First part to what will hopefully be many assorted pieces in a Korroh friendship/romance universe :)
This one's a friendship!
Hope you enjoy!
The strange boy in red, wrapped in stark intensity and rigid control, intrigues her as he walks across the white snows calling her name.
Tucked away in the shadows beneath the building, Korra snickers to herself as he begins his third circuit of the compound, face scrunched up in irritation. This time when he passes by, instead of holding her breath and squirming to make herself smaller, Korra lets out a shrill battle cry and surges forward, flinging a torrent of snow at him.
The boy yelps as he's buried in a soft white storm and Korra has never felt prouder, pumping tiny fists into the air as she dances around, laughing hysterically. She's still cheering herself on when a head finally surfaces, a mop of dishevelled raven hair framed around a furious glare as the boy slowly extricates himself from the pile.
"What was that for?"
She only sticks her tongue out him, full of cheeky confidence.
For a moment, all is quiet as the words echo across the snow-swept courtyard to the widening of his amber eyes. Suddenly, he snaps around and storms off, barking angrily.
"Girls are crazy, I don't have time for this!"
Korra's inquisitive eyes catch the flicker of bright orange flame that licks the air beyond the boy's lips as he speaks and excitement bubbles up inside her, stretching a bright grin across her little face.
"Hey wait!" She's never met another firebender, never met someone who shares that other heartbeat, pulsing with a different kind of life. The boy turns to her wearing the dismissive frown of the impatient.
"You're a firebender? From the Fire Country?"
One cultured eyebrow lifts as he regards her. Slowly he nods.
"Yes. And it's the Fire Nation, not 'Country'."
The affirmation sends her mind racing with possibilities and she's too eager to really hear anything else he says.
"Are you gonna be my new firebending teacher?"
"What? Firebending teach–wait...you're the Avatar?"
"Uh huh, I'm Korra!"
The boy's whole body seems to slump forward–like melting ice–and he groans, slapping a gloved hand to his face. His words are muttered, sharp and quick with a hint of embarrassment.
"I'm an idiot, of course you're the Avatar...how many other five year-old water tribe girls would be here?"
Korra frowns, face squirming with childish indignation.
"Hey I'm not five, I'm six! You're not very tall, how old are you, huh?"
The boy recovers quickly at her jab, thrusting his chest out proudly.
"I am, in fact, the average height for a thirteen year-old boy."
Korra is not impressed.
"Whatever, anyway, are you here to teach me some cool firebending?"
When he meets her gaze again, the edges of his face have melted a little to reveal a sheepish grin as he nervously rubs at his neck.
"Uh, no, I'm just visiting with my family and Master Katara sent me to get you for lunch."
"Lunch? That's boring–you're boring, Fire Boy, I bet you suck at firebending!"
The outburst takes him by surprise and he stumbles over his words, trying to counter.
"Wha–hey, how is that fair? That's not true, take that back!"
"Then prove it! Teach me some firebending tricks!"
Korra watches with barely restrained excitement as the boy deliberates on her ultimatum, grumbling under his breath all the while.
"...Fine," she lets out a loud whoop, bouncing in place. "–but only a few, deal?"
They shake on it, red and blue clasped in promise.
Over the course of the next thirty minutes, Korra tries to learn a myriad of complex firebending forms while the boy stands to the side, giving increasingly frustrated instructions.
No, the other hand.
I'll show you my other hand!
She hits the ground for the fiftieth time, knees scraped and voice wavering as her eyes begin to water.
"I can't do any of these stupid tricks!"
Her tone reminds him of her fragile age, softens his frustrations enough for him to sit down carefully beside her, lifting one warm hand to gently pat the top of her head.
"Hey now, don't be so hard on yourself, you're doing better than most beginners and these moves took me months to learn properly. Maybe you should focus on your waterbending for now, Little Avatar, you'll learn to bend fire, when the time is right."
Korra clenches her small fists, squeezes her eyes shut to stem the tide–because she never cries!–but still the sniffles come, whimpering and soft.
"B–but I really wanna learn firebending..."
The boy tugs on her arm as he stands, smiling down softly as he straightens her ruffled parka.
"Hey, don't cry...how about I show you a really cool trick, hm? Will that make you feel better?"
Her blue eyes are still wet when she looks up at him but her inquisitive nature has sparked to life and her words are clear, if a little shaky, when she asks.
"W–what kind of trick?"
A smirk plays at the edge of his lips.
"My best one."
Tears all but dried in the wake of her curiosity, Korra lets the boy pull her to the side, telling her to watch closely as he steps back into the courtyard.
"But stay back, 'cause it's pretty dangerous." A wordless nod.
Korra watches, not breathing, as the boy stands rigid, hands folded together, and takes a deep breath.
Suddenly, he moves.
She's never seen anything like this before–all whirling arms and pointed fingers–but when the first sparks of blue flicker in the air, trailing behind his hands, Korra is struck by a powerful sense of familiarity. Something deep within her spirit–beyond her mind or body–whispers to her and then, she just knows.
Awestruck wonder surges through the girl, spurring her heart into a frantic drum-beat that sets alight her blood. Hairs raise across her body and the air burns as that energy begins to coalesce, to gain substance and strength as it fills the air surrounding the boy. His form stops for an instant, light gathered at the tips of his fingers, before lunging forward.
The bolt rips free with a thunderous roar, a radiant arrow that pierces the sky.
In an aftermath that smells uniquely of burning ozone, Korra can only stare at the boy in amazement when he turns to her, satisfied smirk in place.
"Woah...that was awesome!"
"They call it the 'cold fire'. Lightning. Firebenders can create it whe–"
A sudden shriek of outrage from the main building cuts him off, followed by an angry scream that reverberates through the chill air.
"PRINCE IROH! What have I told you about lightning!"
But there's no time for Korra to think because the shift between cool confidence and outright panic in the boy's eyes is swift enough to be comical, if not for the fear that seems to seize him completely.
"Oh ashes! It's my mum, we need to hide, now."
Korra doesn't hesitate to yank him away by the hand as they make a wild dash from the voice.
It isn't until they sit, panting heavily in her polar-bear dog's pen, that she turns the full-force of her six year-old stare onto the boy beside her. Stunned disbelief rings in her voice.
Fire Boy, while gasping for breath, manages a sharp bow and a dancing grin, still giddy from their escape.
"Fire Prince Iroh, the Second, at your service, milady."
Korra just punches him in the arm, hard, and contents herself with the yelp of pain he lets out.
In retaliation, Iroh pokes her in the forehead, smirking as she tumbles back over Naga into the pale snow with a cry of surprise.
Hours later, Katara finds them both tucked into an enclave along the wall, latched together and snoring softly. She chuckles warmly at the sight of the girl's tiny fingers buried in the fur of his parka, of the matching smiles spread across their young faces.
It is the beginning of something beautiful.
Hope I managed to imbue a realistic sense of character into both of them.
Their relationship (whether romantic or platonic) really works for me, so I wanted to delve into that ship a little more. Hopefully the next piece should have a little bit more heat to it :P, if you like the idea, please feel free to leave prompts/ideas/requests via pm.
Thanks for reading!