He's running late, but he doesn't mind much. Mako's been a pain in the ass all week and Hasook is happy to let his blood boil a bit. Let him worry.
Still, the match is important. The brothers need the money, but he does too. Finally get a Satomobile, get married to his girl, the whole package. Maybe if the Ferrets place decently in the tournament, he could get away from the street rats and find himself a better team. He's heard that Jeng from the Wolfbats is getting too old to play.
Hasook catches the time from a glimpse of a clock in a shop window. Damn it. He might actually miss the match if he doesn't hurry up. He speeds up his pace. He can probably slip into the stadium unnoticed; Toza usually leaves upon a window or something, so players can avoid the fan crowds if they're in a rush.
The city is empty, as quiet as Republic City can be. Most people are inside, huddled around radios, and ready to catch the play-by-play on the evening's pro-bending matches. Fog from the bay rolls in on the streets.
He'd get there faster if he crosses through Agni Kai territory, but he doesn't need any triad trouble tonight. Hasook knows bits and pieces of Mako and Bolin's past with the Triple Threats, but he'd rather not tangle with any triads if can manage.
He can see it the bright golden lights from the Arena now. A few more streets and then he'll have his uniform on and the roar of the crowd in his ears.
There's a faint roar of a motorcycle engine coming from an alleyway. Hasook doesn't notice. He's running late.
He never makes it to the Arena.
A man with green goggles paints a mark on his cheek and throws him next an unconscious man in rags.
"I don't think we need the marks anymore. Results are all the same."
In the faint light, Hasook can see a little boy with a green smear of paint on his face lying close by. Tears still run freely down his dirty face; he can't be more than eight or nine, an orphan probably. Another girl with a shop apron on and a red streak on her forehead lies close by, eyes wide and moving rapidly as if she was looking for an escape.
Hasook tries to speak, but the gag in his mouth chokes him. The air is dry and suffocating. Even if his hands were free, he couldn't bend here.
There's a scream from another room. The little boy lets out a whimper.
"You're right. The results are all the same. Firebenders. Waterbenders. Earthbenders. The spirits have taught me well. The Revelation will go just as planned."
"We have four in the back. An earthbender kid, two firebenders, and a waterbender. One's out."
"Get this one out. He's too weak to be of any use to us. And bring me the waterbender, Lieutenant."
Hasook's heart races. He squirms against the ropes tied around his arms; tries to shout. Anything.
The goggled man returns, and drags him by the collar out of the room. He's thrown down before a masked man.
The gag is finally removed from his mouth, but he's too shocked to speak. Hasook looks up at the masked man. A maniacal glint flashes in the man's cold eyes.
"You look familiar. A pro-bender, aren't you?"
Hasook nods dumbly.
The man picks up a small booklet from a table. A pro-bending program.
"Hasook. Waterbender, Fire Ferrets. Rookie," the man reads aloud. "Wonderful."
The man's voice is like venom. Hasook's skin crawls.
"I was not expecting to bring in the pro-benders until later," the man says. "But it seems like the spirits have sent you here, Hasook."
The man says his name with such poison, Hasook wants to strike him and knock that mask away.
"You are about to be honored. You are a step in the path to equality. Your… cooperation will assure our success when the Revelation is revealed next week."
Fear strikes at him again. Hasook can't speak. He tries to stammer out words, a bargain or a plea.
The man places a palm on his forehead.
It's dark. Everything is pitch black.
His body feels heavy.
His heart speeds up, his blood rushing.
And then, nothing. He feels weak. His hands are unbound but he hardly notices.
The sound of sloshing water reaches his ears. Someone's placed a basin of water before him. It's small, but he can work with it. He can fight his way out. He lifts his hand and…
"My bending…" he finally manages to choke out, as his hand falls limply to his side.
"Just as planned. Yes. Remarkable, isn't it? The power to bring equality and balance to Republic City and to the world."
Hasook struggles to his feet, but his legs buckle beneath him.
"Don't bother. We can't allow you to leave."
"There's always the risk you'll run off to Bei Fong and her metalbenders. You were strong. Hopefully, you'll see the truth and join us. But if not…"
From the corner of eye, Hasook could see a faint blue light. He heard the crackle of electricity.
"That can be arranged."
"I'm telling you, Mako! Isn't weird that no one's seen Hasook for a week?"
"I don't care, Bolin. He didn't show at the match and he's not showing his mug now. We have a waterbender, a better one too. It doesn't matter."
"I mean, he didn't even pick up the last of his pay or his gear or anything. It's like he just dropped off the face of the earth."
"He won't come back here if he knows what's good for him. Trust me, Bo. He's probably just too scared to show his face."
"If you say so."
"Yeah. Hasook is fine."
A/N: DUN DUN DUN! Darker than my usual fare. Written after the third episode premiere, so future canon status is questionable.
An explanation on some things:
The story's plot in laymen's terms is that Hasook is running late to the pro-bending matching in the second episode of The Legend of Korra. He gets kidnapped by Equalists who have been rounding up people who won't necessarily be missed (like an orphan boy, a homeless man, and a shop girl). These people, who are sorted by bending discipline (hence, the colored mark on their face), are used to test (SPOILER) Amon's Energybending. After Amon takes away their bending, he gives the stronger subjects the choice to join him and the Equalists. If they refuse, well, Amon and the Lieutenant takes care of it. The post-scene is Bolin commenting on Hasook hasn't been seen for awhile.
I know good authors are supposed to show, not tell, but I think I kinda flew off the deep end trying to make it dark, so I hope my explanation helped a bit.
Thanks for reading! Review please! -MSND