A/N:I'm assuming I should explain myself first. This is a series of short fics set in an Alternate Universe where Korra is a non-bender and an equalist, apprenticed to Amon. More of her background in this universe will be revealed as this series goes on, but several will be explored in additional future fics that don't fall under this specific theme (Daily Lessons) and will therefore be published on their own. This can be viewed as Amorra, but with more emphasis on Amon and Korra's dynamics besides 'romance' or outright smut. It'll make sense if you just read it.
Also keep in mind that this Korra is still 'connected' to the normal-world Korra in some way. It's hinted at here, and will be explored further in the future.
I've posted these on my tumblr (cait-win), so if you see it floating around there, don't freak out. I'm both ellfie and cait-win.
theme: Various lessons Korra learns from Amon.
A punch to the gut sent her sprawling backwards, the air forced out her lungs. Korra tried to rebound back to her feet, but the force of his attack proved too much and she rolled to the ground, huffing.
"That's not good enough, Korra," Amon said, shaking his head, and even making those annoying tsk tsk sounds. She swore he did that just to piss her off, and so he was rewarded with a deep scowl as she pushed herself back to her feet. Her body ached from every jab, punch, and kick he had landed, and yet he seemed to be perfectly fine despite the fact she was sure she had landed several blows of her own.
"I thought it was fine!" Korra bit back, rolling her shoulders and falling back into position; feet spread, body angled away, arms out with elbows bent. He heaved a sigh, a tad overdramatic and shook his head again.
"No, no, and no." Amon approached her while her frowned deepened and ears began burning at the criticism.
"What!" She shouted, falling out of her stance in frustration. All he seemed to do was tell her how she was doing everything wrong, how she was never good enough, how her jabs weren't precise enough and her kicks held far too much force and she let her emotions drive her - and it was beginning to get really annoying. Amon gestured sharply to her torso and she could feel his glare even if she couldn't see it behind his mask. She had learned to interpret this motion as a sign to regain her fighting stance, which she did, but he only made that tsk tsk sound again, standing less than an arms reach away now. Her scowl deepened.
"Your stance is strong, but too much so. Perhaps useful for earthbenders, but not for moving quickly." To demonstrate, a kick was suddenly sent towards her side and Korra struggled to leap away from it gracefully. While she avoided the brunt of the attack, his foot still caught her and she stumbled sideways, shouting and indignant hey! But he simply motioned at her again to regain her stance. He moved in front of her once more, arms folded behind his back in his usual, easy confident poise. This time he fixed her feet, knocking her outside heel with his foot to move it inwards. She wobbled for a moment, but quickly fixed it, her face falling into a stern set of determination. Amon nodded approvingly, and she could help but feel a small burn of pride.
"The key to our style is quick, efficient movements. You have to be ready to move." Amon paused, then put his hands on both her arms and pushed them down, closer to her sides. "You're not a turtleduck, so don't act like one." Korra gave an indignant huff and opened her mouth to retort, but he was already fixing her elbows. His hands touching her bare skin, adjusting her like some overgrown doll or an artist picking at his work, forced her to focus her eyes ahead of her at the far off wall. They were in a training room, what could be considered his personal one, but it had enough space to move freely in without too much trouble.
This was a regular thing for them. Constant, daily, (sometimes several times a day) training sessions with Amon. And that was on top of the daily sessions with the rest of the equalists. But a while back, Amon had picked her out especially to further train. She had become his protege, in a sense, even though she still had no clue why. Though Korra could assume it was because she kicked everyone else's ass and had shown some form of potential for further, intensive, one-on-one training.
She wasn't going to argue. This was an honor. And even if she did actually care about such things, it was still a chance to improve and vary her abilities, to further her reputation and rank. No one would bother her. No one would insult her or look down on her. She'd climb through the ranks through blood, sweat, and tears on her own terms, and finally - finally, someone had acknowledged her potential. Korra had looked up to Amon for his easy, unfailing confidence, level-headedness, charisma, and power. Who wouldn't look up to him? He knew what he was doing, how to do it, and how to convince others to do so as well. The control he had over people was amazing, enviable even. Korra didn't really desire to control people, but she could appreciate the ease in which he did it with. And she had never seen him extort it, either. His followers trusted him, loved him even. They were all a family, even going to the extent of calling one another brother and sister (though that always felt fairly forced to Korra). He had a hold over them, yes, but they knew it, and didn't mind it. So to be hand-picked and hand-trained by Amon was quite simply, a big deal.
And a big pain in the ass.
"Will you quit staring at me like some sculpture and get on with it already?" Korra growled, eyes flickering back to her teacher.
"Look at you, taking charge," Amon drawled in what would've sounded completely condescending to anyone else, but Korra recognized the edge of pride in his voice, as well as his attempts to further push her. He knew she had a fiery temper and couldn't stand for being talked down to, no matter her age, and he constantly used that against her. He had told her before that she needed to learn to not be so caught up in what people said to her, especially in a fight, and had made it clear he was going to use that tactic until she became immune to it. He sauntered away from her to take his own position a few strides in front of her.
"Shut your trap!" Korra snapped and ran at him. He was already impervious to her insults, only finding amusement in her hot-headed retorts, because he knew she respected him. And if it ever seemed like she didn't, punishment was imminent. Korra ran towards Amon, staying low and sending jabs at his torso and arms while he easily dodged and blocked and returned each hit blow for blow. After a series of unsuccessful strikes, she jumped back to regroup, but he was right on top of her. Amon remained close, forcing her to stay in close combat that was wearing her down. She tried to force him back, but he was too strong and then her blows began to hit only air. Every time she struck out, he ducked and evaded and then immediately moved back into her space. Close. Far too close. Korra tried backing up, but Amon suddenly switched to the offensive.
Amon rarely pulled his punches. His jabs went straight into her muscles, no doubt causing immediate bruising. While she managed to avoid all aimed at her neck - where she would be down and out in less than a second if he landed a blow - he cut into her form and opened her up. Giving a series of yelps, Korra stumbled backwards, and he kept coming. Completely vulnerable as she was, he attacked her with little remorse, as if to further prove the dangers of a faulty stance. Finally, he paused. Korra took a breath and tried to compose herself to fight back, but Amon was too quick for her.
"Agh!" The kick to her stomach was swift and powerful, and she was sent stumbling backwards once more, the wall catching her body. Korra clutched her stomach, her muscles aching to the point that they were getting hard to move down. She leaned heavily against the wall, heaving like a polar-bear dog.
"Better." Amon resumed his regular pose: upright, shoulders squared, arms folded behind his back. She looked up to reply, but then he shot towards her and didn't stop. A flooding, almost suffocating fear overcame Korra and she pressed her back into the wall like it would envelop her and save her from the sudden, inexplicable terror she felt for the man in front of her. He stopped inches away, two fingers poised at her forehead like the weapon they were, tips brushing against the skin at the top of her nose. Right between her eyes.
Her breath caught in her throat and blood drained from her face. Had he followed through, she'd be dead.
Korra remained frozen, exhaustion and fear causing her limbs to shake. But he would never do that to her, would he? She was his star pupil, his protege. He'd invested too much into her. He would never want to seriously hurt her... would he?
Some distant, almost separate part of her held on to the fear that yes, yes he would.
But then his hand moved to brush back the hair that had fallen into her face, completely casual. "You're getting ahead of yourself, as usual."
It was a statement that made something in her click, but to what, she wasn't sure. So Korra simply tried to save face and scowl at him, as if she hadn't just been terrified for her life. "Says the one getting in my space and backing me into a wall. You didn't even give me a chance!"
Amon's hands came down on either side of her head, resting against the wall. He leaned down to look her in the eye, far too close, and Korra hoped he didn't notice her burning ears. Her heart pounded almost painfully, the adrenaline rush from the fight and the fear still fresh, along with something else she couldn't pin point. Either way, she couldn't take it, but he positioned himself so he was all she could see. She could feel her breath bouncing off his mask; see his eyes burning into her. She was trapped. He had her full attention.
"You must get used to this, Korra. The world doesn't give chances."
When Amon finally moved away, Korra willed her legs to hold. But the day's training had been too much and she sunk to the ground, trying to catch her breath and rid herself of fear. He was kind enough to give her time to compose herself privately under the guise of checking over the training equipment. After a few minutes, Korra finally managed to push back to her feet, a grim look on her face, and she awaited Amon's next lesson, approaching him cautiously.
"I think that's enough for the day," He said, casting a side glance at her. She tried, and probably failed, to hide her relief. She could hide very little from Amon. Just as he preferred.
She took a breath. "You sure? I mean I need to make sure to fix my bad habits and all," Korra replied, her tone belaying an easy sense of bravado. She hated showing weakness in front of Amon, and was well aware how vulnerable she had just been and desperately wanted to fix it, despite her aching body. She even returned to her fighting stance, making sure her feet were far enough apart and her center low, but not too low. Amon gave a dry laugh and strode over to her, humoring her enough to circle her.
He returned to her front and shook his head, patting her cheek. "That's enough for today, my little turtleduck."
Korra's elbows snapped down into the correct position but her face was aflame. "I'm not a turtleduck!"