half free

legend of korra, korra

date posted: 2024-04-09

summary: Korra ponders rebirth.

word count: 548 words

content warnings: suicidal thoughts

notes: pre book 4 (korra alone)

"My kind of rebirth tasted like blood."
— Anna de Noailles

Dusting herself off after the match, her hands brushing against newly bloomed bruises on her hips, her thighs, Korra is reminded of the cliff, that day, how she stood and gazed at the bright, unmoving, piercing sun, and dreamed of rebirth.

It's a part of the Avatar, to be reborn: it's in her, like it was in her predecessors, her contact with them long severed, years ago, after Harmonic Convergence and its fallout. It's in her, like the power to bend earth as she does these nights in this backwater Earth Kingdom arena, her hair cut short and prickling her neck as she has a split moment to breathe before her opponent managed another hit on her.

She realizes, then, that her rebirth comes to her over and over, unending, looping, curling around her like a snake weaving itself into knots.

On that cliff, the early morning sun's rays cutting her like a blade newly sharpened, she stood alone, questioning, turning over in her head death and rebirth and the undoing of an Avatar without her bending.

Here, hidden behind arena seats and around hardened corridors and by a short cut, she's undone not by her bending, or the lack of it, but by the distortion that haunts her at every corner.

A trick of the light, a slip of the tongue, a slight in the tilt of her head as she glances behind her: it is omnipresent, the chains, the limp hair falling at her shoulders, the piercing glow of the eyes cutting into her like the sun glinting off the blade of a knife.

Korra shakes her head, then runs a hand through her hair, dust and earth debris falling out with the motion. A sigh leaves her, exhausted and resigned.

In this corridor, wrapped in these shadows, Korra blinks, and looks over her shoulder, and looks the presence in its angry, unforgiving eyes. She hears its chains rattle as it comes closer, and something akin to animal instincts seizes her for a moment, her eyebrows rising up, her lip quivering, and she bites down hard to stop it in place. She tightens her fists, locks herself down.

The Korra new to Republic City had a cliff to cling onto. She had an escape, an out.

Korra, now, with her fists shaking, too tight together, as she stares down her ghost in the shadows, its eyes biting at her like their own kind of mouth, realizes that this is it: as dirty and bloody and more than anything, lonely, as it is, this is her rebirth.

Again and again, over and over, it comes to her, with or without an escape. Again and again, she is faced with a choice: give up, give in, or take.

The Korra in this arena, surrounded by earth, the thrum of it in her teeth, has none of the escape of a cliff, none of the advice or salvation of her predecessors, none of the comfort of her friends.

Korra, in this moment, covered in debris and dust and shame, has herself and only herself. She takes a step and turns around.

As she gazes into the gaping maw of the apparition, carefully pacing forward, she thinks that an Avatar by themself is perhaps an Avatar at their most dangerous.