author's note | the end of "the sting"...my feels just broke into a million fucking pieces. written before "beginnings 1/2" came out.
The memories are there, but she just can't seem to reach them. One-shot.
The distinction between the past, present, and future is only a stubborn, persistent illusion.
Lately I been, I been losing sleep
Dreaming about the things that we could be
But baby, I been, I been prayin' hard
Said no more counting dollars
We'll be, we'll be counting stars
Avatar Korra of the dark brown hair that's falling out of its blue ties and wide blue eyes that are hidden underneath tightly closed eyelids will wash upon the shores of a paradise and will have no damned clue where she is. She will not know who she is, nor of her exalted status in the realm of the Four Nations.
...What is this "Avatar" you speak of?
Only the master of all four elements could stop them, but when the world needed him most, he vanished.
Well, no one could say that history didn't have a nasty habit of repeating itself.
Only Korra vanishes in a kind of metaphorical sense, because she's still there and tangible. But the Korra that everyone knows and loves (or hates) has been buried under a crapton of rocks along with her memories, and she's not going to come climbing back out for the foreseeable future.
Korra's funeral is really quite a splendid thing, full of midnight blues and blinding whites.
Mako can't help but sob through every second of it.
He asks out of the blue one day, "When's Korra coming back from the Fire Nation?"
And no one has an answer.
"What's your favorite color?" Asami asked the Avatar one humid evening while twirling a strand of her hair around a perfectly manicured fingertip.
Korra shrugged absently in response, her clear cerulean eyes reflecting the first stars peeking through the broad strokes of dark blue and purple hues smeared across the horizon that announced the arrival of dusk before dark brown eyelids closed over her irises like a thick cover. "I don't know. Blue? Dark blue?"
Asami gently turned her friend's head to the left. "What about purple?"
The native waterbender's eyes opened, a slightly perplexed gleam in them as they stared unseeing at the water's edge before snapping into perspective. "...Purple?" she repeated, confused.
The heiress merely nodded as a response.
Korra thought for a moment, her heavy dark eyebrows drawn together to meet at the bridge of her nose. "Um, no...I think I like blue better."
In the Avatar State, she's seen enough purple to last a lifetime.
Bolin eyes the Avatar one day when they're taking an idle walk along the ocean's shore and can't help but think that there's something off about her.
"Are you alright?" the he softly asks.
"I'm fine," she replies with a very distant look in her eyes.
There is a primal, savage instinct in every being that is the will to survive. And even though Korra, Korra-the-Avatar-master-of-all-four-elements, has lost all her memories she still retains this unconscious need to exist and pushes her hands out desperately at the three funny-looking people in red robes and large pointy hats as if to ward them away—
—and wind comes howling from her outstretched palms.
She gasps: a strangled sound of disbelief and sheer terror, her mouth parting into an astonished "o" for a split second to suck in a sharp breath before she promptly faints into the gritty sand.
No, nononono he's going to lose his bending to the fucking madman he can't lose his bending—
"No—you—don't!" she screamed, stumbling forwards on shaky, previously bloodbent legs to throw a wild and desperate yet futile punch at the masked man in dark brown because she doesn't want (who is that? unnamedfamiliarstrange human in the dark jumpsuitamonequalists) to lose his firebending just like she did at the hands of that heretic—
—and air comes spinning out of her fist.
It hit the man square in the chest, sending him tumbling back the dark hallway, and despite herself, unbridled joy swells up inside her like a wave, euphoria swallowing her overactive senses as she announced to the world—
"I can airbend!"
More than ever now, Korra loves the feeling of wind blowing through her hair and grabs at any chance to go air gliding.
"We must cleanse you of the darkness before it destroys your Avatar spirit."
She's floating on soft, soft air and she doesn't know where she is, but she sure as hell can see him and reaches out to grope for his ghostly gloved hand, where she eagerly awaits the solid warmth to hit her own palm.
Only her clenched fingers pass through nothingness, and he smiles—a sad little grimace—before dissolving into a swirl of stormy grays and blood reds that she in vain tries to keep a hold on, only to have them slip and slide through her calloused hands like water.
There's this biting emotion deep inside her that she can't pin her finger down on, but what she does know is that it's painful.
She manages to let out a wet sob that brings the rest out like a wave of anger and loss, body seizing and wracking with enormous convulsions before she slips into the world of gray, static unconsciousness once more.
"Well, you see, I'm a waterbender. And an earthbender. And a firebender."
"...Hmm." Bolin stroked his non-existent beard. "I see. I'm very confused right now."
Mr. Hat Trick shifted his weight to his left foot, stopped playing with his towel, and muttered, "You're the Avatar. And I'm an idiot."
She grinned impishly. "Both...are true."
"You should go to a doctor..." Mako murmurs, concerned as he tugs at his wife's listless form.
"Shuddupanlemmesleep," comes the thick answer.
"Mako, I'm fine," Korra snaps, throwing a pillow at his face.
The firebender narrows his eyes at the lack of force behind her words.
"...Just leave me alone."
Korra isn't in the Fire Nation and despite himself, Mako is going crazy.
She isn't at the Water Tribes, Southern or Northern, and spirits be damned she isn't in the Earth Kingdom or any of the Air Temples either.
The Avatar had simply disappeared.
"But, um, what if she isn't in that tunnel?"
Mako stared at his brother as if he was crazy. "Then we keep on searching until we find her!"
Asami's emerald green eyes narrowed behind the firebender's retreating back.
"Korra?" Mako grabs his wife's arm and glares at the purplish discoloration. "What is this?"
"Are you all right?" The firebender is all business. "Are you feverish? Do you need to lie down?"
"You don't look so good. Are you sure you're all right? A hundred percent posi—"
"...Mako, I fell and hit my arm on the edge of a table."
"Oh." Awkward pause. "I see...err, do you need a healer to fix you up?"
"I am the healer," Korra sighs.
Mako only rolls his eyes.
When Korra opens her eyes, she doesn't see the man with the red scarf but she's glowing a sickening shade of purple. And she gets a sense that she never used to like the color purple.
"Oh. You're still here?"
Korra's forehead wrinkled in annoyance.
"Oh, you're still a jerk?"
"HIS FACE LOOKS LIKE BACON!"
The heiress shoots a startled look at the twenty-seven-year-old Avatar, who anyone would think had grown and matured from her days as a hotheaded teenager, but there were times when she obviously acted like an insensitive child. (This being one of those times.)
"...I'm sorry, but excuse me?"
"His face is like bacon," Korra adamantly insists, words probably streaming out of her mouth as soon as they pop into her head.
"But..." Asami splutters. "What the hell, Korra, you don't go up to a burn victim and tell them that their face looks like bacon! ...Whether they're made of wax or not," she adds as an afterthought.
"But I'm stating the truth!" Korra gestures wildly towards the facsimile of Amon. "It's so...realistic..."
"No. But I can lead you to her."
Wan smiles, a wide and sincere grin before she's swept away into another age, another era.
When they kiss, the sensation is like sparks are dancing across her skin, and a shiver courses through her body for reasons that are not caused by the chilly wind.
Korra knows that there's something wrong with her, because she's tired all the time and she's never tired, and even she's noticing that her already-short fuse has gotten even shorter, and she's hunched over with internal pain all the time—
—and she doesn't reveal these problems to anyone and keeps a smile on her face in case anyone gets suspicious and starts to worry.
Worry worry worry.
That's what anyone ever does anymore and Korra hates it.
"Raava and Vaatu bring out the best and the worst in us," Wan points out. "But there's always a little of the light in the dark, and dark in the light. Such is push and pull, Tui and La. Red and blue, Ran and Shaw. Yin and Yang...Vaatu and Raava. One cannot exist without the other, but one can always be overpowered."
"So?" the current Avatar frowns.
"The Harmonic Convergence. Exactly what do you think will happen if Vaatu becomes just as much a part of our spirit as Raava is?"
"Haven't you got the memo yet?" Korra snapped crossly, glaring at her well-worn seal-skin boots. "I'm a spiritual failure too."
"I'm sure you'll be okay." Mako made an attempt to console his bristling girlfriend. "You've come a long way from six months back, anyways."
Korra folded her arms across her chest, a dark expression settling over her facial features. "...Right. A long way from six months back."
You don't know that I've lost control of the Avatar State.
Katara's dead. That sweet old lady is dead and Korra cries.
Her waterbending master, her confidant, the woman who was like her grandmother is dead.
For some reason, Korra's always regarded her teacher with some sort of awestruck fascination, believing that it was in her that she would never ever die and leave this world to pass into the realm of the spirits.
But somewhere above her head, somewhere in the stars, she knows that Aang and Katara are finally together again.
"So Unalaq's going to release Vaatu from his...tree trunk prison thingy-ma-bobber?" Korra jabs a finger at the ghostly apparition, intently staring into her predecessor's eyes. "And this concept of a dark Avatar is going to come to pass on the Harmonic Convergence if I don't close the southern portal?"
"You know. Not to scare you or anything." Wan offers her a crooked smile.
Korra turns around. "And they tell me I'm stupid."
She sighs, a puff of warm breath escaping past her lips. "...Well, the point is that I'm not stupid."
Wan just smiles.
"Wait a minute." Korra prods the firebender in his chest. "You like me. You like me, don't you?"
"What?!" Mako demands half a second later, flaming amber eyes flying open in denial. "I do not!" He crosses his arms rather self-consciously over his chest, breathing heavily from annoyance. "Besides, I'm with Asami. You know, you're not the most perfect girl in the world, Korra."
"I never said I was!" the Avatar snaps back, becoming increasingly inflamed. "I was just being honest!"
"Sure you were," Mako snorts.
"Fine!" Korra announces dramatically, turning around on her heel with an exaggerated huff.
Mako stares after her retreating figure before scowling. "Jeez...fine."
"Your father scares me."
"Yeah." Mako grimaces uncomfortably. "He's intimidating."
Korra leers at him. "Even more than me?"
"...Do I have to answer?"
Korra pushes him over as a response.
When Korra wakes up, the Fire Lady will ask her a question.
"Do you know who you are?"
The young woman looks up and softly replies, "My name is Korra."
"I'm the Avatar, and you gotta deal with it!"