A/N: Hi all! So, ummm, I've been reading fanfiction for years now, but this is the first time I've actually attempted to write it. Anyway, I hope you enjoy and please let me know what you think! :)
Disclaimer: Bryke owns all.
Only a Horizon
Kako was three when the thought first crossed her mind.
Does Mother love me?
It had always been apparent that Daddy loved her, but Mother? Mother never tucked Kako into bed at night, or told her stories in funny voices or checked for monsters under the bed or kissed her head and nose before turning the lights off. That was always Daddy. Mother never held her hand and swung her arm as she skipped with her to daycare, bending down to give her a large hug before waving goodbye and going off to work. That was always Daddy. In fact, Kako never really saw Mother in the morning, for by the time Nanny had her seated in the dining room for breakfast, Mother was already gathering up her helmet and goggles and keys and out the door without so much as a backwards glance.
Mother wasn't heartless, though. She bought Kako expensive toys and dressed her up whenever Grandfather visited and offered her treats if she sat still and was polite to company when they came calling. On the rare occasion that she would be in the same room as Kako, she'd pat the little girl's head and smile (albeit stiffly) at her as she sauntered out.
Don't be silly, Kako, the little girl assured herself. Mother loves you. You're just like her.
At least, that's what Daddy says when he thinks she can't hear. Sometimes at night, he'll murmur under his breath that Kako looks just like Mother. This statement bothers Kako because if anything, she looks more like Daddy. She has his nose and dark hair and wiry build, but her pale skin is just a shade darker than either of her parents', and her eyes are neither Daddy's smoldering gold or Mother's mossy green.
They are a bright cerulean blue.
Kako is five when the dreaded thought once more crosses her mind. She, Daddy, Nanny, Grandfather, and Uncle Bo are all crowded into a luxury suite in Republic City's finest hospital. Mother looks exhausted and her long ebony waves are plastered about her face. Despite this, though, she still manages to look devastatingly beautiful, and her best "going out" makeup remains as perfect as when she applied it. In her arms Mother holds a tiny bundle. It is Kako's little brother, Hideki. Grandfather beams proudly at Mother and reaches over to tap Hideki's little nose.
He claps Daddy's shoulder proudly. "He looks just like you Mako!" Daddy grins back at Grandfather, but to Kako, the smile doesn't quite reach his eyes.
"More like Asami, I think," he declares softly, running a finger gently through Hideki's full head of hair.
"He's the perfect mix of the two of us," Mother says, her voice still clear and perfect despite the fact that not even half an hour ago she was screaming her lovely head off. Kako notices that Mother emphasizes the word us. Though she cannot grasp the meaning behind the implication, she can't help but feel stung, even though Mother has not uttered an insult, much less one directed towards her. Daddy shoots Mother a look for a fraction of a second before turning to Kako.
"Oh, sweetheart. You must be tired of staying in this hospital all day." He grins brightly at her before walking over to scoop her up in his arms. "How about you and I take a stroll along the boardwalk and I'll buy you some ice cream?" Kako begins to nod enthusiastically, because honestly, yes, this hospital lost its charm hours ago and no offense, but Hideki is not all that interesting and the boardwalk is only a few minutes away and it's one of her favorite places to go with Daddy.
Before she can reply, Mother cuts in, "Mako, you don't have to go. If Kako wants ice cream, Bolin or Nanny can take her."
"Sure, I'd love to take Kiddo out," Uncle Bo begins, but Daddy shakes his head, his grip on her tightening.
"I want to get some fresh air, too."
"But Mako," Mother implores. "Hideki…"
"…is sleeping." His voice softens slightly, any trace of annoyance with her extinguished. "And you should get some rest, too."
Mother opens her mouth and looks very much like she wants to say something, but instead she nods stiffly. Daddy smiles and walks over to her, adjusting Kako's weight so he can kiss Mother and Hideki on the forehead. As he turns to leave the room, Kako glances back at her new brother once more only to lock eyes with Mother. Mother stares at her for a long time, her expression fixed and unreadable.
Kako is eight and once again, she and Daddy are on the boardwalk. It is a pleasant Sunday morning and the two are making their way towards a private beach for their weekly picnic while Mother is at the race track and Nanny manages Hideki. Like always, Daddy stops to stare long and hard at Air Temple Island across the bay before he begins to unpack their basket. Kako has never been to the island, although the temple's white tower never fails to catch her eye. Councilman Tenzin and his family live on the island, and they were once great friends with Daddy and Uncle Bo, though not anymore. Kako has never met them, though she has seen pictures in the newspaper. She doubts she ever will.
"Something on your mind, sweetheart?" Daddy asks, noticing that she has been quiet for the past few minutes. Kako smiles and shakes her head no, turning her attention instead towards the waves lapping at the shore. Her eyes track the ebb and flow of the tide, the push and the pull. For some inexplicable reason, the sight is intoxicating and makes her blood sing. Daddy's eyes follow her gaze and out of the corner of her eye she notices that his expression sobers. She turns to him inquisitively but he pulls her into a gentle hug. When she pulls away, she notices a tear has rolled down one of his cheeks. She swipes it away with her thumb and Daddy catches her hand in his own, holding it to his cheek. He stares into her eyes for a long time.
Later that week, Kako demonstrates the first signs of waterbending.
Mother is not pleased at all.
Daddy sets out to find her the best teacher Republic City has to offer.
Kako is eleven when she figures it all out. Really, it wasn't much of a surprise. In fact, a small part of her wonders if maybe she knew the whole time and she just couldn't admit it.
Asami is not her mother.
The late Avatar Korra is.
There is a giant portrait of Avatar Korra painted on the side of a building that faces the Pro-Bending Arena. Daddy hasn't played pro-bending in years but Uncle Bo still does. Kako has walked past the painting hundreds of times in her life, stopped to admire it even, but she never put the pieces together until now. Uncle Bo talks of Korra's legacy all the time, of how she changed the world and how he knew her and they had been the best of pals. Daddy has never spoken of her, but Kako watches his face every time someone says Korra's name.
It is the face of a man who has forgotten what sunlight looks like.
It breaks Kako's heart to see her father look like that, to see his eyes widen and to watch the pain spasm briefly over his handsome features before he composes himself. But then, his eyes will sweep the room frantically until they lock with hers, and she never fails to notice how he nearly sags in relief and his eyes twinkle again.
When he looks at her, he sees the sun once more and remembers its warmth.
Kako confronts him and he already knows what she is going to say. He has been watching her put the puzzle together all of her life. They are on the beach again, gazing out at Air Temple Island, the waves lapping gently at their bare feet.
"You should have told me."
"I should have," he nods. "I always meant to. I was going to, when you first started bending, but-"
"I would have understood. I do understand."
"I know you do."
"How…how did she…how did it…?"
He sighs brokenly. "Childbirth." He chuckles softly, mirthlessly. "The irony at the time was astounding. Korra was so headstrong, so passionate, so powerful. She always said that if she were ever to die young, she'd want to go down fighting. And she did, just not in the way either of us expected."
"It must be hard, then. Looking at me. Knowing that I got to live and-"
Mako's voice turns sharp and fierce. "Don't you ever say that. Don't you ever regret what your mother did to bring you here. Because I don't. Agni knows I miss her every day, every moment. But she gave me you, and you are the greatest proof of Korra's love for me and mine for her. I wish all the time that she was here to see you live your life. I know that wherever she is, she is proud of you and she loves you just as fiercely as I do."
Kako's eyes fill with tears, and she swallows hard before speaking. "I love her too. I love you both. I wish you two could have been together."
Mako reaches over to tuck a black lock of his daughter's stray hair behind her ear. "We were together, for a short while," he says wistfully. "The time I shared with your mother is something that takes lifetimes to find and savor. "
"Were you married?"
"Engaged. You were…kind of a surprise, so we planned the wedding for after your arrival. Then…well, I was a mess. I am ashamed to say that for the first few weeks of your life I couldn't bear to look at you. Please forgive me. Bolin and Tenzin and Pema took care of you while I wallowed in grief and swore to every spirit I knew that I would never marry a woman who was not Korra. And I was set on keeping that promise, but you know I married anyway. "
"Why? Not that I have anything against Asami, she's done so much for me, and she gave you Hideki and…"
He holds up a hand to stop her. "Asami has always treated me much better than I deserve. I used to hope that she would wake up one morning and realize that she wasted too much time loving someone who could never feel quite the same way she does. Asami doesn't complete me, but she soothes the pain that still hasn't gone away and she's patient, which baffles me every time because I know if our roles were reversed I would have given up a long time ago. Her unwavering love and hope…I married her because I couldn't stand to watch her heart break every day waiting for a miracle. I still can't decide if that was a smart choice or utterly stupid."
Kako understands. Although Asami has always regarded her with a rather awkward tolerance, it is plain as day that she is desperately in love with Daddy.
"Hideki is just like her," Daddy continues, smiling wistfully, "a quiet soul with a whole lot of heart. Asami was so ecstatic when she first found out about him, and I couldn't help but be happy too, because for once I felt like I wasn't hurting her."
"You're good with Hideki. You love him," Kako reassures her father, sensing the fear behind his words. He smiles at her gratefully.
"I do, but I neglect him sometimes. I forget that he's mine too, because Asami showers him with enough love for the two of us. And it's terrible to admit, but, while I care for the two of them so very much, you're my whole life, sweetheart. The other half of my soul lives inside you."
Kako is fourteen when she visits her mother's grave for the first time on Air Temple Island. It took three years after she found out for Daddy and Tenzin to finally get back on speaking terms. Now here they are, walking up to the edge of the island's tallest cliff, up to Korra's final resting place. Across the bay, the golden towers of the Pro-Bending Arena glisten.
The tombstone is simple and white, and Tenzin leaves Mako and his daughter to give them privacy. Daddy gently lays a bouquet of panda lilies on the grave and stares long and hard at the mound of earth. Kako holds onto his arm the whole time.
"You know, in the Water Tribes, when someone dies, it's a tradition to dress them in their finest, lay them in a canoe, and let the sea carry them on to the Spirit World."
"Why didn't you do that with Mom?"
"She was so enamored with you," Mako's eyes take on a nostalgic look as he reminisces. "Even as she was dying, she couldn't get over how beautiful you were. 'Her eyes are blue,' she kept saying. 'Sorry Mr. Hat Trick, but it looks like you didn't get the firebender you were hoping for.' I told her there was still time, that there were tons of firebenders who could wield cobalt flames."
He is silent for a long time and takes a deep breath before beginning again. "She asked us to bury her out here, within view of the city. She always said she lost her heart in Republic City, and she wanted to be buried where her heart was."
Kako is twenty-three and it is the night before her wedding. She isn't nervous because she knows this love is real and true. She knows this because she expects nothing short of the love she sees between her parents, a love stronger and purer than the limitations of time or death. She fiddles with the blossom in her fingers as she slips away from her family to visit her mother's grave before turning in for the night. Meelo and Hideki have everyone bowing over in laughter, so it's easy to slip out the door unnoticed. She stops on her trek towards the tombstone when she notices a lone figure already there.
It is her father.
She begins to edge away to leave him in peace. Though she can't see his face, Kako knows that he is not sad tonight. She doesn't have to look to know that both he and her mother are celebrating together, doesn't have to look to know that her father is still waiting as patiently as ever for the day he will see the love of his life once again.
Kako turns from the scene, a small smile on her face. A sea breeze lilts through the air and she lets go of the blossom, letting it dance like a leaf in the wind until it lands silently in the sea.
Life is eternal, and love is immortal,
and death is only a horizon;
and a horizon is nothing save the limit of our sight.
Rossiter Worthington Raymond
A/N: If you've made it this far, I applaud you. Episode 4 just gave me so many Makorra feelings I had to write them down! Please review! I want to know if this wasn't a complete suckfest.