ENTITLED: Serious Business
FANDOM: Avatar: The Legend of Korra
LENGTH: 1,900 words
SETTING: Slightly after the season premiere?
DISCLAIMER: I used to have quarters for laundry but then I got hungry and used them to buy a Snickers bar. Now I have no quarters.
NOTES: It begged to be written.
SUMMARY: Avatar Korra turns to her past lives for help with regards to seducing a certain fire-bender. Alternate Title: "Aang is the Love-Guru." — Korra/Mako
"Master Tenzin," Korra bleated in the middle of morning meditation, "I have a question."
When Tenzin's only response was to ignore her, Korra was not deterred. She raised her voice slightly to accommodate the doubtlessly feeble hearing facilities of the middle-aged. "Master Tenzin I have a pro—"
"Yes, Korra," Tenzin said through his teeth, "By all means, share your problem with the monastery."
Korra looked around, "They're not listening to me, they're meditating."
Tenzin opened his eyes so he could glare at her more successfully. Korra fidgeted. "So, about my problem..."
"You will learn to master air-bending, just as you have the other elements," Tenzin said, though it came out sounding more strained than soothing. Korra blinked.
"Oh, well, yeah, I know. I'm the Avatar. But I was talking about dating, actually."
Tenzin's eyes took on a strange gleam, "Indeed."
"Because there's a guy." Korra said, clutching at her stomach out of awkwardness.
Tenzin coughed, and folded his hands into his sleeves. "Well. Not so long ago, I found myself in a similar position. There I was, a young man, hopelessly besotted with the beautiful woman who would one day become my wife. The odds were stacked against me, the pair of us so different in personality and background, but I was patient, Korra. Patience, as you shall soon learn, is the most important thing that you may offer in a relationship—"
"Why are you telling my this?" Korra interrupted, "Please stop. I need your help with entering the Avatar state so I can talk to your dad about my problem."
Tenzin sputtered, "My father? Avatar Aang?"
The top of Tenzin's head was beginning to darken, "The Avatar state is the most sacred of your inheritances and you would abuse it to talk about boys?"
"I'll tell him you said hello," Korra held up her hands, looking defensive.
"No. We're not speaking," Tenzin said immediately and, Korra decided, sulkily. "Besides, my father was a buffoon when it came to women."
"Really?" Korra squinted, "Because when I talked to Katara about him, she made him sound like a pretty sweet deal."
"That was because she was married to him and when you are married to a person you have to lie about all the things they aren't very good at so you can stay married to them," Tenzin said through his teeth.
Korra took a long moment to analyze all that had happened. A bolt of Avatar-style insight hit her like tomato to the face. "Oh. You're jealous."
Tenzin's face pretended to be calm. "No."
To her credit, Korra really did attempt to be tactful, "I mean...it's not that I don't value your opinion, Master Tenzin. On air bending. It's just that, you know, there are certain areas in life where you might not be as expert as others. Like things that aren't air bending. Or boring."
Tenzin took a deep breath, "You must meditate to achieve contact with your past lives. Look deep within yourself, to the countless points of light. My father will find you, if you call for him."
"That sounds really boring."
"Patience," Tenzin said smugly, "The key to every relationship."
Korra huffed, and crossed her arms grumpily, tension high in her shoulders and scowling face. Her eyes squished close.
Long minutes passed. Tenzin watched a sparrow hop along a tree branch outside.
"This is stupid!" Korra snapped, and flew to her feet, "Stupid. Like this is really so hard."
And with that, she marched out of the monastery, and made a beeline for the mainland.
Tenzin began to mentally count.
She was back before dinner, dripping wet and miserable. "He thinks I'm a kid," she whined, and then sneezed.
"You can water-bend yourself dry," Tenzin narrowed his eyes, "Do so at once!"
"Be quiet, I'm sad," Korra mumbled, and dripped past him, leaving a trail of wet footprints down the hall behind her.
"A boy? A boy! Korra likes a boy?" Ikki chirped, and zipped about the room in a state of extreme excitement.
"How fascinating," Jinora said flatly, without ever looking up from her book.
Tenzin stroked his beard, then made a deliberately indirect trip to the monastery. He opened the door a quietly as possible, and peeked in.
Korra was sitting rigid on the floor, a small puddle forming around her motionless form. Tenzin closed the door with a roll of his eyes. She certainly had an interesting way of motivating herself.
"I don't really think that I'm qualified to—"
"Oh come on!" Korra shouted, and waved around her spirit-arms, "Who else am I supposed to ask? Tenzin?"
"I see your point," Aang said, and sat cross-legged across from her. "Very well, I shall do my best in offering you my wisdom."
"I don't need wisdom. I need to know how to get that moron to see me as...as a woman."
Aang looked extremely uncomfortable, "Maybe I should call one of the other Avatars?"
"Oh, come on!" Korra wailed, "Don't make me say it again! This is so embarrassing! Just...tell me when you really thought of Katara as a woman."
Korra was horrified, "She's like, eighty or ninety or something!"
"But still beautiful," Aang said dreamily, and with obvious sincerity. Korra wrinkled her nose.
"Okay, whatever. Tell me how to go on a date."
"Uh..." Aang scratched the back of his neck, "Pretend not to hear them when they tell you no?"
Korra considered this, "I could see how that would work."
"But, uh, don't be creepy," Aang hastened to add, "There's 'no', and then there's 'NO.'"
"I get that. But I was actually sort of hoping he would ask me."
"Oh, yeah. Yeah, that's always nicer."
Korra waited for ancient wisdom.
"You could try looking extra nice, I guess?"
Korra returned to report her progress within the day.
"How'd it go?"
"I kept tripping and he said I looked like an idiot and then he threatened to kick me off the team."
"But did he?"
"See? Not a no."
"I feel like your plan is stupid," Korra said bluntly. Aang shrugged.
"I can still call the other Avatars."
Korra stabbed an accusing finger in his direction, "Don't you wuss out on your spirit guide duties! You're in this until the end."
"Great," Aang sighed.
"I need a new plan."
"I don't know, why don't you buy him some flowers?"
Korra's face scrunched up, "Why?"
Aang looked at her like she was stupid, "They're pretty."
"He might burn them."
"They also make for suitable kindling."
Korra experienced a lightbulb of understanding, "Oh!"
Aang tapped his foot, "Are you here to start learning about Avatar stuff?"
"No, I don't care about that so much right now. I gave him the kindling."
"And he said they were flowers."
"And then he said that freshly-picked flowers make too much smoke when they burn."
"And then Bolin laughed at me."
Aang sighed, "Maybe we're going about this the wrong way. Why don't you tell me what he's like?"
Korra was instantly suspicious, "Why, so you can tell all the other Avatars and then I can have the entire spirit world spying on me?"
"We're dead," Aang grumbled, "It's boring."
Korra blushed, and then fidgeted. "Well, he's...tall."
Aang tried to be patient.
"And serious. Kind of unapproachable. Protective. He seems kind of mean but I know he's a nice guy under all that brooding."
"Sounds like Zuko," Aang murmured distractedly.
Korra, who had only ever heard of the late-Firelord described as the paragon of nobility and justice, failed to make the connection. "Oh, okay. So pretend that I'm Katara. How would I go about attracting this Zuko guy?"
Aang was at once on high alert, "What why would you say that Katara would never do that ever."
Korra stared. "Maybe I should have just talked to Tenzin."
"You could," Aang agreed, "But Tenzin used to write his own love-poems and shout them at Pema while she went down the street."
Korra's mouth fell open, "Seriously? After all that crap about patience!"
Aang didn't understand, "Pema was patient."
"I've figured it out," Korra announced to Tenzin as she emerged from the spirit world, "I'm just gonna have to beat the crap out of him! Then he'll have to love me!"
She smiled triumphantly, awash with self-satisfaction.
"Would you like a cup of tea to go with your senseless violence?" Tenzin inquired, sipping at his own.
"Why do I feel like you're the bully on the playground who's trying to pull my brother's hair?" Bolin asked. Korra, face sharp with the focus of the hunt, did not rise to this.
"I have absolutely no idea what you're talking about."
"I have a lot of lines, if you'd like to hear any," he offered generously. Korra scoffed.
"Why," she began with harsh hysteria, "So my inevitable rejection will only be more humiliating?"
Bolin shot her a concerned look, "Maybe you should lie down."
Korra sent Mako's back another frustrated, longing look, then shuffled to the stairs, defeated.
As she left, Mako turned, and spotted his younger brother. He made his way over, idly massaging the leather of his gloves. Bolin checked him, "You look tired."
"Haven't been sleeping."
"Oho," Bolin snuck in a leer, "Troubled dreams?"
Mako frowned, "A bunch of dead people yelling at me about Korra."