Notes: even if I ship endgame Makorra, I pretty much ride the S.S. Friendship. Basically, my goal with these drabbles was to examine Korra's relationships with her friends and family, showing why they are important to her and what she can learn from them. They're all very fluffy and sweet because that's how friendships should be. And yes, there will be Makorra eventually, but all the other fics will be free of that.
Title comes from the Joanna Newsom song, Jackrabbits: "you can take my hand in the darkness darling/like a length of rope"
Before Korra even had to lift the squeaky latch on Naga's pen, the polar bear dog lifted her large head to her master's arrival, black lips pulled back to emit an eager whine. Korra laughed as she slipped inside the pen while her best friend wiggled on the floor in excitement, waiting for Korra to step forward and rub her head.
"Hey, girl," she whispered, curling her hand up. Naga jumped to her feet and buried her head into her master's stomach, whining and panting as Korra's upper body curled over her head. Both of her hands curved behind Naga's floppy, warm ears and started scratching away. "That's my good girl, you're tired, huh?"
Naga continued to whine in response, continuously lifting her paws off the ground as if she were bouncing. Korra laughed, because it reminded her of Bolin, of Meelo and Ikki, the three people who nearly acted just like Naga every time she came home. That kind of full body excitement-but it was better with Naga, because it was the only way she could express her love and loyalty to her master. And it was constant, the way she always greeted Korra even if she had failed her airbending lessons, if she lost her patience and set something on fire, if she hurt her human friends when they were far too complicated to understand.
Korra lifted herself off of Naga's head, kneeling down to wrap her arms around Naga's muzzle and rest her chin between her small, black eyes. Blue stared back at the black until finally, Naga couldn't take the lack of sound and movement anymore, and she opened her mouth and forcefully brought it up to disentangle Korra's arms and run her large pink tongue across Korra's cheek.
She laughed and rubbed the saliva away with her hand. "You're funny, you know that?" Naga sat down and Korra pressed a kiss to the top of her head.
"I think I'm messing up again, girl," Korra said quietly, sitting down before her. Naga whined and laid down, resting her head in Korra's crossed legs. Sighing, she started absentmindedly running her hands over Naga's head and ears. "It's just worse this time because it's going so slow. But also kind of fast? I don't know."
Naga sighed in response.
"Yeah. I'm really trying, too. It's just that everything so difficult here, you know?" Korra paused and rubbed the soft velvet just above Naga's nose. "Well, I know you know. You can't run or burrow in the snow or hunt anymore. I told Bolin and Mako about how much you hate the weather here, and you know what they said? They said I should shave you." Korra laughed brightly. "City slickers. I think only Asami could handle the South Pole. She never complains about anything."
Korra suddenly sighed heavily, and pushed Naga's head off of her legs. She stood and moved to the polar bear dog's great front legs, settling herself down between them. Naga's neck pressed down over Korra's body, and she was able to rest her head against Naga's leg. It felt a little bit like being nestled in the warm cocoon beds back home, her real home, where her parents lived.
"Why's it so easy to talk to you, Naga?" Korra mused, pulling gently at the thick folds of skin at Naga's neck. "I mean, you can't talk back, but I always feel better afterwards. Maybe it's because of some Avatar junk. You know, animal guides and stuff. I hope not, though." Korra paused and started threading her fingers through Naga's fur. "Because, if it was, I think then you'd be like everybody else. I only know Tenzin because of Avatar duties, and he gets disappointed with me. You're never disappointed when I do something wrong. Sometimes, I think you're my only friend."
Naga whined pitifully, and Korra broke into a smile.
"I guess you're right. That's not fair to say. I mean, it's not like we started out as best of friends," Korra laughed brightly and Naga's ears perked up. "The next time Tenzin or Mako or anybody tells me about patience, I'm going to tell them to train a polar bear dog."
Naga's tail thumped against the ground, and Korra knew she agreed. She reached down to scratch her behind the ears again.
"Yeah, girl, I know. Nothing worth having is ever easy," Korra said, and she buried her face into Naga's neck. "You taught me that. Avatar lesson number one."
Naga barked once, loudly, and the sound vibrated up from her chest, through Korra's body, and out her mouth. Korra laughed with ease for the first time all day, and she decided right then that she could afford to skip afternoon meditation.
"I'm taking a break," Korra said, and she leaned back against Naga's leg, shutting her eyes with a light sigh. "Let's dream about snow."