When Korra had posed the question to Amon, she had not expected his quick response.
"Let me have one night with you."
To say the least, she had been stunned. She had figured that his last request would be a favorite meal, or one last chance to fight her. But no. He had wanted to have a night with her. As in, sleep with her. Her first reaction had been to cringe away. He had seen it and his own body language had tightened, drawing into himself.
"I'm not surprised," He murmured. "I have been branded a monster in my fight for equality." He tilted his face up towards her, the shadows of the cell bars on the thick door darkening his face into something twisted and sinister. A monster. "Besides, with a face as ugly as mine, I am well fitted for the role." Korra watched as he touched the smooth surface of the mask that covered his face. His face would not be revealed until his public trial tomorrow. Where he was certain to be executed for his crimes against the citizens of Republic City. She thought this harsh, as had Tenzin, but benders were out for blood and would take nothing less. The majority ruled. Always.
She had left him then, without an answer. But his words haunted her. /Face as ugly as mine…fitted for the role./ She wasn't sure where they sympathy for him welled up from. Perhaps it was altruistic side of her that wanted to serve the people. The side that had convinced her to defy Tarrlok and help the nonbenders who had been imprisoned. The side that had convinced her to befriend her once opponent Tahno.
Or maybe it was the fact that he had spared her countless times, had even unwittingly facilitated her escape from Tarrlok. Perhaps she felt like she owed him something. But could she give him her body? No. She knew for sure that she could never do that. But she could give him a warm touch, something intimate. She could do that for him.
And strangely, the idea didn't seem to bother her as much as she thought it would.
She was taking a big risk, being here alone with him in the middle of the night. She had slipped out after everyone had gone to bed. She waved off the guards with ease - they wanted to go home to their families and she promised to keep a close eye on their prisoner. When she appeared in front of his cell, he was sitting by a simple flame, head bowed. "Uhm." she cleared her throat lightly. He didn't look up. "Amon." She peered closer. Was he dead? He was so still. "Amon?" She called his name a little louder and he shifted, face lifting to look up at her. "Yes Korra?" His voice was quiet. His voice was neutral. "The guards are taking a break. I can't promise the whole night. But I can give you an hour." He didn't shift or anything. She took in a deep breath and opened up the cell door with her earthbending, allowing her to slip in and close it up hastily. He was quiet as she approached and when she was finally kneeling down before him, she could hear her heart pounding in her ears. Those eyes stared at her from beneath the mask, bright despite the low flame. With a flick of her wrist, the flame was extinguished, plunging the room into darkness.
She knew she was putting herself in a vulnerable position. Even with his wrists being manacled together as well as his ankles, he was still dangerous. "I'm going to touch you now." his voice was soft. She braced herself, ready to detect any shady movements. When his hands touched her cheeks, she almost jerked away. His skin was hot against hers. She had always envisioned him feeling cool to the touch for some reason. Perhaps because sometimes she felt like he was unhuman.
His fingers smoothed along her cheeks, rising up, his thumbs caressing over her eyelids delicately, as if he were exploring something fragile. His thumbs slid up her nose and she found herself holding her breath as he touched her forehead. But nothing happened. Instead he pulled his hands away. She let out a long sigh. "I can't promise to go all the way with you." she told him, feeling the need to break the silence between them. He didn't answer. She just heard the soft /plop/ as he set something down. His hands suddenly grabbed hers and pulled her against him. She struggled initially, but he held her close. Almost like he was trying to calm a wild beast. When she realized that he wasn't trying to physically assault her, she relaxed, letting her body gingerly rest against his own. She could feel the hard lines of his muscles beneath his shirt and she could feel each little movement he made. She flushed lightly as his chest brushed against her own, but she was quickly distracted as he lifted her hands up.
She gasped as the pads of her fingers made initial contact with deep grooves. Was this his face? Oh spirits, she could only imagine what he looked like. The scarring was so deep that she was amazed that she wasn't touching bone. He made her fingers trace along each groove, each nick, each tear.
And damn it if it didn't make her heart hurt. To know that he had been so cruelly treated by those who had been blessed with such a wonderful gift. She could almost understand why he hated them. They hurt him. They hurt his family. Sure, it wasn't justifying his actions, but she couldn't imagine the physical and emotional trauma he had suffered.
That he still suffered.
"Do not cry for me Avatar." His voice was harsh. She closed her eyes. He didn't want her pity. "You would be wasting your tears." His hands guided her to his nose. Could that even be considered a nose. It was like he was missing half of the bridge of it and she could hardly make out the nostrils.
She felt water filming over her eyes.
"I said, do not cry for me." His voice was dark and threatening. She swallowed. "I'm not." He could probably tell she was lying. She shut her eyes as he pulled her fingers along his lips. From the texture, he had probably lost most of his upper lip. His bottom lip was full though and she slowly stroked a thumb along it.
"I am a monster. I am ugly."
His breath was warm against her flesh.
"No. You're not."
Before he could protest, she leaned over and fitted her lips against his own. It was awkward at first, but she worked with what she had. He tensed beneath her. He probably wasn't used to such an intimate touch. She slowly began to kiss along his face, tenderly brushing her lips upon each mark. Her way of apologizing for the evils done to him. Her way of wishing that it had never happened. Her way of saying that she wished she could give him more.
He slowly pulled her face away and she stared into the darkness, barely making out the shadows of his face. "You are a silly girl," his voice sounded amused now. "For thinking that I would ask for your flesh. I have sampled the carnal pleasures, but I have never had the intimacy, the emotions that come with it. Sex had been nothing about releasing the tension. You have given me what I wanted, Avatar. At least now I can depart from this life and into the other, knowing what it feels like to be cared for by another who was not of my flesh." He was slowly pushing her away. "To know that someone does care. Did care."
"You're not a monster."
A sigh left his lips. "You still have much to learn, young Avatar." He was standing slowly, pulling her up with him. "Light your flame. Gaze upon the face of your enemy." She could feel him tense before her. She was tempted to. To see if the face was as horrifying as it felt. But she didn't. "No. You do not want it." she stepped back and he let her. "I won't let them see your face tomorrow. I don't want you remembered like that." she moved back towards the door, lighting a small flame with her finger tips. Just enough to guide her back.
"Perhaps there is hope after all." His voice mused. She opened the door and stepped through, locking it back. "I'm glad you think so." she leaned against it. She heard his footsteps make their way across and she felt his hand slip through the bars. She leaned her cheek into his palm, closing her eyes as his thumb stroked along her skin. "After all, I am the Avatar. I protect those who need protecting." she placed her hand over his, pressing his flesh against hers. "You may be a criminal, but even they need protecting sometimes."
His soft laugh made her smile. That would be a memory she would keep with her for eternity.