"What happened to you?" Korra stared at Mako with wide eyes.
The firebender looked like a drowned rat. He was soaked from head to toe, a steady stream of water dropped from his hair and down his nose, dripping pathetically onto his jacket. Said jacket might have well have been a used dishrag, it was so wet.
He undid the clasps and slid the coat off with a loud squelch, pulling his arms roughly from the sleeves. His white shirt underneath was so wet, it was sheer.
Korra might have gotten a little distracted.
"Korra, a hand, please?" He raised an eyebrow and wrung his jacket out the window.
She blinked, drawing her eyes away from the lean muscles of his torso. "Did you swim here? I could have met you in the city if you missed the ferry."
Mako sneezed, scowling, and shook out his jacket again. "I didn't miss the ferry."
"It's not raining over in the city, is it?" She peered out across the bay, "It's been dry here on the island."
"Oh, just tell me already!"
"Can you at least bend me dry or give me a towel or something?"
"I don't know, I kind of like the wet look," she said slyly. "You can really pull it off."
"Oh, for the love of –"
"Sorry! Sorry." She grinned, and with a smooth jerk of her hands, pulled the water from his clothes. "Now tell me what happened."
"I might have fallen in the bay," he mumbled, carefully smoothing out his coat over the wooden railing, not meeting her eye line.
"You fell in the bay?" She laughed. "How?"
Mako's face was quickly turning pink, though if you asked him, he'd tell you it was from being wet in the cold. But that wouldn't be entirely true.
Because the reason he fell in the bay was way too embarrassing to tell Korra. He'd seen her from the ferry, practicing in the spinning gates. She was mesmerizing to watch as she weaved her way through, and he could see how much she'd improved already.
His mistake was trying to deboard the ferry while still watching her. His foot slipped and before he could catch his breath, he was underwater.
Sputtering, he splashed to the pier and pulled himself up, face burning in shame. He nearly ran from the dock where he knew the ferryman was laughing at him, and tried to find somewhere to dry off. Unfortunately, he only had a short time before he was supposed to meet Korra for some extra training. The rooms were booked, and – though she'd never admit it – she needed some more help before the next match.
Hiding near some shrubs, he lit a flame in his hand and held it near, hoping to produce enough heat to dry himself.
To no avail. He couldn't light a flame large enough to make a difference without drawing attention to himself, and he was running late.
He drew himself up and miserably walked to where he last saw Korra, but she'd retreated to the covered walkways where she hopped up on the railing and stared out at the city.
She'd jumped up and ran up to him as soon as she saw him, and he tried to maintain as much of his dignity as he could. Which clearly meant he couldn't tell her what really happened.
"Well?" She prompted.
He grimaced. "You heard me, I don't think there's any more to it."
"Oh please. You never miss a step in the ring or in practice, and I know you're not clumsy. And now you're not telling me, which means I know you're hiding something."
She took a step closer, so she was just inside his personal space, and looked up at him, pouting. "Tell me?"
"There's nothing to tell," he said, determined to remain resolute.
Korra took a step closer, "Mako."
He screwed his eyes shut and took a deep breath. "Korra."
"Tell me," she said again, lightly placing her hands on his chest.
He froze at the contact, and knew instantly he wouldn't be able to resist. Korra was a touchy person, and often grabbed his arm or pushed his chest, but every time she did it lit him on fire. After being isolated for so long, he crumbled at her touch.
"I got distracted when I saw you practicing and fell off the pier!"
She blinked and backed up to look at him properly. "Come again?"
"I'm not repeating it."
She smiled widely. "I distracted you, cool guy?"
He sneezed again, groaned, and the tension between them broke. "Stop with the nicknames."
"What nicknames? Cool guy? City boy? Mr. Hat Trick? Handsome? Big Brother? I can keep going you know."
"I know very well you can keep… wait. Handsome?"
She winked, leaned forward again, and pressed a light kiss on his cheek. "Let's practice."
A/N From the prompt: "Two words. Wet. Mako." Hope you liked it.