"AND EVERYTIME I LOOK INSIDE YOUR EYES.."
Summary: Amon. Of all the things Korra had expected the man to do, like leave her trapped inside the box to rot, or beat her senseless, or even worse, take her bending, she hadn't expected in a million years that he would actually save her. Amorra if you squint.
Disclaimer: I do not own The Legend Of Korra.
Author's Note: Inspired by listening to "You make me wanna die" by "The Pretty Reckless" for hours on repeat. I regret nothing.
"And every time I look inside your eyes...
you make me wanna die."
— The Pretty Reckless, "You Make Me Wanna Die"
She gave a small gasp and froze in fear as she heard the name exclaim from Tarrlok's mouth. What was Amon doing there? More importantly, how had he discovered their location? Her heart pounded in her throat from anticipation and terror. Before she could think much more on how Amon could have found her, she heard Tarrlok's voice once more, as he attempted to bloodbend Amon, and ultimately, failed.
She heard the Water Tribe man fall to the floor, and after a quick discussion with his Equalists, Amon's voice reached her pounding eardrums. "You four take him back to the van. I will retrieve the Avatar myself."
There were no protests, and at once the Equalists departed with their now bending-less captive, as Amon descent the stairs to where Korra remained trapped inside the box. She bit her lip as she heard him edge closer, could practically see the masked-clad face staring at her with cold intent even from behind the door. Her breathing quickened in her fear, and then there was the sound of electricity meeting steel, and the door shattered open.
It was worse than the last time she had seen him; his eyes seemed to reflect his hatred for her, and Korra realized her own must reveal the undoubted terror she felt from him. He stood, simply staring at her for what must have felt like an eternity, her backed up against the back of the box, watching him, fists raised in case she needed to defend herself, but then he stepped aside, gazing at her with apparent confusion.
"Aren't you going to blast me out of your way, Avatar?"
His voice reached something deep within her, and her eyes narrowed as she scoffed. "Aren't you going to attack me and take my bending?" She hissed back.
His gold eyes bore into hers, so deeply that it caused a ice-like shiver to run down Korra's spine. For another moment, Amon said nothing, and the silence made the girl nearly fall to her knees with its suspense. Then he said in a tone that Korra took to meant as if he were speaking to a small child, "Weren't you paying attention to what I told you before? I've said that I'm saving you for last. In case you haven't noticed, you are not the only bender in Republic City needing to be cleansed of impurity. I still have much more to take. No, I am here for another reason... to ensure you are returned home safely."
Korra couldn't help herself – she gave a bitter, disbelieving laugh, and she didn't care even as Amon glared at her with extreme ferocity, a look that in any other situation would have made her succumb with fear.
"Is something funny?" He demanded.
The Avatar crossed her arms. "Yeah, actually," She said defiantly. "I find that hard to believe. You, save me? Why would a monster like you want to possibly help me when you can just get rid of me right now?"
A flicker of something akin to anger appeared in Amon's eyes for a split-second before it vanished, leaving the gold irises dull and almost lifeless once again. "As I've said, Avatar, I'm not taking you out just yet." He growled, in a tone that made it clear that it was not up for questioning. "And you use such terms much too loosely; I am not saving you. I have full intention to destroy you. However, it is not yet the right time. I am merely aiding you. Now, are you finished questioning my intentions and ready to get out of that prison so you and I can both return back to the city?"
"Why should I go anywhere with you?" Korra asked incrediously. "How do I know you won't just have your little buddies back there attack me and then take my bending?"
"I've already told you I will not." Amon replied impatiently. "Let's go."
Korra stubbornly shook her head, staying rooted to the spot. "Sorry to disappoint you, but I am not going anywhere with you."
Angrily, Amon pointed out towards the window, where outside it, snow was rapidly falling and the sun was beginning to set. "It is getting very late and this blizzard is only growing more extreme. We are wasting valuable time to get you back home safely with this nonsense. I thought you were nearly a fully-grown woman now, Avatar? Stop acting like a petulant child with this defiance and let's go."
"No." She growled, glaring at him heatedly. "I refuse."
Amon made a guttural sound similar to an enraged gorilla and turned away, his hood swishing dramatically as he did so. "As you wish," He snarled. "Then by all means, rot away here, without food and heat. Oh, but I'm sure you're going to tell me that your little firebending can take care of you for warmth, but what will you do for food, I wonder? You are not yet able to airbend, correct? How do you hope to escape from here once the storm lets up? Your little friends surely don't know where you are, nor does anyone else."
Korra, who had been ready to give him an earful of a retort, opened her mouth and quickly closed it, letting what he said sink in. As much as she hated to admit it, he was right. The storm would make it much too dangerous for her to go outside and attempt to get food. Airbending was looking impossible to grasp without more training from Tenzin, and who knew how effective firebending would be for the time being spent here?
Still, she couldn't go with Amon... could she?
From the corner of his eye, he saw her hesitant expression and nodded his head at the staircase. "I will go on ahead," He told her. "I will give you five minutes to make a decision. If you are not in my van with my Equalists in that time, I will leave. And you will remain here, left to die, and you will have no one to blame but yourself. If you care about your own life, if you care about your friends and what they will have to suffer for your own impudence, then you will come. If not... well, then it looks like I will have one less obstacle to overcome. It is your choice, Avatar."
And without a backward glance, he swept from the room, up the stairs, and into the raging blizzard.
Korra slowly removed herself from the small box, glancing back and forth between the staircase and its shelter and quickly made her decision. She raced as fast as her legs would carry her up the stairs towards Amon, who had only just made it back towards the van and turned abruptly when he heard her footsteps.
"Wise choice," He said plainly.
Korra remained silent, and as the cold air whipped at her tattered body, she cringed against it, realizing for the first time how much her body was throbbing, aching, etched with remnants of the injuries she had sustained in her battle with Tarrlok. Her stomach rumbled, demanding food, and she was so tired she could barely see straight. She stumbled once, her legs unused to walking for however long she had been kept inside the box, though it couldn't have been more than a day. She groaned when she stumbled once again, mere feet from Amon and the van, which she could see also contained an unconscious Tarrlok as well as four Equalists. They did nothing as she approached, instead pressed into the back of the truck as if fearful of her. Somehow, that eased her discomfort in the knowledge that she was going with Amon of all people and she willed herself forward.
Just as Amon stepped aside to allow her access to the back of the truck, she moved a leg upwards to climb inside and slipped from lack of energy, gasping. She expected to meet a cold pile of snow but instead felt Amon's arms wrap themselves around her waist and hoist her inside.
She blinked in shock, and barely had time to murmur a quick thank you before he also climbed inside, directly in front of her, and slammed the doors shut and the van began to move. Securely inside, she shuddered and wrapped her arms around herself, realizing for the first time just how cold her body was. The warmth of the truck had her wanting to doze off, but she fought to keep her eyes open, afraid to sleep with Amon in such close proximity. She sighed, gazing out of the small windows of the truck as they departed further and further away from the mountain and Korra's prison and she let her mind drift. Were Mako, Bolin and Asami still in jail? Tenzin surely was searching for her, perhaps even Lin. Would they be there to greet her too once she returned home? Would Mako..? And Naga...
"What happened to your face?"
She was pulled from her thoughts as Amon spoke to her again and she blinked in confusion for a moment before she remembered the large, bloodied scratch on her face and pressed her hand to the wound on her cheek. "Oh... I... it was from Tarrlok," She said slowly.
"The other wounds as well?"
She swallowed thickly. "Uh... yeah. When he captured me, we got into a huge fight and... well, he was pretty angry.." She cast a quick glance at Tarrlok's motionless form. "Is... is his bending... gone?"
"Yes," Amon answered, his tone almost as cold as the air had been outside. "I take it that you are not happy about this? You'd rather he'd kept his bending so he could bloodbend anyone and everyone, including you, once again?"
"No!" Korra protested quickly. "I'm actually happy you took his bending!"
Amon eyed her poisonously. "And why is that? Because he has hurt you? Are you only okay with me taking bending if it's from people who have personally caused you harm? Or have you come to see the light on why I am against benders?"
The last question had come out as a sarcastic retort, but Korra flinched despite herself, tearing her eyes away from the masked man. "It's not that, Amon," She replied. "People in general hurt each other, no matter if it's a non-bender or a bender. So I don't care if it's benders who have hurt me that you take bending from. Up until now, I was completely against your beliefs... your goals... but I understand now, a little, where you are coming from." She paused, and then bravely looked up at the man again, meeting his eyes. "The reason I was captured in the first place was because I interfered in police business, involving Tarrlok, and his oppression of non-benders."
Amon's eye widened for one solitary second. "What?"
"He turned their power off. When my friends and I got there, we were told it was an Equalist rally and Tarrlok was just exercising control over the situation but it wasn't like that at all," Korra wrapped her arms around her knees as she brought them to her chest. "These were innocent non-benders. Mothers and fathers and children. He had them all arrested. I tried to stop it, but when I did, he..." She realized she was unleashing valuable information to the enemy, her enemy, and sighed. "He arrested my friends. When I went to demand their release, he began to fight with me, and then used bloodbending on me to kidnap me."
Upon finishing, she found Amon had been staring at her with something she couldn't quite decipher. Admiration? No. Not quite that. But maybe something like respect. Of understanding.
"I know why you do it now, Amon," She said. "I don't agree with it, but I understand. I know you want everyone to be treated equally, you want justice, and I can't hate you for that. But bending isn't the problem here. The problem is the way people use it. There is definite oppression going on in this city, and as the Avatar, I am obligated to stop it. You forget, Amon," She smirked, "I am not just a bender. I am the Avatar, and the Avatar's duty is not just to benders, but non-benders as well. I am here to keep balance. For the last seventeen years of my life, I've been trained and told of my duties and was sheltered in the depths of the South Pole, so I have not been able to begin restoring balance yet. If you give me time, I promise I can make everything right again. I can fix this problem. It's my responsibility."
Her features had turned into appearing almost pleading, desperate, and Amon felt something stir inside his chest he had not expected to feel. A smudge of guilt had painted itself upon his soul, and the reason for that was this wounded, naive girl in front of him. But even though her blue eyes were innocent and pure, just a child's, he could not let himself be deterred. He would remove bending from not just the entire world, but her as well. He could not let himself fall away from his goals just because the Avatar had come to a realization.
He turned his gaze from the teenager to the window. Night had fallen, and they were now almost into the middle of the city. "No matter what you promise me, you cannot deliver, Korra," He said, and he saw the girl stiffen at the sound of her name from the corners of his eyes.
Suddenly, the sound of whining emerged from outside the door of the van, and Korra gasped as her eyes swept upon Naga, her polar bear dog, who was running in pursuit of the car.
"Naga!" Korra cried.
"That is your polar bear dog, correct?" Amon asked, and upon Korra's persistent nod, he pushed open the double doors, the wind sweeping inside with such strong force Korra had to barricade her face against it with her forearms.
"What are you doing?" She exclaimed. Amon stood now, and he reached down to grab the confused girl, lifting her up by her wrists in a movement that was fluid, firm, but surprisingly somewhat gentle as well.
He moved his face closer to hers, just a whiff of a breath away and Korra found herself breathless as his gold orbs bore into hers with an intensity she had never seen before. "I have stuck to my promise," He answered. "You are now back in the city, safe and sound. I am not going to escort you back to the island under the premise of retaliation from your peers. Your animal companion can take you the rest of the way. But know this, Korra, we will inevitably meet again. Perhaps a lot sooner than you may think. Perhaps not. The time will come, however, and you had best be ready."
Korra seemed to be shocked, torn, stunned, for a moment before she shifted her gaze from him to the dog barking in joy at seeing her master, to him once again. "So..." She said slowly. "So... all of this... the fact that you helped me... that I understand you... it doesn't change anything?"
"It changes nothing," He confirmed. "I will continue to remove bending. You will continue to be the Avatar, to fulfill your duties. But when the time comes, we will have our final showdown. And then," He could see his reflection in her blue irises, every particle of her skin, every eyelash. "I will take your bending. No benders will be left, anywhere in the world. We will live in equal and free new world."
Korra's expression hardened, and she nodded stiffly. "Fine. You're right. This changes nothing. I will never allow you to remove people's bending, nor will I lose to you."
"Then we can now part ways," He said shortly, and without hesitation, tossed the frazzled teenager forward, out of the van, and watched as the polar bear dog stopped and caught her effortlessly. As Korra adjusted herself on the animal's back, her eyes found Amon again, and they did not leave him as the van descended far into the distance and vanished out of sight.
The unmistakable sound of Tenzin's voice reached her ears then, and she allowed herself a small sigh. Things were back to normal. As normal as it could be for her, anyway. The battle was over for now, but the war, she knew, had only just begun.
Tarrlok had been dealt with, but Amon would be there waiting for her. And as he had warned her, she needed to be ready for when that time came. Nothing had changed, except for her own resolve to stop Amon no matter what it took and restore balance.
"No, Amon," She whispered as her eyes drifted shut. "My promises mean everything... and I will deliver them."