You guys. Welcome to my second favorite piece of fanfiction and one of my favorite pieces written. This was written the day after the Legend of Korra Season 1 Finale. I spent that entire day writing this, I was so inspired. Now, I guess with season 2 already done, this would be so unbelievably uncanon, but that's okay. I suppose this is considered an A/U fic. Please enjoy and happy reading :)
The Avatar had entered into his domain. The water tribe girl unknowingly stepped into a world where she was no longer safe. She no longer lived her days under the protection of superiors, away from the troubles of the real world. How could she even call herself an Avatar when she spent her life hidden away down in the South Pole, knowing nothing of the problems and strife of the real world?
It made no difference now, thought Amon as he sat in his seat in the shadows. The announcement of her arrival in Republic City had accelerated his plans. Yes, his Equalist followers would have to scramble like mad to ready themselves and take this opportunity that had so willingly and naively presented itself. It caused his most competent men great stress and agitation.
It excited Amon. His men, though of the same attitude about their bending brothers, had their minds too busy with details and plans and tactics. In their haste, they were forgetting what Amon's Regime truly stood for.
Equality; a world without the tyrannical rule of benders who disrupted the discord and harmony of the world.
Amon's stomach tightened at the thought of what benders had done to him. The Avatar, the so called peace keeper, the bridge between the spirit world, and the master of all four elements, was no better than the fire benders who had wiped out entire nations to strive for their own glory and power. Any master of an element was scum. At least, so was any master who took inhumane pride in their work…Amon knew that some bending was practical if put to use to better the world.
Amon knew that he planned to do just that; better the world and rid them of benders who failed to use their gifts for good. Many did use their ability to lord it over those who did not have bending. They abused their gifts to gain things from others who did not have. Benders became arrogant and unfeeling for all of humankind that did not have power over any elements. How could an Avatar with a unique ability to bend all four elements be an ambassador for all people?
Amon could answer that question. There was no way for the Avatar to relate to anybody.
Yet, not every man or woman who could bend would use their power for just causes. That is what made him a better man, and a hero to all who were unaware of the truth of who he really was. His identity was his personal issue. He would be what the people needed him to be. They needed to see that a seemingly common man was powerful enough to rise up and fight the benders.
And when the girl Avatar had grown bold enough to face him, he would be ready to greet her with open arms. He would place his hands upon her and cleanse her body of the impurity that she so foolishly loved.
It was a fleeting moment that he had seen her. Yes her bending was skillful, rightfully so as she was the Avatar. In his mind's eye, he replayed her powerful movements over and over again. He had met somebody who could truly be called a worthy opponent. Yet he had sensed arrogance in her. She was young, immature, and most likely full of hot air.
From behind him he could hear his men agonizing over her escape. Let them agonize, Amon mused. He knew that her escape would warn the City of his power. The news of his ability to take away bending would spread like fire. Amon's name would be feared. People would whisper about him on the street corners and keep their bending children under their careful watch. No bender would feel secure. They would know that even the all-powerful Avatar was in danger of him. The only solace to be found was to hide their bending abilities, to become as a common non-bender.
It was the dawning of a new era, and it would be instigated by the warnings of a girl who thought she was doing some good for the people. If only she knew how much it would actually help her new enemy…
She wanted a fight, but she never said it had to be fair. Amon waited in the shadows of the Statue of Aang. The opportune moment would come. As she had done every step of the way so far, the girl would blindly walk right into his path. Tonight, he would take more than just her bending; by taking her power, he would take her life's pride, her heart's reason to beat. He would take her soul.
A gust of wind blew and with it came the form of the Avatar, walking by the dark entrance to the Statue. She was so careless.
At his silent command, Amon's Equalists came out of the dark and threw their weapons to disarm the girl. The Avatar was dragged into the depths of the Statue, meeting more Equalists in the darkness. Only the flames of her own desperate fire bending cast light on her. Amon watched from a distance.
She had water in her spirit. Though she bent other elements to free herself, he could see the tenacity and strength of a true water tribe girl flow through her. He saw her clothes and the style she wore her hair in. Blue and white clashed with the dull tones of the Equalists' clothing. She was colorful, vibrant. She made herself stand out. The world was to be made known of her presence.
She fought like a valiant soldier. His most skillfully trained men had a fair fight against her. Yet despite her all-powerful bending, normal men finally subdued her, blocking her chi and bringing her down. She fell to the floor in a helpless pile. Lifted up by her arms, the girl was roughly brought to her knees in a prone position.
Like a predator, Amon stepped out of the shadows. The girl caught sight of him. Fear shone in her eyes like a beacon of weakness. There was not a single thing she could do to help herself.
"I received your invitation, young Avatar." His mysterious voice growled as he entered into the pool of light where the bender was.
The Avatar was at his mercy. Take away her bending, and she was just a frightened child. The thrill of her capture coursed through him like electricity. Subduing her was the penultimate victory, the second greatest step to achieving his goal. Once he stripped her of the bending, he could surmount any challenge and he could take the rest of the world's bending. She was just an obstacle he was about to overcome.
His bare hand rose up to touch her forehead. That was all it would take. A simple touch, a harmless caress and she would be weakened. The frightened girl turned her face away.
Too quickly did his hand grow closer to her. He was taking this too fast, he realized. The moment needed to be savored. The glow from the dim torchlight danced over her face. As Amon looked down on his prey, something in his stone heart opened. The tribal loveliness of her features, the dark skin, and the ocean blue eyes reminded him all too well of the past that he sought to forget. His eyes, blue just like hers, roamed over her face, her arms, and her clothes. This girl struck a chord within him.
Amon, the enigmatic leader of the Equalists, hesitated for a breath of a second as his fingers were about to graze the skin of her face. He turned his palm over and with the slightest pressure, grabbed her chin and turned her face to meet his mask. Vulnerable pools of blue bore into the depths of dark shadowed slits. Yes, something about the girl resonated in his barren heart. Yet that something caused him to postpone his plan to destroy her.
"Our showdown, while inevitable, is premature. Although it would be the simplest thing for me to take away your bending right now, I won't." Her expression echoed the surprise and disbelief she was feeling. Though he could almost feel the shock of his own people, Amon calmly continued.
"You'd only become a martyr. Benders of every nation would rally behind your untimely demise, but I assure you, I have a plan. And I'm saving you for last, then you'll get your duel, and I will destroy you."
Before she could speak a word, Amon thrust his fist into her shoulder. With a gasp, the girl fell face first onto the cold stone floor.
"What shall we do with her body, Amon?" asked the Lieutenant. Amon did not look back at his most faithful follower. He was still quietly reeling from the foreign, unwanted rush of emotions that the girl had unknowingly initiated. Memories of his former life haunted him as they had never done, and pitiful feelings that he could not explain clouded his head.
"Leave her," Amon finally answered. "Let them find her. Let them think that I am a merciful man."
Korra. Her name plagued his thoughts. He wanted to destroy her. He wanted her more than just powerless. Amon wanted to see Avatar Korra as nothing less than a shell of a human being; a hopeless, loveless, bitter individual whose innocence and naive ideals about life and bravery and good vs. evil were taken away and all that was left was a raging anger that would act out in pain and seek to destroy the source of it.
Amon wanted to see Korra reduced to what he himself had become. The desire to see her meet that end was smoldering. It was not only because she was the Avatar. It was not only because she was his enemy. It was not even because she had joined a vicious task force created by Councilman Tarrlock to bring his Equalists to what she believed was justice.
A spark had ignited in him that set off an inferno of conflict. Amon was starting to understand his weaknesses, and she was one of them.
When Amon looked upon Korra's face during their confrontation, he saw the manifestation of all things that he desperately hated. That made sense.
What was different however, was that he also saw a striking girl who reminded him of the love of a culture and an art that he abandoned. Gazing into her eyes, he remembered a time that was not so filled with complication. Though the Equality movement was his life, it held no happiness for him. The resolution of a deeply rooted grudge did not fill him with what he had hoped to feel. Instead he felt heavy and confused. In light of this revelation, a whole world of suppressed, forbidden feelings had opened up to him.
He never wanted this kind of life. Secretly, he wanted the life that Korra now represented to him. She was everything his life should have been. As a boy, Amon wanted to be a great, skilled hunter. He wanted to fall in love with a beautiful and strong water tribe girl and provide for her and protect her. He wanted to be the man that he once believed his own father to be…that was until his despicable father showed a dark side that was beyond anything he could have imagined.
Bending had taken the chance of that kind of a life away from him. He saw Korra as everything he could have had, if the sacred art had not destroyed his future. The same girl that made him yearn for a life never to be gained was also the very incarnation of the bending that ruined what he lost, what he longed for in the back of his mind that still called himself…
No, he would not suffer his new persona to the name of his old life. The painted mask that he now wore to hide the ghost of his past was his new face. He had a new name, more fitting for his new life. Amon was the man that every man and woman saw. The man behind the mask no longer had a name in the world.
Amon could not sleep. Korra's face kept rudely interrupting his dreams. The full moon shone over a misty bay as Amon stood from his bed and walked to the window. Dawn would rise in a few short hours. Air Temple Island protruded from the middle of the bay.
She was there. That's where Korra stayed. Amon walked over to a desk. On the glossy surface of the wood sat his visage, the face of Amon. Next to that was a little jar of red paint, perfect for creating fake scars and burns…
Amon snatched the items up in his hands and shoved them into a drawer. They could hide there for a little while.
The man nimbly jumped out of the window and into the street below. Luckily, his followers did not know where he lived. It was one of the many things about himself he kept secret from them.
There were hardly any people milling about in the early hours of the morning. Amon breathed in the night air and felt the full moon beaming down upon him. It felt strange to be walking out in the open without his mask. It had been even longer since he felt the moon, especially the power of a full moon.
The waters of the bay were not too far away. He snuck his way down to the shore and stood at the edge. Water called to him. He lifted his fingers, feeling the liquid push and pull underneath his grasp. How long had it been since he allowed himself to bend water and not the blood of his victims?
Amon took in a deep breath and plunged himself into the cold water.
He knew something was wrong with him. Amon, the admired leader of the Equalists, was hiding behind an outcropping of stone like an animal stalking its prey. The sand beneath his feet was soft and unstable as the waves washed over them, sinking him deeper into the unstable ground. Peering around the damp stone, he found what he was looking for.
Korra was water bending beneath the glory of a full moon. Her arms flowed as she wove a shining ribbon of water through the air. Every step was in perfect sync. Her body bent and moved just like the water she represented. It did not matter that she could produce fire from her limbs or conform the earth to her will. She had water in her soul. The love for her natural element was obvious. The water was an extension of her body, and an extension of her soul.
As he watched her, he remembered how it felt the first time he bent water. It felt cold, but refreshing, as though he were taking a first sip of water after being deprived of it for years. He once loved to practice bending, especially beneath a full moon as she was doing now. It had made him happy, as a child, and watching her now rekindled his long buried happiness. He felt his feet shifting forward, aching to take him beside the girl and join her under the radiance of the moon.
Amon took a step back and pushed himself further behind the rock. Fingers tugged at hair and he shook his head fitfully. Bending was evil, he hurriedly reminded himself. He wanted to rip out the image of her bending from his mind. It was a beautiful sight, a lovely young woman silently bending water in the light of the moon with a glow of happiness on her face. She treated her bending as the way all people should; with respect and love.
The conflict deepened. His passion for the end of the benders did not sway, but the desire to have his old life was fueled. However, it was not just his old life in general he wanted. No, that would not be enough. He wanted the very thing that had made this change. He wanted Korra.
Every encounter was filled with angst. Amon saw her and his heart blazed with hate and longing. His yearning for the bender had grown into something close to an obsession.
The attack on the Pro-bending arena was a glorious victory, but the girl had put up an excellent fight. He looked down at her as she spewed forth a blast of fire into his airship. Her face was not the fearful one he kept seeing in his memory; her face was strong and full of anger.
Amon heard news of Councilman Tarrlock kidnapping the girl and taking her to an abandoned shack deep in the mountains. When Amon and his men arrived, Tarrlock had her imprisoned in an iron cage and she had failed to find a way to escape his trap. Amon sensed that the girl would take any chance she could to fight her way to freedom. She was not to be underestimated. He even warned his men of that, yet she ingeniously found a way to thwart them.
He was by the car, heaving the equalized Councilman Tarrlock into the back when Amon heard a loud crash coming from the inside. Every hair on his neck stood. The very wind seemed to stop and the world around him fell silent, waiting in anticipation for their latest exchange. Korra was free and she was close.
So very close.
Amon slowly turned to face her. The girl's face betrayed fear and panic, but her movements did not falter. She threw her arms up and a flurry of snow surrounded Amon. His breathing quickened as he swept the snow away from him.
Korra was running from him, throwing herself down a steep embankment to get away.
With a thrill, Amon raced to catch up to her, yearning to reach her yet burning to harm her.
She was too far ahead of him. He watched with a cold heart and growing despair as she slid down the mountain.
His men were beside him, breathless and useless.
"I thought I told you not to underestimate her," he softly reprimanded.
She was such a water tribe girl, moving through conflict and finding a path in all the obstacles. It was like the way water moved, carving a path through stone or squeezing itself through the cracks in a dam. Korra was the spirit of water. She escaped him again. Amon, though chiding his men for underestimating her, could not help but be highly impressed by her tenacity.
The end was near. The Council was broken apart and their bending was gone. General Iroh's attempt to aid the benders was thwarted. As a mockery to Korra and all the Avatars, he had placed a mask of Amon upon the face of Aang's Statue. Republic City was his.
The Avatar herself was nowhere to be found. No matter. He would find her. He would tear the world apart to find her and bring the girl under his dominance and strip her of the bending she was so proud of. Maybe then he would take her life. If he did, he would finally be free of the hold she had on his heart…as much as it would tear him apart, that action would complete his victory and Amon would fully be Amon once more. He would be cleansed of her destructive influence.
The Rally was underway. It seemed as though all of Republic City's non-benders had gathered here to listen to him. Victory was at hand, yet he still felt the emptiness of his quest. As Amon was lifted through the trap door and on to the stage, he succumbed to his chosen life. If he was to always be miserable and unhappy, then it was for the greater good of the world.
Amon did not get very far into his speech. Korra, in all her boldness and bravery, appeared. She spoke his name, his true name, the name that longed for his old home and for Korra to be a part of a new life. He wanted her to say it again…
Even so, Amon was horrified. The girl had somehow spoken to Tarrlock. It infuriated him that his secret was in danger of being exposed, yet it also consolidated him to know that his brother had known it was him beneath Amon's mask. Even after all the years apart, Tarrlock still knew what it felt like to be in the grip of his brother's blood bending.
Korra would not escape this time. The Airbender family meant nothing to him now that his prize was so close by. He would find them later on. She was all that mattered now.
He ran swiftly down the hallway, almost breathing in her scent. She was so close.
A wall of fire erupted out of nowhere. It was her fire. He sped up his pace and as the inferno towered over him, Amon's feet left the floor and he sailed through the flames. He landed on the other side, without even a scratch or a burn.
Amon could still see the look she gave him when he took off his mask and revealed his face. She was disgusted, shocked, and disappointed. If only she knew what was really underneath his façade…he would like to see her face then.
A door to his left was swinging as if it had just been opened. Amon knew she was behind that door. He walked into the silent room. There was nobody there that he could see, but he could feel blood pumping through the veins of two bodies. Which one was hers?
Ah, the one under the table. With a flick of his wrist and with no qualms about exposing himself, he pulled Korra out from her hiding place with blood bending. Coming to aid her was the fire bender, Mako. Amon felt jealous for a fleeting second. That boy had a life that he would never hope to have; he had Korra.
Amon flexed his fingers and the boy was under his spell, though he made sure it was far more painful for the fire bender than it was for the girl.
In a few flashes, Korra was on her knees. He came up behind her and roughly grabbed her shoulders. His heart beat faster than it should have. She was in his hands, and he would not be weak to her a second time.
This moment would be different.
After this she would be powerless. She would be no Avatar. She would just be Korra, the water tribe girl. The face of Amon, the face of his past was a scarred visage to her. She would not know of his true identity.
In the seconds it took for him to touch his thumb to her smooth forehead, he decided that he would not kill her. He would keep her alive. When she could not come to terms with her loss of bending and the victory of Amon, she would leave the fire bender. She would not go back to Air Temple Island. In her failure, she would return home to the South Pole.
She would need a great deal of comfort. She would need somebody stronger than a mere street boy to console her. A man of her own race and tribe would seek to help her, a man whose face was not scarred and terrifying, but unscathed by anything. Amon could have his two worlds. He could still be the leader of a new era, and he could have the life he always wanted. He could have it with the girl he was about to purify. In a few moments, she would be perfect. She would never know the identity of the man who would protect her and provide for her.
In a rush of cold and blood, he felt the bending of the Avatar slip away beneath his fingers. It was over. The girl fell to the floor in a heap.
Korra had been Equalized.
He could not let the boy get away with his prize. Amon chased the fire bender down the narrow hallway. Korra was in his arms.
Soon, she would be in Amon's. The man viciously bent the boy's blood and hurled him against the wall. He bent his limbs in grotesque forms. His hatred for Mako seethed and he hoped that the boy could feel it coursing through his veins.
Amon put him in the perfect position to take away his fire. He would be nothing.
What he did not notice was Korra, standing up and making a fist. He heard a rushing of air and an invisible force threw him back.
"I can…air bend? I CAN AIRBEND!"
Amon's heart sank as her words went from stunned to triumphant. The life he had planned for the aftermath was crashing around him. The girl could still bend, but how?
The ensuing battle was short lived. Amon was unceremoniously thrown through a window. His limp body sailed through the air and crashed into the waters of the bay.
Water was pouring into his lungs as he sank to the bottom. With a choking gasp, Amon's eyes flew open and his old water bending instincts flew to his consciousness. Without even thinking, the former water bending master swirled the element around him and a tornado of water was formed.
With a gasp, the man rose out of the water in a great eruption. Wind from the force of his bending whipped his hair around, and he felt a sticky substance fly off his face. It was his paint, the façade he had painstakingly put upon his skin was wiped away by the very element he had sought to forget.
Cries of accusation and shock came from below. He frantically looked left and right, staring down on the faces of all his faithful Equalist followers. Amon looked to his right and saw her.
Korra, with her brow furrowed and her mouth set into a firm line, glared at him. There was no hint of shock at the revealing of his true face. She did not show a single sign of fascination or admiration. All Amon could see was hatred.
He would never have her. He would never have anything. His regime was destroyed, taken down as his identity as a water bender was known. The chance, the small chance he had at starting a new life with the girl, seemed so desperate and foolish now.
It took a split second for Amon to decide what he would do. With a twirl of his arms, the man fell back into the sea.
Tarrlock would be his new life. A reconciliation with his brother just might be the key to his salvation. Amon drove a boat, an invention of his former partner in crime, Hiroshi Sato.
Tarrlock sat in the back, saying nothing. The wind whistled as Amon steered in the direction of the North Pole. Korra would know who he was now, if she ever saw his face. His plan to woo her after she returned home would never work.
He mused on this as Tarrlock sat silently in the back. There were other things he could do. His father had started over as a new man, why could they not do the same?
A small newfound hope rose up inside him. There was nothing that they could not do. He voiced this thought to his brother.
"Yes, Noatak," replied his brother, sounding flat. It did not matter. Noatak was once again a name in the world. Amon no longer existed. How good it felt to hear the sound of his own name.
"It will be just like the good old days."
The good old days. Noatak, no longer Amon, shed a tear at the thought of starting over, to dissipate his hatred, and to heal from the real, emotional scars left upon him by his past. It was time to move on. Korra's face flashed before his eyes. He saw her smiling as she bent the water under the full moon, the fluid moves of her body mesmerizing him. It was her he wanted, but such was his loss. He could move on, even from her.
Out of the corner of his eye, he saw quick bursts of blue light. As quick as a breath, a booming explosion erupted in the ocean air and he felt excruciating pain as he was flung from the boat in a cloud of black smoke. His sight darkened as the water of the ocean was rushing to meet him. The water was once his life's essence, and now it would become his grave. Noatak closed his eyes and once more thought of Korra, her beauty, her love for water bending, the hate and passion he felt for her. She was the last thing that he saw before he lost consciousness and fell into the hungry, dark water.
The Spirit World was beautiful. It was rugged and covered in ice and snow. A glorious sunset bathed the land in a soft glow. Noatak was lying upon the rocky shores of a beach in the Spirit World. He looked around him and he was reminded of home. Snowcapped mountains dominated the skyline. He wondered if the Spirit World was what you made it to be. This certainly was his heaven.
Noatak pulled himself to his feet. Sharp pain ran down his back. He yelled in agony and his spine bent from the amount of pain he was in. How could he still feel if he was dead?
Or was he? Noatak felt his chest. It was solid. He wiggled his fingers. They felt real. There was only one way to know if he was dead or not.
Noatak turned around and faced the sea. He lifted his hands and willed the water to form into a giant wave. With a great rumbling, the briny water succumbed to the pulling of his mind. He could bend. Noatak survived.
A kind southern water tribe family who knew nothing of Amon's true face had kindly taken him in, thinking that he was a victim of a terrible accident at sea. There was some truth to that…
The little children around him chatted excitedly about how the Avatar Korra was back in the South Pole. The husband and wife kindly explained that after "the monster Amon" had taken her bending, the Spirit of the past Avatars miraculously restored her bending. Noatak excused himself, thanking the family for their generosity.
He had to find her.
The wife gave him one of her husband's extra fur coats and wished him good luck. The man said that the main settlement of the South Pole was east of their home, and that perhaps he could find help there. The children danced around his legs, begging the strange man in their home to take them to see the Avatar. Noatak escaped the house as quickly as he could. He needed to see if this rumor was true.
She was not bending, but rather lying vulnerably in her bed. Sleep had taken her. Korra's arms were wrapped around her body in an embrace. Noatak could have taken her bending again, but he knew that it would only be restored again, and again, and again. It was of no use.
Noatak slowly knelt by her bed. He hesitantly raised his hand to her head, daring himself to touch her. His fingers gently wove through her hair. Her scent wafted through the air between them. He breathed in deeply and let himself become lost in her essence. His enemy, the incarnation of evil in his eyes, was also the last thing left in the world that made him feel like Noatak, the son of the North. She, the daughter of the South had freed Noatak from Amon.
The Avatar truly was the peacemaker. His heart, though still heavily conflicted and angry, was healing. Water benders were healers too, were they not? As quietly as he could, Noatak leaned down and pressed his lips upon the girl's sleeping face.
"Thank you, Avatar Korra. You have saved me." He moved his lips from her cheek and brought them down on her own lips. Korra barely moved under his touch, but he felt her lips form into a smile. Perhaps she dreamed of her fire bender, thought Noatak. It did not matter. He would dream of her forever.
She was his undoing. She was the solution for Amon, when Amon believed himself to be the solution for the world. Hatred for her burned in the part of him that was still Amon, but the deprived Noatak relished in her.
Noatak reluctantly pulled away from the stolen kiss. He would never have a woman to love, protect, and provide for. If that woman was not Korra, then she would be nobody.
Like a thief in the night, Noatak left her room and disappeared into the frozen wasteland. Of course, he would have to leave the South Pole. It was too dangerous to live there, in the Avatar's domain. He would return to the North Pole. He would start again, without his brother. Noatak did not know whether or not to curse Tarrlock's name, or to bless his apparently troubled soul.
It did not matter. Noatak could not let the past harm him any longer.
Bright lights of the aurora borealis danced over the northern horizon. After all the hatred, after all the hurt, after all the scheming and confusing emotions, and after being broken down by an innocent girl that had captured his heart, he was ready to follow the lights.
They were calling him home.
Thanks for reading!