night at the theater
Maybe she would have come to appreciate the stark and simplistic beauty of a sheet of metal shaken to echo like thunder, or the way a waterbender worked magic in mist and manufactured rainfall to make the scene that much more convincing. The storm was magnificent; it was controlled but detailed. Yes, she would have liked that.
But they really would never know just how far that enjoyment could have taken root, because everything else was putting a damper on her spirit. Howl noticed, he took it into his own hands, and at the censure of that other theater-goer, dragged her out. She merely had the decency not to struggle with him.
Besides, she wasn’t exactly sold on the play at that point anyway.
“Nothing’s up.” It was down, way down. Down so far she’d buried it beneath everything else she had to do—like win a pro-bending Championship title, and bring a stop to the Equalists. Everything else could get ignored in favor.
“I just know,” from experience almost slipped out unbidden but she managed to bite it back, clipping it on the tip of her tongue as she twisted to conclude, “love’s not whatever that was on stage. It’s… a lot more complicated than that.” The latter was offered through gritted teeth. Now, she was simply trying not to give herself away too greatly.
She denied anything was up, which was a response that Howl half-expected to hear, but it hurt him to see her say it anyway. Somewhere, deep down, Howl wished that Korra would be willing to tell him what was bothering her, why she seemed to despise the play with such fervor that was beyond her usual hatred.
But, she continued to surprise him. Through gritted teeth, she offered an explanation that love couldn’t be seen in the way it was displayed on stage, as simple and true, as weathering through any storm or tragedy. Howl knew that Korra was saying was partial truth, but couldn’t help but feel that the majority of it was a lie as well. A lie that she was telling herself to feel better, maybe, he wasn’t exactly sure. Something told Howl that he had missed a fair bit in Korra’s life as of late.
Though it was understandable.
“Well, yeah, of course love isn’t…exactly like that,” he ran a hand through his hair and glanced back towards the door that would lead back to the cool darkness of the theater. “It’s hardly ever as melodramatic and…well, I won’t say beautiful, because you’ll gag.”
Howl smiled in apology. “But you’re acting like it doesn’t exist at all, instead of pretending that it doesn’t exist…simply.”