dedication: Chlo-ho, B, & all the people who watch me word-vomit & still follow me.
notes: fuck spoilers. fuck them so hard. :)
notes2: I'm not kidding when I say I will find a way to throttle Mako if he breaks Korra's heart. I will find a way. No, I don't care that he's fictional. I. Will. Find. A. Way.
title: survive right now
summary: Don't hide, don't sugarcoat the pain. — Asami/Mako/Korra/Bolin.
The click of the door is loud in her ears. Korra looks up, just for a quick glance, and starts to smile.
"I have a date," is the first thing he says when he comes through the door. He's covered in dust, grinning like a loon, scarf all askew, and he flops down onto the couch next to her with a thump. He drops a bag into her lap. "Here, dumplings."
Korra's smile freezes in place. The brown paper crinkles underneath her hands as her fingers curl around the edges of the bag, and she fights not to clench her fists. Say something, she orders herself, Koh take you, say something!
"I—that's great. Um. Who? Do I know her?" she somehow gets the words out.
(Her throat doesn't seem to be working right. It's not obeying her today. Neither are her muscles. Her face feels hot and her pulse pounds in her ears and—and—what's going on?)
Mako is oblivious to her inner turmoil. He's staring at the ceiling, eyes trained on somewhere very far away, and the grin still hasn't left his face.
"Asami," he mutters, but it sounds like he's talking to himself and not to her. "She comes to all our matches. She's… wow."
Korra tries to swallow once, twice, three times. It doesn't work. She doesn't know what to do. Something tells her that if she doesn't force the emotion down right now she is going to lose it.
(She's terrified of the Avatar State, not that she's ever going to tell anyone that. She lost control once when she was ten years old and nearly killed Sifu Katara. It's not something Korra likes to remember.)
"That's… good. I'm, um, I'm gonna go find—Bolin. Or something. Yeah."
She shoots up off the couch too fast for him to grab her wrist to stop her. He doesn't move anyway, and Korra blinks back—were those tears? Avatar Korra doesn't cry. She hasn't cried since she was ten.
(It was right after she finally left the Avatar State, and Sifu Katara was holding her, whispering shhh, Korra, it's alright, I'm here, I'm right here and bleeding, bleeding and—well, there are lots of reasons that Korra doesn't like to remember that particular incident.)
Jackknife fast, feet skimming the floor, she's nearly out the door before his voice reaches her.
"Korra? You okay?"
Korra stills with her hand on the knob, about to escape. She's not a coward, she can do this; she can face him, she can, she can—
She pulls one breath in slowly, and thinks of Earthbending to ground herself an Firebending to give herself courage. She needs it. Calm, calm, you shouldn't even be upset, she tells herself. What are you even upset for?
And then she looks over her shoulder and grins brightly at him.
"Of course," Korra spouts. "I'm just fine."
The grin only holds for another split-second.
It's all Korra can do to get herself out of there before he can say anything else.
She skids down the stairs don't lose your footing you're going to fall and it's going to hurt and tries not to think that she probably looks just about as bad as she feels. Her throat keeps clenching and she's choking, okay, this is new, and she, she doesn't like it at all—
Korra crashes through another team, fire gushing from her fingertips, and slams into something very solid.
Hands wrap around her wrists. Everything's blurred and she can't quite see, but her instincts tell her to throw him off cause him pain run run run run!
She blinks, and stops moving. The voice is familiar. Out of the soup that her vision's turned into, Bolin emerges, and he looks scared. Waxy and slow, Korra shifts backwards; drops her grip on all the water on the streets—when had it started raining?—and exhales softly enough not to cause a forest fire.
"Uh, Bolin. Hi," she mumbles.
Her tongue still isn't working right.
Bolin looks back and forth between Korra and the wreckage that she left in her wake, and seems to decide that maybe it's a good idea to get away before someone comes and yells at them both. He loops an arm around her shoulders.
Korra doesn't shrug him off. She can't think straight.
"You're shaking," Bolin says.
"I guess," and she shivers. Draws into herself. Shivers again.
"C'mon, let's get you something to eat," Bolin steers her away.
Korra doesn't pay attention to which way they're going. She stares at her shoes and her nails dig into her palms hard enough to break skin, and the pain shocks her out of her silence.
"I think I hate your brother," she says almost wonderingly. "I… think I hate him."
Bolin doesn't say anything at all. He pushes her down on a bench with a firm "Stay there," then darts off, moving quicker than she's ever seen him move before.
She finds she can't bring herself to care.
Korra drops her gaze to her hands, at the bright red crescents against the dark of her skin, and sighs.
The water moves without any conscious thought on her part—it has never been her strongest element, but she is connected to her base element in a way that she is not connected to the others. Korra cradles it in her palms and watches as it turns bright blue, watches as it seals the lesions and soothes away the stinging pain.
She thinks about Amon, and wonders how he could ever think that something that did nothing but heal was an evil thing.
She doesn't understand.
She probably never will.
Bolin skids to a halt in front of her. Korra looks up at him and sort of grins. Her voice goes lower than normal and soft, so soft. "Hey, Bo. I—sorry. About before."
She knows he probably thinks she is completely crazy. Korra shrugs, and pats the bench beside her. Bolin is younger than she is, but he acts older and less stupid, so maybe that's saying something.
"I guess I'm sort of a mess, huh."
Bolin stays quiet for a moment. "What did he do, Korra?"
She slumps. "Nothing."
"Sure he didn't. Here," and he offers her a little iced cake in a plastic bag and a bright red flower. Korra doesn't know much about flowers, but the cake looks very edible. "You look like you need cheering up."
She takes them from him and cradles the two little presents in her lap, much as she cradled the water.
"No one's ever given me flowers before," Korra says to her knees. She's never been so glad for her bangs. "Thanks, Bo."
Bolin stares at Korra stares at the ground, and puts his arm around her again.
"I'm sorry," he mutters.
Korra's face pulls up into something resembling a smile.
"It's okay," she says. "I guess I should have expected something like this."
"Nothing. Don't worry about it," and she leans into his side. For comfort, for warmth, for solidarity—for something, maybe just for survival. She just needs something to get her through the minutes, just until everything stops hurting and she goes numb.
It probably won't be long, now.
Korra exhales, and closes her eyes to wait.