For the past three weeks, construction and restoration had begun in the remains of Republic City. Varrick and Zhu Li headed the mecha operation, which involved getting non-bending volunteers to suit up and start rebuilding what they could. Tenzin, on the other hand, led the airbenders to use their bending to help start construction of the new area that would soon be the new downtown of Republic City. Alongside the airbenders were Bolin and his family, working as a team of earthbenders to move what the airbenders couldn't. President Raiko authorized help from Fire Lord Izumi, who offered to fund some of the repairs as she still feels that her nation needs to atone for the Hundred Year War. Mako has stepped up as interim Chief of Police as Lin is away in Zaofu helping Suyin with repairs there. And Korra and Asami? They were away in the Spirit World on a much-needed vacation. Now, the group sat together at Tenzin's dining table, enjoying a meal together to celebrate the return of the avatar and Asami.
"…and that is how we met Iroh," Asami finished explaining.
"Well, I've met him before. But this was the first time you met Iroh," Korra countered, looking slyly across the table at her girlfriend. Asami saw this look and tried to hide her blush, which failed.
"So what was he like though? Was he nice? You gotta give more details!" Ikki exclaimed, standing up in excitement from where she had been seated.
"Sit down, Ikki," Pema warned.
Ikki obeyed and sat. She did not resume eating though, instead taking the time to stare between Korra and Asami intently.
"Yes, he was nice. He's a wise man, I'm sure Lord Zuko learned a lot from him," said Asami.
The group talked more about the trip away and then the conversation moved to how the city is being rebuilt after Kuvira's attack. Tenzin talks about how much success there is in terms of expanding the city outwards. The former prince Wu has helped a lot as a diplomat; despite not having the powers of a king, he is much loved by the people of the Earth Democracy ever since he brought down the monarchy and instituted a voting system. Wu has floated around the Earth Democracy bringing hope that everything from Kuvira's reign as dictator would crumble and that things would return to normal. Everyone was quite impressed with the young man.
"Once the city is fixed up… or mostly fixed up, me and Zhu Li are gonna head out on our honeymoon!" Varrick declared.
"Any idea where you plan to go?" Bolin asked.
"Not really. We're still looking around," Zhu Li stated. "There's a lot of the world that's worth seeing, but we don't have enough time to go everywhere."
"Don't be silly, sweetie! We can go anywhere we want!" said Varrick happily.
"There's still a lot of clean-up to be done though. Taking a vacation isn't a great idea right now, especially considering some people need you here," said Mako, rather suddenly and harshly. Everyone quieted down. "I'm sorry," said Mako, as he rose to leave the room.
The room was silent for another few moments. "Dessert anyone?" Varrick asked excitedly. "I heard there were some amazing fruit pies that Pema made, am I right? I also brought moon cakes!"
Everyone perked back up again, with the exception of Korra. She knew that comment was aimed at her and Asami. Ever since they decided to go on vacation, Mako had been distant. The night he declared he was going to follow her into battle anywhere was also the night he told her that she was his only love. Korra remembered how, after the party when she was preparing to go and pack for her vacation, Mako approached her. He took her aside from the crowd and asked if she understood what he had meant earlier. Korra tried to avoid the situation, as she knew what he meant, but he kept on going. And then it happened: he blurted it out that she, Avatar Korra, was his love. That was when she had to tell him that she didn't feel the same. It was hard but… it was better than leading him, her best friend, on. Mako was crushed.
Korra got up and excused herself politely from the dinner and followed Mako outside. "That was aimed at me too, wasn't it?" she called out to him.
Mako didn't turn around. He stood, staring out at the water, at the ferryboat that was going to take him across. The boats came by once every twenty minutes and docked for five, so she knew that she only had a limited time to talk to him.
"Mako, don't ignore me."
"Korra, you made your choice. You went on a vacation when people needed you and you come back and people are celebrating you. Just go back in and enjoy. I actually have to go home and rest because I have work tomorrow," said Mako harshly.
"What's that supposed to mean?"
"You know what it means."
"Look Mako, I'm sorry that I'm not in love with you. I thought I made it clear that I still wanted to be friends though," said Korra, dismayed at the situation.
Mako finally turned around. He let out a defeated sigh. "I know, Korra. And I do too. I just need some space, you know? To wrap my head around it all. I mean I dated both you and Asami. And now, I'm alone. It's a bit shocking. It's always been guy and girl, not girl and girl. I'm not against it though. I just… I need some time to adjust, you know?"
Korra nodded. "I get it, I guess."
"I'm sorry, for being a jerk in there," said Mako. "I shouldn't have said that. I just have a lot on my mind, a lot to take in."
"You want to talk about it?" Korra asked.
"I'd rather not," said Mako. "I'll be fine, Korra. But I really need to go home now. So, have fun at the party and say goodnight to everyone for me, will you?"
With that, Mako headed towards the soon-leaving docked ferryboat and walked aboard. Korra watched as the ferry departed from the dock and headed back to the ruins of Republic City. She turned around and headed back inside.