WARNING: this fic should have had this warning from the very start; it contains non-con. Trigger warnings for rape, emotional and physical abuse. This wasn't intended to be a romantic fic, guys. I wrote it in the aftermath of an abusive relationship, which I've only begun to come to terms with recently, and I intend to go back and rewrite it to remove anything gratuitous or fetishy. This may not happen for a while, because of the personal difficulty involved.
It's okay to have a non-con fetish. I do, and I have been in an abusive relationship. Those two things are largely separate; I had the fetish before the relationship, and I still do now. I intend to write a more fetishy set of one-shots and some point and upload them separately, so there's no confusion between the plot-line of this fic and the fetish elements that can be drawn from it.
Abuse is not romantic. If you consider this fic to be a love story, or Amon to be tragically misunderstood, you might want to read up on rape culture, and abuse.
I am on tumblr as wherehaveallthecowboysgone.
Korra stared into the mirror, steeling herself not to snap. You have to be brave, she told herself. It felt like she'd been brave for an unbearably long time, though, in the aftermath of the revolution. Everything had come crashing down on her head. They just hadn't been strong enough to beat the Equalists, in the end. You have to be brave, because you know who he has; you know… you know…
"If you cry and ruin this make-up, I'll have them beat you," the young Equalist doing her hair growled, looking at her with loathing. "I'm not interested in your fucking pity fest." She yanked on Korra's hair viciously, and Korra bit her lip to keep herself from crying out. An old urge to smash everything and beat the pulp out of the non-bender reared its head. She smothered it reluctantly, trying to ignore the pang of longing. In the new regime, her confidence had shrunken. It re-emerged every so often, a relic of a better time. It would be so satisfying to retaliate, but she knew who would suffer for it.
"If it was up to me," the Equalist continued, her expression hateful, "I'd have just left you to die. Unfortunately for you and me, I'm not the leader." She leaned in, right close to Korra's face, and stared at their reflected form. The golden edging of the ornate antique framed them both, a picture from a nightmare story-book.
"Time to go get married, Avatar."
The ceremony was ludicrously lavish and busy for the ruined city. Crowds of people milled with champagne glasses, making polite conversation about nothing. The Avatar was marrying Amon… how nice the weather had been recently, hadn't it? The sky had cleared from the smoke and skeletons of the fight, that much was true, Korra thought bitterly as she waited behind a stage curtain, plush and red, to be revealed in all her glory. Where had all the money for this come from? It seemed that Equalists were in less dire straits than they had claimed…
She felt utterly sick in the colours of her enemy. Her strength gathered, she'd screamed for a blue dress, beat the walls and attacked her guards over it. Anything to make one last stand, to hold onto the remnants of her culture. Amon himself had come to see her about it. He'd seemed to be actually enjoying it, insofar as that monster could emote at all. Pleased to see her lose control so much, probably. The fact that all she had to fight over now was her own choice of clothing must have delighted him.
Korra's sweaty hands smoothed down her starched dress, and her fingers tapped nervously against the embroidery. She couldn't look at herself, so sapped of colour. Perhaps there was still time. Perhaps she could kill herself. Escape was a far-off dream. Covert glances told her that there were four guards waiting around; even with her bending gone—her precious, missing bending—she could take them out with the hand-to-hand combat she knew. The others would die, but maybe that was for the best. Was any of this worth living for? They were locked up, they weren't living as human beings should. It would be a kindness to put all of them out of their misery.
If she was going to do it, she had to decide soon. She almost cried then and there to have to be thinking about killing herself and her friends as a mercy, and her courage nearly faltered at the first hurdle. If only she had a little more time to gather her courage and steel herself, then she could do it. It seemed so senseless to have that knock-on effect on the children, who'd barely even got a life, although it had been a happy she didn't have the time—
A heavy hand settled around her shoulder. She nearly threw up at the shock to her taut nerves, hands curling into fists. Amon's mask looked down at her, smooth and emotionless. He'd won. This was his victory, this event. In the aftermath of the fight for Republic City, the benders had lost, and Amon had won, and when they'd found the Avatar underneath a pile of rubble, barely still breathing, he'd decided it wasn't enough to win. He was going to take the very symbol of benders the world over and… Korra didn't know. Humiliate her? Control her? He could have tortured her (though in reality he had without ever laying a finger on her, her fragile state of mind testified to it) or killed her, but he hadn't. Why was he marrying her?
"You look lovely," he said, his words dripping with self-satisfaction. "It's a shame that you couldn't wear your own colours, but…I'm sure you understand, Avatar." He still called her 'Avatar'. She was dreading the moment when he'd say her name. She didn't want her name to come out of that filthy man's mouth. "Mute? Well, just as long as you say the words when I require to… you're well aware of the consequences if you don't."
She choked down her fear and steadied herself as the fanfare began and the people quietened. This was not the place to cry and throw up. She couldn't do that here, or they'd be punished. For the next hour or so, just the next hour, Korra had to be made of steel. There would be time afterwards to accept the reality of the situation. Amon's hand went from her shoulder to her waist, settling on her hip, and she looked at the floor. He offered her his other hand to be held in front of them, to place them in a traditional Earth Kingdom bridal stance, and she resolutely ignored it. Turning his head to face forwards, he simply grabbed her hand and held it in a bruising grip. His callused, work-hardened fingers dug into hers like a cage.
The curtain rose, and the Avatar and the Equalist stepped out onto the stage.
Korra couldn't remember much from the ceremony afterwards. It was a blur of sickness, lurching from one moment to another—congratulations for the happy couple!—wasn't the Avatar ever so quiet; mute from happiness, perhaps—it was so good to see the union of benders and Equalists at last, they were the finest match—would the Avatar like a little to drink?—she seemed rather pale. At some point in the mess, Korra acquired multiple glasses of champagne. She could see Amon's perfect, controlled exterior crack for a second through the mask as his eyes narrowed almost imperceptibly, and she decided that she deserved another drink.
More faces blurred past, people she didn't know, people she didn't care about, stinking vultures coming forward to fill the gap of the old power; Tarrlok somewhere in the middle oozing up to them to remind Amon of his role in the revolution. Amon physically restrained her from leaping at him. The cruel hold on her wrist turned from pressure to pain.
By the time she was spilling drinks on herself, Amon was visibly displeased. Korra no longer had any idea what time it was, only that this was becoming absolutely unbearable. She was going to snap if it went on for much longer. The effort of keeping her mouth shut had become herculean, and her jaw ached from the stress of grinding her teeth. Amon's hand on her hip was the only thing still anchoring her to the earth, overly hot and tight and possessive on her skin. "Behave," he murmured, leaning down very close to her ear. "Conduct yourself with at least minimal dignity, Avatar."
"Leave me alone," she moaned, feeling tears well up in her eyes, much to her dismay. "Why do you have to do this to me? Haven't you done enough? Haven't you already got everything?"
He regarded her strangely dispassionately, someone flickering for a second in his eyes. "Not quite," he replied, nodding to an acquaintance or a guest, "but if you wish, we can retire for the night."
"I can't stand any more of this."
"As you wish, Avatar," he said distantly, beckoning over the Lieutenant with his free hand. He gave a few orders that Korra missed entirely in her miserable fugue state, and took her hand again. Her sweaty palm rested uncomfortably in his easy grip.
They made their way to the platform, where a mic had been set up. The Lieutenant waited off at the side, looking odd in his wedding finery. Korra remembered distantly the times she'd fought him, the hedonistic joy in fighting with all her heart and soul against someone who would kill her if they could. Her hands twitched, remembering the forms, and she ached with the distant but utterly unforgettable memory of bending.
"People of Republic City," Amon announced, the quiet spreading from the platform with ease and control. He was using his public speaking voice, charismatic and personal. Korra had never been able to gain the easy charisma of Avatar Aang, that effortlessness with people; she was rough and abrasive and cocky. Back when she had been able to, anyway. "I thank you for attending our union tonight. I hope that we have shown you that people who were benders and non-benders can exist in harmony in our new city, our new world. Let our union be a message to the people who were not here tonight; the era of bending is over. The era of equality begins!" The audience, murmuring assent, burst into applause at the crux of his speech; some who had been sitting down rose to their feet with enthusiasm. Korra wondered sceptically how much of it was genuine hate for benders, and how much of it was faked to show their enthusiasm for the new people in charge. "We regret to leave you early tonight, but my wife"—she all but shuddered at that, but managed to keep herself steady, just—"has asked to retire, and I would like to get our marriage off to a smooth start." The ripple of laughter across the room made her jaw clench. Amon leaned in, his hand tightening on her hip, and hissed, "Smile." From somewhere, she managed to summon up a weak, bashful smile that she expected to convince nobody, and the audience cooed accordingly. "Please, do justice to the banquet, and goodnight."
The applause tided them out of the room, walking at a stately, elegant pace. Korra wanted nothing more than to flee like a wounded animal, gathering her viciously bruised pride. At last Amon removed his hands, stopped touching her, and the sense of nausea receded considerably. "You performed tolerably tonight," he said, striding ahead into the darkened corridor, lined with guards. She followed after a moment, walking behind him as they passed through one of the hidden doors dotted around in the labyrinthine mansion. "Only tolerably, however. In future, you are to embarrass neither yourself nor me further with consumption of alcohol, have I made myself clear? In public, we are to be the happy couple, regardless of what loathing you regard me with in private. You are aware of the consequences if you don't comply." He turned back, and she nodded mutinously, holding her beloved people in her head to stop her doing something rash.
They were in an area that she hadn't seen before, though the house as a whole was unfamiliar and strange. She'd been confined to one room for weeks. It must be one of the more secretive areas; there was no luxurious carpet here, no tapestries and portraits on the walls. There weren't even any windows.
Amon opened one of the few doors with movements that were too fast for her to register. It made a hideous clicking noise that boded ill, and she only moved forward when he beckoned. "Welcome to my quarters," he said, pushing down his hood and beginning to unbutton his elaborate jacket.
Korra remained by the door, which had shut with an ominously heavy click. She didn't dare try the handle. "I… don't understand," she said uncertainly, fiddling with a stray thread on her dress. The nausea from before was returning threefold, eating away at her. She'd… she hadn't really thought this far ahead. She'd assumed that the marriage was a sham, just for appearances, and that she'd return to her cell after the ceremony was done. Surely Amon didn't intend to try and keep her with him…
He was looking at her, the tiniest curl of his mouth betraying derisive amusement. "You understand how a marriage works, Avatar. You are young, but not so naïve?" Sitting down on a plain chair askance from a desk burdened with neat piles of papers, he removed his shoes carefully and placed them beside it. "You must know that one of the basic tenets of matrimony is that husband and wife live together."
"But this isn't a real marriage," Korra said, her head spinning with panic and drink. "This is a show. This is about a union of benders and non-benders—it's fake—"
"I assure you that we were genuinely married tonight." He stood up abruptly, walked towards her. Her first instinct was to run. It muddled in her head and all she managed was to hit the door, which shocked her. Involuntarily, Korra cried out, sinking to the floor. Above all, she must not cry. She must not cry. "Now, now," he said, lifting her limp form. She hated the feeling of his hands on her. They stirred an ugly, deep, wounded hatred. "This room is completely secure." He deposited her on the bed in the centre of the room, her limbs sprawling across the covers. "Rest assured that your chances of successful escape are so minimal as to be pitiful."
"I hate you," she spat, slowly regaining control of her body.
Amon shrugged slowly, as if shaking off something. "You have little idea of the sentiments I harbour." He turned to her, his expression metamorphosing from its usual control into something twisted and angry. "I should have left you to die. It would have fulfilled our plans. Someone else would have found the body, and it would have been tragic that the Avatar had been a casualty of the revolution, something we had of course never intended. But I could not leave you to die there," he said, leaning over her until his face was inches from hers. "Why is that? What have you done to me?"
Her wide blue eyes stared up into his, almost paralysed. Any confusion or fog had been burned away by terror. "I haven't done anything to you," she croaked, hating the fear cracking her voice apart. If she still had her bending, she'd destroy him. She'd burn him until nothing was left. If she still had her bending…
"Don't lie to me," he growled, gripping her upper arms in a bruising hold. "I haven't been able to stop thinking of you since the first time I saw you. You have been haunting me. But," he said, leaning back up and letting out a disturbingly jovial chuckle, "I won. You're mine, now, the greatest trophy of the revolution. Our match should produce one or two children, to show the masses a happy family, and if you show yourself to be obedient I might even let you take up some pursuits of your own… painting, perhaps. Embroidery. Pursuits that suit your status." He rolled away fully for a moment, removing his shirt to show a well-muscled chest, and folded it over a nearby chair. "This marriage will be consummated whether you're willing or not, Avatar… Korra, I should say."
Hearing her name out of that man's mouth finally galvanised her from panic into blind action. She physically threw herself off the bed, acting out of sheer adrenaline, aiming for the door—maybe if she hit it really, really hard it would break, maybe she could knock Amon out, this was just too horrible to even be happening, it couldn't be happening—
An arm slammed around her middle as she dashed, the room suddenly seeming to have elongated, and all the air left her body in a sickening thump. Letting instinct take over, she slammed her feet into just below his knee, managed to get one hit in the back of the knee in her wild flailing. She heard a grunt of surprise as his leg buckled, but the pincers around her stomach refused to open. Sucking in air to try and regain her strength, she reached back blindly for the eyes—go for the eyes —only to have her hands caught in a vice-like grip.
Korra was bodily flipped over, her tailbone hitting the floor excruciatingly. Winded again, exhausted from the sheer strain of the day catching up to her, she lay there on the cold, hard ground and felt the tears well up in her eyes. Amon straddled her, her legs pinned to the floor, hands held above her head. He looked down at her with an expression that was half irritation and half excitement. "That was ill advised," he murmured, lifting her up and tossing her towards the bed. "Who shall I punish for your transgressions? The firebender? The earthbender? Perhaps later… but not tonight.
"Tonight is for us, Korra."