A/N: Written (kinda) for Borra Week, and also as a response to those theories about one of the brothers dying.
Can I just say that writing as Korra is really hard for me? I find Mako easier to write.
The Legend of Korra is the property of Brychael.
EDIT: Rewritten as of 07/08/14 to reflect changes in show canon. I need to know Mako and Bolin's mom's name.
The boat is waiting for her, and Naga roars impatiently at her from behind. She won't look at Mako properly, because she knows that she'll just see green instead of gold.
"You'd better write."
She wants out of this stupid city, covered in blood and memories and echoing laughs that she can't retrieve. She needs to get out. All Avatars spend a while roaming, and this is her opportunity.
She wasn't expecting to do it alone. He promised he would come.
"Yeah. Yeah, I will." She can't look at him, because if she does she knows she'll run straight back to him and pretend to love him and instead love his brother. She values Mako far too much to do that to him.
As she steps on the boat, she swears that there's another voice echoing in cacophony with the others.
It can't be, though. That voice was buried two days ago.
Korra hasn't been in Republic City for almost five years. The cityscape has changed only a little, new buildings springing up to replace the ruined ones. The slums have been cleared, and there are far less people sleeping in doorways. The place still feels a little like home, and her heart slows down from its previous breakneck pace when the familiar skyline comes into view.
The first thing she sees when she gets off the boat is a blur of sunset colours ruffled by wind flying into her face. Throwing her arms up, she catches Jinora, Ikki, Meelo and Rohan in turn, tossing them up in the air and laughing as they flutter down like leaves to land in a circle around her.
Ikki, as usual, is the first to speak, words flowing out of her mouth like a flooded river. "Hey Korra why weren't you heeere you missed like all of our birthdays and Rohan and mine 'nd Nora's tattoos, ooh is that a new cub whassis name? Can I have him can I can I pleaseeeee-"
Jinora cuts her off, placing a hand over her little sister's mouth. Ignoring Ikki's muffled attempts at speaking and the drool covering her hand as Ikki bites on it, she smiles graciously at Korra. "We're so glad to see you back. We really missed you."
Meelo pops out from behind her, Rohan in tow. "Yeah! We didn't have any meat supply without you. Did ya bring some?"
Korra laughs. "Nah, sorry. I promise to buy you some, though! C'mere, Rohan." The child runs towards her happily, laughing. She runs her hand over his newly shaved head; he'd chosen to do his hair Sokka-style, rather than the bald head that Meelo, Tenzin and Aang favoured. "You're so big! Look, I brought you a present." She pulls a miniature boomerang out of the pouch around her waist, and hands it to him. Rohan's face lights up with glee, and he runs back to his parents to show him his loots. The other three put at her, but Korra taps the side of her nose. "Don't worry, I've got stuff for you three too."
She hears a sigh. "No explosives, I hope." Tenzin glides towards her, Pema close behind, explaining to Rohan what exactly the weird banana thing he's holding is. Tenzin stares at Korra for a short while, but his composure is cracked by a smile, and he sweeps her up into a huge hug. Korra squeezes him tighter. She'd missed the airbenders so much, it was almost a physical ache.
but that ache wasn't her reason for returning.
She puts that out of her mind, and looks up at Tenzin. His arrow is creased with wrinkles and scars, and he looks so much older. "How has Republic City been doing?" she asks.
Tenzin grimaces. "Better, but there are always dissenters. I'll tell you more later. For now, let's return to the island. Will your old quarters suffice?"
She nods happily, and falls into step behind him. Pema, walking along side her, places an arm around her shoulder.
"You look so much older, Korra. Your hair is lovely. You haven't grown any taller, though!" Korra pouts at her, and runs her hair through the curls falling down her back. She didn't really have the time to cut her hair while travelling, and soon there was too much hair to put up in her wolf tail; so she just gave up, put some up in a tail, and left the rest loose, apart from her sidetails.
besides, he always liked your hair down.
Korra shakes her head like an irritable polar-bear dog. Speaking of them, Naga and her new pup, Neel, appear beside her, Jinora and Ikki astride Naga while Meelo sits on Neel's back, tugging on the poor cub's ears.
Jinora taps her on the shoulder. "Look," she whispers, and pulls her sleeve up. The outline of a blue arrow snakes up past her shoulder, and Korra's finger trails the tip. She meets Jinora's smiling eyes, and tells her she's jealous. Ikki laughs, and shows off her almost identical, if shorter and thinner, arrows. Korra claps, feels Aang blubbering a little in the back of her mind, and groans in anticipation of the headache that is soon to follow. Kyoshi, having never borne any children, possesses no sort of maternal instinct. She's gonna roast poor Aang.
The apartment is a modest one, built in the traditional style. The nameplate next to the door bears Asami's beautiful cursive calligraphy. Mako's writing is plain terrible; he was probably too self conscious to display it.
his brother wouldn't have had such qualms, despite his penmanship being even worse.
Korra squeezes her eyes shut and presses the doorbell.
There's a bang indoors, and a loud yell of "I'LL GEDDIT!"
A distinctively masculine voice starts panicking. "No, Lin, I told you there were some district chiefs coming today, GET AWAY FROM THE DOOR-oh."
He's too late, and the door slams open to reveal a green-eyed toddler attempting to scramble up her father's lanky back, giggling. If his mouth drops open any further, it'll hit the floor.
Korra raises her hand and wiggles her fingers awkwardly. "Hey, Mako."
The Chief of Police straightens up slowly, gathering the little girl into his arms. "Korra..."Ignoring the child, he strides forward and wraps her up in a hug. Korra presses back, laughing.
There's an indignant muffles shriek form the kid, who pops her head up between the two friends. "Hey, Papa, don't squish me! Whossis lady?"
Mako seems unable to answer, eyes shining. Asami answers instead, walking up the hall towards them. "That's your Auntie Korra, Lin." Lin, Korra notes. Being named after two dead people must be bad luck, but both dead people were two of the most amazing people ever, so at least little Lin's got good role models.
Mako pulls back from her and holds Korra at shoulder's length. "You idiot, why'd you stop writing? I thought you were dead!" He looks like he's trying to scowl at her, but a smile keeps breaking through.
She gives as good as she gets, crossing her arms and matching his scowl with hers. "Hey, you're the one who stopped writing! You moved and didn't tell me!"
He sighs. "I wrote our new address in the letter I sent."
She colours. "Ah. Kinda lost that one in a fight. Sorry..?"
Mako rolls his eyes. "You never change."
She punches his arm lightly. "Never said I would, huh?"
Asami picks up Lin, who points imperiously at Korra. "She the one to sent me those pretty necklaces? And toys?"
"The one and only. " Asami gestures for Korra to come closer. "Do you wanna go to her?"
The child regards her curiously, and then nods vigorously. "Yeah! You're in allll our old photos, the ones with Uncle Bo." A shadow flits over Mako's unshaven face, and Korra winces inwardly, but reaches for the child anyways. Lin jumps into Korra's arms, and fastens her skinny hands around her neck. She sniffs her, and then proclaims that she smells like the sea and dogs.
Korra laughs at that and proceeds to examine her as she plays with the pendant hanging around Korra's neck. She must be about three, with her mother's green eyes. Her face is almost entirely Mako, though, with high cheekbones and an aquiline nose.
she looks like him. she could have been your child.
Korra meets Mako's eyes, and for once they don't change to green. She deposits Lin on the floor, who runs straight to her father and starts hitting his knees. She beckons Asami over, and whispers into her ear.
"I think she's an earthbender."
Asami's eyes widen and she looks at Korra curiously. Korra has developed a knack for this stuff-she knew Rohan was going to be a nonbender before he was even born; evidently, Asami recalls this, as a gracious smile spreads across her face. Despite the years, Asami hasn't changed a bit; the only difference is that she seems to prefer keeping her hair up and that she's given the bold make-up up almost completely – except for the mascara. A CEO of a major company probably doesn't have much time for beauty, and Asami looks all the better for it.
Korra smiles a tight smile and steps back, observing the father and child that could have been hers.
He was laid to rest in an inner city graveyard, beside Matsuri and San Iwamatsu. The gravestone is a simple shard of polished granite that she carved the epitaph onto herself.
Asami is lingering at the Sato family grave, covering her eyes demurely with her sleeve, heedless of the twin trails of watery black running down her cheeks. Lin is rubbing Neel's fur roughly in front of the Bei Fong tomb; the cub has taken a shine to her. Naga is resting in the shaded park beside the cemetery. She and Mako are alone.
There are flowers, she notes, panda lilies and fire lilies, growing abundantly in pots in front of the grave. Absentmindedly, she bends a little water into them, coaxing it through the blooms.
you should have done this before, many times. in fact, somebody should have had to do this for you.
She presses her palms against her eyes, trying to stop the guilt, and instead stares at the small red urn with a flame motif in front of the headstone. The characters for 'Pabu' are etched on it, and her heart grows heavy as she recalls how twisted his face was when Mako set the tiny corpse on fire.
"Five years, huh?" Mako's voice is hoarse and broken, and his fists are clenched. "Feels longer."
She glances at him out of the corner of her eye. Mako looks older, with sleepless smudges underneath his eyes and stubble. His hair is longer, wilder, like he hasn't had the time to comb it recently. He still wears the tattered scarf around his neck. It's a miracle that the rag has survived this long.
"Like an eternity," she agrees, and raises her eyes to the headstone.
154 ASC- 171 ASC
'Life is a dream that is walking,
Death is returning home.'
She looks at the ground, and doesn't even bother trying to hold back the tears. Mako slings an arm around her shoulder in solidarity, and they cry together in silence. Each drop that hits the ground is like a weight of memory lifted from her heart, and she grasps Mako's hand because she feels like she's going to fall.
because falling leaves return to their roots, and friendships transcend lifetimes.
"You're not leaving, are you?" Korra jerks her head up, startled out of her stupor. Mako is examining her, gold eyes sharp.
"No. I'm not running away any more. I'll be the Avatar this city deserves."
The corner of his mouth lifts a little. "So you'll be joining me down at the headquarters?"
"Hey, I might! I'll teach your rookies a thing or two about metalbending!" In a display of strength, she bends Mako's fork into a tiny dragon, which circles his head and falls to the table.
He laughs and picks it up, examing the tiny iron flames flickering from its maw. "Hey, as Chief, I have a lot of overdue paperwork... I'd be happy to have somone to push it on to. It's fun. Boring, but fun."
She groans a bit, and leans back in her chair. "I'll find a way to make it enjoyable, okay?"
"I don't doubt that you will." He grins widely at her, and Korra beams straight back.
"I'm glad you're home."
"So am I."
and he'd be too.