night at the theater
The words Korra spoke about true love not working out like it was on the stage below them worried Howl, along with how she was sinking lower and lower in her seat. If she lowered herself any further, she wouldn’t be able to see the set. Deciding that they should probably stick it out a bit longer, Howl nervously focused on the scene playing out.
As the ship finally seemed to be about to sink, the romance on stage slowly became more and more melodramatic. It tugged at Howl’s heartstrings, or it would in most situations, but at the moment his mind was focused on his less-than-pleased companion. He saw Korra gag as a joke, and though this wasn’t out of the usual for the Avatar, something still seemed…off.
“Come on,” Howl slowly rose from his seat, ignoring the new stream of hisses from the woman behind him. He grabbed Korra’s wrist and pulled her out of her own seat as well, then up the aisle out into the bright lobby. Temporarily blinded by the light pouring down on them, Howl blinked then let go of Korra’s wrist.
“What’s up?” He sighed. “I know this play isn’t your thing, but you seem especially annoyed by it.”
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.