|Dine & Dash
Author: oh-the-linsanity PM
Modern!AU. With his life in shambles, Mako packs up his truck and drives across the country. But when he stops at a little diner at 2am, he learns he isn't the only one with problems. MakorraRated: Fiction T - English - Romance/Hurt/Comfort - Mako & Korra - Words: 4,252 - Reviews: 56 - Favs: 143 - Follows: 20 - Published: 05-27-12 - Status: Complete - id: 8156448
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
d i n e & d a s h
Raining is an understatement; it's an absolute monsoon. The windshield wipers on his car are horrendous—the one on the left doesn't work, and the other one only wipes the glass halfway. He's thankful for the deserted highway—but that's to be expected when one drives through the wastelands of Kansas. He watched, as sparse prairie lands become dusty, unfinished roads, nothing but worn out motels and feeble little gas stations along the way. He saw the sun explode in the morning and die at night, and he saw the storm clouds steadily roll through. He thought, how bad it could it be? It was only Kansas.
But did he stop? No. And now, he had to keep going at 2 am until he found civilization.
His truck is old—he likes to think it's plucky, but it hardly is. There's more to the list of things gone wrong, including dull headlights, noisy breaks, and no AC. But it has a radio/stereo setup that works very nicely, and it's been the only thing keeping him sane since he packed his things and started driving all the way from Atlanta. He slows down, his attention divided between his music selection and the road. It's not really that much of an issue, considering there's no one on the road, and he can't even see the road.
"Well I met you at the blood bank
We were looking at the bags
Wondering if any of the colors
Matched any of the names we knew on the tags"
His car is getting humid and his eyes are getting heavy. It's probably not best to be listening to Bon Iver, but he just isn't in the mood for the radio's crappy pop remixes and ridiculous rap music. But then he remembers he's in the middle of fucking nowhere with no radio reception and drives a little faster.
"That secret that you knew
But don't know how to tell
It fucks with your honor
And it teases your head"
He's got the song running on loop and time becomes stagnant. He may be driving across the country for answers, but with every state line crossed, he wonders just how ready he is for the truth.
Finally, an obnoxious neon sign catches his eye. He can make out the word "24 Hours" and that's good enough for him. He pulls over, his truck puffing with exhaustion. He stops the car and in the silence he realizes just how loud the rain is. He pulls his jacket over his head, tucking his scarf around his face. He mentally counts to three before practically kicking the door open and making a dash for the door.
The door opens with a soft ring and as he wipes the water from his eyes he notices he's in a diner. It's got a slight 1960s flare as evidenced by the bright red barstools and matching red booths. There are old signs for Coca-Cola and Rock and Roll memorabilia, including a signed guitar from an artist Mako didn't recognize.
"You gonna just stand there?" He looks toward the counter and sees a greying woman standing cheekily with her hand fisted on her hip. He approaches the counter, wringing his scarf along the way.
"Sorry," he mumbles before taking a seat at the bar. The sit spins a little with his weight. The waitress gives him a cold stare, but her lips twitch into a small smirk.
"Me too. Now I'm going to have to mop that up." She gives an over-exaggerated sigh before reaching for a mug. "You want a cup of coffee, honey?" He nods and he watches her grab the steaming coffee pot. "Just made it; call yourself lucky."
"She warmed it up!" Mako hears a deep voice call. The waitress spins sharply on her heel and peaks her head into the kitchen.
"Tenzin! How about instead of running your yap you make yourself useful and get this boy some towels!" She barks. Mako hears a few pans clatter before the waitress crosses her arms across her chest, a smug smile on her lips. She shakes her head a few times before he watches as a few towels are thrown forcefully into her face. She sputters a bit as she twists them in her hands, and Mako can see where this is going. The smug smile doesn't leave her face as she vanishes from his sight and into the back. He hears a muffled argument and then,
There's a cackle, and it's most definitely from the waitress. She runs out of the kitchen, her whole body shaking with laughter. An extremely tall man with an impressive beard follows her, his face sporting a bright red mark.
"Seriously, Lin, we're not still five—" he stops, his anger melting away as he spots Mako at the bar. He turns back to Lin and flicks her forehead with his index finger. "Did you ask the young man what he'd like to eat?"
"It's 2 in the morning!" Lin cried, her words still laced with laughter.
"So? We have pancakes!"
Lin laughs again as Tenzin comically tries to strangle her with the towel. She swats at him and Tenzin finally pushes her toward the counter before tossing the towel to Mako. Lin leans over the counter a bit, and he notices her cheek has two long scars. "What'll it be?"
Mako looks down at the menu that's already been there. He shrugs before saying, "How about some eggs?"
Lin opens her mouth when they hear a muffled "What about the pancakes?"
Lin looks disgruntled, but Mako smiles gently. "Actually, pancakes would be great." She rolls her eyes but smiles anyway. She looks past Mako and says, "Baby, you sure you don't want anything?"
Mako's brows furrow in confusion. He turns around in the seat and is slightly surprised to see that the diner isn't completely empty like he thought. In the corner he spots a young girl with tan skin. She's got tribal tattoos adorning the top of her right arm and she's tied her hair in the front with feathers. He thinks he spots a few books on the table but the most noticeable thing is how blue her eyes are.
She flashes them a grin. "Nah, Lin, I'm fine. Thanks!"
The waitress grunts as she finishes writing up Mako's ticket. Just as she's about to rip the paper from the pad, Mako leans over and whispers. "Go ahead and order two." His eyes flicker to the young lady.
Lin looks back and forth between the two young adults before reluctantly writing down another order. "Kids these days," she muses before ripping the paper off and hanging to ticket for Tenzin to see. She watches as Mako sips his coffee before Lin knocks loudly on the counter. "Well, go on!" She whispers harshly as she gestures to the lone girl in the booth. Clumsily, Mako obeys, adjusting his soaked scarf and towel accordingly.
He doesn't know what compelled him to do it. Mako was never one to be outgoing when it came to girls. He never really dated—it was never something he had time to deal with. Mako may be 19 years old, but he dealt with a lot more than most 19 year olds ever should.
His thoughts are running like mad and before he knows it he's standing in front of her booth. She isn't paying attention, as she's scribbling away in some notebook. He coughs to get her attention and she looks up, wide-eyed and cheery smile to match.
"Hey," she greets warmly. She looks him up and down stifling a giggle. "Go for a swim?"
He chuckled nervously before pointing to the window. "The storm just looked so inviting…" his voice trailed off, but she looked amused. She nodded to the adjacent booth. "Well, go ahead and sit. I'm sure that's what you came over for, right?"
Flustered, Mako sets his coffee mug down before sliding into the seat. Sitting across from her he realizes the entire table is covered in notepads and books. He thinks he spots The Catcher in the Rye before she's scrambling to organize them.
"I've been studying a lot lately," she explains, stacking them in he corner. She leaves one notepad and pen out. Mako takes the towel around his neck and ruffles his hair a bit before settling it in his lap. "What are you studying?" he asks.
She shurgs and says, "Life."
"Is that so?"
She catches the sarcasm in his voice. Her eyes sparkle with mischief. "There's a lot to learn, cool guy." She shifts her weight, and it's like everything she does screams "sassy."
Mako leans forward and plays with the handle on his mug. His eyes drift to the paper and he tries to make out a few words before the whole thing is unceremoniously shoved under his nose. "All you had to do is ask," she says quietly, but he hears the playful tone.
His eyes wander the page. He picks up a few phrases like, "Never go back," and "Too little too late," before he closes the book and shoves it across the table. It doesn't feel right, and he doesn't want any part of it—not yet.
"What's your name?" he asks.
She lifts a brow expectantly. "You aren't going to offer yours first?"
They sit in silence before Korra opens her notebook and shoves it back toward him. "It's just a story," she says. "Don't be embarrassed."
He's a little curious now. "So, it's not real."
That cocky grin of hers returns. "Now, I don't remember saying anything about it not being real." She watches as he just stares, clearly not reading. She throws her pen at him and it hits him square on the nose. "Write something."
"Write me a story."
Korra is clearly unique in every sense of the word. She's confident and cocky, brash and refined. He's only known the girl for 5 minutes and she's already got his heart running wildly in his chest. He figures it's the way her blue eyes radiate light or the way her mocha skin glows. Maybe it's the way she puffs her cheeks before she speaks or the way her nose wrinkles when she's about to say something witty. It might be the way she's got a crooked smile with mismatched dimples and a voice that echoes off the walls. She smells like salt water and sunscreen and he thinks she might be the prettiest girl he's ever seen.
He picks up the pen and stares at the page in thought before writing as neatly as he can,
When I was 19, I drove across the country so I didn't have to watch my brother die.
He's doesn't know when everything became so sorrowful. She asked for a story—but that didn't mean his own. But there's something in the way she leans over the table, the inviting look of it all, that makes him want to tell her everything. He's been alone for too long, and he hasn't let a soul in. So he pushes the paper back towards her because a part of him wants her to know. He watches as her large grin falls and all that remains is a weary smile. She looks back at him, and he swears this isn't pity; for the first time he knows what understanding looks like.
She scribbles something and shoves it back.
When I was 16 I ran away from home to find my own path and I haven't been back since.
His head snaps up to greet a solemn shrug. She motions for him to continue writing.
His name is Bolin.
She takes the notebook and smiles. "That's a nice name." She says aloud before she writes something else.
I think I got lost.
"Here you two are." The two teens look up to see Lin carrying a tray of plates. "Eat up, or Tenzin will have a fit."
Korra raised her hand and reached for Lin, "I didn't order any—"
"Talk to Mr. Hat Trick," Lin nods to Mako. She refills the coffee cups before walking away. Korra glares at Mako, who gives a sheepish grin.
"You looked hungry?"
She snorted but picked up a fork anyway. "These better be damn good," she warns. He picks up his own utensils and begins eating. It's quiet for awhile, Mako notices, and when he looks, he watches as Korra sloppily shovels food into her mouth. He bites the inside of his cheek to keep from laughing. He adds poor mannerisms to the list of things to describe Korra before she looks up, face puffed with her final bites.
"Got somethin' to say, city boy?"
He feels his cheeks warm, but he's more amused above anything else. He let's out a little chuckle before handing her a napkin.
"You're pretty cute," He says, and he feels a fire bubble under his skin. He immediately looks down, playing with his damp clothing and tattered clothing. He doesn't know what's gotten into him. When he feels his blush is somewhat gone, he dares to look at her and is a little surprised at the softness etched across her features. He pays attention—really close attention—and he sees more.
Korra's eyes aren't just blue—he sees shades of grey and violet and he realizes they are as lively as the oceans, moody as the tides. He pictures laugh lines and worry lines all bundled up in one and he wonders of she's ever just been indifferent. She's slender and muscular and when he looks at her hands, wrapped protectively around a pen, he sees her knobby knuckles covered in bruises and scars, her nails short and jagged. He sees someone tough and rough around the edges. Mako thinks she might not know what's going on, but she's trying, and that's got to count for something.
"Well, you're pretty sweet," she finally whispers.
Mako shifts his weight in the booth and reaches into his pockets. He finds a crumpled up map and drops it on the table. "I have something that might help." He opens the map, and it stretches over most of the table. He reaches over and removes the pen from her hand before using her own finger to point to the map. "I'm right here." He says, and points to some vague spot in Kansas.
Korra's lips quirk as she scans the map. "What are you getting at," she muses to herself.
He sighs and guides her finger back to Atlanta, Georgia. "This is where I grew up. Where I went to school, where I got my first job. This is where I got caught up in the wrong crowd, and where my brother knocked some sense into me. This is where my girlfriend and I raced cars when we knew the cops weren't out and this is where my brother went to the doctor only to be told he had cancer and 6 more months to live."
He thinks he hears Korra take in a sharp breath, but he continues anyway. He guides her fingers down the highways. "His cheeks started getting hallow and he got so scrawny. He can't stomach his favorite dumplings and all his hair fell out. My parents started fighting and crying and my brother—"
Mako takes a deep breath.
"Bolin, the peacemaker, sits in the hospital and can't do anything about it." He chuckles bitterly and looks up to find Korra staring at him intently. Their fingers rest on Oklahoma. "Our little family is falling—fell—apart."
He takes a sharp breath and starts again. "So, I packed up my truck and started driving," he says slowly, careful that their fingertips don't stray from the lines on the map. "It was supposed to be for a day or two, just to clear my mind, but then…"
He stops on Utah.
"Two days turned into 2 weeks and before I knew it…I had ran away." He looks up and while he isn't crying, Korra looks like she could cry for him. She carefully untangles her fingers from his before she takes his finger, and carries it all the way to the picture of Alaska in the corner.
"Alaska," her voice is scratchy. "Is a shit ton of wilderness, let me tell you. This is where my dad taught me how to hunt and where my mom gave me my first Alaskan Husky I named Naga. I raced dog sleds and had snowball fights and everyday I ate at the only restaurant in existence for miles. But then—"
"Things changed. Things weren't so simple anymore and I felt—so, so alone." She whispers, staring at the window. "I mean just look," she circles the picture. "Look how away from it all it is. I wanted to be something, you know? I wanted to see what else the world had to offer."
Korra moves her fingers off the map. "So three years ago I left. I started bumming rides everywhere, trying to figure out what my life meant." She chuckles. "It all sounds so silly, but I met a lot of others just like me. But just like a lot of them, I was getting the answers I wanted." Korra looks at Mako, shimmying her shoulders. "I did have some adventures, mind you," she winks before her face settles back into solemn contentment. "But it wasn't enough."
She sighs again.
"So, I went back home. But it was too late. They were gone, and I was still alone." She shrugs, as if her story isn't interesting. "I'm back to bumming around and just trying to live my life, you know?"
They sit in silence, the only noise coming from the pitter patter of the rain. Korra fishes her notebook from underneath the map and goes back to writing, while Mako traces his path along the states over and over again. He thinks about how he and Bolin used to dream about driving all the way to Las Vegas, just so they could have an excuse to hit up Graceland, Mount Rushmore and Yosemite along the way. Mako misses how his brother would play pranks on him. He misses how he ended up Bolin's personal chauffer, But Bolin would always buy them ice cream to make the trips worthwhile. He misses his brother, period, and it breaks his heart.
"I'm jealous," Mako says. Korra looks at him, puzzled.
"Jealous of me?" She sputters, twirling the pen in her hand.
"I ran away because I was a coward," he spats, a little disgusted with himself. "You ran away to find adventure."
Korra studies his face, her eyes darting wildly. Mako feels a little uncomfortable under her scrutiny. She leans forward, her eyes a piercing blue. She's suddenly very close, and he can see a few freckles on her nose.
She puffs out a breath, and he smells maple syrup. "You ran away because you harbored too much love," she says, her voice carrying like a soft breeze. "I ran away because I didn't know what love was."
He smiles at her, and she smiles back. She's still leaning over the table, her eyes trained on him, as she pushes the notepad back towards him.
"Now, write again," she whispers.
He grabs the pen and writes,
My little brother needs me.
He shows it to her and she nods. "Keep going."
He writes again,
I think you need me too.
He closes his eyes, not able to look at her. This girl is daring him to do things he didn't think he'd ever do, but he's not a tall and completely confident yet. He opens one eye when he feels a repeated poking on his forearm from the sharp edges of the book. He looks down and reads,
He turns the page and keeps going.
If you stuck with me, you wouldn't be alone.
Mako chuckled to himself and adds,
Plus, I think you'd like Bolin. He probably hasn't seen a pretty girl in a long time.
He hears her laugh, and it sounds like the sweetest of songs.
"So, what do you say, Korra? You coming or what?" he asks, and he pretends he isn't nervous.
She stretches her arms and stands up from the booth. He watches as her long blue summer dress falls to the floor, and her clunky gold bracelets rattle when she places her hands cheekily on her hips. "What do you think, Lin?" she calls.
Mako blushes as he hears the waitress laugh. "Of course! Just look at him!"
Korra laughs a laugh that rumbles through her chest. "Well, I guess that settles it." She reaches over and grabs Mako by his arm and he's thrown clumsily to his feet. He doesn't realize the smile that creeps up on his face as he's rushing to throw the money he owes at Lin on his way out.
"C'mon, slow poke! We've got an adventure to go on!" Korra turns around and gives Lin and Tenzin one last wave before going out the door.
"Korra, calm down! Korra—Korra, it's still raining!"
"Better run fast, cool guy!"
Lin shakes her head as the teen's laughter gets lost in the storm as they run out the diner. "Get a load of those two," Lin looks up at Tenzin. "Remind you of anyone else?"
Tenzin strokes his beard. "I do distinctly remember a certain brash woman dragging me across the country just for the kicks and giggles."
She slaps him playfully, but he still winces. "It worked, though."
He rubs his sore shoulder. "What?"
"You fell in love with me," she replies smugly.
He laughs and leans down to kiss her forehead. "Unfortunately, I did."
They're both laughing as they climb into his truck, soaking wet. She starts babbling about how he's just a wimp and he starts to think this might be a longest trip ever and then he realizes they've left their things on the table.
"The notebook!" he exclaims. He reaches for the handle when she leans over and grabs his arm.
"Leave it," she shrugs. "It's just stuff."
He rolls his eyes. "What about the map, smartass?"
She laughs and leans back in her seat. "You don't need it anymore. You know where you're going now, right?"
He smiles. That he did.
LYNN WATER YOU DOING.
So I was trying to write crooked but since I'm winging it I kind of got frustrated so right now I'm just planning it out and also korrabook is not fun because the beginning part refuses to be funny and it's not fun so i distracted myself by writing down all the AU!fic ideas I could think of and I came up WITH TEN.
Tui and La someone kill me.
But I really wanted to do Diner!Lin and Cook!Tenzin and please just think about how cute that would be. THAT'S RIGHT IT'S SO ADORABLE. And this came up. But yeah if you're still reading this, keep reading it because it's got some important stuff.
I really want to know if you guys like it. If you do, I will write a huge-ass story based on this universe with a similar plot-line that I've already figured out. (Once Crooked is finished, which believe it or not, is about 66% done.) Like literally, The plot is done. Done. I just have to write the damn thing. But since AU's are not always well received, I'd figure I'd post a modified, super short version to see how you like it. Whether or not it includes The cute diner owners Lin and Tenzin is still up for debate.
SECONDLY. Maybe this is a strange request but I was wondering if anyone wanted to co-author anything with me? I have all summer and It doesn't have to be a real long project, but I had a few ideas swirling in my head so if anyone's interested PM me! I thought it'd be fun. Maybe we could even co-write this long-ass story.
Also, I ship all the ships now. I'm making Korra a slut (I'm so sorry baby I know you're not a slut you're just so shippable.) I've fallen REAL hard for Tahorra. It's fucking up there, man. It's up real high on my list.
MY GOD LIN AND TENZIN Y U NO CANON.
Alright. I'm done with the long ass author's note. PEACE!