It's who I am
The market place in republic city was crazy as was per usual. With the mixture of yells, screams, and, different smells that were being concocted from the various local and exotic foods, it was easy enough for any person to fell dizzy and sick. Korra fought strenuously through the growing crowds that cluttered the market place and felt her lungs swell up as she managed to push through to an open spot and finally breathe in some fresh air. Clutching the recently bought bundle to her heavily heaving chest Korra looked around and tried to find where her next stop was.
She spotted the little wagon of a cart a few feet away from where a bundle of citizens were fighting to get at the latest newspaper. It was hard not to feel a tad curious what was printed so much that people were fighting to get at the little stand but Korra forced herself not to feel nor do anything and made herself walk to the cart she had first laid her eye's upon and quickly picked up the last few groceries that Tenzin had asked of her.
Paying the man, who handed her a bag of fresh fruits Korra, began to walk along the path that lead through the park and to the ferry where she hoped she would not have to wait long. Picking through her recently bought bag Korra took out a bright red apple and look a large bite out of the sweet substance. If you asked her Republic City made the perfect apple, the perfect mixture of crispiness and fresh juicy goodness that made each bite a pleasure to the senses and the tongue.
Walking through the park always relaxed Korra, though she would never admit it. The freshness of the open air and the bright and colourful trees that lined the pathway that led through the centre of the park made any, no matter how angry or frustrated, feel at ease and feel a peace within their hearts.
As Korra walked over the stone bridge she lifted a hand in recognition to the scruffy and friendly homeless man who just happened to live in the bushes of the park. He waved back frantically at her gesture but quickly ran off as a metal bender noticed him and began chase. Korra felt the corner of her lip's perk up slightly and withheld a small giggle. At least something's never changed.
Arriving at the dock 10 minutes later Korra slumped over the edge of the wooden dock and continued to nibble slowly at her fruit. The sun was still high in the sky, as the morning had barely begun but Korra already felt exhausted. She hadn't wanted to come to the market in the first place. She would much rather have stayed in bed, curled up into the fatal position which had quickly become her sleeping pose than out in the open where everyone could see her. Korra knew that people were staring at her even now. The avatar. Or at least the once avatar.
The soft ripple in the water alerted Korra that the ferry was arriving and she stood from her spot, paid the fee and walked upon the boat. She did her best to avoid all gazes that were shot at her and positioned herself near the end of the contraption so she could think and try and ignore all the attention she was attracting. As the ferry drifted off into the open water Korra felt her mind relax for the first time in months. Closing her eyes she breathed in the fresh scent of water and listened to the cries of the birds that followed the ferry overhead.
Tenzin had been the one who had forced her to go off the island for the first time in she didn't know how long. Korra just hadn't felt the need to seek open interaction with a people that now saw her as wasted trash that had somehow missed the bin. Her training, had kept her busy enough, for a time. But training alone, with only yourself and your own muscles grew old fast. There was no spark of excitement anymore in those sessions that she had once longed and enjoyed and though Korra kept up with her strength training, running and overall athleticism, no longer did she truly enjoy it.
Mako and Bolin- who had for a time lived at the air temple but had moved out months ago wanting to give the family its space and Korra hers- had made regularly visits after the accident but she had never seen them, always telling Tenzin or Pema that they needed to get rid of them as she didn't think she could face them. How could she when she had let not only them but the rest of republic city down? Mako over the last few weeks had given up on the visits which Korra assumed was because of work while Bolin constantly made house calls whenever he could in the attempt to try and talk to her. It was sweet but unjustified. She could look after herself and believed in her heart there was no reason for the ferret brothers to need her anymore not since her bending had been taken away.
Walking up the slope that lead to the main court of the house Korra felt herself feel guilt. Bolin and Mako were not like that, she knew that well and yet she couldn't bring herself to see why they would want to still be friends with her after all that had happened. After all she had done as well as all she had not done. They had Asami, both of them, who even with her father in jail had plenty to keep herself and at least half of republic city going for a decade. Asami was a sweet girl and had actually accompanied the two brothers a few times when they had tried to see her. Luckily Korra had been locked away in her room, where only Naga sat and slept with her. She did hate Asami per say, the two had actually started getting along until the accident but it would be a lie to say Korra wasn't a bit jealous. A none bender who understand herself and had all the influence in the world at her fingertips. Korra had once had the same sort of feeling but just like trying to grab at air, her power had become unobtainable and pointless.
The strong sent of some sort of stew brewing met Korra's nostrils as she walked the steps up to the main compartment of the air temple. Pema must be making breakfast for her family, for a moment Korra felt the need to join in the group but stopped herself. She was an outsider now; she didn't want to place the burden of her failure upon them. Quietly, she tiptoed outside of the room the young air benders and their parents were making their usual ruckus; Meelo yelling for food, Ikki asking her father about everything in the universe and out and Jinora Korra assumed was reading one of her books. Gently placing the items she had bought against the sliding door Korra started to sneak away before anyone realized she had been there and began to quietly ascend the stairs that led to her room and slipped inside without so much making a sound.
Naga rose slightly at the sight of her and Korra smiled softly, bending down and stroking the polar bear dog behind the ear. "Hi Naga." She whispered feeling the soft and wet animal's tongue begin to add liquid to her face. "I brought you a treat." From one of her pockets Korra withdrew a small dog's biscuit and laid it on her hand for Naga. The polar bear dog looked at her master for a moment before using her nose to push Korra's hand towards herself. "I've eaten Naga." Naga gave her a look like she didn't believe her. "Honest!" Korra pressed, producing the apple she had eaten earlier as evidence, "See?"
Naga paused. Korra knew it was stupid but she swore her pet showed more human emotion that most humans themselves. Suddenly Naga's ears picked up and she swiped away the biscuit and barked happily.
Korra laughed, stroking the beast before climbing back into her bed. Intent on getting some well wanted rest but before she had even a chance to try and get comfy or close her eyes she felt the soft push of a certain nose in her back. "I'm just having a nap." Korra told her softly, rolling over and stroking Naga's face, "Just 10 minutes ok?" Naga shot her another look but Korra had already rolled back over and closed her eyes.
Korra had been having nightmares for the last few months. Ever since the accident. Usually in her dreams she was running, chasing after the light that was blinking quietly in the darkness. It would end when suddenly the darkness underneath her opened up and swallowed her whole.
Korra had got used to this dream. Though it had unnerved her the first she had awoke it was something she had grown accustom to. It was just something she had to deal with. Unfortunately today's dream was not the usual one but one that was much much worse.
She was standing outside what seemed the police station in republic city. Her body moved of its own accord and she began to climb the steps that led to the front doors pushed herself inside. Inside, Lin and Tenzin were arguing about something and as she approached Korra's ears picked up a few key words, 'Amon, capture and me.'
Stopping in front of the pair, whom had grown silent at her appearance Korra opened to mouth to speak when suddenly her body froze. Behind the pair in the distance of the room stood him. Amon. Just standing there mask and all with his hands behind his back and watching her.
She blinked and felt cold sweat begin to trickle down the back of her neck. The sudden appearance of the man made her uncertain of what to do and before she could do anything a small crowd of people walked past where he was standing and with them he vanished..
Korra snapped her attention back to Lin and Tenzin on the intent of alarming them on what had just occurred. But the words that laced her tongue froze and slipped off. Her breathing hitched and she staggered backwards. No longer were Tenzin and Lin looking like their regular selves. Over their faces was a mask. And not just any mask HIS mask.
They began to approach her and Korra felt the fear that had started to build up inside her explode. "No!" She screamed, turning tail and bursting through the door's of the police station.
She ran as fast as her legs would carry her and soon was in the park where she had walked through earlier. However, instead of the lovely ornamented trees and beautiful smells like she was so used to, the park was covered in crimson; as though someone had thrown a fresh bucket of blood over the whole area. The trees themselves were a dark red, seeming to drip blood instead of leaves. The stones beneath her feet were hot and the grass that usually danced so gracefully in the wind was black and burnt.
The smell of burning that laced the air was not just of the grass however, Korra looked down and saw to her horror it was that her boots had suddenly caught aflame. Bending low she tried to water bend and exhaust the flame but her bending refused to listen to her. The flames crept up and up and when Korra looked around for help desperately her heart stopped. The people in the park didn't look like themselves anymore. They too had masks covering their faces and they too began to slowly walk towards her much like a recently created zombie. Korra felt her knees clipping together and her breathing hitch. She fought back the people as best she could but there was way too many of them. Despite her efforts some managed to latch onto her arms and force them behind her while others forced her to bend down to the ground and held her there.
"Let me go!" She yelled, managing to break free and push away a man and a woman who had been holding her other arm captive. But there was way too many of them and she lacked the power.
Again, she was forced to the ground, forced to sit on her knees and forced to do whatever the people wanted. Korra's mind was a whirl as she tried to figure out what she could, if anything, do. But before she had a chance to even begin to formulate a plan the man of the hour appeared and all thinking just stopped.
Amon was dressed in his usual equalist attire, with the dark musty browns and greens and of course his signature mask placed proudly upon his face. He stood watching from a distance, much like he had done in the police station but this time he did not merely watch, this time when her knees connected to the ground he began to slowly and steadily walk towards her.
He seemed to take each step as though he was walking through a mine field but Korra swore he was doing it so that with each step her heart would skip a beat. It was certainly working. Each of his steps suddenly sounded much like a cannon going off in her head and each made the earth shake.
Amon approached the young avatar with what could have been called ease and haughtiness. When a few centimetres away from her he stopped, rapped his hands around his back and peered down at his greatest foe.
"It is over avatar." He said, that usual monotone voice breaking through the silence of the world.
Korra fought against her captures again but it was useless she couldn't shake them off. "You'll never win!" She bellowed, gritting her teeth together and snarling up at him, "The benders won't go down without a fight!"
Amon didn't say anything for a moment before, "That's only if they have a cause to fight for young avatar."
"What?" And no matter how hard she tried Korra could not keep her voice from trembling a lapse.
"It is simple. Of course at a time if I had taken away your bending then you would have become a martyr. But that was when the benders had the notation they could still win this war. Now," He took a step towards her and lowered himself to her height. His hand grabbed her by the chin and he forced her to look deep into his eyes, "The battle has already been won. All we need now is to get rid of the rival general."
And he placed his thumb to her forehead.
Korra awoke with a scream. Her eyes wide with terror, her face covered in sweat and her chest heaving so rapidly it was like she had just run a marathon. For a moment Korra couldn't tell she was out of the dream, she looked around fearfully with large and apprehensive eyes and for a moment a shadow caught her gaze and she was back in the dream.
Drawing her knees into her stomach Korra hugged her body and felt herself shaking violently. When had she become so fearful of even a shadow? Where had her attitude and strength gone? Where had she gone? Amon hadn't just taken her bending away from her. No, he had taken her identity. Taken, everything she related to herself and left her an empty and unknowing shell. Kicked her aside and left her to rot.
Hot tears tried to burst from the corners of the young avatar's eyes but she forced them back. Her mouth quivering as she sniffled and tried to calm herself down.
"He's not here." She muttered over and over again to herself, "He can't hurt me."
Naga, who had awoken at her master's screech snuggled her head into Korra's shoulder. "I'm fine girl." Korra said but the tone she used was more like she was trying to convince herself of her own words.
There was a soft sound of her room's door being shifted open and there stood her once air master, Tenzin. He was dressed in his usual air monk attire, with the bright oranges and yellows and the bright blue air tattoos seeming to glow in the little light that was being allowed through Korra's room.
Korra tried to open her mouth to tell him that she was fine and not to worry but all that came out was a pathetic sobbing squeak. And then she really did start crying. Tenzin passed almost like he was floating on air to her side and laid a hand on her back and began to try and calm her down. Korra grabbed at him and the monk did not try and pull away but instead embraced the still violently shaking and now sobbing girl into his arms while whispering everything was fine and that it was just a dream.
It took a good 10 minutes for Korra to calm down and when she finally looked up into Tenzin's tired eyes her eyes were extremely swollen and bloodshot. She sniffled and pulled away, wiping away some of the snot dripping from her nose with a hand and swallowing dryly.
"It helps to talk about it Korra." Tenzin tried, raising a gentle hand and placing it kindly on her shoulder.
Korra's eyes roamed Tenzin's face before she whispered hoarsely, "I don't know what to do."
Tenzin looked deeply into his young student's eyes before answering as softly as he could, "Korra, this isn't something you can deal with alone. Your friends, myself and this household want to help you. You have to let us though."
"No one can help me." Korra whispered darkly, "I failed them. I failed everyone, you, Mako, Bolin, Asami, everyone! It was my job to stop Amon but...but..." her voice began to tremble again.
"No one expects you to be perfect Korra." Tenzin tried.
"I'm the avatar!" She snapped, her voice rising. "It was my job to protect the balance of the world and I failed!"
"You haven't failed anyone Korra." Tenzin said, "You tried to stop him, no one knew that he had managed to manipulate the metal benders so that had to listen to his commands."
Korra shook her head, "I should have been stronger. I should have been ready."
"Why haven't you let your friends see you? They're worried about you Korra." Tenzin said, trying to change the topic.
"Why would they be? I'm not the avatar anymore."
"Korra, they're your friends."
"I failed them..."
Tenzin sighed, this conversation was going nowhere. Getting up from the bed he grabbed onto the young girl's wrist and pulled her up. Ignoring her protests Tenzin proceeded to drag Korra from her room and down the steps to where the rest of the family was astonishingly quite and waiting.
Letting her go at her spot at the table Tenzin seated himself and pushed a bowl of stew towards her. "Eat." He told her.
Korra looked around the table unsteadily, everyone was watching her and she wasn't sure what to do. Lowering her gaze she looked at the bowl of stew that Pema had made and felt her month fill with salvia. She was hungry. Picking up the wooden spoon that had been left to the side of the bowl Korra scooped a bit of the food onto it and placed in her month. It was delicious. She took another and another, almost finishing the bowl before anyone could blink.
As though it had been a sign that everything was ok, the rest of the family also picked up their spoons and began to eat. Soon afterwards, the usual crazy antics of the family erupted with Meelo somehow ending up wearing his soup and bowl on his head and Ikki asking her mother why carrot's chose to be orange, wasn't purple much more of a fun colour?
Korra ate her stew quietly but the craziness and homeliness of the air bending family made her feel a bit calmer and helped her to feel a bit more at ease.
"Korra, I'm going down to see Commander Lin after breakfast. Would you like to come?"
Looking up at Tenzin Korra swallowed, feeling a growing knot growing in her throat. "Why?"
"Lin asked for you."
That came as a shock, "For me?"
"Yes." Tenzin said nodding, "She said she needs your guidance."
Looking back down at her now empty bowl of stew Korra thought for a moment. Did she want to go back to the city? Did she want to see Lin? Did Lin really want to see her for that matter or was Tenzin just playing mind games with her? Trying to get her to leave and go outside? What if she saw Mako and Bolin? No, that was highly unlikely; the two lived in the opposite side of the city. It wasn't likely they would be walking around where the police station was.
The image of Tenzin and Lin with Amon's mask covering their faces flashed into her mind for a moment and Korra fought back against it. She needed to be stronger than this.
Rising her eyes back To Tenzin who was patiently waiting for her answer she nodded, "Ok."
A/N just because the dream took place in the park doesn't mean it actually did in reality. The mind mixture fears and recent events together sometimes.