her, and so kept his hand clamped onto Korra's.
"How sweet," Amon drawled, clearly no longer amused. "You now know the truth. Damn." At this, Lieutenant had jumped up shakily and stood beside his master, ready to defend him at a moment's notice. "If it's a fight you want, Avatar, at least let it be fair now! One against two isn't really that, now is it? I have Lieutenant here now, though – so bring it on, little girl."
Korra growled at the degrading nickname, and lunged forward, wanting to take on Amon by herself. Mako went after Lieutenant, who was left unsteady because of Korra's well placed kick to his now shattered shin.
Sending a flurry of Firebending attacks at his legs, Mako easily took down the man, and before either knew it, he was looming over top of the scrambling, once-dignified fighter. Lieutenant stared up at the Firebender defiantly.
"Kill me. I don't care! I'll be dying for my cause!"
Mako lips curled in disgust as he backed away and kicked dirt and cinders into the man's face. "The difference between you and me is that I don't kill." At this, he left the shaking, beaten man lying there, beginning to pass out from the lack of clean air, not caring about him anymore. He turned towards the fight taking place before him, between a swift Amon and a furious Korra.
Launching forward, he aimed a kick into Amon's side, sending him flying as Korra stomped down on him. She flew back as he jumped back up, apparently still putting up a fight. Mako looked at Korra, who he was standing beside. "Does he ever just... die?" Korra's eyes blinked, filled with uncertainty, before coughing at the destructive fumes that filled her lungs.
Noticing their pause, Amon decided to use emotion against them again. "Just remember, you two – there's nothing stopping me from coming after you again and killing... what was her name? Oh, yes, Saki. I'll just keep coming back."
At the threat of killing his daughter, all of Mako's sense seemed to fold in on itself, and he turned, swinging his leg and sending a ring of scorching fire at the unprepared man, the flames' heat once again increasing to an unbearable temperature. Amon flew back, avoiding the attack, and at that, the battle began again, Korra and Mako again going head to head with him.
It was an all-out brawl. Korra and Mako's rage allowed them to overpower the man several time, but each time, he seemed to just get back up, albeit it slower each time. At least they were having some sort of an effect on him.
While Mako became lost in his fury, Korra eventually came to her senses when larger pieces of debris started to fall around them. She watched as the building began to disintegrate beneath her very eyes, and ran forward just as Mako placed a well-aimed hook into Amon's face.
He tumbled backwards, and before Mako could walk up to him and deliver further punishment, Korra wrapped her arms around his and pulled him away. "Mako! We have to get out of here – this place is falling apart!"
Mako turned to her, noticed the frantic, begging look in her eyes, and then assessed the damage around them, looking up at the building around them. He noticed she was right and nodded at her, before sending another look at Amon, who was lying there, temporarily dazed by the hit. "W-what about him?" His voice rung with his anger, and it took a few seconds to regain his shaken composure.
"Leave him – we have to get ourselves out of here. Let him burn for all I care," she responded blankly, completely true to her words.
Mako allowed her to pull him away from the two men. Just as they were beginning to walk away, Amon slowly pulled himself up and noticed their retreating forms. He looked around, confused as to why they were leaving, before a large, flaming piece of wood fell in front of him, blocking his vision of the two and sending him scrambling back out of shock. Pulling back his mask, he wiped the blood from his scars and stood up, growling. He knew that if he stayed there and went after them, it meant certain death, and with his death meant the probable fall of his cause. Clenching his hands, he turned back to Lieutenant's prone form before sighing heavily, having a hard time accepting defeat. Walking over to the other man, he hoisted him up on his shoulder and backed away, through the flames, in the opposite direction.
As he walked away, coughing because of the smoke surrounding him, he craned his neck behind him, and glaring in the Avatar's direction, muttered, "You haven't won yet, Avatar. Not yet."
Korra and Mako hopped through the maze of debris and flames, holding hands so as not to get separated. On more than one occasion, one of them tripped or some debris fell, blocking their path. It seemed impossible as they ran through the puzzle of burning cinders to find a safe way out.
Eventually, Korra stopped and buckled over, her body overexerted and still somewhat weak from its previous blood loss. Dropping her hand from Mako's, she gasped for air, but instead breathed in pure, scorching smoke, causing her to cough until her throat burned and her eyes watered.
"Korra!" Mako turned, and dropped beside her, wrapping his arms around her. She whispered something incoherent to him and he pulled her closer. "Korra, c'mon, we're almost out of here! Just a little farther, please..."
He placed his hand under her chin then and pulled her face up to his. He noticed her eyes were dull and watering.
"Mako..." she muttered, coughing. "I'm so tired..."
"I know, I know," he murmured, holding her close. He knew she needed some fresh air and soon or she would die from asphyxiation. He could feel himself growing faint, as well, his mind foggy and his heartbeat slowing minutely. He was not willing to lose her for the third time in less than a year, though, and so hoisting her up, spoke to her softly as they trudged along.
Korra listened to the mess of words that he spoke, not understanding a thing he said. She allowed him to drag her along before he tripped over something and toppled over himself. This jolted Korra back to reality, and she sat there, watching Mako hack furiously, trying to regain the breath he couldn't find.
"Mako," she rushed to his side. "We've gotten this far..." The crackling around her resounded in her ears furiously, and she had to speak louder. "L-like you said, we can't give up now..."
Mako's eyes were half-lidded as he looked up at her, his mind beginning to give way to darkness. He felt her clutch on to his arm tighter, yell at him, before he descended in and out of a blurry consciousness and unconsciousness. Korra, frantic at this point to get them out of the place, watched with a heavy heart as Mako went limp in her arms.
She felt tears fill her eyes as she pulled him up and drawing strength from an unknown source from inside her, like when she was giving birth to Saki, she kicked debris out of the way as though it were nothing and walked directly through the flames. Eternity seemed to pass before her eyes caught sight of a different light source beyond red flames – sunlight. Bright, sweet sunlight.
Upon seeing the sun's rays, Korra pushed her body forward, and she kicked through everything and anything around her to get to the exit. Eventually, she arrived at the gaping hole in the wall, and pushing aside a final bundle of debris, crashed through it and into the outside world.
The bright light of the sun hurt Korra's smoke-filled, sensitive eyes, and breathing in the crisp air hurt her burning lungs significantly. She looked around the scene for a few seconds before collapsing, holding Mako close to her as though anyone who would come and help her would hurt him.
Through blurred vision, Korra could see a series of figures running towards her, and registered a distant crying and frantic voices flooding her ears. Darkness closed in on her eyes, but it was not of the unconscious or sleeping variety. She was very much so still awake, but her brain, exhausted, had temporarily shut down.
She felt Mako being pulled away from her grasp, and she kicked at whoever was taking him, but eventually succumbed to her weakness and allowed them to, before being hoisted up herself.
She heard a familiar voice in her ears, and slowly recognized it as Tenzin's. Eyes opening with much difficulty, she craned her neck towards the older man and muttered something.
Tenzin blinked at the Avatar in his arms, fear registering throughout his entire being as he rushed back towards to the main crowd. All around him, the entire Metalbending Police Force was scouring the area, and local Waterbenders and Firebenders were throwing water on the roaring fire and controlling the wild flames, along with the firefighters.
The entire Pro-Bending arena had burned to the ground, to an ash.
Mako's eyes fluttered open to harsh light beating on them, his head pounding furiously. Groaning, he brought his hand up to his head, before sitting up slowly. Reluctantly opening up, he assessed the room he was in. It was decorated with many different, unidentifiable – at least for him – artefacts and he blinked at them, trying to remember how he got there.
And then it all flooded his memory.
Fire. Korra. Saki. Bolin. Amon. Him passing out... "Oh, Spirits!" he cried out, standing up with much difficulty and making his way to the door with wobbly steps. He noticed how uncoordinated he had been rendered by the smoke damage, and how hard it was for him to breathe, stitches in his side.
As he walked, he became more aware of the pronounced pain that passed through his limbs. He noticed the burns that lined his body and the deeply set bruises and winced with each movement. He knew it would take weeks more him to heal – but at that moment, he didn't care. He needed to find and be with Korra and Saki and Bolin.
Managing to get himself down a flight of stairs, he tumbled out of what he recognized as the front doors of Tenzin's home and onto the flat stones that made up the front grounds of the Island. Standing up and regaining his lost breath, he looked up and saw the Airbending master in question staring down at him, his wife, children, Chief Beifong and a whole slew of other people surrounding him, staring at him.
Straightening out, he tried to find composed words, but instead all that tumbled out his mouth was, "Where are Korra and Saki? Oh, my, Spirits, where's Bolin?"
Tenzin smiled at his words, before gently wrapping his arms around his shoulders. He said nothing as he led him through the White Lotus sentries and other people surrounding him, and as they separated, he caught sight of a flash of green fabric that he recognized as his brother's tunic.
Heart stopping and then starting again, he saw his brother turn and his eyes brighten, Pabu wrapped around his neck. Beside him was Asami, unharmed, who was holding a snoozing Saki, and on his other side was Korra, who looked to be in the same worn condition he was.
Korra turned when Bolin did, and almost instantaneously, tears began to drip from her eyes as both launched towards him. Wrapping their arms around him tightly, Mako did the same, never wanting to let go, heart swelling to the point that it was painful, his lungs burning for a nonexistent breath that he had lost from the sight of them.
Pulling back, he turned to his brother first, locking him in a tight hug, not caring about his protesting limbs. "B-Bo," he murmured against the Earthbender's shoulder, wetting it with his frantic tears. "Y-you're okay."
"I am," Bolin laughed boomingly, despite his own stinging lungs. "And so are you."
Pulling back, Mako's lip trembled as he spoke. "I thought you... you died." The word scared the Firebender to even say. "I was so scared."
"So was she," Bolin smiled at him, motioning to Korra beside him. He backed off as his brother's attention diverted to the woman he loved.
Mako blinked at Korra, as though trying to determine if she was real or not. Lifting his hand and touching her face, he wrapped his arms around her and his lips crashed against her sensitive ones. Tenzin ushered the collection of people away so that the group consisted of just his family and Korra's friends, wanting to give them some privacy.
They could not hold the kiss for as long as they would have liked for their incapacitated lungs were too weak to allow the air they needed to continue kissing for the length they wanted, and so they pulled away, smiling softly, tears intermingling as they pulled each other close again.
Korra held his face in her hands and kissed his cheeks repeatedly, mindful of their burns. "K-Korra," he choked out through his burning throat, that one word holding immense emotion. He cried into her nape, and she shushed him, rubbing his back.
"I'm okay, Mako. We're all okay, we're all here," she reassured him. He still cried, and she knew that her efforts at comforting him were futile. He needed to release his pent up emotions, and this was the time to.
He pulled back and just stared at her, again try to discern whether she was really there or not. He placed his lips against hers again, muttering over and over again, "I love you, Korra, I love you. Please, never leave me."
Korra smiled against his lips, saying nothing and just allowing him to vent. After a while, she reluctantly pulled away and reached for Saki from Asami, who easily passed her over. Korra held her daughter, slightly burnt up, but other than that fine, closely to her chest, presenting her to her father as she slept.
Mako peered down at their little daughter, before raising a hand and feeling at her soft, slightly charred and scarred skin. He knew that Korra would heal that later, but right then the baby was sleeping peacefully, probably exhausted beyond her wits. He said nothing as he pressed a kiss to her head, taking her in his arms. Holding Saki in one arm, he wrapped the other around Korra, and held her closely.
At this, Bolin then wrapped his arms around the pair, and Asami followed behind Bolin, then Tenzin, Pema, and all the children piled on in. They stood there, silently, wind whipping past them, the smell of smoke distant but present.
Eventually, Mako pulled back, still holding his daughter close. He announced the words to himself. "You're all... we're all okay." Korra nodded at him, before embracing him once again and squeezing him. When she did, he blinked at her questioningly. "What... er, happened, after we got out of there? How did we get out of there?"
"I got us out, albeit narrowly," Korra shrugged at him, smiling softly. "After Bolin got out with Saki, Tenzin, Asami, and Chief Beifong were already there, fighting off Equalists and trying to put the arena out—" At this, Mako's head whipped in the direction of his once home, and indeed, the Pro-Bending arena was burned to a sooty, black crisp on the ground. Mako stiffened, feeling his elation drop just a bit. Korra followed his eye before placing a hand on his arm, rubbing circles into the tense muscle. "I'm so sorry, Mako."
Mako continued to blink in the direction, taking in the situation. He closed his eyes and shook his head then, smiling down at her. "No," he said. "There's no need to be. You're all here, safe, and that's all that matters to me." And that was all completely true. He brushed his lips over Korra's head then. "That's all I need – to know you're all safe and sound."
He was about to embrace Korra again when Tenzin spoke up. "You and Bolin will be staying here now, if you were wondering. As for your healing time – Saiyu said it would be a while. However, she said that you should stay somewhere you feel comfortable, and I know for a fact that you don't when you're at the clinic, so she said you could stay here as long as she could come by and heal you and Korra and check up on you daily."
Mako nodded, heart swelling as he turned to look back at his family. He heard a yawn below him then, and watched as his daughter's eyes, still bright and as curious as ever, peered up at him, and she smiled. He smiled back at her, and Korra gently touched her daughter's face with one hand and wiped away a stray tear of his with the other.
Bolin walked up beside Korra and played with the wisps of Saki's hair, and Asami stood behind him, smiling at him, a hand placed on his shoulder. Tenzin walked up behind Korra and wrapped a fatherly arm around her, Pema held to his side with the other as she held Hakoda in her own arms, his other children latched onto his robes.
At this, with all these people he cared about so much, Mako knew he would be okay, both physically and emotionally. Sure, he was deeply saddened by the burned down arena, but it could be rebuilt overtime. Korra, his brother, and Saki were irreplaceable. If they had perished, he would have spiralled down until he had met his own death. But that was not the case.
Kissing Korra's head again and pulling her close, nuzzling Saki closer, too, he whispered, "I'm never going to let either of you go. I'm always going to keep protecting you." And that was true – there wasn't anything the Firebender wouldn't do to ensure their safety and keep them out of harm's way, not after they had brought so much wondrous happiness to his life, not when they all meant so much to him.
And so with one last look down into Korra's watering blue eyes, he wiped away her tears and he let his happiness overcome him wholly for once, and a contented sigh left his lips. His life was not perfect, but it had never been closer to it than now.
And he would never forget those that had entered his life to get him there. No, because instead, he would always look after them and protect them, like they would for him, too.
Author's Notes: That... was a doozy. And the longest one-shot I've ever written. And I'm actually pretty damn proud of this! It's probably not what you expected at all, huh, haha? A pregnant!Korra fic... those are virtually unheard of. The only other one I've come across in SukkaandKataang's one on deviantart, which is hella good, btdubs. I love it, and it partly inspired this! Also, I totally stole the name Hakoda for Tenzin and Pema's new baby from .18... I love how she took Katara's father's name and then used it for the baby's. Genius, I say, genius! Her fics are awesomesauce (like wicked great speculation fics and Makorra ones, too), by the way, so go check those out, too!
I also had to do some actual research for this, considering I've never had a hemorrhaging issue myself or, you know, birthed a child. I still don't know if I portrayed it properly – I don't think I did. But whatever! If you were wondering, Korra has a condition known as Uterine Atony, or something similar to it, at least. It's when one's uterine walls don't contract normally, and this results in weakened veins in the uterus, thus leading to hemorrhaging during pregnancy (but y'all probably didn't need to know that ;D). At first, I was just going with it, but as I was snooping around the Postpartum Hemorrhaging section of Wikipedia, I clicked on the Uterine Atony page and it almost perfectly matched Korra's condition, in a way, and so I decided that's what she has. Also, Saiyu gave her intravenous oxytocin. Just to let you know, if you were, like, wondering... yeah.
Some extra tidbits of information: Saki's a Firebender, and I gave Mako and Bolin's parents the names Kaede and Saki, for the time being. You know, until their real names are revealed, that is, if they ever actually are!
I'm also surprised at how fast I finished this. I'm a well-known procrastinator, so for me to finish this in eight days is basically impossible. Just saying. The power of Makorra and how it drives me to write crazy stuff like this continues to amaze me! XD I will admit the Makorra-filled episode this week only helped fuel writing this that much more, haha.
Oh, and also, if you read this entire thing, all thirty thousand words or so of it, I commend you. I wouldn't have the patience for it! Here's a nonexistent cookie for you! *nom*
Well, that is all, and so I shall stop boring you with this extremely long Author's Note! I hope you liked this! Bye now~!