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She wonders if it's a good sign for the cut to be brown instead of red. Probably not, she thinks - it's caked with dirt and ash and dried blood (her own and others') and it's bound to get infected if she doesn't heal it.

But for what must be the first time in her life, Korra doesn't want to bend. Isn't that all she's been doing, for as long as she can remember? Aren't things supposed to change now? Isn't it over?

The mirror shows her the Avatar, bruised and scraped and bleeding heroically, the savior of Republic City. Then she blinks and the Avatar turns into her, into Korra, who's just aching all over wants to sleep. Maybe for forever. Yeah. That sounds nice.

There are bandages under the sink. After rinsing the wound with a wet rag, she limps back into her room, hops onto the bed and draws her leg up beside her, inspecting the gash. She pokes at it and her fingers come away red. Deeper than she thought.

"Does it hurt?"

She starts and is angry for just a second - because really, you can't just sneak up on someone like that right after they've finished fighting a battle and she's still wired even though she's exhausted - but then she sees Mako standing in her doorway, and if it was anyone else she'd have expected her heart to stop pounding but it's him and he's staring at her so it doesn't.

Turning back to the injury, she shrugs, unwinding the gauze. "Not too bad," she says; he takes her response as an invitation and steps inside. "It'll heal, anyway."

He's holding his elbow stiff, but he still winces when he sits down next to her. As she wraps her leg, she notices the split lip and cut forehead and the way he's flexing his wrist, his eyes tight.

"What about you?" she asks.

Mako rubs his neck, and there's something in his gaze, he's looking at her funny again - she thinks he might be smiling.

"I'm okay."

"Are you sure?" Korra secures the bandage and shifts toward him. Before she even realizes what she's doing, she leans forward to hold his chin in her hand and brush her thumb over the scrape on his temple with her fingers in his hair. She freezes for a moment, doesn't know whether she should pull away or not, if this is against the rules anymore, but decides not to care. "That looks... pretty bad."

"It'll heal," he echoes, and why's he smiling at her like that?

Next second her breath hitches as he reaches up and takes her hand, laces their fingers and she has a flash of pretty amazing and then he kisses her, and her other hand slides around to the back of his neck and this is happening and she can taste the blood from his lip and this is all she's ever wanted from him.

It's not long enough. Instinct wants to pull him back to her but her brain won't let her.

"What was that for?" and she laughs slightly because everything seems kind of hilarious right now.

His grin turns smug, almost, victorious. "Because I can."

And if that isn't the best thought in the world... she draws him back in, sighing a finally against his mouth, and thinks she could stay like this for forever.