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It's a full moon tonight.
The kind she's always loved watching, because she feels so refreshed, so relaxed, so peaceful when she draws energy from its presence.
She's glad of it tonight, as she quietly clambers onto the sidewalk, and dries herself instantly as she bends the water out of her clothes and hair, back into Yue Bay.
Moon Bay. That's what it means, really. She loves how the world goes white, like everything's been blanketed in a fine layer of ice crystals and snow dust, when the moon comes out and bathes the land in its sparkling, pale white rays. It's quiet and tranquil, and she feels like she could stay here forever, forever in a timeless land when the full moon shines like the sun, and the rays catch and hang suspended in the still air, glowing with their ethereal beauty.
But there's a tiny niggling feeling beneath the white night, behind the white face that looks down on her from above, a small feeling of disquiet in the otherwise peaceful world of night under the full moon.
She turns where it points her, helpfully, before disappearing, and her eyes alight on the façade of the Pro-Bending arena, awash in the rays of soft white, twinkling like a golden star in the gentle, flowing moonlight.
She doesn't know why, but she's suddenly reminded of him, hot like fire and a summer sun, cold like his usual indifferent self, the firebender whose icy disposition reminds her of home, home by a blazing fire, home in the blizzard snows, home where things are the perfect mix of hot and cold.
She roots herself firmly in the earth, before summoning power from her abdomen and calling upon the ground to spring her into the air, shooting through the element of freedom like a javelin, crashing through the window.
She groans, rubbing her head from the impact.
He's woken up by the sound of the door, slamming against the wall, and somebody breaks into the small, cramped bedroom. His first reaction is to throw a fiery punch at the dark silhouette, but just as he's letting go he sees familiar brown skin, innocent blue eyes, and stops just in time.
"Korra?" He stares in disbelief, but it's smothered by the overwhelming feeling of relief, relief that she's in one piece, and looking at him, alive. He extinguishes the flame, and they are once again bathed in the dim, cascading moonlight that shines in through the window.
"I heard you say my name." She breaks the uneven silence that hangs in the air, and her voice seems uncertain, awkward, but oh-so-familiar…
"Well yeah, I just did." He tries not to come off as being indifferent, but as soon as the words leave his mouth he mentally punches himself. Idiot. That's not what she meant.
She rolls her eyes, annoyed and slightly angry, and for a moment it's almost like nothing ever happened, that she's still the same Korra he used to know, who gets under his skin no matter how thick it is. But reality floods back all too soon, and he's forcibly brought back to the present.
"I mean before that. You were screaming my name…" She trails off, looking at him with a questioning tilt of her head, interrupted only by Bolin's periodic snores as he sleeps like a rock.
"It's… it's nothing." He glances out the window, not making eye contact, because he can't look her in the eye and tell her that nothing's wrong, can't lie to those piercing, electric blue eyes fixed upon his face.
"No, it's not." Suspicion clouds her face, and she looks at him with renewed determination.
"I said it's nothing." He doesn't know why, why he's pushing her away like that, why he's trying to distance himself like that, why he's rejecting her again. Or that's what he tells himself. Really, the reason couldn't be clearer, clear like the water she bends, clear like nothing else is in his life.
"And I said it's not. There's something you're not telling me. About us." Her eyes narrow, and he knows she's not going to give up until she cracks him like ice beneath her feet.
Spirits, that's how he fell for her. And now he's falling again.
"Do you remember how you got hurt?"
Not this again. Lin's told her, Tenzin's told her, Bolin's told her, everybody's told her more times than she cares to remember.
"I got hit by a metal beam, on a raid on an Equalist base. Oh come on. Is that what this is about? Me getting hurt?"
The calm she thought she had is quickly turning into a full-blown storm, but she can't help it, can't help it because she's always like this around him, like a volcano ready to erupt, a storm crammed into a tiny little bottle, ready to break out in lightning and thunder. He never makes it better, either.
"No. It's not. This is about what happened before that."
"Oh." His calm, controlled voice pierces the confusion building in her own mind, and she's listening, lost for words as her anger deflates, icy fury melting to water, and flowing away. His eyes gleam in the nothingness that's left, gleam in the moonlight, but she sees the sun instead, and it's always enough to melt the glacial, jaded exterior that freezes when she's not looking.
"I don't suppose you remember what happened the night before." He chokes as the words leave his mouth, and suddenly she sees the look of heartbreak on his face, sees the hint of tears glinting like cruel steel at the corner of his eyes, and she's overcome with guilt. But there's no going back, and the damage is done.
But she tries, tries because it's him.
He looks up at the use of his name, looks up in disbelief, not believing what he's hearing.
She used my name.
And then his brain processes the guilt-ridden tone, the tiny droplets that splash out of her eyes like liquid crystal every time she blinks, the infinitesimal stretch of the last syllable that always means she's close to breaking down.
"We don't have to talk about it, if you don't want to." Her eyes are shining, shining like a star as she looks back at him, and his fingers go numbly cold as they reach out to touch her face, reach out for the tanned, olive skin that he knows so well.
"Shh, Korra… it's alright. I'll tell you."
He's fallen before. She'll always catch him, and he's going to take a leap of faith again. For her.
"We had a fight, the night before the raid…"
"Korra. You know I won't take it."
She slams a calloused fist onto the table, and he sees that familiar spark of annoyance igniting once again in her eyes. He sighs, inwardly. All because she saw that one piece of paper he forgot to stow away when she'd come over for dinner that night.
"Just because rent's gone up-"
"That's not all, is it? I bet all of your bills have gone up recently, huh? And rent for pro-bending equipment? Money for food? Clothes? Taxes?"
"I can't take your money, Korra. You know I never have."
There's a silence, long and tense. He looks away, because she's going to turn on the waterworks again, and he won't lose this one. He won't compromise this. He can't.
"Just take it. There's no way you can pay your bills like this."
"If I just work longer-"
"Work? Mako, look at yourself! You've been working yourself half to death! Every day I try to visit you, but Bolin tells me you're out. Where? At work! You're going to work yourself into the ground if you keep this up!" Her voice has risen to a hysterical shriek, and he knows she's fighting to hold back the tears. She always was a fighter. But he can't back down on this.
"You don't understand, Korra! There are some things I have to do by myself!" His control cracks, cracks like the thin ice that forms on Yue Bay when winter comes, cracks like the table as she slams another fist down on it. And so does his heart.
"Why? Because you're too much of a numbskull to accept help when you need it?"
"No, it's not like that-"
"Oh, and I suppose you've n-never given a damn about me and my f-feelings, have you? You know h-how l-long it's been since I've gotten to s-see you? How long it's b-been since we went out on a d-date?" She's crying in earnest now, her sobs punctuating every sentence that comes out of her mouth, and he sees red, whatever's left of his restraint burnt to nothing.
"Korra, I have responsibilities too, you know! You've never raised anyone when you were a kid, have you? Everything you needed in life was given to you on a silver platter! I didn't have that luxury!"
He's crossed the line. Shock replaces fiery, white hot anger, before slowly freezing over into glacial fury. But what kills him is the look of hurt in her eyes, hurt that she was only trying to help, hurt that he blew up again, hurt that he's pushing her away like he doesn't care. Again.
"I'm the Avatar, for crying out loud. You think I don't know what it means to have responsibilities? You think I had it easy, mastering three elements? You think it's a damn luxury?"
The venom in her voice fills the air, and she lets it hang.
"Korra, I-" He tries to reach out, to cup her face and tell her he's sorry, but an olive hand slaps it away. Icicles lance his heart again, as he looks into her watery blue eyes, that freeze into cruel, unforgiving ice.
"You know what? You're right. You can do this. On. Your. Own."
He wants to call her back, crush her to his chest and apologise for being a jerk again, stroke her hair and tell her how much he loves her, how great he thinks it is that she makes time for him, everyday. But she's already slamming the door closed, and by the time he reaches it and flings it open, his own vision blurring, she's gone.
It's too late, too late to apologise.
He's crying, by the time he stops speaking, and guilt overcomes her again as she stares into those molten topaz eyes, sees that broken look that lingers in his eyes, hears that crack in his voice.
This time, she's the one who pulls him into a hug, crushing herself against his muscled chest, waiting patiently as he struggles to contain it, but it's too much, too much to handle, as he rests his chin on her shoulder and empties his heart out to her.
That night, after she's gone, he sleeps contently, his nightmares no longer troubling him, and he rests, in peaceful, dreamless sleep, till dawn pulls him from slumber once more.
A/N: Yeah, so I really don't know how to write endings. :X
Thanks to all who reviewed this! :D It helped me write another angsty chapter.
Okay *yawn* I'm off to bed. Seeing as it's 1:30 a.m. in the part of the world I'm in…