Break Open the Skies

On occasion, Mako thinks that Korra is pretty. Thoughts like these are sparse and hard to come by, but on the rare occasion that they emerge, they take a while to go away. So he holes himself up anywhere he can find a place, like some sort of twisted hermit.

Of course, she always chooses that exact moment to need him. "Mako!" she calls in that horribly condescending tone of hers. "Mako, we have to fight in two hours, so you'd best get your spoiled brat self out here and practice before I find you, because then you're going to have some consequences to deal with."

(The way she says consequences is kind of hot. Not that he'd ever admit it.)

Bolin gives an appreciative hoot from wherever he is, and Mako buries his head in his hands, wondering how he deals with these people all of the time. Of course, Korra takes that opportunity to barge into the room, placing her strong-looking hands on her hips.

"I know you heard me calling," Korra informs him, her face dark. "In case you haven't noticed, you're not five anymore. You've got responsibilities, Mako."

"Really?" he drones, pushing himself to his feet. Don't concentrate on her face, he chants internally, just concentrate on the fact that she's extremely annoying. "I should think I learned that lesson ages ago, when Bolin and I were on the streets without anyone around to constantly take care of us. Not that you'd know anything about that."

Korra seems taken aback by this, but she has never been one to stay down for long. "You probably should've learned that by now. Too bad you haven't." She glares at him, then storms out of the room. He watches her retreat and bites his lip, because she still looks pretty even when they're fighting and he's not really sure what to make of that.

The first time he kisses her is because he's scared. In hindsight, it sounds slightly weak – more than slightly, as a matter of fact – but it's true nonetheless. It's just a soothing kiss on the top of her head, but he has a feeling that it soothes him a lot more than it soothes her, because she stares back at him with one of those steely glares that asks him what he thinks he's playing at.

Of course, there's no time for conversation after that because they're fighting for their lives and that's a bit more important than their pathetic love lives, and afterward they're too exhausted to do anything but collapse into a big pile of Mako and Korra and Bolin. Somehow her head ends up pressed against his chest, and somehow he finds that he doesn't mind. In the morning, perhaps he will have to provide a logical explanation for why he strokes her hair, but right then it seems like the obvious thing to do. He's always been slightly curious, after all, and he finds that it's surprisingly soft.

He glares down at her – stupid, stupid Korra, coming in and messing up his life like this – and then he turns over slightly so that she's pressed right up against him. Bolin opens his eyes and gives Mako a curious look, but otherwise doesn't comment. Mako doesn't know how to explain, anyway.

The next morning, he wakes up before she does and disentangles the two of them. By the time she wakes up, griping about how she hadn't gotten enough sleep (he thinks she has gotten plenty, at least compared to him), he's already up making breakfast.

"Fish for breakfast?" she inquires, staring at him.

"Deal with it," Mako says stiffly, turning the fish over to cook the other side. "Maybe if you'd gotten up a little bit earlieryou could've helped me make breakfast, instead of sleeping like a rock."

Korra seems to soften a bit, because she sits down beside him – close enough to make him uncomfortable, but far enough so that the two of them aren't touching. "Bolin's still asleep," she informs him sharply, as if he's not already aware of this.

"I know," Mako whispers, glancing over at Bolin. "He's like a child. He tries to help out, but most of the time it ends up hurting more than helping, so I end up doing most of the work myself."

"That's got to be hard," Korra says, her voice almost sympathetic.

He gives a complacent shrug. "You get used to it."

Korra looks up at him and opens her mouth like she's going to say something, but then she quickly closes it instead. Mako fidgets with the scarf around his neck. Then they are both still. For a second, both of them sit in a perfectly peaceful silence.

That second doesn't last long. If Mako has learned anything about Korra during their short time together, it's that the girl can't sit still for any period of time. She has to be doing something, whether it be fidgeting, talking, or playing with her oddly styled hair. So of course, she starts tapping her feet to some odd rhythm, which drives Mako crazy. After a minute of this, he hisses, "Stop it."

Korra makes a face back at him. "No."

"You're insufferable," he mutters, pulling out yet another fish and frying it over the fire. "Why don't you just go do something useful and go wake Bolin?"

"All right," she retorts, "but you're to blame if I die an early death at Bolin's hands."

"That would be the point," he calls after her. She turns around to stick her tongue out at him.

They don't talk about the fact that he kissed her or that sometime during the night, their bodies had ended up so intertwined that it was difficult to tell where Mako ended and Korra began, leaving Bolin by himself with a blanket draped over him. He wonders absently how long they can avoid the subject.

Knowing them, it could take a while.

The next time they kiss, she initiates it, and it's not exactly an innocent cheek kiss either. After all, they've just been kidnapped by Amon, and it's possible that in just a few minutes she could no longer be the Avatar. So of course, the sensible thing to do is kiss.

He doesn't resist. He doesn't really want to. After all, her lips are shoved against his rather forcefully, and well, what is there to do but kiss her back just as forcefully? Just like everything else, it's a bit of a competition, and he doesn't want to be the loser.

One of the guards jerks Korra away from him. "All right, lovebirds," he says darkly, "you'll have plenty of time to kiss later, when you aren't benders anymore."

Korra sends him a desperate glance as they drag him off. Think of a plan, she seems to be saying. He's not exactly the best at coming up with plans, but he gives her a nod anyway because she's Korra and as of late, he finds it impossible to tell her no.

Bolin's hand makes its way onto his shoulder. He turns to give a small smile to his younger brother. "It's going to be okay," he says, though he's not sure if he believes it himself.

Korra ends up breaking them out of jail instead of the other way around, which was kind of what he'd been planning. After all, that was what hot, dark, brooding guys like him were supposed to do for girls, break them out. Though of course, he and Korra are hardly the typical couple. (Are they a couple? He doesn't quite know how to classify them these days.)

"Get out of here, City Boy," Korra hisses darkly, jerking the cell door open. "Bolin, wake up. This is no time for you to be taking a beauty nap."

Bolin jerks up, looking sleepy still, so Mako tugs him to his feet and glances at Korra, frowning at the feeling of his stomach flipping over as soon as he lays eyes on her. "We have to go quick or they'll find us. And believe me, they won't be exercising any mercy with us."

Korra nods sharply and grabs Mako's hand, dragging him out of the cell. Mako turns around and, deciding quickly that holding hands with Bolin is far tooawkward (and besides, the boy never washes his hand), he grabs Bolin's wrist. Then the three of them take off out of the cell, little Pabu trailing after them.

"I didn't get enough beauty sleep," Bolin moans, following them down a corridor.

"I think that's the least of our issues," Korra snaps. "Duck!"

For once, both of the boys follow her command and duck down, narrowly missing the ice shards she throws at the guards coming their way. The guards, who are unconscious and pinned against the wall, don't make any moves to try and stop them as they dash down the corridor.

The two boys remember what they're doing and help her out a bit as they weave their way through the prison, knocking out guards left and right. It's sort of like an odd sort of game, except the stakes are much higher than they were in Mako's childhood games. He's playing with his life.

"This is insane!" Bolin yells as he hurls a small mound of earth at some random guard. The guard drops to the ground at once and Bolin cackles, just like he really is a small child.

Mako rolls his eyes. "Concentrate, Bolin. That is, unless you want to lose your bending all together."

"I almost lost mine," Korra mutters in between pelting a guy with rocks and icicles. Mako sends a surprised glance Korra's way, but she either doesn't see it or doesn't acknowledge it, because she gets right back to pelting the guards and running through.

Once they've escaped at last, all three of them collapse on the ground like it's the most wonderful thing they've ever seen. Through coughs, Bolin manages to get out, "I'm alive! And there's fresh air. This is the best day of my life!"

Mako sighs and relaxes slightly. "It's nice to be out of there. I'll admit that much."


"Aren't you going to thank me?" Korra demands, pushing herself up to glare at Mako and Bolin. Mako has to wonder if she ever lays off of anyone.

"Thanks for rescuing us, Korra!" Bolin chirps, slipping his arm around Korra's back, a move that makes Mako strangely enraged. He tells himself to calm down. After all, Korra had kissed him – him, not Bolin – back before they'd been sent to the prison, and Bolin hadn't seemed angry at all back then. That should be enough proof that Bolin isn't interested in Korra like that.

Zoning back into reality, Mako realizes that Korra is giving him one of her stupid expectant glares. He folds his arms across his chest and says, "I was going to come rescue you, anyway."

"But you didn't," Korra reminds him, taking a step closer. "I rescued you, and for that, you should be thankful. Honestly."

"Fine." He returns her stupid glare and says sarcastically, "Thanks so much, Korra. I don't know where we'd be without you. Oh, actually I do – we'd probably be in the same exact position, only we wouldn't have one other person mooching off our food and supplies."

"Okay!" Bolin jumps in, sensing the tension between Korra and Mako. "Um, Korra, what exactly happened back there? After all, you did say that you almost lost your bending, but, well, you can still bend, so something happened..."

Korra's eyes darken noticeably. "I don't want to talk about it," she informs both of them. Then "I'm going to kill some animals or something," and she stomps off, not even giving them a good explanation for her sudden anger (besides Mako's harsh comments, of course).

"What's got her Water Tribe garb in a twist?" Mako mutters bitterly.

Bolin glances over at him and raises an eyebrow. "No idea. But dude, you could stand to be nicer to her. It seemed like you were purposely trying to get her irritated or whatever."

"She's hot when she's mad," Mako informs him, leaning up against a tree. His stomach growls, and he wonders absently if Korra is actually going to bring back dead animals or if that was just a lie to get her away from Mako and Bolin.

Bolin just laughs and Mako thinks that it's times like these when he's glad to have Bolin as his brother.

Korra returns after twenty minutes or so, carrying about three animals in her arms. Mako muffles a snicker, and Korra raises an eyebrow at him in warning. "It's like the Great Plains out there," Korra complains, dumping the animals onto the ground.

"I think you mean the desert," Bolin retorts, trying his best to suppress a grin. "The Plains actually does have animals."

"Whatever," Korra hisses, throwing an animal so that it hits Bolin's head. Bolin winces in pain.

"Look, Korra, I know you're upset or whatever, but that's no excuse to take it out on us," Mako replies darkly. Korra's eyes widen, but then she slumps, looking like an exhausted old lady instead of a seventeen-year-old girl. With a frown, he asks, "Why don't we go for a walk?"

"Fine," Korra mutters under her breath. He grabs her arm and drags her off, leaving Bolin to attempt to fry up the animals.

"What happened?" Mako hisses once they're out of Bolin's earshot.

"They took a guy's bending away right in front of me," Korra says in a quiet tone, quieter than he has ever heard her. "And the guy looked so hurt and just – I don't know, Mako. I know I've seen it happen before, but this was different. What if they took my bending away? I'd be nothing. If I wasn't the Avatar, I'd be absolutely nothing."

"That's not true," Mako protests.

"It really is." Korra's face seems like stone now, so dark. "I'd just be a hotheaded, temperamental little girl. Hardly important at all. Maybe they're right. Maybe we do need an equal world. Maybe I have failed the world. What do I ever do for anyone else?"

"You broke Bolin and I out of jail," Mako points out. "You're staging an uprising. You fought down those criminals. I mean, on occasion, you're seriously annoying, but you still do a lot for other people."

"I can't stop them by myself," Korra points out, gazing up at the sky.

He puts a hand on her shoulder – an oddly sympathetic move, but for whatever reason, he's feeling strangely sympathetic. "You don't have to."

She turns around to face him and presses her lips against his again, smiling slightly into the kiss as his hands move up to wrap around her neck and draw her closer. "You like me," she says once they pull away.

"Well, you like me," he points out, strangely defensive.

"Sure," she says in a sing-song tone, and things go back to just the way they were before.

(Except Bolin has burnt all of the meat, much to Korra and Mako's dismay.)

A/N: This is probably really bad and OOC, because I only just started watching, but I hope it's okay anyway! I ship Mako/Korra so hard, and I adore Bolin XD (Also I blame Jenny yes.)

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