Mako, Korra, Asami: Closure
The Tormentor looked on at Tong, no expression visible on its transparent body. However, the way it seemed to back away, to Tong, indicated shock.
WHAT DO YOU KNOW OF MAKO AND ASAMI?
"Simple," Tong answered. "Or rather, not so simple. You see, I just thought you hated me…"
I HATE THE AVATAR!
"But why?" Tong asked.
From the table, an utterly confused Bolin and Opal looked on. They had gotten used to the oddities of the Spirit World quite well and became fond of their new home, which is probably why unlike many spirits they didn't simply rest. But every now and then a surprise came straight out of nowhere.
Their guest was one of those surprises. This…dark spirit, more silhouette than solid form was another.
"I'll admit, at first I thought you just hated me because I did something. Then it hit me the last time we fought. When we hit each other, your memories transferred to me. Or rather, both of your memories."
STOP WHINING AND PREPARE TO DIE!
"No," Tong answered. "I'm going to take you apart, because I know the truth now. At least I did when I was at the mover being made about Bolin's life."
"THEY MADE A MOVER ABOUT ME?!" Bolin exclaimed. Tong turned to what he could only view as a legend and smiled.
"I promise I'll explain everything once this is done." Bolin's expression was one of awe, an expression than even in the middle of the tension, Opal couldn't help but shake her head at.
Turning back towards the Tormentor, Tong continued.
"No, the truth is you hate Korra. Both of you. That's why you don't want anyone to speak with her. That's why you hate me by proxy."
"This doesn't make any sense!" Opal exclaimed. "Mako and Korra were always good friends, and Asami…"
"On the surface," Tong continued. "Yeah, you know it's true, don't you? That's why you can't attack me."
"And it makes sense. In Mako's case, he always carried that torch. But he could never reveal it. He had to be happy for Korra, not let the jealousy consume him, even as it slowly ate away at him. He could never get over her, because he felt that he was forced to be alone. So he drowned himself in work, and became a bitter shell. Forever alone."
"Then again," Tong continued, walking towards the Tormentor, "Asami would seem to be perfectly happy, right? Her and Korra lived together until the end. Except…she did resent Korra in her mind, in her deepest, darkest thoughts. Resented the fact that they could never be married! Resented that politicians and moral guardians wouldn't let her start a family! Resented that fact that she was almost never there! That when push came to shove, Asami was just as alone as Mako was, and just as broken!"
The being began to back away, as if it couldn't take what it was hearing. Bolin and Opal could only stare at the accusations made by Tong towards this creature, and the picture of deep harbored resentment bubbling below the surface of what seemed to be a happy couple and amicable friends.
"And then," Tong concluded, "You were both killed by someone with Korra's face. The same impostor that was haunting me killed you, and drove you over the edge! White Lotus knew this, and they knew you were vulnerable, fusing you into a spirit that could keep me from ever speaking to Korra, from ever finding the truth! Don't you see?"
See, see what? The creature's voice was almost trembling.
"We're the same. And it's time we all did something together."
Without warning, Tong's eyes turned white, his hands clasping the taller Tormentor's head on each side. The creature could only yell out an inhuman yell.
"It's time," Tong began, "that we all forgave ourselves".
The Tormentor struggled, screaming as light began to pour from it. Tong's hands remained firm the entire time.
"Dr. Ru did something horrible to you, something that no one deserved. I'm going to fix this! I promise!"
Another powerful burst of light emerged from the creature, and for a moment, everyone was blinded. Tong, Opal, Bolin and Iroh all looked at where the Tormentor was and gasped.
Instead of a dark spirit, it was two people on all fours. They appeared extremely weak. A fair skinned man with black hair, and a beautiful woman with raven black hair stood on shaky legs, appearing utterly confused. Luckily for the pair, they were wearing clothes, the man a suit, tie, and trench coat, the woman a jacket with a red skirt and long boots. For a brief moment, Tong was reminded of Kushina, but he quickly brushed that thought aside. He knew who they were.
And apparently so did Bolin, who ran forward to hug the male, screaming "MAKO!" as he did so.
"B…Bo? But…you're dead!"
"Uh…Mako? How do I say this?" The trepidation in Bolin's voice was obvious. Asami meanwhile, was having a similar reaction to Mako, utter confusion.
"Where am I? Why am I wearing my old outfit? Wh…my wrinkles are gone! Opal! What's going on?! And who the hell is that?" she asked, pointing at Tong, who could only reply with an "Uhh…" All the while in the back, Iroh began preparing three additional seats, setting aside cups of tea for each.
Finally letting his brother go, Bolin asked the most obvious question.
"Don't you two remember anything? You don't remember how you…"
Mako stood still for a moment, along with Asami. It was then that both of them said the same name.
Both turned around to see the source of the yell, and found the Earth State man raising his hands, his skin covered in sweat from his actions, and his look one of desperation.
"We were all tricked! We were supposed to believe Korra did this, so we could never speak to the real Korra! You were killed by an impostor! And so was she!"
"Who are you?!" Asami asked, her voice mixed with equal parts confusion and anger.
Breathing deeply, Tong explained. "I'm…the Avatar."
"Korra's the Avatar!" Mako shot back, only for the green shirt wearing Tong to shake his head.
"Was. Korra died 20 years ago. So did, well, so did both of you." Mako's expression was an indication that he didn't believe this for a second.
"Why the hell should I believe you? I can't remember what happened, but that doesn't mean i'm dead!" Bolin tried to put a hand on his brother's shoulders, but he batted it away.
Because he doesn't have a reason to lie. He's me. Sorta.
The new voice caused the group to turn around, and once again gasp. Bolin and Opal had thought they'd seen just about everything today, but this new sight was one that confused them to no end.
Looking the same way she did in her prime, the dark skinned woman stood before the group and smiled. She then went to Asami Sato, and planted a deep kiss on her partner. The kiss, to Asami, was proof that Tong was telling the truth.
"They tried to turn me against you," Asami tearfully whispered. "I'm so sorry…"
"I'm sorry too," Korra stated with a sigh. "I'm sorry I wasn't always there when we were alive. I'm sorry they used us. I'm sorry it took this long for me to see you again."
Mako, however, was nowhere near as happy to see Korra. He walked forward, prepared to unleash decades of long buried animosity and hatred towards the person that he both loved and hated at the same time.
Mako raised his hand to hit her, but couldn't throw the punch. He couldn't hurt Korra. He still cared for her. Instead, he fell to the ground, sobbing.
"Why? Why couldn't I ever get over you?!"
Bolin looked on at Mako, but didn't say anything. He just let Mako sob. Eighty years of pain and anguish were being unleashed by him, the same anger that the Tormentor had taken out on Tong.
Finally, a hand reached out to Mako, which he took.
"Mako, if you really cared about me, then you must have realized that we were never meant to be. I'm sorry, but I don't love you that way anymore, and I never will."
"But why do this to…"
Mako's protests were cut off by Korra hugging the sobbing man/spirit, as she continued. "I still care about you as a friend. I always have. And I never wanted you to be alone because of me. If I could have helped you find someone, I would have. You just needed to ask. Here though, all I can do is say 'I'm sorry.' I never meant for this to happen."
Mako's tears finally ceased as he stood up and attempted to brush the dirt from his coat in a vain attempt to look serious. He instead offered a soft sigh to the group, and smiled.
"Team Avatar, together again. And," he continued, turning towards Tong, "this guy." Tong was all but set to complain about his issues dealing with the Tormentor over the years, but thought better of it. Korra, however, merely turned to Tong, and smiled.
"You shouldn't talk bad about my reincarnation that way," she jokingly warned, before looking on at Tong. He appeared confused, but not upset.
"How much did you know about? Do you know about the impostor?"
Korra offered a nod. Before she could say anything else though, a voice from back at the table interrupted.
"This is a rather…unique reunion. Perhaps it would be best if we all sat down and went over the details. The tea is still hot after all."
The six all nodded, and headed to the table, where Iroh sat, waiting with his tea and the plate of cookies.
"So you could see me."
Sipping his tea with the rest of the legendary Team Avatar, Tong hung on every work the group spoke. After being freed from their confines and convinced that Korra truly was dead along with them, the group moved on from being angry at Korra to getting their own frustrations out over being manipulated by White Lotus. He didn't interject into the conversation between old friends unless asked, thinking it better (and far more polite) to let them reunite without the new guy butting in.
"I could, but I couldn't talk to anyone," Korra admitted. "The…what did you call it? The Tormentor? Whatever it was, it pretty much kept me trapped out of sight. I could see everything but I couldn't talk. The only time I was free was the time you fought that clone. I guess since we were the same physically, I could transfer my memories, and see through her eyes."
"That explains," Tong reasoned, "how I could unlock the Avatar state. But I'm sorry," he continued. "This is surreal. You know how I've thought of you as my enemy? I couldn't even bring myself to get a pet because the Avatars had one."
"Well I'm not her, whatever the hell she is."
"What was being fused together like?" Bolin asked, looking at Asami and Mako. Both appeared uncomfortable with the subject. Mako was quick to explain in the most elaborate way possible.
"Imagine being blind in one eye, deaf in one ear, and hearing nothing but rage and anger in both. Now imagine that you can't move because of the pain and anguish that you keep hearing and seeing, and that you anger was directed at anything close to what you blamed for your situation. All you felt was that anger. Nothing else."
Everyone at the table sat, mouths agape, until Mako offered a slight chuckle. "I've still got it. Guess that's something."
"What I don't get," Asami asked, "is how we can still be here, talking to each other like we're still alive. Not to mention from everything you told me Korra, the past lives of the Avatar weren't just hanging out on their own in the spirit world, they were dormant, resting. And yet here we all are with your what, reincarnation? Does that make him your little brother? Nephew? Son?"
"I hadn't really thought what the relationship is too hard," Korra confessed.
"Still, we're all here when we shouldn't be! What gives?"
Everyone looked at Tong and Korra for an answer, although both appeared flustered by the question.
"I lost the connection to my past lives after Harmonic Convergence, remember?" Korra reminded the group.
"And I haven't been able to communicate with Korra until now!" Tong added. "Do you have any idea how much I want to ask her? How about 'who would want to clone you'? I would have asked right away if I could!"
Sipping the tea in front of him, Iroh answered the question of the group.
"Some spirits are fine without rest, finding peace in activity." He smiled as he said this, clearly referring to himself. Bolin and Opal also offered a smile, since they enjoyed their simpler lives in the spirit world. "When they tire, they will rest. But until then, they are free to enjoy being."
"And what about the rest of us?" Asami asked.
"Some require closure on their past lives before they can rest. Whether they can forgive themselves, or fulfill a promise, a deep held desire. There is something you desire, hence your pain all these years, is there not?"
Asami looked at her tea, with a slight blush forming on her face. "No, that's…that's silly. It's ridiculous."
Everyone looked confused at Asami, everyone except Mako, who just shook his head.
"We were fused together for YEARS, remember? I know what you want to ask her. And it might be the only way I get over myself too. I think we all need you to ask."
Asami nodded at this, and stood up, removing a necklace from a pocket in her jacket. She wasn't sure how it got there, but she knew what she was going to ask. After all, the same situation had played in her mind countless times prior.
"Korra, there's something that I want to do. I…feel like it's going to burst out if I don't do it. But I should have done it decades ago."
"Done what?" Korra asked, standing up from her seat.
"Korra," Asami began, getting on her knees.
"Will you marry me?"
Any confusion on Korra's face was gone. Maybe it was the place they were or the circumstances of how they got there, the fact that they would probably never get another chance at this, or maybe Korra just got sick of waiting. Whatever the reason, Korra did the only thing she could.
She took the necklace and placed it around her neck. Then she kissed Asami.
"Yes, yes I will."
"I feel so left out right now," Tong remarked as the other members of Team Avatar went up to the pair, finally happy that they could formally declare their love without publicists or moral guardians saying otherwise. Mako offered him a pat on the shoulder.
"That's not so bad. At least you know when to move on."
"So what do we do now? Is it done?"
"DONE?!" Asami shouted, her voice practically screaming. "No, I waited DECADES to be able to ask this question without being worried about being taken in the night by White Lotus! We are doing a full ceremony! We're having guests, and cake, and a reception, and dancing, all of it! And we're doing it now!"
Tong could only shake his head at the request, putting his hands up in utter confusion.
Hearing Iroh's voice, Tong turned around, and gasped.
"No, this is not possible. This could not have been here. What's going on? Who's playing a trick on me?" Iroh only offered a laugh at the outright befuddlement of Tong.
"It's said that the Spirit World brings you where you need to be. In this case, these two need this to rest."
'This' was a picturesque scene by a floating river, with an archway, an altar beneath it, and seats filling with spirits. Many looked human. All seemed familiar with the pairing in some way, smiling as they looked on. There was even a place for a band to play music, and a band to do so.
"In their lives, these two touched many people. Many who were affected by their actions on a deep personal level. They were never able to see the two culminate their marriage, and are here to see that chapter close."
"Ok," Tong reasoned. "I'll sit down."
"Actually," Iroh interrupted, "you should be the one doing the ceremony." Even amidst everything, Tong was still confused.
"This doesn't make any sense. I'm not part of their story!"
"Very true," Iroh answered. "But you are the current Avatar, and are the greatest authority here. Therefore, you should be the one doing the ceremony. Korra and Asami's story needs to end before yours can truly begin."
Everyone had gathered in the seats as the rituals were being held. Korra, wearing a dark blue and white suit, was heading towards the aisle, the flower bearer following behind, along with a bald man holding the necklace.
"I am so not qualified for this," was all Tong could say, looking on at the group. "I mean look at me! I'm wearing a T-shirt, looking for revenge against…"
"You were saying?" Iroh smirked. Tong looked down, only to realize he was wearing a formal suit. The same suit he wore when he accepted the Burning Chalice at the Fire Nation. All he could do in response was sigh and clap his hands.
"It's time to give everyone what they want."
Slowly, Tong went out to the stand, standing in front of the altar. He breathed heavily, looking on at all these people. They had all been touched by Korra and Asami in some way. It was completely and utterly humbling to see all the people Korra had affected positively, after only having seen what her doppelgänger had done to people.
And then she came forth.
As a band played a traditional wedding song in the background, Asami walked forward, wearing a traditional white dress that left her shoulders bare, but her face covered by a white veil. Korra appeared speechless. In front of her wasn't an old woman, but a beautiful young woman. She was reminded why she fell in love with her all over again. Well, one part of why at least.
Before Tong could be distracted with the scene in front of him, Iroh gently nudged the man.
"That's your cue."
"Uh, right! Right!" Clearing his throat, he began to read from a book in front of him, while realizing that this wasn't a coincidence. Iroh had set the whole thing up from the get go. He probably had the invitations ready for decades.
"As a matter of fact, I did. I told you, I enjoy helping people. So you should really not keep them waiting."
Tong nodded hurriedly, and then spoke aloud, reading from the book.
"We are gathered here today to join Korra and Asami Sato in the sacred bond of matrimony. If anyone should find a reason that these two should not be wed, let them speak now, or forever hold their peace."
Predictably, no one said anything. From the corner of their eyes, Korra, Asami, and Tong could all see Mako, smiling at the occasion with his eyes closed, appearing perfectly at peace with the decision of his two friends.
Tong's eyes went wide. He saw a brief annotation in the book. Insert small speech here.
"Damn you old man," he muttered, although thankfully no one heard it.
"Many in the past questioned this relationship," Tong began, doing his absolute best to ad-lib a speech. "Many believed it to be a short fling, or something done as a sign of rebellion. Others condemned it immediately as immoral or a slight against them. But no one would dare journey through years and years of heartache and suffering over something that wasn't pure."
So far so good, he thought, looking out at the crowd. They weren't booing him off the stage.
"It's often said that true enlightenment is achieved through suffering. If that's the case, then these two are truly enlightened individuals. The trials and tribulations they must have gone through before and after meeting each other, we can only guess at. And with that wisdom that they earned, with great difficulty, they still choose to be with each other, past any concept of legality or even life. This was a relationship that began slowly, and grew into what you see. And at no point did they abandon each other, did they stop supporting each other even though the temptation to do so must have present thousands, if not millions of times. They had every reason NOT be together, but in the end they chose love. And we are here today to celebrate that pure love."
"Now," Tong continued, thankful that the speech was over, "Korra, do you take Asami Sato to be your partner in all things? Beyond this life, and whatever may come?"
"I do," Korra replied.
"And do you Asami Sato, well…"
"I DO,' Asami stated, almost impatiently, as if she just wanted Tong to get on with the ceremony.
"Then by the power invested in me as well, the Avatar, I pronounce you both married. You may now kiss each other."
With their cue given, both kissed, passionately and forcefully as the crowd stood up and clapped. There was not a single frown in the audience, save Bolin and a few others who were crying with happiness.
And then there was silence. Smiling faces that waved and cheered, slowly vanishing, until only four were left.
Korra, Asami, Mako, and Tong stood by the river, everyone having left, presumably to their homes, or their rest. Asami explained as best she could.
"You need Korra now, Tong. We can have the party later."
"And what about you Mako?" Korra asked.
"I'm happy for both of you," he replied. "For me? I'm going to rest. And maybe, in a while..."
Mako, or his spirit, faded into nothingness, but his voice echoed even as he disappeared.
Maybe in a while, I'll try again. And I'll get it right this time.
Tong could only look at Korra with a sense of trepidation. "I still have so much I need to ask you."
"We'll have plenty of time to talk, but you need to do something first."
"Time," Korra explained, "flows differently in the Spirit World. It's been a week by your time, and well, remember how I said I was connected to those clones?"
An image formed in the river, similar to the one General Old Iron showed to Tong the last time he was here. It was an army marching on Zaofu, led by a gigantic purple mecha.
"My clone is piloting a Colossus knockoff," Korra remarked with notable disdain in her voice.
"How the hell am I supposed to stop that…thing?!" Tong exclaimed. Korra was quick to answer.
"You're the Avatar now. You can stop it. Besides, you have me giving you advice! You can't lose!"
"I think that thing is out of my weight class," Tong lamented, looking on at the gargantuan super robot. Korra however, shook her head at this.
"I'll explain everything to you on the way," Korra assured Tong. "But we should probably get going now."
"Did anyone ever teach you about the Tree of Time?"