This had to be the dumbest stunt pulled by the stupidest person in the history of idiocy.

Mako sometimes had to wonder if Korra truly had a brain or if she was really good at faking it. Because at moments like these, it seemed as if she had lost her fucking marbles. That, or she was an over-confident dumbass who was too reckless to even take into account that her plans weren't the top go-to's or even that her safety as well as the well-being of the world could be at huge risk.

Her stupid – oh so very stupid – words played through his head as he pulled on his jacket and ran down the steps. He wasn't sure why he was in such a hurry. After all, he wouldn't be seeing her until practice which, judging by the sun's placement in the sky, would be another hour. Maybe it was the adrenaline and the rage of just how idiotic all of this was. For someone who was supposed to keep peace and balance maintained, Korra was way too rash and hot-headed, ready to start a fight and ask questions later. How could someone like her protect them all if she was going out to get herself killed every two seconds?

By the time he reached the bottom of the steps, his anger hadn't ebbed in the slightest. It was still bunched up and ready to go like a spring ready to pop and lash out. No, a better description was a bomb about to detonate and the fuse was only getting shorter the longer he thought about it. Unfortunately for Korra, his fuse was never long to begin with. He may come off as cool and collected to his audiences, but when it came to shenanigans like this, he was your stereotypical firebender: hot-tempered and easily angered.

As Mako walked past the gym and noticed it was empty, he considered going in and blowing off some steam in the form of fire blasts and charred dummies. After a few moments of mulling over the appealing thought, he decided against it. He wanted to be at full anger when Korra came in so that maybe, just maybe, it would get through her thick skull that she was only about to make matters worse. Because she obviously didn't understand the extent of the situation.

"Amon, I challenge you to a duel! No task force, no chi blockers; just the two of us tonight at midnight on Avatar Aang Memorial Island. Let's cut to the chase and settle this. If you're man enough to face me!"

Mako scowled.


The moment Korra stepped into the gym, Mako pounced.

"What are you thinking?"

Korra fumed at his greeting and retorted, "Well hi yourself."

"You didn't answer my question."

"Can't I be here for five minutes without you yelling at me? Just once?" she said, dropping her bag full of gear by the door before crouching down to open it. "I mean seriously, ever hear of friendly greetings? 'Hello. How are you? I'm fine, thanks for asking.'" She shook her head and pulled out her blue sash, indicating she was the team's waterbender, and draped it around her neck.

Mako exhaled sharply at her evasiveness before stomping over to where she sat. "I heard you on the radio this morning. Tell me you're not seriously thinking about fighting him."

Korra paused. "Oh." She laughed nervously and sat back on the heels of her feet. "So you heard that?"

"Most people who own a radio did." He crossed his arms, waiting for what he hoped would be a reasonable explanation. Maybe she actually had a thought-out plan. Maybe she – for once – knew what she was doing. Just maybe.

But hey, this was Korra. The chances of her having thought out and intricate plan was as likely as Bolin allowing Mako to fry Pabu and have him for lunch on a stick.

Korra nodded and returned to her bag, rifling through it with more concentration and vigor than before. Mako noticed that she was awful at hiding her discomfort.

"I repeat: what are you thinking? Don't you know how…how dangerous this is?"

She rolled her eyes and slumped forward, suddenly disinterested and annoyed with the topic. This reaction from her only irritated Mako further, rubbing him rawer than he was before. If anyone had the right to be annoyed with this situation, it was him.

"Save your breath, Mako. Tenzin already sang this song and I'm not changing my mind," she said with finality in her voice. She turned around to give him a brief look that told him to back off before emptying her bag with the rest of her padding.

But of course he wasn't going to back off. Tenzin was too easy on her. It could've been his nature as an airbender that made him such a pushover, but Mako decided to give him the benefit of doubt. Korra was so hard-headed that it was impossible to get a hold on her. Mako had a tough time doing so and he was practically as stubborn as her.

"Korra, don't you realize just how many flaws there are to this?"

"Mako, I said I don't want to hear it."

"I don't care! You need to listen to someone sensible for once!"

"Oh! So I'm not sensible?"

"No! That's the point I'm trying to make! You're being stupid by doing this!"

Korra shrank back and set her jaw at the harsh comment. Her blue eyes wavered slightly as they bore into his heated amber ones. Her fists clenched tight at her sides and they both silently stared each other down, waiting for the other to speak. If he were in his right mind, Mako would've noticed the hurt look she gave him instead of blaming her reaction on shock. He also may have apologized for being so harsh. But he was too blinded by pure anger and disbelief that she was actually going through with this.

"So I'm stupid now?" she choked out, cursing how her bottom lip trembled. "I'm stupid for wanting to stop Amon?"

"No, you're stu-"

"I'm stupid," she interrupted loudly, effectively shutting Mako up. "For wanting to prevent him from doing what he did again?" Her eyes flicked down to the floor as the memories came to her. "You saw it too, Mako. He took…he stole their bending from them!" she said with a new found fire, crystal eyes ignited. "Do you want him to keep doing that? Do you, Mako?"

"No, but I don't think-"

"It almost happened to Bolin, Mako!" she shouted. "He almost took your brother's earthbending!

"I'm supposed to protect them, Mako. I'm supposed to protect Republic City…protect the world." She wrapped her arms around herself, looking off to the side. "How can I do that if I just let Amon run around and take more people's bending away? What kind of Avatar would I be?"

"One who doesn't just run into things," he muttered.

"Tell me this then: Why shouldn't I rush into this?"

Mako didn't even know where to begin to answer that question. He could think of ten reasons off the bat on why this was such an awful idea. Ten reasons why she shouldn't be putting herself at risk like this. Ten reasons why she shouldn't have to face Amon alone. Actually, he could've thought of more, way more, but ten was just enough. No, he only needed one reason that should've been enough.

"You're just not ready, Korra."

The tension flooded in like a dam bursting, engulfing the room's occupants with its dark, unforgiving waters. Mako's feet felt equivalent to lead, weighing him down and keeping him under water to choke on the thick tension. To add insult to injury, Mako watched guiltily as tears welled up in Korra's eyes as she stared at him with so much, too much, betrayal and defiance.

"I'll show you that I'm ready."

She turned and left, leaving her equipment on the floor.

Author's Comments:

I actually wrote this after I had watched episode 4 for the first time during French class and just now found it. Whoops. Hope you enjoyed anyway.