A/N: I don't even know where this came from. But hence is the nature of most of my cutesy little oneshots.
They'd both noticed something was wrong. They'd seen the dark circles under her eyes and noticed the change in her demeanor. They'd each tried to do what they could for her, in their own way. Neither of the brothers were surprised when Korra laid her head back against the tree they were all sitting against after a long practice one evening, announced she was taking a nap, and shut her eyes, dead to the world in a matter of seconds.
Bolin looked at Korra, at his brother, and towards the street vendors across the way.
"Weeeeeell...I'm heading over to the pork bun booth. I think the lovely server girl there has a profound interest in us Fire Ferrets and it would be rude of me not to go greet a fan and get some food." He stood up, hoisting Pabu onto his shoulder. "I'll be back, big brother." He waved to Mako genially and sauntered off.
Mako rolled his eyes and, having nothing better to do, stared down at the grass. He was pulling it out in small tufts and tearing them up, for lack of anything more amusing with which to occupy his time until Bolin returned, when Korra sat up suddenly, grasping at the ground with spasmodic fingers and looking around wildly.
"Korra? Are you...okay?"
Korra stared at him for a moment, as though she was unable to comprehend what she was seeing. Then she shook her head and rubbed her eyes. "Nothing. I'm fine. Just a bad dream." she muttered, seeming like she was talking more to herself than Mako. "It's okay."
"Are you sure?" Mako really wasn't cut out for this comfort, worrying about people when it was something harder to understand than food, shelter, or warmth, but seeing how frazzled Korra looked, he thought it really couldn't hurt to try, at least a little. Besides, he wanted her to be in shape for the tournament, and this, whatever it was, seemed to be getting in the way of that.
"I just..." Korra looked at him, opened her mouth like she was getting ready to say something, shook her head. "Forget it. Really."
Mako shrugged. "If you want to be like that..."
Korra rolled her eyes. "Well, don't be so insistent." she snapped. "I am going to go back to sleep and maybe this time nothing's going to wake me up."
"Are you accusing me of...dumping water on you or something to make you wake up?" Mako responded defensively. Why does she have to always act like he's the enemy?
Her frustrated expression is replaced by one of confusion. "What? Where did you even come up with that?"
He shrugged. "I don't know. You just seemed so...angry. Like it was someone's fault."
"It is. Just not yours." She shook her head again, rubbed her eyes hard. "You know what? No. I'm not sleeping. It's not going to do any good."
Ordinarily he would have given up long ago - he can't stand the mind games and dancing around any point of substance tricks that girls always pulled. But this feels different. Maybe because Korra's definitely not one of the girls who stand around flipping their hair and telling him how good he looks when he's out in the arena. Or maybe because, though he'd never admit it willingly, he's starting to really care about her. And maybe that's what gets him to keep talking, keep pushing her to open up, because maybe, just maybe, there's a slim chance he could help.
"Is there anything I can do?"
For some reason, it's this question over anything else that breaks the last of Korra's resolve. She was already amazed that the brooding firebender is even bothering anymore. Anyone would have given up by now, because she's never been one to let it all out easily. But the fact that Mako even tried at all...and the fact that he's not giving up.
"It's...you remember when I challenged Amon to the sparring match?" Mako nodded.
"Yeah. You didn't show up to practice for a week. I was furious." Korra smiled slightly at the memory of her return to the gym after the long week off.
"I remember," she said, bowing her head. "It was...the night that I went out to Aang Memorial Island. He was there. With a whole group of chi blockers. It wasn't a fair fight. They caught me and he had me and he could have done anything if he wanted and he...didn't. He said he was waiting."
"I don't know!" Korra practically screamed this out, her shout echoing across the empty park. She bowed her head lower, speaking now in such a low voice Mako had to strain to hear her. "And it's just the thought...that he thinks he can get to me whenever he wants, he can do anything to me, he can make me completely powerless...I'm not even safe in my dreams, Mako. He comes for me in my dreams every night. That damned mask is just everywhere...I'm scared to shut my eyes because I might see it." She brought her hands to her face, and Mako took a second to realize that she was crying.
"Korra..." He had no idea what to say. Words were not exactly his strong suit. Nor was comfort. But he had to do something for her. He couldn't stand seeing her like this. "We're not going to let him get to you." he finally said. "Me and Bolin - we're your teammates. We look out for each other. You've definitely had Bolin's and my back before, and we're going to do the same for you. No matter what. This guy in the mask, he's not going to get to you."
Korra looked up, hastily brushing her tears away and trying to maintain an air of composed dignity. "Thanks." she said after a few seconds. Then Mako did something very out of his normal character. He reached his arm out and wrapped it around Korra's shoulders, giving her a quick squeeze. She expected him to retract quickly, act like it never happened. But his arm stayed around her.
"It's going to be fine." he said softly. Something he used to tell Bolin when the winters were bad and his brother was shivering, and had stared at Mako with almost the same fearful, questioning look as Korra was giving him now. It always was, one way or another. He always took care of people he cared about.
"I believe you." Korra stated simply. She scooched back against the tree the three benders had been leaning on, pressing her shoulder against Mako's torso, half expecting him to take his arm off her, push her away, and tell her something about how close contact could be a fighter's downfall in the arena. Comfortable ground. Him telling her what she was doing wrong to improve her pro-bending skills and her responding with some cheeky comment that left him rolling his eyes and smiling somewhere deep inside that he would never admit to. Normal.
But this...this was nothing like normal Mako. Not that she minded. He was warm and he made her feel secure. Better than she'd felt since the encounter with Amon. Safe. He makes me feel okay, was the last thought she was conscious of before she laid her head down on his chest and fell asleep again.
Mako rolled his eyes slightly, as a reflex. But he realized he didn't mind having Korra sleeping on him. Just so she'll get a good night's sleep and be in shape for training tomorrow, he insisted. But he found himself carefully moving her bangs away from her face and laying a light kiss on her forehead. Korra opened her eyes blurrily at this. "You're a good person, Mako." she said, then pushed herself up slightly so she was face to face with Mako, his hand still holding her bangs back, moving to press against her cheek. "Thank you." She leaned forward and closed the small distance between them, kissing him softly. Then she laid her head back down against his chest, pressing her face into his jacket, and fell asleep again, shifting after a second so that her chest was pressed against his stomach, her arm thrown around his waist.
Mako blinked a few times, trying to make sure he wasn't asleep along with Korra and dreaming this whole thing. Oh well, he decided, reaching up to thread his fingers through her dark ponytail, it seemed like a good dream anyway.
A/N: So yep. That happened. I was a little shaken by the arrival of Asami (I don't hate her, I actually think she seems like she could be a really cool character, but if she's messing with my Makorra shit's gonna go DOWN) and so this lovely little oneshot was born. I might make it a two-shot if people want and if I get the courage to actually write something a little worse than PG and post it where it can be read by people.
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