Title: One Foot on the Ground
Rating: T
Summary: Mako hadn't been awake for five minutes before he stumbled barefoot and shirtless out of his room to discover the Avatar sitting in their kitchen. Eating his food. And his brother was nowhere to be found.
Genre: Humor/Friendship

One Foot on the Ground
part one

Mako hadn't been awake for five minutes before he stumbled barefoot and shirtless out of his room and discovered the Avatar sitting in their makeshift kitchen.

"What are you doing here?" he asked immediately. As the words tumbled from his mouth, he realized his tone sounded rather snappish and he was probably being rude again — but what the hell, she had to come in before he'd washed up and had some food? And — spirits, could he just have had the chance to put on a damn shirt?

"Oh," she said, looking a bit startled at his haphazard appearance. "I actually came to meet Toza today. We agreed I should meet your coach and start practicing in the gym soon if I'm going to be a permanent member of the team, so… I know we just won last night, but you, er, did say the sooner the better."

…That he had. And he had, admittedly, forgotten. But it wasn't like he was about to say that.

"Who let you in here?" he asked, a bit less aggressive than before, though not much. He figured he could plead overwhelming shock as a factor of any potential rudeness he was likely to call upon when the spirit of the planet incarnate in human form was sitting in his kitchen eating —

His komodo chicken. That was his komodo chicken.

"Bo — " she started to say.

" — lin. Of course. Never mind." Mako glanced around at the very obvious, very disgusting mountain of Bolin's uncleaned trousers for the week, their sweaty gym uniforms from the previous night lying over the stool three feet from Korra's left elbow, and the scattered pile of newspapers, single socks, crumbs, and just overall crap that was always clogging the floor no matter how many times he cleaned. The place looked like a cross between a men's warehouse in the wake of a tornado and an armadillo bear's hibernation cave — but mostly, it just looked like any attic where two bachelor brothers dumped their crap.

Dammit. The Avatar is in your place, Mako, she caught you with your pants down, now freaking DO something about it.

What, do what? Shirt first — he needed a shirt. His trousers were secure, right, it wasn't just a form of expression? Yes, good. But he couldn't pull off the casual shirtless thing, not with a girl he barely knew; Bolin was the ladies' man, he was just the tall jerkish captain. Would it be impolite to run back and grab one from his room, or should he test his luck and grab something from one of the dirty piles of laundry and pray it wasn't completely disgusting? What kind of message would that send?

"I'm sorry," Korra said, startling him out of his whirling thoughts as he tried to think of what could constitute a good enough excuse to run back to bed and toss himself under the covers for the next forty-eight hours. "About your, um, komodo chicken. Bolin had to go run some errands but said that it would be okay, that it was just leftovers or something… and I haven't gotten to eat much meat lately since Tenzin has me going vegetarian for airbending training, so…" She trailed off, staring at him like she wasn't quite sure what to make of him. "Are you — er, okay?"

"Fine," he said tightly. "I nee — er, 'scuse me for a moment, will you?"

"Yeah, 'course…"

He turned sharply on his heel and stalked back to his room. When he finally (finally) reached the door he closed it slowly, leaned against the frame, and sunk to floor.

Bolin. Since when did Bolin run errands that didn't include food or taking care of that stupid ferret? They'd just gone out shopping a few nights ago, so they should be set for the next week in terms of groceries, at the least, and the little red rodent shouldn't be in a bad shape either, since Bolin always made sure the thing was fed as he was. So unless his brother had pointlessly gone window-shopping, there wouldn't be any need for him to have left their place that morning, not when they both knew that the practice gyms were closed today and Toza was busy visiting his son anyway. But Bolin had invited Korra over despite it, under that guise, and then left her in their place alone with —

…The little punk.