They had been at a play. Bolin wasn't old enough to go, so he is at home being watched by the twerpy teenage girl that lives next door to them.
Dad had said that he knew a short cut, so they left the theater through the back entrance. That's when the man intercepts them. He has a knife and there is fire in his palm.
Mako isn't afraid at first.
Move along. Dad moves in front of his wife and child, as solid as the earth he can bend.
A fight breaks out. Mom and dad aren't the sort to back down or give up and they always fought fair; mom with her fire and dad with his rock.
But the other man…he doesn't fight fair. He darts in and stabs, first dad in the neck and then mom in the stomach. They fall and they don't get back up again. The other man grabs their wallet and purse and then sprints away.
Mako crouches down next to them. Dad's eyes are open but he can't see. Mom grips his hand and whispers a few things to him, but he isn't able to catch her words.
Their blood stains his hands and seeps into his nice clothes.
Mako is eight years old, but he is no longer a child.
He manages to stumble home. There's no time to wash off the blood.
The babysitter is snoring on the couch when Mako enters the apartment. He finds his baby brother still awake and playing with his toys in the bedroom that they share. Bolin gazes up at him when Mako walks in the room, green eyes like dad's and still filled with innocence.
They'll be sent to the orphanage and then they'll be separated.
Mako holds out his hand. Come on, Bo.
Where are mommy and daddy?
Mako doesn't answer. His lips tremble and he finds that he'd like to cry. But he can't, because then Bolin would start to cry.
His baby brother takes his hand. The now dried blood flakes off and smears over Bolin's palm and fingers. Mako tells him that it's just paint. Bolin grabs a few of his toys and they sneak out of the apartment.
It's a warm night. Mako takes them to the local bark where Bolin curls up and falls asleep under an oak tree.
Mako dips his hands into the pond and finally scrubs the dried blood out of his skin. He cries.