AN: the last chapter in my little trilogy.
WARNING: major season finale spoilers. Seriously, you probably won't understand this if you haven't seen it yet.
PLOT GAP: remember when Mako volunteered to go with Korra on that 'let's get Amon' field trip? Well, in this story, Iroh went with her instead. This starts off just after Iroh electrocutes Amon, and Korra got her banding taken away :'(
I think I will die from the amount of fluff.
"Iroh," Korra mumbled, still very weak. "M-My bending."
"It'll be alright, Korra." The general tried to sound confident for her sake as he ran through the halls of the pro bending arena. The Avatar was limp in his arms. "I'm going to get you out of here."
Suddenly, his feet stopped moving on their own accord, and he fell. Korra tumbled a few feet, carried by momentum, and lay still on the ground. An outside force made Iroh come to a kneeling position, and Amon stepped forward.
"It will almost be a shame to take the bending of one so talented," the masked man said. "Almost."
Korra stood shakily, trying to regain her bearings. Then she saw Iroh.
No, she thought. He can't lose his bending, too. He doesn't deserve it.
In a last-ditch attempt to help him, Korra threw her fist out. She put every ounce of strength behind the punch. She wasn't expecting anything to actually happen. But air came out.
Even Amon was so shocked he forgot about the general for a moment.
"I can airbend?" Korra asked herself. She clenched another fist and looked Amon right in the eye. "I can airbend."
She punched some more, letting instinct take over. Swirls of air launched from her knuckles and knocked Amon back. He staggered, so caught up in surprise that he lost his footing. With one last powerful blow, Korra pushed him out the window.
She helped Iroh up, and they went to the windowsill. There was a lot of commotion among the Equalists. They saw Amon, or rather Noatak, waterbending. He had no scar. The people below jeered at their traitor of a leader.
Noatak fled, using his waterbending to go to an unknown place.
Iroh tried to get a hit on him with firebending, to no avail. When she was sure that evil man was gone, Korra let her knees buckle, and she collapsed in utter exhaustion. Iroh caught her, holding her upright with one arm. His other hand dipped to her knees, and he picked her up.
A single tear slid down her cheek, though she wasn't fully conscious. It had finally sunk in. No more Avatar Korra. She was just Korra the airbender. That was it.
Iroh stopped to look at her. A deep sadness shone in his eyes. He bent down and left a kiss on Korra's forehead before walking on.
The air was tense as everyone waited in the stuffy room at the South Pole. No one spoke, for fear that breaking the silence would break to balance. After what seemed like forever, Katara opened the door with a defeated expression. Almost everyone stood.
"I'm sorry," the old woman said dejectedly. "I've done everything I can. But Korra's bending is gone."
"But you're the best healer in the whole world," Lin insisted.
"She can still airbend, but her connection to the other elements is gone," Katara explained.
Korra emerged from the healing room. She avoided eye contact with everyone and went straight outside.
Mako followed her, leaving the rest of them to fall into silence once more.
Iroh's shoulders were hunched. He wasn't really supposed to be there. Originally, he was going to head back to the Fire Nation Bumi's ship. But Korra, in her half-conscious state, demanded he be there with her.
Mako reappeared. He looked angry as his hand ran repeatedly though his hair. He slumped onto the bench and mumbled, "I'm such an idiot."
Wondering what he did this time, Iroh got up and walked out. There was no sign of Korra, except some polar bear dog tracks. He followed them, hoping his childhood friend would be at the end of their trail.
He eventually found Naga. Korra was perfectly still at the edge of the cliff. She was fixated on something he couldn't see.
All of the sudden, her eyes glowed, and she entered the Avatar State for the first time. Her body lifted on a pillar of air. She bent the snow around her, a ring of fire, and the ice on the cliff. Huge waves rose and fell with the movements of her wrists. She settled down, and the glow in her eyes diminished.
When she turned around, her gaze went to the firebender watching her. She smiled widely and ran to him. He caught her in his arms and hugged her tightly.
"It's back, Iroh," she said when he set her down. Her eyes were watering. "Avatar Aang gave it all back."
"Korra, I'm so happy for you," Iroh told her. He held her tan hand in his gloved one, a small smile on his lips. "But you should know, you're still incredible. And you mean the world to me, bending or no bending."
Korra stood on her toes and touched his face with her fingertips. His cheeks were red from the cold, and she thought it was the cutest thing she ever saw. Her hand slipped behind his neck as she pulled him closer to her. His arms slid around her, closing the remaining distance between them. He kissed her on the mouth, and despite the temperature in the air, she found his lips to be warm and inviting.
Korra's other arm came up to his neck as she deepened the kiss. It wasn't exactly heated, but it sparked something within them. It felt as if they were making up for lost time in the twelve years they were separated.
They pulled apart all too soon. Korra looked at Iroh's amber eyes, communicating everything she wanted to say without words.
You mean the world to me, too.
"So that's it? You're just leaving?" Korra asked angrily. She felt abandoned and hurt. She was already feeling alone.
"You don't know how much I want to stay," Iroh said. His voice was low, like a whisper. He would do that when he was sad, like he didn't want people to see him weak. "But I have obligations to the United Forces. There are things that need to be done." He stepped closer, only to have the Avatar step away. She wouldn't look at him.
"You don't have to waste your breath with an excuse. Just go," she said bitterly, hugging her elbows. Iroh stayed stubbornly glued to his spot, though.
"Korra, please I—look at me," he pleaded. This time when he moved forward, Korra remained still. She let Iroh take her chin, forcing her to meet his eyes. He could see the anger drain out, washed away by fresh tears. "Don't be sad."
"I'm not sad I… I'm scared." Her gaze was filled with emotion. She couldn't lose him, not when she just got him. "If I let you go, I won't know when you'll come back. I can't wait for you to return."
"Oh, Korra." He swiped his thumb over her cheek. "You won't be waiting. I'll be back as soon as possible. And this time, it won't be twelve long years until we see each other. I promise."
"General Iroh," the ship's captain appeared out of nowhere. He spoke awkwardly, knowing that he was interrupting something, "it's time to depart." Iroh nodded, and the captain left quickly.
The general and the Avatar were left alone on the frozen loading dock. They were huddled together against the cold, against time.
"I'll miss you, General Iroh," Korra said. She kissed his cheek and lingered there, not wanting to let go just yet. A small grin appeared on Iroh's lips.
"Between you and me," he whispered in her ear. "I hear the general of the United Forces is planning an extended vacation in Republic City this spring."
Korra smiled. "In that case, I think it's time for me to return to the city. For purely political purposes, of course."
"Who knows, maybe we'll run into each other." He winked at her.
Korra pulled him in and kissed his lips one last time. "It's a date."
AN: that's all folks! I really hope you liked it. Feel free to review. Reviews make me feel all good inside.
There could be an epilogue in the near future. Maybe. Possibly. Okay yeah, there's an epilogue. Stay tuned!