Tinted Green: Part Nine
The city was in complete and utter turmoil.
Tenzin could hear it within the police station; loud and panicked cries of the people, bombs, explosives, and whatever else Amon was using to shake the foundations of the city. He had made many attempts to put through calls and telegrams to an old friend—the General of the United Forces, Iroh—but the power went out before he could successfully put the messages through. He knew that the army would get here eventually because the large amounts of smoke coming from the skyscrapers were bound to catch a ship's notice, and word would surely get around. But then again, Amon could simply have a plan for that as well.
He didn't get this man, Amon. He was always a step ahead because he'd been lurking in the shadows for years, planning, scheming, so it was no wonder he was always prepared for whatever they threw at him. Tarrlok's alternative political agenda didn't help with the city's safety these past few years either, as he was coming to learn. Add Korra's constant displacement and capturing, and Tenzin didn't feel quite qualified to lead a bleeding city. He couldn't even keep up with a seventeen year old girl, for goodness sakes!
Tenzin grabbed the torch wordlessly and slowly the bunker lit up with flashlights. He looked around—no physical damage that he could see. A few things on some shelves had been rattled around in some of the quakes, but everything was standing, for now. "Tenzin," Saikhan called, inquiry in his tone. Half lit faces distorted in distasteful shadows looked at him expectantly, and he fought a grimace. "Everybody stay calm," he said to the room, but expressions didn't soften, anxieties didn't lessen, and he didn't blame them. "Saikhan, are there any emergency—"
"—do you smell that?"
The room grew stiff. "No," Tenzin said slowly, but he started trailing his light across the room, searching. "I don't—" he stopped when he spotted the air vent leaking colored gas. "Everyone hold your breath, now!" he demanded, and the room let out a collective sound of shock as a dozen or so officers took in a deep, panicked breath. Tenzin tossed his torch back to Saikhan before he began bending the air around them to create a barrier. "Everyone behind me, don't stray—we have no choice but to go outside." The officers scuttled behind him and out into the eerie hall, the walls tinted shades of red and orange from some of the windows.
Tenzin heard the gasps.
"Keep moving," he instructed kindly. He was beginning to regret what was going to be out there—judging by the flickering orange hues, he imagine it was quite hot out—and the air might not be much of an improvement.
Still, they trudged on and made it to the front door where Tenzin used his barrier to blast the door down with overzealous energy. The remaining officers and Saikhan came stumbling out into the late afternoon light coughing and spurting, only to be given a warm welcome by half a dozen mecha tanks.
"This isn't working!" Korra managed to whine through labored breath. She grabbed Mako as he ran past her by his sleeve and he jerked back, stumbling at the sudden loss of momentum. She put her hands on her knees and took a few deep breaths, and he followed suit. "We're not going to get there in time if we just run."
Mako agreed. "Can't you just airbend us or something?" He kicked at the ground. "There's still some snow? Earth? Fire? You're master of all four elements here!"
She snarled, trying to keep her temper at bay. "I don't have a glider, so I can't airbend us. And sure, I could get there, but I'd leave you behind." Korra looked down the road that led to the city. "What we need is—"
Was this guy serious? She bore her chattering teeth. "No, what we need is an idea that isn't you fucking around!" He didn't retaliate; he simply raised a finger and pointed behind her. "What? What the hell are you pointing at—oh."
Behind them, curving around a mountain pass, Korra spotted two headlights of a car bobbing in between the flakes of snow that kept blanketing the ground. "You don't think they're going to the city, do you?"
Mako shrugged. "Looks like it."
"But the place is totally in the gutter right now. Who the hell wants to go there?"
He gestured to the thinned out forest. "You can barely see out here. I wouldn't be surprised if they didn't know about it." He watched as the car rounded another corner in the distance. "The better question is how are we going to convince them to give us a lift?"
Korra stared at him and lifted her hand, thumb out. Mako rolled his eyes. "No, moron, that's not going to work."
She was unfazed by the oh-so-affectionate nickname. "Why not? We're the good guys. And, I am the Avatar, after all."
"Do you literally carry around a piece of paper with your face and title on it? Because you play that card a lot." He shifted his weight, rolled the kinks out of his neck. "And what if they're bad guys? You know, equalists?"
Another shiver ran down her spine, but she managed a steady voice. "I'm sure if we ask nicely, they'll understand."
"Well, regardless, you aren't driving."
"That's what you think, buddy boy."
Apparently, Korra and Mako had different definitions on the concept of asking nicely—and the fact that the ex-baddy had a better handle on it than the peace-keeper of the world really put Mako on end—but luckily for her, he didn't really have the time, nor patience, to critique her on her methods. After Korra had waved the car down with an impressive episode of damsel in distress (she claimed Mako was too scary looking, and they wouldn't even stop to consider helping him with that permanent scowl on his face. He disagreed, but…) the inhabitants of the car, a middle-aged, nothing-special couple came to a steady stop, got out the car, ran over to Korra, and asked her what they could do to help.
She was on the ground, rolling around in the snow, faking injury splendidly. "I need—I need to get to the city."
The husband spared Mako a glance—it was then Mako remembered he was wearing equalist garb- but otherwise, the man made an effort to help Korra to her feet. "Yes, anywhere you need, we'll take you but—" another look Mako's way, and he crossed his arms in front of him in a half-assed attempt to hide his uniform, "—we don't have room for the lad. Sorry."
Korra sobered immediately. "Li-sten," she drawled out the word and it took every fiber of Mako's being not to slap himself in the face right then and there. "I'm the Avatar and—"
The couple's eyes went wide. "The Avatar? Korra? My, we've heard you've been missing!"
"Pretty much sums up my stay in Republic City, yes, but, I need help. And this guy—" she pointed to Mako, who tried to put on a winning smile—that's when Korra concluded he didn't know how to smile— "Needs to come with me. It's crucial."
The couple suddenly looked apprehensive. "I don't know, we—"
In Mako's opinion, this was taking much too long. "Look, can we take your car or not?" he asked, voice weighted with exasperation.
Then came the shouting. "Take it? No way!" the man cried out, outraged. "I don't know who you are, boy, but even this girl, the Avatar, has no right."
"Looook, this is kind of a national emergency so I think it would be in everybody's interest to—MAKO GRAB THE KEYS!"
And then Mako was cursing the day he ever got roped into switching sides with this girl as he joined her, wrestled a poor man to the ground, and yanked the keys from his pockets. When he looked up, he found the wife already halfway down the road, arms flailing and crying for help. When he looked back again, however, he found Korra already in the driver's seat, keys yanked from his hands and in the ignition. "Get out of the car, Korra, you can't drive!"
"I can so!" she defended. "We're not gonna get anywhere with your slow-ass driving, so trust me this is the way to go."
"Korra—" he was abruptly cut off with the sound of another bomb dropping in the distance. They didn't have time for this, damn it! "Fine!" he bit out, and got in the passenger's side of the car. "But I swear, if you're not careful, you'll end up being reincarnated before you can make a difference and I won't feel the least bit sorry."
He was not impressed with Korra's definition of careful.
"How are you holding up?"
Asami was sitting on one of the many temple meditation platforms, just far enough from everything but still close enough to jump in and fight if the situation arose. She looked out on the horizon—so far, the fires and bombs were concentrated on the mainland, and she didn't see anything coming their way. Bolin sat down right beside her, his leg brushing against hers. He drummed the palms of his hands on the top of his thighs before he clapped his hands and rubbed them vigorously. The tell-tale sign that he had something to say. "I'm holding up just fine," she finally answered. "As you can see, no equalists here," she said, gesturing to the vicinity. A pretty smile adorned her lips.
Bolin grinned wide. "Ah, still cracking jokes. As long as people are making jokes, everything's okay," said the joker, Asami thought. "But, that's not what I meant," he admitted quietly.
She turned her head and met cool green eyes. "Then what did you mean?"
He opened his mouth, then closed it—Asami figured he must of have done that half a dozen times before he shifted, facing her better. "I know what it's like to find out someone you cared about made a horrible decision."
Asami held her breath.
Bolin didn't seem to notice. If he did, he didn't comment. "It's just—when I found out Mako was an equalist—"
"—Bolin, don't, it's ok—"
"No, no, hear me out." He sighed. "Look, you've been awfully quiet since we made it to the island and I don't blame you. I know I haven't known you for very long—I really haven't known you for very long—but I still consider you my friend. I mean, after all you've done for us? Helping me learn to fight without bending, helping Mako, going undercover…how could I not consider you a friend?" he trailed off for a moment. "I know it can't be easy watching your father do this. It wasn't easy for me to learn what Mako became." He paused again, this time looking uneasy.
"What?" Asami pressed.
He squirmed beside her. "Do you think…do you think Mako ever killed anyone?"
This conversation wasn't going in the direction she thought it would be. She weighed the options in her head and it wasn't until she looked up and found Bolin staring at her, eagerly awaiting her opinion, that she realized just how long she had been quiet. Maybe he was on to something. "Killing isn't really the equalists' thing." She reminded him.
"…That doesn't answer the question."
A heavy sigh. She wrung her fingers together and leaned back, lying down completely on the tiled mediation platform. "I don't know, Bolin. From what I've gathered, they're really not into killing people but…" she grimaced. "I know it's happened before. Treachery and all that. But if it helps," She paused as Bolin leaned back beside her. "I don't think he killed anybody, no."
She craned her neck and saw his expression was content. "Yeah, I don't think so either."
More silence weaved between them, but they could still hear the sounds of bombs echoing off in the distance, not to mention see the fires and smoke. "I hope Korra and Mako are alright." Bolin whispered, and that was when Asami realized he had to have been scared this whole time.
"I'm sure they're fine," she murmured, a half-assed offer of assurance in her opinion, but he must of felt it genuine, because he hand snaked up to start fingering through her hair.
"Hmm," he hummed, but the worry was still etched across his brow. "But what I was trying to get at was I just wanted you to know that we're here for you. Me, Korra, Mako…even Tahno, although I'm sure that asshole will never admit it. We got your back, no matter what."
Asami sat up abruptly, half out of the sound of another bomb, half out of the chaos in her mind. Bolin sat up with her, confused. "Why?" she whispered. "Like you said, we barely know each other and—"
Then Bolin did something that surprised her—he laughed. "Why?" he reiterated, "Because, look what you've done!" He grabbed her by the shoulders and forced her to look him dead in the eye. "You did what Mako couldn't do at first all those years ago—you turned away from your father, from Amon. You did the right thing! And that took a lot of guts, Asami!" he wiped away a stray tear that had streaked her cheek but the funny thing was, Asami didn't remember crying. "You're very brave."
"Don't," she begged, "Please, don't."
"What's going on over here?"
The two teenagers looked up and found Lin a ways away, one hand tugging absently on her suspender, the other one touching one of the kali sticks strapped on her back. "You two should be on high alert, not loitering about," she reprimanded, but the harsh tone wasn't really there.
"Ah, no worries, Chief!" Bolin boasted. He scrambled to his feet. "I'm sure the only reason we're even able to sit here is because Tenzin's got everything under control. I bet Mako's found Korra too, and they're over there right now, kicking equalist booty!"
Lin allowed a small smirk, but her stance was still defensive. "You have lot of faith in that lot, don't you kid?"
"You bet! Mako, he's my brother and Korra—she's the Avatar for crying out loud! I have nothing but faith in them. And you know," he wrangled Asami to her feet and threw a friendly arm around her neck. "I have faith in us too, Lin. All of us. If the time comes, I'll fight. We'll be ready." He showed her his new electric glove. "Asami taught me everything I know!"
"Right," Lin whispered, nothing the two of them could hear. "Disperse, you two. One of you stay here. And keep an eye on the horizon at all costs, got it? We must be prepared."
"Aye, aye, captain!"
Lin was the only one to notice Asami's frown.
Mako jerked to the side of the car as Korra made a rough turn around a corner and neared one of the bridges to the city. He didn't know when, but at some point Korra had performed some impossible stunt and the retractable roof of the car had long been ripped from the top, leaving bone-chilling winds to lick at their faces. He had both his feet practically glued to the floor, one on his weapons, the other where the imaginary brake was—he kept pressing it in some miracle that his efforts could help the madwoman slow down.
"Korra," he said, warning lacing his tone. He didn't know why he kept doing it—she hadn't listened to him in the twenty minutes they'd spent racing down the mountain.
"Mak-o!" her voice hiccupped over the last part of his name as she hit a rock ("It was a pebble!" ;"Don't you mean boulder?") "Remember the talk about the chakras?"
He figured he'd remember a little better if she'd slow down. "What about them?"
"What's the one on the forehead called?"
"Shouldn't you have been taught all that?"
"Tenzin didn't teach me their names!"
"I find that hard to believe!"
"If I wasn't so concentrated on watching the road right now," She was joking, right?" I'd wipe that look right off your stupid face!" When he didn't respond, she rolled her eyes and groaned in surrender. "Okay, fine, I wasn't listening when he told me. Just, tell me, what is it?"
He cleared his throat, scratchy from the cold winds. "The light chakra."
"..and it deals with insight, right?"
Spoken like a professional, he thought. "Yeah, that's it." He stomped on the floorboards as she swerved a little. "But if you already knew that, why'd you—"
"That one. Why that chakra?" she thought aloud, cutting him off. "My past lives are trying to tell me something. There's seven chakras, why is this one so important?" her voice was growing hysterical, and it was evident in her driving. The back of the car fishtailed and Mako gripped the door handle on the inside so hard, it broke off.
"Korra, please, we don't exactly have time—ommph!" She turned one last corner before starting to speed down the bridge. But something didn't look right; Mako squinted through the distance to see a huge roadblock, just ahead.
"Equalists?" she asked.
"Probably. I think a roadblock was part of their plans—ACK!" Korra gunned it harder, and he dared not look at the speedometer. "Are you going to simply run the equalists over?"
She scoffed at the idea. "No, you're gonna put on the glove and electrocute their faces. And THEN we're gonna run them over." He waited for the real plan, and thankfully, she delivered. "Can't I just…smash through the block?" Well, sorta.
Mako rolled his eyes before stretching his neck out, ignoring the stinging feeling of wind burning his skin. The two of them were approaching the roadblock fast, and he could barely see the outline of trucks and cars situated in a sloppy formation. It looked like the equalists were slackers when he wasn't there to help keep everyone in line. "Wait, I think you can."
Surprised, Korra jerked the wheel a bit to the right as she looked his way. "Really?"
"No, but we can get through it." He gave her a cold look that she thankfully didn't see on account of her actually paying attention to the road. "With precision, and care. Understand?" She pulled a face at the snide tone but nodded nonetheless. Mako pointed up ahead. "There are spaces, in-between the cars. They're in a zig-zag formation, probably for better scouting off the bridges, but it's weak. You can get through it—and thankfully you seem to have mastered the fish-tail."
"Those sharp corners you made and the back of the car spun out. That's a fish tail. And just our luck, that's what we're gonna need to get through this. So, make sure the back of the car swings out when you turn so you can make it through the spaces, got it?" They were close now, real close, and he could see the sharp glow of the equalists goggles through the haze.
Mako put his glove on. "Knowing you, you'll probably lose some of the bumper—just remember, don't stop. I've got your back."
Korra laid a heavy foot on the accelerator. They drove a few dozen more feet before she made a sharp turn, weaving through the first set of cars. Two equalists jumped back in order to not get run over, while two more flipped in the air and tried grabbing the side of the car. Mako jammed his foot in a tight space in the middle of the seats to help hold his balance while he used his free leg to kick the equalists off and used the glove to electrocute the other.
Korra weaved again, this time jerking the car to the left and Mako gripped the side of the car to steady himself before he used his gloved hand to protect his face from another attacking equalist. Luckily , he couldn't climb up the car before Korra swerved the other way yet again, the back bumper skidding against the side of an equalist's van; metal on metal clashed with hot white sparks, some of which came up to lick Mako in the face.
"Watch your bumper!" he chided, covering the back of a car when a chi-blocker flung something their way.
She seemed to head his warning, because the last swerve was tastefully done; it was smooth, the smoothest turn she'd made since getting in the car. But easy for him also meant it was easy for the equalists as well. A chi-blocker and an equalist jumped on the back of the car. When the fizz of electricity crackled in Korra's ear, she yelped, realizing it wasn't from Mako.
Mako un-jammed his foot and made the unappealing feat of crawling to the back of the car. He heard some sort of protest from the Avatar, but he didn't have time to mull it over as he jerked his left shoulder back, dodging a chi-blocking attack. He used his un-gloved hand to jab back, ("Are you chi-blocking!? Since when did you learn that trick?") successfully nabbing the chi-blocker limp, before kicking him off of the car. Unfortunately, that gave the other one, equipped with the same glove as him, the opportunity to electrocute him. And electrocute him he did.
The gloves didn't normally burn flesh—the hot center created enough of a jolt that sent enough electricity through the body to render someone unconscious. No matter where the glove landed, it wouldn't burn the flesh—but if an equalist managed to land the hot burning center directly on someone's bare skin, it was strong and hot enough to burn—and this equalist certainly wanted to leave a mark.
Korra's heart wrenched when she heard his scream—it wasn't just any scream. It was the scream of something scorching hot burning flesh. She could almost smell—she held her breath and tried not to think about it. She concentrated on the final curve coming up ahead. Just one more swerve—"Shit!"
She heard the sound of weight plopping on metal. "Mako? Mako!"
"I'm here," was his pained response. "I got him, he's gone—ow!" he hissed, his hand flying up to his now burned cheek.
"There isn't an opening, I can't drive through it." No, there was no way she could drive through it. But as the thought back to last high-speed chase she was in, an idea struck her. "Hold on, I'm making a ramp."
"I'm making an earth ramp—" she looked at the last of the roadblock and mentally groaned. "A big one, so get in the front seat and hold on."
He didn't have time to protest, nor time to think before he found himself diving head first back into the passenger's seat. The car soared through the air at an ungodly speed, right over the last of the block, and thankfully the last of the equalists and chi-blockers. One, however, managed to grab on to her side of the car, but Korra successfully punched him in the face, and he flew off. She grimaced as the car hit the ground forcefully, wobbling left and right, but she managed to keep her right hand on the wheel and keep driving, shaking her left hand.
"Ow," she complained. "I hit him wrong. That's gonna bruise." She used her peripherals to see how Mako was coping with his injury—he had finally managed to sit upright in the seat, one hand clutching his face. "How's the burn?"
"Pretty bad, but I think it could be worse," he winced as he poked and prodded it, and then listened to Korra's 100 reasons on "No, stupid, don't do that." "Just make it to city hall." he reminded her.
"Damn," Korra hissed, making a sharp turn down one of the roads. They were in the city now, and people were running about in a great panic looking for cover. "Which way's city hall?"
"Are you fucking kidding me?" He hissed, and he realized he sounded way harsher than she deserved. But damn it, this girl was so hell bent on driving, had him running around on top of a car, was an absolute lunatic and now she couldn't even navigate around the city she was supposed to protect. All that, combined with the burning of his cheek, wasn't making him too kind.
Korra wasn't all too understanding of his point of view. She snarled and barked back, "Just tell me which way I need to go, will you?"
"Left?" she repeated, and it was really testing his patience. It was one word, not a speech!
A pause. "Wait, right and then left?" the nearest intersection came up and she made a sloppy right, nearly knocking over a pedestrian.
He could have slapped her. "No! I mean "Right, you should turn left!" You were supposed to go the other way!"
"How on Earth were you Amon's right hand man when you can't even give directions!" She braked hard before she ripped the wheel around, making a u-turn in the middle of the road. A car packed full of citizens looking to make an escape hit the brakes hard so as to not into them.
As Korra drove down the road, the citizens' panic seemed to intensify ten-fold. But Mako didn't see anything, not a first. When a particular shadow darkened the street they were on, Mako's eyes drifted up, where he found a giant airship looming over their street.
A bomb fell to the ground.
"You got to be shitting me."
The bombs were growing louder and more frequent with each passing minute, and Tahno was stuck babysitting.
He didn't know how he was roped into watching the airbender children. He figured it came down to the fact that he was a bender—Lin and Bolin could boast all they wanted about how strong they were and how they didn't need it, and that was nice and all, but deep down they probably knew just as well as he did that he was a little better off than them. The two of them had weapons, sure, but they'd practice with them for a few hours, tops. Hence the whole body guarding gig for the experienced waterbender.
Lucky for him, the children were quiet. They were a little restless, but they were staying put. Jinora looked calm enough, but Meelo and Ikki looked a bit frightened and he didn't really blame them. Pema was with them, talking to them, telling them stories and he was grateful for that. Made his job a hell of a lot easier.
But then Pema went into labor.
Frankly, if Korra and Bolin were around to see his panicked reaction, they'd make fun of him his whole life. It was Jinora who finally snapped him out of it. She told him to go find Lin and tell her what happened, all while helping her mother to her feet with a few other air acolytes to get her to her bedroom. So Tahno did exactly that. He ran out of the temple so fast he tripped a couple of times. But when he finally found Lin, he wasn't too happy with what he saw.
There were two air ships coming straight for them.
Lin noticed his presence as she readied her batons. They sparked a few times, a test, before she barked at him. "What are you doing?! We're under attack! Go guard Tenzin's family."
"Pema's in labor!"
That wasn't what Lin wanted to hear.
After a string of profanities that could only be thought up from the former chief of police, she cradled her head in her hand, thinking. She didn't have time to take this lightly. "Go guard her, now. And the kids will want to help so—"
"—don't let them, I know. I'll help them hide, or whatever."
A pained look came across her face and she shook her head slowly. The next thing she said was dripping in regret. "No, let them fight."
"Defend them. Keep them safe. But let them defend themselves and their mother. If they hide and get caught, they're screwed. Listen to me." she pulled Tahno close. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Asami and Bolin making their way over, running full speed. "Those kids? Those are the last airbenders. The last ones. These equalists, they aren't here for anything else but those kids. You make sure that no one lays a hand on them, got it?" Tahno swore her voice was bubbling with tears, all scratchy and raw. "Tell them to spin wind in their faces, tell them to run away, I don't care. Fight, or don't fight they can do whatever it takes to stay alive. Even if it means running away, you take them, and you run away." She looked sad. "Tahno," she whispered. "You and I…we can be replaced. They can't. Do you understand?"
Tahno wasn't used to looking after anyone but himself. His whole life had been cushy, his family on the wealthy side, and he was an only child. It wasn't until he came across Bolin did he understand what it meant to look after people—he slipped him money for food, let him sleep at his house on cold nights. Then the Avatar stumbled in, all brash and the world on her shoulders and he was starting to understand what it meant to stand for others, what it meant to live for something other than just yourself.
He wasn't a master at it though. Tahno could admit he was getting better at it, but he wasn't perfect. So the prospect of keeping alive a bunch of snot-nosed children he just met at the cost of his life didn't sound worth it, no matter who they were. But he was aware how important it was to keep the airbending children alive. And he could fight for them; that he could do.
So Tahno figured as long as he fought to keep them safe and didn't die in the process, he would be okay, and he wouldn't have to feel guilty at all. That was his plan, his only option. He was selfish that way.
Tahno nodded. "I understand."
"Good," Lin snapped as Asami and Bolin caught up, panting and out of breath. "Get going," she said, and he nodded once more before darting off.
"W-what's the plan, chief?" Bolin panted, wiping his brow. He looked to the sky and saw the airships coming closer the back seemingly opening slowly—he didn't like to think just how much trouble was lurking inside. "Where's Tahno off too?"
Lin eyed Asami before answering. "He's dealing with the family. You two, stay out here."
A pained cry echoed lightly though the temple, and Bolin recognized it as Pema's. "Pema! What's—" he put the pieces together. "Now!? She's going into labor now!?"
Asami bristled, suddenly rigid, as she glanced toward the innermost part of the island.
Lin growled. "Yes!" she pointed to the sky. "But as you can see, we've got our own job to do. Tahno is guarding the family, you two, stay out here and defend the temple!"
Bolin tugged on his glove. "Don't you think another one of us should go guard the family? We've got a promise to Tenzin."
Lin's posture softened considerably. "I know. But with the kids and Tahno, that's four benders guarding Pema and themselves. The rest of us should stay out here and try and prevent any of this mess from getting out in the first place."
It made sense to Bolin, but he was still uneasy. "…Just one of us? Not even one?"
"No!" the chief snapped, and the two airships came close to landing. "You need to stay here." she used one of her kali sticks to point at Asami. "Especially you, Miss Sato."
"What's that supposed to mean?" she snapped. She knew Lin didn't like her, and she suspected why. She just wanted the chief to come out and say it. "Don't you trust me?"
No answer. That's what she thought.
She saw a few chi-blockers twirling some weapons at the front of the line and behind them, deep in the compartment of one of the ships, were two large looking mecha tanks. Perfect.
"Look at this shit!" Lin barked. "Look at all this fucking shit! There's three of us! I need you out here to fight, got it?"
Bolin panicked when he saw the ships finally land on the island. He didn't have time nor the clear head to contemplate Lin's opinion of Asami, to even question Asami's behavior these past few days—no, there was no time. He could only manage to think about all the fighting Asami had taught him as he tightened his glove. "Roger that, chief."
Lin sighed a little in relief. But it didn't last. The mecha tanks rolled out with a small posse of equalists, about a dozen or so. The trio immediately recognized the two in the tanks—Hiroshi and the Lieutenant.
"Asami," Hiroshi gave a sickening smile. "How are things?"
Bolin was readying his stance, when out of the corner of his eye, he noticed Asami reaching into her pocket. "According to plan, father."
Bolin couldn't believe what happened next.
"A-Asami? what are you…?"
He heard it, he swore he heard it; a faint voice, broken and tired, barely there, but still there.
"I'm sorry, Bolin."
In her hands, a bomb.
"City hall and police station are just around the corner," Mako said. He was amazed if they'd even get there at all. Giving Korra directions was one of the toughest things he'd ever done, and this was coming from a guy who'd given his brother over to the equalists at the tournament.
Korra had been quiet, no doubt concentrating about their next move. He didn't know what she was planning on doing when she found Tenzin (if they even found him) but he knew that he'd be following whatever crazy plan she had in mind. Except if involved a car, he was driving.
They had managed to dodge the bombs being dropped from various airships—luckily no one had singled them out as the Avatar and her ex-equalist, so none of them were following them around, per say. But there were still a lot of airships and a lot of bombs they had to avoid.
The last corner was rounded and at the end of it, the two of them could see city hall and the station off the right. Completely surrounded by equalists and mecha tanks. Peachy.
"Got a plan to take those things down?" Mako asked, as he tried to size them up. They had to be fifteen feet tall, at least!
"I got a plan to take one of them down." her tone of voice was positively tainted with mischief, and Mako was almost a little too afraid to ask. "When I say jump, you better jump the hell out of this car, clear?"
Well. He didn't exactly tell her out loud he'd go around with her crazy schemes.
"Jump? Out the car?" he whined. They were approaching the semi-circle of mecha tanks, and fast.
"This earth ramp thing is really coming in handy." she drummed her fingers on the steering wheel in preparation. "On three!" she sounded way too happy. "One," she pushed down on the accelerator, "Two," she took her hands off the wheel to make an earth ramp. "Three!"
He didn't know how he did it, but he did. The two of them successfully jumped out of the car. Mako couldn't have counted the number of times he rolled and skidded around on the pavement. His sleeves protected him from some of the burns, but he still had a few nasty cuts. He could only imagine what Korra's bare arms looked like. But he didn't have to; he saw the cuts as she ran over and pulled him to his feet, so forcefully he thought she might have thrown him over her shoulder and carried him into battle. When he looked up, he saw the car had successfully knocked over and destroyed not only one mecha tank, but two; the equalists crawled out, injured.
"Well," she panted as they ran to get into the mix, "that went better than I expected."
The two looked up to find a relieved looking Tenzin—the relief didn't last long as he used his airbending to elevate himself out of the way of one of the tank's claws—they were menacing things, Korra could tell, when she spotted one officer fall victim to its clutch and getting slammed into the wall.
Korra used her newfound airbending to elevate herself off the ground—she didn't have perfect technique, by any means, but what she did have was power and a whole lot of guts. The whole thing looked sloppy and unsure, but it got her high enough to land on the mecha so she was face to face with its operator. An air-bent powered punch helped her break through the yellow glass cover. She reached down and yanked at a chord, and smashed a few buttons. "Gotcha," she growled, and she used her bleeding hand to pull the equalist out and throw him to the ground. Bending down a bit more she kept tugging at chords and smashing buttons with her air-powered punches before she heard the sweet sound of mechanical failure. Ignoring how broken glass from the shattered window kept poking her in the sides, she wiggled her body out of the mecha tank and jumped down. With an earth pillar, she managed to knock the tank to the ground, and it died, hissing with smoke.
Three down, three to go.
Tenzin watched the whole ordeal, awed. Korra was airbending! Airbending! Her technique was less than to be desired (did he not teach her anything?) but she was finally airbending. But in the midst of his awe, he failed to see one of the three remaining mecha's extract its claw. It nailed him in the upper chest and tossed him forcefully into the building; his head slammed first and he fell to the ground. He had enough strength to use his airbending to help cushion the fall but his head spun, his vision blurred, and it blackened around the edges. This wasn't good.
"Tenzin!" Korra cried, noticing her master's fall. Off to the side, Korra saw that Mako was having trouble with one of the tanks—thankfully, the glove he was wearing didn't have enough metal to be attracted to the magnet, but there was still the looming mecha to deal with. "Mako!" she used her airbending to send a wind of air that propelled him forward and up, so that he landed right on top of the tank. She swore the bastard mumbled some complaints. "Punch through the window, pull at as many of the wires and buttons you can—if you yank the biggest chord, it'll shut it down!" He nodded and she saw him use the glove to forcefully punch through the yellow tinted window before she ran over to help Tenzin—he was being tied up by some equalists.
With her earthbending, she sent the two of them flying, and they fell in the distance, unconscious. "Tenzin? Tenzin!" she helped the councilman to his feet. Lucky for her he wasn't completely gone. He cradled his head in his hand, giving it a shake or two. "Korra?"
"I'm here," she told him. She looked up and saw that Mako had successfully taken down the mecha. "I'm here, I won't leave again. I promise."
Now there was one mecha, and half a dozen equalists left. Unfortunately, the two of them saw a van taking away the officers in the distance. So much for Saikhan. "I got the mecha. You and Mako, deal with the equalists." With her earthbending, the propelled herself in the air and threw a bunch of fire punches to help scorch the last remaining mecha. Mako bounded over, flipping a few times, before he landed next to Tenzin, sidling up behind him, back to back.
"Sir," he grunted, as he started fending off a chi-blocker's attack. He grabbed an equalist that had managed to grab Tenzin's shoulder and twisted him by the arm before knocking him unconscious. Tenzin swore he head the distinct sound of bone breaking.
"Thanks," he said, as he used airbending to push another two back.
"Sure," he glove fizzled and popped. "Thing."
When the equalists were done for, the two of them looked up to see the mecha tank spinning around in quick circles, making all sorts of noises, before it finally overheated and blew to pieces. A piece of metal flew by and Tenzin managed to just get out of the way, but not before the metal cut the tip of his beard off.
"Done!" Korra chirped, wiping her hands together. They were coated in blood from her punches to the windows, but nothing she couldn't heal.
"Korra," Tenzin breathed, and he ran over to embrace her. "You can airbend."
"Cool trick, huh?" she grinned, snuggling into his robes. It felt nice, seeing her teacher, but at the sound of Mako's cough, she remembered they didn't have time for this. "We have to find Amon." She told him, but it was more a reminder to herself.
"Amon," his name was venom on Tenzin's tongue. But then he remembered. "Amon? What about Tarrlok? Where's Tarrlok, Korra?"
Korra blinked. Tarrlok. She hadn't given him a second thought as soon as she escaped. Especially after Hajime's sacrifice and attack of the city, Tarrlok was the last thing on her mind. "I…I don't actually know." She admitted.
"You don't know?" he sputtered in disbelief. "How'd you get out?"
Korra pointed to Mako. "He helped me." At Tenzin's uneasy look, she elaborated, "Mako's good, Tenzin, I promise."
Mako, dare Korra say, looked a little sheepish. "Hey, do you know where my brother is?" he asked, voice quiet for the first time in hours.
"He's back on the island," Tenzin pointed to the other side of the city. "Korra, my family is still there, and I don't know how long—"
Far, far off in the distance, beyond the edge of the city and right in the middle of the bay, a bomb went off, and the largest smoke trail they'd seen climbed up to the heavens.
"No," Korra whispered. "That couldn't be…"
"Not the island," Tenzin whispered. He clenched his fists. "Korra, Mako. Let's go."
Notes: AYOOOO lookie here an update for you! I feel like it's been years, but it hasn't been terribly too long since the last chapter, it just feels like it. WELP ANYWAY, here it is in all it's glory. Uhhhh, there should be one more chapter? I think? It'll be a SUPER CHAPTER because I don't think it can broken up, but yeah, just one more, I think. then maybe an epilogue.
I'm a little attention snob, so of course, any reviews and comments will be very cherished! Thank you guys so much for all the love and support for this story!