look out, another long-ass a/n ahead.

first i need to say that the response to this has been overwhelming. honestly, i never write anything for anyone other than myself, so to see so many people taking an interest and encouraging me and really enjoying this thing that i only set out to do as a personal challenge, for me, is a really big deal. and you guys - you GUYS, your REVIEWS, holy crap. i know i don't reply to a lot of them personally but i appreciate the hell outta every single one, you have no idea, every one makes me so happy - especially those of you who reviewed almost EVERY CHAPTER. that's just insane. i mean, seriously, i have never had something like this happen before, and i just wish i could sweep all of you up in one big group hug. MASSIVE THAAAANK YOOUUUUU.

second, this is DEFINITELY not the last you'll hear of me - i have so many other fic ideas i don't really know what to do with them all. BUT, considering the next fic i post will be my 100th (i don't even know how that happened, WOW), i am gonna save something kind of special for it, and i do plan to put quite a bit of time and effort into it, so it could be a few weeks. sorry about that.

ON THE BRIGHT SIDE, i do have a tumblr - also whisperedtouches - where i occasionally attempt to do drabble nights and will post any other farts i write between now and finishing that 100th FFnet fic. plus there's a bunch of weird stuff that i'm almost ashamed of - That's So Mako, my obsession with the fact that i gave Ozai a tail, holy crap that's still funny, Mako and Korra's Agni Kai... can't forget Mako's face as my icon. yeah, tumblr's weird. but if you wanna stay updated with all the weird shit i do in my free time, you can go follow me. or not, whatever. just a suggestion.

as for this chapter, i did take my time because it was already late and i figured maybe i should try for a little quality on the last one, yeah? so have a bunch of bittersweet/nostalgic/25 years ahead/married!Makorra/daddy!Mako/momma!Korra feels, because i know i did. (i had to stop and just scream about it for a while because - BECAUSE - damn it you know why because.) mindless fluff, that's always good. i also listened to "Lost My Heart in Republic City" on repeat while i wrote it, and i think if you did the same, it might - AHEM - enhance your reading experience. hinthint nudgenudge winkwink.

this note is probably longer than the chapter by now, so i've just gotta end this by saying that i've never written something this long before or tried (and kind of flopped, but close enough) a challenge like this and it's been a great ride and i've loved having you guys on it with me. i'll be seeing more of you, i hope. :)


day thirty: future.

"Okay," Mako sighs, sitting down next to her, "enough. What's up?"

Korra tilts her head further back into the couch cushion. "Listen."

He looks around the room, out the window – nothing. "To what?" he says.

"Exactly," she groans, pushing herself up. "It's too quiet."

Again, he listens, and this time he's not surprised that she's right. All the life seems to have faded from the walls: They don't breathe like they used to, don't ring with the sounds of laughter and shouts and always messy, always loud family dinners.

Change is good. Life has taught him this, time after time. Change is good, especially when it's for the better, and he knows that. But he knows, too, that sometimes – times like right now, when the house is the emptiest it's been in years, when it's finally fallen quiet – change hurts.

"Well," and he skims his fingers back and forth over a spot just above her knee, "we could make it a little less quiet."

Smiling slightly, she leans up to kiss him, but it's chaste and quick, exactly what he was expecting.

"Not right now," she says, brushing her hands along his shoulders, down his arms. She drums her fingers on his chest so she can slip out from under his arms and get up, walks down the hall and into one of the – he corrects himself – into what used to be one of the kids' rooms – Rai's, he thinks, because he can't hear her rummaging through all the boxes Kouri left behind. A few moments later she comes back with an old radio in her arms and sets it on the table.

"That's Rai's," he says, to state the obvious.

Korra plugs it in. "It was," she says. "But she left it here, so…"

Mako gives her a look. "Korra."

"What?" Corners of her mouth twitching. "I'm sure she won't mind."

He raises an eyebrow. "Wanna bet?"

"Hmm, not really," she says, given a second to think about it. "But" – she leans toward the dial – "what she doesn't know won't hurt her."

That, at least, is a point he can't argue with, so he doesn't protest as she deliberately slows the movements of her hand, glancing between him and the radio for dramatic effect. Even as he rolls his eyes he can't help smiling.

Finally she flicks it on. There's a second of static and then she's twiddling the dials back and forth, squinting one eye, tongue poking out. He catches snatches of a few popular songs, some he actually recognizes here and there, could maybe sing along to if he tried (a playful shove – Dad, shut up, you're embarrassing me – the child falling asleep in his arms).

"What station are the oldies on?" Before he can answer: "Aha! Found it."

This one he knows. Gentle drums, the lilt of violins, the steady flicking of a bass – more than that, it's her hands locked around his neck, his arms around her waist, his heart pounding in his chest, her stretching on tiptoe to kiss him, the blue of her eyes never leaving him, the world spinning on without them. Those are the things he breathes every day, those memories run unchanging through his veins. Never changed, never will.

Korra sits back and throws her legs over his lap. He grabs her ankle and tugs her closer, pressed up against his thigh, and she sighs, rests her head in the crook of his neck. For a moment he considers asking her to dance, but she's humming in his ear and he can feel her throat vibrating against his shoulder, so instead he takes her hand, laces their fingers with many years' careful practice, and holds them both close to his heart. She breaks them apart, once, kisses his scarred palm, bared to her now, before she clutches at him again, and they stay there until long after the song ends.