Written for writerverse 'Redshrts unite!' challenge on LJ. They wear blue and it's more of a cloak than a shirt, but they don't have names and I can count on one hand the number of times they spoke therefore, Red Shirts.
Despite how very clever and sneaky Korra seemed to think she was, the White Lotus sentries were very much aware of her escapes – from the South Pole previously; as if the Order would assign such incompetent guards – and allowed them. Very contrary to what the young Avatar also believed since she was six years old, and she'd encountered her first group of guards, the uniforms not only came off during a bath, but also when discretion was required to follow one disobedient, unruly airbender in training through Yue Bay. The first time a creaking board alerted them to the roof – the sentries had learned from that earlier encounter – they kept vigilant for the out of place sounds that signaled, say, a teenaged Avatar sneaking out for a night on the town.
They could have stopped her, except she could also curb-stomp all three of them simultaneously – darn those freakish Avatar skills. Besides that, a change of scenery from the picturesque, placid, boring island would be nice.
They would be insulted about how little she thought of their skills later, when they weren't appreciating how entertaining it made their job.
Korra jumped off a cliff, eased herself into the sea with a barely heard splash, and swam toward the Pro-bending Arena.
"Are you sure we should have just let her go like that?" Takuya asked, peering across the water.
Kamol shrugged, walking toward the harbor. "Why not? As long as we're following her, she won't get into any trouble, and that girl would just run off again some other time."
"Point." Takuya trotted up to the firebender's side as they went down the path.
"You guys, she's getting away!" Lok, who'd already run down, yelled from the harbor. "Get in the boat!"
Takuya reached and swept a wave over the side of the boat.
Kamol 'bent a boulder out of the earth, and it hovered threateningly as he pulled back his fist. He held a finger in front of his lips, signaling for quiet. It worked.
The other two sentries silently filed onto the boat, and Takuya shoved the firebender away from the steering wheel. Denied a chance to steer, Lok tried to change clothes on the way and would have fallen off if Kamol hadn't snagged the firebender by the seat of his pants. He couldn't blame the younger man too much for his eagerness as he'd become restless himself with the inaction. However, Kamol was the veteran among the three with it came to Korra-watching as he had five years' experience of it and knew that it had been the calm before the storm and told them as much.
"What happened after a calm?" Lok asked.
"Remember that tsunami off the coast of Kyoshi 'bout four summers ago?"
"She caused that?"
"No. She was in the middle of it, surfing the biggest wave you've ever seen. We got chewed out from the higher ups, and Timma lost it in a beautiful way. I have never seen anyone tear a superior a new one with that kind of elegance. Aijaz made the mistake of laughing. Day after, both of my old partners receive relocation."
Lok remained quiet the rest of the way. After arriving at the arena, they all quickly changed into the civilian clothing Kamol had insisted on storing prompting Lok to call him paranoid – Kamol didn't even have think to forgive him as he was a baby, not yet a rookie, at seven months – then waited outside the same window Korra entered through minutes before on Takuya's pillar of ice and listened to someone fuss at Korra.
Soon enough, the voices faded, they climbed through and crept past a rather old, rather grumpy-looking earthbender that Lok recognized as a former champion Probender himself. It was all Kamol and Takuya could do to drag the fanboying firebender away.
Direct surveillance was removed from the equation as a Pro-bender led Korra into a private box. Kamol ignored Lok's statement about worrying for the girl's virtue and that they should simply barge in as it was a thinly veiled attempt to simply watch the match from the best seats in the house and focused on the earth and stone beneath his feet and that particular resonance that was Korra.
Kamol gestured for them to follow. They slipped past the occasional security guard, and everyone else wasn't a problem. With a nod, he signaled for Takuya and Lok to break off and secure a perimeter. Takuya shoved Lok away from the arena doors, and the two went their separate ways. The earthbender sought out an area from where he could easily differentiate the young Avatar's presence and any possible threats, out of the way of any arena personnel and pretended to be busy and important.
Some time later, the crowds began to thin, and three people approached the room Korra was in, including the first Pro-bender boy. Kamol felt it was a safe assumption that the other two were his teammates and walked back that way. When he arrived, the waterbender from the team – Fire Ferrets, he remembered – was storming out, but Korra seemed fine so he didn't immediately stomp down the wall.
That, apparently, was to be the most interesting part of the evening aside from the couple who'd locked themselves in one of bathrooms that had distracted Kamol somewhat. The two remaining Fire Ferrets took Korra to the first room, the gym for hours until even the other boy had to leave. By that time, Lok – who was loaded down with Pro-bending t-shirts and trinkets – and Takuya – who was eating fire flakes – found him leaning in an alcove that he would have to remember to remove when they left, hand pressed over his face.
"Where is she?" Takuya asked through a mouthful.
Kamol propped his fist on his chin. "Training with…Bolin."
"Are you serious?" Lok gasped. "Right now? Can…can I go in?"
Kamol glared at him. Takuya leaned against the wall then slid down to a crouch and offered the fire flakes to Kamol who declined. Lok sat and began going through his souvenirs. Hours later, Takuya swirled a globe of water in the air, Lok had pillowed his head on one of his shopping bags, Kamol glared…at everything.
With every minute where he could feel Korra's laughter and excitement reverberating through to him, his tension mounted. There was that impending sense of doom settling in his stomach that he always got before something went wrong in the Avatar's life. He wasn't sure if it were a learned aspect, or he'd become spirit-touched in his time protecting her, but usually, he wasn't wrong. What was coming would be worse than anything he'd dealt with before, and it wouldn't be with a team as experienced as his previous one had been.
Tomorrow, he'd drill them, see what they could handle. Whenever it happened, his men would be ready, or he'd kill them trying and have them replaced.
Or maybe he was just tired. Oh, spirits and ancestors, please let it only be that.