The full moon shines brightly on the bleach white sands of Yue Bay which faithfully reflects its glow even as Republic City’s electric brilliance out-competed them both. The waves lap at the shore like a thirsty polarbear dog on a hot summer day, sounds muffled by the constant drone of passing cars. The city is as sleepless as the ocean is restless tonight. A storm is breaking out across the sky far out to sea across the horizon. Lightning can be seen dancing across the sky from the city beach but it isn’t quite close enough for the accompanying thunder to be heard yet.
A soft glow that resembles the moon yet pales in comparison, makes its ways from the storm to the city. The ethereal blue-ish light flickers off and on again, like a candle struggling to stay lit against the ocean breeze. As it nears the harbor, passersby – if there were any to speak of – can see that source of the strange light is actually a human figure, a woman to be exact. She does not seem to be moving of her own accord; rather, it is as if an unseen force were dragging her by the shoulders. Her boots drag against the choppy ocean surface, skimming the peaks of the waves which cause water to backsplash up onto her dark blue Water Tribe tunic.
The woman does not seem to notice or care, even as the salty spray hits the fine brown and white pelt at her waist; her head is slumped forward against her chest and her back is hunched, even as her eyes dimly emit a haunting, flickering light. Wind blows around her short, silvery-grey hair – at least the parts that aren’t caked down with blood, mud, and sweat. The elements seem to be carrying her forward, guiding her to a small private spot on the beach where a dock holds a small motorboat which bore a gear and water tribe insignia on its starboard side.
The woman’s body begins to sink lower as it approaches the dock, finally coming to gently rest on the sandy beach where the tides meet land. Her breathing is shallow and the light in her eyes and around her form flicker one last time before disappearing completely. The Avatar remains motionless for a good while, sprawled out on the shore like a piece of worn drift wood. But the tide is coming in and, as if impatiently waking a young teenager who has overslept, a wave crawls up and slaps her dark, creased face.
The woman sputters the salt water from her mouth and nose as she jolts into consciousness, giving way to a fit of coughing that sucks the air painfully from her lungs. She braces her arm against the sand in order to raise herself up off the ground but a sudden pain jolting through her abdomen stops her from moving any further. She coughs and heaves several times more as she brings her other sleeved arm to wrap around her swollen middle. She grimaces and spits out a dark, thick patch of blood onto the beautiful ivory sand.
The ghostly voice calls out again. Korra does not so much hear this voice as much as she feels it, but nevertheless she recognizes it from the last 50 years. “Raava…” she croaks, her own voice barely a hoarse whisper above the sounds of the city and waves crashing around her.
“Korra, there is not much time…”
Korra raises her head to look at her surroundings, trying to regain her bearings. Beyond the dock beside her stands a small cottage with architecture very unlike any other structure found within Republic City’s suburban neighborhoods or urban high-rises. It resembles those dwellings found in the Southern Water Tribe but with some modernized touches, such as full length glass windows facing the east and the west and a small garage attached to the side. Asami had assured her that the large windows would help with heating and lighting efficiency. The engineer had also insisted on having a space to tinker with her gizmos and gadgets, even after retiring as CEO of Future Industries. Korra recalls rolling her eyes and affectionately calling her wife a “relentless gearhead” at the time, over a decade ago.
Korra grits her teeth against the pain as she wills her bruised and bloodied body to rise from its spot on the ground. As she stands, she feels the blood rush away from her head and the world spinning, dizzy with blood-loss. The wounded Avatar falls down on one knee. In her disoriented state, her mind floats away from this beach and to the one on Air Temple Island, near the gazebo.
Sunset painted the sky a vibrant array of purples, reds, and oranges. She was down on her knees, gazing nervously up at Asami, her own aqua eyes exploring the taller woman’s earthen green ones, not unlike when ocean meets land. One of Korra’s dark, calloused hands grasped at Asami’s lighter but equally rough hands as she extends the other to offer an ornately carved necklace. “Asami… will you…” “Yes, of course,” the dark haired woman replied, pulling Korra up before she can even finish her sentence and embracing her with a kiss, salty tears running down her cheeks… Korra picks her love up and spins her around and around, laughing and yipping with joy…
Korra’s head is still spinning when she stands once more but the salt Korra tastes now is from the ocean and her own tears as she bites back the pain. She limps slowly, favoring her left leg heavily as she makes her way up the sandy beach to the front door of the cottage. The thunder rumbles ominously as she makes it to the entrance of her home and slowly turns the knob, beath hitching at the effort.
The moonlight continues to guide her into the spacious open layout of the small but luxurious cottage. In the middle is a small wood-burning stove radiating heat throughout the whole structure. Korra barely feels it through the cold that has drilled its way into her very bones. She drags her feet, habitually cursing herself for tracking gritty mud across the living room – Asami always hates it when she doesn’t take her boots off before coming inside – but she knows if she stops at the door to disrobe, she won’t make the remainder of her journey. \
She slowly makes her way through the house, trying to be quiet so as not to wake her wife. But she can’t help the occasional grunt of pain that escapes her mouth. Korra stumbles once when she approaches the stairs that go up to the loft that serves as their bedroom. Her hip knocks a side table with framed black-and-white photographs – a picture of Asami and her caving in Omashu,; one of their wedding where Naga had come barreling into the photo just before it was snapped. Korra reaches out a wrinkled, calloused hand to straighten them, leaving behind a few drops of blood on the edge of the frames.
She braces herself against the banister and uses the last of her strength to airbend herself up the stairs. It’s a sloppy excuse for an air scooter but it gets the job done. She lands in a heap at the top of the stairs. “What’s that? Who’s there?” a familiar, tired voice calls out in the soft glow of the moon and Korra can’t help but smile even as her vision blurs. She tries to answer but another coughing fit takes hold. “…Korra?”
Suddenly, Asami is at her side, her pale skin almost translucent in old age under the moonlight. Her nightgown flows around her and Korra thinks she is actually seeing the moon spirit Yue for a moment. “Korra, are you okay? What happened? You’re so cold…” Asami’s voice trails off as she tries to lift Korra from her spot on the floor. With effort, Korra stands once more, leaning heavily on the taller woman. Asami looks her up and down, eyes alight with worry as she assesses the Avatar’s bleak state. “Korra, you’re bleeding! We need to get you help-”
Korra silences her worries with a chaste kiss. “Hush, love. It’s alright. Just bring me to our bed…” she whispers to Asami in the sweetest of tones, warmth finally flooding through her body again as she stands close to her wife. Asami looks at her disapprovingly, the worry not leaving her face but she does as requested.
Korra lies on her back, sighing in relief as she releases the full weight of her aching body onto something else entirely. Asami moves to leave, mumbling something about calling a doctor, but Korra holds her hand steady, looking into her eyes imploringly. It’s the same tentative expression she gave her so many years ago on Air Temple Island. “Please… stay with me,” Korra whispers.
Asami’s eyes glisten as she relents. She nods, moving to her own side of the bed. Asami hesitates before Korra pulls her into an embrace, not even caring about the pain of it as the water tribe woman breaths in the rich, floral scent of her wife’s now ashen grey hair. The pressure of Asami’s head in the crook of her arm and chest sends electric warmth through Korra’s body and it seems to burn away all the pain in its path.
“Thanks, Raava,” Korra mutters quietly.
“Korra…?” Asami starts, and Korra can hear the distress in her voice, her uncertainty. “Let’s go on a Spirit Vacation,” Korra says, eyes already closed, a peaceful grin on her face. Her body begins to feel cold and numb but at least the pain is subsiding.
“Just the two of us,” Korra adds in a whisper. Asami smiles despite the grimness of the situation, turning her head upright to kiss the darker woman’s wrinkled chin.
“Sounds perfect,” she replies simply.
“I love you, gearhead,” Korra says as she returns the kiss with one of her own on her wife’s forehead.
“I love you, Korra” Asami replies, wrapping her legs around Korra’s own. She shuts her eyes and her grasp on Korra’s damaged body begins to loosen as she surrenders to their next great adventure together.
As Korra and Asami both drift off peacefully, their breathing slows in unison until neither chest rises nor falls. The ethereal light returns, floating up from the Avatar’s final resting place in a flurry of stardust. A continent away, a baby’s cry pierces the air.