Tahno had been in a haze after he had lost his bending each day passed without variation. He would wake and drag himself out of bed, pity himself and think of the what ifs of it all, eat a bit of something, retire to bed early, repeat. The days of his once-fabulous life blurred together, all the same, never changing. Tahno was lost in a fog of confusion, of depression.
To the former Waterbender, he felt as though those miserable times would never end for him, that he was doomed to live such a ragged existence until he finally collapsed in on himself and succumbed to the pleasant numbness of death. That without his bending, he was nothing all of his fan girls and so-called friends were gone and he no longer had the money to spend as lavishly as he once had. He had lost everything that had been so futilely important to him. The familiar comfort that bending water brought him was gone, leaving him to be indescribably lonely and empty.
Until she entered his life.
She was a wave of encouragement and reassurance, and he was confused by her insistence to help him. He tried to argue that he was a lost cause, that it was never going to come back, and that she should give up on him, go back to her Firebender. But she told him that she wanted to help him because hadn't given up on him yet, like so many others in his life had.
At first, he figured it was because of her Avatar Duties that required her to help those in need. But as time progressed, he realized it was by her own accord that she dealt with his unpredictable mood swings and his poor attitude, because she believed, really believed, that he could get better. Though it took a few yelling matches and exchanging blows, she began to help him, surely and slowly, see the world in all its raw glory again. She drew him out of his dark, dreary hole of an apartment and forced him to take part in the world around him. He began to notice the beauty of the environment around him, but the beauty that Korra's personality and heart radiated.
She was like a burst of sunlight bright, burning, jolting and warm. Though she had less-than-conventional methods at times, everything she did was out of the greater good of those around her. Tahno began to notice how selfless and kind she was, instead of the indispensible Avatar everyone thought of her to be. He himself began to provide a mutual shoulder to vent on when she would come to him, worn down and exhausted from her efforts to end the anti-bender sentiment, to bring forth more tolerance between everyone. To him, she wasn't just the Avatar, she was Korra a human being that, sometimes, just like everyone else, needed a break from the world, a chance to get away.
He came to realize that they balanced each other their ebb and flow kept them from tipping too dangerously off the edge of their sanity. They kept each other constant and sound, something both desperately needed.
He, after all her efforts, no longer rejected the world or her they were friends, ready and willing to provide for each other. He slowly repaired his broken conscience and emotions from losing his precious bending, finding joy in his relationship with the Avatar. She was the light that cut through his haze, glorious and unfailing.
Tahno was sure that the change in their relationship happened much earlier than the moment that made him realize it that he was falling for her. It had been a gradual process, he decided, only presenting itself during one of their more emotionally-charged moments. She had defeated Amon, and a few months later, came to the former Waterbender bearing the widest grin he had ever seen, flinging herself into his arms. She had informed him that after honing and training the ability, she could Energybend. She could give him back his Waterbending, and he had accepted without any hesitation.
It happened in a split moment one second she was placing her fingers on his chest and forehead, the next a piercing light was surrounding them and a familiar energy filling Tahno's system. He flexed after she had finished with it it was alarming to feel such long-since-absent power rushing through his veins, the water of Yue Bay practically calling to him to be bent to his will. For a few minutes afterwards, he was hysterical. He had gotten his bending back, he was a Waterbender again. He could get his old life back!
Instead of running off and testing his bending, though, he stared at the woman in front of him. She had a smile on her features, truly happy for him, but her pretty blue eyes were twinkling with a certain sadness, too. It was the start of loneliness, he noticed uneasily, the kind he had once observed in his own eyes after his posse had left him and before Korra had entered his life as such a vital companion. She had her friends, yes, but she didn't want to lose Tahno if she could prevent it.
He realized that she thought that with the return of his bending, that he would leave her life like she was nothing. She was preparing for the loss of a friendship. His suspicions were confirmed when she asked, "So, are you going to go back to being the Wolfbats team captain?" Her words were meant to be casual, but they were tinged with a noticeable bitterness.
Tahno thought over her question he enjoyed Pro-Bending immensely, and would love to go back if he could. But this time around, he would do things honestly, properly. He would no longer cheat he had learned his lesson, and though he knew Amon was defeated, he didn't want to tease the possibility of somehow reliving it. He knew why she was asking secretly, she was implying if he was going to go away and pretend they had never become friends, how disappointed she would be if he continued with his old cheating ways.
"Yes," he admitted honestly, and felt the immediate need to clarify when she huffed and crossed her arms, turning away from him. "But, Korra... I-I'm not going to be like I used to. I don't want to cheat anymore. And I won't forget about you. You're my... friend, and that's not going to change." He almost wanted to imply more when defining their relationship, but refrained, knowing full well of her confusing feelings and relationship status with Mako. He knew she was still trying to figure it out with him, and that they were still not official despite everything they had been through whenever it somehow popped up in their conversations, she would brush it off quickly and tell him that she hadn't finalized anything with the Firebender yet because certain things, that she would not tell him, were interfering and altering her opinions on the situation, befuddling her even further. So he knew better than to provoke it.
She took a few moments before responding, nudging his arm with her elbow friendlily, her trademark crooked smile on her features. "What do you say we go Waterbend then?" She didn't give any time for him to answer she already knew what it was, anyway because she took his hand and was running off to docks with him.
Tahno laughed, pure and deep, as they ran, the warmth of her happiness running through their connected hands and affecting him. She turned and smiled brightly at him, and he felt himself tumble even harder in love with her within that one simple gesture, his heartbeat reflecting his feelings for her.
As they arrived at the frigid waters of the Bay, they hopped into the knee-deep water, taking no precautions to strip themselves to prevent their clothes from becoming saturated with water. But neither of them cared this moment between them was too charged, too special for attention to get paid to such trivial things.
The cold liquid was both jarring and invigorating to the Waterbender, and he sighed in contentment as it pooled around his thighs. He was at home, at peace again. And this time, he had a new companion to share it with. Korra squeezed his hand before releasing it, smiling encouragingly at him. He lifted his hands slowly, uncertainly, and with two swift movements, water was swirling in his hands, and Tahno had to choke back a sob at how familiar the element still was to him, even after of several months of disuse. He looked up at the Avatar as he did so, who was beaming at him, before reaching out and pulling her to him in a hug, which after she recovered from the sudden action, she returned with strong arms.
Korra had cut through the shadowy haze of depression that had once covered Tahno's existence, threatening to overthrow his happiness for the rest of his life. But instead, it had been replaced with a new kind of haze of dizzying, powerful attraction for this girl he was holding and an openly welcomed positivity and respect for his element he would never lose sight of again.