Summary: Admittedly, this isn't quite what anyone means when they say that they want Amon and Korra bondage involving chains.
Pairings: Amon/Korra, Mako/Asami, one-sided Tarrlok/Korra
Word count: 3,235
So, my friends wanted an Amorra fic involving chains. I don't think this is what they meant. I have failed you all.
When Amon wakes up, he first registers the aching of his back against a hard, metal wall. The room is smooth, never allowing for him to scrape his bindings against a rough edge so he can free himself. There are no lights. He's not in the Republic City prison for obvious reasons, but it's never been divulged to him just where he is.
No longer concealed by a mask, the deep burn marks across his face make his countenance stern and ever-severe. One fateful day, a year after his incarceration, he receives a visitor.
She sits cross-legged and directly in front of him, though at a safe distance away. Quelling his shock, Amon expects that she wants information from him. No doubt the situation in Republic City has catapulted into a new frenzy of desperation.
"Close your eyes," he rasps.
"Close your eyes."
"I can't see you anyway. It's too dark in here." She wonders if he's ashamed of someone seeing his scarred visage—or if it's everything else—the chains, the rags—that he doesn't want her to see. Perhaps he wants to keep being enshrouded in mystery, always a riddle, never a flawed and fallen man.
Amon says nothing more; it's not as if he can force her to do as he wishes.
"Are you going to say please?" Korra teases, and Amon knows she's here to humiliate her defeated foe. After another moment of pointed silence, Korra releases a dramatic grunt. "Fine." He's almost stunned when she complies.
Then it begins.
"I told Tarrlok not to use the police against the protestors. Tenzin agreed with me, but the Council ordered for a forceful eviction for the first seven days." Korra purses her lips and shrugs. "But then, enticing him with my typical tact and reasoning, I jammed him into a wall for two hours, and now he doesn't think much about beating anyone down—or as you'd probably say: 'the bending elite asserting their physical advantage over the oppressed.'" Her voice deepens at the last time, creating a horrendous impression of Amon.
He waits, not understanding what cruel joke she is playing on him. He lost, his Equalists are no doubt scattered and frenzied without their savior and his second-in-command. All of what he fought for—peace, true balance, equality—dead. Now the Avatar talks like she's appealing to what she fought against, as if they're companions.
"Why are you here? Don't you have more important things to do than pretend to support peace, like your own frivolous pursuits?"
Her eased expression falters. "I quit probending, if that makes you happy—not that I did it 'cause of you. Hard to play when you're trying to change the world. About preserving world order—I don't want to get into that. But—I miss Bolin and Mako. I thought we'd be like Aang and his friends, but they stayed at the city and me and Naga traveled to other places across the world. When I returned. I mostly had to fend off Tarrlok. We saw each other, it was fun, but . . .
"Anyway, about why I'm here." Korra exhales and leans forward, her eyes still closed. She smells of perspiration. "Honestly, it's comforting. Really comforting. It makes me feel secure to know that I'm not the one chained." She raises her hands as if in surrender. "No offense. I don't mean I like seeing you suffer and—I dunno, it's just some selfish thing.
"It's good to know the guy who was going to 'save me for last' can't hurt me anymore. That he's miles away from any source of support. And another thing—well, there's really nobody else I can talk to about stupid things without it coming up and blowing in my face. Sad, huh? Being the Avatar, you'd think—but there's my parents, my masters—even Tenzin, he's so protective and too much like a dad. And Tarrlok . . ." She shudders, and Amon cannot believe that she really thinks that he's stupid enough to believe that she's using him as a confidant after everything that's transpired.
"You can't use anything I say against me—nor can you coddle me. The Lieutenant's not here. We figured that since you're the big savior, keeping you guys separated is good. The arrangement—well, he's in that place in Republic City. I figure that's not bad info, since you probably already know that. I went to see him, but he wasn't really receptive. They shaved his mustache and keep his hands behind his back, which kinda made me sad. They made him eat like a dog, and I told the officers not to do that."
She moves away and perks up. "There's nonbender representation in the Council now. He's the great-grandson of the guy who controlled the Dai Li a long time ago—Long Meng, Long Wang, I can't remember—so he knows the pressures of having a demanding, bending family that holds his status against him." The Avatar scratches her head. "He's kinda young—well, about Pema's age (oh, you wouldn't get that), so not wrinkly, I mean. His nickname is Itch because of this nervous tic, poor guy, but he's an amazing speaker. His dad protested against Fire Nation occupation before the Century War ended."
She concludes, "I shouldn't complain about anything." Korra abruptly stands with a low grunt and keeps her eyes closed until she turns toward the door. Amon levels his gaze at her until she leaves.
He's grown attuned to her idiosyncrasies, her shrugs and light sighs and bright half-smiles. Her eyelids squeeze whenever she gets tired of closing her eyes, but if she ever does open her eyes, she averts her gaze-even if she cannot see him unless she gets painfully close.
Amon watches her place her hands calmly in her lap, both hands separate from the other. Intermittently throughout her speeches, she lays one or top of the other, switching whenever she's agitated. He remains still.
"Councilman Tarrlok asked for my hand in marriage," Korra begins jovially. "Well, not just my hand—that's a weird way of saying it."
Not that Amon cares about the Avatar's personal life, but since he is condemned to eternal torture, he asks gruffly, "And, did you accept?"
Korra continues, "Like when I hear about Asami getting 'knocked up' with Mako's kid—and I find it funny because I think of a baby going up to her fancy door and saying, 'Surprise!'" The Avatar rubs her nose with the back of her hand. "He's old enough to be my dad, you know." She laughs, a clear, abrupt sound, so loud and close after the faint thuds and the muffled noises the air makes as it slams against the prison walls.
"Actually, he kinda looks like my dad." Her mouth tilts wryly upwards. "I thought to myself: 'Self, I know you really missed him and mom when you were holed up in that White Lotus complex, but maybe your close tie to male authority figures is getting way too close.' At least that's what I imagine Bolin would say to me. Mako would probably just cross his arms and scoff. Or who knows?" Her visage straightens out, and her eyes flutter open briefly before closing again, a sparkle in her blue eyes. "Maybe it's the White Lotus guys I really miss.
"He's such a wolfbat. Well, I said no; then he asked again. So, I said no and he started sending me stuff. Then he asked three more times and I sent him a letter giving my reasons for not marrying him. I'm young—and I tried to let him down easy. Marriage isn't my thing—and lovey-dovey stuff? Forget about it." She places her hands on the soles of her mukluks and rocks back. "Way too much drama. I know that being the Avatar is about what's good for the world and not necessarily just what I want, but c'mon, this won't hurt or help either way.
"Besides, it was all about improving Northern-Southern relations. That what's he says. But really, there are so many couples that are a mix of the two, and there isn't much more to integrate unless I earthbend both places together. It's all about his reputation. Publicity, recognition, respect. Yeah, a total wolfbat."
Amon forgets what time of the year it is; the metal prison suffers from a perpetual state of cold. The Avatar's visits grow more sporadic, and it almost seems that he calculates the time by analyzing what he can see of her in the dark. Shivering, sweat, her state of dress. She travels the world, diving into numbing political situations. As Amon predicted, her "world saving" is nothing more than a show; her duty is mostly keeping up appearances that the status quo remains the same. Korra tells him that she can only find time to come to the prison in the evenings and the night, when she can sneak into the prison without being followed by a set of cameras and judgmental eyes.
But Korra returns in civilian garb with her hair pulled back. She's carrying a large, porcelain bowl of water bowl, and Amon wonders what ever happened to his mask. Never one of grace, she stumbles sputters incoherently, and struggles to close the cell door.
"I have water," he informs the Avatar, nonchalantly motioning with a restrained hand to a bowl beside his form. Amon only has enough leeway with his chains to pick up objects close to him and consume them by slouching down slightly.
"Yeah, cool," Korra replies, composing herself. "I'm going back home to—deal with something. And because I'll be staying there and then resuming my travels, I might not . . ." Korra bites her lip. Of course she isn't going to valiantly visit a prisoner until he dies of sickness or poisoning. She's young; she has responsibilities; she has every reason to loathe being in his presence, to leave him to rot without observing the deterioration.
"Um, since we're saying goodbye for awhile." She shuffles, none of her bravado and arrogance present, no longer flaunting her freedom to go anywhere she pleases as he dies as an insane, hopeless man with all of his reasons to love and seek tomorrow forever severed.
"So," she says, moving the huge bowl away from her chest, "Tarrlok gave this to me. This is water from the Northern Water Tribe." Her nose scrunches up. "I—I don't know why he'd give it to me, except he said it was as exceptional and pure as I am." Korra rolls her eyes and steps forward.
"I surmise there's much water to be had when you bring waterbenders and glaciers together." Amon dully registers the tales about the spirit well where two nonbending lovers, a princess and a companion of the Avatar, were torn apart by a power-hungry firebender.
"You're a source of entertainment now? And here I thought you were a limp stick in the turtle-duck pond." She thought? What right does the Avatar have to pretend that she knows him?
Suddenly, she gets far too close to him.
"Don't look at me," he says.
She gets down on one knee, her eyes hardened and constant as her eyebrows knit together. The Avatar takes in the true face of the man behind the mask. The man, not the enigmatic figure that had her gasping and suppressing sobs in the middle of the night as Naga whimpered and consoled her. Amon meets her eyes with a lost heat present and blazing, provoking enmity inside of him, wanting to rekindle their own dynamic. The dynamic where she didn't see a helpless man with a marred complexion because of cruelty he couldn't combat.
So now she sees him, forever at her mercy.
Korra reaches one hand forward, juggling the bowl on her knee precariously with one hand.
Amon barks, "Don't." And she halts her encroaching touch.
Korra says, tilting her chin quickly to indicate the object she possesses, "This has special powers. It can heal your scars." She startles, never one to comprehend a solemn moment. "The water, not the bowl! I'm not saying you should cover your face with a bowl, but if you want . . ."
Amon involuntarily straightens against the cell wall. Oh, so she's kind now? He's denied freedom like the women who kill their bender husbands in self defense, the shop owners who shout and rant after too many times of being extorted, and she's giving a peace offering to erase evidence of the agony caused by those with her elevated privileges?
For once since the moment she met him underneath the enveloping arms of her predecessor, Amon raises his voice, leaning forward haphazardly. "I'm certainly glad that the Avatar can assert what's best for a languishing prisoner of her own machinations. This is proof of everything wrong with what I sought to remedy. You think that with this, you can appease me? That this will bring my parents, my siblings back to life? Am I your project now?"
Frowning, her petulance shining through immaculately, Korra exclaims, "You need to take everything back from that man, but you can't. Not everything, but this—this is something."
Burning under her gaze, he reaches out as far as he can and knocks the bowl out of her hands; because the floor is not grooved, the water steadily pools further than one consistent area, not hindered by the hills and curves of a stone floor.
Korra stands, her eyes shining as if they're full of tears, but there's no hint of wetness in her fiery gaze as she stares back into his dull stare, his disdain no longer sufficient enough in fueling passion or arousing the ability to provoke and inspire with hope and fear. The prolonged lack of success in his mission makes his fervor dwindle to nothing more than cynicism.
"Okay, then. Be a martyr," Korra murmurs, her hands unmoving by her side, her blushing cheeks revealing her anger. "Make yourself even more miserable for the rest of your life just to prove a point we're trying to solve." Lowering her voice into a sad whisper and looking down at him like she's wont to do, the Avatar continues, "I'm sorry about your family, but nobody cares about what you do anymore. Nobody reached out before, so why are you turning me away when I'm giving you my hand?" This time, she doesn't elaborate on the literal meaning of that statement to alleviate any alleged confusion.
He turns his head away from her and laughs hoarsely. "I won't sate your precious hero complex."
Korra turns, not waiting for a response, and retreats. Peering downward, Amon hears her slam the door to the cell for what seems to be the last time. Faintly, she hears him chatter to a guard, and later one of them comes in to give him clean water and a male without a hint of staleness. Against his pride and what little distorted honor he has, he does not turn any of it down like he used to do.
As he continues to sit alone and barely alive, a ghastly revenant of a former cause, Amon ponders how his people are faring now that their revolution has been crushed by those who hinder change. He asks himself how he could've been so weak.
Why does it concern her? Or rather, why did it concern her? Groomed beyond her tasseled hair and rumpled clothes, alive and revered. And she wanted to heal the man who threatened to erode her sanity until she was nothing, until he could take away her one source of purpose and kill her.
Soon, Amon forgets what freedom looks, sounds, tastes like. Imagined landscapes become fantastical, caricatures of their former selves. Often basking in hues of orange and jade.
His eyes are closed as he drifts in and out of consciousness. So entranced in the lulling dragon dance of dreams and an everlasting night, half-conversations with departed spirits and people who are either remnants of his broken sleep or hallucinations, he falls out of his slumber to blearily see an image before him.
She's in a meditative stance, her hair loose and falling past her shoulders, her head slumping slightly downward as her breaths are slow and deep. Her outfit is a consistent blue with the exception of her tan mukluks.
"This spirit thing is . . . weird." The Avatar sighs and, in a moment of shocking vulnerability, presses a hand against her temple. "Man, if only this Avatar thing came with a vacation schedule."
Finding his lost voice, Amon rumbles, "Perhaps you should make a request to your dearly betrothed."
Korra scoffs lightheartedly, situating herself so that her knees are against her chest, folding her arms between her legs. "Really? They say your enemy knows you best, and he really thinks I have that bad of a taste in guys? Funny, I thought my refusals followed shortly by my strongly-worded letter of refusal hinted at me refusing his proposal.
"There's a theme there, and it's not a pretty betrothal necklace, see?" The Avatar motions with one finger, trailing it across her collarbone. "Nothing." She leans forward and smirks, and he's almost taken aback by the heady scent of incense so familiar to him with his diligent mourning rituals he indulged in every year. "Besides, like I'd take orders from someone who's supposed to be my equal."
The young woman notices Amon shift, and a pang hits her heart at realizing that it's been so long since he's been able to properly take care of himself. Oh sure, the inmates don't wallow in their own filth—there are breaks scattered throughout each day where they are heavily monitored—but it's just barely enough to survive. And she thinks, that no matter his actions, he's not evil. Misguided, creepily charismatic, but only following along a crazy way to defend people hurt like him.
"Katara died. You know who she is, I guess." She doesn't meet his eyes—or at least where she believes his eyes should be in the stifling darkness.
"I don't understand why." Her voice cracks, and she lifts her chin to hide her shame. "The fortuneteller told her that she die after having her third great-grandchild." Her eyes darken. "But I guess this is where you call me naive, right? Trusting someone I don't even know, never even trusted, never even met." She pauses for a minute, breathing heavily. "Katara was the best at so much. And Aang was more a great hero, but I'm young."
Her eyes meet his, and he registers discomfort at her open emotions directed at him. "I still have time to help the people in need, you know? And it's good that I don't need that role—that would take a war, and I'm trying to keep peace. Not by ignoring people's complaints, though I know you don't believe me, think I'm unable to see the pain I once ignored." Korra reaches forward and brushes her fingers against his cheek, her skin smooth against the ruined flesh, her lips partly open.
Her fingers are shockingly warm.
"I should have killed you," he tells her softly.
"Yeah, you were a pretty impotent villain in the end." Her lips quiver. "I can't believe it's taken me this long to take a potshot at your virility."