This is a short chapter because I was feeling poetic.

Her face fell, deeper and farther than he ever imagined it could. She fidgeted again, as Howl fought internally.

Of several facts he assured himself: the blend of friendship and more at the compound existed, her response to his sudden appearance proved it. Her attachment to her city friends lay deeper than mere friendship or companionship– Korra messily delved into a triangle in his absence. She even fostered a pseudo-relationship with the taken firebender. As he wasted half-dead on vacation, she tore the city apart while training. The Avatar moved beyond him.

Fairness wasn't a paper-thin slice of cake as the other swallowed the rest. It wasn't unrealistic and untempered anger and convenient forgetfulness. The sun overcame earth in summer, parching the land. But the distance of it in winter swiftly balanced it.

Suddenly, the weight of the nearly empty cup of genmaicha tea became iron.

The midday sun overlooked the city, brightening it overtly. Passerby shielded their eyes from the rays with a raised arm and a straightened hand. The window over the tea-table streamed a solid block of yellow, alighting Korra's hair in softer coppery hues and piercing into the polished glimmer of the low table. Howl's hushed tones drifted over the immense sea of cherry wood, reaching the ears of the subdued Avatar:

"I can't do this, Korra." that she cheated on him went unsaid.

She rose, a flurry of blue. Her sweetened tea spilled across the table, dripping over the side and dampening one of his books, sliding down the cover and spreading along the pages.

Howl lowered his face onto the warm table, resting his forehead firmly against it. Days spent asleep and nights spent awake, haunted by the sights of the south. Mind muggy in books, in lack of rest. The dragons' fierceness along the walls, their doodled and painted strength outmatched his.

The hours spent hearing her stunted storytelling, her words of confusion and uncertainty. The brothers, each possessing something he didn't– the potency of bending.

Jealousy was one thing, but to experience this simultaneously after a bout of heartbreak and a forgetful rose only served to break.

Thus the sentry, her former guard, languished further. He tumbled into more books and read past the mark of dawn, of midmorning, and of noon. Sleepless cursemarks marred his countenance.

Korra fell into a deeper pit of distraction, unable to sit still as her legs twitched under the form of meditation. The whirling element danced further from her grasp.

Welcome to Republic City– agent of consequence.

Please don't punch me in the face- it gets better- I swear. This isn't over. I'd just been avoiding this chapter and stalling lamely for a while now. Special thanks to Starz246 for being AWESOME.

In case anyone is confused, the setting was back at Howl's hotel after Korra explained everything to him.
In case anyone is interested, I have an expanded/improved/longer/better version of this fic up at AO3. (archive of our own). If you are interested, simply google "ao3 gabubu". Or PM me, if you're lazy like me.