While the heroes were heading towards the safety of Air Temple Island, a masked man was looking out the window of his quarters. His mask as still on his face, but his hood was done, revealing his dark brown messy locks. In only a few short moments, the Avatar will be in his grasp. Still, he was struggling with himself.
For one, the Avatar is no doubt his enemy, a beacon for all he despises…but still, her eyes, her face, her strength and her passion…they reminded him so much of…her.
The one who got away. The one he knew he would never see again…until now. It was like fate was giving him a second chance at happiness. But why, why did it have to be the Avatar? It was like a terrible tug of war. He knew what he wanted, yet it was like he still couldn't have it. She will be here soon, before him, and it will still feel like she is far, far away.
You know I am a righteous man
Of my virtue I am justly proud
You know I'm so much purer than
The common, vulgar, weak, licentious crowd
He stood before the fireplace, mesmerized by the dancing flames.
Then tell me, destiny
Why I see her dancing there?
Why her ocean eyes still scorch my soul?
I feel her
I see her
The stars caught in her lock of hair
Is blazing in me out of all control
In the flame, he didn't know if it was his imagination or what, but he could have sworn he could see Korra, dancing in the fire, her eyes on him the entire time, as if playfully taunting him, yet inviting him. It terrified him.
This fire in my skin
Is turning me to sin!
He needed to snap out of it. This shouldn't be. This was forbidden in his mind. He could not have this woman, yet he wanted her. He wanted what he had lost, but she was his enemy. Why was this so confusing. He shouldn't be to blame for this. It must be some kind of test of fate, or maybe the Avatar was playing tricks on him.
It's not my fault
I'm not to blame
It is the Avatar
The witch who sent this flame!
It's not my fault!
If in fate's plan
The temptation is so much stronger than a man!
You fool, just control it
Don't let this siren cast her spell
Don't let her fire sear your flesh and bone!
Destroy that Avatar!
And let her taste the fire of hell
Or else let her be mine and mine alone!
His mind kept playing tricks on him for he could have sworn he could see the mist of the flame taking on the form of the woman he tried so hard to despise. Her arms arched out to him and he reached out to her, but once he made contact the ghost disappeared. Then, the door opened and the Lieutenant walked in.
"Amon, the Avatar has escaped."
"She got away from us. She's gone."
In a fit of rage, Amon slammed his desk over in a fit of rage. His men had just arrived, with a wounded Hiroshi Sato, to inform him the Avatar has escaped. "What kind of morons are you?! How could you let her get away?!"
The Lieutenant had never seen his boss so angry before. However, Amon managed to compose himself.
"Never mind. Get out, you idiot." the Lieutenant complied and closed the door behind him, leaving Amon to rant some more. "I'll find her. I'll find her if I have to burn down all of Republic City!"
Now, Korra it's your turn
Choose me or
Be mine or you will burn!
He realized if he could destroy the Avatar…he could still have Korra to himself. He was still shocked at his own state of mind.
Fate, have mercy on her…
Fate, have mercy on me…
But she will be mine or she….
Once everyone was settled in their own rooms, Korra stood on the cliffside, starring out at the statue of Aang. She wondered what he would think of her now. What would he say? Katara insisted he would be proud but, she was a grandmother, it was her job to say things like that. But would he?
She turned her head to see Mako walk up to her. "After tonight, I don't think anyone will."
"Who can blame them?"
Korra sighed as she placed her hands beside her, still looking at the view before her. "Ever since I was a kid, I would have given anything to have met him." she said, referring to the statue, "But now…now I'm not so sure."
"Why is that?"
"What would he think of me? As an Avatar? Am I failure?"
"What? No, of course not! Korra, you're only now just starting to master your powers."
"Yeah, but I still haven't learned airbending. How am I suppose to save the city if I can't even create a single puff of air?"
"You'll get there. I know you will."
Korra smiled at his encouragement. "City boy, you really are something else."
Mako arched an eyebrow, "What's that suppose to mean?"
Korra stood up and faced him, "I had you pegged wrong when we first met. I thought you were this street-wise bad boy who didn't like letting anybody into his life but now…I see there's this whole other side to you. You're not like most guys."
Mako scoffed at this, "You mean petty and dishonest?" he said as he walked ahead, already remembering the mistakes he made with the criminal gang when he was young. Korra already knew about this, but he was still guilt ridden and didn't believe himself to be some righteous hero.
"Not everybody's like that." Korra insisted.
"Most of them are." Mako said sadly as he looked at his reflection in the water of a nearby bird-bath, where the dragon birds were resting on.
"You're not like that." Korra said, making Mako turn around to face her.
"How do you know what I'm really like?" he asked, his eyes looking at her with regret.
Korra smiled, her blue eyes sparkling in the moonlight. "All I know is…you are the most honest, smart and incredibly loyal guy I have ever met in this entire city or anywhere else, for that matter. There's more to you than meets the eye, Mako. And I'm glad I was able to see that."
He could have sworn his stomach was filled with all kinds of butterflies swarming around to no end. Korra smiled shyly, her face flushed with red as the dragon birds swooned at the scene…which was interrupted when her father called out to her.
"Korra! Get inside, it's late!"
Both of their hearts stopped for a brief moment due to the shock but quickly relaxed. Korra placed her hands behind her back, "I should.."
"I'll be there in a minute."
She smiled once more before walking away, leaving the firebender to his thoughts. He noticed the seven dragon birds starring at him, and he could tell their beaks were smiling.
"What?" he asked. Rarity then formed a heart shape with her wings while Applejack sang the 'sitting in a tree' tune. Mako shook his head, "What do you know? You're birds!"
But deep down there was no denying that he was feeling something for Korra, but even so, he couldn't precisely tell if she felt anything too. For him, girls were hard to read. She was probably just being nice to make him feel better, or she could be serious. He didn't know for sure. Most of the signs pointed to the possibility, but, then he remembered that one time she shouted at Wu that Mako was not her boyfriend. There was such fire in her tone, like she wanted to make sure it was a reality. She wanted so much to get the point across, why else would a person shout like that? Or was she embarrassed by the idea? Embarrassed of him? He honestly didn't know. And besides, she was the Avatar. She had more important things to think about than romance. If he should even call it that.
Meanwhile, in her room, Korra sat her bed, thinking about what had just happened. She couldn't believe she said those things to Mako. They were true but, she felt such a powerful feeling swell up inside of her. Could she be?…
No, she couldn't allow that to happen. Not now, with all of this happening. And not with what she knew. Had she learned nothing from her aunt and uncle's stories? Even if she really was falling for Mako, she couldn't do this to him. She had too much going on to risk hurting him, if he did feel for her. And if he didn't? Then she was already torturing herself with these thoughts. She sighed as she face palmed herself.
"What's the matter with me?…you'd think a girl would learn."
She looked out her window while Mako stared at his reelection in the bird bath, his amber eyes filled with sadness and confusion. He couldn't let these feelings control him, he was becoming an emotional wreck. He couldn't allow this. Not now.
Mako: If there's a prize for rotten judgment
I guess I've already won that.
Korra: No man is worth the aggravation
That's ancient history, been there
Rarity, Sunset, Pinkie and Twilight flew into her window, singing-chirping a song, which in their language sang;
Who'd'ya think you're kidding?
He's the earth and heaven to you
Try to keep it hidden
Honey, we can see right through you
Korra: Oh, no
Girls: Girl, you can't conceal it
We know how you're feeling
Who you're thinking of!
I won't say it no, no!
Korra slammed the window shut, keeping the girls outside, not wanting to hear this. But they wouldn't quit
Girls: You swoon, you sigh
Why deny it, oh, oh?
Korra: It's too cliche
I won't say I'm in love
The birds hummed as the rest of the birds, Applejack, Rainbow Dash and Fluttershy sang with Mako. All he could hear was beautiful harmonized chirping.
Mako: Why can't my heart just learn the lesson?
It felt so good when you start out
My head is screaming; "get a grip, boy!"
Unless you're dying, to cry your heart out!
Girls: You keep in denying
Who you are and how you're feeling
Buddy, we're not buying!
Hon, we saw you hit the ceiling!
Mako and Korra: Oh, no!
Girls: Face it like a grown up
When you gonna own up that you
Got, got, got it, bad!
Mako and Korra: Oh!
I won't say it
Girls: Give up, give in
Rainbow: Check the grin, you're in love!
Korra: This scene won't play
I won't say I'm in love!
Girls: You're doing flips
Read our lips: You're in love!
Korra and Mako: You're way off base!
I won't say it
Get off my case
I won't say it!
Korra rested on her bed when Twilight snuck into the room with a flower in her mouth, placing it beside her, while Sunset placed one next to Mako, who was also in his room.
Girls: Kid, don't be proud
It's okay you're in love.
At the same time, both Korra and Mako noticed their respected flowers. Korra's was red while Mako's was white. There was no denying they had feelings for the other, but wether they were mutual or not…maybe time would tell.
At least, out loud
I won't say I'm in…
As the dragon birds swooned while Mako lovingly gazed into his flower. He didn't know what was to come in the future but, one thing was certain…being in love wasn't such a bad thing to feel…even if it may or may not be mutual and if it didn't last long. At least he had this one moment.
But Korra…she just couldn't afford to do it.
The following morning, Korra happily ate her mother's home-cooked meal. Even if it was for a moment, at least things seemed to finally be getting to normal. She was home, with her friends and family, and the day looked beautiful. Maybe today she could finally catch a break. She sipped her tea, smiling at her mother. "The food tastes amazing, mom."
"I'm just happy you're home safe." said Pema, "I don't know what I would do if those Equalists had taken you." she caressed her daughter's face and turned to her friends, "And thank the three of you for keeping her safe."
"We're the ones who should be thanking her." said Mako, earning a slightly surprised glance from Korra. "She's more than capable of taking care of herself."
The gaze Mako gave her send shivers down her spine and her cheeks turned red. She remembered where she was and quickly stood up. "I'm gonna go wash my plate." she said, taking her now empty plate and headed to the kitchen. Asami knew this was Korra's 'avoid the issue' move. She stood up and took her plate as well.
"I'll go help her."
Once in the kitchen, Korra not only washed her plate, but also splashed water at her face, in hopes of snapping herself out of it. Once Asami entered and placed her plate on the sink, she placed a hand on the counter and one on her hip, eying her friend sternly.
"Okay, what's up?"
"Nothing." Korra responded, not even looking at her friend in the eye.
"Oh, you mean to tell me you and Mako weren't just making goo-goo eyes at each other right before making up an excuse to get out the room?"
Korra wiped the water from her hands and dried them, still not looking at Asami. "That's ridiculous." to her surprise, Asami took the towel away from her.
"Korra, we've known each other almost our whole lives. I've seen you talk to guys before, but I have never, ever, seen you look at one of them the way you look at Mako. Why is it so hard for you to open up to somebody?"
Korra finally decided to play the game and turned to her friend, placing her hand on the counter and her other on her hip just like Asami. "You want to know why?"
"It's not that I'm scared of getting hurt, I'm scared of hurting him."
Asami arched an eyebrow, "What?"
"My grandfather, Aang. He was the Avatar and a father, but he was hardly the latter. He came and went, hardly spent time with his kids and it was hard on the whole family."
"What does that have to do with anything?"
"Because I'm no different!"
"Why would you think that?"
"At first, I didn't want a relationship because I wanted to figure out what I really wanted first. That, and most guys I've met were jerks. But then, I became the Avatar and everything completely changed. I have the biggest responsibility any human being could ever have. Aang had such a hard time balancing being a father and being the Avatar and it was hard on my family…I don't want have to cause that kind of suffering on anybody else….especially not Mako. That's why now, more than ever, I can't afford to let this happen. I just can't."
Seeing she was on the verge of tears, Asami instantly wrapped her arms around her friend. "I'm so sorry."
"It's not your fault." Korra allowed herself to cry on Asami's shoulder, letting all of her frustrations out. It was at that moment when Pema walked into the kitchen and saw her daughter crying.
"Is everything okay?" she asked.
Asami released Korra who wiped away her tears. "Yeah, mom. I'm fine."
But she was not fooling Pema, "Boy trouble?"
In only a few seconds Korra cried again and hugged Pema. She already received the comfort of her best friend/sister, now she wanted the protective embrace of her mother. She cried even harder into her shoulder. "Mommy, I'm so confused!"
Pema knew what her issue was, having has a similar dilemma once in her youth. She gently rubbed her daughter's back to sooth her. "Oh, honey. Don't worry, things will get better. You'll see." she held the young woman tightly, showering her with all the love she had for her ever since the day she laid eyes on the infant her husband had brought home. Finally feeling better Korra wiped her tears, smiling sincerely at her mother.
"I'm always here for you, Korra. Always." but just as the moment came, it went when Pema suddenly felt a pain in her stomach and cried out.
"Mom, are you alright?!" Korra assisted her mother and Asami did as well.
"Yeah, the baby is just…just kicking really hard, is all. I'm fine."
"Should I get dad?"
"No reason to worry him, it's nothing."
Korra took her mother's word for it. One of the many things she loved about her was that she was also strong of both mind and spirit. It's no wonder Korra grew up into the woman she is today.
But this only reminded her of something else. Something she needed to tell her father about. And now was as good a time as ever.
Outside, Tenzin was pacing back and forth, thinking on ways to keep Korra safe. She was in danger now more than ever. His entire family was. With Amon on the loose and his rebellion growing more and more each day, he had to come up with something and fast. He knew Lin would protect them with her life, she had always been his most dependable friend since they were young. He noticed his daughter approach him.
"Dad, can I talk to you?"
"Fo course, what is it?"
Korra rubbed her arm nervously, unsure on how to explain this to him. "Well, there's something I've been meaning to tell you but, I wasn't so sure how."
"Whatever it is Korra, you can tell me."
"Alright…the last time I fought Amon in the arena, he told me something that really threw me for a loop."
"What did he tell you?" Tenzin asked, already feeling worried about what this could be. Korra was silent for a few moments before revealing the big secret.
"He said something about my father. My birth father."
Tenzin let out a light gasp, "He what?!"
"I don't know if he was telling the truth or not but…what if he is? What if he knows about my past, and if so what about those people who tried to kidnap me when I was young?"
Tenzin didn't know what to say. Everything Korra mentioned had a very high chance of either being possible or not. Amon could be lying, but what would he gain to lie about this, and if it is true, was he one of the men who tried to kidnap Korra as a child?
"I don't know Korra. I honestly don't know."
"Dad, I need to figure this out. Eventually, the world will know the truth about me. What if those guys come back again?"
Tenzin placed his hands over her shoulder, "I will never let that happen. We will figure this out, we just need to be patient."
Korra slowly backed away from him. "I'm sorry…but I can't wait that long anymore." she turned and ran away, her hair ties flipping in the wind as she did.
The young Avatar ran and ran towards the sacred temples, where the Acolytes did most of their meditation. She walked into the temple, starring at the statue of her grandfather in a lotus position. This was a shrine to him, made by the Acolytes. Korra sat down before the statue, hoping to make some kind of Avatar contact.
"Grandp---I mean, Avatar Aang. I don't really know how this is suppose to work but…here I am. So…yeah." this was very awkward, she didn't know where to begin. Maybe if she just relaxed and spoke to him like a normal person it would be easier. And if not, at least she would let out all of her stress.
"I have no idea how I got here. I know, I've said that like a million times but, I'm afraid if I don't say it enough I might forget. Since this whole thing started happening, I've been trying to be the kind of Avatar you would have been proud of. Even though I never met you, I feel like I know you. Maybe it's because I'm a part of your family or our Avatar spirit connection or whatever. I always hoped that if you could ever see me, you'd be proud of me. I tried to be strong and positive but…it's like, every day I'm drifting farther and farther away from who I use to be. I'm not just Korra anymore no matter how many times they say otherwise. And that scares me. I don't want to give this up because I know I can do good with my powers…but how can I be the Avatar and still be me?"
The room was silent, only the whisper of the wind could be heard. Korra gazed at the statue, feeling Aang's eyes starring straight into her. Her grandmother's words rang in her ears.
Listen with your heart…
You will understand…
Korra turned her gaze away and looked at her reflection on the shinning reflective floor. There she was, the girl she always saw in the mirror, looking back at her. It was the same as yesterday, today and tomorrow. But, even so, inside she felt different. All her life she focused on what she wanted to do in the future, and while her goals were never truly selfish per say, perhaps they were not enough for her to pursue. She knew she wanted to achieve something in her life, something that would make a difference. She was just never sure what, and she hoped traveling would help her find that. But maybe that Destiny had another plan for her. Maybe she had been looking at the whole Avatar stuff as a sign that she would need to change herself entirely but, she never did.
She was still the same girl who liked to speak to animals. The same girl who would play with her siblings if they asked her, and she would never say no. The same girl who helped her mother in the kitchen. The same girl who was Asami's best friend. The same girl who enjoyed having belching contests with Bolin. The same girl who made Mako smile.
She was still Korra. While her path may have changed, her spirit didn't. At least, not the important things. Saying she was entirely the same would be a lie. She had changed, yet also didn't. Being the Avatar opened more doors for her than she ever imagined. She was becoming wiser now, she was growing and parts of her were and are still changing, but her most wonderful aspects that made her her, those were never going to fade. And Destiny would never wish for them to. She had been spending so much time asking who she was and what she was becoming, she didn't take a moment to look into the mirror. Really look into it.
Look at me
I may never pass for a perfect girl
No such thing as perfection
Use to think
I wasn't meant to play this part
Use to say,
That if I were truly to be myself
I would break my family's heart…
Who is that girl I see
Staring straight, back at me
Why is my reflection someone I
Who is that perfect child
It's not me
Though I've tried
When will my reflection show
Who I am inside
The dragon bird flew around her as the sun showered the room with its rays. Korra stood up, feeling its warmth and ran out, soaking in the sunlight, just like she use to.
How I prayed
That a time will come
I can free myself
From their expectations
On that day
I'll discover some way to be my truest self
And to make my family proud
Korra ran across the fields of the island, her little colorful friends flying around her, making her smile.
No one can tell me how
To be me, no one knows
Must there be a secret me
I'm forced to hide
I won't pretend that I'm
Someone else for all time
When will my reflection show
Who I am inside!….
Only my reflection shows
Who I am…
Korra gazed at her reflection in the koi pond. Rarity flew beside her and placed a flower in her hair. Korra was then startled when her grandmother approached her, smiling proudly. The two sat in a bench together and Katara gazed at the falling cherry blossoms all around them.
"Beautiful, isn't it?" Katara voiced out. She then pointed to one little flower which was still closed, unlike the others. "A flower that blooms in adversity, is the most rare and beautiful of all." the elderly woman caressed Korra's cheek, smiling proudly. "If Aang could see you, I know he would be very proud of you, not matter what. I know this transition wasn't easy for you. But, you've remained strong through it all, even when you cried and got angry, you kept on going. This is why I know, without a doubt, you will be a great Avatar."
"Thanks, Gran Gran."
As the pink blossoms fell all around them, the two waterbenders hugged underneath the tree. Korra had changed so much in only a few months. But the core of her spirit…
That was something that will never change.