Rated T for the very nature of this fic: Mako engages in some cloth removal for cash. (Keep in mind that there isn't any graphic nudity here.) Oh god, this is basically totally crack. I'm not sure if I am ashamed or amused at myself. Inspired by a conversation at the LoK forum on Gaiaonline, basically another poster suggested that Mako would make bank if he stripped for money, and I demanded that a fanfic of this exist. So I wrote it. (I'm sorry Bryke, for doing this to your character.)

Left yuanless, the stoic, stern face blandly considered his options. The crate serving as a pantry was empty. Their rumpled clothes lay threadbare, messy, around the loft, so close to unraveling. The soft prickles on his and his brother's faces hinted at a lack of shaving cream, or even soap. The razor was blunt at this point: a sharpening was in order. Mako could not expect himself or his brother to perform well at the impending match on empty stomachs.

A series of exasperated sighs bubbled from the elder firebender. He knew his hours at the plant were drastically cut, and no hope of an advance existed. A quick glance at last week's and this week's schedule proved it. Walking to Bolin's bed, he reached underneath and plucked out Bubu, the scratched clay piggy bank of his brother's. Empty. The worn envelope beneath his own mattress shared the same fate. Dread filled him slowly, yet resolve flickered in his golden eyes.

Bolin adjusted his massive specimen of a false mustache, accentuating his ridiculous circus-seeming attire and Pabu's anti-climatic performance earned him the rusting can at his side a coin. Verdant eyes sparkled, excitement bubbling: yuans! He continued his hustling of the bored fireferret's tricks, winking at some ladies as a lure. A modest crowd giggled at Bolin and Pabu, the can slowly filling with change.

Mako adjusted his signature scarf, concealing as much of his face as possible. He flitted through the sketchier side of Republic City, making his way through back alleys and streets, avoiding human contact at all costs. Approaching a seedy, flashy building, he knocked softly at the side door of the establishment. A hushed voice questioned. "It's me, Magnificent Mago", he whispered back. The door opened quickly, and a garishly dressed older man motioned him inside.

"What brings you back to the Fire Wang? Short on cash, Mago?", the frail older man in a bright neon-green body-suit inquired.

"Do you have room for me tonight? I just need a few hours of work", sternly stated Mako.

"You know you're always welcome on the Fire Wang's stage, Magnificent Mago.", smiled the old man. Mako suppressed a shudder, and made his way to the dressing rooms, regret already settling in.

Raven-curtained, the stage dominated the room, rows and rows of benched tables, all facing the stage, covered in hues of blues from sky to midnight. The wooden floor atop the stage deeply glimmered, polished black. Candles floated in the ceiling and the room, huskily entrancing the mood of the room. The walls, drenched in the deepest scarlet, granted a strange darkness throughout the room. The audience filtered in, from the bartender's nook, drinks in hand. The crooning, meandering singer tested the microphone at his small, entirely black, side stage. The singer's face contained her dignity behind a blank black face mask. Employment at the Fire Wang rarely never acted as an agent of shame. Backstage, "Magnificent Mago" traded horror stories with his past coworkers, meeting a few new ones in the process.

The crowd in the benches fully seated, the hidden band began a seductive song, beginning tranquil and bending husky at the croon of saxophones. The singer/announcer began, a list of hand-written stage names clutched in hand: "The Fire Wang welcomes, beacons, and opens its doors to you, dear audience! We've got a spicy night peppered with veterans for you tonight, alongside rookies.", she paused. The music tilted higher, louder. She began to sing.

"Ooohhh, dusk oh dusk, who's here tonight? Who's here tonight?", the crowd cheered in anticipation. "Faaaaaaaaaa-uurrrrrh Waaaaaaaaaaaah nnnggggg, OH, Faaaaaaaaaaaa- urrrrrrrrrh Waaaaaaaaahnggg, who, lithe, prances upon your STAAAAAAAGE." Drums began in the background as she prepared to introduce the first dancer: "MAAAAAAAAAGniiiificent OH! Maaaaaaaaagniiiiiificent MAAAWWGO, draped in SHADES of FIIIAAAH," the crowd became rowdy with cheers and lecherous whistles. "FFFAAAAAAIIIIYAHH, FIRE FIRE FIRE FIRE, FIRE WANG, FIRE BANG, FIIIRE WAAAAANG.", she switched to announcer mode as a red-draped figure descended the stage, rustling beneath veils and veils of red, and the deep drumming in the background increased, along with the squeals of the saxophone and the audience. Mako dominated the stage, seductively swishing his hips in a circular motion, disgust and shame manifesting on his deeply veiled face as he exposed his arms, slowly. The music picked up the pace, and he began exposing his chest to whistles and the singer's repeated, "MAAAAAGNIIII-FI-CENT MAAAAWGO", which punctuated the music at the right intervals. He danced a modified version of firebending, pelvic-thrusting more than anything, twisting veils off himself and exposing more and more of his slick oiled and sweaty self. He discreetly rolled a wave of heat into the audience, increasing the clatter of tips into the sealed tip containers at each table, contorting himself and flexing. Anger rising in his head, he released himself into the music, dancing wildly and shamefully, generating gasps and whistles and cheers, doing well with the tempo and beat of the music. Manipulating the flames of the candles with his fingers, he increased their fires and brightness filled the sketchy room, as wonder and tips poured from the audience. He'd found his place, he mused. This wasn't so bad. He could do this.

It was then that heard the tone of the music change from seductive and tip-guaranteeing to playful and wacky. The singer crooned "FIIRE WANG," with more intensity, and he proceeded to embarrass himself as the last veil drifted from his lean body and his scarlet fundoshi lay exposed. He did the chest wriggle, reminiscent of a certain lady's milkshakes at a yard, and his movements grew disjointed and ridiculous. He twirled, pranced, and flexed. The audience went wild, clamoring, making it hail coins and yuans. "FIRE WANG! THAT WAS MAGNIFICENT MAGO, WOOO!", the singer's tone of voice changed to all business as the bidding began: "NOW the bidding commences, FIRE WANG, for MAGNIFICENT MAGO'S fundoshiiiii. Ladies and gentlemen, the bidding forms are with the bartender." She switched back to her crooning as Mako did a quick dance behind the black curtains as the audience darted, asking for more. "Oh dusk oh dusk, who's here tonight? FAAAA-YUR WANG-"

Mako sat in the waiting-chair of doom as he heard the next dancer's introduction, dreading the winner of the bid for the actual stripping. He placed his burning face in his clammy hands, nervous, anxious, dreading, and ashamed.

Bolin lay awake, excitedly waiting up for his older brother, giggling to himself and he pet Pabu and Bubu, his now full piggy bank. He hummed to himself, gleeful at the amount of spare change he acquired at the park. His brother surely would beam with pride at his resourcefulness. "We did good today, buddy!", he exclaimed at Pabu, excitement bubbling up in the good-natured earth bender's face. He heard some creaks, the slow ascent of his brother toward the door. "Mako! Guess how much Pabu and I made at the park!", he grinned. His brother turned, concealing a glower.

"Not now Bolin, I'm tired." and ashamed. Mako hid his tips in the crook of his arm as he made his way toward the shower. Despite the killing he'd made- twice his monthly wages at the plant, his cheeks flushed an angry rouge, and his aura emanated anger. Bolin frowned momentarily before shrugging off his brother's foul mood and snuggled up to his Pabu and Bubu as his brother tried to wash the glitter and cologne and shame and grime and crushing disgust from his body.

Oh god, I think I share Mako's shame here. Hopefully it was funny, which was my original intention. Please review!

Note: The place is named Fire Wang after Wang Fire, Sokka's alias in AtLA (of which I was reminded of as I browsed Linzin fics. I don't remember whose fic it was though). Also because it made me giggle.