|More from AvatarAang7||Hurt/Friendship/Romance||PG||None yet||One-shot|
August 30, 2014
Korra's Recovery describes what, in my mind at least, could and should happen after Jinora's anointment at the end of Book 3: Change. I wrote this One-shot from Asami's point of view, which felt like the right direction in this particular case. For obvious reasons, Korra is destined to be a mostly passive player in this context anyway, so putting the majority of the focus on her would make for a boring story.
Asami was feeling very mixed. Even though Korra was recovering, the pace at which it was happening was agonizingly slow. Tenzin had convinced Katara to come all the way to Republic City, as she was the best healer in the world. Asami offered to send the same Future Industries airship they had used to go to Ba Sing Se, as it would probably be more comfortable than a sky bison. After all, Katara is an elderly woman. But the businesswoman was still worried about Korra. Even with Katara's healing sessions, it had been a month since her battle with Zaheer and Korra only stood up out of her wheelchair on her own for a few seconds. She couldn't do anything on her own: she couldn't dress herself, get out of bed, shower, anything.
Asami had insisted that she was the one to take care of her, as Korra was one of her closest friends. Even though the Air Acolytes objected, she managed to convince them otherwise. The switch from the vast luxury of her newly acquired Sato Penthouse to the rustic simplicity of Air Temple Island took some getting used to, but she learnt to appreciate it. Tenzin gave her the same room she stayed in during the Equalist Revolution, which was nice. She felt comforted by the fact that the entirety of Team Avatar and the new Air Nation was staying in one place. It meant that her friends were always close by. During her free time, she enjoyed watching the airbenders practice. There was a grace and an elegance to the way they moved that always managed to cheer her up.
"Put your back into it!" She heard Meelo shout. Asami went to the window to see what was happening. It was the "lift a heavy rock with airbending" exercise. Apparently, Daw and Ryu were having quite some difficulty with this particular one, as it had been the same thing for three days straight now. Opal and Kai executed Meelo's arguably useful exercise flawlessly, moving the rock Bolin prepared for them back to him, without crushing his toes.
Meanwhile, Katara came out of the healing room after another session.
-"You can help her if you want to," said the elderly waterbender.
"Has she said anything about how she is feeling?"
-"Not a word."
Asami sighed. It has been the same ever since Jinora's anointment. Korra was feeling something, but the Sato heiress couldn't put her finger on what it was. Neither could Katara, Pema, Jinora, Kya, Tenzin or Suyin for that matter.
-"The healing process is not going to speed up. The poison took a great toll on her body," remarked Katara. "It could be possible that Suyin didn't remove all of it. Maybe we should call her again."
"Let her worry about rebuilding the Northern Air Temple. Anyway, I don't think it's the poison that is what's holding Korra back. There is something on her mind, and I just can't figure out what it is."
-"Perhaps. It could also be the fear. My son told me, before he left for the Earth Kingdom, how she saw Amon, Unalaq and Vaatu when she was being poisoned. Korra went through more over the past year than she did in her entire life before that."
"Which was your call."
-"Among others. But I would make the call same again if I had to. But you get in there now. She's been waiting long enough."
Asami followed Katara's advice. In the healing hut, she saw Korra lying on the bench. The once mighty Avatar looked terrible. Not just that she was barely able to move, but she had a weariness about her that wasn't normal. Her bright blue eyes had gone pale, and missed life. The Korra she knew was energetic, always had a sarcastic remark ready. Or at least able to bend a rock in its general direction if the previous wasn't fit for the situation. This was more frightening. Whatever the poison took from her, Asami wondered if it would ever be coming back.
"Hey there. How are you feeling?" Korra didn't answer. "Look, I know the past few weeks have been challenging for you, but I want you to know that you don't have to face this alone. Everyone on this island is here to help you, but we can't unless you tell us what it is that's going on in your head."
Finally, Korra started talking: "I know. I just don't want to. Not yet anyway. Could you help me get dressed?"
"Sure." In the beginning, it was very weird for Asami. Even though Korra never admitted it bothered her that it was Asami who helped her do basic tasks like shower and get dressed, the Sato heiress knew it was somewhere in there. She doubted the Avatar was too polite to bring it up, it was more likely a lack of energy to care.
"Could you take me to the radio room? I'd like to talk to Tenzin," asked Korra once she was dressed.
Asami was surprised. It was for the first time since her battle that she took initiative. "Of course. What is it all of a sudden?"
"I just want to know how things are going in the Earth Kingdom."
"At least it's something," was the only thought that could go through Asami's head.
Once in the radio room, in the basement of the temple, Asami adjusted the frequencies for the ones Tenzin agreed to keep monitoring.
"All set. Do you want me to go?"
-"No, you can stay. You helped save the Air Nation, after all." Korra grabbed the microphone. "Tenzin, are you there?"
"Yes, I'm here. How are you doing?"
"I'm fine." Asami saw Korra was lying. "Have things in the Earth Kingdom calmed down?"
"Well, the United Forces stopped the worst of the rioting and looting in Ba Sing Se. The King of Omashu has taken temporary reign in the absence of the legitimate Earth Monarch. It's a makeshift government, but it will hold for now. But most of the capital has be burned to the ground, the walls have fallen and the people have fled."
"Sounds brilliant," Korra dryly remarked. Even though it had zero emotion behind it, it did spark a little bit of hope in Asami. It had that sarcastic bite she missed over the past month. Meanwhile, Lord Zuko walked in. He bowed respectfully.
"Avatar Korra. Miss Sato."
"Lord Zuko." Asami bowed back, as Korra simply nodded. "Glad to see you here. We were just talking about the situation in the Earth Kingdom with Tenzin. Things have calmed down significantly with the arrival of a new king."
Korra turned her attention to the radio again. "Have you heard from Raiko? I haven't heard from him since Jinora's anointment."
"He's been in touch. He's not too happy about the Earth Kingdom going straight back to an absolute monarchy, as he would rather see it being turned into a democracy."
Before Korra could say anything, Lord Zuko interrupted. "That can be tabled for a later discussion. Tenzin, thank you for this update, and we'll be in touch." With that, he pulled the radio from the socket. "Korra, I'm not here for Tenzin. I am here to ask how you are doing."
"I'm... working on it."
-"Korra, I've been friends with Katara for over seventy years now. I've been friends with Tenzin for 50 and with your parents since you were born. All of them and Mako and Bolin and Asami here tell me the same thing: you are hiding something from us. I'm not a truth seer or even an earthbender, but I can tell something is troubling you. I urge you to trust this to someone, before it gets the best of you."
"I can take care of this by myself."
-"Just know that you don't have to. Avatar Korra, we need you back."
"Thank you, Lord Zuko."
With that, he left, and Korra asked Asami to take her back to her room to get some sleep. Once Asami had done that, she saw that Zuko had gathered Lin Beifong and Pema in the hallway, at a point just out of earshot from Korra's room.
"Lord Zuko, did you really mean what you said in there?"
-"Of course I did. The well-being of the Avatar has been one of my primary concerns ever since I stopped hunting Aang."
An awkward silence fell.
-"I was a different person back then."
"I'm sure you were." Asami turned her attention to Lin. "Katara mentioned she thought it might be possible Suyin didn't remove all of the poison. "Could you take another look at it?" asked Asami.
-"I could, but Su is every bit as good a metalbender as I am. We both learned from my mother."
"I know, but still. It's an option, right?" Asami noticed the doubt in her own voice. Lin and Pema noticed it too.
"You don't sound very certain of that," said Pema. "Why not?"
"Because of everything we've discussed over the past weeks. Korra isn't telling us something. I don't know what or why not and it is starting to get frustrating."
"You sound just like Tenzin," said the Acolyte. "When he was training Korra in airbending, he had no clue how to get through to her. As it turned out, it took her making the ultimate sacrifice before she could actually do it."
"She already did that three times by now." The group was slightly shocked to how snappy Asami sounded. "We can't make her do that again."
"Whatever it is, we're not going to be able to fix it from here," Lin remarked. "Only one person knows what's going on in Korra's head and that's Korra."
"You're right. Lin, you take another look at the poison when she wakes up in..." Asami looked at her watch, "give or take 15 minutes." (Korra's afternoon nap was so precise Asami could practically set her watch to it.) "Lord Zuko, you can get back to the mainland if you want to. I can manage this."
As Lin and Zuko left, Pema turned her attention to Asami again. "You're beginning to sound just like Korra. You're beginning to crack under the stress. I have a great calming tea in the kitchen. I'm going to pour you a cup, then you are going to take a nap while Lin is busy with Korra. If you're not awake by the time they are finished, I'll take over. Deal?"
Asami protested. "But I need to..."
"You know what? Screw it. You don't need to do anything outside of some rest," Pema interrupted.
Asami got to know Pema well enough over the past weeks to know that arguing was pointless, so she agreed. Reluctantly. Pema was right though, the tea was delicious, and the half an hour of sleep really did help. When she woke up, Pema had taken Korra to the kitchen. Asami went in there, and what she saw confused her. Korra had stood up out of her wheelchair, and was leaning heavily against the counter. She had something in her left hand, but Asami couldn't quite see what it was.
"Damn. I hoped I would be alone with this."
Asami was still processing the whole thing. "With what?" Then, it hit her. It couldn't have hit her harder if she had taken a rock to the chest. Her eyes went wide and her breathing became deeper.
Korra was holding a knife in her hand.
"Korra, don't do this. We can work through this."
-"Why bother? You know what they all said. Amon. Unalaq. Zaheer. They were right. The world doesn't need me anymore."
"Korra!" Asami noted she started shouting "Are you mad? We need you, now more than ever."
-"No you don't. I haven't left this island or this stupid chair in weeks, and the world keeps on spinning. The Earth Kingdom was in complete chaos, I haven't been able to do anything about it, but things kind of worked out."
This was precisely the response Asami had feared. Mostly because, well, it's true. Things did work out okay, and Korra didn't have anything to do with it. "Stall. Play for time." Those were the thoughts going through Asami's head. She couldn't just lie to her.
"But the spirits..."
-"Don't need me. People work out their own issues."
"Even if they don't, we do. Mako, Bolin, Tenzin, Jinora..." Asami hesitated. "And me."
-"Asami, you've been great. I couldn't have asked for a better friend. I love you." Korra's azure eyes were tearing up while she said it. She put the knife on her wrist. "This is my call, and my choice."
Asami's voice was trembling. "Korra, please, don't do this."
Then, without any warning, the knife suddenly flew across the room, barely missing Asami and embedded itself in the door. As she turned around, she saw Lin standing in the door opening, breathing heavily. "Just in the nick of time," she said. It had also missed her by no more than 5 centimeters. Asami turned to Korra, and grabbed her, before embracing her. The Avatar started sobbing uncontrollably in her arms.
Asami lost track of time. For all she knew, they had been standing there for hours. Nobody dared to disturb them. She felt complete. Even though the circumstances were terrible, she had achieved what she'd been trying to do for weeks now: get Korra to open up. But there was something else. A feeling the Sato heiress hadn't had in a long time. A very pure sense of joy. Just a whiff, it was largely overshadowed by a dozen other emotions running up and down her body, but it was unmistakable. Meanwhile, Opal walked in, and was the first to say something.
"Asami... we should get her out of here. Put her in bed. Let her sleep."
"I'm not letting her out of my sight again."
"You don't have to, but she needs to rest. So do you, for that matter."
Asami knew Opal was right. For the first time since she got here, she started to notice just how tired she was. She was carrying Korra's weight almost entirely and her own legs were starting to give in. Together, they put Korra back in her wheelchair, but as they were walking out of the kitchen, Asami started to feel very dizzy in her head. She fainted, but Bolin caught her, and the rest was a blur. The only thing she still remembered was that Korra let out a very faint "Asami..."
When she woke up, Asami immediately noticed she wasn't in her own room. The bed was much harder, there were more windows, a phone on her nightstand, a large bookcase at the far end of the room... This was the bedroom of Tenzin and Pema. Next to her was Korra, still peacefully asleep. "Looks like Opal came through," was the first things that came to mind. After she got dressed, she walked outside, where she saw Pema go around the corner. She went after her.
"Pema! Hold up!"
-"Ah, Asami, you're awake. Good to see you back on your feet."
"How long have we been out?"
-"Nearly twenty hours. It's eleven in the morning, if you must know. Not surprising, after what happened. We were very shaken up. I never thought Korra would have done that."
"None of us did. I caught her just in time. Where's Lin? We owe her a thank you."
-"She's in the dining hall."
Asami found the Chief of Police without her typical black and gold uniform and instead with a very unflattering but comfortable-looking dress. "Lin? I think I need to say 'thanks' for what you did in there."
-"Don't bother kid, if it wasn't for your yelling, I would never have gone up there. It was very clever of you to play for time. I had to run from the training gates, down one and up two flights of stairs again. Whatever moron designed that obviously had no sense of emergency."
Asami grinned. "I believe it was Avatar Aang."
-"He might have been a great Avatar, but he certainly wasn't an architect," Lin sarcastically said as they both started laughing. Pema joined them with a tea for all of them.
"Thanks, a cup of tea was just what I needed." Asami tasted it. It was absolutely delicious. "What is in it?"
Pema smiled. "Golden jasmine. It's native to Air Temple Island, and I only make tea out of it on special occasions. This seemed like a good one." The ladies both nodded in agreement.
Curiosity got the best of Asami. "Pema, why did you put us in your room?"
"That was the call of both Opal and Bolin. Opal said you wanted to keep a close eye on Korra, and Bolin didn't feel like carrying across the entire island to the women's dormitory. But that's all in the past. You go enjoy your brunch."
Afterwards, Asami went to Tenzin and Pema's private porch, at the end of the hallway bordering their room. One of the White Lotus sentries was keeping an eye on the Avatar. Much to her surprise, Korra walked out dressed in Pema's bathrobe. She was still holding herself up with the wall, but this was the first time in weeks Asami had seen her walking. Or that she dressed herself. The robe was too narrow and too short, but at least it meant Korra cared enough not to walk around in her underwear. Asami immediately went to help her and sit her down on the bench. As they sat there, side by side, they stared out over Yue Bay for a while, when Korra spoke.
-"Listen, I owe you an apology. What I did yesterday was selfish and uncaring. I was sick of everything, but now that I've told all of it to you, it does feel like a massive weight dropped off my shoulders."
"I'm glad you finally did. We got the shock of our lives. Do anything like that ever again and I'll chain you to the wall like the Earth Kingdom soldiers did to us."
-"Including the straitjacket and muzzle?"
"If that's what it takes, yes."
Korra grinned and gave Asami a gentle nudge with her shoulder. "Thanks for not giving up on me."
Asami smiled. "Never. Come here, you."
The girls gave each other a big hug, and when they let go again, they just sat there staring out over Yue Bay, as a gray morning passed by. A ship blared its horn in the distance, and Asami knew, Korra had come home again.
- As you probably guessed, I am a Korrasami shipper. It feels organic, and though I doubt Nick would actually put it on screen, Bryke just might. Korra just seems like the perfect vessel for this: making it (to my knowledge) the world's first openly homosexual relationship in a mainstream cartoon. (As opposed to obscure anime.)
- Among other things, I drew inspiration from Lady Lostris' fanons
and , both of which I think are definitely worth a read.
- I also agree with her on Book 1's ending being the most hollow, forced moment ever in the entirety of the Avatar universe. (Yes, that includes every scene from the movie.)
|Korra's Recovery • The Road to Nowhere Special • Soldier's Eyes - Part 1 • Inked • Smokin' • For Those About To Rock • Soldier's Eyes - Part 2 • Bath Time • Gym Buddies • The New TA • Moving Out, Moving On • Earning Her Spurs • Swimming in the Rain • A Drink For Free • Insider • How I Got to Memphis • What Happens In Vegas... • Vendetta • The Snow Storm • Stays in Vegas... • Saturday • Public Transport • The Big Day • The Fighter • Lights, Camera, Action • What Happens In College... • Small-Block V8 • ... Or Maybe Not • Spur of the Moment • The Suit Makes the Woman|
|Other works (mostly Kainora)|
|Tickets • As Tough As You Are • The Compound • Was It Worth It? • Coffee to Go • Best Hangover Ever • Best Hangover Ever 2 • Winter Olympics 2018|
|The Divided Republic • Team Player • All Are Equal • The Callgirl • Who We Are • She's a Pirate • Where Do We Start? • Some Day They'll Go Down Together|
For the collective works of the author, go here.