A/N: This is just a reminder that this story and all my other Makorra/LoK stories were written more than eight months before the show officially aired, before I even knew the Krew's personalities or that Mako and Bolin were probenders (and that Korra would join in on the fun). So everything written here was pure speculation at the time, especially characterisation. Still, I hope you enjoy it. ^_^
This story was written for senbo-sama. Rock on, bra!
Fools Rush In
Fools Rush In (Where Angels Fear to Tread): the rash or inexperienced will attempt things that wiser people are more cautious of.
"What's up with your brother?"
The question comes out of nowhere—as are most questions directed from Korra's mouth. She and Bolin had gone into the city for a bite to eat, shopping and shooting the breeze like best buds do. Mako had chosen to stay back at the camp, training or plotting or brooding—whatever Mako did when he was alone—and for some reason this bothers Korra.
"Hmm?" Bolin looks up distractedly from his bowl of noodles. "Is Mako's brooding getting to you?"
"No, it's his lack of fire." She lifts her hand and lets it dejectedly drop on the table.
Sure, Mako has the look of firebender, but he's all pretty and brooding and serious, and that isn't really Korra's thing. She supposes if she has a type, it'd be more like Bolin. The only problem is Bolin's self-confidence issues, which makes him more of a friend than anything else. The guy's great and all—a real blast to hang out with—but he isn't exactly someone Korra can look up to. Besides, she has him all figured out. Mako on the other hand . . .
"I mean, he's an okay firebender, I guess, but where's the passion?" She curls her hand into a fist. "Where's the rage?"
Korra slams her fist down on the table for emphasis and Bolin sucks a solitary noodle into his mouth. Since their last encounter with a group of Equalists, Mako's been acting distant and Korra's been noticing. While Korra and Bolin are these two mad powerhouses—always getting into fights, always kicking ass together—Mako seems to fade into the background.
Observing is what he calls it. Korra calls it caution. Why can't he be more like his brother and just jump into the fray with her, no questions asked? Why does everything have to have some sort of strategy? Life's too short for plans.
"I dunno," Bolin says with a mouthful of noodles.
When Korra's questioning gaze intensifies, he worries his bottom lip with a frown and lets out a defeated sigh.
"I guess he's cautious."
"Cautious, huh?" Korra's brow knits in concentration. "Why?"
"I dunno." Bolin shrugs indifferently. "Ask him."
Korra nods, pushing back her chair. "You know what? I think I will."
Bolin makes non-committal grunt and goes back to his meal, all interest in Korra's personal issues with his brother seemingly lost.
"Okay, Korra," he says casually between bites, "you have fun with that."
Korra heads to their camp first, intent on drawing the firebender into a sparring match. Then she'll find out what kind of a fighter he is—if he's really worthy of a spot on her team (she's weirdly immature like that).
When she doesn't find him at the tents, she sprints off towards the beach. She finds him practising on the sand, bending as casual as ever, flowing through the motions like liquid. It makes her angry for some reason, so she decides to alert him to her presence—Korra-style.
Mako turns just in time to see the ten-foot high wave barrelling down on him. He doesn't have the chance to flee so he brings up his hands, fire ready, but it does him no good. The water crashes down on him and he falls backward, driven up shore until he lands squarely at Korra's feet.
"What the hell?"
Sputtering and spitting out water, Mako struggles to get up. He slips once, his wet clothes weighing him down, and scrambles to his feet in the muddy sand. His eyes are flashing dangerously and Korra's suppressing the powerful urge to laugh at his expense. Instead, she reaches out to slap the back of his head.
"Gotta think fast when an Equalist sneaks up on you," she says, jumping around with her fists out and ready.
Mako literally growls at her, removing his hand from his smarting head to his jacket, pitifully attempting to wipe off the water. He's completely soaked.
"An Equalist doesn't bend water in your face," he says, glowering, "or bend at all for that matter."
Suddenly there's fire lit in his palms. With a roll and flick of his wrists, he uses it to dry himself off. It's more of a waterbending technique than a firebending one, and he does it with such cool detachment and polished grace that Korra's almost envious. She that same coiled elegance is what keeps Mako on top during his matches—as it's doubtful that brooding attitude of his is useful while being assaulted by elemental projections.
"Yeah, whatever," Korra says in a bored tone, before a mischievous grin angles across her lips and she begins to bob and weave in front of him. "Let's spar." She jabs her fists in the air for emphasis. "Do some training."
Mako doesn't even bat an eyelash and accepts Korra's challenge with good grace. It doesn't seem out of the ordinary that she wishes to train, so he begins to walk back to his tent to retrieve his sparring gear.
"Nuh-uh, no gear," she says to Mako's back, and he turns around. "We do this shirts versus skins." She points at his still-damp jacket with a devilish grin on her face. "Firebending only."
Mako's looks down at his attire and shrugs indifferently. He begins to remove his jacket while Korra turns around and stretches. She smiles to herself. It's about time they have a fight with no gear on. It's old-school, fair and even. Sure, she's the Avatar, but Mako can take his lumps and prove to her that he's not just some pretty face—that he can actually fight.
She turns around and Mako's already standing shirtless in front of her, his red scarf tied around the waist of his pants. Korra almost chokes on her own phlegm at the sight of him. He's tall and lean and wiry, and that's what she expected to see underneath that baggy jacket of his. But there's more than that—there's sinewy muscle underneath his soft alabaster skin that seems to ripple with every controlled movement he makes. He's taut and hard in all the right places and yet so very smooth-looking that she's momentarily tempted to reach out and run her fingers over the ridges of muscle and bone.
She quickly reins herself in and forces herself to look up at his face. It's then that she notices the hard slant of his cheekbones, the bow of his mouth and the slight raise of his eyebrows, as if to ask her why the hell she's staring at him so intently.
Shaking her head, Korra signals the fight. She rushes in head-first, her movements sharp and powerful, bending the element with strong arms and legs. She's like a martial artist, directing the fire with her body, coming at him from all angles. His reactions are slower but more precise, careful. He evades each move with the simple wave of his hands.
The fight isn't as hard and fast like she wants it. It's too gentle, too flowing. It's like they're dancing instead of fighting.
She stops, pushing him back so that they're standing face-to-face, and his brow knits into a deep V.
"This watery firebending," she says, mildly disgusted. "If I wanted to fight a waterbender, I would have stayed home!"
Mako lifts a dark eyebrow at her comment, the most he's emoted the entire day.
"Fire is about rage and aggression," she informs him, directing a massive jet of fire with her foot past his left ear for emphasis.
Mako doesn't even bother to move.
"Then you'll make a wonderful firebender, won't you?" he says dryly, and Korra growls in frustration.
She fires yet another shot of fire, this time past Mako's right ear, and he doesn't even attempt to dodge or block it or throw his own fire her way. Instead, he coolly regards her with those contemptuous golden-yellow eyes of his, radiating smugness. It makes her blood boil and she folds her arms beneath her breasts.
"Do it properly or don't do it at all."
Suddenly there's a bright arc of red fire heading her way. She barely sees the instep and rise of Mako's heel before the flames fan out. She dodges just in time, rolling across the ground. The fire is too quick and too hot for her to blast through, and she's already beginning to realise that this fight is truly on. He won't be holding anything back.
Mako sends more fire her way, quick and merciless, and Korra counters each attack effortlessly. However, Mako doesn't seem to look tired or remotely close to ceasing his volley. She wonders if he's trying to tire her out. She smirks. He'd be woefully wrong to think that he could outlast her.
Once she gets his rhythm down, Korra begins to fight back. Mako flips and dodges with ease, never tripping, but she can see that his eyes are almost always on her and not the fire she wields. She moves in for the 'kill' and that's when his tactics change, when she notes the altering flow of his movements.
She stares after his brisk steps across the hard ground. He's busying his hands and feet, his entire body, with different moves. He kicks, sweeps, punches and blocks with such ease that it almost looks as if he's choreographing a dance. He manoeuvres his body, flipping it, stretching it. There's no hard edge to it, no staccato beat, but he's slicing through the air with such fluidity that she's almost memorised by it, like watching waves lick the cataract foam off a golden shore.
Too suddenly her world narrows back to his naked torso, entranced by the way his lean muscles undulate with the flux, shifting and adapting as his body moves. Beads of sweat form and her eyes follow their path from the mecca of his chest downwards. The saline fluid carves a salty-wet route down his pale flesh like a lover's tongue impatiently seeking entreaty. She swallows hard, a dry audible click at the back of her throat and watches as his muscles continue to roll and shift, his arms and shoulders flexing with the subtle movements—an act that seems far more inappropriate than it has any right to be.
He pulses out a beat and a jet of fire barely misses her face. She dodges just in time. She can feel the sharp heat, smell the choking scent of burnt hair. She then flips up and back, beating out a steady flame with her fists and feet. It's violent, hot and penetrating, and though her form isn't perfect, she's powerful and deadly.
Mako, however, calculates her every move. He rolls and ducks at all the right times, dodging with ease before doubling back and firing a wide arc of fire that she ploughs through. But he's waiting for her on the other side, locking wrists and ankles, meeting her every blow, rebounding her every attack.
They're so close now that she can smell his sweat, smell the woodsy-musky scent of him. She slices through the air with her feet and he weaves back and forward. His cheek slides along her inner thigh and he crouches just far enough out of her range before placing a large palm to her solar plexus. His fingers lift up the fabric of her shirt as he pushes her back, hard.
She skids across the dirt, brief panic flitting across her face as she loses her balance. Air is vacuumed out of her lungs and she makes a feeble side kick before dropping to the ground and rolling away. Catching her breath, she jumps back up and shoots at him with both fists. She follows his eyes in the firelight, trying to figure out where he'll strike next, and sees that his attention is caught by the rhythmic sway of her hips. She suddenly becomes conscious of the silky strip of bare flesh above her pants and she slides back and away, narrowly avoiding his foot.
"Can't get a strike on me," she pants, hoping to either get a rise out of him or at least distract him from her hips, "so you're just gonna perv?"
Mako lifts his chin and there's a sudden hard-edge to his eyes. They're full of the fire she's been longing to see. He lunges forward and grabs her wrist, sweeping his foot underneath her. She lets out a quick whoosh of air before falling to the ground. The wind is knocked out of her lungs—again—and she tries to fold back to flip herself forward onto her feet, but she's stuck.
There's a burning weight on her stomach and she lifts her head: Mako's straddling her. She tries to move her hands but her wrists dig into the gritty dirt beneath her. He has her pinned to the ground. She thrusts her pelvis upwards and struggles against him, but it's useless: she's impotent underneath him.
In the end it's the very feel of him—the arches, the hard muscles, the sharp lines of his flesh against hers—that wrench her back to reality. He's solid above her with his flawless, malleable skin charring her own flesh with a white hot intensity she can't begin to describe.
She breathes fire and he pulls back just in time. She uses his own memento against him and pushes forward with him. By the time he hits the ground she's already straddling his chest, pointing a fire dagger at his forehead. He submits with a half-grin, probably thinking he has proved a point or something. And maybe he has. She's won and he's submitted, but it's his precision and ability to get inside her head that puts her raw power to shame. And that's what makes him the better fighter . . . for now.
"Was that what you wanted?" he asks dryly, the fire gone from his eyes.
He moves to sit up and she slides down his chest onto his lap. She instinctively reaches out to clutch onto his shoulders and the flat of his palm settles on the small of her back, cradling her close. Their eyes meet. His hair is a mess across his forehead, black strands clinging to the dampness of his brow. She can feel the heat of his chest pressing against hers and her fingers absently trail down his shoulders and arms that are now soaked with a slick sheen of sweat.
"Why?" She's breathing heavily, a slight blush blooming on her cheeks. "Why don't you fight like that more often?"
"Because the traditional way isn't necessarily the right way."
He effortlessly lifts her up with him and sets her down on her feet. Heat is radiating off him in waves and she feels a trickle of sweat roll its way down her neck and tuck into her shirt. He's using that same heat to dry himself, regulating his temperature, before he picks up his discarded clothes.
"What do you mean?" she asks, too tired to bend the sweat off her body.
He pulls on his jacket and shakes his head in that condescending way of his. "Look, Korra, I know you were isolated in your teachings."
"Now wait just a minute—"
"But the real world, this city, isn't like some ice hut in the middle of the frozen tundra or some monastery perched up high in the mountains." He points a long finger down at the ground, at the space separating them. "All the elements are right here, mingling together. It's not just fire or just earth or just water.
"You need to understand that, Korra. The Avatar is supposed to be about the perfect union of all four elements." He shakes his head and lowers his hands to his side. "If you can't adapt, you'll never find the harmony in your own power."
Korra's suddenly in his face, jabbing a pointed finger at his chest. "Hey, I know these things! Don't act like I don't know these things!" She points at herself this time, her blue eyes smouldering with conviction. "I am the Avatar!"
"Right." Mako snorts and does up his jacket before turning around. "Then maybe you shouldn't scoff at my watery firebending."
Korra's pulling at her hair and figuratively frothing at the mouth when she comes upon Bolin back at camp. He's sitting cross-legged with half-lidded eyes drooping towards sleep. Pabu's sprawled across his lap, purring loudly as Bolin lazily pets the ferret's furry stomach.
"That jerk!" she yells, promptly jolting Bolin awake.
Pabu makes a scared squeaking nose and jumps off Bolin's lap, scurrying behind his master in terror. Seeing that it's only Korra pissed off at Mako again, Bolin tries to hide his smile while placating the cowering ferret. He drapes a protective arm over Pabu and shifts him back onto his lap.
"The sparring went well, then?"
Korra mumbles angrily to herself before flopping down on the ground, leaning up against whatever will support her. She's frustrated and enraged and maybe even a little defeated.
"I'm beginning to think he wants me to address him as Sifu Mako," she drawls, rolling her eyes upwards at the heavens, and Bolin snorts.
"That bad, huh?"
Korra grunts in response but seems to have settled down some. Her breathing is more controlled and she's stopped pulling at her hair. Pabu then jumps off Bolin's lap and hesitantly creeps over tow the girl, sniffing at her hand. She slowly lifts her palm and gently pats the fire ferret's head. Since that hand bears no food, Pabu decides to trot back over to Bolin.
"He thinks he knows more about being the Avatar than me." Korra dramatically points to herself with wide, incredulous eyes. "The Avatar!"
Bolin shakes his head, smiling in a rueful manner that Korra doesn't particularly care for. Her eyes are cold, narrowing on Bolin in an accusing manner, before bristling with indignation. She sits up, her spine poker-straight, and points a damning finger in his direction.
"What, are you saying you agree with him?"
The earthbender immediately scoots back, creating a greater distance between himself and the Avatar. "No, no, I just, you know." He shrugs. "I wouldn't immediately discount what Mako has to say."
Korra scoffs loudly. "Oh, so because he's a few years older he's suddenly some guru guy, some great bending master?"
"I'm not saying anything. In fact, I'm staying out of this." Bolin immediately jumps to his feet and calls for his fire ferret. "C'mon, Pabu, let's go find something to eat."
Korra watches Bolin go, but the frustration still hasn't dissipated from her chest. "Whatever!" She folds her arms beneath her breasts. "I can deal with your brother, that stupid—that stupid jerkbender!"
"Shut up, Bolin!"
Korra finds Mako at the beach again, slowly wading out of the water onto the shore. His naked torso glistens with a healthy sheen of water and Korra's eyes follows its path downwards until she notices that the rest of him is naked, too—completely naked.
She turns away in embarrassment, a hot crimson flush creeping up her neck and face, burning the tips of her ears. She inhales and exhales slowly, waiting for him to get dressed or for the earth to open up and swallow her whole, whichever comes first.
"Are we sparring again?"
Korra turns around. Mako's already doing up his trousers and tying his scarf around his waist. Beads of water are still trailing down his naked chest and his hair is slicked back and dark. His skin is taut over the blades of his cheekbones; the honed angles of his face catch the shadows, casting hollows into his cheeks. He exhales softly through his nose as he watches her, his nostrils flaring. She follows the bridleway of his nose up to where his eyebrows are only slightly raised—raised as if he is questioning why she's appraising him so boldly and not answering his question.
"I want to know what your deal is," she blurts out suddenly. The cognitive part of her brain that tells her to think before she speaks is obviously not functioning properly today.
"Yeah." She crosses her arms over her chest. "The time for subtlety is over."
He blinks. "So earlier today was your idea of subtlety?"
"Shut up." Korra issues him a scathing glare, far more insidious that her two syllable retort, and he rolls his eyes heavenwards. "I wanna know why you're such a cautious fighter. I've seen your moves. You're good. Not as good as me, mind you, but . . . I dunno. It's like you hide who you really are and yet you presume to know more than I do!"
She jabs a pointed finger at his surprisingly broad chest and Mako makes to grab her wrist, but she pulls back too quickly. She's already in sparring mode, throwing wide, powerful kicks at him. He recovers with incredible alacrity, whirling a jet of fire, which she easily side-flips away from and out if its stream.
"I don't presume anything," he says, his cruel eyes level on hers. "I leave that up to you." He punches forward with lightning speed and Korra barely has the time to bend her body out of the way. "And what does it matter to you that I choose caution over aggression?"
"Because you're a firebender!" She slices a foot through the air, angling the flame in a sweeping arc. "That's kind of all about aggression."
Mako breaks through the fire and narrowly misses Korra's face with his fist. "Don't you mean you're all about aggression?"
Part of her, a very small part, shrinks back in embarrassment at his words. But there's another part of her, a big and strong-willed part, that flares in defiance at being treated like a child when no one on this team, including him, would be anywhere without her! So she strikes at him hard, locking wrists.
"I have to be aggressive," she growls, crouching low to sweep his legs out from underneath. "I'm fighting a war!"
Mako falls onto his back and Korra makes a fire knife with her fist. She dives down to direct the blow to his solar plexus, but his feet connect with her chest and he flips her off while he thrusts his own body upwards into a squatting position.
"A revolution," he corrects, manoeuvring his body in a breaking motion as he kicks several rings of fire at her ankles. "And I know that."
Korra jumps the discs of flames and aims low, but Mako's already flipped back into a standing position, circling her.
"You do, huh?" She raises her fists up to her chest. "That's funny, cause the way the Equalists normally trounce you I thought you were on their side."
She punches a blast of fire and he catches it in his palm before evaporating it.
Korra smirks. "I'm a funny girl."
The two are breathing heavily now, circling each other like vultures, waiting for the other to make the next move. Mako has become fairly proficient at avoiding Korra's fiery projections with relative ease, and it annoys her immensely.
"I'm fighting them just like you are," Mako says, taking several steps back as he watches her feet. "My ways are just different from yours."
"Yeah, I actually fight them!" Korra shifts into an offensive stance. "Why—" her words are abrupt and punctuated as she hammers out each individual attack "—Are. You. So. Damn. Cautious!"
Korra's last move is artful, the pure rage of fire, and she has Mako on his back beneath her. She's standing triumphant above him and suddenly he snakes a fiery whip around her ankle, pulling her feet out from underneath her. She falls hard on her back, the air knocked out of her lungs, and she gasps for breath beside him. Her mind kicks into gear, reeling and cursing at her fatal error. He is cautious but he's also very calculating—and because of that, he will always have the last strike.
When he finally moves, she can feel him against her side, solid and heavy. She considers grabbing his arms and helping them both up but she can't bear to look at him now, or see the smug look of satisfaction she anticipates to be splashed across his handsome face. Only he's not acting smug or cool or detached. His hands are on his knees and he's pushing himself up onto his feet.
"Because, Korra—" he takes her hand and helps her up "—fighting is only half the battle. The other half is understanding your enemy and knowing why he fights."
His hand is hot and heavy in hers, and it's big—too big—so she lets go like it's scalding her. She rubs her palms together before placing them on her hips. She's nervous in his presence for some stupid reason (the heat, she reasons lamely), and it's making her feel confused and uneasy. Instead of dwelling on it, she decides to play the whole thing off, acting cool and unaffected just like him.
"That's easy," she says, shrugging. "We bend; they don't. And they hate us for it."
Mako brings a forefinger and thumb to the bridge of his nose. "The reasons why people hate are never that simple."
A muscle works in his jaw and Korra can tell that he's trying very hard not to grind his teeth or growl at her.
"Because, Korra—" he lowers his hand from his face and sighs "—people are never that simple. Our reasons for hating, loving, fearing—they're all complex." He works his tongue along the inside of his cheek before levelling his steady gaze on her. "It's your duty as the Avatar not just to bring peace but to understand that peace—as well as the chaos."
Korra lets out a huff of air and brings her hand to the back of her neck. Fucking Avatar talk again, she thinks to herself, but decides not to rise to his bait with anger. This time she'll listen.
"Okay, Sifu Mako," she says, her blue eyes dancing with an unspoken dare, "enlighten me."
A strong breeze winds its way around their bodies, trailing wisps of clouds overhead. The air is cool and refreshing and it tickles the curls of matted hair against their damp foreheads. The wind catches the red scarf wrapped around Mako's waist and curls it in its invisible fingers, waving it like banner. The sight of it fluttering in front of her eyes becomes almost hypnotic and oddly soothing.
"The anti-benders call themselves Equalists," Mako says. "Why?"
Korra blinks, slightly annoyed at him for disturbing her momentary calm. "I dunno, cause the guy put in charge of naming the group was on vacation that day?"
His reaction is subtle, almost too subtle, but Korra notices it. She sees the tiny smile lines crease at the edge of his eyes and the corners of his mouth curl upwards into the briefest of smiles. It's a small victory.
"Wait, is that a smile I see on your surly face?"
His smile slowly disappears and Korra finds herself thinking, No, not the eyes, don't let it leave the eyes. But then it's gone and he waves her joke aside. However, there's some small part of Korra that smiles on the inside. She holds onto that moment, ingrains it in her head, afraid that it might disappear like trails of smoke if left to her memory alone.
"Equalists believe that no bending puts everyone on an equal footing."
Korra laughs despite his serious tone, or maybe it's because of it. "But that's stupid. Everyone's different, benders and non-benders alike." She lifts her palms upwards. "They can't expect us all to be the same."
"Precisely." He offers her a fetching head tilt and she rolls her eyes. "So why do they harbour such resentment towards us?"
Mako reaches forward and clasps her hands together with his. Korra's heart begins to race, beating so loudly in her chest that she's convinced he can hear it too. His palms are dry on hers and all she can think about is how warm and soft his hands are—and suddenly there's no saliva left in her mouth.
"They, uh—" Korra swallows painfully "—they think the war wouldn't have happened had there been no benders?"
He drops his hands and raises a dark eyebrow incredulously. Korra suddenly feels like a child scoring horribly on a test.
"Warriors don't have to be benders to start or finish wars," he says. "Look at the Kyoshi Warriors or the Southern water Tribe—"
"I know my own damn tribe!" Korra roars, rearing up on him with her jabbing finger ready. "And we never started any war, nor have the Kyoshi Warriors."
Mako easily swats her hand down. "But they've fought in wars. And these Equalists have started a war with you—with all of us."
Korra opens her mouth and then closes it, the reality of his words finally sinking in. She sullenly folds her arms beneath her breasts.
"Okay, fine, I get your point. But what does any of this have to do with you being a cautious firebender?"
"Because." A wry smile angles across his lips. "This cautious firebender likes to observe and learn from his enemies."
Korra mulls over his words, worrying her bottom lip with her teeth. True, she's a shoot-first-ask-questions-later kind of Avatar, but was this attitude really hindering her abilities? Would she be a better fighter, a better Avatar, if she were more cautious like Mako?
Glancing up, Korra notes that he's still staring at her and she's suddenly drawn in by his eyes—those strangely golden eyes with a perpetual sunrise-sunset hue. The sunlight plays over him, accentuating everything in his face that she loves and hates, and she can't seem to look away from him for the life of her.
Is this infatuation? Awe? Respect?
"Do you know what chi is?"
Mako's raspy voice ruptures her thoughts, anchoring her head back in reality. When she doesn't respond, when the silence between them becomes thick and honeyed, he takes a step back and begins to move his arms around his centre in an intricate motion. With two fingers poised on both hands, he seems to scoop the energy from the air. Korra can feel the small hairs on the back of her neck prickling upwards. The air becomes heavy and she can taste copper on her tongue, electricity in her mouth. Her own blood begins to hum in her veins.
"It's the energy that flows in and all around us." His voice is barely audible above the crackling sound of the lightning that he bends in his hands. "Knowing that it is in everything—fire, water, earth, air—you can manipulate it. You can adapt it."
Mako directs the ball of lightning at the sand next to Korra and she gasps in half-terror, half-amazement. She can feel the heat of it smouldering on the beach, hear the deafening buzz of the spent electricity vibrating in her eardrums. Out of the singeing hole next to her she sees a perfect circle of glass twinkling in the fading sunlight.
"And you can change it into something new."
Mako steeples his hands together and brings them to his chest and down to his stomach, taking in deep breaths through his nose. Korra can only clasp her hands together and give the firebender a lopsided grin—all thoughts of him being a cautious bender removed.
"You have got to teach me that!" she says excitedly, seeing him in an entirely new light.
Mako opens his eyes and smirks, prompting, "What's the magic word?"
Korra gives him the evil eye before begrudgingly swallowing her pride and offering him the required obeisance.
"Please, Sifu Mako." She bows humbly. "Can you teach me how to generate lightning?"
Mako looks at her askance for a moment before bringing a hand to his chin. "I was just going for please, but Sifu Mako—" he draws out the phrase with a smug expression on his face and gives her a satisfactory nod "—yeah, that has a nice ring to it."
Korra's hand comes out of nowhere, slapping him upside the back of the head.
"Shut it, fool."
Author's notes: Life lessons, yo! Mako's like a younger, hotter, brooding version of Iroh (in my headcanon, anyway). Sure, he doesn't outwardly appear to be some amazing bender (neither did Iroh), but that's his secret. Let everyone think he's this unassuming firebender who moves more like a waterbender and then BAM! He amazes the holy sh*t out of you! ;P
I was so inspired by this story that I decided to create another drabble/ficlet collection, Lost in Translation, which centres on the fanon—and possibly canon—of The Legend of Korra. Unlike a normal drabble collection, this one will most likely contain several arcs. Expect the first drabble, 'No Way Out' (which is related to this story), to be posted soon—or whenever the hell I feel like it! ;P