So I've been frantically working an a bunch of other stuff. I got up this morning after watching the leaked episode four last night, and I could not get this idea out of my head. I tried writing other stuff but I couldn't focus. So I cranked this out, to get it out of my head in hopes that I could actually get something done today. Hope you like it!
WARNING! IF YOU HAVEN'T SEEN EPISODE FOUR YET THIS WILL HAVE SO MANY SPOILERS THAT YOU WILL WANT TO CHI-BLOCK MY ASS. YOU'VE BEEN WARNED, SO NO ANTI-BENDING RETRIBUTION!
Mako casually walked off the ferry on to Airbender Island. Korra hadn't shown up for practice again that morning. It was one thing for her to blow off practice when they hadn't actually been planning on competing in the tournament, it was another thing entirely blowing off practice when they were back in the game, thanks to Asami. At least that's what he told himself, that he was playing the team captain, that he was coming to tell Korra off for not showing up for practice.
It was really the farthest thing from his mind. He hadn't slept last night, the night of Korra's duel with Amon. He'd been worried sick, he'd spent all night watching Avatar Aang memorial island, watching, waiting for some kind of sign that she was ok, that Amon hadn't shown up.
He had inwardly panicked when Korra had accepted the councilmen's offer to join his task force. After what Amon had nearly done to Bolin, he didn't want Korra anywhere near that guy. Mako remembered with all too perfect clarity watching the impromptu press conference at the Gala. He knew that Tarlock had done this on purpose. Everyone knew that Korra wasn't particularly calm under pressure. He scowled as the older water bender stood next to her, perfectly at ease.
The reporters hounded her, asking her pointed questions making it seem like she was rat-chicken, to scared to actually face Amon. Mako didn't know he had been holding his breath, silently urging her not to take the bait, to stay calm, to not fall into this blatant trap, but true to her nature, Korra caved. His heart broke a little. He watched the papers closer than normal after this. Korra was still incommunicado and he carefully read every paper he could get his hands on, trying to glean any information he could about how she was doing, to make sure that she was ok.
He had been listening to the radio with Asami when they interrupted with news of Korra's challenge. She had challenge Amon to a one-on-one duel. He had bit the inside of his cheek so hard that it had bled. Asami had made some comment about how brave Korra must be, and how wonderful it must be to have the Avatar as a friend, but Mako's heart clenched. Asami hadn't seen what Amon could do, and although it was now common knowledge that he could take away a persons bending, it was completely different actually seeing it happen.
A shiver ran up Mako's spine as he made his way to Korra's room. He reached the door and knocked. He waited impatiently, desperately trying to get a hold of himself. There was no response, so he carefully opened the door. His mind took in all the details of the simple room. The small bed pushed up against the wall was still made despite the early hour, the unadorned walls, the rose that he had told Bolin to bring her as a thank you sitting in a small vase on the dresser. His heart leapt at the sight of the slightly wilting flower. She had kept it, a small smile crossed his face and his heart warmed slightly.
He heard footsteps behind him and he turned to see Tenzin walking calmly down the hall. The Airbending master looked no better than he did, dark circles under his red rimmed eyes, indicated that he hadn't slept either last night.
"Mako," Tenzin said calmly as if he had been expecting him to be here. "Are you looking for Korra?"
"Yes sir," Mako replied. He watched as Tenzin pointed out the small window in Korra's room. He turned and gazed out the window and could see Naga's hulking white form in the distance. He resisted the urge to leap through the window and run to her, instead he turned and gave Tenzin a small smile, and made his way back though the halls, outside and angled his way towards the young avatar.
As he drew close, he saw her sitting, staring out the bay staring at the giant statue of Avatar Aang in the distance. Naga's great head swung in his direction and she stood, stretching and padded her way over to greet him. Mako stuck out his hand, and Naga affectionately licked it with her velvety wet tongue. Mako's eyes flickered to Korra. She looked incredibly small, her normally loud obnoxious self, curled into a small ball on the rocky cliff. Her knees were pulled close to her chest, her wiry arms wrapped around them, and her chin resting on her knees.
"Go away, Mako," he heard her whisper.
"No," Mako heard himself say, anger in his tone. "Listen, I cut you a bunch of slack lately, but now that we're back in the tournament, I can't have you bailing on practice." He knew that he was being harsh, that he didn't really need to be, but this was the only defense he had against Korra. If he could adopt a cold demeanor, he could ignore the way she made him feel, the way his heart leapt every time he saw her, the way her touch lingered long after her hands had left him, even now he still felt a pleasant warm burning sensation on his shoulder, where she had slept barely more than a week ago.
"I'm sorry," she said surprising him, her eyes never leaving the statue. Mako had prepared himself for a lot of different reactions from her, but this was not one of them. "I'll be there tomorrow morning. I promise." Her voice was so calm, so scared, so small, that he almost didn't believe that it came from her.
"Korra," he said, his voice still firm.
"Drop it, city-boy," Korra snapped. "I get it. No need to harp on me." Mako allowed himself to smile, knowing that she wasn't watching. She sounded like her old self, the Korra that he knew and loved. His face burned with the thought. No, he thought. I don't love her. She's completely irritating. Mako took a deep breath, and rubbed the back of his neck nervously.
"That's not what I was going to say," he said. Korra's stare finally broke and she turned to look at him with curious eyes. Her bright, crystalline blue eyes caught him and his heart fluttered. Quickly he studied her face. He could see the trails left by tears staining her cheeks, her eyes were puffy and red as if she had been crying all night. It took all his self control not to pull her into his arms right there, and offer her what little comfort he could. He sighed heavily and sat down next to her. "I was going to ask if you were alright."
Korra didn't answer, but shrugged and turned her gaze back to the statue of Aang. "Korra," his voice came out a choked whisper. "Talk to me." He watched her shoulder tense, as if she was struggling with something.
"Amon was there last night," she said quietly, so quietly he had to strain to hear.
"What?" Mako yelled. He panicked. Had Amon taken her bending away, had he hurt her. He silently cursed his own cowardice for not being there when she needed him.
"I'm fine," Korra said with a grim laugh. "He didn't do anything. A bunch of Chi-blockers ambushed me, and Amon said that the time for our fight hadn't yet come." She leaned her head to one side, and he heard a slight pop from her neck. "It was terrifying." she said, her voice serious. "I thought that he was going to take away my bending, that I would be able to protect the city, protect you…and Bolin." Naga nudged her from behind and Korra wrapped an arm around her muzzle.
"So you're alright?" Mako asked letting out a breath he didn't know he was holding.
"Yes, I'm fine Mako," she rolled her eyes. "I'll be able to fight with you in the tournament."
"That's not what I meant, Korra," he growled, angry that she thought that pro-bending was all he cared about. She shot him a disbelieving look and when their eyes met, her gaze softened. "I care about you Korra. Water benders are a yuan a dozen, but you…" he stopped. He really wasn't sure what to say
"Thanks," he couldn't see her face, but he could hear the smile in her voice. "I think," she shot him a smirk and Mako couldn't help but smile.
"I'll see you at practice tomorrow," Mako said standing, turning to leave. "And leave this moping attitude behind, I so don't need Bolin freaking out right now, you know how girly he can get." Korra laughed brightly, and he was glad that she had picked up on his joke. The sound made his heart soar, and he quickly tried to stomp down the feeling, so that he wouldn't have to think about how this simple girl from the southern water tribe made him feel. If he had feelings for Korra, it would really make things complicated, not only was she his teammate, but Asami had insinuated herself into Mako's life in such a way that it would be impossible to break things off with her.
He waved goodbye to Korra, who rose and began to make her way back in to the temple. He buried his nose in is scarf so that she couldn't see the blush and smile that had crept unbidden to his face. Man, he thought to himself. Things are getting really complicated.