It was quiet. Too quiet. She wasn't supposed to be this quiet, it wasn't right. Sitting in a chair by her bed, Mako stared down at Korra intently. Every so often his gaze would shift down to reassure himself that her chest still rose and fell, that she was still breathing, still with him. Logically, he was aware that her injuries weren't so severe that he had to worry about her life. Emotionally, however, none of that mattered. She was too quiet, and the bandages that she had been wrapped in just added to the illusion that she was just too fragile at that moment. She was supposed to be loud, brash, energetic, so much life filled her and her every action. He recalled the time they had slept beside one another, his anxiety that night had kept him from falling asleep as quickly as she had. Even in her sleep, she still showed so much life and energy with her constantly changing expressions and the little noises she made.
It was far too quiet.
An aggravated sigh slipped past his lips, and he ran a hand through his hair. The past few days were too much, he was strung too tightly. He needed her to wake up, for so many reasons. He needed her to get her rest, though, too, and his need for such opposites warred within him. There was so much he needed to say, so much he needed to get off his chest before he could relax. She needed to heal, though, completely, he needed her to be herself again as soon as possible, and any interruption would be unacceptable.
He sighed again. Reaching out, he gently drew her hand into the fold of his own. Stroking the back of her hand, he leaned forward and mumbled quietly into the eerie silence, "I was so worried about you, Korra. I realized something, when we were searching for you. I need to tell you, you were right, again. You were right."
"I was...?" Her voice was rough, scratchy, but at that moment it was the most wonderful sound he had ever heard. He stared at her, mouth agape, as she looked at him with bleary eyes, confused. "What was I right about?"
A tight smile pulled at his lips, and he had a difficult time answering her. She coughed lightly and he jumped to his feet, walking around to the other side of the bed to pour her a glass of water. "Here," he helped her to sit up, steadying her with an arm around her shoulders and lifting the glass to her lips. Once she seemed to be set, he put the cup back down but never removed his hold on her. "You were right about me, again. First, about my fear, and now... I don't want any regrets, to be left wondering what we could have had."
Korra blinked up at him, letting his words sink in to her tired mind. Slowly, she smiled, realizing what he was getting at. She settled her head down on his shoulder, letting herself lean against him. He held onto her, trying not to squeeze her tightly, but wanting to pull her as close as possible. Kissing the top of her head, he ran a hand through her hair and stroked her cheek with his thumb. "That whole time we were looking for you, it was all could think of. I was in denial, I refused to believe that you could be gone, and all I could focus on was getting you back. I thought if I wasn't with you, that I wouldn't have those feelings, that I'd be safe from hurt if anything ever happened, but that was so far from the truth."
"I'm sorry," she mumbled, struggling not to drift back to sleep in the comfort of his arms. "Sorry for worrying you like that."
He grinned and shook his head, pulling back so that he could meet her gaze. "Don't apologize. I was the idiot here."
Returning the grin, she shrugged and stuck a finger in his face, "Well, that's true."
Feigning offense, Mako made a face at her gloating. It lasted only a moment before he pulled her back against him and continued, "Anyways. I realized all the regrets I would have if you weren't all right, everything I wished I had done differently, everything I wished I had said. Those regrets made the idea of losing you so much worse. I don't want that. I want you."
While she wanted nothing more than to immediately accept, Korra pulled back and leveled him with a serious look, "What about Asami?"
"I don't want to hurt her, but," Mako sighed and looked over at the door with a frown. "It's not fair to any of us. I thought I cared for her at least as much as I do for you, that I could learn to care for her more, but I don't, and I can't. I like her, a lot. I love you."
"You have to tell her, Mako. You have to come clean to her."
"I know. And I will. I just, I had to talk to you first. I couldn't think about anything else but telling you all of this."
Nodding, Korra patted his hand, "All right." He looked back to her and she smiled to him. It was impossible not to return the expression, and he leaned forward to kiss her. The last thing he had expected was to be shoved off the bed, and he landed on the floor with a loud thump. She smirked down at him and pointed at the door, "You have things you need to do, and I need a bit more sleep. All I'll need when I wake up is a meal and I'll be good as new, promise. You don't have to worry about me. We can barely afford for even one of us to be out of commission, we definitely can't afford two, now go."
He was getting shooed out of the room, much to his surprise. Clumsily rising to his feet, he stared down at her in shock. Seeing the spark of energy in her eyes, and her dynamic pose despite being bedridden, all of the concern he had melted away in an instant. He grinned and shook his head at the absurdity, and lifted his hands in surrender, "All right, all right. I'll see you when you wake up, Avatar Korra." The pride in his voice was unmistakable, and she gave him a grateful smile. Flashing her a quick wave, he turned and left the room, closing the door quietly behind him. The next conversation waiting for him was one he wasn't looking forward to, but was necessary. It was time to find Asami.
Author's Note: This fic is unedited, I apologize for any errors or poor wording that a read-through would have given me opportunity to fix. I'm currently taking requests/prompts for LoK fics. I'll write nearly any pairing and any type of fic, I have very few restrictions. Thank you for reading!