Title: Among Some Talk of You and Me
Rating: T/borderline M
Summary: 50 themed sentences about Korra and Mako. For the 1sentence LJ challenge. "Time for you and time for me / And time yet for a hundred indecisions / And for a hundred visions and revisions..."
Warnings: Hints at/references to sexual themes. And cheese. And run-on sentences, 'cause I pretty much break every grammatical rule ever to fit each theme into one period.
Word Count: 2,346
Disclaimer: Everything in the Avatar-verse belongs to Bryan Konietzko and Michael Dante Dimartino. Title and quote credit go to "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" by T.S. Eliot. (I just realized how annoyingly pretentious I must be to quote Eliot for a pairing that we haven't really even seen yet, but my stupid shipper heart begged for cheese.)
Notes: Some of these are pre-relationship, some are established, some are AU, and some are just reflective things. I tried to switch it up.
Among Some Talk of You and Me
"You can slow down, you know," Korra says with amusement when he pushes and pulls, hurrying, as if he's rushing to finish before she has a change of heart, "I'm not going anywhere."
"I don't care how cute I'd look in it," he says through gritted teeth as he huddles, shivering miserably in her parents' igloo when she finally takes him to meet her family, "I'm not wearing your sweater."
When Mako thinks of the Avatars, he thinks of serene old men meditating on mountains all day long; a hot-headed seventeen year old girl who doesn't know what she's doing doesn't fit the picture – but then again, they're still young, and she's got plenty of time to figure it out.
She knows it's stupid to fall for someone so quickly, and he knows it probably won't last – but they do it anyway.
And of course Korra, being Korra, breaks damn near every rule in the game during her first few matches; but he promises to be patient, she promises to keep trying, and when she knocks out two opposing players in a single round on her fifth second chance, he allows himself a smile.
When Mako tops, he is gentle; when it's Korra's turn, she is not.
Korra's the physical manifestation of the spiritual force of the universe, the only one in charge of keeping the world in safety at the cost of her own… and she has a billion lifetimes, but she'll spend this one on him.
She's lived a thousand lives and will live a thousand more; but knowing that he has only one, just one chance to get it right and make it last, she's honored he's willing to spend it following her.
It isn't like being with the Avatar is going to somehow solve all of his financial problems… and even if he were offered money and fame and fortune, he wouldn't take it to solve the media's demands to see the Avatar's significant other in the limelight – he knows a queen doesn't always need a king.
She's a quick learner, but not a very patient one; it still takes them a long time to figure out how this will work, how a relationship between two fierce fighters that are used to getting what they want will ever sort itself out – but she learns to adapt, he learns to bend, and they meet halfway.
Those first few days seem muddled now; even now when pressed, he can't quite remember why he should have protested her joining the team anymore.
He tries to make every time last, to hold out inside her until the tension demands release; but she always just tosses her head back, gives a full-hearted laugh, and tells him they can always do it again.
Mako hadn't counted on a bold and beautiful girl barging into his life and wrecking all of his plans for his and Bolin's futures; but it doesn't take more than a few muttered words in explanation for their living conditions and tattered clothing for her to understand, apologize, and help him put the pieces back together again.
He's in charge of keeping a seventeen-year-old brother safe and healthy; she's only in charge of the rest of the world.
Having lost his own when he was just a child, Mako has no idea how to comfort her when she cries quietly over the murder of her parents at Amon's hands; it's all he can do not to storm out and find the man himself to burn him to a crisp… but that isn't what she wants and isn't what she needs, so he pulls her close and mourns two people that he had once hoped, someday, to meet.
Korra doesn't really know what she wants, but when Mako sits by her hospital bed for three days straight after a brutal fight with the equalists leaves her bruised and cracked, she knows what she needs.
Sometimes Aang shows her visions of previous Avatars, of their own lovers and their own happy endings; she's never really thought exactly about how her story will end, but she knows who she wants with her when it happens.
It isn't in his character to shy away from attention, though neither does she ever notice him craving it; but there are moments, sometimes, when Korra will catch him looking at her with such tenderness in his expression and a burning desire in his eyes, as if he's quietly resigned himself to stay doomed and wanting all at once.
It's inevitable that her soul will outlast his, that it will continue to recycle itself through time and space and eternity… and Mako's will only last as long as his life does, a short window of opportunity in the grand scheme of things; but she wants to spend the time she has as herself with someone that can appreciate the person that exists despite the Avatar title and all it implies.
When Katara passes on, Tenzin gives her a portrait of her sifu to keep in memory; and as she grieves, Korra hopes that Katara was happy with her ending, knowing despite herself that it may foreshadow a fate similar to Mako's.
And of course in his bad mood he had to be a complete jerk to the Avatar, of all people – Mako hears her speaking to his brother behind him, discussing water and earth and firebending and wow, you can really do all three?, and resists the overwhelming urge to pound his head against the wall.
Yes, the girl is crazy, but he doesn't really mind so much anymore.
"But I've never babysat before," Mako protests when she saddles him with Meelo, who immediately starts to gnaw on his scarf; Korra just snorts and says, "I think taking care of your brother for twelve years counts."
"No," he insists, tugging at her foot after bribes of self-brewed lychee juice have only been met with sleepy grunts, "come on, Korra, I said practice at the crack of dawn, and that means now."
Though Bolin would grieve and cry, she knows he would still be strong enough to move on, even with a heavy heart; but sitting in the hospital waiting room awaiting the healers' announcement, Korra knows that if Mako dies here, no matter where she goes in her future travels there will always be a part of her trapped in Republic, rethinking each and every one of her decisions to try to find a way she could have saved him again and again.
As soon as she's sure Tenzin has taken her friends and they are safely in the Order's care, Korra leaves for the South Pole to see her parents one last time merely twelve hours after Amon takes over, and it takes all Mako can not to follow and demand why, at the very least, she couldn't have bothered to say goodbye.
"Nothing against these closet sessions," he murmurs quietly against her neck as they hear Bolin thumping around in the other room, "but I'd really appreciate having a place where I don't have to hide from my brother."
It doesn't matter what happens to her, because if she dies, the Avatar cycle will just continue; but if her friends die, if she loses him to Amon or the equalists or time, then she'll be alone again, and she won't care anymore.
The rebellion is spreading like a disease and Amon's words are sinking into people's hearts; Korra thinks about begging him and his brother to go and leave this to her so she'll know she could keep two innocent people safe, at the very least – but it's a lost cause, she knows, when Mako wraps her in a thick embrace after they lose Chief Bei Fong to the revolution and mutters in her ear, "We're not going anywhere."
Korra's never really alone; she's followed by the spirits of past Avatars, trailed by the ghosts of her parents, haunted by those she couldn't save – but she concentrates, she listens, and she finds that the one individual she's touched the most will linger beyond the others: he wakes next to her every morning, falls asleep at her side every night.
He buys her the pro-bending rulebook for her birthday.
Korra doesn't tease or mock when he stiffly inquires for tips on avoiding attacks in the ring; instead, she instructs with a firm but understanding hand about techniques he'd never considered, and for a while he distrusts this new style… yet when he tries it out, somehow, the ring never looks brighter than when he now sees it through her eyes.
"Look, I'm sorry for whatever happened that made you stop trusting people," she says, voice shaking from the effort of holding it together for him, for herself, for the world, "but Bolin means a lot to me, too – and I'm not leaving, Mako, not ever, so we're going to get him back and we're going to do it together."
Mako's voice is always the last to speak up, but when they've finally won a match without a single mishap on her part and the only thing he says to her is a muttered, "Not bad," she just grins, because really, she never expected anything else.
Their mother once said it happened slowly for her and their father, as gently as falling asleep… but for him, it happens in a single, throbbing moment, when Korra pushes her share of the tournament winnings back into his hands and doesn't insult his integrity with an explanation why.
Mako doesn't regret much; he trusts himself enough to never want to reverse time and try something again and hope for a better result – but there are occasions when he looks at the way Korra's hair spreads out against the pillow, when he feels her light breaths against his collarbone, when she moans his name just the right way, when she says yes… sometimes he wishes he could pause everything, just for a second, and live in one of those single moments forever.
Korra can't stay in Republic, for in staying she would only waste away and he would only blame himself; so she leaves with the promise of returning someday, someday soon, though she doesn't give him specifics and he trusts her well enough to never ask for any.
"Here," Mako says, reddening as he tosses Hasook's old uniform at her without looking, "we've never exactly had a girl on the team before so you'll have to make it fit and probably wash out the grease left over from the rat's nest on his head, but – " and he stops, shocked into silence when she simply dumps a bucketful of water on the outfit and airbends it dry, then heads to the changing room to try it on.
Even if they were the type to compete over a girl, it wouldn't matter: she knows Mako would ultimately let his younger brother have anything – and that just tells her she's made the right choice.
Korra can't write history without comprehending it first, without knowing the consequences and understanding the side-effects of the War: so when he finally shows her their place, the attic they live in and the meager existence they've crafted for themselves above the arena, she has another reason to keep fighting to leave her mark on the world.
Mako's always secretly hoped he could see the Avatar State in action, just once, to know that the power is available to them and that it's on their side, that maybe their situation isn't as hopeless as he sometimes thinks; but when he's lying half-dead on the streets and finally sees it happen, when her eyes are glowing and the streets are wrecked with ice and flames as Korra's heartbreak spirals out of control – this isn't what he'd wanted, no, not like this.
He clamps down on his emotions when he hears them laughing behind him (no doubt at his expense) and tells himself not to be surprised; the girls always go for the smaller, cuter model, after all.
After three years of struggle and loss and pain Mako isn't sure if he trusts the forces above, and he still isn't quite sure how the Avatar stuff really works anyway; but when he awakens to find her gone, he knows she's gone to face Amon on her own and he finds himself asking the spirits, the past Avatars, anyone at all, for her to win, to keep safe, and above all else, to come back home.
She burns through the walls between them like they're made paper, ignoring their differences in class and status and personalities, so for her, he tries to do the same.
"Just so you're not, uh, expecting – I've done this before, you know," he says between gasps, and Korra, grinning against his skin, responds, "So have I."
It takes five tickets, three damaged sidewalks, and a mortifying visit to Bei Fong's office to teach Korra how to drive, but when she finally gets her license, she dumps Mako in the front seat and drags him to the West District, where she's discovered a modest, reasonably-priced apartment – perfect for two brothers to get their feet back on the ground.
The equalists know exactly where to hit her and who with; Korra waits in the hospital with bloody fists and a shaken brother, and across the city, Amon has no idea how close he stands to death.
After he cautiously shares his past, opening up about the past twelve years, she's honored that he trusts her not to judge him for his poverty; it's nice, knowing that she can give him this, allow him to have something that he doesn't, finally, have to struggle his entire life for.
He's used to starving in alleyways and scrounging for food in bins, but watching Korra dance with his brother at the tournament's afterparty introduces a different sort of longing, one he's completely unfamiliar with and has no idea how to handle.
She comes back from her travels years later with a four-worded question, and they both know his answer.