Fetters and Fathoms
Chapter 1: Slack-jawed
Pairings: Implied Makorra, faint Borra
Disclaimer: I don't own this franchise, nor am I affiliated with Nick or LoK's creators.
She's been sheltered, Mako reasons to himself. Keeping his eyes locked forward, he reenforces the thought. The White Lotus kept her in a compound for the majority of her life. She's been surrounded by old masters and other stuffy-types. His elbows draw together and he drops into a basic guard. It's a standard, solid move. One that has served him well in the arena to block unexpected strikes; and he's not sure if it's as applicable to his current situation as he hopes, but he can't think of anything else and-
It's just then that he notices Bolin's expression. The loud tink of the earth plates against one and other drew his attention. Rather than popping into the air and smashing under the earthbender's blows, the disks are firing and falling into a slowly accumulating pile on the floor. Bolin's distracted by exactly what Mako's been hunched over trying to avoid staring at-while Korra drills on at the exercise they taught her, oblivious to the brothers' dilemma.
Before he can think twice, Mako's lunged out of his defensive stance. An arc of flame that's, on second thought, a bit hotter than he intended clips the earthbender's slack chin. Bolin shouts as he reels back, tripped up by the pile of stones he's left on the mat.
He's down and cursing, which is satisfying at first-for reasons Mako won't analyze, because usually he's pretty easy on his baby brother-until Korra turns toward the noise. Then the situation veers from humorous to awkward once more.
She stomps her foot to scatter the clay trainers, which draws a faint grimace from Mako-the motion only served to accentuate the source of his current stress.
"Are you daydreaming or training, Bo?" Korra asks with mixed amusement and teasing.
Bolin easily plays off his embarrassment with sheepish charm. But as he continues to spin an increasingly cheesy reason for his accident, Korra crosses her arms. The casual action makes Mako groan. This is too much.
She gives him a look so strange that he wonders rather or not steam is pouring from his ears. "What is with you guys today?"
Mako just frowns blackly and is about to brush off her question when Bolin blurts out, "We're just a little distracted."
Korra cocks an eyebrow as Bolin coughs nervously and quickly comes to his feet. "Distracted?" she parrots, disbelief clear in her tone.
"Ah, yeah." Rubbing a hand through his curly hair, Bolin nods. He glances to Mako for support but finds none, the firebender's face is pointedly blank.
Her annoyance with their strange behavior is almost visible as it builds in her features. Hands at her hips she narrows her eyes and barks, "Explain."
Bolin sings like a catowl under pressure. "Mako can't stop starring at your, uh-you know," he sputters for an appropriate phrase but settles for gesturing.
Mako is left in disbelief as his brother pantomimes female breasts over his broad, clearly male chest. He looks up just in time to see understanding dawn on Korra's face. She glances down to her own upper body, covered only by thin bindings, and blinks. The expression is followed rapidly by conflict, disbelief and embarrassment.
For once, the brash avatar is speechless. A curious coolness overcomes her face as she spins on her heel, grabs up her discarded shirt and stomps out.
As the door bangs shut in her wake, Mako is snapped from his shocked silence. "What the hell, Bo?"
"I'm sorry!" Dodging a gout of flame, he wails, "I panicked, okay? She was all bossy, and I didn't know what else to do!"
Mako just growls a disgusted sound and sends another, half-hearted flurry of fire his way.
Bolin hops from one foot to the other, genuinely remorseful and unsure what to do, but Mako's still angry. "I'll fix it! I'll go an' find her, just-"
"No." Both brothers blink at Mako's testy response. Setting his jaw, Mako recovers and adds, "You've done enough."
"But nothing, just leave it." Slicing a hand down in a decisive gesture, Mako sighs. "She'll come back when she feels like it, running after her and trying to explain will just make her even more. . .frustrated."
Head tipped to the side, Bolin seems to study Mako as if for the first time. Reluctantly, the earthbender lets the matter drop.
Or so Mako thought. A moment later, he's unwrapping his fists when Bolin's voice calls out coyly. "It was pretty spectacular, though. Wasn't it? They were all out there like: BOOM! I seriously couldn't stop-Ack! No don't!"
Mako convinces himself that his face is tight with ambient heat, reddened by the plume of flame that sends Bolin. It's completely unrelated to his teammate's naive grasp on practice apparel. Completely.