Think Zuko/Korra Alone. This is Mako's soul-searching journey. Takes place 2-3 months after B4. Makorra may come in later. Brace yourselfs 'cause this ish is about to get heavy
Only moments after they took down Kuvira and saved Republic City, team Avatar went their separate ways. After Asami and Korra returned from a much-needed vacation, Asami joined forces with Varrick, and the two masterminds were drawing up plans to rebuild Republic City. Bolin had returned to Zaofu with Opal for a brief visit before he was enlisted into the United Forces. Korra had left immediately to help stabilize the Earth Empire. It seemed like everyone had a duty to fulfill, some purpose to serve. Everyone except Mako.
He insisted that he be put back on the Beat. Two months of medical leave was more tiring than it was healing. Mako needed a reason to get up every morning, and with his loved ones scattered around the world, his job was all that he had left. Chief Beifong disagreed with the decision, but saw the desperation shinning in the young mans eyes. She signed the paperwork and gave him a stiff clap on the shoulder. Mako nodded his head slightly and left her office. He put his uniform on and headed to the streets.
Mako wandered aimlessly around the streets of Republic City. Once teaming with life, it was now an abandoned wasteland. But even with most of the city's inhabitants gone, crime still ran ramped. Mako was passing an old Water Tribe jewelry shop when a rock went flying through the front window. Mako shielded his face from the flying glass and looked up to see two thugs bursting from the store, their arms filled with their stolen treasures.
"Stop! Police!" Mako shouted as the two looters started running in the opposite direction. Mako chased them on foot, keeping a moderate distance between them. It had been so long since he had chased criminals on foot. The space between them was getting wider. For added measure, one of the bandits earth bent a chunk of rock up, tripping Mako. He fell hard, hitting his head on the pavement. He slowly got back to his feet, his head throbbing and his vision swimming. Mako stumbled forward, rounding the corner the bandits had turned. The alley was completely empty. Mako punched the wall in frustration, forgetting for a moment the still tender flesh of his burnt left hand. He yelled out in pain, cradling the injury to his chest. The pain in his hand matched the pain in his head. Soon it became too overwhelming. Mako slid down the alley wall and crumpled to the ground, defeated. He ran his good hand through his hair, muttering under his breath.
"I can never catch a break, can I?" he wondered out loud. It seemed like the universe was working against him. He lost every good thing he had ever had; his parents, his brother, his friendships, his relationships. Now his job was slipping from him too. With every step forward, he got knocked three steps back. It was getting old.
Mako didn't know how long he stayed slumped in the alley. Time seemed irrelevant to him lately. Every second felt like an hour, every day like a year. The daylight was dying when a voice brought him out of his inner turmoil.
"What are you doing here?" Mako looked up to see an old homeless man standing over him.
"I was chasing two thieves, but they got away." Mako gestured vaguely towards the direction the criminals had run. He closed his eyes and tilted his head back against the alley wall. Sensing that he was in no hurry to get up, the old man sat down across from him.
"No you weren't," the old man replied. Mako's eyes snapped open and he glared questioningly at him. The elder continued.
"It seemed more like you were chasing your glory days; a memory of better times."
"What are you talking about?" Mako asked the stranger. "I'm only 22. I was the youngest detective ever on the Republic City Police Force. I saved this city countless times. I'm IN my glory days." The old man smiled at him.
"Yes, you have had many great adventures. But look at you now. Why are you fighting petty crime in a broken city when you were born for greater things?"
Mako grew suspicious of the stranger. "Who are you? Why are you telling me all of this?"
"There is something in you. Raw, untapped power," the old man answered. "You have the spirit of a dragon. I can see its fire in your eyes. Which brings me back to, what are you doing here? You have your whole life ahead of you. Are you going to let your destiny peak here in Republic City? Keep the dragon caged up, never letting it reach its full potential?"
Mako was intrigued by the old man. Growing up, Mako had never imagined that he would amount to anything. He thought Pro-Bending, becoming a police officer, and being a part if Team Avatar were the greatest achievement he could make, the height of importance he would serve. Now here he was, curled in an alley, with an old stranger telling him that he was capable of so much more. It sounded like the plot of a Mover, so far removed from reality that Mako wondered how hard he hit his head.
"What would I do? Where would I go? Republic City is all I've ever known."
The old man shrugged his shoulders. "I don't know. That is for you to find out." He rose to his feet and bowed his head. "Good luck, Young Dragon."
The sound of a passing vehicle distracted Mako for a moment. When he looked back, the strange old man was gone. Mako got up and searched the alley briefly, but there was no sign of him.
It was late in the evening when Mako returned to the police station. His movements felt dreamlike, like his spirit was floating, leaving his body on autopilot. He sat at his desk in a daze. His conversation with the stranger kept playing over in his head.
Why are you fighting petty crime in a broken city when you were born for greater things?
Mako thought about his life. He was born into a lower class family. He was orphaned at 8, left to raise his little brother by himself. Mako had stolen, fought, struggled and suffered all of his life. For so long, his focus had only been survival, keeping him and Bolin going for another day. He never stopped to think about what he wanted for himself.
Are you going to let your destiny peak here in Republic City?
Chief Beifong opened her door to find Mako sitting alone in the office, staring blankly at the opposing wall. She cleared her throat, getting his attention. Mako stood swiftly, poised and ready for whatever task she was about to give him like the dutiful officer he had always been. Beifong looked closer at him. She noticed the vacant look in his eyes. "Poor kid," she thought to herself. He was giving his soul up for the job. She knew the feeling. Not wanting to be the straw that broke him, Beifong sent him home.
"Go Mako," the chief said. "There's nothing for you here." She nodded to him than retreated back into her office. Her words held more truth than she knew. They seemed to echo those of the old mans.
You have your whole life ahead of you
They were both telling him the same thing. Move on. Mako decided to take their advice. He unpinned his badge from his uniform and placed it on his desk. He felt as though a weight had been lifted, the anchor holding him down released.
What would I do? Where would I go? Republic City is all I've ever known.
He made his way home slowly, taking in all of the sights and sounds of the city. Republic City used to feel like home. Mako realized that without the people he held dearest, the city held no ties to him.
Good luck, Young Dragon
Mako packed the few belongings that he cared about into a bag. He threw in the stash of Yuans he had kept hidden under his mattress. He closed the door to his apartment, on his old life, and made his way towards the docks. Towards his future.
Everyone else had gone on a soul-searching journey.
Now it was his turn.
Mako is getting his life-changing field trip. Will you come along for the ride too?
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