The week went by painfully slow. It limped actually. Tahno missed Korra. But he had to admit, it felt good to be back in the swamp. His father had greeted him in the usual manner, a big slap on the back and a dry sense of humor. He was a big man, his skin once a deep brown now faded slightly from lack of sun.
The swamp would do that to you.
Tahno spent a lot of time with his dad, even mentioned Korra a few times. This of course had piqued his father's interest. "Got you a girl now, do you?" he asked with a deep, hearty laugh. "Do I have to worry about any grandchildren from you, Runt?"
Tahno shook his head, the nickname not bothering him like it used to. His father knew he hated being called that. Instead he crossed his arms over his bare chest. "No. Not at the moment."
His father chuckled. "So she's just around for fun then?" It wasn't the words themselves that bothered Tahno. It was the tone that accompanied it. It sounded as if he had the younger Waterbender figured out, as if that was all Tahno could ever want the company of a girl for.
"She's one of a kind," he answered simply. "She's the Avatar, you know?"
Hanook froze in his place by the fire pit. He finally looked over at his son and raised an amused brow. Tahno wished he hadn't said anything. He knew that look.
"The Avatar?" He scoffed. "Yeah, she's probably one of kind alright. Good job, Runt." He patted Tahno on the back. "You've found yourself a girl high up in the rankings of power. You must enthrall me with the details of how you managed to trick this poor girl into feeling something for you," he sneered.
Tahno abruptly shrugged his hand off his shoulder and stood up, making his way toward the door of the hut. "Where are you going?" The city boy stopped at the door and looked over his shoulder at the man. His pale eyes met deep blue and he turned around.
"I'm going to get some air."
*** Tahno found himself on the east bank of the village. He stood there barefoot and shirtless, staring out across the murky water. He was starting to remember vividly why he hadn't been to the swamp. His father was slime. Had been since Tahno's mother died of some sickness.
He picked up a rock and chucked it at the water, causing it to skip a couple times before sinking into the muddy depths below. He wiped his hand on his sweat pants and sighed.
"So I'm guessing you went to see your dad."
"And it didn't go so well."
Tahno smirked and turned to see the brothers. They'd greeted him upon his return to the swamp. Shen and Yuan were his oldest friends. At least they had been when they were all kids. And it looked like they still were. They'd grown from a couple of scrawny brothers to a powerhouse duo. They were a little bulkier than the usual swamp resident.
Yuan had his arms crossed over his chest, a scowl on his face. He'd never been a fan of Tahno's father. Shen on the other hand had a look of sympathy. The only difference between the two twins was their personalities and hair color. Yuan had jet black hair that was short and spiked. Shen had dark chocolate colored hair that was shaggy and ungroomed.
"He's just being his usual charming self," Tahno replied with a dismissive shrug of his shoulders. "I'm glad I'm leaving tomorrow."
"Is the week up already?" Shen asked with a look that reminded the Pro-Bender of when they were children and Shen got picked last for swamp tag.
Yuan was the one who answered. "It would seem so. He's got to get back to his girl after all." A ghost of a smirk appeared on his face, almost teasing. Tahno nodded his head, a crooked grin on his face. These two were his oldest friends...true friends.
Shen suddenly had an idiotic smile on his face. "Oh yeah! Almost forgot that you have an actual girlfriend now. Probably shouldn't keep her waiting any longer huh?"
"It's a surprise that you managed to get a girl like the Avatar though." Yuan had sincerity in his monotone. Tahno shrugged his shoulders lazily. "We're happy for you. You've made a name for yourself. That's more than we hoped for as kids."
"Yeah. We're gonna miss you," Shen agreed, translating what his brother had actually meant to say as usual. Tahno simply smiled at the duo.
"I'll be back to visit soon enough. Meanwhile, you two should stay out of trouble. I don't want to come back and have to clean up your mess. As usual." The brothers were mischievous pair and had dragged Tahno into more sticky situations than he cared to name. And by the looks of things and the stories they'd told him over the week, that hadn't changed.
Both of them shared a look and then turned back to the scrawny one of the group, their blue eyes gleaming. "We make no such promises."
**** "Tahno's coming back today, right?"
Korra grinned at the older girl. "Very." She focused her attention back on the dishes Tenzin was making her do. Oh how the girl hated chores. At least Asami had offered to help.
"What time do you think he'll be back?" Asami noticed something out of the corner of her eye as she dried the plate Korra handed her. She smiled, not saying a word.
Korra shrugged her shoulders. "Soon, I hope," the Avatar replied.
"Me too." Korra nearly dropped the glass she was washing when she heard a new voice. "Is this soon enough?" the voice purred in her ear, arms wrapping around her waist.
Korra sent a glare at the Sato industrialist, who shrugged in reply, a smug grin on her face as she put away the plate. The brunette regained her composure and turned in Tahno's hold to face him. She crossed her arms over her chest, a look of mock annoyance on her face.
"What makes you think we were talking about you?" she asked, brow raised inquisitively. "Surely you're not that self-absorbed, Pretty Boy."
He simply grinned crookedly down at her. And instead of an answer he leaned down and kissed her. Korra was about to kiss him back when someone cleared their throat.
"I'm still here."
Korra rubbed the back of her neck sheepishly. "Sorry, Asami."
Tahno on the other hand didn't look the slightest bit bothered by their audience of one. "So what's happened while I was gone?" he asked, switching the subject.
Asami and Korra shared a look. The heiress was the one who answered after a slight hesitation. "Mainly just finishing up restoring the city. We had to deal with a couple of triad thugs and some remaining Equalist protesters but beyond that things have been quiet," she told the taller boy, her voice nonchalant.
"Airbending training has been going smoothly as well," Korra added, trying not to sound too proud. Though she acted somewhat indifferent to it, Tahno could tell she excited to finally be able to Airbend.
The Pro-Bending champ nodded his head. "I wouldn't expect anything less from the infamous Team Avatar," he said, teasingly. He still didn't like the name.
Korra rolled her eyes and pushed the boy back so that she could continue with her chore. "I need to get this done and you're not helping," she replied.
Tahno put his hand to his chest, as if wounded. "I'm sorry. Am I distracting you?" His grin turned somewhat wicked and Asami saw the gleam in his eyes. "Because I can assure you, my dear, that was not my intention at all," he finished laying his head on the brunettes shoulder and planting a kiss on the back of her neck.
Asami watched the interaction between the two and rolled her eyes at the boy's antics. "Okay Lover Boy, get out of here before I kick you out."
Tahno looked over at the raven haired girl before returning his gaze to the girl he was holding in his arms. Her cheeks were tinted a faint pink. He shrugged his shoulders and pulled away. "Do you want me to leave, Sweetheart?" he asked the master of the elements. She didn't look up from her dishes but he didn't miss the corners of her mouth twitching upward.
"I'll meet you on the beach when I'm done," she replied. "If I leave now Tenzin will have my head." Tahno sighed dramatically but did as he was told with a wave over his shoulder and was gone.
Once he was gone Asami turned to the remaining Waterbender, her brow raised in accusation. "Are you going to tell him?" she asked.
Korra's shoulders slumped and she looked over at the dark haired beauty. "Does he have to know now? I mean-"
"Korra, he needs to know. And if you won't tell him, I will." Korra visibly paled at this. "Trust me. It's better he finds out now from you than later from someone else."
The southern girl sighed and handed over the cup. Her blue eyes met Asami's green and she knew she was right. She needed to tell Tahno about…what had happened. Who would know about this situation better than the older girl after all?
"I hate it when you're right."
Asami smiled innocently. "No you don't."
*** "So did you miss me?"
"Nope. Barely noticed you were gone."
"Really? Because I missed you," Tahno purred, messing with her high-ponytail. Korra rolled her eyes as she leaned back against him, her bare feet digging into the sand. The tide inched closer to their position on the shore, getting closer with each wave. The push and pull made Korra relax against the boy's chest, a content sigh escaping her.
The girl flicked out her wrist and a stream of the churning water rose, slithering through the air and making odd shapes. A second ribbon of water rose from the salty sea and started to twist about, wrapping around the first ribbon and creating a glittering pattern. Korra smiled at this and looked up at the boy as they both let the water fall back into its source.
His eyes gleamed as he grinned down at her. "I really did miss you, Korra," he repeated, kissing her on the cheek.
"You were only gone a week," she reminded him. He gave her a look and she smirked. "Fine, I guess I missed you too."
Korra laughed at the look on his face and leaned her head up to kiss him. He eagerly returned the gesture. When Korra pulled away she leaned her head back against his chest. Tahno continued to mess with her hair, smirking like the cocky jerk he used to be.
There was a moment of silence and the tide had finally reached their feet and the duo felt at ease. Korra's mind began to wonder and Asami's words made an appearance. She needed to tell Tahno. She needed to tell him about what had happened while he'd been away. Her stomach began to tie itself in knots at the thought.
Tahno looked down at her and saw her brow was furrowed, her expression pensive. "Hey, you okay?" She met his eyes and then looked back at the sand. She started to wring her hands together, nervously.
"Tahno, I…" The pale eyed Waterbender hooked his finger under her chin and made her look back up at him. "I…"
The Avatar swallowed thickly before taking a deep breath. She met his gaze again and smiled slightly. "I think we should be heading back," she stated, standing up and stepping out of his grasp. Tahno tilted his head to the side in confusion before standing as well.
"If you say so, Avatar," he said, slowly. Something was up. He could see it written all over her face. Nonetheless he pretended everything was normal and walked her back to her room, giving her a goodnight kiss before leaving her standing at her door.
The master of the elements sighed once he was out of sight. She'd meant to tell him, she really had. But she didn't want to ruin the moment. It was his first night back, and she had missed him terribly. She would tell him though. Of that she was sure. It just hadn't been the right time.
A groan escaped her lips as she walked over and collapsed on her bed. Asami was going to kill her.
***** I couldn't wait…this has been pounding in my head for so freakin long and I couldn't wait any longer. It had to be written. Just had to be. But seriously, this time…no uploading for a while. I think.
As always, I hope you enjoyed and that you review.
Im out! Peace!