Alternate Timeline with Tahno, at his lowest point, being recruited by Equalists and trying to get rid of the despair of losing his bending, but not knowing how to deal with it and becoming unhinged and confused. If you want to take this as Tahno/Korra go ahead.
In the darkened arena (lit with that horribly ostentatious, even for your tastes, that fire) the rioting grows thick and you hear Amon's voice at your back again in your memory – I trust I've made the right choice with you- and you recall your hungry response, you recall your whatever it was you had said because all the words become one after a while in the rush but they're all still there –
It was I know what I'm doing or they won't know what hit them or one of those things, you said it all but words only do so much but they make the job get started, slick and quick and thorough you know exactly what you're doing and it's amazing and you've never felt better in your life and isn't that saying something-
They'd found you at your time of need, your protests were weaker than their convincing and whenever you felt hollow you found a way to fill yourself either with their words or with your thoughts, but now you see how right this all is and it's all so wrong but that's what it's come to and of course 'soperfect your hands guide this movement further even though you're still new and all but everyone is at one point and even Amon told you he's never seen anyone who dives in as deep into it as you do, not so transfixed-
Dived, what a funny word! See, the two of you aren't horrible – he's a bit laced up but he can get through to you and your water-soul just like all the swamp people know, it's so rare to find someone who really gets it because nobody takes the time to think about it the way this organization does that's why you fit right in! One step ahead you're even better you step all around and jump and lie and flow and all the water-people, all those benders who will one day get what they deserve (and you have just started! You were punished for it and that's never, that's not fun, you begged against it but now you're being electrified- they thought you were great then they should see you now! Your old friends only stuck around in hopes they'd get the attention you'd get but they never got it- the watersouled people, with the water flowing through their veins and bodies, they deserve only the best purification, equilibrium- no matter how much you and your people see change you'll always end up washed up at the same point, the same peaceful return and how can any of you expect to do that with that hideous hindrance that'll just get taken anyway? You don't think like you want to lose, like you expect to have to run and hide no you don't want that not at all-)
It's like old days, the rancorous chaos, and the stage (he's still instructing with his rolling, gorgeous voice but yours tells how it should feel to, you can talk like you know the absolute best, the infinity, the ecstasy- maybe one day they'll all be listening again, listening to you electrify their minds and bodies with your truth that sizzles better than any other – it's like old days but so much better.
Under the cloth mask (it's hot, really, and your hair is trapped under it, but you know you've been looking better lately- you've cleared your mind and spend less time sulking tirelessly lately, you have the energy to make yourself look better than the old time! Even better-
Oh spirits so much better
All it takes is one hand spirits one hand can't I have so much more
You fluidly, sharply, bend yourself backwards (do you see those rich triad benders in as good shape as you are? They'd never be able to handle this because all they do is wave their hands but you've always done so much more than that, of course, you deserved better than making the water unnatural and impure with your influence) as you turn your head and you see that Mako run forward, trying to get you down- one of your comrades (you'd prefer to work with less people, of course, but sacrifices have to be made)
Time to be equalized his voice ricochets in your head again, rough and caressing like a woman's desirous whisperings as she'd tempt you other to heights of extremes, time to be equalized for the city! For the world! You openly scowl as the words shift and run into each other as you can't figure out if the speaking is obscured by people's yelling or if it's a radio playing even though neither seem to be true- Mako's gone by the time you check to see if your useless comrade is unconscious or has just fallen and you snap your arm out with fabulous justice because if he can't do this then he's not worthy of equality and he should fall and fail like the loser scum he is to knock down your panting, tired, other comrade to the ground and step forward, grinning to yourself with pride as you kneel the way those winning soldiers do to emperors in all the stories, you kneel and stamp your glove to the ground and send a wave of electricity and arch your back and laugh to yourself silently as that earth-boy Bolin falls to the ground but he picks himself up and you growl as he makes his polluted dirt and leaves coil out and drag you to the ground on your face-
"You'll all regret that!" You smirk even though he probably can't see and you squint as the sudden light hits your eyes- this idiot's broken your goggles, but that's okay, you don't care who knows, better they see you as the amazing revolutionary you are, than as some pathetic waste who they last saw looking drowned and broken- they should know that maybe if they're lucky you can help them be the way you are- he shakes his head.
"Who's next? Who wants me?" you goad them, as you squint and grit your teeth and try to rub the dirt from your clouded eyes they all want you they want to break you but they don't know that you're water through and through, you can boil and freeze and evaporate and flow downdowndown but in the end there's nothing they can do to you that will make you burn to ash like they all want you and people like you- you raise your eyebrows at your comrades who will never rise as high as you have already, you wave your gloved, decorated, metallic gloved hands at the whole world so they can see how illuminated you are with the true spirit of what this city should be, shining and beautiful and ruthless and not changed, but becoming- becoming the person you know you've been meant to be-
The panes of glass, you'll break them to show how it excites you, this work, and Amon will shower you with the honors you've worked for, really worked for but not failed because as long as you're like this you've already won, you're steps ahead of the person you once were because the spirit the water spirit inside of all the water people that only you seem to want to hear as it tells you how you can be how you deserve so much better than you are you must do this for them all because how can this world run when the people who run it are destined to be defeated – water, such a beautiful, genius, worthy, spirit-
It's so hard to keep track of looking at one person or thing at a time, almost like you used to be, but instead of seeing everything as a target the way oldweakyou would have, you see the whole world as one that needs to be hit so hard that they'll never see it coming they won't feel a thing and then they will! They will! And your mouth will turn up in satisfaction and you will lead on the world and everyone will love you for it-
In the window your smooth face looks gray but that's just against that filthy dirt-stained glass isn't it and that earthbender's attack even though your face does look somewhat hollow but your thick, great hair waves like an ocean around your head, framing your face and you notice- you must not have noticed this morning those stupid dead ends it's like they've taken over half your hair as it frays out like it's burned but it's not it just looks undone and your eyes twitch uncontrollably but that must be just that damned dirt – what a mess, you expect better of yourself- and for a moment you almost consider tossing the nearest bender you see through the glass (it's just the first floor anyway, and they won't lose anything if they're away from you, it's mercy) when you see those soft-but-steel blue eyes coming through and her face you think they must be playing tricks on you those petty, revolting people but she crashes through as she always does, fast and bold, as if nobody matters except the people she saves or something you don't even understand her because she's just so infuriating, she's never understood what it's like, she probably never will (of course if you think about it you'd never have expected yourself to come so far) but she doesn't want to understand, does she? She's the Avatar, after all- no matter how much her soul is made of water she doesn't see that she needs to accept that part and not what the spirits have allowed her to have- why take what you're given when you can take what you should have-
No place for you anymore
"Hey, Avatar," you greet her, your voice lowering along with your bowed head, half covered with the torn mask, waving your hand with sweeping extravagance and respect or whatever the flowing current (electricity and water, time to make the world scream and feel and sparkle) is making you do- your hand almost flops down under the weight of the grand glove, and your head slowly rises to make contact with her eyes and it takes a long moment so thick and full of potential you can almost penetrate it and crack it open and bathe in its shock and she looks at you as if she's never seen before and she steps back in – in- her face registers in horror and it must be because of some reason maybe she thought you'd died maybe she thought you'd never do this terriblehorriblething or you don't even care what they say about your group anymore, you're better than most of those megaphone-wielding henchmen anyway, your mind's been opened and the water satiated the desperate, hollow dryness you never knew was inside- she straightens up, and reaches back her hand as you slide forward, the buttons and gears whirring on your gloves-
"Why don't you give it a try, Avatar?" you draw out her title, rolling your shoulder and flipping your hair forward just like the time you met her but you're really professional now, "you deserve so much better than that…" your hand takes a moment to straighten itself out from its waving to perch itself on your hip why doesn't she get it why doesn't she want it doesn't everyone want it doesn't everyone need it she's not just a bender she's supposed to be the balance- "Now, how are you going to save the world when what you'd do to save it …..is just going to be..." you lick your lips as you bend on one knee, knowingly exchanging an unreturned glance at her, guiding her hand to your head- not at the exact spot, you haven't figured that out and it's not your job anyway, but the point gets across, you're sure- " turned equal and gone?" she glares at you, biting her lip so hard you can feel it, yanking her hand back, her fingers tensing.
"No, Tahno. I'm not giving myself up." Before your hands can work she grits her teeth and almost pauses before sending forth a spark of fire, not large enough to kill you- because she's no killer, right, even the Avatar wouldn't admit to being what a bender is- a raging noise of exasperation emits from your throat as the glove catches fire and you frantically wave it so hard your whole body waves with it and you bare your teeth and exert your strength but the fire catches so you rip it off and violently throw it to the side before it gets bigger – at least you have the other! Yes, she won't stop you again, she won't see you as just the person she knew, the one who walked like a winner but always, always fell in her eyes.
"You wouldn't be." This isn't the time, you know, Amon wants her as soon as possible and you don't want her to harm the world or herself any longer, that's not what you're trying to do you want her to get it- your voice shakes with passion. "When I needed it…it came for me and…" your eyes twist upwards, so deep in thought, you can nearly feel the water (but in thought only. The thing about the water is that you can only feel it in your soul- otherwise it must be cleansed. Must be. ) Your strained eyes see, though, see what she can't- "And now I'm free , Avatar, I'm so free of who I was, I'm...my soul is water, but I've let go of having the water. It didn't belong to me. I'm…" you exhale, a half smile working over your face gradually, your mouth slightly open. "Flowing." The current from your gloves from that skipping voice that's either from the stage or the radio the feel of Korra's eyes the feeling of the future that you can make it tears through you seductively, releasing you from your failures as who you were, you tilt back your head and close your eyes, raising your other hand, the relaxing sensation of your stretching arm making you want to take her in your other hand and rule the world with her so she can know, so you can be the one to cleanse the Avatar, give two people who have no place, make the world their place- slowly, your eyelids separate and just as they do you see her face.
She frowns, not in anger, you can't tell exactly through the haze, through your own thoughts, it's distracting- her eyelids furrow softly and a pretty face like that, if only she had made the right choices, maybe she will- she swallows hard. "I'm so sorry," she looks at you, not in confrontation like she used to, she looks at you in a way you hadn't been used to and you can't put your finger on it- you can't why can't you you can feel everything else what is this what is she doing oh spirits why are you always letting yourself be lower than her- she braces back her body as if she's preparing for you to attack her and you look at your hands to remember which one the glove was on and before you know what she's doing a wave larger than the two of you slams against you and fills your face and knocks you into the wave and after a few moments of you letting out screams that die in your closed mouth, wildly flailing your body to get out of this filth she's thrown at you, this bending-stained water- after it churns around you , you scramble to your glove, even if it shocks you, you've felt worse, it'll still get her, your hair obstructs your vision so you snap your head up and snatch the glove before she can take it and you try and force yourself to do it- and you see her face strained as she observes you, as if she's afraid or grieving for what she can lose- she's sorry-aren't we all? She has so much to apologize for and so do you but soon she can be so much better-
Your jaw drops open as you try to get it to work but it's so drenched by her water that the technology (that's all the kind of power that will be needed, none of that unnatural filth) is not working somehow- and you lunge your arm forward anyway- "just like this! Just- like -this," you seethe, almost hoping she'll see- but she shakes her head at you, closing her eyes.
"You didn't let go," she says after a moment, almost as if she's upset for some reason, maybe because she's just that foolish Avatar who doesn't know what she wants, who doesn't know the right way to get it- her voice is like metal, cold and not loud but too tight to be too quiet. "And that's why you can't be free."
You almost protest again but she sends a smaller curve of water towards you, no, Korra, no, that's not how you get what you need in this world anymore, if you're going to fight hard you have to do it the way we do it don't you get it don't you get it? Someone can show you – immobilizing you and you silently grind your teeth and force your arms but she's got you trapped in her water- you don't want to look at her face anymore so you close your eyes again the way she's got to see you as forever by now, trapped in a body that can't do what she thinks you need to do- by the time the binding wears off and slides off, she's found a way off and you've opened your eyes and you can hear her vaguely far off, yelling something. The way she does, making everyone know that it might take one hand but she can decide what she needs to do. Balance. Balance what does that even mean anymore didn't you know didn't you live it weren't you doing it! weren't you- you were so why is it
The water, you know , is supposed to feel wet as blood and cold as ice, the way only those horrible, weak, power-mongering people throw it. But it doesn't, it clings to you and seeps inside and you find your destroyed gloves and scrape them against your body until your rigorous, exhausted breaths slow down, until the water soaks into them but you still feel its mark on you- you forget what it had felt like. And that's for the better of course why would anyone want it why would anyone want to need it you can't remember of course why would you cling to it the way it tries to cling to you-
You gnaw at your thinned lips until the top layer of skin rips but your body is still drenched and you fall to the ground , labored breathing, your head lying in a cool, flat pool of water-
When you close your eyes and the black behind your eyelids twists to green and blue you still feel it tormenting you and vacantly your mouth opens and you forget the feel of blood at the price, the equal sacrifice, isn't it, you don't remember electric rage and ecstasy coursing through you, you don't remember how her face almost looked sad, and as you drift away you wonder if this war will be won by the time you come back out of unconsciousness and the water that once would have soothed you erodes frigidly at you and it's not equilibrium, not at all, you can't even give yourself what you deserve and your mind screams obscenities to the spirits and your mouth freezes shut in exhaustion, freezes words you can't make out since they're all twisted together in your head, words you could have tried to tell her or maybe you did but couldn't if you tried, not through all that chaos-
You don't want it, you can't fight it now, but your soul still tries to remember how it felt once.
I didn't think I was going to continue but it keeps coming back, despite the fact that I have a ton of other stories I've already begun, but this one…I like it. Not sure where exactly this will end.
So I have the idea, based ff some others' theories that Amon uses his waterbending to heal Equalists when they need it and the idea just kind of ran away with me.
And your head hits the ground and you feel the world in your center, spreading all out inside- you never learned about chi or chakras, you never had to,you doubt you ever will, you have no doubts in your head when you can feel so much more than words can ever provide after all they're just words and words can't shift the earth the way you will- your eyes crack open, and water sweeps away the rocks crusted over your face, the light searing into you, the light, this raging, burning, cool sensation stripping you of being grounded and weighted, guiding you upwards, arms swaying as the building collapses grandly, the walls implode on themselves and the roof tilts fatally, and you watch it, eyes misting over with the glorious beginning, you watch as the arena twists into a distorted but sharp and revised version of its own self just like you that's the point and you watche Avatar Korra soar out of it, eyes pulled open and glowing magnificently –
They call it the Avatar State don't they and she is like a spirit she is like a monster she is like the end of the world before it's remade, before you, she descends to her feet with her earth power, gliding down , she opens her mouth and you open yours in return, eyelids lowering, and she throws back her head in the screaming wind and gusts of fire roar from her mouth like a volcano and her clenched fists rise to frame the flames and her arms wave, the sound of her body moving reverberating in the breezes, and water washes over the entire surroundings and he takes her hands and you drift in the churning, crystalline, blood-colored water, you drift amidst screaming and electric waves twisting around them, you drift until they wash together onto the top of the roof and the building has half-sunken and the masses of people, equalists and benders, cling to each other in hope and confusion and Republic City at this time of night blazes even brighter than it had before it glistens and shines silently as the rest of it observes –
Avatar Korra turns to you, your arms interlocking with hers, your wet skin sliding together, your sleeves torn off by the elements and you are both coated in earth and molten metal, she draws you close to her, and you grasp her hands in return as she nods in approval – "The air shall blow the world away," she intones, the winds shrieking and railing and eroding the world as it calmly licks your face and a cool expression comes over the Avatar as you lean in and you breathe as she does in unison the two of you and you tell her "let us tear the sky from its hinges," and her hands greedily caress you as the white glow in her eyes transforms to green and the ground rumbles and she calls "the earth shall fall to pieces and remold the world," and you two grip harder and harder to each other as the city shakes and buildings crash against each other, and you moan into her ear "let us overturn the world," and her mouth upturns in glory as her eyes redden and pillars of fire snake in all directions and she feels so burning hot that you shiver and fall against her and she yells to you, "the fire shall take the earth in its grasp," and she raises you in her arms, swinging you in circular spins, bringing you down to her face and everything the whole universe could be the two of you "let us turn the world to ashes," you know, it is that's it isn't it you have something going for you don't you you have everything and her eyes are blue, blue and cool and constant and she whispers in your eyes as it rains over your heads "the world is water," the water sings and weeps and tells the stories of thousand years and the spirits rejoice and you look around and you put your fingers to her forehead and you scream or think or you don't even know it doesn't matter everyone can hear, "let us rise above the earth!" and she throws your hand off when she is done and takes her cleansed hand and smiles perfectly just as you do and she takes your hand in hers and raises it, thrusts it, high and great-
"Let us equalize the world together!" the two of you call the people together, and her fist encloses yours and she and you face each other as the people celebrate and the sky falls green with electricity and she takes you in her arms and you see she has what you have now, you see she is becoming what you are all meant to be you will never have to worry again about being the worst avatar and I will never have to worry about being special and we will lead the world and your mouth encloses around hers and the two of you are one and the city comes to a new shuttling life as the old one sinks below the water.
Behind your closed eyes you see glowing and they flicker open and you smile at yourself, your new self, your better one- you are so full of gratitude, finally, now that you have something genuine in yourself, now that you are not an empty vessel of searching for self worth-
You close them again to rest and deep voices, or more, shutter and roll.
You wake up and Amon's face surrounds you, and you wonder how all those posters stayed up but they're not posters, they're just him over and over again in his artful mask and graceful demeanor and his hands reach towards you and you can't figure out where he is, you can't sense him, but you still sense of course you do you always do don't you still feel of course that's who you are
"Amon…" you murmur, narrowing your eyes. Maybe he really is a spirit like some of them say, maybe he is not one person, maybe he is the vengeance of the earth wreaking whatever it takes to purify it once again. Or maybe he is just Amon and this is how the world works to him, maybe this is just now how you are meant to see-maybe if all changes but all is the same and all flows back to the same point that is what you are meant to live by-
He says nothing back, of course he doesn't, he only speaks when he feels need to- a hand moves over the back of your head, not comfortingly, but thoroughly. You see – you tone your eyes, thick with sleep (is that it? You don't remember a thing, you don't remember forgetting- sickness hardens in you, sickness rises but does not come) you can see yourself vaguely, and you feel the water? You feel it in you and around you? You grit your teeth, trying desperately to not hyperventilate as Amon's unface appears behind you as if he's been there as long as you have and the closer her gets to you the more you feel the water twisting-
Get him for me
"Amon…" you grin softly, mouth closed, as you gradually slide downwards onto your back and the room fills with water and Korra- her true name, her true self that she should be as you should be only you and not held down by elements but rather live with them, isn't that what Amon meant? They are nothing without their bending but with equalization they are everything- and you see her coming back and she and you are on equal terms, you are both better, you need not even say so, your thoughts lurk in your face from the way she looks at you-
Yes I have him for you I will purify the world with him I will find his center and tear it out I will have him and we will all sacrifice like the moon we will all flow away to the better future like the water we all are I will find the water in him and we will all watch him fall and rise the same as we do
Her eyes say yes, yes, as she takes your face and inhales the water from you and drinks it the way poison is drunk from a wound, when he is ours he will be the world's and we will equalize together and we will take it all in our hands and you will take his face and be his voice and I will get him and bring him to you and we will all illuminate ourselves
Coughing uncontrollably, you shake and grab hold of a headboard of a bed and feel water discharging from your throat and your eyes burn and sting as you shut them abruptly with the shock of the feeling like your chest has been ripped open-
"Calm, now," you snap your head around and your image is multiplied in mirror reflections, your hair is dull and frayed and hanging over your eyes in matted twists and your skin is covered in perspiration and dust and water and your bleary eyes twist around in disorientation as Amon's voice, his real voice, lulls you to a calm, just like he always succeeds that voice that voice it leads a revolution as he seals the fate of his identity that's what he does right? He immortalizes himself as an idea, drifting away, to be remembered however he is spoken of but he knows how he will truly be? Whatever is in his head is behind a wall, a thousand walls and a thousand reflections slamming off each other until it is unclear which one is true-
"You swallowed a great deal of the Avatar's water," he says in a tight voice and you wonder how he feels about you being so close but having failed to solve her, his voice shows no anger but it never shows anything, that's why he's come so far, he never shows what he has so he never reveals what can be taken from him, oh you follow him for that, oh you'd take his beautiful composure right apart for that until he begs until he needs to be purified- his voice snaps you back. "My Lieutenant-" his Lieutenant what am I then I'm not higher in rank but I'm better than all of them don't you know it that's why your voice is almost cracking like that because I know both sides I know the water it left and lives and thrives and I know how - "found you unconscious. Thankfully he is not one who believes in leaving behind fallen comrades…" he speculates, leaning closer over you until you see the stillness, eerie and cold, in his eyes, so unmoving and eternal- you assume he pounded at your windpipe or something, so suddenly. made sure your body would be expelled of what her work put in you." "Tahno," he revels in your name. "You know her, don't you? The Avatar."
You raise your head with pride and unflinching conviction, the slyness that once seared in your eyes back and reeling as you grin unevenly, folding your hands over your head, sitting up and swinging hald out of the bed, despite Amon's half-hearted careful now don't you know what you've just had happened, you know he knows you don't need to be careful, you look him, leering into his face, "yes, Amon." You tell him and he will lead you to her and won't that be amazing and you will show her you have him and you will show him you know what this world is run from, equality and everything will be the best, the absolute best, with no competition. "I know I will find her again."
He nods to himself maybe he's keeping you in check maybe he thinks you're just another failure maybe he thinks you need to be expelled from the earth and you're not even close to being equal you're just trapped in between – no- you shudder at the very thought, you'll never let that happen to you, you'll never be defined by what you can't be- who are you you think and wonder if Amon knows you think it of him, who are you, you realize, he has no hard truth in himself anymore, he's equalize because he's transcended it all- your eyes stare, unblinking, how could you never have thought of that? No, you didn't have to, because it was clear, it was as clear as you are unclear but you don't need clarity you have everything-
You are nothing and you are never going to be equal you are hollow and dependent- you almost hear his voice say that. He couldn't, he knows that's not true!
"Yes, Tahno. I am sure you can. Tell me…what finding her means to you," you can tell from his tone how imperative it is to him that he overtakes Korra's advances- you can tell he needs her , you can tell he doesn't want to need anything but he has to or else he would have nothing to fight for if he had nothing to fight against that's that there that is true equality isn't it- you rub your eyes, standing up, and he stands back, seemingly surprised that you're on your feet but what do you have to lose really what do you have to lose?
"It means… I know I will," you repeat, almost disgruntled, but not really, not with him, "it means we will both have …our intended truth." You smirk at this prospect, as if it's gleeful to even know it's going to happen and he crosses his arms- you wonder if he's warm or cold or if he even notices. "By the way," you extend your words, wriggling your fingers in a gesture of good terms because no matter what he thinks of you now you don't see him as any less, and you don't want him to think there's any bad blood between you oh what a funny expression there wouldn't be any blood in the first place? You shake your head at this nonsense in your thoughts. Looking around, away from him for a moment, you can see so many of the two of you, back and front and distorted and so many…you don't even know where to begin, it's like a jewel, eternal reflections of you and him and buried truth in those mirrors in this room- (you'd have thought he'd hate mirrors anyway) "the sights in my sleep I had while I was out…" you smile dreamily and distant and your eyes bore right through him as his body tenses, as if he could look any more stiff , you thought he couldn't but you made him prove you wrong! "I saw," you breathe. "I saw what we can do." You and her and maybe him, if he decides to keep on after this revolution is done- but you don't tell him that. He doesn't need to worry his head over what you can do, not his dedicated worker, cleaned amidst the filth-
"Good. Get better soon," he says shortly, exiting the room and you see him entering in the mirror and you want to crack open his reflection so he can see how you are the way you've been cracked open and snapped and brought your other selves back into the one you are now-
He needs you following behind to lead.
Your hands feeling their way over your arms, you stretch luxuriously, looking back at the reflections as you lead the room.
And I will have you and I will have it all and we will all be electrified under the new world.
Here’s kind of a mini chapter.
Now that you think of it, every day it gets easier- no no no that won’t do, that won’t do at all. Easy is a word you would use to use, a word of indolence and uselessness, a word that doesn’t give the proper glory when it’s due and oh spirits it is due, more than due- you can feel it, the time is coming, but not now. Because soon the solstice comes to Republic City, from what you remember, it’s soon, though you hadn’t been keeping track of time…
In the bed Amon or the other Equalists or someone had set for you (you hadn’t asked him when he came and he hasn’t come back) you had dreams in your sleep, but it’s really more like being in a divide, not quite conscious and not exactly asleep. Somewhere in between or somewhere entirely separate.
Apparently, you had hit your head quite hard, but the reason why Amon had kept you away was because you had somehow contracted a fever. Somehow you hadn’t noticed among the more important things to notice but who has time to keep track of the small filth underneath when all the bigger things are outside and out in the open, clear enough so that you can see and pretend you understand?
Slight noises come out of your throat as you exert yourself to move out of bed, starting with your arms. Strange, you really can’t remember at all the last time you ate although your throat is cool and nourished and smooth, unlike the rest of you, heated and blurred with sickness (but not too bad, nothing can be too bad, nothing will ever be too bad. You are an Equalist, running like a current, blazing and unbroken. Unbroken, you can remember that, keep it at the side of your head always there no one can ever take it out you can never doubt it you’ll never -) you bite your lip, cringing (only for a second, nothing can be that bad) as your eyes flutter shut, but you force them open. This is not what you have fought for, is it? You didn’t rise from the past drenched in dust and alcohol so you can just end up having to be picked up again.
You stumble out of the tangled mess of sheets from the bed (rather unglamorous but really you haven’t expected much that was, that which glitters is gold and gold isn’t always what you need to pay with), supporting yourself by putting your hand on the mattress, trying to walk forward. Of course you’ve succeeded, it’s just a sickness after all, people have fought in worse, haven’t they?
Those mirrors swoop endlessly in sharp, cold, planes around you, as if it’s supposed to be a display of thoughts (you have no idea how that conclusion came to you No idea at all, you tell yourself. It’s better to be empty than afraid. Maybe it really is at this point). You walk forward through them, it’s like a small hallway, full of your flattened hair and wrinkled uniform and-
There’s a flash of red, but you never wear red.
You wildly snap your head around, turning on your heels, seething in confusion you never let your guard down who is in this room- there are no footsteps, nothing you can sense, no movements except for your own because you move like the livid electricity with some of the pure, thinned, essential water in there but not too much, not too much stuck inside festering the way you used to. How filthy you used to be (if anyone would ask they’d think it was your decadent presentation, no it was what lay inside of you, what ran through the way blood should run- good thing, you never learned the twisting of blood and breaking down of bodies). You swallow hard, looking at your hands, thinking of it. You were never really happy then, were you? No, that wasn’t it, happiness isn’t the point. What does that mean, anyway? What’s the point of being completely miserable and worthless as yourself when you can be an improved self?
You don’t see the red anymore, but further down the little hall of mirrors, there’s one mirror that seems to hold them all together, glistening in rainbow hues from how crystal-cleaned it is, and you look to it and you don’t understand why because most will not see your face but you smile for it, mouth closed and jaw trembling with illness or something else you don’t feel to examine, you didn’t get up to think about getting down; you push back your hair from your sallow face and wave to yourself and close your eyes and you can feel yourself, feet planted and agile on the stage, standing over Amon’s half-conscious body (mask still on, of course, you follow him and one day you will surpass even what he seems to expect, what does he expect? You don’t know. He’s another person. How can you completely know someone else if you don’t really want to know yourself?
That stings but you ignore it. You pretend it is a speck of dust and you are an electric shock, sparking off a revolution that will let you rise above the earth.
And you imagine analyzing sensuously the way his body courses like a stream, almost like yours, once, but almost is the difference between life and death, you imagine taking his hand and placing your fingertips to his so carefully every movement sets off sensations within you and the only option is to make a new balance, make a new loss so every other gain can be made just like you know- you know something is going to happen, more than a speech or another failed capturing of Korra-
It’s odd, thinking of her as her name. You wonder for a half-second if she thinks of herself as Korra or as The Avatar. But she’s both. How? You can’t be too many things and all there’s room for is the Avatar but she could do it, couldn’t she?
You clench your fist and teeth thinking of Amon’s blood and spirit drifting away as the ground shifts and you and the rest of the city take the new world and you think of Korra as a leader without elements languishing inside and you can sense her hand pushing at you, wake up, you’re in there somewhere, and you hiss because you almost heard it, heard you need to sort it all out, but you are? You did? You are? And the red spreads over the mirror until you see a grotesquely, mockingly calm reflection of masks leering at you in the mirrors and your breath catches and your hands rush to your face and your eyes close intoxicatingly slow and you are in between again, or you were in the first place, or always- get out.get out. Get out.