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30th August, 2014
Korra doesn't really sleep anymore.
It's not that she can't, but rather, she won't. Tenzin thinks the bags under her eyes are just leftover from the fight, and Pema thinks that the Avatar just needs some time off. They don't realise that they're wrong. They don't realise it at all.
But Asami does. She knows that Korra doesn't sleep, and she knows that it's not because of the nightmares.
Korra doesn't sleep because she can't bring herself to close her eyes.
The poison is still in her system, Asami knows. It still has its tendrils wrapped tight around Korra's heart and veins and lungs, but more than that, it still has her mind in its clutch.
When Asami finds Korra sobbing uncontrollably in her room, a small knife dancing between her fingers, she doesn't have to say anything at all. Korra does all the talking.
How can I protect anyone? she sobs, pressing her nose over Asami's heart. I can't even protect myself!
Asami doesn't answer, instead rocking the grief-stricken Avatar until she is calm.
She can barely move, and so another task falls to the nonbender—though of course she doesn't mind. It's no task nor service. It's a friend helping a friend.
Every night after she helps Korra bathe, washing away the aches of the day, of her rehabilitation and her sadness, Asami prepares a pot of tea. Korra doesn't usually drink it, but it fills her room with a lovely aroma that helps the Avatar to nod off. It's the simple routine that helps keep her sane in a world that has gone crazy. It has to, because Korra isn't weak. She's the strongest girl in the world and yet she's... not. Pema has set up a cot on the floor in case Korra ever needs something, and though it isn't as comfortable as a bed, the peace of mind that comes with it is a godsend, and Asami is grateful.
Because, Korra doesn't like sleeping. She doesn't like sleeping alone.
She lies awake for hours—Asami knows. She's counted—breathing light and fast as though panicking. She twitches sometimes, cursing as she fights to control the involuntary muscle spasms.
Her body aches. It stings and it hurts but she can't do anything about it because it's just so darn empty. It hurts, this feeling. It's as though her spirit has outgrown the skin, discarding it and throwing it away. Except, she's stuck in that husk. In the shell. A great vacuum has sucked the life from her, and now her insides are buckling under the pressure.
But, that's okay, because the pain of not feeling, she supposes, is better than the pain of feeling. If she can't feel, then she can't hear them judging her, commenting on her appearance, her weakness. If she can't feel, then she can pretend that it doesn't actually hurt.
But, she still refuses to sleep, forcing herself to remain awake until it's physically impossible. It only happens on a bad day, but those are all too common lately.
And the nightmares do come. They arrive in sporadic bursts manifested through sudden mood changes and more crying. Neither know when it changes for the worse. It just sort of happened. But on those days, Asami climbs under the sheets and just holds the Avatar. She keeps holding her, even though Korra has stopped trembling and her tears have dried. Even after the nightmares stop and sunlight slowing begins peeking from behind the curtain of Korra's mind.
Korra doesn't like sleeping alone, but that's okay. She doesn't have to.
Notes: This was written at about 3am after watching The Prince of Egypt. I did it in about half an hour, scrapped that version, and tried again. This is the first Korrasami fanon I've released on the wiki, and I'm really happy with the positive feedback it's received :) thanks, guys!
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