disclaimer: i only own the idea
dedication: to true love and happy endings, because they happen all the time – we just don't see them
notes: it's a bit strange, but it is definitely happier than what i posted earlier. i may write a spin off to that, i may not. i'd have to get into the angsty mood again…
summary: she had always loved fire. mako/korra.
Ironically, water is not the first element that Korra learns to bend.
She's always been fascinated by fire. By the colours that swirled and danced within the flame, by the heat that burned away the chill from the frozen tundra and warmed her right to her very bones. When she was a baby, her parents would put her on a rug in front of the fire and she would lay there, unmoving for hours, just watching the flames.
She was two the day she learnt to fire-bend, and in her childish mind, it was nothing short of a beautiful, wonderful miracle. The minute the fire flickered to life in her pudgy palms, she sat down where she stood and watched the fire dance.
Korra knows she's special. She knows she's a genius - having walked at eight months and talked at nine - but beyond that, she knows she's different. The elements sing to her in a way that she knows instinctively doesn't happen for other people. She can feel the earth spinning beneath her feet, feel the tug and pull of the waves, hear the wind whisper secrets in her ear, feel the fire blaze and burn and destroy and create –
The day after she creates fire, Korra learns to water-bend.
And nothing in her life is ever the same again.
It's cold and lonely in the White Lotus compound.
Everyone is too old and too serious. They don't want to play with Korra; actually, they don't want Korra at all. They want the Avatar.
Korra is five years old, and she hates being the Avatar. She has the best tutors available, a huge compound all to herself, and the facilities needed to play around with her bending all day.
However, she can't play around all day, because she is the Avatar, and Avatars have duties to uphold, even if they are five years old.
But late at night, when everything's quiet and it is long past her bedtime, she sits on the floor in the light of the moon and watches water and fire chase each other around in her fingers, and she feels whole.
Contrary to popular belief, Korra is not stupid. She knows how Bolin feels about her, and she feels terrible that her actions – which she perceived to be of a friendly nature – led him on and made him seem as if she loved him.
Bolin is great – after all, he's her best friend, her rock, the pillar of strength she leans on when she can't go any further and the woes of Republic City and the fear of Amon become too much. But he does not excite her. His touch doesn't make butterflies stir in her stomach; his smile and his laugh don't make her cheeks flush and her lips twitch up.
But Mako does.
From the moment she met him, she knew he was special. He was handsome and intelligent and had a sarcastic tongue as scorching as the flames of his natural element. His touch sent fire dancing across her skin; his gaze made sparks lick up her spine and flames dance across her fingertips.
Mako was everything she loved about fire: fierce, dominating, unpredictable and passionate. He burned like a thousand suns, brilliant and unrestrained. When she was around him, Korra let lose, let the flames consume her and drive her with reckless abandon. When she was with him, she felt complete.
Oh yes. Mako was definitely, the one.
Korra can't understand why Mako doesn't embrace his true self.
He keeps himself so tightly restrained, dampening the fire to shimmering coals until it is needed to fight. He denies his attraction to her, insists on dating Asami (who is like lightning and dry summer storms, and Korra loves the girl, she really does but she is just so wrong for Mako) and in general, treats her like she's an annoying piece of ash clinging to his clothes.
"We were meant for each other," she tells him, spinning water between her palms. "You and I, we're like two pieces of the same puzzle. We fit together."
"No, we don't," he says. "We're nothing alike, Korra. I love Asami; why can't you get that!"
"But you don't!" she returns hotly. "You – Mako, you're fire! You – you're beautiful! You burn so bright it amazes me that no one else can see it! But Asami – she's lightning, Mako. Beautiful and brilliant, capable of igniting the fire but not sustaining it! Not dampening it when it gets out of hand! She's too sharp for you. You need someone – uncontrollable – I – you – you need fire and water, not lightning!"
But he just stares at her with stony golden eyes and turns away, back to his fleeting little light, and away from her.
That day, Korra truly knows what it's like to hate.
The days blur together, time turns on its head, and before Korra knows it, Amon is gone and the war is over.
Mako and Asami are not together anymore; the lightning finally pushed the fire too far, and now he's consuming everything in his path. Asami has found a new love; an earth bender named Li, one who will not bend under the brilliance of her lightning.
And Mako's hurt, he's hurting so badly and Korra wants nothing more than to take him in her arms, to sooth his burns and put out the fire before he burns himself out.
But she can't. He wants nothing to do with her and he's so angry that they can't spend two minutes in each other's company without dissolving into a full-out screaming match. One time, it gets far out of hand and Mako burns brighter than a super nova, a whirling tornado of pain and anger and fear.
He tells her he hates her, that it's all her fault that Asami broke up with him and can't she do anything right!
Korra runs and never looks back.
In the time after the War, Korra focuses on her air bending training, and becomes a fully realized air bender by the time she is 19. But she still has trouble connecting with her spiritual side; she can talk to Aang occasionally, but it's hard, and the brief time she went into the Avatar State to save Mako and Bolin from remnant Equalists, she leveled everything in her path and nearly destroyed herself.
So she leaves for the North Pole, for the familiarity of the ice and snow and water, and she secludes herself away from the warmth of fire, because fire burns, and she can't see the beauty in it anymore.
It is Korra's twentieth birthday, and she escapes the wild party inside the capital of the Northern Water Tribe City and takes refuge in the cold and the ice of her native habitat. Her spiritual lessons have been coming along well, and for the first time, the spin of the earth doesn't make her dizzy; the pulling of the waves does not threaten to drown her; the whispers of the air do not deafen her to her friends; and the fire does not burn her.
She isn't surprised when he finds her sitting on the edge of a cliff over-looking the ocean.
He sits beside her, and they say nothing, but Korra is spontaneous and bright and a genius and she knows this silence needs to be broken.
But Mako breaks it first.
"I don't hate you, you know."
She grins. "I know. You're just an idiot."
He scoffs, and then wilts. "Maybe a little. I've done a lot of thinking this past year, Korra. About what you said, about everything that's happened and about – about what I want from my life. And even though you're annoying and hot-headed and selfish and completely crazy –"
She punches him.
"Fuck you, Mr. Hat Trick," she stands up and prepares to leave but he scrambles to his feet and catches her wrist in his hand, massaging his jaw with the other one. "Let go of me, you ignorant, stupid, bull-headed –"
"Shut up and just listen to me!" He shouts.
Korra has never heard Mako shout before; it makes her pause and contemplate him with stormy blue eyes, snow and ice curling about her wrists like manacles, chaining her to the spot.
He breathes out sparks and continues. "What I was going to say is that, even though you're annoying and hot-headed and completely crazy…I – you – you were right, and I love you, and I think we were made for each other and –"
She cuts him off with her lips on his. The kiss is fiery and powerful, and Korra smirks into it and winds her hands in his hair and presses up against him, feeling the fire rise up under her skin and turn the night golden.
It's endless and beautiful, two halves of the same soul meeting after so long alone, and Mako wonders if this is what it's like to be completely and irrevocably in love with someone, and wonders when he got so sappy.
Korra just thinks it's about damn time.
notes: uh….so. this is…i don't even know. i tried to keep them in character as much as possible, but i apologize for any ooc-ness and any spelling or grammar mistakes. this is unbetaed so…