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Legend of Korra: In a World Like This

By Canada Cowboy

Other

Chapter 1

You got me wide open, wide open,
Now I'm yours.
You found me heartbroken, heartbroken,
On the floor.

"I somehow don't feel that's the right way to propose your idea, Wu," a fire bender with emotionless and unimpressed gold eyes commented. It was less than a month since the epic battle against the Earth Empire invasion into Republic City, and less than a week since the wedding between Varrick and Zhu Li. Yet Mako was brought right back to work, with the soon-to-be-former King Wu asking him for advice on selling his idea. "Why do you want Badger Moles to showcase why Earth Kingdom states should embrace democracy?" he asked.

"Hey, after all they did to get us out of Republic City and away from Kuvira, you think you can be a bit more grateful!" Wu snapped back, rolling up his diagram before plopping down on his seat across the table from Mako. "Besides, they used to be part of the procession during an Earth Kingdom royal coronation. I would have had them had Ba Sing Se not been raided."

Mako could only shake his head. It was so like Wu to still dream of the grandeurs of monarchy, even when he would be remembered as the final monarch who would put a nail to the monarchy's coffin. "Did you forget why you're doing this in the first place?" Mako asked, sitting straighter on his chair and staring into Wu's eyes, "This is supposed to be a selfless act to allow the people to control their own lives. You can't just march in and start advertising yourself!"

"I know, I know," Wu responded, his entire body deflating. The young monarch plopped onto his chair, running a hand through his thick hair. "I usually feel great being the centre of attention, standing wide open and letting everyone just admire me. But since I'm abolishing the monarchy, it could very well be the last time I take centre stage. I guess I still haven't gotten used to the idea of being a civilian, that's all."

Mako tapped his chin before leaning forward again. "Instead of seeing it as a downgrade in your status, you should think of it as the highest form of service to your people," he proposed, a finger swirling on the desk as he tried to find the right words, "Think back to when you were living with my grandmother in Asami's mansion, and I told you how Korra inspired me to change for the better. What you're doing right now is what Korra does every day for the world."

Wu's eyes lifted from the table and stared back at Mako, who now stepped away from the table and towards the window. They were still at the Four Elements Hotel, which surprisingly was not affected much by the damages caused by the Earth Empire military. The hotel resumed operations shortly after, and guests, including Wu, soon returned. "Take a look at the damages here," Mako pointed out, gesturing at the streets below, "This was the result of that battle Korra led where we took on that giant mecha suit. If you think the city is messed up right now, think of what will happen if Korra and our team failed."

The fire bending bodyguard took a deep breath, recalling the most traumatizing part of the battle for him. "Bolin and I were in the centre of the giant mecha suit, which was powered by spirit vines. Bolin couldn't shut it down, and I knew I had to act before Kuvira uses it to destroy more of the city," Mako explained, closing his eyes and allowing that battle's images to flood back, "I recalled everything I learned from Korra about self-sacrifice and unselfish acts, and that's when I decided I had to use my lightning bending on the vines. I knew it might end with me losing my life, but it was something I had to do to stop the attack."

Mako turned back to Wu, who gazed on in awe. "I heard about this from several people, especially Bolin," Wu stammered, placing a hand on his forehead, "I knew you would be in a dangerous spot, but doing it while knowing you could lose your life? If you didn't make it, there will be a lot of heartbroken people here today."

Mako flashed a grin a Wu, one of the few times he showed emotion before his friend. "I guess I'll find a lot of heartbroken people if I die, but think how many more hearts will be broken if I didn't do that," Mako replied, turning away from the window to face Wu once more, "Korra put herself through much more pain to keep the world safe. She got her bending taken away, had Raava ripped out of her, and was poisoned by a maniac. I can never compare myself to her, but at least I can do my part. Besides, didn't you do your part when you tried to stop the Earth Empire military from taken those refugees? Don't say you did that to date Korra, Wu!"

Wu chuckled, rubbing the back of his head nervously. "Even though I still think Korra is a great girl, I know she's got someone else other than me. Besides, I had to stop the Earth Empire from attacking those people. I know the Badger Moles would listen to my singing if I did it right, so I stalled for time while the made their way to the other side and ambushed those mecha suits!" Wu exclaimed, swinging a fist to emulate the pouncing.

"Well, my cousin Tu did say he was really impressed by your actions that day," Mako complimented Wu, placing a hand on the monarch's shoulder, "I'm really impressed too, given what you were like when I first met you. Instead of being the womanizing playboy who cries 'Wu down' all the time, you really matured into a royal who puts the people first. I'm proud of the way you're handling the Earth Kingdom crisis, and if turning the country into the United Earth States will make things better, then I'm behind you all the way."

"Thanks, Mako. You really are a great friend," Wu replied, placing his hand on Mako's shoulder as well, "I hear Korra say that Kuvira did what she did because of her personal history. Do you think how we live our lives is affected by any of that stuff? And even if it is, do you think we can ever change the way things turn out?"

"What's a better answer to that question than to have two people who successfully changed their lives standing together?" Mako answered confidently, "I didn't choose to be orphaned, and you certainly didn't choose to be weak. But we both took steps to make the best of our situations, and I think we're both better people as a result."

Mako glanced outside the window again. Despite the destruction, he saw the construction crew clear away debris and map the area for potential rebuilds. The spiritual lights from the portal in the middle of the city danced into the air, creating a beautiful and mystical scene. "I think we ultimately live in the world we create for ourselves, either through our own actions or our reactions to other people's actions," Mako stated, "It may be for good or for bad, but if we stay positive and do good to others, then the end result will be good. That's what I think."

Wu stepped up next to the former police officer, gazing into the distance as well. Korra made the best out of the worst situations plenty of times, having to deal with the spirit wilds that people initially found intrusive and air benders that damaged the city due to their lack of control. But if Korra could make the world a better place as a result, then that was the least Wu could do with his people. "And that's why, ready or not, democratization will take place," he insisted.

Mako glanced at Wu with a patient stare. "You can't force people to change, but you can persuade them to embrace it," he pointed out, "Now why don't we go back to the drawing board? I think I have some new ideas for your plans to educate the people about democracy."


Became my salvation, salvation,
Through the war, yeah.
You got me wide open, wide open,
Now I'm sure.

"Thank you so much for volunteering to go back into the Earth Kingdom, Kai. You barely had a break since Kuvira invaded our city, and now you're volunteering for more missions that we're sending you on," Jinora commented, helping Kai pack some items onto the latter's Sky Bison. Despite the fighting finally ceasing, many Earth Kingdom states were still unstable due to lack of leadership, and Tenzin requested the Air Nation to assist in the stabilization process until democratization could take root. "You're really dedicated towards this, aren't you?"

Kai glanced back at the young air bending master with a wide grin. "Your dad did say he wants the Air Nation to help others all through the world, and I'm just doing my part," he responded, taking his girlfriend's hand into his own, "There's still a lot of work to be done, and when we're finished, I promise I'll spend as much time with you as possible."

Jinora blushed, her face flushing scarlet at Kai's comment. Throughout more than three years they knew each other, Jinora could see Kai's changes from the day they first met. That dirty street kid who would steal from his own foster parents had transformed into a selfless, brave, and strong air bender. "You've really come a long way since we first met, Kai," Jinora stated, "I know back then, nobody even wanted you around, and I recall Mako being really harsh on you. But now, seeing you contribute like this, I'm really proud of you."

"Thanks, Jinora," Kai replied, his face heating up while he shyly glanced away from Jinora, "But to be honest, you were a huge part of it. The reason I made so many changes is because of you, so you should give yourself the credit, not me."

Before Jinora could protest, Kai reminded her of what happened in Ba Sing Se. "I was abusing my air bending by stealing from people and getting away from Mako and Bolin. I got taught the lesson of a lifetime when I was captured by the Dai Li to be trained for the Earth Queen's own personal security force," he recalled, the green eyes scanning the horizon. The sun slowly approached the horizon, smothering Air Temple Island in a sheet of orange and yellow. The day's end mirrored the end of Kai's time as a thief, and Kai never looked back since. "You saved me by not giving up on me, and from that day on, I can't be the same person again."

"Well, I'm glad I inspired you, but it's still up to you to change. If you didn't accept the change, then none of my persuading will help," Jinora pointed out. Even though she was an air bender, Jinora did not forget that she also had Southern Water Tribe roots from her grandmother Katara. Given how water benders accepted change, Jinora made sure to incorporate that in her Air Nomad beliefs, hoping to create a more holistic way of looking at the world.

Shaking her head a few times, Jinora continued with a giggle, "Remember how all those new air benders shot my dad down when he asked them to join us?" The sight of Tenzin using the lamest tactics to recruit air benders still struck up laughter among their group, much to the old master's chagrin. "You joined us, learned our culture, and now you're part of our Air Nation's missions. And did I mention you're one of the stronger benders in the Air Nation? I won't be surprised if you're the first one in the group to earn your tattoos."

"Do you really think so? Thanks, Jinora!" Kai responded, shyly turning his face away from Jinora again. There was no doubt Kai's salvation through his roughest years was Jinora, and she kept him wide open and honest throughout his training. He was sure there would never be another person who could inspire him as much as she did. No matter where his life or his missions took him, Kai knew a part of him would always be with Jinora.

"But to an extent, I should be thanking you as well, Kai," Jinora added. That snapped Kai back to attention, whipping his head around and staring at the female air bender in awe. "If it wasn't for you, I wouldn't have these arrows on my hands and head right now."

Kai's mouth opened and closed several times, but no words came out of it. That got Jinora to emit some giggles before she returned to her serious self. "It was at the Northern Air Temple, right around the time we went to see those baby bison. You were the one who first thought I deserve these tattoos, and you wondered why my dad refused to give them to me," Jinora explained, "Before then, I never even thought about bringing that up in front of him. But once I was asked to lead the class after Uncle Bumi quit, that was when I had to say it."

"Yeah, and I still remember the big argument that occurred after you did," Kai muttered, rubbing the back of his head. After Tenzin promptly refused, Jinora stormed off and chose not to participate in the air bending lessons. It left an awkward situation where the two most talented air benders would not even speak to each other, all the while subjecting the new air benders to Meelo, who was surprisingly militaristic in his approach. "I'm really sorry it caused an argument between you and your dad, although I can't say I'm against the idea. After what you did to save Korra from the Red Lotus, I think you absolutely deserve those arrows."

Jinora smiled again. "I think it's funny how we got here, with our different backgrounds and all," she described, moistening her lips as she collected her thoughts, "I spent my whole life studying Air Nomads, training in air bending not long after I could walk and talk, and then I had to train all the new recruits, of which you were one. You didn't learn the techniques for as long as me, but to see you help me create that tornado against Zaheer, and also going around the Earth Kingdom helping so many people, I think you've come a really long way."

Jinora placed her arms around Kai's shoulders, clasping her hands behind his neck and leaned her face towards him. Kai responded by wrapping his hands around her hips and behind her back. "You used your skills for good, unlike Zaheer, who used his skills for evil. You really are a good person, Kai, and I'm so happy to have met you. You turned what could have been a terrible event into something great, and I think your life will only keep going well if you keep being that positive." With that, Jinora leaned her body into Kai, placing them in a tight embrace.

"And I'm happy to have met you too, Jinora," Kai replied, his eyes now closed while enjoying their embrace, "I guess you can say we both inspired each other, which is similar to how your grandparents inspired each other. I know the stories of how Aang taught Katara to let go of her fear and free herself, while Katara kept Aang grounded and focused on his goals if he ever got distracted or sidetracked. They ended up just fine, so why can't we?"

Jinora lifted her head off of Kai's shoulder, her brown eyes staring longingly into his green ones. "I have no doubt we'll be just fine. And when you come back from your latest set of missions, we'll get a chance to prove it." With that, the couple leaned in for a kiss. Even though it might be months before they could enjoy each other's company, they knew their mutual bond was strong enough to withstand any challenge thrown their way.

In a world like this, where some back down,
I, I know we're going to make it.
In a time like this, where love comes around,
I, I know we're going to take it.

In a world like this, where people fall apart,
In a time like this, where nothing comes from the heart,
In a world like this, I got you.


And now I'm freefalling, freefalling,
In your eyes.
You got me still calling, still calling,
No surprise.

On another Sky Bison flying over the vast Earth Kingdom lands, another air bender and her loved one were headed in a different direction. After the Earth Empire invasion of Republic City, Opal decided to take some time away from the Air Nation to head back to Zaofu. Kuvira's actions caused the Metal Clan's reputation to take a beating in the world, and she wanted to be with her family to do what she could to repair the damages. "I'm just glad you're coming along too. We could really use your help in our rebuild," Opal stated to her companion.

Said companion was Bolin, former pro-bender, mover star, and Earth Empire loyalist. Like most Earth Kingdom citizens, Bolin was convinced that Kuvira and the Earth Empire was the solution to the Earth Kingdom's problems. He saw firsthand the damages caused by the Earth Queen with the Dai Li's corruption and the kidnapping of new air benders, and vowed to change all that by joining Kuvira. "Since my contribution to the Earth Empire caused all these problems, plus put a strain on our relationship, it's the least I can do," he murmured.

Opal kept her left hand on Juicy's reins while reaching to Bolin with her right. "You don't have to keep feeling guilty about it, you know. I already forgave you when you helped save my family and defended Republic City," she reminded Bolin, who was still concerned at how he would be treated. After all, he was a member of Kuvira's inner circle, so why would the world be so quick to forgive him? Could Opal help him out in regaining everyone's trust?

"You know, your mom was really harsh on Kuvira after she surrendered, but she was the exact opposite with your brother," Bolin pointed out, his eyes now scanning the horizon rather than facing his air bending girlfriend, "I'm not even related to the Metal Clan, with my one and only connection to it being you. What if they decide to accept Raiko's idea and turn everyone over for a mass trial or something like that?"

Opal looked on glumly. While her parents treated Bolin well after he defected from the Earth Empire, even accepting him again after he fought alongside everyone in the final battle, there was no telling what the United Republic president wanted from former Earth Empire loyalists. If Raiko insisted on apprehending all former high-ranking Earth Empire loyalists for a mass trial, then it meant Bolin, Varrick, Zhu Li, and Baatar Jr. would all be taken prisoner. In order to be as neutral and unbiased as possible, Suyin would have to fight with one hand tied behind her back, given the close ties she had with all these people. Why was it that even when things were going okay, there were still so many uncertainties?

Shaking her head a few times, Opal reaffirmed her commitment to Bolin. "If you fall, then I'm falling with you," she insisted, keeping a tight grip on Bolin's hand, "You, Varrick, and Zhu Li left the Earth Empire the second you knew something was up. Varrick also refused to build that weapon of mass destruction while Zhu Li tried to sabotage it. And that doesn't even include how you guys defended the city from Kuvira, so in the end you did what was right. If Raiko will prosecute you for that, then I'll be vouching for you the entire way if I have to."

Bolin's eyes grew wide, whipping his head towards Opal, who had a determined look plastered onto her face. "Won't that get you in trouble with Tenzin and the Air Nation? I mean, Tenzin seems pretty intent on defending Republic City, to the point where he's willing to work with Raiko on this. You already got in trouble with Jinora before on being too aggressive when Korra first took on Kuvira," Bolin reminded the Bei Fong teen.

Opal nodded. She remembered how scared she was when Kuvira captured Suyin and Opal's youngest brothers Wei and Wing. She wanted to do anything she could to free her family, only to have Jinora chide her for breaching her Air Nomad oath of non-aggression. Even so, it did not stop Opal from teaming up with her aunt Lin in invading Kuvira's factory, where Suyin and the others were kept prisoner. "Jinora and I may have our disagreements, but I still respect her as an air bending master. There's a reason why she has those tattoos," Opal stated, "But still, Jinora can't deny that I'm a Bei Fong. I have to follow Air Nomad traditions, but it doesn't mean I abandon my family. I don't think these things are mutually exclusive, so I doubt Jinora or Tenzin will have a problem with me defending you."

Juicy took a left turn, flying away from the plains and into a mountain range, where Zaofu was located in a valley at the innermost parts of these hills. "Don't forget that there are other air benders who have been aggressive but are still celebrated as heroes by the Air Nation," Opal continued, "The Air Nomad Avatar before Aang, Avatar Yang Chen was known to have done whatever it took to keep peace in the world. There were no wars occurring for at least a generation after her death, which is pretty impressive, if you ask me."

"Right, but there's just a tiny problem," Bolin replied, his dramatic facial expressions appearing again due to his hesitance, "I believe Yang Chen said she can't accept Air Nomad ideas of pacifism because as the Avatar, she can't be disconnected to the world. Last time I checked, Korra is the Avatar, not you. So doesn't that make a difference?"

"To an extent, yes, but not quite," Opal described, "I don't have to keep connections with the world the way an Avatar does, but I do have to keep connections with my family. I wasn't raised the way an Air Nomad was raised before the Hundred Year War, where boys and girls were separated and monks and nuns taught them communally. I was raised in Zaofu by two fantastic parents and growing up with four great brothers. I can't just disconnect myself from them all because of the non-aggression oath, so just like Yang Chen I am always bound by that."

Bolin still seemed confused, which prompted Opal to pull him closer to her. Placing her reins down, Opal wrapped her right arm around Bolin's shoulder and held Bolin's left elbow with her left hand. "I didn't join the Air Nation without thinking these things through first, so I don't have any contradictions between my duty as an air bender and my connection with Zaofu," she added, leaning her head closer to Bolin's, "Besides, I only got to experience being an air bender because of you. If you didn't come to Zaofu and asked me to train in the Northern Air Temple, I would still be doing things my mom's way, which is under the metal domes and not seeing the world. You inspired me a lot too, Bolin, and that's why I'm with you to the end."

"Do you mean that? Aw, thanks, Opal!" With that, Bolin leaned in and kissed her forehead. He kept an arm around Opal even when the air bender turned her attention back to the reins. Zaofu was just ahead, and she was intent on making it in by nightfall. "I'm so glad we both made the right choice. Let's hope the rest of our lives will be filled with nothing but positives."

"I hope so too, Bolin. I hope so too," Opal murmured. The paths they were on might be filled with obstacles and challenges, but with each other there was nothing they could not do. They hoped to be with each other, supporting and encouraging each other along the way. Even if it meant addressing supposed contradictions in their beliefs, they were more than ready for them.


I never knew I could love until the,
End of time, yeah.
And now I'm freefalling, freefalling,
By your side.

Meanwhile, within Zaofu, two Bei Fong sisters were waiting for Opal's Ski Bison to arrive. Lin and Suyin were in the city's central meeting room, along with the latter's husband Baatar Sr. Raiko was kind enough to let Republic City's chief of police take some time off to be with her family, even as Lin insisted that she should stay to help Republic City's rebuild. "She should be coming in soon, I'm sure of it," the chief insisted, pacing the room anxiously.

"You should really relax, Lin," Suyin suggested from the couch on the side of the room. The sisters never had an easy relationship due to their upbringing, but recently reconciled after thirty years of bad feelings. But when the Earth Empire was created as a result of a splinter within Zaofu, the sisters did not hesitate in cooperating to take out the threat. "Opal is part of the Air Nation that defended Republic City, not to mention joining with you to rescue my husband and children. As her mother, I think she's capable of handling herself out there."

Lin paused, turning to Suyin while showing her perpetual frown. Even so, Lin could not stay angry at her younger sibling for long. "You raised her well, I'll give you that," the elder sibling commented, "And Tenzin trained her well too, given how powerful Opal's air bending is. Mix that with some of your dance moves, and I think Opal can be an unstoppable force."

Suyin smiled. "And I guess when Opal gets her tattoos, we should give you a big thank you," she responded, "After all, if you didn't convince Opal to come confront Baatar and me, we would be asking her to stay in Zaofu and train with Korra. Now she's out there doing all these amazing things, all because of her conversation with you. She really grew close to you, Lin."

"Yeah, and it almost didn't work out. I still remember how harsh I was on Opal when I first met. That was when I was a different person, I guess," Lin retorted, her harsh tone masking uncertainty and gentleness. Rubbing the back of her neck, Lin turned back to Opal's parents, two loving individuals who gave their world to their children, biological or adopted. "At least Opal doesn't hate me the way we hated each other when we were her age, right?"

"That's a long time ago, Lin. There's no need to dwell on the past like that," Suyin chided the police chief. Picking up her teacup from the table, Suyin took a sip before adding, "Mom and I worked things out, you and I worked things out, and now you're trying to work things out with Mom. If our dysfunctional family can work things out, it'll be fine."

"Uh, yeah," Lin muttered, massaging her temples for the next proposal. Being around the political authority in Republic City made Lin privy to a lot of information that outsiders would not have access to, and one such tidbit involved the aftermath of the Earth Empire's invasion. "So our family name's reputation took a beating after your protégé went on that rampage, and there are talks about doing a trial for her. I know you wanted Kuvira to answer to everything she did, but do you plan on getting involved in the trial at all?"

Suyin bit her lower lip. While she meant every word when she wanted to see Kuvira punished, it also put her in a dilemma. Her own son was part of the Earth Empire's plans, so would punishing Kuvira mean putting Baatar Jr. in jail? And even if she wanted to believe it, was there even a way to separate what Kuvira did with what Baatar Jr. did? "I would be lying if I said I didn't lose sleep over it," Suyin described, her hand involuntarily tightening around her teacup, "My eldest son and my protégé who I treated like a daughter destroying everything and imprisoning people indiscriminately is something I can't accept. But if President Raiko will ask me to get involved, the least I can do is help clean up a mess I indirectly caused."

"Don't be so harsh on yourself, dear," Baatar Sr. stated, placing an arm around his wife's shoulder, "If this is anyone's fault, it's mine. Maybe Junior had a point when he said he was always in my shadow. I was the architect and he was the engineer, meaning he executed all my plans. If I noticed earlier that he wanted more creative control over the designs, I would have let him have more say. Maybe that would make him not go astray, and Kuvira would not have all that power. I share as much blame in this as you do, you know."

Lin cleared her throat loudly to dissipate some of the awkwardness now smothering the room. While she had a duty to the United Republic as an upholder of the law, Lin also felt sorry for Baatar Sr. and Suyin for being forever as the parents of a dictator. "How have you been doing with them? Have you talked to Baatar Jr. at all, maybe try to bring him back into the family? And what will you do with Kuvira?" Lin queried, her green eyes pooling with concern.

Suyin nearly dropped her teacup on the ground at Lin's question. Suyin and Baatar Sr. had spent much more time on their son, going out of their way to make his return to Zaofu comfortable. But Suyin still had not visited Kuvira, nor did she inquire where her former captain of the guard was kept at. Was Suyin guilty of a double standard regarding these two, even though she raised them both? "It's kind of complicated right now," she replied, rubbing her forehead.

Lin knelt down before Suyin and held one of her hands. "For everyone's sake, I hope you make the right choice. After what we went through when we were kids, the last thing we want is for the same to happen to our next generation," Lin stated. Because Toph was controlled by her parents, she allowed Lin and Suyin maximum freedom and did not care what they chose to do. Things came to a boil when Suyin joined the triads and Lin had to arrest her own sister. Toph covered it up by ripping up Lin's arrest report and banishing Suyin from Republic City, but it only led to the thirty-year rift among them. "Both Junior and Kuvira are part of Zaofu and your family, and you have to deal with it the best you can. I promise I'll support whatever decision you make, even if it contradicts my role as a police chief," Lin reassured Suyin.

"And so will I, dear," Baatar Sr. added, rubbing Suyin's shoulder, "When Junior came into Zaofu with his army, he demanded that Huan and I bow down to him and Kuvira. Instead of bowing, I told him in front of everyone how disappointed I was in him. I never saw him as a ruthless dictator, but my son who went astray because I failed to teach him properly. I'd do anything to mend fences with him, regardless of what anyone feels about this situation."

"Well, would your anything include climbing somewhere high with no protective gear?" Lin snickered, just in time to see Baatar Sr.'s face go pale. Zaofu's founder and greatest architect was acrophobic, something Lin witnessed when she rescued the family from Kuvira. They were kept in a wooden cage suspended in a cavern, and Baatar Sr. was scared out of his mind when Lin swung him to safety on a metal cable. "We still have some time to figure it out. And if Bolin and Opal are staying in Zaofu, then you can get everyone involved. If Lord Zuko can restore the Fire Nation's name after a war lasting a century, then I'm sure Zaofu can do the same."

Suyin lifted her head and smiled. "Thank you both for being so supportive," she stated with gratitude, "I know Lin and I didn't start life on the right path, and I made some mistakes when my own children also went on the wrong path. But we're still living in this world that we created, and if we get this right, this world will become positive again."

In a world like this, where some back down,
I, I know we're going to make it.
In a time like this, where love comes around,
I, I know we're going to take it.

In a world like this, where people fall apart,
In a time like this, where nothing comes from the heart,
In a world like this, I got you.


You got me wide open, wide open, yeah.
And now I'm freefalling, freefalling…

Nightfall finally descended upon Republic City, with Air Temple Island now lit up against the dark skies. Air Temple Island was one of the few places that ended up unscathed after the Earth Empire attacks, even serving as a temporary headquarters for the president when the entire city was evacuated. Now that the city's rebuild began, Air Temple Island returned to its original purpose of being the hub for Air Nation individuals as well as home of Tenzin's family.

And on the air bending master, he was having dinner with his family, namely his wife, four children, and older brother. After what was another exhausting day of coordinating the city's rebuild along with going over his Air Nation's assignments in the former Earth Kingdom, Tenzin was just happy to enjoy the evening with his loved ones. "I think tonight, we have to give thanks for everything we still have, despite all the challenging times we've been through," he stated for the dinner grace, "Here's to the undying support from all our friends and family."

"Well said, Tenzin," Pema, Tenzin's wife, declared in agreement. As she passed a bowl of vegetables around, she asked her children, "Have you been helping out your father with any of his tasks? There's a lot of work to be done by the Air Nation for the world."

"I know I've been helping out with planning, especially for where the air benders should go in the Earth Kingdom for peacekeeping," Jinora stated, "A few even offered to get back into action early, even though the majority of the air benders won't head out until next week."

"And let me guess, is one of those volunteers Kai?" Ikki interjected, leaning her overly cheerful face dangerously close to her older sister. That got Jinora all flustered up, red tints lining her cheeks while her head dipped lower as to avoid eye contact. "I know he drives you crazy because you like him. Did you make him a gift before he left?"

"Ikki, calm down please. There's no need to pick on Jinora like that," Tenzin chided his younger daughter, giving her a stern look. That got Ikki back into her seat before Tenzin turned to Jinora. "I know you adore Kai, and I did say I will accept your relationships, but you have to keep this separate from our missions. I know you're a responsible girl, but you have to know when to ease up on fraternizing with air benders when they are on their missions."

"Don't worry, Dad. I know when to keep a distance, unlike a certain little sister I have," Jinora responded, scowling at Ikki, "Seriously, you have got to learn what personal space means. Meditation isn't exactly easy with you trying to talk to me at a mile a minute."

"Hey, I'm not like that all the time. Remember when we had to find Korra in that scary swamp? I was the one who located the swamp in the first place, so I deserve some credit here," Ikki pouted, crossing her arms and narrowing her eyes at Jinora.

"Nobody said you don't deserve credit, Ikki," Tenzin responded gently but firmly, "When you brought Korra back, I was thrilled that you succeeded, and I think all three of you did a fabulous job. I was proud of all of you, and that includes you, Ikki."

Ikki kept the sulk on before mellowing out seconds later. It only got Tenzin and Pema sighing, realizing the girls were old enough to develop a rivalry with each other. While Jinora was the recognized air bending master with the tattoos, Ikki definitely made up for any shortcomings with her quick thinking. "I really wonder what will happen if Ikki gets her tattoos," Tenzin murmured to Pema, "Things will only get rowdier from then on."

"And what about me?" Meelo cut in, causing everyone's eyes to tilt his way, "When I get my tattoos, I want to lead an Air Nation army battalion. With Uncle Bumi around, it's going to be two military leaders taking on the rest of the world!" Meelo concluded with a dramatic pose.

Jinora could only palm her face at her brother's comment. "How many times do I have to tell you, Meelo? Air Nomads don't have armies," she muttered, giving him an exasperated look. Knowing how bossy Meelo could get in his militaristic mode, Jinora had to stop this right now.

"And does being a military commander mean you can fart inappropriately and throw good food down a river?" Ikki added, her frown returning to her face once more, "I heard your hunting expedition went pretty well, since you managed to identify which berries are poison."

Before Meelo could protest, Pema took the time to lecture her son. "I was really hurt when I found out you threw my food down the river," she scolded Meelo, albeit in a gentle tone, "If Ikki didn't run into those Earth Empire soldiers and got the food back, I don't know what will happen to you. Not only were you wrong to waste food, you also put yourself in unnecessary danger. You could have poisoned yourself or your sisters, you know."

Meelo fumed, stabbing the food on his plate in frustration. "How can I run my own battalion when none of my team trusts me? Don't tell me Poki is my only good soldier!" he spat.

"Aw, don't be upset, sport!" Bumi reassured Meelo, reaching across the table and holding onto his nephew's hand, "You'll realize that the military is like life. You don't get to choose who you go to battle with, and you'll have to work out your differences however you can. If you can build that trust and respect with your comrades, then there won't be problems at all."

"Much as I think your uncle Bumi caused trouble for me when I was training the new air benders at the Northern Air Temple, I think he has a point," Tenzin agreed, nodding at his older brother, "I lost my patience several times when things didn't work out, first with Korra and later on with Jinora and Bumi. It took me a while before I brought myself back to the goal at the time, which was to transfer my knowledge of the endangered skills of air bending to others. I think if we work together towards a common goal, then no matter what disagreements we have, we will still get the job done. It worked out for me, and I'm sure it'll work for all of us."

"And we all know what our common goal is right now, don't we?" Pema added, scooping some food onto the plate of Rohan, her youngest child, "Korra still has to keep balance in the world, but we can help her by doing our part to help those in need. It won't be easy, but that's why we have to work as a team. You three kids did a good job with rescuing Korra, putting aside your differences and getting her back safely. Now you have to do it again, okay?"

The three younger air benders glanced at each other before solemnly nodding. Even Bumi understood the gravity of the situation, opting to stay silent rather than retort sarcastically. In the midst of some peace and quiet, Tenzin offered one last piece of advice. "Remember that we can always change how we create and maintain our world. I believe our actions can influence a lot of different outcomes, and whether something is positive or negative depends on our outlook to both the events that occurred and the assumptions we make of the world," he explained in a crisp and clear tone that brimmed with confidence, "I think if we keep up our efforts, the world we create will ultimately be positive, no matter how many differences there may be between us."

That brought a smile to everyone's faces. Ikki and Meelo were no longer frowning at each other, while Jinora's face seemed more upbeat as well. It was great to know that even in these challenging times, there was still a ray of light in the darkness. Just like all the times they helped Korra fight off darkness, the air bender children, including Rohan, who had yet to show air bending skills, knew that there would be a role for them. And as long as they stayed true to their culture and focused on their goals, nothing could stop them in their efforts.


In a world like, in a world like…I got you!
In a world like this.

At the spirit portal in the middle of Republic City, two female figures emerged from the bright yellow pillar of light. The two young women, one clad in Southern Water Tribe gear while the other had on a long dark jacket, held hands as they returned to the city that they called home. "It was one of the strangest but most enjoyable vacations I've ever been on," the one clad in dark clothes, identified as engineer and industrialist Asami Sato, stated to her companion.

"Yeah, and it sure beats the first time I was there. I was shrunk to the size of a four-year-old while trying to find Jinora," Asami's companion, Avatar Korra herself, responded. A strong friendship between two strong females turned into an unexpected romance when both Korra and Asami became more attracted to each other. "I'm just so glad you can share this vacation with me, Asami. You can't believe how much this means to me."

Asami linked her fingers around Korra's as they stepped off the elevated branches and into the crater surrounding the portal. "You can't believe how much this means to me," Asami responded, "After all the struggles I've seen you go through, it's great to see you back at your peak state again. My only regret is that I couldn't support you as much as I should have."

"Don't worry, Asami. You did all that you can, and if anything I should have apologized for being gone all those years. I thought I was being strong by handling it all on my own, but really it's through my family and friends that I managed to get through it," Korra explained, trying not to choke on her emotions. The Avatar could feel tears coming to her eyes, saddened by the sequence of events she went through since she moved to Republic City. Her life was put in danger so many times, and each time her loved ones nearly lost her. While Korra understood her suffering was part of her learning process, she could not fathom the suffering her loved ones went through to see her go through this torture. "I don't want to lose any of you, and I know how sad you'll be if you end up losing me," Korra mumbled, wiping her eyes with her free hand.

"Don't cry, Korra," Asami soothed her friend-turned-soulmate, reaching over and pulling Korra into a hug, "I know we'll all be sad if you go, but that's also why we'll always be by your side. True friends will know that it's important to support each other no matter what, so if you'll ever find yourself in danger, Team Avatar and I will always be there to help you out."

"Thank you so much, Asami. I don't know what I'd do without so many good friends," Korra stated, slowly wrapping her arms around the engineer, "I guess it's pathetic to see this all-powerful Avatar being reduced to tears, huh?"

"I don't agree with that. Do you remember all those stories Tenzin told about his father, Avatar Aang? When he started his Avatar journey, he was younger than you, and the White Lotus wasn't there to guide and train him," Asami recalled, letting go of Korra and staring into her blue eyes once more, "And when things went tough for Aang, didn't he rely on his friends to help him? You were raised in the South Pole with Master Katara being one of your teachers. Don't tell me she didn't tell you what she did to help her husband end the war."

Korra nodded. She knew that Aang was even younger than her when he defeated Fire Lord Ozai. She was also aware that Aang lost his life for a few minutes when the Fire Nation Princess Azula shot him through with lightning, and it was Katara's spirit water that brought him back. "Aang couldn't have done all that stuff without his friends, and in turn his friends all stayed true to him," Asami added, "We're all staying true to you as well, so don't think you're alone in all this. We will help you through any trouble you encounter."

"You know, Iroh said something similar to me when I was first in the Spirit World," Korra described, stepping off the vines and through the crater. Asami slowly followed, making her way through the vines and back into the city. "He told me the best way to solve my own problems is to help someone else with their problems. I guess by helping the world so many times, I end up finding solutions to my own problems. If I didn't understand suffering, I wouldn't have understood Kuvira's actions, and I couldn't have asked her to surrender."

Asami glanced away when Korra mentioned the former Earth Empire's leader. "I don't know if I'm ready to forgive Kuvira yet," Asami muttered, rubbing her wrists nervously, "I lost my mother when I was young, and my father was an Equalist without me knowing it. For the longest time, I couldn't find it in myself to forgive him. Yet right after I forgave him, we took on that giant mecha suit, and Kuvira just squished him like a bug. How can she just take him from me when I've tried so hard to overcome my bad feelings of him?" Asami concluded, feeling tears moisten the sides of her eyes while holding back a few sobs.

"Asami, don't do that," Korra soothed, reaching across and holding the industrialist's hands, "You don't have to put yourself through that pain again. I'll be here to support you, and so will Mako, Bolin, and everyone else. Besides, I don't think everything has to be forgiven on the spot, and if you're not ready to forgive Kuvira then I don't think anyone should force you to. The most important thing is to move on from these events the best you can."

Korra turned her body to face Asami directly, holding each of Asami's hands in her own. "It took me three years just to get over the mercury poisoning, and part of that is because I just can't get it out of my mind, even though that battle was over already," Korra continued, "It's like what I told Kuvira in the Spirit World after I rescued her. Our life events can shape how we live our lives, and whether we react positively or negatively will depend on our perception of these experiences. If we choose to stay positive and not let these things affect our mindset, then I think our lives will stay positive. You supported me through my ordeal with the Red Lotus, and now it's my turn to support you with overcoming the emotions of Hiroshi's death."

Asami stayed silent, but nonetheless mulled Korra's words over. Like Korra, it took Asami years before she came to terms with the tragedy that struck her. Seeing Korra being poisoned for the safety of the world truly touched Asami, and now Korra was willing to give Asami all the time she required to come to terms with the death of her father. Asami wasn't sure what the results of this would be, but knowing how Korra made it through for them all, the least Asami could do was to make it through for Korra. "Thank you so much, Korra," Asami stated, rubbing her eye while managing a weak smile, "I don't know what I'd do without you."

"That's good to hear, Asami," Korra agreed. Turning their focus back on the trek, the two young ladies held hands and marched back into civilization. There was still the issue of their new relationship to worry about, as Republic City never had two of its most important people come out as bisexual. That was a challenge for another day, but Korra believed that as long as she and Asami stayed positive and took on every challenge with optimism and hope, nothing in the world could bring them and their spirits down.

In a world like this, where some back down,
I, I know we're going to make it.
In a time like this, where love comes around,
I, I know we're going to take it.

In a world like this, where people fall apart,
In a time like this, where nothing comes from the heart,
In a world like this, I got you.

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