Original: Embrace (Between Chapter 29 and 30)
For: Satosexual (I don’t think she’s ready for this though…)
Sure, he’d been brave, but he’d so desperately wished everything would have worked better. He’d had it planned out, he’d been ready to forgive her. He’d been ready to heal their relationship and try to start over again. That’s all he wanted. That’s what he still wanted. What he needed to heal the pain in his chest; to fix the hole that had been so violently made when his heart had been ripped out.
He stopped mid-stride and leaned against a wall, waiting until his breath returned to him. This happened every few minutes. He shook his head, trying to get all the memories of her out of his head. Then, he pushed away from the wall, and continued onward. He had to get out of Republic City.
It took him hours to make it to the train station, but he made it. The lady at the desk asked him for money which he had slammed on the counter. His hair that usually was concealed by a certain helmet hung in his face. He needed to cut it. He needed to get rid of it all and start over. He needed a new start, a new beginning, if he was ever going to heal.
Healing. That was impossible.
He didn’t have the slightest clue which train he’d actually gotten on. He didn’t care. He needed a way out of the city and this was the fastest way to wherever he ended up. He wrapped his arms around himself (he’d brought nothing with him. Hell, there was nothing to bring. He’d given it all to her). His head was throbbing and his stomach was growling. It had felt like days since he last ate—oh.
After what seemed like hours, the conductor called everyone ready to leave. His eyes trailed as the man slammed the train door shut and walked down the isle, checking tickets. When he stepped in front of Howl, he shuffled around his pocket and handed him a handkerchief, before walking away. Howl stared at it and felt a fresh wave of depression wash over him. He buried his face into the crook of his arms and felt tears race down his cheeks.
Another hour after the train moved, he felt warmth spreading beside him. Then a tap on the arm. He hardly lifted his head to see a little girl, hardly older than four, smiling up at him. Three of her front teeth were missing, she had the oddest amount of freckles, and the second brightest blue eyes in the world. Whatever left of his heart tightened and he almost bit his tongue trying not to cry. “Hi!” She said, her tiny hand still on his arm. “Why are you crying?”
He wanted to answer, but he couldn’t. He was too wrapped up in thinking about how similar she looked to Korra; the eyes, the smile, the attitude. It was his dream child, staring him in the face, with such blue eyes and a happy-go-lucky charm. He tried to say something again, but his throat was tied in ten knots, keeping him from words.
The little girl caught this. “Did you lose something?” She questioned. Her innocence hit him hard and he closed his eyes, letting the memories of her wash over him. Penguin sledding. The cave. Lullabies. The cliff. He bit his lip and slowly nodded. The little girl clapped at his answer, he guessed. “Can I help you get it back?”
The firebender boy. Republic City. Avatar duties. Airbending. Probending. Her new life. Howl coughed in pain and shook his head, burying his head back in the crook of his arms. The little hand on his arm tightened so hard that he winced, looking back up at her. “It’s okay. Maybe it’ll come back to you one day.” She said with a smile, letting go over his arm and walking away.
Howl bit his lip until he tasted blood. Korra wouldn’t come back to him one day…would she? If she did, would it be the same? His heart jumped weakly at the thought of holding her again, but it hurt as it beat. It would never be the same. Maybe they would see each other one day, but she would be with someone else. He would never be able to heal. He refused to. Healing would mean losing her. Healing would mean letting himself open to rejection and heartbreak again.
“What’s your name?” He asked weakly, his voice cracking as he asked. The little girl jumped, startled, before smiling wide at him. He ignored her blue eyes and the thoughts of children he’d had before Korra had left.
“Kanna,” The girl said, before rushing off to sit with her mother.
Howl wanted to cry again, but resorted to burying his emotions in the pit of his empty stomach and hiding behind a false smile.