Title: ring with truth
Fandom: Legend of Korra
Summary: AU. Young Amon tells a story to his sick brother. The Equalist Leader Asami listens.
A/N: For amosami week day 2 prompt ‘fairy tale.’ Let’s see if I can do this basic AU premise across all the days: a sort of age/role reversal between the two combined with other AU elements.
Disclaimer: I own nothing related to the Legend of Korra.
Asami paused in the door, just watching Amon murmur quietly to Tarrlok in bed.
"Once, a polarbeardog lost her cub. She would not hunt, she would not eat, she would not sleep. Concerned, her mate went looking for another cub they could adopt. He looked, and he looked, but he found none. Giving up, he made to return to his mate. But finally he found a cub–a human one, but it would suffice. The polarbeardog grabbed the human infant and raced to his mate, leaving the human parents in despair."
"Is this the origin story of the young Avatar?" Asami smoothly asked as she quietly padded into the room. She noticed clearly how Amon's eyes went straight for her mask first, then her green eyes. It was often the reaction of people newly met.
"What do you want?" He bluntly asked, brown eyes narrowing.
"To clarify certain things," Asami began crisply. "If you think to leave to try to bring a waterbender healer back, your absence won't be missed, and Tarrlok will be gone." She leveled the adolescent with a stern look, and was somewhat impressed when he did not look away. "None of my followers will entertain any of your entreaties to help you take Tarrlok out or smuggle in a waterbender healer, though they'll sympathize. Do not bother trying to negotiate with them on that point."
"I'll be sure to keep that in mind," snarled Amon with a roll of his eyes, and pointedly-if-sullenly turned his back on Asami, who was reminded that she was still dealing with a very young man. "Now, if that's it, maybe you could just go and–"
"Leave you to tell stories to your unresponsive brother?" Asami bluntly said, no real question in her voice. Her voice softened. "He can't hear you."
Amon's back had stiffened, but he didn't turn back to her to snap, "It's really none of your business, unless you have an actual order from the healers
"No, but a general thank you from them. They were pleasantly surprised that you could provide them with competent assistance." Now there was a question in Asami's voice. Then she voiced it. "A crime lord's son knows healing?"
With the shirt Amon wore, Asami could see the scars come from part of his shoulder to his neck, even wrapping around the back of it. A self-conscious hand gripped the marred shoulder. "I...developed an interest in the craft."
Asami wondered if the scars were from getting caught in the crossfire of Yakone's fights. "The healers say you would do well in that discipline, rather than anything in your father's line of work."
"Not like it's helping Tarrlok now," Amon grumbled, checking his brother's forehead again, his hand pressed in between skin and the dried cloth. He then re-dipped the cloth into the water bowl, twisted it, then reapplied it to Tarrlok's forehead. "And he can. Or he might. Be able to hear, I mean."
"The voice of personal experience?" Asami folded her arms in the small of her back.
"When I'd get hurt or sick in bed, sometimes I heard a little of the stories Tarrlok would tell me," Amon murmured, voice pitched low in remembrance. His back still to her, Asami's eyes lowered, recalling her parents, alive, and tucking her into bed at night and telling her fairy tales about how Princess Yue became the moon, Lady Mai and Ty Lee's victory at the Boiling Rock, the Kyoshi Warriors' rescue of Appa. She could not remember the last story they told her before their murder....
"Is the polarbeardog abduction one of Tarrlok's stories?" Asami asked instead.
Amon finally looked to her over his shoulder. "His by heritage. Mine too, I guess. Same with my uncles and aunts. It's Water Tribe
–both north and south."
Uncles and Aunts--Asami paused over that. She had not heard of Yakone with brothers or sisters–but then, she hadn't heard of a second son. But she asked, "Was that the end of it then? The human child taken?"
The teen blinked at her, then turned to Tarrlok. "The bear took the human child to his mate. She was delighted with the infant girl. She and her mate raised the human as one of their own. They clothed her in the fur of a slain wolf, and taught her to walk on all fours and track down her prey. For claws, they gave her the knives of a slain huntsman. But after some time, the child's first parents found her. They had been searching for a long time. At first the child protested, and her parents thought her hysterical. They were master waterbenders, and soon reached inside their child's body and made her compliant."
Asami's eyes widened at the teen, but his back was to her, his eyes on Tarrlok. Amon was too young to have been around when Yakone could bend. If any of the boy's family had bloodbent him, that left Tarrlok...or any possibly unheard of uncles and aunts on Yakone's side.
"They took her home," Amon continued his narration. "The bear couple despaired, but together searched for their daughter, stolen and human as she was. Meanwhile, once the child was allowed to move on her own, she protested again. She'd been raised as a bear, and wished to live as a bear. Though she'd inherited bending from her first parents, she refused to manipulate the water. She tried to slash at her parents with her claw-knives, she bit at them, she tried to roar at them. Her parents did not have the heart to bloodbend her again."
Amon resoaked the cloth and reapplied it to Tarrlok's forehead. "'My child is lost forever,' the human mother said, and wept. But she and her husband agreed to free the girl who wanted to be a polarbeardog. So halfway across the pole, the humans met with the polarbeardogs. The girl rejoiced, embracing her polarbeardog parents. Her human parents watched, and wept some more. They walked far away, to the icy shores. They kept walking, and did not bend. They would drown."
It occurred to Asami that despite his youth, Amon also showed the potential to be an orator of some skill.
"But a voice cried out, 'Wait!' The benders turned back, and found their daughter on the shore, waving to them, flanked on either side by her polarbeardog mother and father. 'I want to be a polarbeardog, but you are a part of me too!' She said. 'And my polarbeardog parents have wronged you, and they are sorry. They wish to make amends.' The human mother shouted back, 'You would have me share my daughter with beasts?' the child startled, and said, her voice uncertain, 'I thought you wanted to love me too.' The human mother sobbed, and rushed on a wave for her child, along with her husband. And for the rest of their days, beast and human were one family." Amon exhaled. "And that is the end of it." He looked to the masked Equalist leader again. "My mother's sisters and brothers told me that story first–the basics of it anyway,Tarrlok's version was a little different...." Amon shrugged. "They had some Water Tribe in them too, though their skin was more Earth Kingdom. Or Fire Nation, I'm not sure."
"Mixed mutts are common enough these days," Asami said, her voice soft.
Amon gave an agreeable-if-undignified grunt.
"You said Tarrlok's version was different...." Asami's voice was knowing.
"Yeah, he added the bloodbending," Amon said, his voice impatient. "He said that's how his mother told it."
Behind the mask, Asami's lips pursed in thought as she watched Tarrlok. He was unreponsive as ever.
"Have you heard the one about the Earth Kingdom prince locked in a tower of thorns, doomed to sleep until the Fire Nation princess came?"
Amon shot her a baleful look. Asami did not look away, and finally Amon muttered that he hadn't.
A/N: Fairy tale based on this at