we watched the sun

burn down

into cinders

.

Blue and orange, sitting in her palm, flickering light over her skin and painting her bones a shimmering gold; against a backdrop of silence and cold and white, it's the most beautiful thing she's ever seen.

(but she burns too hot, too bright, and she's blind to the shadows it casts)

.

The water sings and the earth hums and the fire pulses, alive inside her like a second heart, beating at the tips of her fingers.

.

This frostbite is new to her – its name is fear and it threatens to blacken her hands. She reaches out for the fire, a familiar friend, and blackens them with ash instead.

(she's still burning but she knows she's alive)

.

While she was turned away he singed her edges and breathed fire, breathed life into her. There's red behind his eyes and she wants to learn the color and paint her hearts with it.

.

(and then, and then)

Then it starts to go quiet.

Then her blood runs cold, ice in her veins; and that dries up, too, until her own body's a desert without sand, without sun, without heat or light.

Then she's weightless but not, floating up but down, her breaths coming in quick gasps because she's terrified but it's all so heavy, crushing her body and shattering her bones and she can't breathe, can't even remember what it's like to just breathe, breathe.

Then Amon reaches into her ribcage and pulls out her second heart. He holds it until it stills, goes silent and gray, and gently replaces it back inside her chest. The fire's the last to leave.

And then –

She falls.

.

On the way down the air is ripped from her lungs and her eyes are torn open and stay that way.

The tears come and she can't stop, won't stop –

She's not done yet –

The story hasn't ended

(doesn't he know he's got her fire in his hands?)

Because he's her fire, he can be all she needs, maybe it'll be enough –

.

(she calls the flames to her fingertips and when nothing happens she yells for them, screams out and on and on but her voice gets lost, swallowed up in the black and the dark)

.

Because he's always given her just enough room to make it hard to breathe –

Maybe if she just –

She breathes.

.

The air rushes into all the empty spaces in her – back inside her lungs, between her ribs and her fingers, that place where her second heart used to beat before it died. It's almost the same.

(except it's not, so close, almostalmostalmost, always beyond her, too far ahead, too high up)

.

His arms are warm around her and she wishes she still had the power to make the world stop spinning so she could stay hidden away here forever.

.

She's never known a silence like this. Everything is muted and dimmed and dulled; the waves are off-key and the earth doesn't tremble beneath her and the sun's gone out. The wind whistles and laughs in her ears.

.

She doesn't want to sleep, she doesn't want to close her eyes because there's just darkness, there's nothing there.

He doesn't ask her what's wrong but she says, "I'm cold."

Staring down at the hands she can't see, the hands that used to be able to do so much, she thinks of all the scars that mark them, the burns and the calluses that she spent her entire life drawing, blindly, believing they'd come out a masterpiece when all was said and done – and she thinks, what now?

(are they nothing more than doodles? scribbles that've never really meant anything? were they ever supposed to?)

That's when the shaking starts.

That's when the shivering and the crying and the gasping and the grabbing and the clutching and the drowning and the falling and the burning – that's when it all starts, or maybe when it all ends.

That's when he pulls her to him and holds her tight and does not let her go. He places his hand over hers – still lying pathetically in her lap like disarmed weapons, like they never even stood a chance – back-to-front, his palm up.

There are flames hovering there, red and gold, and he's saying, "Look, Korra, look, it's fire, see, you're bending, just look," and he sounds just like her, cracking and breaking on every side, but she doesn't look, she closes her eyes, it's too bright and her eyes are tired and the color –

"It's gone," she says, choking, "it's gone, it's gone, I lost it."

(and where'd it go, where is she supposed to find it again, because it feels like someone's emptied out her insides, stolen all her limbs and cut out all her internal organs)

.

A stranger approaches her in the snow and tells her he loves her.

That can't be right; this boy loves the Avatar. The Avatar is the master of all four elements. She's hardly even an airbender. The girl he's talking about died when her second heart crumbled to ashes.

She runs away with his fingerprints branded onto her cheek and onto her heart and she thinks this is the farthest things have ever been from being okay.

.

The quiet welcomes her, picking at her corpse, the stench of failure drawing it in, all around her. Even the wind holds its breath: it knows just as well as she does that the water, so far, far below, will not catch her if she falls.

It's over now.

The story's finished – she doesn't want to write anymore. Her hands have cramped up.

There's nothing left.

She's done.

(it isn't enough.)

.

(and then, and then)

Then –

She remembers.

The sea rising and falling at her command.

The earth bowing to her will and splitting down to the core.

The air obeying and funneling into a tornado.

The flames sparking at her fingertips for the first time and igniting within her.

She's done this before.

All at once, everything makes a sound and it's the loudest thing she's ever heard, deafening, and she decides the harmony is her new favorite song.

.

Both her hearts are pounding a thousand shades of red and a million shades of love as they grab onto each other and hold on and on and on.


a/n: i'm really, really proud of this. it's been a long time since i've written something like this and aside from the ending, which i'm not really satisfied with, there's hardly a thing i'd change. i probably put way too much work into this, but i needed to get out all my feels from the finale.

and holy CRAP was it amazing. i don't even have the words, but let's just say i have no complaints.

that line that includes the title up at the top - lyrics from "everybody learns from disaster" by dashboard confessional. thought i should mention that.

thanks for reading. :)

~whispered touches

disclaimer: i don't own legend of korra. it all belongs to nick and bryke. no copyright infringement is intended.