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|Twists in the Heart|
Book 2: War
August 2nd, 2013
John confronts Korra about her feelings.
"How do you always manage to do that?" asked Jinora, her voice high pitched as she looked over the Pai Sho table that sat before her. To anyone who didn't play the game it only looked like a random assortment of pieces. However to an experienced player, it was clear that the young airbending girl had been defeated.
"To be fair, I did warn you," John replied. He was sitting across the board from her, watching with amusement as the girl's ego began to vanish because of the defeat. His left arm was still rapped in a sling while he had moved his right from the board to his lap. While Pai Sho didn't exist in John's world, John had learned it during his previous visit here. This made him one of the few to know how to play.
Nearby, Ikki and Meelo were playing in the small confines of the yard. A light snow was falling and the ground was slowly turning white. The two children had discovered how to use their bending in order to manipulate the snow. The Pai Sho players had no choice but to ignore them as they raced past on snow filled air scooters. Ikki jumped from her scooter and slid on the snow.
"Do you like Korra?" she asked as she came to a halt. John was surprised by the question, but he didn't show it.
"She has been a very valuable friend and ally to me over the past several months," he replied. The firebender was well aware of what the young girl was asking, and he had technically answered the question without actually answering it.
"She means do you like Korra in a romantic way?" Jinora pitched in. John had heard countless hours of Korra complaining about the way the sisters teamed up to get information they wanted, but he wasn't expecting them to do this.
"Did Korra put you two up to this?" he asked, leaning forward and looking back and forth between the girls. Both of them quickly shook their heads, wide smiles on their faces. With a sigh, he sat back and crossed his arms.
"Korra is a very complicated young woman, believe me, I've seen both of her sides. But as to whether or not I like her in a romantic way, that's not something I can tell you." The faces of the young airbenders sank with this. They thrived on figuring romantic things out, and to be suddenly cut off like this was not something they were used to.
Across the courtyard, Meelo slammed into a wooden pole on his scooter, causing his sisters to jump up and run over to see if he was alright. Standing as well, John watched long enough to be sure that the child was okay before he silently excused himself.
Talking with the girls had reminded him of a promise he had made before the battle at Central City Station. He had in idea of what Korra's feelings were, but he wasn't completely sure. Social and romantic related stuff wasn't his strong suit. But even he knew that if someone kissed you, there was a good chance said person liked you in a romantic way.
After a few minutes of searching, he found Korra walking down to the docks. She seemed distracted, her mind on something as she walked and looked out over the harbor to the city.
"Mind if I join you?" The Avatar jumped and spun around, surprise evident on her face. He grinned at this, realizing that he had snuck up on her.
"Sure," she replied. She waited for him to catch up, and then the two began to walk side by side down the narrow path to the docks. If it was snowing harder, John would have taken a different route down to avoid sliding off the cliff and plummeting into the icy waters below. But with Korra being a waterbender, he didn't worry much.
"So what's going on?" he asked as they approached a row boat.
"Just heading into the city to get a bite to eat, maybe go and see Bolin and Mako later on," she replied. The brothers were currently in the process of moving out of their apartment above the Arena and into the Sato mansion, which infuriated Korra. She had spent a good two hours trying to persuade Tenzin to let them stay on the island. Even John had offered them a house in the borough if they wanted it. But they had made their choice, which John was happy with, despite the fact that Korra was angered by it.
Personally, John had only met Asami Sato a few times, and even then it was only a passing. He still didn't know what to think of her, but he had plenty of feedback from Korra and Mako. The other firebender always spoke highly of her, and even though she had toned it down a lot compared to when she had first met her, he got the feeling that Korra was still somewhat jealous of the non bender. Although he figured that the exact reasons for the jealousy had changed.
"I made you a promise a while back, the night Kyle attacked the station. Do you remember what it was?" Korra nodded. She had been dreading this day for a while now, unsure of what she was going to say.
"Well you said we'd talk about it, so what do you want to discuss?" They were roughly halfway across the harbor thanks to her bending, but now they were slowing rapidly because she had stopped propelling them.
"I want to know why you kissed me," he said. Korra had expected him to beat around the bush a little, not dive right in like he had.
"Wow, right to the point. I, um, I'm not really sure, it just kinda," she stuttered, looking away from him and at the water. But John knew her well enough to know that she was trying to cover something.
"Spit it out, Korra. Why did you kiss me?" he asked, a bit forcefully.
"Because I'm falling in love with you!" she snapped, slamming her foot into the bottom of the boat and looking him square in the eye. A pillar of water erupted behind her as an effect from the stomp, but neither one of them paid any attention.
Even though he had been expecting something like this, John was still taken back by her response. The tough tomboy exterior was gone, leaving behind an exposed teenage girl.
"Everything you've done: helping me get here to the city, helping me with airbending, shooting Amon, fighting off the Equalists on Aang Memorial Island, comforting me with the nightmares, filling in for Mako in the match, it all just made my heart move. So I followed it." She was looking at the water again, using her right arm grip her left.
John could see that she was bracing herself for rejection. She was biting her lower lip, and her eyes showed just how much of herself she had exposed.
Bracing his legs for balance, he leaned forward and cupped her chin in his palm. Gently, he turned her head so that she was facing him.
"Korra. In all my life all I have known is how to fight, how to win, how to kill. Even when I met Eve, it was because of violence. But you, you have shown me what true peace can be." With that he pulled her into a hug. Korra resisted for a moment, but then gave in and melted into his arms. They sat there for what felt like hours. It was just them and the rocking of the boat with the waves. Finally, they broke apart and he placed a kiss on her forehead.
"Come on, I'll buy the first bowel of noodles," he said.
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