Summary: Mako finally admits his love to Korra. You could say this is a bit angsty.
Pairing: Makorra. Lots and lots of Makorra.
Rating: T (Includes swearing)
Word Count: 2196
His pride was his second greatest downfall. And his first? Korra, of course.
It was a rainy day.
It wasn’t the type of rainy day that one yearned for during a drought. It was the type that had come day after day that made you yearn for a glimpse of sunlight. One that made you crave change. And boy, did Mako want change.
Heavy bags were painted underneath his eyes and grief-induced creases on his skin paved a highway down his face. Newly born droplets stung and reached towards the edges of his eyes, but he refused to let them drive down the roads.
He was forceful against these tears. He wouldn’t let his pride to depart from him, allowing his most vulnerable state be shown. It wasn’t that he was so egotistical or arrogant in a manner that he couldn’t bare the thought of someone being a bystander of his tears— it was that he had to always be seen as a strong person. Mako always had and would be too proud to have his own self-perception of his strength be taken away from him. Always. Or so he thought.
Although, Bolin an exception. He was the only one who had ever witnessed Mako with tears crawling down his face when they both lost their parents.
The walls surrounding Mako rose up high with windows overlooking all of the people in the single-room temple. Beads of rain smashed against the glass, with their cadence steady and unbroken. The rain. That bastard. He thought. It’s only mocking my tears. It reminded him of the incessant, whining rumble of his stomach that told him that he was hungry back when he lived on the streets. And it didn’t help that water was the opposite fire, putting out the wrath of his flame either… just as Korra did.
He situated himself on top of a straw mat next to his brother in a room full of people. Aligned along the temple’s floor, he spotted the usual suspects: Chief Beifong, Tenzin, the airbender kids, Pema, and Asami. But there were others packed in every crevice who he was not familiar with. A frail, old lady clothed in water tribe garb to his left. An oblivious, young girl in traditional fire nation attire on his right. There was even a man wearing a green robe woven completely out of silk who was situated directly in front of him. They had all come so far— from every direction of the nations— just to see Korra. She was identified as something that Mako had never really pictured her as. To Mako, Korra was just a girl that he cared about. Everyone else saw her as a beacon of hope. Mako simply saw her as who she really was- a headstrong seventeen year-old who had the ability to make him smile named Korra.
He swiveled his body around to gain a better view of everyone in the temple. They all had their legs crossed as if they were in meditation form, so the two brothers followed their actions in attempt to emulate their proper etiquette.
A man and a woman stood together at the front of the temple. The man, who had dark and leathery skin, wore a fur pelt with his hair slicked back in a small ponytail. He had a husky appearance, but there was this warmth that emitted from him and the woman that Mako could sense. He had never seen them before, but despite their age, he thought that they were beautiful. Not a conventional idea of beauty, but one of those rare types that not many couples possessed. They weren’t the perfect and cliché couple. They were just a couple who seemed like they would be happy together.
But instead of happiness, Mako only saw devastation plastered on their faces.
The man moved his fingers to a microphone to tap its surface before speaking. “Hello everyone.” Tap tap tap. “I’m Tonraq, and this is my wife, Senna.”
Could they be..?
“We know that many of you are here to see our daughter, Korra,” the woman began to speak, “And we really do hope that you ask the spirits to make sure that she will always be happy from now on.”
That was it. They were her parents. No wonder he thought that they were so beautiful. He saw Korra in them. Ounces and ounces of Korra.
Senna had definitely passed down her eyes to Korra. They were his utmost, favorite quality of Korra’s. Those eyes. They were so goddamn distinctive. They were spheres of radiance that haunted him in the night and followed him around during the day. It was quite funny, actually. No matter what, that special way that they averted and changed so suddenly when Mako spoke to her would never leave his mind.
Sometimes, if he looked really closely, he could see the ocean in them.
Mako studied and gazed at Senna’s eyes, but they pierced his own. It was too similar to looking into Korra’s, and Spirits, did he miss looking into hers. Don’t let them see you cry, he told himself. You’re stronger than that. You can’t let Bolin see you like this.
Senna continued. “She was a gift from the spirits that we were all so lucky to have in our lives.” At this point, Tonraq had to allow Senna to lean against his chest to stop her flow of tears. Mako wished that he could do that to Korra once more, just as she had during that time they found her after she was captured by Tarrlok. Senna breathed heavily and calmed down. “I remember letting her go to Republic City. I remember seeing her riding Naga in the opposite direction of home for the last time. That day- that last day, we told her that we loved her, and I hope that she knows that we still do. It was so hard to have the constant reminder that your own daughter was born for something so big be a regular thought in our heads, but she had a destiny that needed to be fulfilled. We had to let her go, just like all of you do now… but… we want you all to appreciate how beautiful she is once more, so we’ve decided to have an open casket for Korra.”
How could he confront her again? She was dead. Gone. Yet Mako wouldn’t allow himself to believe it. There were still so many things that he never had the chance to say to her-that he simply couldn’t ever tell her because he was too proud and afraid. He only ever let his tiny actions portray what he really wanted to let out. He never even told her how much he loved her. The thing was, he didn’t even know how to say it.
There was a gathering of people around her coffin with tears in their eyes. They shared their small and petty encounters they had with Korra with each other and sobbed over the fact that she was gone. Why was it that they could let themselves cry and mourn, but Mako only refused? They didn’t even know her as well as he did and they were crying.
Bolin stared at Mako with concern. “You gonna go up and see her, bro?”
Mako just sat, unable to move. Detached. Murky. Numb, but still feeling. He blurred his vision so he could imagine himself elsewhere. Some place where he wouldn’t have to feel this burden.
“Nah,” Mako replied to Bolin with a blank face. “I’m just gonna stay here.”
“You sure?” Bolin asked raising his left eyebrow up, already making his last house call (or what he pretended it to be) to Korra.
Mako only responded with a slight nod.
He heard her brother talking to her, as if she could respond. It was something Bolin did. Like with Pabu, for example. “I miss you, Korra. Come back?” and “Remember that time when we went and had noodles and we were on the rooftop?” and “I wish you were here to see everyone that’s here to see you.”
Bolin was bawling at this point, but Mako didn’t move an inch towards Korra or Bolin. Bolin looked back at his brother, wondering why Mako refused to see Korra, but Mako was glued to the ground. Mako spotted the sorrow that was slathered on top of Bolin’s face. Bolin didn’t care that people saw how he felt; he simply showed it.
More and more people lined up to see Korra. Some shared their hopes and sympathy with her parents. Nonbenders and benders, fire nation citizens and water nation citizens. They were all connected and all intertwined by one person: Korra. She was one person who had the ability to affect how people felt at such a massive number, especially him. But now that she wasn’t there anymore, Mako had a lump in the back of his throat that signaled his thirst for Korra’s special ability. He wanted to be able to affect, to change.
And because he did not possess this ability, he realized that the way he felt was irrelevant to the grand scheme of things. That he couldn’t bring Korra back; that instead he could only weep. That he couldn’t change the fact that she wouldn’t come back. That he was merely a boy who was in love with the avatar. That he was an infinitely small part of history. That he wasn’t the only one who felt, and that his feelings for her-albeit how strong they were- would not have an effect on anybody else but himself.
Death’s the biggest bitch. He thought. You can’t just throw somebody’s life away without reason. You can’t take her away like that.
Yet he still couldn’t let himself believe she was gone until he saw her one last time.
Standing up, Mako swallowed his pride up whole. He didn’t take a bite at it or even chew it up before it was devoured. It would have to wait. His single, greatest downfall would always overpower his second. He put off his last bits of self-restraint just for Korra.
With steady steps and clenched fists, he made his way towards her casket.
He was afraid. Afraid that the site of her would be similar to seeing an ex-lover who had left him, only to have become an entirely different person with a new man. But the moment that he laid his eyes on her once more, he realized that she was still the same person.
His first impression was her beauty. It was, in fact, the main reason why they left her casket open. So people could appreciate how beautiful she was on the exterior and interior.
But to Mako, beautiful was an understatement.
I need you. You’re beautiful. I miss you so much. He wanted to scream. But instead, he allowed his actions to speak for him as he stroked her face, brushing the hair that cascaded over her closed eyes. The things he would do to see those eyes again. He needed to see them again.
Spit it out. It needs to be done. Mako told himself. He was choking, trying to let the words out.
Typical Mako. Even though she was inaudible, he still couldn’t utter the words out of his mouth. He could only stand there and want and ache and need.
Soon, he was joined by Senna and Tonraq along by his side. Their flow of tears would not cease, and even though they tried to stay strong, they were able to let go. They stared at their daughter, hand in hand, and whispered their last words to her. “We love you, Korra.”
“We all do.” Mako finally whispered. The words seeped out of his mouth joined by the tears, all jumbled and disorganized. “I love you.”
His tears manifested his face, replacing every ounce of pride that filled the cracks of his skin with the love he felt for her that led to sorrow.
And with those four words, he came out of hiding. He allowed himself to do as what her parents did: to let go. He released the tears, along with the words that he had tried to get out of his mouth for the longest time. And what hurt the most was the silence that ensued after his words. His love was permanently unrequited. How could somebody who couldn’t hear him love him back?
The rush of a realization overcame him as if the wind suddenly began to blow into his face.
She was dead. He knew now. Korra was gone for good.
Later, it was decided by Tenzin’s family to have an annual memorial for Korra on the day of her death at Air Temple Island.
Year after year, Mako returned. And year after year, he would look at Senna’s eyes and pretended that they were Korra’s. It was the closest that he would ever get to seeing hers again. As long as Senna was alive, there would never really be a last time to seeing Korra’s eyes.
And sometimes, if he looked really closely, he could see the ocean in them.
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