Clean-Up Detail
General information


Total word count



American English



Clean-Up Detail

summary - in which Noatak is entertained and consoled by the Avatar's logic, only for him to question her sanity directly afterwards. also, Tarrlok should never try to make funny statements, and Korra ought to hold off the tea pouring. stupidity awaits.

She gazed upon her uncle's even deader corpse and kicked it a couple of times, just for good measure. The scene had been horrific, but fairly unforgiving. Korra knew exactly what would have happened otherwise. A prideful sliver appeared before her upon analyzing the Dark Avatar, crumpled up on the Spirit World's floor. His face displayed a ghost-white overture, which made her shiver, coupled with the exact same garb he'd worn all those years ago during Harmonic Convergence.

These trips to the other side were getting more and more ridiculous. "Thank you," she said truthfully as her savior rematerialized from behind. He'd never been anything less than mysterious, she'd give him that.

"It was no problem," that damned voice answered, permanently smooth. "The issue merely fermented in his spiritual essence. Thanks to your little portal-opening-charade, I was able to fully dispose of any remaining residue."

"Where will he go?"


Korra gave him an unconvinced look. "Don't tell me that he'll cease to exist. He needs to go somewhere. Otherwise, we have a paradox on our hands."

"How so?" genuinely curious and oddly patient, Noatak questioned.

"Because one cannot end a being," she attempted to explain, growing mildly annoyed, "only their body, their temporary container."

"Ah, but your logic is flawed, Avatar," her companion purred. She sighed. His relaxed yet leader-like posture continued to play her. Why couldn't he accept things without endless questioning? Oh well. At least he wasn't trying to permanently block bending anymore.

"Oh really? How so?"

He smirked at the allowance, a purposely copied statement. This banter reminded him of his childhood Pai Sho days before training unbearably intensified. "There's a simple explanation," Noatak affirmed, trailing around the woman's figure until he stood, still far taller, facing her. The years could not change the facts, rather, they diminished her height.

"Tell me, Korra," he inquired, "what has happened to your past lives?" She in turn froze, mildly shell-shocked by both his reference to the price she'd paid and the blunter use of her true name. Additionally, admitting Vaatu's sole achievement remained a rage-inducing reminder. Noatak nodded. "Every last one, from Wan to Aang, has dissipated entirely. Some succeeded in taking a second refuge Here, but for most, a happy ending did not happen."

"I figured as much," she conceded, ending the conversation. Like her loss, admitting the pros to a conflicting argument settled a sour taste into her mouth.

"In other news, did you really believe I'D be the one trying to kill you?"

Korra smiled (the changed topic was a welcome affair.) "I heard a crazed waterbending spirit was out hunting for me."

"And I was what came to mind?"

"Of course." She smirked. He frowned, humor absent. Smiling softer and hoping to fill the blanks, she stepped up and grasped his shoulders. "Noatak, you were the first. Before we met, I was convinced the good guy always won. You taught me and made me lose. Without mistakes, what good would I be? Sure, my past lives were erased, but that helped me mature. And while your techniques caused pain, they brought to light the injustices non-benders face. You've served your sentencing. Don't make it harder."

He begrudgingly nodded, although a light smile etched its way across his features.

"So thanks. For that, and him." She gestured to Unalaq. "Taking a guy like that down is no easy feat."

"No, it isn't. Just don't forget that you're strong too, no matter what the press says. They're simply hired to hound you to death."

"Yeah, you should know, Mr. Terrorist!"

"Ha-ha," he said dryly. "Is this the part where you remark that you'll 'be here all week?'"



"You heard me. I WILL be staying here at LEAST a week. The Earth Nobles are screaming for tax reform and I could use a little quiet and less government intervention." Noatak was speechless. "What? Has the great orator finally lost his talent?"

"As quickly as I was able to swipe a man's bending," he admitted. "You're a terrible person."

"Absolutely," Korra replied cheerfully. "So when do I get to see Tarrlok?"

"You must be kidding."

"No, seriously! It'll be a reunion!"

"He bent you, threw you in a Satomobile, and drove off with you into the night to his secluded shack atop a snowy mountain."

"Pssh." Korra stuck out her tongue. "The way you explain it makes the ordeal sound like-" She paused in horror. "Wait, you didn't think..."

"I don't know," he said, blushing and turning away. "I never confronted him regarding the matter." Korra sighed, exasperated. She grabbed his arm, and the unlikely duo walked into the plains broodingly. Unalaq dissolved another time, leaving an inky smoke.

"I can't BELIEVE you brought her here."

Noatak smirked at his brother. The two were lounging beneath the overlay, and Korra was getting acquainted with the spirits in the vicinity through a tea party; something she'd...already done, apparently. Not that it showed. Poor things; a contrite response was now on the agenda. "Look on the bright side," he suggested. "It beats those awful 'Amon' puns."

"The other 'WANS,' too."

"And of course, this trumps the common, 'getting blown up by your family in the middle of Mo Ce Sea on a getaway boat' any day."

"...I'll never tell a joke again, brother."

"Thank you, Tarrlok. Thank you," he replied.

From afar, a creature screamed out after being scalded by its own drink and guest.

"Sorry! Not that spiritual!"

See more

For the collective works of the author, go here.