Disclaimer: Nope, don't own Legend of Korra.
Author's Note: I don't know how I stirring spaghetti got this idea to happen but here we are. And once I finished I realised that I wrote it for a reason.
Those who know me know that this year has been excruciatingly difficult for me. A serious illness. The loss of someone close to me in the time I needed him the most. The pressure of my final year of University. I was absolutely depressed, of course I would be. Sometimes I'm still sad, but having written this, I feel a lot more like myself because I realised something while writing it.
For anybody who is feeling like shit. There is a message in this piece for you.
TEARS DON'T FALL
It wouldn't be alright.
Korra knew that it wouldn't be alright. Sure, she drove out Amon, exposed him for the fraud he was, and saved Republic City, but it came at a price. A heavy one that she never wanted to pay, and one that had haunted her for many long nights.
Tears tauntingly stung her eyes as she sat on the snowy ground and pulled her legs up to her chest. For all of her life, she prided herself on her bending. She loved bending. It was something that she could never describe nor replace – and now it had been snatched away from her so damn easily. And there was nothing that could be done. Katara could not heal her. Water slipped through her fingers, the fire was extinguished, and the earth would rumble no more.
She was the worst Avatar ever.
She suddenly stopped, legs lowering until they sunk into the snow. Sitting up a little taller, she raised a hand and swiped away at the warm water. She could feel the negative energy gnaw away at her inside, the hate at Amon for taking what was most important to her and ruining the rest of her life. The feeling of failure, of true failure swallowed her whole – she failed her own purpose, the very reason she existed.
There was a soft nudge by her hand. Korra looked and found Naga standing beside her, long tongue hanging out and beady eyes filled with concern. Korra raised her hand and lightly scratched at her ears, earning an approving mumble. It was she gazed at her shadow on the snow did an idea form.
If she no longer possessed the elements, then she would embody them in herself.
She would be evasive of the world like liquid; ferocious like fire to keep those who dared to approach at bay; and like stone, so no one knew of the strength of the ache in her heart.
It worried Mako when she didn't come back.
He was not one to show much emotion normally, but it was hard to conceal his concern. It had been hours, and she was distraught. He couldn't imagine losing his bending – the fact that Korra was burdened as the Avatar on top of that made the situation much worse.
He glanced around the room to find everyone was asleep, or just about to drift off. His heart went out to Lin, for her sadness was apparent even in slumber. The frown on her face was deep, and her eyebrows were furrowed.
Standing from his seat, he crossed the room, avoiding everyone possible, and opened the door silently. He hesitated for a moment before closing it, bracing himself for the unforgiving chill of the outdoors.
His steps were slow and heavy. It didn't feel like they took him very far, but when he looked over his shoulder through narrowed eyes, he found that he had crossed the distance and was already at the gates and passing through. The wind was bitterer without the protection of the walls.
To his surprise, he found Korra. She was staring at the gates, contemplating whether to go in or go back out to the elements and hide. Naga noticed him and perked up, wagging her tail – but he paid the beast little attention, instead focusing on the woman in front of him. Her eyes trailed from the gates to him, and they were blank.
"Aren't you going to come inside?" Mako bit out, but he didn't mean for it to sound so nasty, "You've been gone a long while. Aren't you cold?"
He approached, intending to create a small fire and keep it nearby to warm her up; but as he walked, she pushed right past him without so much as an acknowledgement. As always, Naga followed. Mako remained silent for a few moments before joining them.
It would take time for her to accept what has happened, but he'd be there for her as much as she'd let him.
She was too ashamed to stay in the Southern Water Tribe.
Her Mother and Father understood, and reminded her that despite what has happened and what may happen in the future, they still loved her dearly and were incredibly proud. Korra did not react, turning and boarding Oogi with the rest of the city civilians. Their figure, along with Katara's, shrunk the further they flew and the farther they went.
She wanted to get away from there. She couldn't take the sorrow in their eyes.
Bolin and the airbending children tried so hard to make her smile. Instead she watched, her cerulean eyes darting between Jinora, then Bolin, then Meelo, then Bolin again, then Ikki, and then Bolin for a third time. Meelo asked Bolin for a yuan. He obliged and then began to laugh as Meelo forced the coin to spin in the air continuously – by airbending.
Something in Korra snapped. She raised a hand, snatched the yuan and threw it out into the vast, empty sky. Bolin watched with mock-despair as it vanished. All the airbenders remained silent, barring Meelo who after a while began to continuously ask why she did that, because they were only having fun. Asami and Pema glanced at Mako, who glanced back and thereafter looked to Korra. Tenzin did nothing.
Meelo was still much too young, "You can still airbend – don't take it out on us!"
And for the first time in a few days, Korra almost, almost felt alive again, hissing, "Shut up."
Tenzin cleared his throat, still focusing on the journey ahead. He spoke, hoping that it would readjust her focus from the tragedy to what remained before her, "And when we return to Republic City and settle, Korra, we will resume your airbending training full time."
"No," she straightened up, emotionless in face and voice, "I don't want to train with you anymore. There's no point in learning airbending if I can't bend the other elements. You'll be better off training your children. They have more claim than I do."
Asami interjected, tucking her hair behind her ear, "You're the Avatar. You have just as much 'claim' to learn the rarest bending art in the world as the inheritors of it."
"I'm the Avatar. Right," Korra echoed.
She simply watched the woman, her gaze unnerving. Asami turned away.
Air Temple Island was the same. It was damaged from Amon's Equalists, but it was still welcoming, warm... homey. Tenzin and the Air Acolytes were already repairing what they could, with help from Bolin's earthbending. As much as Korra wanted to help, she did not volunteer, instead choosing to pack her things while the others weren't looking.
She wanted to get away from here too. She couldn't take the hope in their eyes.
By the time she slung her bag over her shoulder, Mako was waiting at the open door, an expectant look on his face. A flash of surprise crossed her features before melting away just as quickly. He approached slowly, noting immediately how Korra took a step back. She stopped when her legs hit the bed, and then, a hand graced her shoulder.
Korra merely watched, but he wasn't as easily deterred as Asami had been. His gaze was almost the same as hers – he too learnt how to mask his pain well. In fact, he tried to smile for her.
His hand remained on her shoulder for a few moments before it journeyed rightward, where he hooked his thumb beneath the strap of her bag. He slid the bag from her shoulder until it hit the floor with a heavy, resonating thud, "You should stay here."
Korra said nothing and kicked the bag under the bed. Mako nodded a little and left the young Avatar with her thoughts.
Outside, Pema looked to Mako. She shifted Rohan in her arms and spoke as quietly as she could muster, "The road is going to be long and she'll want to escape. I hope you are patient."
He couldn't do anything but try, really, "I'll bring her back."
Pema offered him a smile.
"I feel you should post guards around her room," he replied stiffly.
Pema nodded, heading off to inform Tenzin. Mako lowered himself on the floor and pressed himself against the wall, unsure of what else to do.
Her movements were the same, although nothing came of it.
Like water, she evaded the guards. Whether they detected her presence or not, Korra did not care – she just wanted to get off Air Temple Island, alone. She would evade the world like liquid and live out the remainder of her life as a non-bender. She would watch it pass her by.
She did not have a choice this time when it came to going to Republic City. She couldn't swim that distance without the assistance of waterbending, and especially with the bag. A single guard remained poised by the boat, ever vigilant of any remaining Equalists. His gaze was set out towards the glowing city.
However, the closer she got, the more she realised that the person was not in a White Lotus uniform. It was Mako, and he was waiting for her.
Before she had the chance to backtrack and wait for him to leave, he spoke, his gaze never leaving the other side, "Are we going or not?"
She paused. He wanted to leave with her.
"What about Bolin?"
"He'll be fine," Mako replied. After all, he had spoken about it with Bolin, and he agreed, but didn't want to 'crowd the scene' or 'make things worse; you know how I am with my timing!'.
No, no, no. She was supposed to leave on her own and disappear. And yet, she found herself passing him and settling into the boat, looking to him expectantly as he removed the rope and joined her. She wanted to go somewhere unfamiliar... She –
"I understand your need to leave Air Temple Island," he began, choosing his words carefully as the boat rocked beneath their weight. He watched as she showed no sign of leaving or attacking, "But I don't think you should leave Republic City. There's a lot you've not seen, and a lot of places that we can hide until you feel alright."
"I'm not going to feel 'alright'; don't you understand that?"
Mako said nothing, looking at her until she finally broke beneath his hardened gaze. As they rowed out towards Republic City, Korra kept her head low. So far, she was doing a poor job of hiding how she felt. She wasn't like stone just yet – but, in time, she'd be the best damn rock that ever existed.
It was an abandoned, tiny apartment that Mako had led them to. Some windows were broken, every door squeaked, it was filthy, but nobody really noticed it. It blended in with the environment, so ordinary and mundane that it caught nobody's eye. Here, for now, she could stay.
He made her promise that she wouldn't leave. She obliged, if only out of the care she once had for him. It was hard to care about anything at the moment, given she had the most important thing forcibly removed from her. It seemed to please him, she thought, but she couldn't tell anymore.
He worked at the power plant so he could bring food and other supplies to them. In the times that he was away, Korra simply watched through the broken windows life pass her by. She saw families laughing and others curse at the Equalists for making everyone feel so unsafe. There was praise for her and sympathy for her loss, and then questions on where she was now.
She lost it one day.
Mako returned and found her a dishevelled mess in the corner, legs brought close to her chest and eyes red. So he did what he hoped was the right thing. He approached. He waited to see if she would turn away, and she didn't. He sat beside her, head resting against the wall, and held her hand.
It wasn't as overbearing as an embrace. It was better than nothing. It was enough.
Even with her shame, he remained.
They did not speak of it again.
Another day, she chose to go out and buy food. The area was unfamiliar, as Mako promised, but she managed to find her way around to a store just fine. And as she expected, there were whispers, murmurs, and then sometimes, beautiful silence. She paid for the goods and turned to leave.
A young boy was standing before her. A Mother tried to tug him out of the way, but he refused to budge. His wide eyes were curious, and he spoke, his face full of life, "If you can't bend the elements anymore, then how are you still the Avatar?"
It was the first time she was able to not let such a thought get beneath her skin.
Instead, she passed him and returned to the home that she shared with Mako. She put the food away. She waited for him to come home. She said nothing. She slept.
Mako stayed home one day, sick, to see Bolin. Bolin was thrilled to see his brother and Korra, giving them both bear hugs and bringing oodles of rice. Even Pabu looked as though he were smiling. They ate, revelling in Bolin's chattiness, and Korra, for once, felt a little more normal.
It felt like old times, almost.
"Tenzin wants to know how you are," Bolin remarked with a mouthful of rice, "He's wanted to visit, but he doesn't know if he should. Either way, what should I tell him? That you're doing magnificently, or superbly?" He waved his chopsticks around, "Because you're looking better!"
Well, she didn't feel better, "Tell him whatever you like."
A loud sneeze soon sounded, followed by a crash and a loud exclamation from Bolin. Both he and Korra looked to Mako, who despairingly looked at the spilt food and shattered bowl. Reeling in another sneeze or coughing fit, he stood, apologising, and went to get a mop.
"Dude sounds bad," Bolin said, watching as Pabu investigated the food on the floor, "Real bad."
"He's been sick for a few days," she replied, still more interested in her food than what was going on around her.
"You should take care of him, like he tries to take care of you."
He did have a point. Mako tried very hard for her, even if he was never sure and even if she didn't always want it. And what did she do? Ignore him. Ignore life. Ignore everything. Even when she tried to pay attention, it was boring – so she ignored it.
Mako returned to clean the spill. Instead, Korra snatched the mop from him, placed her bowl and chopsticks beside her and stood.
"Thank you," Mako said.
"Go to bed," she replied. He said nothing, instead choosing to sit farther away from the pair so he didn't get them sick. He didn't want to go to sleep until Bolin left. It had been much too long since he last saw someone so close to him.
There was silence until the spill was cleaned. Korra gave Mako the remainder of her food, because she could tell that he was still hungry. He tried to eat a little more, but his stomach fought with him; but even as it fought with him, he watched the pair talk.
And then Bolin innocently went out of line.
"Korra, have you uh... You know, tried to bend again?" he was well aware of the piercing glare, but he continued on, "Maybe you can relearn the elements!" he jumped to his feet, causing Pabu to scamper away out of fear of having his tail trodden on, and slid into an earthbending stance, "C'mon, let's earthbend! Together!"
For a moment, Mako thought he could see the old Korra again as she hissed, "I know you're only trying to help, but that's not helping. So don't."
She simply watched the man, her gaze unnerving. And like Asami months ago, Bolin turned away.
Mako was still sick, albeit well on the way to recovery, when he took Korra out of the apartment by force one day.
"You can't keep sitting in there. We're going out to eat."
And she fought, protested, and if she could still bend, he was damn sure she would've spat fire at him; but she soon relented, slumping and pulling her coat tighter around her body.
Whispers and murmurs surrounded them as they crossed the city to go to the noodle bar. They both stood tall and straight, their movements swift and unhesitant. By the time they arrived, the place was packed, much to Korra's annoyance. But as always she didn't let it show.
They were seated by the window, ordered and waited. Korra's gaze did not shift from Mako's scarf, simply because it was something interesting to look at and she still was not ready to accept the world around her, especially with the way she was now. It moved a little when he spoke, "I'm not very good at striking up a conversation, but... Do you remember... what I said to you all those months ago?"
How could she forget? She nodded a little, her eyes drifting down to his hands, which were neatly placed on the table.
"Nothing's changed. Please don't forget."
Korra nodded again, watching as their order came. They ate in relative silence. Mako would sometimes ask her a question about her family, or if she had ever been to the Northern Water Tribe. She would respond with short sentences, but as the night dragged on, they would grow. There were some instances where he would call her name, and she wouldn't respond – it was as though she chose not to hear.
A familiar voice soon tore through the vicinity. They raised their heads and saw Tahno at the other end. His face was sullen, but in his eyes, there was still a fierce spark. Amidst it, there was a pain that Korra could now completely identify with and understand. However, she could also see anger – at her – and as he approached, despite the 'peace treaty' of sorts earlier, she expected what came.
She expected Tahno to yell. She expected Tahno and accuse her of being the worst Avatar ever. She expected Tahno to split and break and fray at the edges, his hair a mess and, "If you couldn't even protect yourself, then what good are you to this world?!"
The room was silent. Some were sympathetic to her and others were curious about how she would respond. Instead, she merely looked up at Tahno, her heart and face like stone; they were questions she would hear for the rest of her life and ask of herself, so it was nothing new at all. The words would always hurt, but as long as she remained balanced in herself rather than the elements, she would be fine.
Tahno was removed from the vicinity. The eyes of the room remained focused on her. She merely returned to her food and seemed as uninterested in it as before the interruption. Mako watched as she remained completely unchanged, and it frightened him.
She was not the same woman anymore – Avatar or not.
"You can't keep doing this to yourself. The world still needs you for guidance."
Korra merely stared at him.
"You know I'm right," Mako said, folding his arms.
It had been two long months since Tahno's outburst. She remained holed up in the apartment. He continued to work. Bolin visited more, but would leave, intimidated by the looks she would give him before he dared open his mouth and question her about trying to bend again. Tenzin dropped in once, and asked Korra so many questions that she barely answered that she felt like she was talking to a counsellor.
It was then that he chose to bring up a flame. He lit it flicker between his fingers for a moment before watching it dissipate; and through the dying fire, he watched Korra glare at him.
"Don't do that," Korra growled.
"Why?" he asked, repeating the action, but the flame was much bigger, burned much brighter, and stayed for much longer. A smirk tugged at his lips, and he let it show the more Korra began to emote. He saw her clench her teeth, then her fists, and her entire posture was rigid, like rock, "I'm a firebender. I'm just doing what firebenders do."
As he began to play with it – make circles, patterns, change the strength and the size of the flame, Korra's voice gradually became weaker, "Because you know I miss it... Stop it."
"What're you gonna do about it?" he countered, holding a constant ball. He watched her through the flames as she gradually stood, as her breathing became harsher, almost as though she was ready to breathe fire at him; but they both knew she couldn't, "You can't bend anymore."
She lunged at him. He sidestepped. She landed on her face.
"Sloppy," he said, still playing with the fire.
She tried again. He avoided it just as easily. She met the ground once more.
Infuriated with herself, with her failures as the Avatar to both keep balance and lead a world, she stood and whipped out her leg ferociously. The attack generated air – an unsurprising event to both – and Mako's fireball was put out. Her chest heaved and trembled as she rotated to face him.
Mako summoned another fireball. He split it into two and held one in each hand, waiting. Still shaking, Korra sent another burst of air at them, and as expected, the flames were extinguished.
He picked up speed, summoning more fire in different shapes and sizes, but was careful not to touch anything in the apartment. He watched Korra, his Korra slowly come back from the depths of depression, slowly surface from the darkness if only for now. If only whilst she was airbending, a skill she was rusty in but the look on her face.
You're alive, and he smiled.
He summoned waves of flames, encasing himself in them and making them change and disappear. He made them spin around her lithe form, from top to bottom and back again. Every time, there was a strong burst of wind – enough to extinguish the flames, but not enough to send him into the wall or move the heavier items in the room.
She continued to blast air everywhere, going through the basic airbending movements. It looked as though she was dancing. Her eyes were sealed shut and he had long since stopped firebending, because there was no point to it anymore. He got what he wanted – she was bending something. She looked normal and she was so alive.
There would be things to put back into place in the morning. Newspapers, cutlery and artworks. But for now, the most important thing was the smile on her face when she stopped, the shine of her eyes and the way she held him in her arms and let her lips lightly graze his cheek.
He did not have to coax her into airbending again by firebending. For the next week, when he came home from work, he found her airbending. Stray leaves from outside, paper, clothes, it didn't matter. What was important was that Korra was trying again, and that with each passing day, she was coming back.
Even without the other three elements, she was still needed in the world; maybe now she could see it.
"I forgot how much I missed bending," she said softly one day, sitting across from him on the floor. She was manoeuvring the air around his scarf, lifting one end and then the other. It irritated him, but he allowed her to do it anyway.
"See? You're not all washed up. You can still airbend, and that's a big thing. What are you gonna do about it?"
She relaxed the control of the air around him. He tugged the scarf closer to his body and watched as she tucked some of her hair behind her ear and looked down and to the left in thought. She furrowed her eyebrows, "I'm not sure... But... I know that I should still be involved in the world. It's like you said – I'm still needed. I can still airbend... and there are still things I can do. I can still help."
He leant forward, excited by her realisation and understanding, "So where do you wanna start?"
The very next day, she held a press conference. Mako was by her side.
She spoke of her pain, of the pain of many benders who had their bending stolen from them by Amon. She spoke of how hard it was to see that she was still needed and apologised for abandoning them for so long. She promised that even with her now limited abilities, she would try her hardest to help the people of Republic City and the world.
"I am still able and I can still help," she said, standing taller at the podium, "And I will. Your Avatar is back!"
There was a cheer. She smiled as her eyes drifted over the crowd. She saw Asami, who gave a small wave – it was returned enthusiastically. Even though she had a life of her own now, she was still interested in making sure Korra was well. After all, of her friends, she was the only one there.
When everything disbanded, Asami approached the pair. She bowed her head slightly, "Greetings, Avatar Korra."
"Don't be so formal," Korra immediately chastised with a light wave of her hand.
"But it's true though," Asami replied, grinning, "Right?"
Her eyes drifted to Mako for a moment, who smiled slightly in greeting. She looked back to Korra, folding her arms and playing with the end of her dark hair, "So I assume we have Mako to thank for the return of the Avatar?"
Before he could say a word, she merely nodded. After all, he reminded her of who she was.
After a discussion and their parting, they went to the docks with their bags. The boat to Air Temple Island was waiting. They got on and rowed all the way across – Korra wanted to airbend the boat across, but instead chose not to – and when they set foot on the island, Bolin wrapped an arm around them both and refused to let them go.
The airbending family, their acolytes, Bolin and Lin all thought she had returned to be amongst people who cared. That she wanted to be amidst the steady flow of 'family'. But a few days after her arrival, she sought out Tenzin on her own, without Mako; her own steps and her own choice.
She found him meditating on the northern end of the island, facing the ocean. The breeze was strong, and the smell of sea salt was highly comforting, much to her surprise. Perhaps sometime soon, she should see her family and Katara again. After all, it had been well over a year.
"Tenzin," she breathed.
He did not face her, "What is it, Korra?"
She couldn't ask for airbending training – not right now at this instant. She wasn't ready for it. But she could instead approach, sit beside him and attempt to meditate with him. To try and understand the ways of the Air Nomads, of Tenzin, of her heroic predecessor and the spirituality in herself. Maybe peace of mind would help her get over the last stages of grief.
They sat there together quietly, meditating and without interruption. She felt a little dizzy afterward, but it was a welcome change from the depression of late, and the hustle and bustle of before. Air Temple Island reminded her of the Southern Water Tribe – minus the cold. It was the love that she had forgotten existed here for her.
She would find in time that it had never left, and that in time, her grief would evaporate into a memory.
Korra thought for a moment that Tenzin was going to cry when she finally gathered the courage to ask for airbending training. As uncharacteristic as the sight would be, she'd be lying if she said she wasn't curious to see such a thing.
He didn't, though.
"Are you sure you really want this?" he pressed gently.
"I'm the Avatar," she remarked, folding her arms; and her smirk was well and truly cemented onto her face like it used to be, "I gotta master all four elements, right? I might not be able to bend the other three, but at there's one more I have to master... So teach me."
He took her to the ancient boards again. He made them spin and asked her to pass through them. Unlike every previous attempt, she was successful. He made her do it again, and again and again until he was sure, until he was completely certain that she understood the basic movements. Her time with the Fire Ferrets served her well, but something was really different about her movements.
When she came and stood before him once more after another completion, they were both surprised to hear clapping. They turned to find the three older airbending children there, cheering and pleased with what they saw. Further in the distance was Mako, who was smiling.
"We dragged him along with us," Jinora singsonged, looking at Korra with wide eyes. Her hands were firmly behind her back, "He was hesitant to come because he didn't wanna interrupt. Not very good boyfriend material if you ask me, Korra!"
Tenzin laughed. Korra was as mortified as Mako, who heard the whole thing.
"Do you want to try?" Korra offered. The firebender shook his head. She chuckled.
He would watch her for the rest of the day as Tenzin led her through a little more advanced movements. Even when the airbending children grew bored and left, he remained, sitting on the ground and watching everything unfold. Bolin and Pabu joined at one stage, cheered and then went off. From time to time if she didn't understand something, he would try to relate it to fire, so that she would. Sometimes she got it then, and other times she didn't. And that was okay.
When the sun began to set, they stopped. Tenzin looked at her with a growing joy, "You really understand it more now than before. A few hiccups here and there, but nothing that you won't master in time. I don't know what has changed, but I'm thankful for it."
"What's changed is that this is the last element I can bend," the young Avatar said, and there was no crippling pain in her heart when she spoke, "This is all I have left. And I am going to master it and do you and Aang proud."
"I'm already proud of you," Tenzin replied, turning away to head inside, "And I know my Father would be too."
Once he was well out of sight, she looked to Mako, who was standing. He gave her a thumbs up. She took his hand and led him back inside to eat. After all, it was dinner time.
It took six months.
Six months of relentless training, understanding, strength and determination.
"It has taken many Air Nomads lifetimes to become a master," Tenzin remarked, looking out into the ocean, "And yet you have done it in six months. If my Father was not proud of you before, I know he would be now. You have truly honoured the Air Nomads and the Avatar."
Korra grinned and stretched, "What can I say? I have a good teacher."
"I didn't think Mako could do it, but he has," he said, looking to her, "He really brought you back, like he said to Pema that he would. The road was long and difficult, but here you are. Our Korra," he then cleared his throat, "You're going to have to thank him. After all, he made you bend again. Through relatively antagonistic means, I'm told, but it worked."
He was there for her when she needed him the most – even though she didn't want anybody. Even though she wanted to shut herself off from the world and die in shame.
He cleared his throat once again and looked up to the midday sky, "I would give you your arrows, but you're from the Southern Water Tribe, and I don't want to tarnish your heritage. You may be an airbender now in practice, but you're still not exactly an Air Nomad – it wouldn't be right for either people."
"Yeah. And no offense, but I don't wanna shave my hair all the time..."
"Completely understandable," he huffed, "At any rate, I have something I wish to say."
Korra looked up to him.
"Any time you are lonely, or broken," he began, closing his eyes, "just remember that you are not alone. You have a loving family both in the Southern Water Tribe and here on Air Temple Island. You are a daughter of two families and loved by us, your past lives and the world. Even when the sky is dark, you can blow the clouds away and have the sun shine on your face. You are dearly loved."
She stayed quiet for several moments before reaching to hug him. Although Amon and the gift he stole were memories, that didn't mean that memories still hurt from time to time. And although she learnt how to cope now, she knew that somewhere down the track she would need to remember what Tenzin had said.
Tenzin patted her back, pulled away and stroked his beard, "Now, I believe a young firebender wants to see you by the Sky Bison stables. I won't keep you."
Korra smiled as he walked away. Once he was out of sight, she generated an air scooter of her own and went to the mentioned destination.
Mako lifted his head when he felt a great wind blow in his direction. He stood when a shadow loomed over his form.
"Hey, what's up?" Korra began, reaching out and smoothing his black hair away from his face, "Tenzin said that you wanted to see me."
"Bolin wanted to come with me," he began, reaching up and pulling her hand away from his hair. He held onto it, "but I wanted to make this a more private thing," and Korra eyed him. The look was somewhere between curious and amused. He furrowed his eyebrows, "I'm trying to be serious."
"I want to say something."
"Let me finish first."
Korra paused for a few moments before nodding. She tightened her grip on his hand.
"When you were sad... I was really worried about you, because I couldn't always be there to watch over you," he looked down at their hands, because it was hard to look at her face right now, "I hated that I couldn't do anything – no, let me finish," he said again, "You mean a lot to me, and it was hard to watch you go through that. Once you started to airbend again, I was so happy, because you were happy. You came back.
"I don't know much about Water Tribe or Air Nomad traditions, and I'm not very good with words; but there's something I want you to have to remind you of your past, present and future accomplishments. Although you are now a little different, you're still the Avatar, and you're still Korra, and I'll always be here for you, for as long as you'll let me. Never forget it."
Somewhere in his talking, he had slipped a charm bracelet into her hand. When she realised the added cold contact, she let go of Mako's hand and inspected the silver item, finding four coloured symbols dangling from it.
Water. Earth. Fire. Air.
The smile that she was fighting to control burst through, teeth and all.
Korra didn't have the heart to put it on right now and instead looked up to him. She found that his face was a little beyond the normal, blank gaze he would give the world – she could see renewed hope in his eyes and he was pleased that she was better. He spoke again, "Now what did you want to say?"
"There's two things."
"And what are they?"
"One," Korra stated loudly, jabbing a finger into his chest, "You were most definitely a help. 'Couldn't do anything', pssh! You did more than anyone – you were the one who actually made me happy again, after all!" her attitude calmed down once she saw he was beginning to smile, "You reminded me of who I am... and for that I can't thank you enough, Mako."
He nodded a little. She moved a little closer and hugged him tightly, which was returned with the same strength. He asked, "And the second thing?"
She pulled back, all smiles, all happy and completely herself, "I love you too."
Mako's smile grew as he rested his forehead against hers.
Everything was alright.