Sometimes, in the darkness of the night, when the sky was black velvet and the stars twinkled so, so far away, Korra felt alone.
She stared at the moon, which was supposed to make the waterbender feel empowered, but it just made her feel vulnerable.
Sometimes, being the Avatar was a lonely job. She was constantly putting her loved ones in harm's way without even meaning to.
She sat in her windowsill, her body melting into the frame as she gazed at Republic City.
The city once held such a hope for her, but now it just held some form of desperation.
It was the city where Amon destroyed the bending arena.
It was the city where Amon destroyed the balance of any semblance of peace that had remained.
It was the city where she kissed Mako, and damn, did he return her kiss.
Korra wasn't about to tell the world, but it was her first kiss. She tried to stay away from the spot where it was shared, but she always tended to drift right back to that spot and just remember the situation without any omitted details.
"As much as you drive me crazy, I also think you're pretty amazing."
A loud knock on her door awoke Korra from her sleep. She had fallen asleep in the windowsill again.
It was Mako.
"Come in." She said, her exhaustion was clear in her voice, as her words almost slurred together.
He came in her room, his tall figure difficult to see in the dark.
"What do you want, Mako?"
The words came out harsher than she meant, but Korra was allowed this.
"I was just checking up on you, to make sure you were okay."
Of course she wasn't okay. She had been kidnapped by Tarrlock. She was battered and bruised and so tired. The kind of tired that isn't relieved by sleep, the kind that sticks with you until the end of all eternity. The kind of weariness that settles in the marrow of your bones and remains there.
"I'm fine." Korra lied weakly.
Mako saw through it easily. He just…got her.
"You don't have to pretend for me, Korra. Tell me what's up." He approached her and sat on the other side of the windowsill, facing her.
Korra was quiet for a moment.
"I can take care of myself! You don't have to be like some mother hen, always watching over and protecting me. I can deal with my own problems and I don't need your help!"
Mako took a deep breath in, resisting yelling at her and leaving the room, slamming the door behind him.
"I know. Telling someone else your problems doesn't make you weak, Korra."
Korra looked down at her knees that were curled against her chest. A tear rolled down her cheek and she desperately hoped that Mako couldn't see.
"It was just…frightening. I was completely helpless against him. Tarrlock bloodbended me and the next thing I knew, I was in a metal box. And then, all the sudden, I heard Amon. A few equalists were told to electrocute the prison I was in."
She breathed in heavily, her breaths turning ragged, as though she was about to sob.
"I used a piece of fabric from my clothes and held onto the grate that made up the lid. I defeated the equalists and ran into the forest. I tripped on a branch and fell into a pile of snow at the base of a tree. If it weren't for Naga, I would have been covered with snow, I would have died."
By now, Korra was sobbing quietly. She didn't even bother to hide her tears anymore, she didn't have the strength.
Mako just watched her as she self-destructed right in front of his eyes. He felt helpless.
"I'm here now, Korra." He stepped off the windowsill and pulled her body towards his own.
"I was so terrified." She sobbed into his shoulder.
He wrapped his arms around her tightly and kissed the top of her head.
"You need to sleep." He said quietly.
"Don't go." Her words were muffled into his shoulder.
"Mako, please don't go, I can't be alone right now."
"I won't, Korra. I won't.
The next morning, Korra awoke after the best sleep she had ever had. It was calm, restful, and beautifully dreamless.
Dreamless is better than nightmares.
She was wrapped in Mako's arms, who had fallen asleep beside her and was still asleep.
She didn't turn to face him, she wouldn't wake him. She just knew it was Mako because of his cinnamon spice smell and the feel of his arms just felt like home.
Her eyes widened and she tried to remember last night, going through the events to make sure she didn't do anything foolish and stupid.
Mako awoke shortly after Korra, his face in her hair, which was out of its ponytail for once.
Her hair smelled sweet and floral, which surprised him. He always thought it would smell warm and smoky or maybe spicy. But this scent was undeniably feminine and flowery.
"You were saying something in your sleep." Mako murmured to Korra through her thick, dark hair.
Her blood turned ice cold.
"What was I saying?
"It didn't really sound like anything, but it sounded happy, not scared or worried. You sounded…at home."
"Right here, right now, I am home." Korra said, before she could stop herself.
"Korra..."He started, then paused.
"Asami and I broke up. She saw how I looked at you last night when we retrieved you. She saw how scared I was that I might never see you again, and she could just tell."
She saw the pain in his eyes of him remembering how he felt when she was gone.
Korra silently rejoiced and any guilt she felt about being in this position melted away.
"Are you okay?" It was Korra's turn to ask.
"Never been better." He said and kissed the top of her head.