by: Watches Foxes
Legend of Korra has recently gripped me by the heart and I was compelled to write this in response to the Prompt Post over on Livejournal requesting Bolin and Korra cuddling after both of them having nightmares after Amon. Chronologically I'd place it sometime after episode four. I hope you enjoy!
Korra's eyes flew open and she shot up in bed, breathing hard and acutely aware that her heart was thundering a mile a minute. It wasn't the first time she'd woken from a nightmare about Amon to a hoarse, desperate shout, but it took a moment for her to realize the cry had not been her own.
A bolt of lightning lit the room, and she had enough time to be disoriented because this was definitely not her room at the Air Temple and the blanket she was clutching to her chest was clearly not from her own bed. Moments later she noticed Naga sprawled out on the floor, head beside the little basket by the foot of the bed where Pabu slept and put the pieces together: last night after the match a nasty storm had started. All the ferries between Air Temple Island and the mainland had been cancelled and the boys didn't think it was a great idea for her-despite being the Avatar and a great waterbender- to swim across the bay with so much rain and lightning and such strong wind and high, violent waves. So she'd borrowed the gym telephone and called Tenzin (as a councilman and Ambassador of Air his family was one of the few with a direct call line) and told him she was crashing with Mako and Bolin for the night, but she'd be back right after practice in the morning.
Bolin had insisted that he'd sleep on the couch and she could have his bedroom, which was located closer to the building's central heat duct and therefore a lot warmer than firebending Mako's room. She had protested a little bit; his response had been to offer her any of his clothes she wanted to sleep in if she wanted him to wash her regular clothes and gym gear since he had to do his laundry before he went to bed anyway.
Just as she was making sense of where she was she heard a low distressed whimper followed by another agonized shout.
With that she was up and running, her legs tangling in the blanket as she threw the door to the living room open.
"Bolin!" She called to wake him. "Shhh, it's okay, you're okay." She knelt beside the couch and shook his shoulder gently.
He blinked his eyes open, his breathing just as erratic as hers had been. His eyes were unusually bright, even in the dark, and full of tears. She saw tear trails down the sides of his cheeks-he'd been crying in his sleep. But as soon as he realized just who was staring into his face, the tension and fear leaked away and gave way to relief.
"Korra?" He breathed, as though he wasn't sure she was really there.
"Hey, Bolin." She smiled in what she hoped was a gentle and reassuring way. "You were having a nightmare. It sounded pretty bad." She admitted quietly.
His face contorted with horror and shame immediately. "Aw man!I'm sorry! I didn't mean to wake you up..."
"Shhh." She hushed him quickly. "Don't worry. You didn't." She lied in a gentle voice. She wasn't even positive it was a lie. "I...I had a bad dream too." She couldn't quite meet his eyes. She hated admitting that kind of weakness.
"You have bad dreams?" He whispered, awestruck.
"Guess even the Avatar has a rough night sometimes." She tries to joke, but ends up choking on a sob.
Bolin sat up, and stared at her, concerned. "But...you're so brave."
And that broke her. She buried her face in her hands and her shoulders started shaking as she cries.
He cursed himself immediately and gently pulled her up onto the couch, into his arms. She collapsed bonelessly against him and cried openly into the crook of his neck while he rubbed her back sorrowfully.
"I'm not though!" She wailed. "Every night I see him! And he's got Tenzin's little girls or my parents or you or Mako...or sometimes just random people I don't know but they all look at me and say I'll save them but I can't! I try everything, but I just can't!" She hiccuped.
"You're dreaming about Amon, too?" He sounds surprised.
"Every night since Memorial Island." She mumbles in a subdued and defeated voice. She sniffled quietly, though he could still feel her shaking with sobs.
"What happened that night?" He asked gently. "You never did say."
"I thought Amon was a no-show." She squeezed her eyes shut tight, pulled her knees into her chin and wrapped her arms around herself. "He was probably there the whole time, waiting for me to let my guard down. And he didn't come alone."
"The chi-blockers." Bolin nodded and continued to rub tiny encouraging circles into her back.
"Yeah." Her voice cracks. "A whole lot of them.I don't know how many...it was so dark. I...I couldn't fight them. It wasn't a fair fight!" She suddenly turned to look at him, eyes full of fire. "They cheated. If it was in the open and my arms weren't tied so they could block my bending-!"
Despite himself, he smiled. This was the Korra he knew, the blazing firecracker busting with confidence and bravado. "You'd have mopped the floor with them, I know."
She nodded and slumped. "I couldn't move and they knocked me out. I woke up to two of them holding me up while Amon came over to me." She shivered violently and her voice caught. Bolin frowned and shifted closer to her. He tucked her into his arms and pulled his blanket around the both of them. She tensed for a moment but then relaxed against his chest. "I thought it was all over. That he was gonna take my bending." She squeezed her eyes shut again. "I was so scared." She half whispered, half sobbed into the blanket.
"Why didn't he..." Bolin started and stopped.
Korra shivered against him and pressed as close as she could into his arms. "He didn't want me to be a martyr for other benders to rally around. He's saving me for last." She whispered.
"Oh Korra..." he breathed and tightened his arms around her. "We had no idea..."Tears started slipping down his cheeks again. "I'm so sorry. You shouldn't have had to face that alone."
"I thought I could handle it..." She mumbled.
"You were wrong." Bolin said suddenly, startling her.
"I noticed." Korra grumbled dryly and turned her head away.
"No, not about Amon. I mean what you said earlier." Bolin said seriously. He reached to touch her cheek and gently guided her face back around so he could meet her eyes. "You said you aren't brave. That's just not true, Korra. Amon's a real scary dude! Any bender who isn't afraid of what he can do is nuts! And you're the Avatar! You bend all of the elements!" He frowned, suddenly contemplative. "Well not air. You're obviously still working on that. But still! He can take a lot more away from you than he can get from me or Mako or any regular bender. And you were going to face him on your own without anybody else to watch your back." He stared at her in awe. "I'm pretty sure that's the definition of brave!".
"I don't feel very brave, waking up screaming every night." She hung her head.
"Again, Amon's a scary dude." He shrugged. "Hey." He starts gently. "The first night after the rally I stayed up all night, just checking every few hours to make sure I could still bend. For a week after that I had Mako leaving a nightlight in my room." He grimaced. "And obviously I'm still not sleeping right."
They sat in a comfortable silence before Korra spoke up in a subdued voice. "I'm sorry."
Bolin's eyebrows knitted together. "Why?"
"I'm such a bad friend."
"You're a...what? Huh? No, you aren't! I think I'm very confused..." Bolin scratched the back of his head and stared at her like she'd grown a second head.
"That's sweet of you to say, but it's not very true." She sniffled. "I'm almost as bad at being a friend as I am at being the Avatar."
"That's crazy Korra, you're a great friend. You joined the Ferrets just to help us out and when Amon's creepy chi-blockers grabbed me you came looking for me with Mako." He frowned. "And you aren't a bad avatar either. You just need a little more training."
Korra snorted, "Avatar Aang didn't need training at seventeen. He was perfect at everything by the time they celebrated his thirteenth birthday. And by that point he'd also united the four nations and ended the 100 years war. And to hear Korra and Tenzin talk about him he was super spiritual and really good at dealing with people. Everyone wishes he was still here so he could handle all this stuff."
"I don't wish Aang was still the Avatar..." Bolin practically whispered.
Korra was genuinely caught off guard. "Why not?"
"Because then you wouldn't be here," he admitted. "If you hadn't needed Tenzin to train you at airbending , you'd have stayed back at the South Pole...and then we would have never met." He looked away shyly.
"You'd probably be a lot better off." She sniffled flippantly.
"No. I don't think I would." Bolin shook his head slowly.
"You're just saying that." Korra fidgeted with one of her ponytails.
"I'm serious!" He pouted. "I wouldn't have anything if you hadn't come to Republic City. No shot at the Pro-Bending tournament, no earth-bending, nobody to sit up with me after a horrible nightmare of something we both experienced first hand..." he glanced at her and hesitated. "And no best friend to make it all worth while."
She rubbed at her eyes—they'd filled up again with tears—and then gave a small smile. "I'm your best friend?"'
He nodded like it was obvious. "Well, yeah. Best human friend at any rate. I mean, Pabu's been my buddy since I got him. But you? You're awesome. You're the most amazing and fun person I've ever met. And you get me better than Mako even, sometimes. Especially with the whole Amon thing. If any of the people complaining about you could see what I see when I'm with you they'd never be able to wish you away."
She closed her eyes and leaned against his chest with a legitimate smile. "I'm not sure exactly what it is you're seeing, but thanks, Bolin. It means a lot, coming from my best human friend."
He can't help but beam at her, though she can't see him. "I'm glad. I just wish you didn't doubt that it's true."
She shrugged absently and yawned. "It makes me feel better to know that I've got at least one person in my corner."
"Know what makes me feel better?" He responded to her yawn with one of his own. "Knowing that of all the people in Republic City, there's at least one person who understands what I'm going through. And if the roughest, toughest, strongest, bravest, most awesome bearcat of an Avatar is having problems like mine it isn't pathetic that I'm having nightmares." He mumbled quietly.
"Y're not pathetic, Bolin." She murmured into his shirt. Her tone would have been stern if it hadn't been quite so sleepy.
"That's another thing." Bolin admitted. "Having somebody understand is one thing. But it means so much more when the person saying it is one of the people whose opinion matters most of all to you."
She made a small noise he took to be positive and snuggled closer to him. He waited for her to respond properly and it took him a moment to realize that Korra had fallen asleep in his arms, curled against his chest. He chuckled quietly and pressed a kiss to her forehead.
He stared at her for a while that may have been seconds or minutes but felt like hours, reflecting on how beautiful she was, and how peaceful she looked while sleeping, and how much she had let her guard down for him. After a while his eyelids grew heavy and he leaned his head gently on top of Korra's and drifted off to follow her into sleep.
Despite the raging storm outside, neither Bolin nor Korra had any nightmares the rest of the night for the first time in a long time.
And there we have it, my first Legend of Korra fic. I am sorry if the characterization is a little...off—I'm still trying to get a proper feel for them and I'm not actually sure how I did with Korra. Well practice makes perfect I suppose. But I do hope you enjoyed it anyway. For the record, apart from loving Bolin's relationship with Korra, I don't know why it wasn't Mako. Maybe he was over at Asami's house or sleeps like a rock after a match. Or maybe he woke up but saw Korra had things handled. Your choice.
On a side note to anybody waiting for my next Pokemon installment, rest assured it should be very soon as that is what I'll be posting next.