A/N: New chapter! Sorry for the delay in updating. Hope you enjoy!
Disclaimer: All recognizable characters and places are property of Mike and Bryan. XD
Chapter II: Five Senses
That's all she could see with the hazy vision that had been deemed her eyesight. She had awakened to the sight of dim lights and the almost stale stench of sewer water and she loathed every possible second of it as she felt her senses all being seized at once. Her limbs felt numb as she tried to move them but then she realized that absurdly tight, thick, and heavy rope had found its way around them. She could feel the rough material boring relentlessly into the soft skin of her ankles and wrist to the point where she was certain that they would draw blood from the wounds that they would most likely form.
She could taste the copper substance within her mouth as she was forced to swallow it down with the rest of her choked breaths as she breathed in its nauseating scent. Her ears were ringing, ringing with the sound of a thousand bells as everything around her was suddenly ten times more hushed than before, but as much as she tried, it wouldn't fade. And then she heard footsteps, the kind of footsteps that made your heart race a mile a minute and caused the air you once thought you breathed to stop dead in your throat. Her eyes widened as she saw those familiar red-stripped, black boots, that made her quiver with fear, draw closer towards her, but stopped when they were only mere feet away. She craned her neck upwards as far as it would go, but almost immediately recoiled.
A deep laugh emanated from the thin slit within his slick white mask that was attached to his face.
"Well it looks like our young Avatar is awake now," He mocked, as his dark, black eyes narrowed. "We're glad you could join us, Avatar Korra. We were beginning to think that you wouldn't be up in time to witness my demonstration."
She could barely even hear a word the masked villain spoke, but nonetheless, she heard him, ever so faintly. She had not the slightest idea of what the man was speaking of, but now she was sure he had gone mad. They were the only people within the sewer line, this was clearly evident, but he said 'we', suggesting more than one person...
"Bring me the boy."
It was then that realization had dawned upon her. Her ears caught the faint clinking of chains and she could only watch in horror as he was dragged limply upon the stone ground. Her eyesbrows knitted together as she squirmed within her bounds, but it had all proved pointless for the rope only dug even more into her flesh. She cringed under the stinging pain, which only seemed to increase with every subtle move that she made, but she had to fight to get out. The body had finally come into view and she watched as the Equalist henchmen both kicked him forcefully upon the cement and damp ground below.
Her vision was still greatly blurred, but she could still see the deep cuts and bruises that marred his pale skin as well as the deep gash that had made its way onto his thigh. His clothing had obviously been tattered and torn so that they were only held together by a thin piece of cloth on his shoulders, leaving most of his sides and legs open to the wickedly cold air. He was slumped over and she saw that he was also bound at the wrist, but one thing that stood out, was the black sack that had been thrown over his head, obscuring his true features from her. But, this was soon resolved. The sound of thick soles padding across the pavement echoed throughout the sewers as the masked man made his way across the paved ground and towards the boy, and she watched him with thin eyes, for she wasn't exactly aware of his intentions, but she knew that in time they would be revealed. He would make sure of this. The man, adorned within heavy dull clothing stopped behind the boy and briefly held his hands behind his back, before slowly drawing the black sack from over the boy's head.
She knew that he was was tantalizing her, making sure that every second that he took to reveal the unknown figure would cause her anticipation and nervousness to sky rocket and he was indeed successful. Her heart was pounding within her chest as she heard her blood throb within her ears, causing her to develop a serious head ache in the process, but even that was better than having to watch this scene develop before her eyes. But finally, and quite vigorously, Amon yanked the black sack from over the boy's head. The sudden force caused his head to drop into his chest and prevented her from seeing his face, but when his head did raise, her blood ran cold.
Amon grinned maliciously as an evil glint shined throughout his eyes. "Surprisingly enough, I found him lurking underneath the tunnels of the city," He came to circle him and eyed the boy carefully."I suppose he was coming to rescue you, but it's a shame he didn't get that far."
Suddenly, Amon struck Mako on the back of the neck with a sharp and agile hand and effectively knocked the firebender off his knees and face first into the concrete below. Both Korra and Mako winced upon impact as she heard him audibly grunt when his nose met with the hard ground below, but he didn't even have time to register what had happened, for Amon had grabbed him by the short strands of his hair and forced him to sit up straight.
"My henchmen brought him to me just as I defeated you, but I couldn't have him leave without saying a proper goodbye."
Korra's eyes widened.
"I wouldn't be the best person if I didn't let you enjoy your last few minutes of life, Avatar, but I assure you, I will make the most of them and what better way to do that then to watch you suffer?"
She was shaking dangerously now. She knew he was going to kill her and she had known that coming here without any help would only give her damaging results, but she'd had to do it. She'd thought that she was prepared for this fight, because she'd always known that she would give it her all, but Amon had gained the upper hand this time and she had been merely another pawn in his game, leading them right to their own demise. He had caught her off guard, but she should have known that he would. It was in his nature to watch then attack, but now, it was her turn to watch, watch as he tortured her.
Korra quickly looked upwards at Amon as he slowly walked towards Mako."In order to be fair, I will allow you your last exchange."
Amon undid the gag around the firebender's mouth with unnatural haste and pushed him towards the young Avatar and almost immediately, Mako looked at her with most sincerity.
"Korra, don't worry. I'm going to get you out of here! I won't let him hurt you!"
She watched his mouth speak every word with teary eyes, but she wouldn't cry because it would only serve to prove Amon right. She already knew that Mako wouldn't be able to ensure Amon didn't hurt her, because if she had to watch Mako being mercilessly tortured before her, Amon would have already hurt her.
"I promise I'll protect you, y-"
His words were cut abruptly as he was gagged once more and violently yanked upwards by one of the henchmen and thrown towards Amon as she could only squirm helplessly, hoping that somehow she'd be able to break free, but her struggle was worthless.
"This could have ended differently."
Korra, who couldn't help feeling so incredibly small at the moment, looked towards Amon, who seemed to tower over her.
"Getting infatuated or involved with others has always been a downfall for the weak and has always been a useful tactic for your enemies. Maybe if you hadn't,"Amon bent down to her level with his his eyes forming slits. "You wouldn't have to watch him die so soon."
Every one of his words buried their way into her soul and she felt her entire being cease all movement as her heart stopped beating and her eyes widened further. Amon rose slowly from his crouch and made his way towards Mako, making Korra dread every footstep that seemed to put her one step further from her goal of saving Mako from the cruel fate Amon had subjected him to.
Then she heard it.
A blood curdling scream that would haunt her until the day she left the earth and that day, it seemed, would inevitably come soon.
She felt a tear escape her eye.
"I'm sorry Mako..."
Korra awoke with a dangerous start, her blue eyes as wide as saucers as she panted in labored breaths and raised a single hand to her forehead. It had been the sixth nightmare that she had encountered this week and every single one left her in the same state. Her eyes darted around her surroundings only to find that she was no longer within the damp cold sewer, but instead within her home on the outskirts of the Southern Water Tribe.
She looked towards the circular shaped window that resided on the other side of her room and saw that white, thick sheets of snow were beginning to stream onto the frozen planes of the tribe. Despite the chill, she felt warm. Sweat trickled down her forehead and she felt a small bead trail itself down the side of her cheek and come to a rest at the base of her neck. Korra drew in a deep breath as she tried to calm her frazzled demeanor.
"Get a hold of yourself, Korra," She spoke to herself. "It was just a nightmare..."
And it was another that she could add to the other five...
Korra sighed, audibly. She had to get her mind away from it or it would soon consume her. She wouldn't let it get the better of her, she couldn't let it get the better of her, but what could she do to get her head back straight? Practicing bending was an option because the art of airbending was still relatively new to her, but she was still wasn't sure what she'd do once she'd gone through all the forms she'd learned.
Korra ran a soft hand over her forehead and briefly pushed her bangs out of her eyes before they limply fell right back into place. Maybe she could take a walk to the cliff side of which she was so familiar with and that served as her usual sanctuary, but it was snowing outside and even though it wasn't quite a blizzard, the temperature had dropped dramatically in the span of a few hours and she didn't think that freezing herself to death was the smartest solution to dealing with the problem at hand.
But then she thought again. Mako? Couldn't he get her mind off of that horrid nightmare? His name alone made her heart race and he could be quite distracting so it stood to reason that he could. There was a slight chance he'd be awake at this hour, but how would she get to him? They didn't share the same cabin and slept a good distance away and as she noticed before, it was freezing outside. Would she risk it, just to visit him? The answer was clear even without thinking.
Yes. He was just the distraction that she needed from all of this and whoever said that distractions always had to be bad thing? Korra flung her thin white sheets from her form and threw her legs over the side of her bed, shivering slightly as the soles of her feet met the cold wooden ground underneath them, and slipped into her brown boots that rested near the bed's edge. She arose soon after and headed towards the cabin's entrance and grabbed her thick parka that hung near the doorway before opening the doors.
As soon as she exited, she was instantly met with frigid and howling winds, causing her to shield her face from the somewhat harsh and biting air as she walked farther into the churning storm.
Korra hugged her form tightly, trying her best not to make any of the natural heat that remained within her body be taken from her, but she soon realized that this was pointless, for she could barely feel the tips of her own fingers right then. Snow crunched and sloshed underneath her feet and the biting winds seemed to cut through her parka, but she trudged on and on until she came to her destination. The lights were off on the inside, giving her the impression that the occupants were fast asleep, but she could at least try. Korra made her way up the flight of stairs and proceeded to knock upon the door.
She rose her hand to knock again.
Korra had began to consider turning away and heading back, but before she could, she heard a voice.
It belonged to Mako, no doubt, but there was a trace of lethargy within it and she thought that maybe he had been sleeping. Korra heard the unlocking of the door and stepped slightly back as it opened. After a short while, Mako appeared within the doorway in his simple white undershirt, sleeping pants and a pair of squinting eyes.
"Korra?" His voice was raspy as it held some confinement."What are you doing up so late?"
"I couldn't sleep and I thought you'd be up still,"she answered. She looked upwards at him. "But If your sleeping, I can come back another time."
Korra began to make her way down the stairs, but she was soon halted as she felt a soft but firm grip find its way around her wrist. "Korra its fine, I don't mind. I wasn't really that tired anyway."
Korra looked back at him with furrowed brows."Are you sure it's fine?"
Mako grinned, slightly. "Yeah, I'm sure. Now get in here before you start to freeze to death."
Korra managed the tiniest of grins as she ascended back up the stairs and towards the doorway, and walked past the firebender and into the darkened cabin. Her arms were still crossed loosely over her chest as she heard Mako shut the door behind them causing whatever light that had entered the cabin to vanish and be replaced with the hazy, grayish light of the snow. Korra walked cautiously towards the couch that was seated by the back wall and softly took her perch upon it, then noticed that the cabin was a bit more quiet than usual...
She looked towards the firebender."Where's Bolin?"
Mako had never moved from his place by the doorway and only gripped the metal handle bar from behind. "I haven't seen him since dinner," Mako shifted. "And with Bolin, if food's involved, I don't think we'll be hearing from him until morning."
She could hear his 'roll of eyes' within his voice and smirked slightly. "Yeah, I guess not."
Mako raised a slight brow upon the Avatar's demeanor, which Korra could already sense from a mile away and took it upon herself to avert her gaze elsewhere so she didn't have to look at his piercing amber eyes.
"Korra," There was a sort of knowing tone within his voice. "Are you okay?"
"What?" Korra's hair whipped round as she faced him. "Yeah, I'm fine,"she spoke. "Why?"
Mako shook his head as he let out a short breath. "Korra, I've known you long enough to be able to tell when you're lying and you are." Mako pushed off from the door handle and made his way towards the couch where she currently sat and took a seat only a few inches away from her and placed his hand upon her own. "What's wrong?"
Korra looked downwards at their intertwined fingers, then back upwards at him. He was still waiting for an answer, but all she could do was look downwards, away from him. It was short lived, however, for she felt Mako's hand place itself under her chin and gently force her to look at him.
"Korra," He repeated again. "I want to help you, but I can't do that if you won't tell me what's bothering you."
Korra shut her eyes for a brief moment as she wrapped her free hand around his own that was resting underneath her chin and tugged it downwards to rest in her lap.
"It happened again."
The firebender appeared puzzled. "What happened again?"
"The nightmares," she clarified. "I had one again."
Mako made a small 'O' motion with his lips as he leaned slightly backwards. He remembered quite well, her telling him about the nightmares when and if they had happened, but when she had first told him about them, he never would've thought that they would have become a common occurrence.
Mako's eyes locked themselves upon her form. "What was this one about this time?"
His question was hesitant, for he didn't want to ask her for fear of making her relive them, but Korra never looked away and took a short time to answer.
"It was about Amon again," she told him, softly. "But it was different from the rest of them."
"How was it different?" He questioned.
Korra stood still as she hugged herself again, hanging her head low as she felt herself beginning to break and struggled for words.
"He killed you."
Mako straightened himself as his eyes lowered upon her and he reached out to console her. She shrinked away. "Korra..."
"And then he killed me too."
Mako watched as her entire being fell into itself and curled into a ball as she hid her face from view, but he wouldn't let her for long.
He reached forward and quickly gathered her into his arms. Korra, without even thinking twice, wrapped her arms around his torso and buried her head within his chest.
Mako honestly hated to see her like this, so broken and scared; it wasn't her. It wasn't Korra. She had always been the strong and stable one, even more so than him at times and for her to feel this way over a nightmare, must have truly been been a terrible experience for her.
"It just gets worse every time." Her voice was soft as he heard it begin to crack. "And every time I feel so helpless and I can never do anything about it."
Mako held her head to his chest as he smoothed out her hair. "It's going to be okay, Korra."
"No," He felt her shake her head within his embrace and was slightly shocked when she pulled away from it. "It's not okay, Mako and it never will be. Ever since the encounter with Amon, I've never been able to think about anything the same again. I always see him wherever I go and the visions never go away." She cringed. "I try to forget it, but I just can't."
Korra abruptly fell right back into the contours of his chest and Mako embraced her once more. He sighed. He couldn't exactly say he knew how she felt, because he didn't know what she was dealing with, but he had been there when she had faced Amon. Mako knew what it was like to feel helpless, because he had felt exactly this way when she had her bending taken away. He;d wanted to help her at that time, but it had been far too late for that. He had to watch, while under the influence of bloodbending, as she got the thing she valued most get robbed from her, but he wasn't going to sit back and watch as these things tore her down from the inside. No. She was his girlfriend, and he was going to help in away way he could with this.
"Korra, I'm not going to let you go through this alone," he told her. "I'll be right here if you need anything. I'm not going to let any of it happen to you."
As she heard his words, she couldn't help but to think back to her nightmare, when he had spoken something very similar. Korra believed Mako and knew he would do anything and everything in his power to protect her, but didn't he understand? He was her number one weakness. He made her feel and do things that she never she would have thought possible and overall, she loved him more than anyone could ever know and it scared her.
Korra dug her head further into his chest and tightened her hold upon him, her words muffled as she spoke. "I can't lose you..."
Mako squeezed her hand gently in reassurance. "You won't." He moved to kiss her forehead. "I'm not going anywhere."
"You better not."
The firebender chuckled as he smiled. "You always knew how to get your point across, Korra."
The sun had soon risen high above the frozen lands of the Southern Water Tribe, casting its faint but slightly warming glow upon the large village as well as signaling Bolin that he had well over stayed his welcome.
He had found himself face first within a bowl of seaweed noodles and sea prunes as he had stirred from his slumber that morning, vaguely remembering himself indulging in at least 5 people's worth of food yesterday and helping himself to whatever left over bowls that he could get his hands on.
After thanking Master Katara and finding Pabu ,who had unfortunately fallen asleep in a near by plant vase, Bolin exited the elderly healers home, but not before stashing some extra food away within his pant pockets and began heading towards the cabin he and Mako shared. The earthbender wondered if his brother had waited up for him as he began to make his way up the cabin's steps, for he thought that it couldn't have been that far into the morning and Mako usually was an early riser and often waited up for his younger brother if he believed the earthbender had gotten into some sort of situation.
When Bolin finally reached the doorway, he grabbed at the silver door handle but to his surprise, he found that they door was unlocked.
'Hmmm...," Bolin thought to himself. "That's weird."
Indeed it was. He and Mako, having lived on the dangerous streets of Republic City, always ensured security wherever they were, and keeping the door unlocked during the events of last night was a careless move on Mako's part, but Bolin shrugged it off.
Entering the house slowly, Bolin pulled out a lumpy sea prune and shut the door behind him."Mako you should have stayed last night," He spoke, as he stuck the slimy, purple colored food within his mouth. "Master Katara had a lot of left over food at dinner and-"
Bolin ceased all talking as he turned around to the sight of his brother and Korra slumbering away upon the couch nearby. The waterbender was sleeping between his propped up legs as half her body was strewn over the chair and Mako's own arm was thrown in a protective embrace around her.
Pabu purred upon Bolin's shoulder as the earthbender nodded and petted the fire ferret. "I know, I know Pabu. Where are we going to sleep tonight?"