It started as any other normal day. Mako, Bolin, Asami, and the airbender kids were around while Korra meditated. However, something went wrong.
Kyoshi was fighting with Kuruk. About what, Korra wasn't sure. She just knew she came at a very bad time. "Uh…guys…?" the current Avatar said. "Should I just come back later?" She didn't get an answer. Kyoshi and Kuruk were too busy yelling at each other.
Aang showed up then. He went to try and settle the argument between the two past Avatars. However, it didn't help. Something started to happen that disturbed the ground around them. Korra started to get a migraine and fell to her knees, her hands on her head.
Kyoshi and Kuruk finally seemed to notice what was going on and immediately stopped their arguing, but it was a little too late. The damage had been done. Korra's migraine got worse fast and she groaned. The last thing she heard was Aang calling her name.
Back in the real world, everyone had stopped what they were doing to look at Korra. The air around her had started to swirl and the ground cracked. She looked like she was in pain, and soon her hands were clutching her head.
Tenzin hurried over looking frantic. "What happened?" he asked. "We don't know. Everything was fine one second, then…this," Bolin told him. Tenzin was silent for a moment, then said, "This isn't good…"
And it wasn't. The air whipped and small pieces of rock started to crack from the ground. Korra's eyes started to glow a harsh white.
"Tenzin, what's happening?" Mako asked, staring at the girl. Tenzin was quiet before he answered. "Something must have happened while she was in the spirit world. She's going into Avatar State. This is very bad."
Asami gathered the kids. "Come on, guys. Go inside, okay?" The kids protested for a moment, but then realized that it was in their best interest, and obeyed. The Sato followed them, deciding that it was probably better for her to be inside than out.
Korra had started to cry out in pain, the winds getting harsher with each passing second. The rocks started to get larger as more and more were ripped from the ground. Suddenly, Korra's eyes snapped open and her hands left her head.
"Oh no…" Tenzin breathed. "She's lost control. Bolin, Mako, get inside. It's not safe. I'll try and calm her down before she does any da-"
He was cut short by a loud crack. The roof of the meditation area split and broke into pieces along with the pillars that held it up.
"Inside, now!" Tenzin commanded. The boys didn't need to be told twice. They turned and ran inside, Mako pausing at the door to look back at Korra. After a second or two he went inside.
While everyone else was farther back in the house, Mako stood near the window, watching the events outside. Tenzin was trying in vain to get Korra to come back. Debris was flying everywhere and some of it crashed into the roof. It was getting worse, and Mako could tell Korra was quickly using up her energy. And when it ran out, well, it wouldn't be good. After a short while, he ran outside and over to Tenzin.
"Mako, get back insi-"
"Tenzin, you're not getting her to calm down. Let me try, all right?" Mako interrupted. Tenzin looked at him in silence for a moment, sighed, and nodded. "All right…just try not to get hurt."
"Don't worry. The kids are worried, so maybe you should go check on them," Mako said.
"Okay. I'll be back in a few minutes." With that, Tenzin hurried inside.
Mako walked over to Korra, who was in the air as it swirled around her with chunks of rock. It was clear she had no control of her bending.
"Korra!" he shouted over the howling wind. "Korra, listen to me! You have to get control. You're damaging the buildings and using up all your energy. That's not good! You know what would happen if you exhaust yourself!"
He had gotten her attention, but it wasn't enough to do anything. Mako started to get closer to her, having to push against the powerful winds. It was hard dodging the rocks and he had to be very careful. However, he was not careful enough and ended up getting nailed in the arm by one of the sharper debris. Gasping, he stumbled back a little before yanking it out. With a sharp, pained breath, he threw it aside. He got a few more small cuts but the worst wasn't over just yet. A split second's distraction after dodging a rock caused a hit from another.
A large, but thankfully flat, rock collided with Mako's skull. He let out a cry and fell to his knees, a hand over the spot where he was hit. He could feel warm blood on his fingers and his vision went fuzzy. The firebender hissed and shut his eyes tight.
Upon hearing his cry, Korra snapped back to reality. She dropped to the ground, wobbled a bit, and got down on her hands and knees. She didn't have time to see Mako's bruised and bloody form before her mind blacked out and she hit the ground.
"Is she going to be okay?"
"She should. She'll wake up soon."
"I really wonder what caused that…"
"I don't know. Whatever it was, I'm glad it wasn't worse."
Korra groaned, effectively silencing the room. She went to sit up, but felt a hand gently pushing her back down. She blinked open her eyes and saw Tenzin, Bolin, and Asami.
"Ugh…what…happened?" she asked.
"Something made you go into Avatar State," he told her.
She closed her eyes, her hand going to her forehead. "Kyoshi and Kuruk…" she murmured after a short silence. "They were fighting…something happened…" Her eyes snapped open and she shot up. Bad idea. Immediately her head started aching and she lurched forward. She felt so sick. "Erg…did I hurt anyone?" she asked.
"Korra lay down," Tenzin told her. She clutched her stomach for a few seconds before slowly lowering herself back down on the mattress. "Thank you. Now, Korra, you need to rest," the airbender said.
"You didn't answer my question."
Tenzin remained silent much to Korra's annoyance.
"Tenzin. Did. I. Hurt. Anyone," she repeated. It wasn't a question this time.
Again, silence. Just when Korra was about to repeat herself a second time, Tenzin answered her…in a way.
He sighed and stood up, moving out of the girl's line of sight and allowing her to see who he had been blocking.
Mako was leaning against the wall, a pained expression on his face. His eyes were tired and he looked slightly dazed. Korra's breath caught as she studied him. The firebender was covered in cuts and scratches. A bandage was around his head and he had a few stitches above his right eyebrow. His left arm was resting against his side, and his shoulder to his elbow was covered in a thick layer of gauze. She wasn't sure if she wanted to know what it looked like underneath. Mako saw her gaze hover on his arm and said, "Stitches. It was deep. The doctors at the hospital said it would leave a pretty big scar."
The girl blinked and looked away, guilt washing over her. Mako said nothing else.
"You need to rest, Korra," Tenzin said after a short silence. "I'll be back to check on you in the morning." That said he left the room, the brothers and Sato following a second after.
Korra watched them leave in silence. She then propped herself up on her elbow and looked out the window. It was dark. And she was scared.
Dropping down onto her back, she began to think. The more she thought about what happened, the more scared she got; for her, and for the others on the island. If something like this could happen when she was just meditating…it could happen again, right? And what if it was worse next time? After seeing what happened to Mako…
Korra had made up her mind. Slowly, carefully, she got out of bed. She didn't dare risk going out in the hall. Instead, she opened her window and climbed out, dropping to the ground with a thump of her feet hitting the stone. Cursing, she ducked behind a bush. A White Lotus sentry had heard her and had come over. After a minute or so, he decided it was nothing and went on his way.
Now safely alone, Korra left the bush and hurried along the path down to the ferry, staying as quiet as possible, and running in the shadows. She stopped short, her head going fuzzy. She was still a bit exhausted and sick. She began to walk, swaying and holding her head with a hand, steadying herself with the other, keeping it on the tree trunks as she passed them. She didn't get very far before the nausea got the better of her and she wretched, emptying the contents of her stomach, followed by a short coughing fit. Her throat now burning, Korra shook her head and continued.
The last ferry ride of the night was just leaving as the girl arrived and she jumped on before it was too far from the dock. She watched the island grow smaller as the boat floated away, wondering how long it would take for them to start searching for her.
Now in the city, the young Avatar traveled the streets at a brisk jog. She knew enough of the city layout now to know exactly where she was going. A little over an hour and a half went by before she got to the district. Very few people lived here, and the ones who did were the vagabonds in the city. The majority of the buildings were empty and old, and the perfect spot for hiding.
After wandering around for a while, she found what she was looking for; an old warehouse. Korra explored it, using earthbending to block all the possible entrances, and looking for anyone within the walls. Once she concluded that there was no one, she blocked the door she had come in from and sat on an old dusty crate. Hopefully she wouldn't be found here. At least, not for a while.
A few minutes went by before Korra began to explore again. Best to do it sooner than later. She took her time to inspect the rooms and learn where they were. While she wasn't sure how long she'd be staying here, it was probably a good idea to know where all the good places to hide were.
Sighing, Korra finished her wandering to find a place to sleep. Once she found one, she cleared the dust away and settled down for the night, using the fur she kept tied around her as a pillow.
It was late morning when Tenzin went to check on Korra.
"Korra, wake up. Pema needs to check your injuries…" His voice faded off as he opened the door to find an empty room. "What…"
Tenzin spun around and hurried to the dining room where everyone was eating breakfast, except for Mako, who was in the next room getting checked by Pema.
When Tenzin rushed into the room, it was no problem getting the attention of the others. "Tenzin…is something wrong?" Asami asked. "Is Korra okay?"
"That's the problem. Korra isn't in her room. Have any of you seen her?" he asked. They all answered with a no. "I was afraid of that…" the airbender muttered.
"We shouldn't have left her alone. Korra has run off."
They heard something hit the floor-it sounded like a chair-in the next room and a harsh command from Pema. Then Mako appeared.
"Mako…" Asami sighed. "Korra…she's run off."
"No…why…why would she run?" he muttered. Pema walked in front of the boy and gently pushed him back. "Mako, you can't do that. You're going to open up a wound." He reluctantly allowed Pema to bring him back into the room, muttering to himself.
"We have to look for her," Bolin said.
"Where would we start?" Asami asked.
"Naga," Tenzin suggested. "Naga could track her. It would be best to leave now. I'll get Naga ready. Meet me out front." With that, he turned and left in a hurry.
Bolin and Asami wasted no time in getting ready and were out to meet Tenzin in less than ten minutes. Just when they were about to leave, Mako showed up.
"I'm coming with," he stated.
"Mako, you have to take it easy. You won't heal if you're running around-"
The forcefulness of his tone caused the others to fall silent for a moment. Then Tenzin nodded. "All right. But nothing too active. We can't have any of your wounds opening while we're gone. Now," he said, "Asami, take over Naga. I'm going to get Oogi and search from above. Good luck."
"You too," Asami said before climbing onto Naga's back. Bolin followed after and helped Mako up, careful of his arm. "Okay. Naga, time to find Korra." Naga barked and put her nose to the ground to sniff around before breaking out into a full out run toward the ferry dock.
Before the group could slow Naga down, the dog jumped onto the boat, scaring the captain half to death. After a quick apology from Asami, the captain started for the opposite dock. The whole time they were on the boat Naga was sniffing around, and as soon as they docked she was off, almost throwing the three teens off her back.
After a few minutes of trying to gain control over Naga, Asami gave up and let the reigns go slack. "She's got her scent trail and refuses to slow down," she told the brothers. "I guess we just hang on n-OW NAGA!"
The dog skidded around the corner and lost her footing, causing her to almost collapse. Asami, Bolin, and Mako were barely able to hold on as Naga jerked. She slowed then, but once she had her proper balance back, she ran even faster.
"How are you guys holding up?" Asami asked over her shoulder. Bolin gave a thumbs up and said, "Don't worry about us, we're good." She nodded and turned her attention back in front of her. There were less and less people on the sidewalks as they ran, and soon there was no one. Naga also finally slowed down to a fast walk, her nose to the ground.
"She came here?" Bolin muttered, looking around at the old run-down buildings. "It makes sense, really," Mako said. "Not many people live around here. Spotting her would be hard, and if we found someone and asked if they'd seen her, most likely they would say no."
"Good thing we got Naga then," Asami said. "Our search will go much faster with her." Naga barked a couple times and put her nose back to the ground to continue her search.
The sound of Naga's barking woke Korra. She sat up and listened. She heard another bark and cursed. Getting up, she went over to the door and removed enough rock to be able to peek outside. Her friends were sitting on Naga, looking around. They were talking about something.
"Maybe we should split up? It would be easier," she heard Bolin say. "I can go with Mako, and you can stay with Naga."
"I don't know... You won't get lost?" Asami asked.
"Don't worry, we won't get lost!" Bolin reassured.
"You can always have Naga find us," Mako pointed out.
"True…okay, we'll split up. Let's meet back here later," Asami said. The brothers nodded and got off Naga. "I'll go this way, you check over there," the Sato said, pointing to the area near the warehouse.
Covering the hole back up, Korra ran to the back of the warehouse. She uncovered an exit to get out of, then recovered it when she was outside before running off. The best way to get Naga to lose her trail was to overlap as much as possible. "It's a good way to learn the streets around here…" the girl muttered to herself, running down an alleyway.
After a while of crisscrossing, Korra finally slowed to a walk to catch her breath. It would take a while for Naga to figure out which way to go, and the boys had gone in the opposite direction from where she had been running around. In all honesty, she would have kept running, but her body had started to ache and her stomach churned. And she'd rather not puke again.
Rounding a corner, she froze. Naga was sniffing around, a confused whimper sounding from her. Asami was walking by the dog's side, looking down the allies as they passed them. Both noticed Korra at the same time. "Korra!" Asami gasped. "We've been looking everywhere for you! You need to come home. Everyone is so worried about you."
Korra blinked and took a step back. Naga whimpered and looked like she was about to run for her master. "I'm not going back. I won't let that happen again," the girl murmured, shaking her head. "You can't make me go back."
She turned and ran. "Korra!" she heard Asami shout. A moment later she appeared, chasing after Korra on Naga. The Avatar knew she couldn't outrun the big animal, so instead of trying, she earthbent a wall to block them. Naga yelped and Korra stopped running. Naga was scratching at the wall. "Korra, please…" Asami said. Her voice was muffled by the wall.
"Leave me alone!" the girl cried, running again. She couldn't go back. Not yet. Not now. She wanted to keep running until she was back at the warehouse. But instead she ran out of luck and ran into the brothers, quite literally. They had both rounded the same corner and none of them had time to react.
Korra collided with Bolin and they both toppled to the ground. They were stunned for a moment, but soon the girl was on her feet and backing away.
"Korra…" Mako muttered. "Korra, you need to come back." He took a step toward her and she took another step back, shaking her head. "No…no, I'm not going back. I don't want to risk hurting anyone again…It can happen again."
"Korra, please," he said, the desperation clear in his voice. Hurt flashed in his eyes and she began to choke up. A tear slid down her cheek and dripped off her chin and she took in a shaky breath before saying, "I-I don't want to hurt you again…"
Bolin had gotten to his feet and began to walk towards Korra. "Come on. You won't hurt anyone. Just come home." She continued to back away and soon she was running again. She said nothing, gave no warning. She just ran.
Korra ran straight back to the warehouse and quickly disappeared inside. She collapsed on the ground, sitting on her fur. Suddenly a sharp pain ran up her side. Gasping, she lifted her shirt and saw that a few of her wounds had opened. Her stomach growled a moment later, and she just broke down.
She was tired, hurt, hungry, scared… She started to cry into her hands, her body shaking as she sobbed. She wanted to go back. Really, she did. But she just…couldn't. Not after what happened.
Korra didn't know how long she was crying. But soon, she was yelling at herself.
"Why did I have to be the Avatar? I didn't ask for this!" she cried. "I don't want to be the fucking Avatar, I just want to be normal!" She pounded a fist into the ground and started to sob again. "I can't do this. There's too many people that want something from me! Why do I have to live with the expectations the world has for me?"
The war in Republic City was over, and has been over for a while. But there were still things going on outside of the city. Things Korra couldn't figure out, or stop, or make better.
"I can't do it. I can't do it. I can't do it," she repeated quietly, hugging her knees. "I'll never live up to everyone's expectations. They want me to be another Aang. How do I do that?" Her voice caught in her throat and she just wept. For a long time, she just wept. It was only when she heard Naga's howl that she tried to stop.
A few minutes went by before she heard her friends talking outside. She couldn't understand what they were saying, but if they were there, Bolin would be able to earthbend the blockades. Getting up, she grabbed her fur, dusted it off, and ran to a hiding spot. She wiped the tears from her eyes, trying to get them to stop, but she couldn't. Giving up, she crawled under an old table in the corner of the room and moved a few large crates in front of her.
She felt the ground move and Bolin removed her blockades. The group came in and she heard Naga bark a few times. The dog was probably sniffing around the spot where Korra had been sleeping.
Korra hadn't been able to stop her tears, so her vision was blurred. She closed her eyes and began to quietly cry again. She heard the clicking of Naga's claws on the ground as she walked into the room and sniffed around. The dog barked and the soft sound of footsteps sounded. The crates were moved but she didn't look up. She heard Bolin's gentle voice and felt him lift her up. He brought her back to the waiting Asami and Mako while Naga walked beside them, her nose pressed to Korra's head.
Korra, still refusing to lift her head, continued to cry silently. Eventually she stopped, but only after they were on Naga and headed back to the island. However, she still refused to look up at any of them. None of them tried to get her to talk either, to which she was thankful for.
When they got back to the island, Pema had Korra wash the blood from her open wounds off in the shower. She just ended up sitting in the tub with her arms around her as the shower soaked her though. When she came out, she walked to her room with her hair dripping and a towel around her, looking even more tired than before. Pema was waiting for her when she entered, holding a bowl of soup for the disheveled girl.
As Korra ate, Pema dried her hair and looked over the wounds. "Korra, you really scared us," the woman said softly. "I know…" Korra said nearly at a whisper. She winced when Pema touched her side. "It hurts," she muttered before continuing to eat. "It will stop hurting soon," Pema soothed.
Korra handed the bowl to Pema when she was finished and murmured, "I won't run off again." Pema only smiled at her. "Korra, get dressed now. Someone's waiting to talk to you." She didn't have to say who it was for Korra to know it was Mako.
"He can come in a few minutes."
"Okay, I'll tell him. Then you should get some rest."
When Pema left, Korra put her night clothes on-a shirt that was too big for her, as the sleeves covered her hands and reached halfway to her knees and a pair of shorts-and collapsed on her bed. She turned onto her stomach and hid her face in her pillow. She wasn't sure why, but she started to cry again. She wanted to be here, but at the same time she didn't. She wanted to stay far away from everyone here so she wouldn't hurt them again. But when she did that, she was still hurting them. Why do I have to be the Avatar? It's not fair…
"It's not fair…" she repeated out loud. "It's not fair. It's not fair," she cried, clutching her pillow tighter.
"Nothing is fair Korra."
Mako had showed up and was currently standing in her doorway. When she didn't look up, he walked in, closing the door behind him, and sat on the edge of her bed.
Aside from the quiet sound of Korra crying, the room was silent. Only after the tears had stopped did Korra turn onto her back. She wiped her eyes and sat up, staring at the sheets. She didn't want to look at Mako. Shutting her eyes tight, she began to shake.
"Mako, I don't want you here," she said, her voice cracking. She took a steadying breath and added, "I don't want to hurt you."
"Korra, stop," he said. His voice was stern but gentle at the same time. She looked up at him ever so slightly, but went silent.
"The healers said I would be okay. I can also take my bandages off now," he told her, holding up his arm. She let out a small gasp when she saw the stitched, covering her mouth with her hands. "It's really not that bad, Korra," Mako said. "Stop beating yourself up over it."
Korra shook her head and hid her face. "Mmm…I can't help it. I feel so guilty…" she mumbled into her hands.
"Don't be. Please. I don't blame you. No one does," Mako said. "And don't keep blaming yourself, either."
When he said that, Korra's body was racked with a choking sob and she threw herself into Mako's arms. She cried into his chest, her hands fisting the fabric of his shirt. She was crying so much today, she couldn't believe she was actually still able to cry. But she was, and she wanted so bad to stop. But she just couldn't.
They both stayed like that for a while in silence. Mako was gently rubbing Korra's back as she cried, letting what was left of her pent up emotions spill out. She cried until she finally couldn't cry anymore. Then she sat up and rubbed her eyes. She yawned a moment later and suddenly felt three times as tired as she was before.
"You should get some sleep," Mako said, getting up to leave. He was stopped when Korra grabbed his arm and turned to face her. She tugged at his sleeve a few times before releasing it and dropping her hand. Yawning again, she got under the covers and laid down.
With a quiet sigh and small smile, he got onto her bed again and slipped under the covers beside her. She moved so her head was under his chin. Mako could feel her shivering and he wrapped his arms around her.
"I'm so sorry…" Korra murmured.
"I know. But you don't have to be," Mako murmured in return.
"I can't help it. I hurt myself, I hurt my friends, I scared everyone…and you. I can't believe how crazy you are. I could have killed you. I almost did. I had no control of my bending and I was so scared, Mako," she said.
Mako heard her whimper and held her closer. "It's okay now…you have to stop blaming yourself. It's not your fault," he told her. He brought his hand up to her chin and tilted her head back. "Okay? I'll keep saying that until you believe it."
Korra made a quiet noise and nodded. She gazed into his soft golden eyes for a moment and whispered, "Okay…I'll try to remind myself that…but it's hard to believe it…not when I know I've hurt you like th-mmph."
Mako cut her off, pressing his lips against hers. She started to pull away, but stopped and instead closed her eyes, returning the kiss with a little more force. Mako brought her even closer and Korra moved her hands to his neck. The kiss was long, and it only broke when they had to take a breath.
"…Thank you," Korra murmured, her hands moving back to Mako's chest.
"For what?" he asked.
"For being here to make me feel better."
He chuckled and said, "I'll always be there for you, Korra, no matter what."
"Good…" She sighed and nuzzled his neck. "I'm sorry for hurting you."
"Stop saying that. Now, go to sleep, okay?" he said.
She nodded and closed her eyes, her head tucked under Mako's chin. She still hurt and she couldn't help but still feel at least a little guilty at what happened. But Mako always made her feel better no matter the problem, and she loved that.
"I love you," she whispered.
"I love you too," he whispered back.
While she was still upset, Korra felt much of the weight on her shoulders lift as she lay with Mako. He would always be there for her, even when she didn't want him. And she was grateful for that.