Sorry I've kind of fell off the edge of the earth for a while. My laptop died and writing on the Kindle wasn't the same. SO I FINALLY broke down and got a new computer! Yay me! But technology seems to hate me, but hopefully this one will last for a while so I can get back to writing! SO EXCITED!

SO anywho, I lied when I said there was only one more chapter. I started writing again (because I completely lost my other drafts) and it was to long to be in one. I am going to upload this chapter (mostly information chapter) then get back to work on the last part which will lead into a possible next story. Honestly lost connection with this story, so this might be a little rough, but I'll go back and edit it soon. Just hang in there with me. Next chapter has the ending smut. Just throwing that out there for those of you who I know love it.

Don't own anything LoK. or Airbender! (and haven't read the search yet, so if anything clashes, my apologies)

The Complete Story
Ch. 17

The Technique

"Take the children away," Katara ordered calmly to Pema. Without a hint of objection, Pema obeyed. The airbending children refused at first, but one stern look from their mother sent them flying out the door to play in the snow. They would enjoy playing outside the compound, but Mako wondered about the odd instruction. He had watched many healers, especially since his time knowing the Avatar, and none of those times were indecent for children.
He watched Korra walk toward the back room with the master healer. She held her head high. She still has hope. Her eyes met his for brief second and he saw the desperation in them before she shut the door. He felt as if the shutting of the door signified something momentous.

Within seconds of her being out of sight he began pacing the room, clinching his fists. Bolin leaned quietly against the wall, shoulder to shoulder with Asami. Mako caught their eyes briefly, then he looked away shaking his head and continuing his trek around the room. Beifong sat and drummed her fingers impatiently on round table next to Tenzin whose hands were placed elegantly in his lap. Mako had a feeling both adults knew what was going on better than any of them, but something in the airbender's eyes warned him not to ask. He wore the look Mako knew so well; alert eyes, stiff back, face ashen, emotions hidden. It was the one he usually wore, but now he seemed to have stumbled into the first situation where he could not compose himself.

Half an hour later the front door opened and cold air rushed into the room as two fur covered members of the water tribe stepped into the warmth. One was very large, very strong. The other small, female. They removed their hoods and Mako knew instantly that they were Korra's parents. Mako froze. The thought had not occurred to him that they would be coming. Caught completely by surprise, all he could do was stare. They looked once around the room before their gaze fell meaningfully on Tenzin.

"She has already begun. It will be some time before it is finished." Tenzin related. Mako got the feeling, again, that the adults in the room knew more about the situation then they weren't telling. Korra's father simply nodded.

"Thank you for sending Pema to get us," her mother's voice had the same tone as Korra's, She lacked the same clarity as her daughter, but her demeanor was kind.

"Everyone, this is Tonraq and Senna. Korra's parents." Tenzin continued to gesture around the room,.

"This is Lin Beifong, chief of police in Republic City," Lin nodded curtly.
"And these are Korra's friends. Bolin, an earth bender who played on Korra's probending team," Bolin smiled and shook hands firmly with Tonraq. He blushed at Senna innocently, waving his hand in the air. Tonraq and Senna smiled as they were introduced. They seemed genuinely… well… good. Just like Korra, Mako thought

"Asami Sato, daughter of the inventor of the Satomobile," Asami winced at the word daughter. But she quickly regained her composure
"So nice to meet you!" she gushed in her usual manner of polite introduction.

"And Mako,"
As everyone turned to look at him with a mixture of odd expressions, the air in the room grew dense. He vaguely wondered why Tenzin hadn't mentioned anything about him. He was Bolin's brother, a probender, a firebender, and not to forget he was the one protecting Korra! Or who was supposed to have protected Korra…
Guilt spread through him. His body jerked to make a mannerly gesture, but the shame that he had already failed them before meeting them twisted his stomach and he turned back to the door that held the Avatar.

As time passed the members rose to their feet and sat back down, only to rise again unsure of what they should be doing. Roughly an hour of silence had passed when they first heard the murmurs of pain. Eyes bore into the door. It began as a light whimper that soon became a painful growl. Soon Korra's voice escalated into a scream that tore through the building.
Mako rushed toward the door but was blocked swiftly by the Tenzin.
"No!" The airbender whispered harshly and pointed to the seats. Asami and Bolin were beside Mako, who stood his ground glaring at the big man.

"What is going on?" Asami demanded.

"What has to be done. Please return to your seats."

Asami went quietly back to their chairs. When Bolin pulled Mako's arm for him to follow, the firebender shook him off and stood defiantly. Another scream laced the air. Mako tried to shove past Tenzin, but the big man held him in place, his words lost under Mako's effort.
"Korra!" Mako called. Tenzin angrily clamped his hand over Mako's mouth and began dragging him out of the building. When the firebender tried to punch him, he was surprised to see his first secured by a metal rope. Taking advantage of the momentary shock Tenzin tried to explain evenly "My mother would never do anything that Korra would not consent too. If you go in now, you could cause untold amounts of harm. Katara is using her blood bending to try and find a way to bring back the Avatar's abilities. There are also… other ways she may be trying. If she loses concentration, Korra could lose her life!"

Mako gaped at him, "I can't sit here and listen to her scream!"

"Then Wait Outside," the threat in the older man's voice was barely contained. Mako felt himself grow red and then begin to shake. Unfamiliar strong hands gripped his shoulders. Mako looked back into the eyes of Tonraq. There was understanding in those eyes. He felt the metal rope fall from his wrist as he let the big man lead him the rest of the way outside.

"You can't help her now," Her father's voice was gentle and strong.

"I have to," Mako pleaded meekly, "She is in pain."

"Korra is strong. She can handle what has to be done,"

A fresh scream sliced through the air. Mako ran his hand into his hair. He was losing his mind. His heart was being ripped from his chest with every cry that cleaved through the air, "She Needs Me!"
The big man held his arms and looked down at him. Mako knew he was sizing him up. He didn't care; he had to get to Korra.

"You can't take every pain from her. And neither can I," Mako grasped the veracity in a father's voice. Tonraq had the same urges as him to run in and put a stop to all this. "I had to realize long ago that I can't protect her from the world. I would like to lock her up, keep her safe. But then what would the world do without her?" The worried feelings that had haunted Mako for weeks crashed upon him. He wouldn't always be able to save her. Like now, she had to go through agony in hopes for a better outcome. The epiphany made Mako's knees weak. His blood ran colder than the snow and ice around him. He saw the sympathy on Tonraq's face.

"This feeling will never go away, will it?" he asked.

The sad smile on the other's face gave him his answer before he spoke, "No. But Korra has never let me down yet. She rises above every obstacle put in her path. It isn't that she doesn't need you to protect her, to save her, even from herself. But you have to give her room to find her own path. And any path that isn't her being locked in a box is going to involve hardships."

Actually Korra almost had to endure a life in a box, Mako thought, and that definitely would have been full of hardships. But he understood Tonraq's point.
Korra's scream rang out again, but descended into moans that were barely audible from outside the building. She sounded as though her body was giving in, that she hadn't even enough fight to scream. Mako's guilt overtook him.

"She is in there because of me… it's my fault. It's all my fault! " he admitted to Tonraq. He felt dirty. The hands on his arms squeezed. Even though it would have made him seem weak, he wished he could cry. He wanted the frustration and his own remorse to be washed away.

"Pema told us a little about you and what happened. You saved my daughter's life. You weren't able to save her from what that man did to her, but without you the situation would be worse." Mako could tell that the other was an intelligent person, but one of which who didn't talk much. The conversation seemed to make him increasingly uncomfortable, "All you can do is be here for her."

Silence enveloped the building. It was almost as deafening as the screams. Mako looked around as if expecting Korra to show up out of nowhere. When she didn't his shoulders sagged and he felt very very tired. Tonraq patted him on the back then lead him inside.

Mako flopped down on the seat just inside the door. The screaming began anew and he willed his gaze to burn the damn door to cinders. He wanted to rush to the room but found that he couldn't move. He couldn't do anything. She had to do this without him.
His emotions were growing so intense that a numbness began to take over him. Someone took the seat next to him and a pair of small arms pulled him over into their embrace. Korra's mother held his head to her shoulder, breaking his gaze from the door. A comforting sensation cut through the deadening feelings. It was impossible to steel himself against a mother's embrace. He shut his eyes tight and could almost imagine it was Korra holding him. A sob shook him that no one else saw, but Senna felt. She held him tighter.

Moments later the quiet returned. Senna released Mako. He looked up in time to see Tenzin give her a solemn nod. Senna sighed, gently touched Mako's cheek, and moved to sit beside her husband. He gave her a small smile before wrapping his arm around her.

"Asami, could you go get my family? The worst is over and they can finish waiting in here. They will be worried," and driving my wife nuts, he added silently. Asami left, a relieved look on her stressed but still beautiful features. Beifong swiftly moved across the room allowing for the family to sit at the table. Bolin took the seat next to his brother.

"What other things were you talking about, Tenzin? When you said Katara was using blood bending and may be trying other things. What did you mean?" Mako asked. He wasn't sure if it was an appropriate topic for the moment, but the lack of noise from the other room was frightening him and he wanted answers.

Tenzin looked him up and down, chewing on his words before answering, "The healing techniques used by benders work by guiding water through a network of chi paths. Chi refers to the energy which flows throughout the human body. There is a… painful technique that is said could unblock and realign your chi, instead of dedicated meditation or healing through waterbending." He looked seriously at the brothers, "This does not leave this room! The world doesn't need to think it can manipulate human energy any farther." They nodded. He continued, "The technique was supposedly used by a spirit long ago to help create bending energy in our ancestors. Only the strongest and most diligent could withstand the pain and was granted the power to bend, and their generations beyond them."

"I thought people learned themselves to bend?" Bolin questioned.

"Each of the nations have their own versions of how they discovered their talents, and while most have some element of truth, the original benders could not have learned their disciplines without the spirits interference to their chi."

"And how does Katara know how to do it… this technique?" Mako spat.

"My mother once had to use it on a young woman who came from such a conflicting family that she was out of balance from an early age. She became so mentally unstable that she couldn't control her bending. She was too… unbalanced to meditate. The alternative was death. So my father went into the spirit world in search for an answer and was told where to find a scroll which describes a procedure to realign chi, although it is very painful."

"Why couldn't Aang just take her bending away?"

"That is a complicated explanation. To take away bending, a spirit must use what is called energy bending. The Avatar is the spirit of the planet incarnated in human formand thus, the only physical being with the ability to learn all four elements and energy bending. It is a highly dangerous technique; if one's own energy is impure and therefore bendable, the practitioner will be consequently destroyed. Aang did not want to chance being destroyed, or destroying the girl, because he had doubts."

"So Korra is really a… a spirit? No… Way…" Bolin gasped in awe.

"She is still our little girl," Tonraq grumbled.

Mako sighed. He didn't care what Korra was called; Avatar, Daughter, Water tribe, Spirit… He just wanted to see her walk through that door, real flesh and blood and alive.

Before he could point out that Tenzin said nothing about how the technique was preformed, Asami returned with the airbending family. The kids, not knowing what happened, came barreling into the room expecting to see Korra. Their cheeks were red with the cold but their eyes were excited with having explored unfamiliar settings. Milo yawned and curled up in his father's arms, exhausted. Pema unwrapped the baby, assuring Tenzin quickly that they had stayed inside a water tribe woman's house while looking out a window to watch the kids play. She settled Rohan down on the table and the sisters were instantly attentive. Pema gave Mako a significant look, as if to say "I understand, but you still look like hell" before turning her attention back to the baby. Jinora noticed the look and became solumn. Ikki asked about Korra, but upon finding that no one knew anything she became entranced with the baby once more.

To Bolin's disappointment, Asami took the other seat beside Mako and slipped her hand into his. He pulled it away and shot her a quick warning expression before staring exhaustedly up at the ceiling. She looked at him with pity before placing her hands in her lap and keeping her gaze steadily on them.
After that, the earth bender tried not to watch the others in the room. He felt alone and insignificant. He had helped fight off Asami's father, leading to feelings of family resentment. Now, being surrounded by a dedicated airbender family and Korra's parents, he was frightened that the people he came to realize as family would break apart without the glue (Korra) holding them together. He didn't want to lose his family again. He would always have Mako, but the events of the past few days had changed him; he was more withdrawn, almost as if he was afraid to be around his brother. Bolin supposed it could be his worry for Korra.
He pulled a knee to his chest and wrapped his arms around it. He remembered doing this when he was a child and his big brother would immediately come to comfort him. But the fire bender was in his own tortured world now.

Every head, with the exception of Meelo who had fallen asleep in his father's arms, looked up when they heard the door slide open. Everyone raised to their feet as Katara entered, a grave look on her face, "I've done everything in my power, but I cannot restore Korra's bending,"

"But you're the best healer in the world! You have to keep trying!" Beifong pleaded. She had hoped the Avatars power would be restored, not only for the worlds sake, but for her bending's sake as well.

"Korra can still airbend, but her connection to the other elements has been severed." Beifong cast her gaze down.

Korra exited the room at that second. None of them had ever seen her so… empty…. She looked up to see every eye in the room on her. Everyone in the world that was close to her.

"Everything is going to be all right Korra," Tenzin started.

"No… No its not," Korra couldn't make herself feel anything. It was almost like she didn't exist. She trudged past them all.

For an instant Mako thought she was reaching for him, but her arm shot past him to her coat hanging on the wall. He reached out his hand to stop her but she was gone. He watched her go, his guild punishing him, badgering him to stay away from her for her own good. He remembered Tonraq's words. He looked up with determination and hurried outside.

"Korra! Wait," He ran down the stairs and out into the snow.

When he caught up to her she stopped and cast him a brooding glance over her shoulder, "Go Away,"

"I will. But I just want you to know, I'm here for you,"

"No. I mean go away. Back to Republic City. Get on with your life," She crossed her arms.

He was taken aback, "What are you talking about?"

Annoyance flashed through her. Every moment they were together was because she was the Avatar. He barely even acknowledged her before he knew how important she was. Every intimate time they were together, she saw it only as him doing what needed to be done to keep the Avatar on track… "I'm not the Avatar anymore." She stated cynical, "You don't need to do me any favors," She tried to dodge around him, wanting to reach Naga and just run.

He put his hand on her shoulder to keep her from walking away. "I don't care if you're the Avatar or not" Now is the time, she has to know. He removed his hand, not wanting to force her to hear the reason he had refused to leave her side for weeks, "Listen." She turned to face him, a pained expression on her face, "When Tarrlok took you, I was losing my mind with the thought of never seeing you again. I realized," he hesitated, glancing down and building strength before looking back into her distressed eyes. His hand gently cupped her cheek, "I love you, Korra."

He said it… her mind raced, he finally said it. Now, of all times! Mako was always able to bring emotion back to her when she has entered that dark place that haunted her now. But this time she didn't want it because it was hopeless, dark, and excruciating self loathing, "I…," She pushed his hand from her cheek, "I can't," She sprinted the short distance to Naga, jumping into the saddle and riding out of the compound.

"Korra!" He called to her as he watched her go, unmoving as his feet felt like lead.

He heard Tenzin walking behind him, "We need to be patient with her. It will take time for her to accept what has happened." But Mako knew there was more. He was there when she tried to distance herself before. That wasn't the Korra the world needed.

"There is a place not far from here, overlooking the ocean. She would always go there when she was upset. That way," Mako looked behind him to see Tonraq standing at the base of the stairs. He pointed north east. Mako had been kept away from her long enough. This was different than just letting her work out a problem herself. Without the Avatar title to shroud her, where would she hide now? Terror swept him that if he didn't reach her, he would never see her again. No one was holding him back now, so he followed.

She rode to the cliff, the place she always went whenever she had wanted to get away from the South Pole. She slid off her polarbear dog and walked slowly toward the edge. The cliff overlooked the ocean in the direction of Republic City. I'll never go back…
The tears began to spill down her cheeks. She watched as the first one dripped from her chin, falling over the edge of the cliff and out of sight to the far rocks below.

Her vision blurred, an image of her body flying over the side flashed behind her eyes as she blinked. She would be gone, and then the Avatar cycle would start again with another body that could bend all the elements. Everything was a mess, she was a disgrace.
But it could all end. It wouldn't take long. Do it, a silken voice in the back of her mind cooed. Her foot rose unconsciously. No one would miss you. They would even be grateful for your self-sacrifice. Do it.
Everything around her was still; the only movement was the crashing of the waves, calling to her to join them.
Do it…
She leaned forward. Life shouldn't be this hard.
The Avatar shouldn't be this easily defeated. She held her breath and shut her eyes. She leaned forward, ready.
But she hesitated. She thought she had heard her name being called from a distance. Someone was looking for her.
JUMP NOW! The voice raged.

Some part of her mind pushed back. The conflict was unbearable. Shaking her head to clear it of the urgings, she gritted her teeth and failed to hold back the sobs. Burying her face in her hands she lowered herself to ground, hugging her knees to her chest and crying.

She heard rustling of cloths behind her. She saw dark orange and yellow out of the corner of her eye.
"Not now, Tenzin. I just want to be left alone,"

"But you called me here," Korra's back stiffened. Turning around she found the last person she expected to see. "Aang" she said in admiration. Bliss spread through her as she looked up at him. She had called him so many times in her hours of need. She was so lost, this was the first time she hadn't called to him.

"You have finally connected with your spiritual self"

She rose to her feet, "How?"

"When we hit our lowest point, we are open to the greatest change," a look of remembrance crossed his face. Avatars from century's past materialized behind him.

She watched with a sense of peace. Aang had finally come to her. She felt accepted rather than rejected as she would have thought. She smiled, closing her eyes and opening herself to the connection of his touch against her chest and forehead. His essence spread through her. She let him enfold her, and she felt whole again. A glow encased them as he transferred his knowledge into her. His energy healed her, and she knew that now she could do the same. She felt the other avatars disappear, only to join their power inside her.

Mako had ran from the compound to find her. Not even knowing if he was going the right way, he whistled for Naga. Looking around and saw nothing. He continued to run North East. He used his bending to heat himself, without it he would have frozen. A few moments later Naga came bounding over a hill of snow. He leapt into the saddle and spurred her in the direction she had come.

He spotted Korra just as she was leaning forward over the cliff. He called to her, horrified at what she was about to do. He was still too far away to save her. The polarbear dog bounded down the slope, making their way toward the girl. Naga bounded over a crevasse and his attention was temporarily averted as he narrowly managed to stay in the saddle. When he regained his hold, he looked up to see Korra looking away from the edge.
Naga slowed as they neared. Mako would have rushed to Korra, but he sat stone still as a blue glow encased her. He slipped from the saddle as the glow faded. Her eyes snapped open and the blue radiance of her avatar spirit shown brilliantly in the day light.

Mako felt the blood drain from his face. A vortex of wind lifted her into the air and swept out in a ripple around her. Fire raced out in a similar manner, and sizzling the chilled air. Using the influence of all her past lives she felt the earth far below the ice, moving it and forcing the ice under her to quake. Her arms lifted and the waters of the ocean rose up to splash above the cliff at her command.

Mako took a few steps toward her as the whirling air died down. Residual snow swirled around her as her feet tipped ground once again. The luminosity in her eyes faded, Mako could see the slight slump of her shoulders. She turned to face him.
The raw bending power he had witnessed frightened him… but when he saw her face he smiled. Somehow he knew everything was balanced within' her. He walked toward her in relief. She smiled back and ran to him, unable to contain her delight. He opened his arms and caught her, twirling her around. He held her closely, feeling her warmth, her life.

She pulled away, touching his cheek as he had her's earlier, "I love you too,"

His heart swelled. Moving her hand to the back of his neck she pulled him into a kiss. His hand slipped around her back to pull her against him. The spirit of the world was whole once again.