They don't have a name, not yet. Bolin has been campaigning strongly for Bolin Jr. ("What if it's a girl?" "Bolin Jr. still works! It's too perfect of a name to deny a little girl!"), but of course Korra is not one to allow such a travesty upon anyone, least of all their unborn child.

She gets up before him, as usual, padding along to the kitchen with bare feet, one dark hand circling her belly. She sits at the table, tipping back in her chair, peeling a red orange with her fingers, looking up every so often at him (Bo, you lazy pants, get up).

Korra lends even these domestic tasks a kind of quiet holiness that has only increased with her pregnancy. She is a pathway between the home of ruddy humanity and the tenuous spirit world, a creature of both dream and duty; it makes sense that her movements and touch should have such a pure quality to them. There is a definite sense of wonder about her, as simple and significant as a quick brush of air or the flash of a returning sun. Bolin has become good at recognizing this—he watches her in the same reverent way that he'd watch the daybreak on the streets as a boy. The Avatar's job is to care for the world; Bolin's job is to care for the Avatar, and he assumes this role gratefully.

Now that she carries a child, she has become more rooted to mortal concern and worry, and she seems content to spend hours with him, fussing over names and colors for the baby's clothing (Bolin, much to her amusement, has taken up knitting tiny sweaters). Their time together has become more meaningful for the common objective and future they share. For his part, Bolin adores the side of her that has appeared in recent months, the soft and gentle bit of her that coos at their child, that presses his hand to her belly and cries "right there, did you feel the kick?"

Bolin rolls out of bed lazily and takes the seat next to Korra, sneaking an orange piece from her hand and popping it into his mouth. She pinches him in a mock reprimand.

"Hey! You glutton, get your own."

Bolin grins. He kisses her cheek, lingering a little; she smells like citrus and nutmeg. "Good morning. And good morning to you, Bolin Jr."

He waits for her answering laugh, her shut up, we're never, ever calling our baby that. But she has gone quiet, a behavior rare enough in Korra that it instantly sobers him. Bolin waits for her to talk, deciding that she must have something on her mind, knowing not to rush her.

"Hey Bo, listen. I'm going to visit the airbender colony tomorrow."

Bolin's eyes widen. He struggles to keep his expression under control, with limited success, but he is privately horrified. "Are you sure, Korra? Isn't the baby due soon?"

"It'll be alright. I'll only be there a few days. I have to do this, Bolin. There's been some kind of natural disaster, and Tenzin is worried sick. They've just started out, and they are all on their own. It's Tenzin's whole culture, you know. I can't not help."

"Korra, I don't know. It's not a good idea."

"I can't leave them hanging, not when they need me. You know that."

"But you're pregnant, and it's just too close to—"

"Bo," she says, her tone soft, but inviting no possibility of disagreement, "being the Avatar isn't just a job I can skip when I feel like it. It's important that I do this."

"I know. I know that."

"It's just a few days. I'll be fine! You trust me, don't you?"

She looks at him expectantly; asking for his trust is tantamount to a declaration of love from her. It is not something he can pass off with a distracting drift of his fingertips or a few sweet nothings, as he would do in other circumstances. Bolin places both hands on her shoulders, wishing he could keep her still, that he could always be assured of her safety. But he knows that Korra belongs to the world first, and to him second. He kisses her neck, murmuring stay safe against her skin, hoping to bless her, somehow, to safeguard her from all the dangers he has no hold over.

"Yes. I trust you."

But though young lovers will always believe so, faith is not enough, because Korra doesn't come back. What began as a few days turns into a week, two weeks. Bolin lies awake in their bed, filled with awful frustration that inhabits the depths of his bones and gut. He reconstructs his memories of her—Korra laughing at his jokes, even when they were terrible to the point of absurdity, Korra waking him up during a nightmare and holding him until he fell asleep, Korra on a summer night, in that dress borrowed from Asami, looking so sheepish and unaware of the radius of her charm, affecting every man in the vicinity with a rapid and stunning case of infatuation.

He remembers a similar period during his sixteenth year, when Korra had been taken away in the dead of night, and he had been stuck in a cell, armed with only futile hands and rotting thoughts of her dead eyes and heart. But back then he shared the burden of her care with others more skilled than he, and his youthful optimism left no room for doubt. Now he can only think of her and their baby, alone and stranded. All that keeps him alive is that look in her eyes he knows so well (I will come home, Bolin), and the assurance that no determination is stronger than hers. Please come through for me just one more time, Korra.