"Most Hindu deities are worshiped with their consorts alongside. This is based on the belief that the male-female duality is essential for the sustenance of the universe."
Mako fisted the newspaper in his hands, the front page story glaring up at him. The words jumping up at him over the picture of the aftermath: 'Anti-Bending tensions rise to a head in last night's Terrorist Attack' and then 'Has the Avatar abandoned Republic City?'
"Has she heard?" he asked gruffly.
"Yeah, first thing…."the green eyed man replied. The war had aged his younger brother, he had become more serious and it was rare for even Mako to see his smile now.
"Where is she?"
Mako nodded, pulling himself up from his spot on the floor and walking to the doors. Asami was entering as he stepped out and they greeted each other solemnly. Things had changed, irreparably, for all of them. War seemed to have a way of both destroying and creating. Destroying lives, demolishing buildings, toppling cities, and shaking everyone down to their foundations until there was little left but dust and rubble to hold it all together. That was when the creation began, people coming together and forming bonds that worked as mortar for the bricks of a new world. The ancient Nomads had it right when they designated one god to rule over destruction, creation, and transformation.
Everything was transforming.
Hope could well up like water through stubborn rock even during dark times like these. And Korra…Korra was the rock and the water, the fire that melded the metal frames of new beginnings, the air that manifested around them cooling tensions and soothing fears. They all depended on her to make it right, as if anything was permanent, as if everything wasn't still a work in process.
The Avatar belonged to everyone; she was the mother, the transformer, she embodied the primary aspects of the divine. But Korra, Korra belonged to no one. Not even him. Although he knew that he belonged to her. Entirely.
His feet led him down the stone steps and into the morning sun, his shadow trailing a few steps behind him. His hands were fisted inside of his pockets, his red scarf hanging loosely around his neck, tattered at the edges.
Two figures fought in the distance and he slowed his steps in order to study their movements as he came closer.
Korra's movements were quick and graceful, like the water she was bending into her opponent. Each mudra more powerful that the last, palm up and fingers back first then palm down with two fingers curled in. Her steps were measured, dancing on tiptoe as she twirled away from the snapping movements of her sparring partner. A blast of air swept up from below and then Tahno was beside her, jabbing at her shoulder, causing it to fall limp at her side. Mako wondered if Asami had just come from here, watching her protégé utilize her training.
He could see Korra's anger flaring as she changed stances, favoring her dominant arm while fire-bending with her left. Mako knew that she hated not being able to use a part of her body, even temporarily. Her eyes were narrowed at the pale man in front of her, her chest heaving with exertion. She wouldn't give up; she would fight until she won.
Tahno was circling the Avatar and Mako could just make out the sounds of his taunts, but Korra just watched and waited for her opening. Tahno was moving like the snake that he is, but Korra was the mongoose in this little scenario.
The two clashed together, elements and physical blows creating a flurry of fireworks around them. Tahno dodged a kick and danced just out of reach of a fireball.
Korra seemed to be singularly focused but Mako knew that her other senses were just as alive. It may have been for that reason that he hopped the railing and sent a wave of fire at her, testing her.
She didn't miss a beat, snuffing out the fire with a crash of water while sending a roundhouse kick careening into Tahno's shoulder. In less than a second she had sent identical spirals of flame at both men.
Mako folded in on himself, bowing deeply and rolling to the side, narrowly avoiding the rocketing flames. Tahno deflected the fire but caught the tail end of a water whip. He scowled at Korra and she smirked, her hands braced in front of her, ready to defend.
Mako looked between them as Tahno slid a foot forward, falling into his favorite stance.
"You look tired, Tahno," Mako mumbled, hands crossing over his chest.
Tahno scrutinized him, sizing him up. He rose to his full height, cocking an eyebrow and letting a cold smile stretch across his face. His teeth were white and somehow feral, only adding to the bad feelings and general distrust the amber eyed man felt towards the former bending champion. Mako squared his jaw, looking down his nose at the other man. Tahno smirked at his display but decided to take the hint.
"I guess I could take a break," he drawled, the heaviness of his voice matching the weighted gaze he sent to the blue-eyed brunette before sauntering away.
"Subtle," Korra deadpanned, grabbing the fire-benders attention. She would never admit to liking just how territorial her lion could be.
Mako cracked his knuckles, studying the young woman beside him. She was impulsive and spontaneous but he had learned how to read her moods. He knew when she wanted soft words or reassurance and comforting arms. Now was not one of those times. Right now she wanted to fight, flames and violence and the sweet escape that only bone weary exhaustion could provide.
She had never moved out her stance, waiting patiently for him to make his move. Anticipating him as she always did. He noticed that her breathing had changed; her face and chest growing pink in a way that had nothing to do with the sun or her morning workout and everything to do with the fact that they were alone.
Without another thought, he advanced, sending a psych-out to her left with his fist while kicking at her right.
She gasped as heat blazed up her side, "Nice move Mister Hat-Trick," she purred.
Mako winked at her, "Try to dodge next time."
"You won't get another hit," she growled and he loved that look in her eyes, so steely and determined. It reminded him….
It reminded him of slick heat and wet kisses in the dark of her room. Her eyes were glowing with resolve, dominating even as she was allowing herself to be dominated.
"No going back," she moaned against his skin, her legs wrapping tightly around his hips.
"There never was," he conceded, slamming into her and finding his home there.
His memories had momentarily distracted him and suddenly Korra was too close, a barrage of attacks falling upon his chest, shoulder, and thigh. He cried out, stumbling back only to be caught by strong arms and warm lips.
She wrapped herself around him, whispering his name into his skin as she pressed her mouth to his, teeth clinking and hands roving over what little skin was open to her touch.
He knew this side of her too. He understood when she needed a different kind of release, when she needed him to make her forget, just for a little while, that she was more than just Korra. That so much depended on her. He knew when she needed to take precious minutes for herself. To just pretend that the world was just she and him and that the sun wasn't setting on a different world than yesterday, a darker world.
"Fuck me," she whispered, her breath brushing over his lips, fingers sliding through his hair.
"Subtle," he retorted. She nipped at his jaw and grabbed his scarf, tugging him in the direction of her room.
Impatient feet echoed against wooden paths, passing meditation gazebos and rock gardens. Quick kisses and meaningless whispers traded between them and then they were there, excitement causing laughter to bubble up between them, shushed by the pressure of full lips and encouraging moans.
He pressed her body against the wooden door and they fell inside, the door banging against the frame as he kicked it shut behind them. Fingers scrabbled for clothing, tearing at sweat soaked cotton until he could inhale the scent of her skin, so like ocean water and eastern spices. Cumin, Turmeric, Aniseed, and nutmeg with hints of cacao and vanilla. He drank her in, his tongue sliding over the skin of her neck.
It struck him, not for the first time, that being with Korra gave him the greatest sense of being home that he had ever had. For an orphan who always coveted the very word 'home' it meant everything. She was his home.
The flat of his palms traveled up her chest, smoothing over bare skin as he took a dusky nipple into his mouth. He had always liked this part of her, even when he was only able to watch them lightly bounce during training.
He was shocked by how soft she was the first time he saw her naked and felt her against him. He had always seen her as being untouchable and strong, all hard muscle and intimidating power. But when she was revealed to him, he found that he could sink into her. She was full of surprises, maybe especially so in his bed.
She groaned against him, knotting her fingers in his hair and holding his head to her as he kissed his way up to her sternum, tongue darting out to lave at her collar bone and then softer, reverent touches at the mass of now-white scars that marred her shoulder.
Her breath hitched, the memories rolling in upon them like a fog to join the heat of their breath, the smoke of their desire. Their history ignited them, making them feel thankful, reverent, and humble. Gentling caresses and healing even while they hurt. Just another thing to unite them.
They had this, in the midst of everything. This one thing that was so delicate, that they had almost lost it. This thing that he had run from and taken for granted for so long. Too long.
The scars on her arms were fresh and pink, a candy coating of spider webs contrasting against her umber skin. Her back was to him and he cleared his throat as he entered the room. She turned towards him, struggling with the wrapping around her chest, her teeth clenched with pain as cotton scrapped over healing flesh.
The scars fluttered like butterfly wings down her side, delicate lace patterns of raised flesh.
"Can you…?" she asked, indicating her chest and he nodded, stepping forward with shaking hands to tie the wrapping. When he raised his head to look at her, she was so close that their noses brushed and it was that simple contact, so soft and innocent, that created a magnetic pull between them. His lips were sliding along hers and her tongue sliced into his mouth, pain momentarily forgotten.
Passions were rising and the room was impossibly hot, his pants fell to the floor and he lifted her against the wall, the head of his cock just touching her entrance, feeling how wet she was, how ready. He gripped her hair, tugging her head back and revealing her throat. He sucked at her skin, marking her, adding a purpling bruise that said 'Mako' to all of the marks that screamed 'War.'
"Not so rough," she complained and he loosened his hold on her hair, "we have plenty of time…" she whispered into his mouth.
She tilted her hips, allowing him to slide into her and even that one inch was almost enough to take them both over the edge. He held himself there, just at her entrance, loving how she whimpered and tried to pull him farther into her with strong legs.
"Shh…we have plenty of time," he reminded her with a smile. He grunted as he snapped his hip forward, falling into her. Losing himself and finding them.
"We don't have time for this! Look, it's better this way. We shouldn't be—this can't happen between us, Mako."
"You said it. You can't take it back. That means something, Korra."
"I'm not! But it would be better, safer if…," she limped towards him, pleading with upturned palms.
"If we're not together?" he scoffed.
"Yes!" her eyes glinted dangerously, hands falling to her sides.
"When will it be time for us, Korra?"
"When it's over," her voice broke; her eyes landing somewhere near his chin, unable to meet his eyes.
"And when will that be? Tomorrow? Next month? Next year? When you're gone and it's too late?" his voice was rising but he didn't care if the people outside could hear. He wanted to shake her, hold her until she agreed to stay; agreed to put off this fool's errand until she was stronger, until they could all fight alongside her again.
"You're not going without me," he growled, "Damnit, Korra, you're still healing for spirits sake!"
"And you nearly died on the last raid!"
"Gah! You are so infuriating! Can't you see that I want to protect you?"
And she did, Agni, he could see it in her face that she did. She understood that he couldn't say the words the way she had, that he may never be able to, but he knew how to show those feelings by fighting for her, fighting beside her, protecting her. It was all he had to give.
Cerulean eyes softened and a warm umber hand pressed to his chest, right above his heart that had come so close to giving out only short weeks ago.
"Shhh," she soothed, her lips smoothing against his own.
Mako lifted her up, higher on his hips, thrusting into her with shallow movements. His forehead resting against the hollow of her throat and he can't take it anymore, it's not enough. He needs to taste her, to slow down before it ends far too quickly, deep burning coals versus flickering flames.
He slides a hand behind her back, bracing her against him and turns towards the bed, catching them on one strong arm as they fall to the mattress.
Korra pushes him away playfully, scrambling up the bed. He grabs at her ankle, sliding her back down to him, her thighs are clamped shut and Mako growls, calloused hands gliding down the smooth skin of her thighs before pressing them down, opening her back up to him.
Then his mouth is there, between her legs, and she is gasping, rippling with pleasure. His fingers join his mouth, thrusting and curling inside of her. She bucks her hips against him and he has to hold her hips still. He watches, transfixed as she comes, undulating in waves and then he is climbing on top of her.
He slides inside, groaning at how wet she is, concentrating on the feel of her walls, still rippling and surging with the after effects of her orgasm.
She rolls her hips, whispering words that make his blood sing and he pushes back into her. The time for gentleness has passed and desperation has taken its place. He can feel her nails cutting into his back and it drives him, skin slapping against skin and keening moans filling the air.
"Mako!" she half-gasp, half-screams his name, her body juddering around him and he just has to hold out to see her fall again.
He grits his teeth, hands fisting in the blankets beside her face as he fills her over and over. Their bodies melded together, their bodies flush so that the 'V' of his abdomen is pressing against the bundle of nerves at the top of her folds.
It doesn't take long, she plants her feet on the bed using them to help her balance as she moves back against him, meeting him trust for thrust. Their skin is slick and the air around them is thick and muggy as they ride out wave after wave of sybaritic bliss.
Heavily lidded azure eyes lock with his, pink lips open in an 'o' and delicate brows knit together as if she can feel too much. Then she is lifting off of the mattress, her breasts arching towards him as her body rocks against him once more. She's not even attempting to be quiet and Mako makes no move to shush her, relishing the sounds.
And then he is dying; his heart a rapid tattoo against his chest, hammering against the cage of his ribs until he's sure that it is going to burst. He's slamming into her wildly, as deep as she can take him and then he stills, the world exploding around him as he pours his essence into her. Her name falls from his lips like a prayer.
He's dying. He knows this and from the way that Korra is frantically fluttering over him, the way a sob catches in her throat, he knows that she knows this too.
"Mako…," she begins, lifting his head into her lap with her good arm. He can't feel his arms or legs anymore, everything is tingling, everything is on fire and he wonders if this is how his parents felt. If his mother was able to feel the burning before the life drained from her eyes.
"D-don't worry Mako, they're coming. Tenzin and Lin," her voice breaks and he watches the tears as they form rivulets down her cheeks, trailing down the slope of her nose.
Blearily he thinks, 'It wasn't supposed to end like this' but he know that the world doesn't work that way, that even the Avatar can't know or control when someone's time comes.
She's mumbling above him and he can just make out, "Water", "Stay awake.", "Keep your eyes open"
But it's a losing battle. The darkness is pulling him in and she's too broken to save him.
'Korra-,' he thinks and even through his eyelids he can see the glow of water as she tries to heal him. She's determined, never one to give up on a fight. Never one to give up on him, and he thinks that if he had to leave this world in anyone's arms, that he's happy that they were hers.
"Mako, stay with me. Please," and he's trying. Oh, he's trying so hard to be strong for her.
"I love you," she whispers into his hair, "I love you, Mako. Don't leave me."
She kisses his mouth and her lips come away red and it's the last thing he sees before the world goes dark, her screams following him down.
His fingers draw lazy spirals on her back; her face resting in the crook of his neck, her restful breathing gusting along his chest.
She is amazing. Always fighting for what is right, following her gut feelings, she was the most selfless creature that he had ever met. And he admired her for it, even if it was her duty that could ultimately tear them apart. Nothing was certain now, nothing but pain and stolen moments of bliss.
It was pain that had brought them together and he knew without a doubt that the pain wasn't over. They still had so much farther to go before peace could even be an option on the table.
It scared him, this uncertainty, and the lack of a light at the end of the tunnel. The not knowing if they would all make it out of this alive.
They were getting ready to depart, the zeppelin was almost ready to leave the island and Mako watched as Tenzin hugged his family goodbye, his kiss lingering on the head of his newborn baby. Hoping that he would be able to return to them. That he would be able to see him grow. That this little bundle, who was held so securely in his mother's arms, would know and remember his father.
The kiss that Tenzin gave Pema was heartbreaking and Mako turned away, allowing them some privacy.
Asami caught his gaze from across the way and he hesitated briefly before walking past her and onto the zeppelin. He could hear her footsteps only a few seconds behind and sighed. Their breakup hadn't been under the most ideal circumstances, but it had at least been mutual. He felt her walk up beside him and he didn't pull away when she gave his hand a squeeze of reassurance.
He swallowed, hating the feeling gathering like a rock in his stomach, the feeling of foreboding.
Korra's voice carried over to him from the entrance and without thinking about why, he let go of Asami's hand, turning to face the short brunette.
Lin had her hand on Korra's shoulder and they were speaking in low voices. Korra was standing, her back straight, hands fisted at her sides and feet shoulder width apart. She looked….brave.
Blue eyes met his and his breath caught. There was the vulnerability that everyone ignored. There in the swirling depths of her eyes. Churning like the ocean they resembled.
Lin captured her attention again and the connection was broken, leaving him feeling more shaken and more afraid. What if…? He shook his head to clear his thoughts as Bolin and Tenzin boarded, his little brother had proved to have a good mind for strategy and Tenzin would often seek his input. Bolin, his green eyed little brother with all his fangirls and love for fame. Bolin was their rock, holding it all together when no one else could. Taking their loads and their burdens and holding them as if they were weightless.
His heart clenched as he watched the people around him. How many of them would make it back here? How many would Pema be welcoming home? Lin made her way over to Tenzin and Bolin, leaving Korra alone by the window.
He wanted to go to her, to tell her something, anything. To hear her voice.
Tahno was the last one on, even his usual swagger was toned down today. The engine started and Mako watched as the grey eyed young man immediately found his place beside Korra. And even though it was silly, even though he didn't really know why…Mako seethed.
He watched as the two spoke and then she was glancing over her shoulder, her eyes drawn back to his gaze. Everything around them seemed to disappear; only this tether between them existed, only the exchange of emotions and thoughts. The words they couldn't say.
He would protect her. He would fight for her. He would fight for her heart.
And if he didn't make it home, he would make sure that he had a good reason.
Burnished hair brushed his chest as she stirred, awakening from her slumber. She stretched all the way from her fingers to her toes, catlike, and Mako loosened his hold on her as she sat up, out of the circle of his arms.
He watched as Korra got out of bed, missing her warmth even while he was enjoying the play of orange light on her russet skin. She moved to the window, the afternoon sun blazing a crown around her head as she dipped, her back arching in the most delicious way until he could see the full roundness of her bottom and just below, peeking from between her legs, the silhouette of her sex.
He heard the 'click' of the lock and then the window was open, her hair dancing in the breeze spilling in from Yue Bay.
She turned towards him, a small sad smile on her lips as her burdens came back to haunt her. Her crown of sunlight changed into a halo as she moved back towards the bed.
She appeared as an angel of mercy and compassion. A being of love and light. This was not the aspect of the Avatar. This was Korra, just Korra; the one that he called his even though he knew that he could never hold her. That she only allowed him these moments out of understanding of their mortality. That circumstance and time could wash it all away.
He stared at her wonderingly, "I love you," he said, and now that the words were out and her smile had grown so large, her eyes so blue, he wondered why he had been so afraid for so long to admit that he had given her his heart. He had given it years ago, when she had just been the Avatar to him, and he had just been an idiot.
"You're the Avatar and I'm an idiot"
"Both are true"
"I'm losing what's left of my dignity
But I'll fight till the end for her heart" ~ "Holding on" by Scary Kids Scaring Kids