Once again, this one actually has a title. And it’s erm 3k words so I hope you’ll read it since I know long oneshots deter readers here. Is a continuation to THIS story from Korrlok Week and is partially based off a comment of a reblog of Zenaga’s. (thanks for the comment sweetie I hope you like the story :3) The burial practice Korra does for Tarrlok at the beginning is research from Inuit/Eskimo burial customs and the depressingly appropriate song that I was playing that gave this story its title and also my atmosphere for this is piece is Christina Perri’s A Thousand Years. Enjoy!!! And please don’t kill me, I know Korra acts a bit batshit crazy in this during the middle part….
Korra stood on the tundra, her gaze falling upon the still face of her husband. Only his face was visible from the wrappings of the blanket she’d ensconced him into. She’d made the journey alone to the North Pole, travelling in secret so that no one would follow her. A strangled giggle emerged from her mouth as she remembered Tarrlok telling her once how much he loved the wide open ice fields of the tundra, where he’d often slipped away to inspect the magnificent yaks and wolves, out of a childish curiosity. She could see him doing such a thing, it sounded just like what his tender boy’s heart would have done before his father instructed him in the cruel art of bloodbending that nearly destroyed his innocence.
She bent down, gently brushing her lips against Tarrlok’s before her arms reached out, scooping his silent form closer to her as tears froze into icefalls on her cheeks. She pressed another kiss on Tarrlok’s pale lips, her heart beating fast as she once again hoped that her action might awaken him, but she was rewarded only with silence as snowflakes sparkled down all around her. She resented the beauty of the snow. Her husband was gone. Nothing feels right to her anymore, and she has sworn vengeance on his murderer, and she will have her revenge.
Korra felt a tear slip out of her left eye, her grief overwhelming her. Placing his body down onto the ice again, she began to gather rocks to pile up around him. It was a fitting burial to give him, she deemed, returning him to the place he loved best as a child. One by one she stacked her stones around his body, but she couldn’t bear the thought of losing sight of his scarred face.
The exertion caused by carrying the stones and the weight of her grief crushing down on her, so she draws to stop, only then just then realising the violent blue glow in the sky is the harbinger of dusk. She lies down next to the cairn, her hand reaching down inside so that it brushes against the bumps of Tarrlok’s ridges of scars that line his face. A river of tears spills out of her eyes at the contact.
“Tarrlok, dearest, my sweet, come back to me,” She whispered, although she knew there would be no answer. “Tarrlok, Tarrlok, Tarrlok,” She began to repeat his name in a frenzy. There was no one to hear her anguished reiterations of his name, plying it between her lips like a caress. “Tarrlok, come back to me,” She pleaded, stroking his scars tenderly, tears continuing to slide down her cheeks, the drops of liquid freezing as the cold – as cold as her heart at this moment – reached them. Her fingers entangled with a strand of his long hair and she twirled it around in her index finger. The memory rose into her mind of her doing the same thing with Tarrlok’s hair that morning when her whole world had vanished before her eyes. Her ears rang, once again, with Tarrlok’s words to her before he’d slipped away, leaving her desolate and alone:
“I…. love…. You… Korra… I’m sorry… It had to end like this… Korra… Korra… you are like life itself to me… It’s the least I can do, giving my life in exchange for yours… Korra… my sweet…. You can be strong… even if I’m not here with you.
His words sank into her mind, filling her even more with an acute sense of loss. She wanted suddenly to grasp his hand with all of her intensity, but even that touch is denied her. Her arm slipped from out of the shelter of the stones and it landed on her propped-up knees. Korra laid her head down onto her knees, bringing her arms up around her face to hide her abrupt explosion of tears.
“I miss you so much, Tarrlok, dearest,” She murmured in between the chokes of sobs. “Will I ever see you again? I promise that I will bring your murder to justice, I swear it!”
At last her tears are spent. She rose from her sitting position and then leaned over her cairn of stones, taking one last, long stare at the still face of her Tarrlok before she closed over his resting place with the final stones.
She stepped away from the cairn, her eyes brimming with moist tears as she raised her face to the now dark blue skies. The tendrils of the Aurora Borealis, decorated in all the colours of the wind, waving in hues of green and purple and pink and light blue.
She lifted her hands towards the sky, glancing back again at Tarrlok’s cairn as she spoke to the Spirits.
“Great spirits and Avatars of my past life, hear my prayer as I, the Avatar, humbly come before you as an advocate for the tarniq of my husband and my dearest love, Tarrlok of the Northern Water Tribe. He sacrificed my life for me… and I ask of you to take his tarniq up to the joyful place in the sky our elders gave us the knowledge about when we were children.”
After she’d thrown her words into the night air, a silence fell over the tundra. Korra held her breath in anticipation, hardly daring to hope, and then felt a whisper trickle over her. She looked up, seeing the glowy blue trail of Tarrlok’s tarniq fading away into the Aurora Borealis. Tears cascaded down her cheeks as she placed her fingers to lips and then took them away, blowing a kiss at the disappearing tarniq of her lover.