Korra kneels next to the crumpled Waterbender. His figure is contorted into the physical embodiment of defeat — his grey eyes are downcast and lost, shaded by his limp hair; his usually sneering mouth is dejectedly fixed into a grimace; his spine is curved with hopelessness.
"Tahno," Korra says softly, extending her hand towards him. It's the first time that she's said his name without an edge of malice, annoyance, or jest. Instead, the name is heavy in her throat and it comes out sounding like a sympathetic notion of condolence.
With one swift movement, his fingers wrap around her wrist. Korra's blue eyes flash with surprise, but she doesn't move away from him.
"Bend." His voice is hoarse and hollow. He is dehydrated in every sense of the word. He masks the weak command as an impolite request and Korra ignores the rude brusqueness in his tone because she knows that now, he is simply a conceited man who has just lost any skills or merit that could have excused his arrogance.
Korra doesn't bend for him. She can't add to the jarring fracture in his spirit and show him that she still possesses the skill that he's lost. For a few moments, Tahno searches Korra's eyes for some sick satisfaction — he bets that she'd love to go toe-to-toe with him now — but he can only see pity, as well as the clear reflection of a non-bender who shares all of his physical features.
"It's going to be alright, Tahno." They both know that the sentiment is leaden with "but" — but you're never going to bend again, but you're going to have to start over, but you're going to lose your identity.
Tahno releases her wrist as tears start to accumulate on his long, dark eyelashes. He presses his slender fingers against the moisture on his cheeks. He absentmindedly traces the direction of his tears before he rests his wet fingers over his cracked lips. He begins to cry even harder when he realizes that the last semblance of Waterbending that he has left stems from his agony in the form of the tears falling down his face, mourning his grave loss.
Korra doesn't know how to respond, but she remembers that Tenzin had once let her unceremoniously dampen his fine robe when she was faced with the mere thought of losing her bending. Following her Sifu's example, she quickly moves to eliminate any space between them. She wraps her arms around Tahno's neck and rests her head on his shoulder, lips brushing his shoulder blade. Tahno's figure stiffens with shock, but the sobs wracking his body quickly overtake any sense of decorum and he lets himself collapse against her.
The emptiness he feels — in his soul, in his spirit, where his bending once was — is marginally filled by the Avatar's body, molded against his.
Disclaimer: Trolls own the dungeon. Wait, what? I meant that Bryke and Nickelodeon own Legend of Korra.
Author's Note: Happy Korra day! This started out as a drabble and I'm pretty sure I'm going to have to mark this as non-canon by tomorrow's episode, but I just wanted to get my headcanon out there before it's torn into pieces. Thank you for reading! Why aren't you watching Korra? :)