Disclaimer: Anything that you recognize definitely doesn't belong to me.
He moved through the stances, one by one, like he had done every day of his life up until this point. The movements came easily; they felt natural and right, like embracing an old friend. He could feel his muscles stretch and work, groaning in happiness as he came to the end of the set. It was one of the first sets he had ever learned, one that his father had taught him when he was just a child.
He straightened his legs and dropped his arms, sadly looking toward the traitorous pail of water beside him. It wouldn't move.
He looked up, and addressed the man across the room, Sheng-Li, the best healer money could buy.
"Come," Sheng-Li motioned toward a chair beside him, "sit."
Tahno crossed the room and sat. He watched as Sheng-Li manipulated the water from the pail across the room, changing its form and making it glow, turning it into healing water. Sheng-Li applied the water to Tahno's forehead, and Tahno felt a soothing cooling sensation, but not much else.
"Get up," Sheng-Li pushed Tahno out of his seat, "and try again."
Tahno stumbled to his feet, walked back over to the water, and moved through the stances again. Again, he failed to make so much as a wave in the water.
He looked up in desperation. "Please tell me there's something else you can do."
Sheng-Li shook his head sadly. "There's nothing more I can do for you. I don't know what that man did to you, but it seems to be irreversible. I'm so sorry."
Tahno groaned in exasperation, and kicked the pail of water. The water spilled all over the floor, soaking Tahno's shoes. And I can't even bend it out, he thought to himself as he stormed out of the office.
Tahno looked down at his feet. The floor of the Police Headquarters was shiny and polished, and he could see his own pitiful reflection in it. He could barely even recognize himself. His once handsome face was pale and sad-looking, he had bags under his eyes, and his usually beautiful hair hung lank and greasy. He didn't know who he was anymore, possibly because he was no longer anyone of worth, not without his bending.
He had been called in for questioning, just like everyone else who had been in the arena that day. He had known all along that the Chief of Police would want to speak with him, as one of the victim's of Amon's attack, and he had been dreading it. They would want him to recount the details of the attack, he knew, and he wasn't quite sure that was something he could do.
Suddenly, Tahno caught sight of another reflection in the polished floor; the reflection was of a young girl clad in fur, the traditional outfit of the Southern Water Tribe, the sister tribe to the place that Tahno's great-grandfather had once lived: the Northern Water Tribe. He had never been to the Southern Water Tribe himself, having been born and raised in Republic City, and he only knew one person who had been there.
Tahno looked up at the Avatar. "Hey, Korra."
He took in the Avatar's look of surprise, and the mixture of astonishment and pity in her voice as she said, "Tahno?" He averted his gaze. He couldn't do this. He was barely able to face his reflection in the floor, how would he be able to face those who had been there, those who had come out of it unscathed?
Korra sat on the bench beside Tahno. "Listen, I know we're not exactly best friends, but I'm sorry Amon took your bending."
He still couldn't look at her. He knew if he did, he would choke up and be unable to speak. The last thing he needed was for the Avatar, who had until very recently been his rival in the arena, to see him cry.
"I've been to the best healers in the city," he told her, his voice shaking, but his tear ducts thankfully not betraying him. Finally, he looked at Korra. "Whatever Amon did to me, it's permanent."
They were silent for a moment¸ the Avatar not knowing what to say, and Tahno simply not wanting to say anything at all. Until a thought struck him.
He turned to face her. "You've got to get him for me."
She nodded gravely, and Tahno knew Korra would do her best to keep her promise to him, no matter how much she may have hated him before. No bender could imagine living without their natural-born ability. Tahno was being forced to live every bender's worst fear.
Tahno was saved from talking about his condition any more to the Avatar by the appearance of Chief Beifong, Councilmen Tenzin, and Hiroshi Sato.
"If you remember anything else about what you saw during Amon's attack," the Chief said, "be sure to let us know."
"I'm happy to help any way I can," Mr. Sato replied, "I want these Equalists to pay for what they've done." He gave Korra a nod of recognition before leaving.
Councilmen Tenzin turned to Tahno. "We're ready for you now," Tenzin told Tahno, and he could feel his heart drop all the way to his feet. This wasn't going to be easy.
Tahno got up and turned to Korra. "See you around," he said, forcing a smile onto his face for appearance's sake, "Avatar."
He followed Councilmen Tenzin and Chief Beifong into the interrogation room. Chief Beifong motioned toward a chair, which Tahno sat in. Chief Beifong sat in a chair opposite him. Councilmen Tenzin closed the door behind him before sitting next to Chief Beifong.
"I know this may be difficult," Tenzin said, a look of deepest sympathy, which made Tahno want to vomit, on his face, "but could you tell us exactly what happened to you during Amon's attack?"
Tahno sighed heavily, but knew there was no way for him to get out of talking. "I…we had just won the match. All of a sudden Amon and his henchmen were in the arena, and I had to fight him off…but it didn't work. He put his thumb here," he put his index finger against the very center of his forehead, "and my bending was gone. He started going on and on about oppression against non-benders, and how awful me and my teammates are. Then his henchmen pushed us into the drain, where someone found us later on." He looked at Tenzin and Chief Beifong's grave faces. "That's all I can remember."
"Thank you," Chief Beifong said.
Tahno pushed out his chair and began to rise, but Chief Beifong put out her hand to stop him. "Wait. We have a…" she and Tenzin exchanged a look before she continued, "request."
Tahno knit his eyebrows together in confusion. What could they possibly want from him? He was useless. Amon had taken away everything Tahno had ever had; his bending, his career, his confidence. He had nothing left to give.
"We had an idea," Tenzin explained vaguely, "but we haven't been able to act on it…we couldn't ask just anyone, because you never know where a person's loyalties lie…"
"I'm sorry, but do you have a point?"
"We need a spy," Chief Beifong explained bluntly, her expression remaining the same, as if she had just asked Tahno to pass her a glass of water.
He blanched. "You want me to be a spy?"
"You're the perfect candidate. We know we can trust you, and you can feed Amon some cockamouse-and-bullgator story about how you've seen the light. We need to know what he's planning. We need to get ahead of him for once, and the only way we can do that is if we send someone from our team across enemy lines. I can't ask my men to give up their bending…" she trailed off, aware that she had hit a soft spot.
Tahno simply gaped at them. He couldn't be a spy. What if they found him out? He wouldn't be able to defend himself without his bending. He could picture Amon coming after him, and the image of that mask sent a shiver down Tahno's spine.
"No. I'm sorry, but I'm not the right man for the job."
"Just think about it," Tenzin told him calmly, "And let us know what you decide."
The Councilman and the Chief left their seats. Tahno pushed out his chair, and got up as well. Chief Beifong held the door open as Tahno stepped back out into the lobby before following him. He shook both of their hands before turning his back to them, and walking as fast as he could out of the Police Headquarters, ignoring Avatar Korra as she called out to him, "How did it go?"
There was no way he was going to spy for them. He would take a week and pretend to think about it, but there was absolutely no chance that Tahno was ever going to change his answer.
A/N: Hello! Thanks for reading the first chapter of my story! I'm sorry if the writing was a little shoddy; I haven't done any creative writing in wayyy too long, so I'm a little rusty. My goal for the summer is to force myself to write, anything I can think of, so it should get better with time. I have two warnings about this story: 1. After the next chapter, I have literally no idea where I'm going with this. But, as per my summer goal, I'm going to continue on with it no matter what. So I will figure something out, it might just take me longer to update because I need to mull things over. 2. I don't write happy endings. I don't like them. Life doesn't have perfect, happy, everything ties together nicely endings. It isn't realistic. I'm not saying the ending to this is going to be horribly depressing, because it probably won't be, but if you're looking for something that's gonna have a perfect little ending, this story isn't going to be it.
Sorry for the long note, I just figured I should warn you! Review if you liked it, or even if you hated it; I can always use tips on how to improve. Also, anyone who can tell me where the How I Met Your Mother reference is hidden in here will get a shout-out in the next chapter.