25 - Hotblack
Tahno learned the trick to perfect eyes early on in his probending career by visiting the lovely ladies in the red light district. All it really took was the application of a little heat and a steady hand. Maybe it was a bit old school, but the technique always worked like a charm.
13 - Hands in the Sky (Big Shot)
The first time Korra ever heard of Tahno of the White Fall Wolfbats was also, coincidentally, the day of the Wolfbats' first loss inside the pro-bending stadium. They were a rookie team and though they fought valiantly, displaying their grit for the world to see, in the end their heads hung in defeat. Even so, the story of their guts inspired her, listening to the match halfway around the world.
The first time Korra met Tahno, she was wholly disappointed. He was so unlike the boy she had cheered on during that fateful match. Instead, he was a cheat and a womanizer, with an ego the likes of which she had never seen before. She was immediately disenchanted.
5 - Make the Deadeye Miss
He'd watched all the Ferrets' matches lately, just to watch her bumble her way around like the amateur she so obviously was. The avatar did have one thing going for her though. Even caught up in the passion of the competition, whether it be excitement or frustration or anger, her aim was painstakingly accurate. He figured he could fix that and, when the opportunity was dropped into his lap, he sought to unravel her focus over noodles and verbal jabs. It wasn't until the headgear was flushed from his face that Tahno realized how imprudent that had been.
2 - Passion
Her chest heaved, lungs desperately trying to refill themselves after the morning's exertions, and her azure eyes were a sight to behold, backlit by the intensity of emotion. The fervor driving her only lent her a moment for pause before throwing her headlong back into her task. A fierce bend of her wrist resulted in the satisfying sound of ripping paper. "Take that, stupid hairbender!"
3 - Swan Song
Contrary to popular opinion, the worst thing that Amon did to him was not the act of removing his bending. No, the true evil of it had been where the Equalist had chosen for it to happen, in the one place that he should have reigned as king, a living legend even upon retirement. For Tahno, that was what was truly unforgivable.
4 - Asterisk
Reading the daily paper could be, by turns, either highly entertaining or intensely aggravating. For Tahno, the deciding factor was whether it was his name or her name included in the headlines. His name, normally in parenthesis under some political comic, brought out the best of his witty sarcasm; truly it was fun to tear apart the idiots who came up with this crap. Her name brought about a host of conflicting feelings that he was not willing to indulge. He'd spend the rest of the day, and sometimes the next, doing so anyway.
1 - Distance
She was everywhere, coursing through his veins, enveloping each and every cell of his being. Her warmth radiated to his very soul, comforting, healing, repairing the damage that had been done as his essence of being had been rent from him. Then she was gone, her duty having been fulfilled, and though his bending had been returned, he realized he was far from whole.
21 - Curare on Your Lips
"Want to have go, little girl?" A deep voice hummed in her ear, laced with innuendo, its owner invading her personal space with more familiarity than their situation warranted. "Or are you afraid that you can't handle me?"
"Oh, I can take you." Korra scoffed, then shoved him hotly into the wall at his back. "The real question is whether or not you can take me."
Tahno tilted forward, ignoring the contempt on her face as she found him once again too close, too intimate with the air she was breathing. "It would be a pleasure, Uh-vatar."
And then he was gone, gracefully exiting the alleyway their exchange had just taken place in, leaving Korra behind to fume, punching walls in the absence of his face. And Tahno knew he wasn't entirely pleased with the outcome of the situation he had instigated, but he couldn't say the things he really wanted to. Because he wasn't her friend or lover or anyone that could make a claim on her. He was barely an ex-rival and so he swallowed everything else, those sentiments sliding down his throat like poison, and tried to be content with the place he had in her world.
6 - The Kill
Korra knew Mako loved her, more certain of his love than she was of the air she breathed, more firm in it than the earth beneath her feet, more persuaded by it than the ocean under the moon's pull, more guided by it than the moth to the flame. His loyalty however, she constantly second guessed. For if he could kiss her, care for her, long for her, when he was with another, surely he could cheat her in a like manner someday. What was unexpected, though, was that when the betrayal finally came it was in her own quarters, him grinding Asami, merely a vessel to be used for his pent up aggression, roughly into her bed with her name on his lips.
7 - Touch This Light
Narook's was the best place to drown a waterbender's sorrows. No one asked questions, there were plenty of dark, hidden corners to skulk about in, and it was permeated with the scent of home, not to mention the old man never bothered to ask for identification. So Korra, rather than tear her ex-boyfriend's limbs from his unfaithful body, fled to the only place in the big city that felt like a refuge to consume copious amounts of liquid fire. She was interrupted halfway through her second bottle. "Calm down, Uh-vatar, you're positively glowing." The voice came out as a purr and a slender finger lifted her chin. "And it's scaring off the customers."
8 - Lazy Eye
Morning arrived to the pounding of her heart pulsing behind her eyes, like the steady, loud beat from the drumline of the Avatar Day parade. Nausea clutched her insides and she slowly forced her eyes open. Fear immediately replaced the nausea when the realization that she couldn't recognize anything about her surroundings hit.
"My, my, a bit jumpy this morning, Uh-vatar?"
"Tahno?" Korra eased herself back into the bed, relieved, closing her eyes to the pain that came with her panicked movements. "What... happened?"
"You drank three bottles of Narook's strongest liquor and then promptly passed out." A feral grin curled around the man's mouth. "On my lap, no less. Considering the circumstances, I figured you'd rather come here than your little island."
"Umm, thanks." Her eyes opened to hold a proper conversation, but quickly shut them again. "For La's sake, put a shirt on!"
"Really, you should enjoy the show, sweetheart." He had to dodge a pillow, accurately thrown at his face despite her invalid condition, but complied with her request anyway. "He's an idiot, you know."
"Yeah, I know." Her reply was muffled by cotton, feathers, and tears.
9 - Shooting Star
He's in the shower, rinsing himself of the sweat and the heat and the frustrations of the day, when he hears the creak of a door opening. And suddenly, she's there, though fully clothed, with him. The steam clings to her body in a way that is nothing short of fascinating to him, hugging her hair, her skin, in what only mimics how he wants to be on her, in her. But he can't move. He's paralyzed by the mere sight of her, as she falls to her knees, her mouth, her tongue, her hands, nearly bringing him to his own. But then, his fingers are in her wet hair, holding her in place as his climax overtakes him. When he has released all he has to give and she gratefully swallows, a gentle smile graces her lips and he is undone.
And then he awakes, the dream waning like the moon giving way to the sun, and regret sinks in. Whether it is because he let her sleep off her hangover in his bed, leaving behind her scent to fill his senses, or because she only slept in his bed, he has not yet determined.
10 - Come
Dreams rarely come to Korra. Instead she has visions, sometimes nightmares, and there is always, always someone trying to tell her something. They are about things she should seek, things to avoid, impending disasters, people to cherish, mistakes made, and lessons hard learned. They are always related, sometimes directly, sometimes in ways undefined, to her role as the avatar. So when she finally dreams, the first time in more years than she cares to remember, about something only concerning her, Korra, she is taken aback, partly at the rarity of it and partly because it happened the very night after she left Tahno's house. She doesn't see the correlation, but she writes it down anyway, for posterity's sake, while she can still recall the details, and she is taken by surprise again. Because the hands on her swollen belly are pale, with slender fingers, missing the scars she took for granted would be there. Because the hair of her partner is a little too dark, a little too long. Because the eyes that should be gold are ice and silver and moonlight and beautiful. And perhaps... perhaps someone is still trying to tell her something.
18 - Action is the Anecdote
He notices that she starts frequenting the noodle shop on a fairly regular basis, entering all pissed off at the world, tense and altogether unfriendly looking, then leaves, normally a couple hours later, relaxed, if not quite happy. The first few times she doesn't even see him, too wrapped up with whatever has her knickers in a knot to notice. But after he positions himself directly in her way, boldly choosing to sit at her booth, with or without an invitation, she has no choice but to acknowledge him. At first she does so with sharp sarcasm and barely veiled threats. But they both know it's all a facade because she's supposed to hate him on the principle of their shared past. But gradually, after a half-dozen such meetings, it relaxes into a shared camaraderie at the scoundrel of a firebender's expense. After another handful more, a whole new undercurrent has developed, but they're both too swept up in it to see the danger of drowning. All she knows is that she has found a retreat, while what he realizes is that he likes being the one to take the weight off her shoulders.
11 - Long Kiss Goodbye
"Master Katara?" Her voice trembled lightly, as did her hands which clung to her precious sifu, mentor, friend, and waited to be recognized by familiar, failing eyes.
"Ah, Korra, I have been waiting for you."
"I know. I'm here." The avatar turned her head, struggling for composure. Small sobs caught viciously in her throat, threatening the poise she was trying so hard to affect. "I... I have a gift for you before you... before you go."
"I know. Take heart, dear, I am more than ready to receive it."
Light emanated from within the girl, enveloping the room in a soft glow, and the Master was lead, hand in hand, from this world to the next by her beloved.
12 - Let it out
Upon returning from the Southern Water Temple, Tenzin and his brood huddled together in mourning, drawing comfort in their mutual grief. Korra, however, turned to no one. Her relationship with Mako was non-existent, and by proxy the situation with Asami difficult. Anything she confided in Bolin would eventually make its way back to... well, everyone, due to his compassionate heart and loose lips. Instead, she spent her time at the ruins of the pro-bending arena. They had been left untouched since Amon's attack, a silent reminder and warning; a new arena was being built outside the city limits as a precaution, be there more terrorist attacks. There she was free to bend to her heart's relief, venting her grief in the most violent way possible on unsuspecting debris.
It was there that he found her, purely by chance, as he entered the stadium on a whim that maybe returning to the scene of the crime would give him the closure that the return of his bending had not. What he found instead was an utterly spent, fragile looking girl, passed out amidst a sea of chaos. Against his better judgment, Tahno brought her to rest in his bed once again.
20 - A Clean Shot
"I love you, Korra. But..."
"But what, Mako?"
"But you're the Avatar!"
"What does that have to do with anything? I'm just me, you know!"
"No you're not! You're them too."
"Now I'm really lost. Who are talking about?"
"Them. Your past lives. Aang and whoever else you have in there!"
"Seriously, that's what this is about? You know that it's not like they are actually living inside of me, right?"
"Maybe not, but... look, you are connected and they know everything. Even stuff that's private. As a guy it's just hard to..."
"Oh. Oh." The color left Korra's face. "Is that why you could never?"
"Look, I always dreamt about it, ok? But every time we... tried, I couldn't get it out of my head. It wouldn't just be you, it would be all of you. And I just wasn't ready to handle that."
"So I'm just the sum of my past lives? That's why you screwed Asami in my bed?!"
Needing resolution, Korra did what she always did and ran bullheaded into a conversation that could end no way other than ugly. But the outcome, the answer she received, was more piercing than she ever thought possible.
16 - Edge of the World
Korra felt closer to Princess Yue than she did to the rest of the spirit world, though it had nothing to do with spiritual matters; in those matters she felt closest to Aang, probably due to her almost familial relationship with Katara. She couldn't speak to her, though by all rights she should, but Korra felt that she could understand her. Yue's plight always tugged at her heart, especially on the nights that the moon waxed full. The avatar would gaze at her, believing her to be most unlucky. The girl only got to spend but a few fleeting moments with the love of her life before sacrificing that very life for the sake of those who never saw her for who she really was. But now when she looked up at the ethereal spirit, she hoped the princess knew just how good she really had it. At least Yue's lover had the decency to wait until she was released from this world, grieving her loss for many moon cycles, before he made love to another while under her gaze.
15 - Soul Meets Body
"So..." Nervous fingers draw patterns with the liquid inside her tea cup, while eyes flit to and fro and here and there and everywhere but to his own. "Can I ask you something?"
A pretty blush dusts her cheeks, piquing his curiosity. He raises an elegant eyebrow and puts down the paper he had been reading. "Go on."
The girl looks around the restaurant, checking to see that no one is within hearing distance, before leaning forward and whispering. "Is there something wrong with me?"
"Uh-vatar, there are many things wrong with you, I'm afraid." He looks down his nose at her in fake disdain. "You are going to have to be more specific."
"Well, I'm the avatar."
"And I'm connected to my past lives. Intimately. As in, they know everything."
"Is there a point to this?"
"Would it bother you to have sex with me?"
Tahno's eyes widen, momentarily in shock, then he also leans forward, easily spanning the small distance left between them. "Why Korra, is that an invitation?"
19 - Honesty
Tahno wishes he could laugh, because the situation is just so damn ridiculous. But he can't. He won't. Because to do so would hurt her, the girl next to him putting up a brave front, in front of the one she with whom she is most vulnerable. So instead he chokes on his derision and holds her hand under the table, all the while making nice with her adopted family and the strays they have taken in. But when everyone breaks for the night, he manages to get the firebending bastard to himself for a brief moment.
"You know, I never had any problems getting it up," He drones into Mako's ear.
The other man looks like he's about to explode, but implodes instead as he looks from Tahno to Korra and back again. The waterbender then saunters over to his date, though if he tried to label her as such she would pound him mercilessly, and says his goodbyes, lightly kissing her cheek. The innocent blush this elicits would have tipped off even the most dull as to the credibility of his insinuations, but the firebender is too lost in his own regret to see the truth written on her face.
14 - The Joker
Korra, highly competitive by nature, does not like to be one-upped. Nor does she like to be toyed with. But the more she thinks about the kiss, that patronizing, chaste little thing, the more she considers that Tahno has done both. And suddenly, she is furious. Promptly, Korra heads down to Narook's and, as he is not present in the restaurant, she exits through the back, heading directly to the outside stairs that lead to his apartment.
When he opens the door, she plows right through him to get inside and down to business, ready to bring the whole of her avatar-laden wrath upon him. Instead she sees concern in his gray eyes, discreetly checking her over for wounds, trying to figure out what exactly has happened to bring her to him in such a state. And that look is her undoing. Her lips stab for his over and over until they are both breathless. Tahno is relieved to find that he is, apparently, both the cause and the cure of her affliction.
"Are you here to give me some lessons, Uh-vatar?"
23 - Carjack My Heart
Korra knows this thing, whatever it is, that she has with Tahno is just a rebound fling to help her get over Mako. It's just a bit of kissing, a little groping, and a place to go when she wants to be destructive (like burning the brows off his cheating face), but knows that she shouldn't. Besides, she'd be a fool to expect something like a real relationship from a player of his caliber.
But sometimes, when she forgets to put her defenses up, she thinks about how he is so different from Mako. He challenges when the other would have smothered. He is accepting of what another had rejected, and he doesn't worry about protecting her body so much as he worries about protecting her mind, her emotions, her soul. Her faith in him is built upon his actions, which contrast greatly with the indelicacies that pour from his mouth, rather than the converse that was true in her previous relationship. And the more she thinks on these things, the more she is aware of just how much she desires for this all to be real.
17 - I Will Possess Your Heart
Tahno never believed in fate or destiny. Even as a child, he scoffed at the old tales, the legends, that the village elders were so fond of reciting. Life didn't work like that, with all the loose ends coming together like the wrappings on a present. It was hard and one only got what they wanted if they were willing to use any means necessary. Sure, he could dream all he wanted, but only spiritually blessed people, like the avatar, received gifts like visions of providence.
So when Korra wore that expression, he wasn't thinking of the future or destiny or any other such crap. He was thinking of her and him and what happens right now. She shoved him into his bathroom, turning the water on to full heat, and proceeded to slowly strip him. Even still, the wheels in his head refused to turn further. But when she went down on him and took him fully into her eager mouth, the deja vu triumphed, his almost forgotten vision returning in full force, and the recognition finally dawned on him that this was the beginning of his forever.
22 - Tip Taps Tip
Their first time together did not happen on the same day as his vision came to fruition. No, she was too tired and he was overwhelmed, so they just curled up in his sheets, content to call it a day. Instead, it came a few weeks later on a cool spring evening, to the melody of the gentle rain, prefaced by a tickling competition that, much to his chagrin and pleasure, Korra won by shamelessly cheating. In response, Tahno thoroughly punished her, extracting mewls and lustful moans from her lips, striking at her core with all that he had within him. As her climax drew near, she begged him to release inside and the heat of his emission drove her over the edge. Then, both sated, she used her wicked mouth to clean him off, coaxing him back into rigidity, and challenged him to another round.
24 - Judah
The cycle begins anew, and he can see bits of her, the stubbornness, the compassion, the hope, in the eyes of a small earthbending child. He prays for this boy to grow up faster, that or for himself to grow ancient just a bit more slowly, so that his final rites can be as rewarding as her master's had been.