I Howrra'd again. This fic fits into my personal fanon of Korra and Howl having a previous relationship pre-series.

Glancing up, she noticed the certain shade of gray: a soft one leaning toward blue, hiding in the Airbending master's eyes. Seated across from her, the silent mark of the Lotus winked at her from a bead around his neck, the gentle gray lines barely visible in comparison to other white stones. Korra shifted in her seat, nearly knocking her leechi juice off the table. Tenzin looked up from his reading, expectant. Clearing her throat, she muttered something about the bathroom and disappeared.

Twinkling stars dotted the endless sky above, their soft, muffled light caressing the darkened features of Air Temple Island. Korra slowly meandered toward the girl's dormitories, distractedly playing with a flame from palm to palm; fingertip to fingertip. Clad in the same blues as her first stint at the Island, time's only mark was the longer length of the blue top's sleeves and her altered boots, along with an elaborate necklace gleaming in reds, blues, greens and varying shades of orange. Flitting suddenly to a jagged boulder leaning toward the sea, she settled into the now familiar position of meditation.

Breaths settled– calming– and the pull of another place tingled. The Avatar felt as she began to sift into another plane of being, falling softly into the earth: sinking and sinking. Aang's form began to manifest– only for him to crash away and a jolt to run through her body as a pair of dark, deep eyes locked onto her.

Obscure, deep like the dank depths of the ocean: untouched by the sun's hues, they sunk into her hungrily yet their surface was marred by confusion and hurt.

The sun sparkled over the glittering tundra, casting an overly bright light over the compound. Rejuvenated, Korra brightened as she held Mako firmly against her, tightly clinging to him. Releasing the glinting firebender– she made for the entrance of a nearby blue building: bending the door open with a resounding whoosh. A warm hand reached for her's. Korra took it, clasping and interlocking fingers. Destiny, fate, or coincidence willed her to glance to the left, toward the compound's wall. There, a sentry stood.

Impressive cloak billowing lightly, he stood in a casual stance. Yet tension rippled through his body, tensing and freezing his limbs in place. The signature sentry cowl– usually perched atop his messy crown of raven tangles– lay missing. Ear tips and nose pinched red by the snow's embrace contrasted the near morbid pastiness of his face. Korra's eyes locked onto his obsidian. Howl's eyes were so dark they seemed almost lacking in color: an unsettling void.

Usually– when in proximity to the Avatar– those deep eyes filled and overflowed with warmth. They sparkled in darkness, like the twinkle of a solitary star.

Against the frigid azure and blankness of the wall, Howl's eyes registered darkness. A void-like quality, like something far gone or long-ago lost and forgotten. Where warmth once rested, coldness reigned in cruelty. Confusion's dance was gone and in its place waltzed pain. Korra gaped, unsure. Slowly, Howl lowered his eyes from her's, taking a step back in the process.

Mako tugged gently on her hand, leading her inside. Unaware and entirely unknowing. Korra smiled at him– a reflex– before quickly turning back, only to find footsteps and an indent in the snow. She then allowed Mako to lead her toward Master Katara.

Korra threw her pelt at one of the attendants appointed by the Earth King, nearly sweating herself to death in the swelter of the dusty town. Stalking around the market, she paused to consider items for sale when she noticed the young man tending to the snack booth. Puffed rice cakes, glazed crackers, and roasted seaweed lay neatly arranged by size and flavor before him on the rickety wooden stand. A glance: dark eyes connecting with ocean– and Korra stood before the snack stand, breathless. Startled, the snack mongering youth regarded the Avatar with a mixture of fear and admiration. Pouting, Korra purchased a random assortment of snacks as the servants clambered to catch up. His eyes were nearly dark enough, but the difference in facial construction and hair color ebbed any suspicions that the snack-stand youth's name was Howl.

This was her third visit to the Earth Kingdom– the view was peaceful and nothing really needed the Avatar's intervention. But she needed to tend to the needs of the world, and traveling around looking for trouble was as good as any peacekeeping missions the White Lotus could send her on. This was also her second unaccompanied trip. Bolin was training under Chief Bei Fong, Asami was rebuilding Future Industries, and Mako– well, he was confused again. But this time, so was she.

It began with visions of Howl's eyes: aching and sad whenever she settled in to meditate.

Laughing, she moved the snow against him. Rolling, he avoided the snow under her control and soared into the air, aiming a kick. Above them, the hues of the aurora australis danced in the sky. As midnight bounded, they had met at the southernmost guard tower– currently manned by old Pachu. A middle aged guard– gruff and muscular– he was Howl's only real confidant in the south pole.

Howl rested at the base of the tower, shivering lightly as Korra crept along the wall. Rarely quiet or discreet, the moments of hiding and creeping were difficult and out-of-character for her: she always sought to remedy it by being as loud as she could atop the glacier, letting her words dance away with the wind.

Flames snarled at him, and in defeat he knelt. Their brief sparring came to an end. Whooping, Korra congratulated herself on yet another victory. Howl smiled at her cheeky grin, his soft quiet contentedness reaching the embers of his eyes.

The walls of Ba Sing Se, the spires and clouds of the Air Temples. The heat of a dragon's breath and the coolness of Tui and La's endless dance. A coating of dust and the smoke from a volcano. The whirl of touring the world thrice. Yet despite the amazing corners of the world– her world– and the beating of her heart as she embarked to another place... what she yearned for now was the awkward bout of friendship gradually and easily melding into something more. The easy conversation, the electric sparring. To fall into the depths of his irises once again.

A sigh escaped her, floating away into the horizon. Readjusting herself atop the boulder, she breathed carefully. The smells and sights of a darkened island replaced the pair of eyes haunting her and Pema's gentle hand on her shoulder eased the tenseness pulsing beneath.

"Korra– Tenzin and I are worried about you," the Avatar turned her head toward the motherly voice. "I was hoping you could tell me what's wrong,". Pema's eyes, soft hazel, calmed her. She nodded in silence, rising toward the opened door and the curling steam of tea and confessions.

This is crossposted from my AO3. I didn't steal from myself. I apologize for the awful title: I couldn't think of anything else. I may continue this based on my feels and general reception. Reviews make me dance in happiness.

And hey, my bro Pachu is in this fic too! He's an OC I manage to cram into all my Howrras. It's better than referring to him as "random white lotus sentry guard older man person who is friends/partners/teammates with Howl and Howl himself is a construct of fanon by nature so this whole thing is kind of sad"