The mountainside of Air Temple Island dimming with twilight smells fragrant, like the sweet grass and the flowers dotting among the vegetation.
Only a couple yards from the empty practice area, past the damaged airbending gates, Korra enters the borders of thick, lush greenery with her oldest mentor. "Don't you want to rest after dinner?" she asks, curiously as Katara leads them into an open patch of field within the underbrush. "We can wait to train tomorrow… I can hold off the airbending with Tenzin. I'm sure he'd understand."
A full moon hangs bloated in the darkening sky. Katara's eyes — wrinkled around the edges — linger upwards. "My journey to the island was restful enough, thank you. We must begin your lesson tonight."
With a broad smile on her face, Korra nods in acknowledgement, going into one of her waiting stances. "I'm ready."
"No," Katara's voice interrupts. The young Avatar slackens her form, growing apprehensive as her mentor's face changes into an expression of remorse. "I'm afraid, you aren't. But you will have to be, Korra."
Katara bends down slowly, pressing a hand down on a knee for support. She locks her aging fingers around a yellowish orange wildflower. Uproots it from the soil.
"This lesson I had been taught when I was a bit younger than you. By a member of my own tribe. Hama had been a childhood friend of my grandmother's and had been captured for defending her home."
With some astonishment, Korra stares as the lovely wildflower shrivels up and blackens in Katara's hand, as the gray-haired woman bends the water right out of it. "How did you do that?" she breathes, impressed, taking the dead flower from Katara for her own examination. Makes another small, astonished noise as it decomposes further.
"The flowers, and all the plants, have water in them. They have life. Water has always been a part of life. As a waterbender, you can control aspects of another being's life," Katara explains, calmly.
"What do you—?" Korra starts, and finds herself unable to go on when a pair of light blue eyes like hers smile mutely at her.
Something terribly eerie.
A shiver, like electricity coursing up her spine.
Her mentor declares, grasping kindly onto one of Korra's copper-skinned hands, "You trust me… don't you, Korra?"
"Of course I do. You know I do, Sifu Katara." Korra doesn't consider any hesitation in confirming the answer. She keeps her eyes leveled with those bewitching eyes.
"That is a relief to hear now," Katara tells her, patting Korra's hand with her own hand, as if to reassure the young girl — only growing more confused and apprehensive. The evening dims further around them. She steps back from her student, holding an arm out to her. Those aging fingers spreading out from each other, inches from Korra's face. "Because what I am about to do… may break the resilience of that trust." Katara's face screws up to concentrate and Korra's body snaps forward without her permission, blood inside her veins whirring and heating white-hot.
She gasps, more shocked at the force of the intrusion than in any existing pain, arms and legs locking together.
"Struggling will not save you from this." Her blood pounds, and pounds noisily, inside Korra's skull. She lets out a helpless groan, moving no inch. "Especially when you are afraid."
"What you are feeling now is what Hama had done to me." Katara's voice fades to a mournful whisper, "On a full moon night. She forced me to tap into the darkness to save the lives of my friends, my family, just as desperately as she had in escaping the Fire Nation prison. At the time, she had made me believe that my bending could be evil."
She lowers her hand and Korra gasps again at the sensation of letting go, her blood quieting. She drops to her knees in the grass.
"The truth of the matter is that all forms of bending can be abused; our own human actions, our words, and our beliefs can be twisted." Korra tilts her head up, eyes dazed, fisting the dark, cool grass between her fingers as her mentor adds, softly, "I want you to understand this, my young Avatar. You, who I view with hope for generations to come."
"To understand the vice and good of this world."
"To experience both and to learn the balance."
Cool, reassuring fingertips brush against Korra's perspiring forehead.
Like an unspoken cue, she lets the tears pressing harshly behind her eyelids to fall, choking back the tremor of sobs with her hands as Korra curls them to her burning face.
"You will understand in time."
Korrasexual prompt: "Korra + Katara; Bloodbending lessons. Katara secretly teaches a young Korra bloodbending, something she's never done with another soul. Why? To hopefully shock Korra into learning a modicum of restraint with her bending, the darker potential of which she doesn't appreciate having grown up in a law-abiding and peaceful world.