I always told myself: I WILL NEVER WRITE FANFICTION, NEVER, NEVER, NEVER.

Then… I most certainly will NEVER write AMORRA. EVER.

Now… Oh, gee. After reading "The Cave" by masksarehot, I'm a completely hopeless, spiraling, unredeemable, irrevocable lost cause.

Okay, well, considering this is going to drive me crazy until I get it out of my head, I must burden you with my guilty fantasy.

I hope you enjoy. Pardon me for any spelling errors, poor writing, or just plain goofness in this. Please give me any comments and feedback you may have. This is my first fanfiction.

DISCLAIMER: I do not own any TLOK characters or storyline. This is completely made-up and has nothing to do with the actual television series.

Every cell in her body froze the minute Korra heard Tarrlok's startled gasp, "Amon!"

Her heart hammered in her chest. No, they couldn't have found her!

"It is time for you to be equalized," came the deep, menacing voice that so often haunted her nightmares.

Tarrlok's dry chuckled echoed down the stairs to her cold metal container. "You fool. You've never faced bending like mine."

For a moment—a brief one—Korra felt a faint lurch of hope. If Tarrlok could have taken her down so easily, perhaps he could take Amon out of the picture for her once and for all. After all, Amon was just a nonbender. He wouldn't stand a chance against the councilman's vicious bloodbending.

She winced as she heard the telltale rumble of bones shifting, cracking beneath Tarrlok's attack. She heard the muted thud of bodies hitting the ground, and wondered how long it would be before Tarrlok descended back down the stairs, gloating in his victory, to terrorize her again.

But instead, she heard a startled gasp.

"What," Tarrlok rasped. "What are you?"

The cold voice responded with the hint of a sneer. "I am the solution."

There was a scuffle of boots against the wooden floor planks, and Korra felt the hair rise along the back of her neck as Tarrlok's strangled yell echoed in her ears. A heavy body slumped to the floor.

No way. Amon had not just…

"I'll take care of him," the Equalist leader rumbled, a low grunt escaping him, as if he were hefting some weight into his arms. Korra caught the soft groan of the reviving Equalists getting to their feet. "You four retrieve the Avatar. Do not underestimate her. Electrocute the box to knock her out before you open it."

Korra felt her stomach turn to ice. She stepped back in the little prison, her back colliding with the stiff metal wall.

"My pleasure," replies the voice of the lieutenant, dripping with sadism.

Korra's heart drummed in her ears. She could hear them descending the stairs, hear the hissing slither as the lieutenant drew his electric rods. Her eyes darted down to the band at her forearm. An idea sparked. It was a last ditch, desperate solution, but a solution nonetheless.

"It's payback time," the lieutenant chuckled.

Korra sensed the shock before she heard it. The box shuddered with a soundless tremor, soft blue streaks spidering up the metal walls. Korra held her breath. The hair stood straight on end all over her body, but no pain seared her skin. She drew her legs up closer to her chest, clasping the fabric armband with white fingers. She let out a mangled yell, as convincing as she could manage.

The electricity cut off with a soft ffzzt. Korra let herself drop to the floor, curling onto her side. Her whole body tensed, ready, her fist tightening beneath her ribs, heating up with impending fire.

"Open the box."

An Equalist moved to do as he was ordered. Korra forced her eyes closed, remaining motionless. The lieutenant's voice was smug.

"Tie her up."

Korra moved with lightning speed. She thrust out a leg, cleaving the unfortunate Equalist across the ribs with a blazing boot. Then she leapt, striking her fist into the ground with a violent fireball, feeling the earth shudder as her bending rocked the building. The Equalists dropped.

She had seconds, at most. Bending a hole in the stone wall, Korra leapt outside into the freezing air.

Her eyes flashed to take in the scene. Amon stood, his back to her, not ten yards away, lowering the lifeless body of Councilman Tarrlok into a paneled van. He spun at her explosion. Their eyes locked.

Korra felt the world around her freeze. Those eyes, cold and golden, drove a dagger into her soul. She wrenched her gaze away, dropping to land in crouch in the snow. He stood, unmoving, fixing her with that steely stare.

Korra shrank back, bending the snow around her into ice shards and flinging them across the open space. She intended to skewer him to the back of the van, but he moved with uncanny agility, dodging the deadly attack with a neat somersault through the air. Korra blasted a swirl of fog toward him, hoping to blind the masked man, then spun and bolted for the ledge behind the house.

Her heart jerked when she heard his crunching footsteps behind her, gaining. Desperate, Korra bent an ice-board beneath her, skimming over the snow at breakneck speed. She forced herself to release a breath. There was no way he could catch up with her. She had to calm down, keep her head.

She strained her eyes ahead. Stark white land stretched out beneath her, hundreds of miles of snow-covered tundra, dotted with frosted trees. A frozen river snaked away from the slope, and Korra's eyes lighted on it. Water. If she could get to a strong source of water, it would be a powerful defense. She steered her ice-board toward it, quickening her speed.

A rush of air behind her made her whirl. Amon's dark form screamed toward her, crouched over a sleek ice-board. Korra choked. He—he was—bending.

He caught up with her in seconds, his arm catching her across the waist and sending her flying off the ice-board. She hit the snow and rolled, keeping her head bent over her chest so she wouldn't strike it. He was on top of her before she could breathe. A hard fist drove into her side, stealing the breath from her in a hard whoosh. Her left arm went slack.

No! This was not happening. Not to her, not today!

Korra writhed in his grip, catching his shins in a brutal, fire-enhanced kick. Amon staggered sideways, and she seized the opportunity to dive away, stumbling to her feet and running full-tilt toward the river. She was only yards away. She could make it—

A water whip snaked around her legs, freezing itself around her ankles. She went down with a surprised yelp. A knee drove itself into her back, and a fist tightened in her ponytail, yanking her head up. She spat out a mouthful of snow.

"Bender," she gasped. "You're a—"

"Enough," he snarled, gripping the back of her neck at her vulnerable chi point. She felt a shudder of weakness course through her. His free hand jerked against her other arm, and it went limp against her side. In one rough motion, he flipped her over, lowering himself to straddle her. His eyes gleamed with triumph through his mask, even as he panted from exertion. His thumb found her forehead.

"Prepare to be—"

"Nooooo!" Korra screeched, filling her cry with an explosion of firebending. The move took Amon by surprise. He recoiled, barely avoiding getting singed. A streak of black appeared on his mask, and the hood blew off the back of his head.

Korra lunged at the opening, grabbing his forearms so that she flipped him over, rolling him to the very edge of the riverbank. Now their positions were reversed—she crouching atop of him now, gripping his neck with two trembling hands. She grabbed the moment to catch her breath, glaring down into the slits in his mask. Golden eyes blazed up at her, filled with a fury that made her insides go cold.

She tightened her grip, cutting off his air supply. But Amon jerked his leg up beneath her, catching her in the small of the back with an armored kneecap. She cried out in pain, slumping forward. He reached up, pried her hands from his neck and rolled her over again in the snow. She felt her back slam into a solid sheet of ice. His knee crushed into her gut, driving the air from her. Korra choked. An ominous crack shuddered through the ground beneath her. Her blood froze in her veins.

Amon seemed to register the danger too, because for a split second his eyes widened behind the mask.

And then the world exploded in a flurry of white and black, freezing cold and suffocating. Korra flung out her arms in the darkness, flailing and kicking. An icy current surged around her, yanking her into the depths. Her back hit something sharp, and white stars of pain flashed before her eyes. The hole in the surface where they'd broken through streaked away, growing smaller and smaller. Korra thrashed. A knot of seaweed slipped around her neck, tugging at her skin. She slapped it away, the panic thickening.

A hand tightened around her wrist, scrabbling for a hold. Korra whirled, lashing out with her foot. Her boot collided with something solid, but softer than the rocks beneath her. The hand released her with a jerk. Korra thrust out her arms, turning in the water to rove the darkness for her enemy. All she could see was a blur of bubbles and dancing streaks of silver.

Her lungs screamed for air. Driving her foot into the bottom of the river, Korra launched herself upward. Her fists struck the icy sheet atop the water, thudding against it. It was thicker here, near impenetrable. For an instant, panic drove away all thoughts of reason. She pounded against the icy wall, a watery scream tearing from her throat.

"Firebend!" a voice from somewhere deep inside her rang in her ears, stern and powerful.

Korra fought to think. She pressed her hands against the ice sheet and willed the flames to emerge. The water shimmered around her fingertips, shuddering into a boil. The ice thinned, and her fist punched through.

"Retrieve him." The voice's second command was even sterner than the first. Korra choked, just inches away from her precious air.

What?

"Retrieve him, now!" the voice thundered.

Korra twisted so she could look down through the darkness. She saw him. Amon's body drifted, just below her, his left leg entangled in a sunken log. His struggles had grown feeble, and dark blood darkened the water around his arm.

Oh, Spirits, she couldn't believe she was doing this. But she couldn't just let him die. She was the Avatar. She'd never hated that title before now.

So, instead of charging through the ice to the surface, Korra turned and kicked herself down to the darkened river bottom. Her hand closed around his upper arm. She felt him tense, trying to pull away, but she dug in her fingernails, gathering her last ounce of strength to propel them both to the surface. Her heart pounded in her ears, demanding oxygen. She felt the grayness closing at the edges of her vision.

Just a few more feet…

Her head broke the thin sheet of ice and she sputtered, dragging in a lungful of air. She struggled to pull his head up beside her, and heard him gasp. Every muscle in her body burning, she hauled them both up onto ice. It cracked under their weight, but didn't give. Her sides heaving, she rolled away from him, collapsing in a fit of coughing.

For several long minutes, neither of them moved. The two of them just lay there, breaths harsh and ragged as they fought to fill their sodden lungs. The ice cracked again beneath them, a menacing hiss.

After an immeasurable moment, she heard the rustle of movement beside her, and two warm, strong arms slid beneath her. She recoiled, trying to twist away.

"What are you—"

"Our position is unstable," the voice rasped in her ear. "We've got to move if we don't want to go under again."

Korra wanted to fight, but her body was too exhausted to struggle. She felt him lift her and he carried her, bridal-style, her head tucked up against his chest, across the ice. The treacherous ground splintered under their combined weight, and she felt him stiffen, a low hiss escaping from behind his mask. But the ice did not cave. He carried her to the riverbank and staggered to one knee, sapped of strength. He dropped her to the snow, and slid back. Korra felt her eyelids slide together. As much as she wanted to remain alert—she couldn't faint in front of her enemy—the cold closed around her, wrapping her in harsh arms, until all she knew was darkness.