disclaimer: I own nothing, only a computer

Almost Dreaming

There's a summer storm brewing, with hot, thick air and a sky that seems to press down on them. In the city, there's no respite from the heat, nowhere to hide to escape the crushing weight of the atmosphere. It's not much better out on Air Temple Island, but at least in the middle of the bay, there's a light breeze blowing and it's easier to breathe.

When Korra finds Mako and Bolin suffocating half to death in the muggy gym, she invites both of them out to the island, where they can train without dying from heat stroke. She doesn't need to ask twice; the two brothers are out the door and headed to the ferry almost as soon as she's done asking, and she follows them.

It may be a little breezier out on the island, but it's not cool by any means, and finally they call it quits to grab some lychee juice.

They're sprawled by the edge of the cliff, attempting to catch as much of the breeze as possible. Korra has her pants rolled up to her thighs and her shirt rolled up over her stomach, lying on her back with her feet dangling over the edge. There's a funny, tickling sensation on her stomach, and she raises her neck an inch to see Bolin plucking up grass and arranging it in designs around her bellybutton. He's very meticulous about it, like there's a driving purpose behind where he puts each blade of grass, and if it wasn't so damn hot out, Korra probably would have swatted his hands away, but she can barely bring herself to move. Besides, she likes how it feels when his fingers brush across her stomach.

Mako's head is resting on the edge of the cliff, and he's staring down at the waves crashing below. His long legs are stretched out next to Korra, shoes kicked off to the side. He's seems very distracted by the setting, not really paying attention to Korra and Bolin behind him, and Korra just can't help herself. Reaching out, she grabs his ankle, and he spasms in shock "Ah! What was that for?" he shouts, turning to look at her.

"Sorry," Korra grins, very obviously not sorry at all, "Too good of an opportunity to pass up."

He glares at her but stays put, and Korra is glad. She lets go of his ankle, but keeps her hand on his leg, tracing patterns on the back of his calve. If he notices, he doesn't seem to care, and Korra drags her finger across the skin, drawing the symbols for each nation.

Bolin wipes all the grass off of her stomach and begins again, carefully dropping the blades in exactly the spots that he wants to when Korra feels the first drop of water. It lands on her nose, and she crosses her eyes trying to focus on it. Soon, it's drizzling, and not long after that, it's raining in earnest. The air is so sticky and wet, and despite the rain, it's still hot, although Korra can feel the temperature dropping some. They're soaked before long, and the wind begins to pick up as the sun goes down. Korra flips onto her stomach, and crawls to look over the edge of the cliff. The water in the bay is getting choppy, and the boats that Korra can see are rocking back and forth, increasingly violently.

"We should go inside," says Bolin, stretching and getting to his feet. The other two follow suit, and they head back to the house.

Pema and the kids are all sitting around the table, waiting for Tenzin, who is shutting the windows.

"Looks like we're in for a real storm tonight," he says as he sits down, "I doubt the ferry will be coming back out here."

Mako and Bolin exchange glances. That's their ride home, and if it's not coming back, there's no way to get back, since Tenzin doesn't like to fly with Oogie during storms. Korra sees the worried looks on their faces.

"Don't worry, guys," she puts her arms around their shoulders and brings them down next to her to sit at the table, "There's plenty of room for you here."

Pema nods in agreement, "Yes, it's no trouble at all."

"Thank you," Bolin and Mako say together, and Korra grins.

Tenzin looks worried, but Korra just rolls her eyes and helps herself to some stew.

When they're done, Korra, Mako and Bolin make their way to Korra's room, which means that they have to go outside. They had dried off a little during dinner, but the moment they step back into the night, they're soaked once again, and they run through the rain to Korra's room.

She slams the door behind them, and catches her breath. When she looks up, she sees the two brothers, standing awkwardly, shivering in their wet clothes. It's not cold, in fact it's still quite warm, but Korra finds that she's a little chilled too, and that she should probably change clothes. Being naked doesn't bother her too much, but it might make the boys a little uncomfortable, so she thinks that she should give them a little warning before she strips.

"I'm gonna change clothes now," she says, and peels the wet clothes off of her body.

Korra can feel their eyes on her, and she grins in spite of herself when Mako snaps his head away to give her some privacy. Bolin averts his eyes, too, and Korra pulls on some light, dry clothes.

"Your turn!" Korra says brightly, and they both look at her like she's crazy.

"What are we supposed to change into?" Bolin asks, confused.

"Just give me your clothes and I'll waterbend the water out of them," she explains, holding her arms out.

"Can't you do that while they're on?" Mako whines.

"Yeah, but this is easier. Plus, you're not gonna sleep with all those clothes on anyway, are you?" Korra raises an eyebrow.

Mako looks down at himself and sighs.

"I guess not," he says, and he and Bolin begin to strip off their clothes.

Korra has the decency to look away once the underwear are gone, and waits for them to give her their clothes. She bends all the water out of them, which she splashes out the window, so she doesn't make a mess in her room.

"All done," she announces, and the brothers scramble to put their pants back on.

When they're finished, Korra turns around.

"That felt so...maternal," Korra says, and makes a grossed out face, "Just so you know, I'm never doing your laundry again."

"Fine by me," says Mako, pulling on his undershirt.

Korra looks them up and down with an appraising eye. For having looked like a pair of waterlogged turtleducks a couple minutes ago, Mako and Bolin didn't look too bad now, standing there in their newly dried clothes.

"I did a pretty good job," she compliments herself and Bolin laughs heartily.

They spend the next hour or so stretched out on Korra's bed, making stupid jokes and laughing as Korra does really awful impressions of Chief Bei Fong and Toza. She's not that tired yet, and it doesn't seem like Bolin is either, but Mako is yawning and starts complaining about how loud she is.

"Stop complaining Mr. Hat Trick," she scolds him, and he scowls at the nickname, "I'm letting you sleep in my bed, after all."

"We're not even being loud," Bolin puts in, and Korra beams at him.

"See?" she tells Mako, as if Bolin's testimony will justify all the noise that she makes.

"Your point?" he asks, look up at her from where he's laying.

"That you're just being grumpy," Korra explains, "Lighten up."

She leans over Mako and kisses his nose, laughing as he blushes, a confused look on his face.

"Hey!" Bolin says indignantly, "How come he gets a kiss for being grumpy?"

Korra straightens up and laughs.

"Relax, Bolin. You get one too," she tells him, and leans forward, giving him a light kiss on the cheek before crawling out of bed to put out the lights, "Happy now?" Both brothers respond, "Yes."

Korra snorts as she squeezes in between Mako and Bolin, pulling the blanket up and over them. The rain is torrential now, and the sound of it hitting the roof is calming, lulling Korra off to sleep. She's almost dreaming when she feels Mako turn towards her, and his arm falls over her body. His face his buried in her neck, and she wonders if he's awake. She's inclined to think that he isn't, since his breath is so soft, but then she feels his lips press to her skin for a fleeting moment, so quickly that she was barely sure if they were ever there at all. Eyes closed, Korra smiles.

It's sometime later, and she's still awake, when Bolin's arm curls around her waist, and she can feel his body move closer to hers. His fingers massage tiny, almost unnoticeable patterns on her side, and Korra sighs with contentment. She's happy to be there, pressed between Mako and Bolin, she's comfortable in both their embraces. Slowly, Korra fades into sleep, thinking that this was perfect, that this was how it should always be.