Summary: WIP. AU. She never means to curse him.
Pairing(s)/Character(s): Asami/Noatak, Amon, some unresolved Asami/Tarrlok, Mako/KorraA/N: Inspired by http://savagelee.tumblr.com/post/
Warning(s): Dystopian future.
Things have been bad for a while now. Nothing was better since the day he was unmasked. Since Asami heard his real name.
It had been foolish, of her. Korra recuperated after being kidnapped. Mako kept watch. Mako made her tea. Asami had tried to talk him. Their relationship continued to crumble, and Asami no longer tried to talk. She knew, knew they were going behind her back. The final straw was when Bolin admitted as such. Asami had retreated from the Island, needing the air, the city, her home, her father. This time she was almost run over by a Satomobile. The older man had been very apologetic, then confused when she'd burst into hysterical laughter. Her laughter bubbled higher when he offered her a cup of coffee at a cafe he knew. 'Noatak,' he'd introduced himself as. Noatak had no idea of the irony.
One thing led to another. And weeks after the Avatar was captured by Tarrlok, Amon and the Equalists launched their attack.
And Asami learned Amon's real name.
And she missed her monthlies.
And the Avatar....
Asami's in the middle of nowhere, in a farm. The irony. In the middle of delivery, the farming family has been kind to her, despite the state of the world, her lack of funds (no longer some poor little rich girl--just a poor one now). The irony.
The pregnancy has been difficult, but particularly so near its end. She had gotten sick. Was sick. Asami's head was full of fuzz and everything else in pain. She thought and thought of the child's father. Didn't even know if he was dead or alive. What option she preferred best.
In her delirium, when asked for a name for her newborn son, she said:
Still thinking of the father.
Then passed out before she could comprehend the irony.
When Asami came to and her fever gone, she heard one of the midwives coo "Amon" to a slightly wiggling bundle, and Asami remembered. But the midwife's voice was so warm, it made the name sound appealing. And it was a name. There was nothing intrinsically wrong with it. A name shouldn't be tainted. The son needn't be tainted. And the father had always changed names. Asami found she felt uncomfortable to change her newborn son's.
Though she never lets go of the thought that this is her cruel irrational revenge, and on someone who never did anything to her, someone who was now her responsibility. (But father was supposed to take care of her too.)
But Asami never speaks of Amon's father while they continue their nomadic existence through the violence-torn country (its natural state, seventy years or so just an unusual reprieve). She never explains the name, and tries to shield him from talk of the infamous revolutionary. It helps that it's no longer a current event, more growing myth. The spirits running rampant terrorizing the countryside were more pressing matters, the Avatar Spirit out of control and deranged, playing (her) its games. And when her boy had heard of Amon the Equalist, she waited, waited, waited for him to ask, but he never did. He was only a child. Why should he see any great meaning behind his name matching a revolutionary leader's? And if he was bothered by the bad talk around the one who shared his name, Amon (the Second) never shared it. There was some good talk as well. No one had really replaced Amon (the First) as someone who spoke most ardently for nonbenders. And again, he was just a child. He was more concerned with the now, with people slaughtered left and right around him by the rampaging spirits and the corrupted Avatar and the people, of course the people. Asami had to make sure he survived.
Ever since he was an infant, Asami had seen that Amon had her green eyes; her fair complexion; the right shade of her dark hair. But even as a boy she could see it in his face--he would look like his father there, in every feature that was not dictated by color. The thought had made her stomach sink.
There is a fire. A firebender. It's always a firebender. Firebenders. Squabbling among themselves. Asami doesn't care, she only has eyes for her baby boy on fire.
Any benders in her way, Asami tears through them. They do not matter. She puts the fire out, throws dirt on it, a kind stranger throws a bucket of water over him. Asami does what she can, what she must, for her little Amon as soon as possible, then drives as fast as she can for this latest town's healer.
Her Amon lives. But the healers quietly tell her there's nothing they can do for his face. They prescribe medications he'll need to take daily to treat the scars. Tell her that the sweat glands in his face are now gone, so he must be particularly careful regulating his temperature, to avoid heat stroke.
Asami's stomach is gone. She had not meant for this. Had not wanted this.
It was all too insane. Had she doomed her child just by giving him that liar's name? That lie that was now becoming truth for him?
Asami tells Amon it's all right to let his face breathe, he doesn't have to cover it up. Amon tells his mother he doesn't like it when people stare--and that was a polite reaction for such people. Asami knows she is a fool.
But as she tucks him into bed each night (young enough to be tucked in, young enough to lose his face, lose his father's face, isn't that what Asami wanted?), Asami makes sure to uncover his face and kiss the scars. "My beautiful boy, inside and out."
Asami liked fashion. She liked variety. Asami can't help herself, she looks for new cloth wrappings and scarves (why didn't you accept the silk scarf?) and masks for her Amon, designs and makes new ones for him when she can. But she tries to remember his feelings.
"Are you all right with these?"
"Sure. It's like when you had all those dresses before, right?"
Asami avoids giving him white masks. She is relieved when Amon grows to favor black as his mask color. Her stomach twists when his black masks have red or blue or white markings, but the only comment she makes is that green would go with his eyes. He says that's overkill, it'll clash. (And then she remembers the Equalists with their black masks and green goggles. People she'd fought at first because she had no idea what they would do with those innocent people in the underground; and then rather unthinkingly, things had happened so fast, father had abandoned her for the Equalists, it was their fault.)
She trains Amon herself. She pushes her boy very hard; she needs him to be able to defend himself. (Not a defenseless momma's boy, as she was never daddy's helpless little girl.) She teaches him much of what Lieu--the Lieutenant had taught her himself.
She teaches him science and mechanics and generally passes all her knowledge to him. She teaches him to speak well. But he's painfully shy. The scars and mask do not help. Just the thought of public speaking terrifies him. Asami tries to make her approach to help him get past that public speaking block less half-hearted. His voice has started to crack. She knows it'll be very similar to his father's, even exact--that growling voice that could worm its way into people's ears. Asami thinks she could not take it if she ever heard him on the radio. And would people think him a ghost, a phantom--or even something of the rightful one returning. The one they were promised, whom they deserved, they believed in. Had the Universe itself felt cheated of Amon? Had to craft him back into existence in sturdier form?
There is no father as her Amon grows, but there is an Uncle. Asami had first found him choking on the coast, before things had completely gone insane, before the Avatar had lost her mind, when Asami had no clue she was pregnant. She had built the metal arm for Tarrlok. She'd given him a kit to service himself, and sent him on his way. Particularly did not want to see him when she gave birth to his nephew. But they crossed paths, again, his metal arm broken. He kept watching Amon, his face wrapped up but his hair exposed, and done up in the style Asami remembered. She'd seen some children race in their beat up Satomobiles down the ruined street, and she'd felt nostalgic, and of course she always had to pull her son into her nostalgia.
Asami has never asked about Noatak, and Tarrlok has never told her. Asami did end up introducing Tarrlok to Amon as his uncle, and Amon had been utterly delighted, bombarding him with all sorts of questions on how the world worked and what he'd seen and did Mama make you that arm? If Amon asked Tarrlok about his father, it has never been in front of her, and she has no idea. But she knows Amon adores his Uncle Tarrlok. She knows the former Councilman is very fond of his nephew, too.
She makes sure to let Tarrlok know that if he ever betrays or hurts Amon in any way, he will be sorry. Very sorry. Then their nomadic existence is joined by a third.
Asami and Tarrlok develop a camraderie. Asami realizes that Tarrlok is probably the one she's closest to now. She's fairly certain he can say the same of her. He's certainly the only one who understands Amon's likeness, his scarring, the irony. If their camraderie would ever extend to anything more, Asami will never know.
One night Amon drags Tarrlok's corpse home, and through the holes of the mask Asami can see he's still crying, but her boy doesn't make a sound, except to say the Avatar killed him. After they bury his uncle, Asami holds her son, and he shakes like a leaf on her shoulder. Finally he disentangles himself from her, murmuring he wants to be alone. Asami tries to keep her cries and muffled "Tarrlok Tarrlok Tarrlok" down, but she still fears that Amon hears.
A few years later when Amon is seventeen, there is a crackling broadcast on a half-dead radio of where to avoid the Avatar's latest attack. The location is close. Asami is alone in the room when she hears it. She is relieved that Amon is out buying supplies for them in the village.
But when Asami had gotten up from work to check on Amon, still asleep, she found his bed empty. Her heart sinks.
People stare when she drives in the direction of the Avatar's attack, shout warnings to her. She ignores them all. Curses them even, for clearly the news had spread wide and far in the village and Amon had heard. Curses herself for thinking Amon couldn't have heard. Curses Amon for being seventeen and angry and foolish. Curses herself for the name she'd left him with, and fate's cruelty, did fate really want Amon and the Avatar to collide again? And this time the situation was reversed, it was reversed.
Asami can scarcely breathe when she enters the ruined city. Remnants of buidlings and people litter the ground. Not her baby not her baby where is her baby?
She decides she has to find fresh blood, the freshest would be where Amon is.
Asami's not finding him, she's not--
In growing despair and panic, Asami simply begins digging around in the debris. She startles whenever she finds something dead, then breathes again when it's not her son. Finally at the fourth location of a desperate dig, she touches flesh again. It's warm.
Asami's digging grows more frantic. It's his hand, his hand, broken and bloodied, but it's his hand--
Amon the Second is a mess, but he's still breathing, and no limb has fallen up, though Asami has no idea if amputation will be necessary.
Asami drives like hell again with Amon bundled up in the back seat.
She finds another healer. Again she's informed they'll be scarring. But no amputation is necessary, though he does suffer infection and fever, delirium. Into the night Asami takes up the task of soaking the cloth into cold water and pressing it against her son's bandaged face, singing him lullabies and doing anything to soothe his feverish nightmares. He'll feverishly call out for someone in a hoarse scrape of a voice: her, his uncle. Say "Avatar" in pure terror. Asami has never told Amon that she knew the Avatar before she'd lost her mind and all semblance of control, before the connection between the mortal and the Avatar Spirit had been perverted.
But Amon knows, on some level. He snuck around, he listened to people talk, sought information out. Eventually he stopped, when he thought he'd heard enough. Understood enough. It is disturbing, but other than that, mother doesn't want to speak of it, nor uncle. They really really don't want to talk about it. So Amon does hold his tongue, because he doesn't feel like beating against the walls of their secrets, and he doesn't really want to focus on this anymore than he has to. Above all else, he still has himself, no matter what skeletons were in his family's closet. (He doesn't realize that such secrets are practically his family's tradition.)
Then uncle dies, and....
Unbearable. He has no words.
(Mother called him 'shy.')
And the Avatar, when he'd faced her, she'd been so...amused, by the whole thing. By him.
Torn off his mask. Felt so exposed. Repulsed and trembling as she ran her fingers over the old wound. She'd taunted him with fire in her hand, and the stone wouldn't let him move, his hands encased, forced to his knees, the fire was coming closer to his face, he could only close his eyes and bite his lip and look away, heart pounding, deafening....
She didn't burn him there, but there were other places to burn. And she'd had her lightning too. And--no, he doesn't want to remember.
And the things she said--Amon doesn't want to remember. Not now. He'll try to remember later. Look for anything useful in her words.
But for now he'll just curl up into a ball and try to forget.
A/N: That's it for rough WIP snippet. Do I ever need to clean this up and add more stuff.