dedication: to B. you showed me that picture. this is all your fault.
notes: inspired by something madeofcola drew. it hurt. and then this happened.
notes2: hmmm okay this hurts.
title: here is perfectly dark
summary: Love is watching someone die. — Mako/Korra.
Her fingers twitched against the dirt.
"It's over," she murmured. "It's done."
She'd watched him fall, tumbling down through the air 'til he hit the rocks below and disappeared in the surf—even in the end, he hadn't pulled that stupid, stupid mask off. She almost pitied him.
The fire consuming Republic City raged.
Amon had known nothing but hatred.
And Korra had never met such hatred in her life.
It was such a waste.
She'd watched him fall, and then her knees gave out on her.
She couldn't move. It hurt too much to move. Muscles she didn't even know she had were aching and she couldn't bend if she tried. Too tired. In too much pain. She barely had the energy to prop herself up against the edge of Avatar Aang's statue.
There was something fitting about this place being her last.
Korra breathed in slow.
It was too quiet. But then, she'd expected that. No more Ikki talking a million miles a minute, no more of Jinora's quiet snark, no more Bolin trying and failing to instruct Pabu, no more Mako—
Korra cut that thought off before it could go anywhere else.
They would all be better off without her.
The Avatar would be reborn—into a little Earthbending boy somewhere in the world, and maybe the White Lotus would treat him like a person and maybe he wouldn't be lonely. That would be good, she thought.
She shifted, trying not to gasp at the shooting pain up her side. Korra pressed her hand against the slowly-spread dark splotch. It came away red and wet, sticky with sluggishly oozing blood.
Korra grimaced at the sky.
At this rate, she wasn't going to see the sunrise.
She tipped her head back, and closed her eyes.
Thud. Crash. "Korra? Korra, where are you?! Korr—ow!"
Oh no, she thought. Spirits, no, why would do this to me? Why did you do this to him? Why? Wasn't it enough that it's over? Why did you have to make it hurt?
She stayed quiet, desperately shying away from the pain of moving, desperately shying away from the pain of her heart breaking, desperate, desperate, desperate.
"Korra, where are you?!"
It killed to hear him like that.
"Here," she rasped. "I'm over here, Mako."
And then he was skidding around the corner, wild-eyed and shaking, and it was all Korra could do to keep herself from screaming. She pressed her lips together and grinned weakly.
"Hi," she said.
Mako dropped to his knees. The horror that flickered across his face was enough to tell her that she really didn't look good.
"Agni, Korra, what happened?"
"I killed Amon. Or, well, I guess he killed himself. Same thing. He went off the edge," she murmured. She wanted to wrap herself around him, sink into him, and sleep for the rest of forever. The silence could take her, and she would go gladly.
She was so tired.
Mako stared down at her, focusing on the place where her blood had soaked through her shirt and dripped down into a slick puddle at her side.
Korra wanted to laugh, but that seemed like the wrong reaction to this situation.
"We have to get you to a healer. Now. No questions," he said. He sounded so perfectly controlled, but Korra knew Mako, and Korra knew that he was panicking. She knew he was going to—
His arms came around her, and Korra bit her lip so hard she bled.
"Ah, ah, ow, ow, don't, moving—hurts. Stop, Mako, please," she managed. "It hurts."
He let her go faster than a burn and only stared, paralyzed.
Korra actually almost smiled.
The paralysis lasted less than a full minute, then he was talking again. "Bo's going to find us, I told him where I was going, he's going to bring help, you're going to be alright—"
"You're rambling," Korra told him pleasantly. She could taste blood at the back of her throat, acrid and metallic. She spat to the side, but it didn't go away.
"No, it's okay," she said. "I did my job. This is okay."
"No, it's not okay, don't say that, you're going to be fine. I still owe you a drink, and roses and, Agni, I promised to take you places and you can't just—"
And this time Korra did laugh. It rattled through her lungs, a sound that felt like pain.
"I don't think we have a choice, Mako," she said.
"You're not allowed to die, Korra," he muttered, and then he was unwinding his scarf from around his neck and pressing it to her side (he ignored her gasp of pain), and holding it there. "You—you and I—"
"You'll be fine," she smiled. "Me… maybe not so much. But you'll be fine."
"No, I won't."
"Yeah, you will."
"No," a muscle in his jaw jumped, eyes over-bright, "no, I won't, because you and I, we're—we're meant for each other. I think."
Her head fell back against the stone, lips quirking up. "I said that ages ago. You still remember."
They both went quiet.
"I love you, you know?"
Republic City burned.
Another moment, then:
"Don't let them lock him up," she said.
"The next Avatar. Boy. Earthbender. Don't let them lock him up and hide him away and—Mako, promise me you won't let them lock him up. It's really—" she stopped, throat tight "—really lonely."
She coughed, red down her chin. "Be happy, okay?"
"Mako," she cut him off. "Don't ruin it. Just… be happy. For me."
"Shhh," she pressed a finger to his lips. "Quiet now."
He couldn't say anything even if he tried.
"Love you," Korra whispered.
And didn't breathe again.
Mako slid his arms around her, and pressed his face into her hair.
If he cried, no one would ever know.
"Love you, too."