brighter than the sun



"You're being creepy, bro." Bolin tells him, slurping his noodles.

Mako's eyes widen, and he turns to face Bolin, "How am I being creepy?" he asks sharply, "I'm just sitting here—"

"Staring at our waitress." Bolin agrees, waving his chopsticks. He then adds, "Like a creep."

Mako opens his mouth to argue, and then quickly closes it, and mutters, "It's not creepy." petulantly. He glares at Bolin, crossing his arms over his chest. Bolin rolls his eyes, and goes back to his noodles. Okay, so maybe he'd been staring, but he couldn't help it! She'd just started working at his and Bolin's favorite takeout restaurant, and he'd, well, he'd never seen anyone like her before: big blue eyes, mocha skin, wavy hair. She was tall, borderline exotic looking. From the curve of her lips and the bridge of her nose, he guessed that she was from the Southern Water Tribe. Now, she was balancing a tray of glasses on her hip, conversing with an old couple at the table in front of theirs. She laughs loudly, head tipping back, exposing the column of her neck. He swallows, eyes bulging. He's never thought a neck was attractive before, but he guesses there's a first for everything. Her laugh is boisterous, contagious.

Bolin smirks at him, snickering, and Mako kicks his legs. "She's pretty." Bolin says, pointing his chopsticks at her over his shoulder, "You should ask her out."

Mako blanches, "What—"

"C'mon, Mako, you're captain of the Fire Ferrets. You know, championship winning pro-bending team? When are you going to start using our god-like status to make it big with the ladies?" Bolin asks, tipping his dumpling carton upside down, slurping up the sauce.

"Maybe when I find one worthwhile." Mako replies, and his eyes, so fast Bolin couldn't catch it, dart to their waitress. Then, just as quickly as he'd looked at her, his eyes are back at Bolin.

Bolin surveys him for a moment, "Okay, Mako, whatever you say."

"Seriously, Mako," Asami snickers, "you've been staring at her for like, five minutes. Just ask her for her name."

Mako glares at the girl across from him, taking his eyes off of the dark-skinned girl. "I don't want to know her name." he lies, voice gruff, "She's just a girl that brings me noodles. Big deal."

Asami raises an eyebrow, disbelieving, "If she was 'just a girl that brought you noodles', you wouldn't have—"

"Hey guys," a voice intones from in front of them, and they whip their heads to the voice, and Mako can almost hear Asami smile, "what's going on? Know what you'd like to order?" the waitress Mako will always deny staring at clicks her pen, tapping the utensil against her notepad. She smiles at them, tilting her head, ponytail swinging against her neck.

Mako finds that he can't speak, mouth completely dry, and Asami's smile widens, "Yeah," she says, tossing Mako a sly look, "we'd like the special. Sound good, Mako?" Asami asks, turning to face him, folding her hands under her chin. She smirks, eyes twinkling.

He really needs a new best friend, he thinks, swallowing. The girl is looking at him now, expectant. "Yeah. Sounds great." he agrees, voice raspy. He finally looks up at her, eyes meeting hers. Her lips are curved into a smile, and her lashes brush against her cheek as she blinks. His mouth goes dry again, and then she's nodding, scribbling away on her notepad.

"Alrighty." she smiles at them again, "I'll have your order in just a second." she walks away then, ponytail swinging. He watches her go, sucking in a deep breath.

"I lied." Mako admits, still staring at her, "I really want to know her name."

The next time he sees her, Mako's sitting at the counter, newspaper spread out in front of him. The girl is at the register, sighing over the yuans as she counts them. Mako smiles a little, admiring her as she digs her teeth into her lower lip, nibbling. Despite what he'd told Asami, he still hadn't gathered enough courage to ask for her name yet. He wishes they had name-tags, then all of his problems would be solved.

He sips at his tea, eyes still on her. She swivels her head to face him, eyes meeting his. He almost chokes on his tea at the intensity of her gaze, but he manages to swallow without incident. She makes her way over to him, placing her palms onto the counter. She surveys him, lips pursed. He sets his teacup down, lifting his eyebrows. She's smiling, head tilting to the side cutely, "You're Mako, right? Championship pro-bender? I'm Korra, and um," she shrugs, blushing a little, "I'm a big fan." she leans in then, "Is it true that you knocked the all three of the Wolfbats out of the rink by yourself just before round three was over? And that's how you won the championship?" her eyes are wide, eager.

"Uh, yeah. It was—it was a good game." he says stupidly, struck with the fact that he now knows her name.

Korra laughs, "Wow." she says, "Sounds glamorous. Much better than this." she waves around her. She props her chin onto her hand, staring at him, "Need a new Waterbender?" she asks, smiling a little.

Mako surprises himself by grinning, "Nah. That position's already filled."

She shrugs, "Oh, well. Guess I'm stuck here then."

Mako grins wider, "Guess so."

Korra bites her lip, blushing a little, though he has no idea why, "Don't forget me when you make it big, 'kay?" she asks, "I know I'm just a lowly waitress, and all, but—"

Mako laughs, surprising himself again, and he folds up his newspaper. He's totally talking to her, flirting even. Bolin would be so proud. "Don't worry about that. I couldn't ever." he says. Silence falls between them, and her blush darkens. She's about to say something else when a voice calls her into the kitchen. She rolls her eyes at the voice, yells, "I'm coming!" and shrugs regretfully at him, waving before she walks away.

"Her name's Korra," he tells Bolin later that night, uncharacteristic gleeful smile brighter than the sun.

Korra's at the table beside his, taking a large group of rambunctious boys' orders. She turns her head to look at him, rolling her eyes as one of the boys asks for her number, "Sorry, kid. You're not my type."

The boy grins, "I'm everybody's type." he responds, leaning back in his chair.

Mako rolls his eyes, and Korra stifles a laugh, "Yeah, okay. Your food'll be up in a minute." she tells them, swishing away.

The boys start talking as she leaves, whispering about her. He hears 'hot', 'I'd tap that', 'pretty mouth', and with each backwards compliment, he gets a little angrier. He's never been great at keeping his anger in check, and hearing the little kid's badmouth Korra isn't helping his rage issues at all. Korra's coming back now, plates in hand, and Mako can't handle it anymore.

He jumps up, says, "Listen, punk. Korra's not going to be interested today, tomorrow, the day after that, or any other day. So save your half-assed pickup lines, eat your food, tip her for having to listen to your stupidity, and get out, because if anyone around here is getting her number, it's me." he's fuming, flames lighting at the tips of his fingers.

The boys blink in surprise, and then they nod, "Sorry, man." one mutters, "We didn't know she was taken."

"I'm not." Korra says from behind them, and Mako jumps. She's grinning as she sets the food on the boys' table, and then she turns to Mako. His ears burn under her amused gaze, and she pokes his stomach, "We can start with dinner, though, and see what happens from there."