I'm back! I told you I would try and hurry up and finish the rest of Chapter 7. Once again, couldn't have done this without my wonderful beta/friend, aangisdead follow her her on tumblr. This chapter I really wanted some Mako and Korra interactions so I really tried to put that in there without making it seem forced. So yes the Krew has a beach episode if you will. This will probably be the last Love 'N' Ink update for a while mostly because I'm me and it's hard to put out chapters period. But i will be doing camp Nanowrimo so there will be more stories from me, don't forget to tell me in the reviews if you think I should work on some one shots for camp or multi chapter au's. A review pointed out to me that they didn't want to be spoiled by book 3 information and i just wanted to say now that there will be no book 3 information in this fic, at the most there might be some book 2 but it will be very small. Anyway I'll let you guys get to it!
They rushed up the stairs, eager to be the first to pick their rooms. The boys laughed and shoved each other against the walls, while the girls leisurely strolled behind. There was an awkward but friendly silence between the two girls.
"Uh, guys, we have a problem." There were five of them but only three rooms.
"It's not that big of a deal - these two have two beds in them and there's only one with a king size bed. So that just means that one of us should get a room by ourselves while the others share. That's not too bad."
Everyone nodded, agreeing that it was the best course of action. "Great, so glad we can all come to agree. I'll be taking the king sized bed and you all can sort it out yourselves." Tahno headed towards his recently declared room. As soon as his fingers wrapped around the door knob, his elbow was grabbed, pulling him back into the hallway with everyone else.
"How come you get the room?!"
"Yeah what about the rest of us?!"
"Either Asami or I should get the big bed."
"Why should you two get the big bed? I'm the one that invited everyone; if we're talking about who should get it, I should be the one."
"Because Asami and I will be sharing a bed some time this week so we should just get the big bed."
"Ew, Bro, we didn't need to know that."
The arguing got louder as everyone began to talk over each other, although the real argument was between Korra and Mako. Asami and Bolin were trying to resolve the situation but were just making it louder.
Tahno grunted and rolled his eyes, counting to ten in his head. "Okay!" the fighting quieted down and everyone stared at Tahno. "I get the big room because Bolin snores and Mako has dealt with it for twenty so odd years so three nights of it won't kill him. Asami and Korra can share a room because they're girls and can talk about girl things. So everyone's okay?" Quiet murmurs came from the group, including a 'girl things; you wear more eyeliner than me'. Tahno headed towards his room and slammed the door behind him, causing everyone to flinch.
Asami noticed that Korra had left for the room and eagerly followed behind. When she walked in, Korra already had her blue bag down on a bed, and she was taking out her clothes and putting them in the dresser that was supplied for them. Small talk, let's start with small talk. Asami walked over to her bed, "So Korra, um, how was your drive here?" Asami winced at her own question, grateful that Korra couldn't see her face. Nice work, Asami. You have one shot to make a good impression and you ask-
"It was nice. I mean, Tahno slept the whole time and Bolin asked me whether or not Pabu would be all right on the island with all the air nomads about five different times, but it was nice." Korra let out an awkward chuckle. Asami internally gave herself a pat on the back.
Asami and Korra finished putting their clothes away, making awkward small talk until Mako interrupted them to tell them they were ordering take-out.
Korra had only laughed like this a couple of times in her life - one being when there was an accidental laundry mix-up on Air Temple Island, resulting in Tenzin's robes turning pink; the other time being when Bolin had been raving about this new Earth Kingdom-styled restaurant and ordered some himself during his lunch break, only to spill it on Mako who had unexpectedly turned the corner. (She wasn't sure which was funnier - Bolin crying on the ground while trying to put back together his spilled dumplings or Mako's face full of rage with a dumpling sitting on top of his head.) There she was at the dinner table eating Fire Nation take-out and laughing so hard she was crying. Maybe it was the alcohol in her system or just the general atmosphere that the Krew gave off, but Korra was having the time of her life.
Korra was from the Water Tribe, being able to drink people under the table and going to work the next day was in her blood. So, how she woke up to the sun glaring her in the face with a raging hangover was beyond her. Mornings were already evil, but with a hangover on top, they were down-right malicious. She flipped over to look at the other bed only to find it empty, Asami must have already gotten up. I wonder if everyone else is up. As much as Korra wanted to stay in bed, wrapped in blankets and sleep off her pounding headache, she didn't. Instead, she dropped her feet on the soft carpet and trudged down the stairs.
"That's when I said, 'I'm gorgeous, she's gorgeous!'" Bolin waited for everyone to get the punchline of his joke but all they did was look at him.
"Bolin, I get it, you think your Sato bike is gorgeous, but no matter how many times you tell that story, it doesn't get funnier."
"Well, you know what is funny-hey look it's Korra! Cute pajamas." Korra's still foggy head took a second to realize that Bolin was referring to her blue pajama shorts with a pattern of polar bear-like dogs on them and her baby blue tank top. She slowly made her way to the table, trying her hardest to not fall over or throw up.
"Mornings are evil."
"Yeah, nice outfit, Kor." Tahno let out a sarcastic snicker. Korra peered over to his side of the table, noticing his purple silk pajama set with his name monogrammed on the chest and the bottom of his pants.
"Yeah, that's funny, coming from the guy sitting in purple silk pajamas. All you need is a pocket square and you'll be completely set." Hungover or not, Korra could always take on Tahno.
"Just because you're going to sleep doesn't mean you have to dress like a barbarian."
"Girls, girls, you're both pretty." Instead of defusing the situation like he had wanted, Bolin earned a glare from both parties. He immediately backed off, and Tahno and Korra went back to throwing playful digs at one another.
"Hey, where's Asami and Mako?" Korra asked halfway through her conversation with Tahno, although she was a bit afraid of the answer Bolin was going to give her.
"They're in the kitchen. Asami's 'helping' him cook breakfast," He replied, making sure to put extra emphasis on the air quotes around "help." Bolin leaned in close and raised a hand to shield his mouth from being seen. "Between me and you, Asami is good at a lot of things - money, racing, that hair flip thing she does - but one of the very rare things she's not good at is cooking. One time, she put water on the stove and she somehow burnt it. So her helping is probably just being lovey-dovey and all over Mako. So if you go in there, brace yourself."
Korra raised an eyebrow at Bolin. Yes, Mako and Asami were lovey-dovey, but this early in the morning? She doubted it. Korra got up from her seat and headed towards the door that lead from the dining room to the kitchen. When she opened the door, she realized Bolin was right. Asami sat on the counter in a cute little satin magenta sleep dress, legs crossed, with pink fuzzy slippers on her feet, her hands supporting her. Mako was slowly bringing a spoon to her mouth, asking her to "open wide for him." Just that pure sentence made Korra sick, with a swiftness she didn't know she possessed, she backed out of the doorway and ran back for her seat at the table. Wide-eyed and a little shocked, Korra just sat at the table and ignored the snickers from Tahno and the I-told-you-so smile from Bolin.
"Hey Bo, how do you ever, like, avoid walking in on them?" Korra asked, a bit of a shake in her voice.
"Oh, Korra," he let out a soft chuckle, "everyone does it - it's a natural human thing." Bolin crossed his arms and a smug smile creeped across his face. "And I block it. I mean human or not, I don't want to see my brother and his girlfriend...do things." He stuck out his tongue in disgust and shook the thought away. Korra felt a bit sorry for Bolin. She had to only see them be so close for a couple of hours; she couldn't imagine putting up with them for that many years.
The conversation stopped as said couple entered the room, both ears red, trying not to make eye contact with the blue-eyed girl at the table.
"So, um, yeah, breakfast is, um, ready," Mako coughed out, setting the food on the table, his ears still red from embarrassment.
Before Bolin could begin his teasing about the incident, Asami took control of the conversation. "So last night was pretty fun."
"To be completely honest, I don't remember much from last night. Hell, I don't even remember going up to my room or putting on my pajamas," Korra replied, stabbing her fork into the plate of pancakes in front of her.
"Uh, Korra you didn't." Korra stopped stuffing her face to hear more. "You got way so wasted, you couldn't even walk up the stairs; well you tried, but you fell every time. Mako carried you up the stairs."
The previous night was such a blur even with Bolin trying to jog her memory. "Then you didn't make any noise for a while, so one of us went to go check on you. You were face-down, asleep on the bed," Bolin began to wave his hands into the air, surprising everyone at the table. "Your legs were hanging over the side of the bed, your clothes were all crooked, your hair was still in those blue thingies, your-"
"Bo, she gets it, just finish the story so you can get back to your food and we can all leave on time."
Bolin was about to open his mouth and hopefully get to his point but Korra cut him off before he had the chance "As much as I would love to know how I got tucked into bed and dressed correctly last night, I have to ask: where are we going?"
Asami's manicured hands came together in a gleeful clap. "Well, while you were asleep, Bolin told us that you planned to go the beach today. Mako and I were also going to go but a little later-"
"For a nice sunset walk on the beach."
"So, I thought it would be a good idea if we all went together." Spending her vacation weekend with the lovebirds wasn't exactly what Korra had planned, but she did want to get friendlier with Mako and at least make him feel like she was more than a co-worker.
"That sounds great!"
"Why are Asami and Korra so late?! We all finished breakfast at the same time. Shouldn't we all be here at the same time?"
"The real question is, why are Bolin's shorts so green? If I even glance at them, I think I'll go blind." Tahno threw his hands up to cover his eyes.
"Hey, hey, it's all a part of my plan."
"Your plan to blind the whole beach?"
Bolin smiled wide and smug, "No, foolish Tahno, not to blind the beach. Maybe if you didn't spend so much time on your hair, you would probably be as smart as me when it came to picking up girls." Tahno wanted to burst into laughter at the pure thought that Bolin was better than him at picking up girls, but decided against it, letting Bolin continue. "I'm the first thing girls will see when they walk on the beach. Of course, their eyes are going to wander up and what are they going to see?" Bolin said framing his face with his hands.
"Bolin, normally I would tell you how dumb that plan is but it actually makes some sense."
"Exactly. Never doubt me, bro." Mako had to admit, those shorts were really green, almost lime.
"Why are you spending time talking about your shorts when we could be looking at Asami and Korra come down the beach?" The brothers and Tahno turned their heads to see Korra and Asami coming towards them. To Mako (and maybe every other guy on the beach) they seemed to be walking in slow motion. For once, Korra didn't have her hair up in those ties, letting her hair fall to her shoulders.
"Uh, Mako, I think you might want to pull your jaw from the ground." The snickers from Bolin and Tahno pulled Mako out of his trance. Bolin eyed Asami's black and white one-piece feeling a sense of deja vu. His head snapped to Mako, looking down at his shorts. "Really, you had to match even on the beach?"
"What! They had a couple sale going on, and I couldn't pass up a two-for-one sale!" He decided not to mention the strange looks he got from the cashier when she thought he was only buying the one piece.
Mako left Bolin standing there while he ran to help Asami with the supplies in her hands.
"Can you believe those dorks actually bought matching swim suits? I mean, I can see Mako doing that cause he's a huge dork but Asami?" Bolin whispered into Korra's ear as they watched the elder brother juggle a parasol in one hand and towels along with an assortment of Bolin's beach toys in the other.
"How can you not believe it, you should have seen the way they were all over each other in the kitchen. I wonder what will happen when Tenzin gets here?"
"What are we waiting for? The sun's out, it's hot, I'm hot, and the water is calling us. Bet I can beat you there."
"Oh, you're so on." Korra and Bolin dashed for the water, Korra making it there first of course.
"What are those two doing? They know we have to set up everything before we can do anything else. Did Bolin even put on sunscreen? He burns easily.
"Calm down, Mama Mako, always with work before play. From the looks of it, they're having an argument about who got to the water first in their little race, although it does look like Korra got there first. I don't care enough to go over and break it up. Now if you need me, I'll be going to show off how good I look to the ladies of this beach. See you later, hotman." Tahno pulled down the shades placed so effortlessly on his head and walked away, leaving the couple to set up for the whole group themselves.
"So, have you tried to get to know Korra any better?" Asami asked, sticking the parasol in the sand.
Mako stopped and pinched the bridge of his nose, "I tried, hence last night, but you know she was tipsy and couldn't even put her clothes on right, let alone have a serious conversation." Asami raised an eyebrow of disapproval. Mako got down close, taking her hands into his. "I promise, I will try to connect with Korra on this long weekend trip." They leaned in, no one else mattering.
"Hey! Are you guys gonna just sit there and make out all day or are you actually gonna get in the-" Bolin was unable to finish since Korra sprung from the water and pushed him down underneath, a smile on her face.
"Come on, let's go have some fun." Asami pulled Mako up, running toward the water.
After a good hour in the water, the Krew (yes Tahno finally came back, with four different girls' numbers no less) were messing around in the sand. Bolin was trying to build Republic City out of sand - he wasn't having much luck; even with Mako (reluctantly) helping, it still didn't seem to work.
"So Korra, what do you like to do in your spare time?" Asami asked as she worked on her tan. (Mako made sure that she put on sunscreen, afraid she would burn just like Bolin, Of course, he was teased until finally he just jumped in the water to get away from them.)
"Well, I like to work out. You know, go for jogs, runs, lift weights."
"Really? I like to work out when I can. Normally I'm busy at the track, testing out new cars for Future Industries."
"Wait, track as in a race track?" Asami nodded. Korra bolted up from her spot on the towel and crawled closer to Asami. "You race cars?!" Asami nodded again, a bit afraid of what kind of action Korra would do next. "That is so cool!" Korra's blue eyes sparkled. "I mean when I first met you, I thought you were kinda prissy. No offense!"
"It's all right. People usually assume that I'm Daddy's helpless little girl, but I can handle myself. I mean, I've been in self-defense classes since I was this high. My dad made sure I would always be able to protect myself."
"You can come over and-"
"Race some cars?! I'd love to!" Asami laughed at Korra's enthusiasm, like a kid on Spirits' morning.
"I also enjoy reading and working out as well."
"Bleh, I don't really enjoy reading. I mean the occasional story, sure. When I was younger, my gran-gran, Katara, she used to tell stories about this world where there was bending. There were firebenders, earthbenders, airbenders and waterbenders, but there was one person that could bend all four and they were the Avatar. They were supposed to be the bridge between the benders and spirits. They're meant to keep balance in the world; they're the all-powerful, the see all be all. Once one of them dies, they would get reborn into a new bender who would need to relearn all the elements. I thought it was so cool, I made her tell me that story every night that she babysat. I even went over how to categorize which bender people would be." The chuckle that Korra let out was the kind that you have after you reminisce a fond memory, or memories in Korra's case.
"So what bender would we all be?"
Asami's question caught Korra off guard. It had to be maybe five years since she even opened a book that had anything to do with bending. "Okay, I'm a bit rusty though. We'll start with Bolin," The two ladies turned their attention to Bolin, who was trying to put back together the top of a building in Republic City. "Bolin, he'd be an earthbender because he's an anchor. He grounds people and he's steady on his feet. Not saying that he's always stable because let's face it, even the ground can move in the least predictable times. Like an earthquake, his anger leaves as quick as it appears. Now, Mako," said boy was surprisingly doing well on his half of Republic City, "firebender because he's fast and quick and if you're not careful, he'll burn you. His temper is as hot as the lava under the earth's crust, so I guess you could say metaphorically he supports the earth that is Bolin." Korra's eyes softened. "But with that destruction he is also the warmth, the protection, the salvation." Korra took a breath and moved her head towards Tahno who had somehow found more girls to talk to. "That playboy is a waterbender because water cools and soothes which is surprisingly the feeling you get when you're around him. Water is smooth, it polishes, like when he does tattoos, he polishes them to the utmost perfection. Now you, you would be a-"
"I would be a non-bender." Asami answered for herself, "I don't really fall under any one set category but I'm not all of them either. My skills are more with tools, cars, and mechanics. That's where I belong."
"You would have the skill set that would rival any bender, that's for sure. Probably have them running with their tails between their legs." Both girls laughed. "I would be the Avatar." Korra's smile was too wide and Asami was sure if she smiled any bigger, all of her face would be that smile. "Not to be narcissistic, but I would! My temper rivals Mako's, which might be the reason why our arguments might get so heated. I'm warmth and the hearth. I'm water because I soothe others; I cleanse, I heal. I'm earth because I have yet to meet anyone as hardheaded as me; I'm stubborn and it's hard to move me when I'm set on something. I'm physically and mentally strong - Bolin might be the anchor but I'm the shore that will either save or sink your ship. I'm air because as much as I am strong, I'm gentle. My love for you guys and Tenzin's family fill you up like the air that fills your lungs. One thing that the elements all have in common is that they're unpredictable. Example: taking my shirt off in the middle of work on the first day. I'm unpredictable but I'm a force to be reckoned with." The sparkle in Korra's eyes was unavoidable. Throughout the whole conversation, Korra's eyes never stopped sparkling.
"You've really thought about this huh?"
"Well, when I was younger, I didn't really have a lot of friends, so the only real friend I had was my gran-gran, Katara, and whenever I was with her, I thought a lot about it."
"Hey, I'm going to go get some Ice cream, want any?" Asami and Korra's getting-to-know-you conversation was cut short by a defeated Bolin. They peered behind him to see that his half of Republic city was ruined and wet.
"I'll go, Bo. I haven't been here in a while so I don't really remember what they offer." Korra got up and whipped the sand off her hands. (She also tried to secretly pull the wedgie out but that wasn't as much as a success).
I have to admit, I was wrong. She never thought she'd say it, but she was; Korra was wrong. She was enjoying herself with the whole group. Not that she never thought she would. She just didn't see her and Mr. Mom getting along.
Mako looked up from his spot on the sand to see Korra walking away, at the same time a group of guys passed behind her and from the looks of it, they weren't just admiring her blue board shorts. Now, what was inside of them was more likely. Asami's request echoed through his head. Try and connect with Korra, please.
"I guess this is where I make the effort." Mako got up from his spot, making his way towards Korra. He saw the large amount of eyes that fell on her, and unintentionally he might have sent those same eyes a glare, warning them to back off. He could understand why she would get so many looks - Korra was pretty, her blue eyes that reminded you of the ocean, her fit body, and in a bathing suit, that just wasn't fair.
"Mako, why are you up here?"
"I came to help you carry them back."
Surprise was clear on Korra's face. "Is today like the spirit world or something? Not once have you complained or nagged or been a party pooper. You even helped Bolin with his version of Sandy Republic City. Now you're helping me get ice cream... Are you sick?"
Mako's shark-like eyebrows raised high. He wasn't always a party pooper, or at least he didn't try to be. I guess being the responsible one makes me a party pooper.
"I'm not a party pooper. I just do what's responsible, since it looks like I'm the only one."
"Party pooper." The awkward silence turned into tension between the two. Korra's smirk turned into a pout and Mako started to regret his coming along. She didn't know she could be so happy to see an ice cream server. The faster she got the ice cream, the faster she could get away from Mr. Party Pooper himself. Korra checked the ice cream, making sure all their orders were there, until she realized she was given one more than she had ordered. "Um, excuse me, I didn't order this one."
"Oh, that one is compliments of me. It goes to the cute boy with the green shorts," she winked in Bolin's direction.
"Wow, his plan actually worked," Mako said in disbelief.
"What plan?" Mako didn't answer Korra but instead kept walking back towards the group.
The tension from the ice cream trip didn't subside; instead, it increased. They argued over the pettiest of things, leaving the other half of the group to stand in the middle and watch. The best way to solve this (or at least to Bolin) was to play a nice, friendly game of volleyball. The result being the exact opposite, of course. It was the Fabulous Ferret Brothers against Team Water Tribe, with Miss Asami Sato as the referee. (Yes, they had to announce it like that. Bolin made them.) It started out fine, everyone was enjoying themselves, laughing, having a good time, until Korra made a comment about Mako's weak serve. Wanting to prove her wrong, Mako started to serve the ball as hard as he could. After the first couple of points, Korra started to take it personally. After a while, the whole game became more Korra VS Mako. In the end, neither won and both were tired, panting as they lay on the sand.
Their return to the house was awkward, to be put bluntly. Mako didn't want to talk to Korra and vice versa.
"It's so good to be back!" Bolin fell to the floor, hugging the cool tiled floors.
"Bolin, please pick up your crap. You left it all over the floor."
"Too. Tired. Too. Move." Mako sighed and stepped over Bolin,
"I'm going to take a shower." Mako kissed Asami on the cheek and headed up the stairs.
"I'm so tired. When I was kid, I could go to the beach and have energy left over; now, all I wanna do is take nap." Korra kicked her foot up onto the coffee table and took her shoes off.
"Um, Korra, your foot is bleeding."
"I thought I stepped on something sharp," Korra said, still not getting up from her chair. "I don't think we have any band aids here, and I'm too worn out to go looking."
"Mako has some in his bag."
Of course he does. He's Mr. Mom, always prepared.
"Just go ahead and get them out of his bag."
"Are you sure he won't mind?"
"Of course not." Korra got up from and hopped up the stairs, trying to stay off her bleeding foot.
"You do realize you just sent Korra to Mako's room and Mako is taking a shower right?"
Asami looked up from her magazine. "Yes, and?"
"You do understand that my brother is the biggest dork ever, right?"
Korra had been going through Mako's stuff for a good ten minutes now, and for the life of her, she couldn't find these damn band-aids! It didn't really help that he had already put away the stuff in his suit case. Who said eighth time wasn't the charm? Korra pulled out the drawer to find no band aids, but instead a frayed, old red scarf. She ran her hands over it, pulling it out of the drawer. It's so tattered, it must have seen some rough times. There were water stains, a couple of patches that could be recognized as mended, and the edges were frayed and worn.
"What are you doing?" Mako's angry voice brought her out of her moment with what she assumed was his scarf. This was a clear misunderstanding; from Mako's point of view, yes, it looked like Korra was snooping through his things, when in reality, all she needed was those damned band-aids. That would be easy to explain, but when Korra turned around to explain the situation, she couldn't get the words out her mouth. There he stood, a towel wrapped around his waist, hair wet - well, his whole body was wet. Korra gulped hard, trying to bring her attention back to the situation at hand and not Mako. "I'll ask again, what were you doing and why do you have my scarf?" Mako wasn't asking this time, more like demanding a response from Korra.
Korra's face started to feel hot. "I cut my foot at the beach and um, Asami said you had band-aids so I came to find them but-"
"Here," Mako pulled open the drawer in his night stand. Of course in the one place I didn't look.
"Thank you." Korra rushed out of the room as fast as she could.
Everyone sat around the living room relaxing, just enjoying each other's company when there was a knock at the door. Then, three more, and shouting. "Looks like Tenzin's here." Everyone groaned and got up from their comfortable seats and headed to the door. Korra's hand was on the door knob when she stopped and looked at the group. "Now Tenzin's kids are... high maintenance. Good kids, just a bit of work."
Within three hours of everyone meeting, Tenzin and Pema had to apologize for Ikki and Meelo's behavior six different times. (Not counting the times they weren't in the room and were reprimanded by Jinora instead.) After Pema was told that the only thing the Krew ate was take-out, her motherly instinct took over. She cooked whatever was inside of the refrigerator that wasn't a meat product. During dinner, Ikki asked a million questions a minute, along with revealing things to the group about Korra that she wasn't too proud of, like the swear jar and how one little stay of Korra's with the family cost her sixty dollars. Although, it did seem that Meelo and Ikki got along with Bolin quite well. Tahno commented, "Maybe it's because they're all children," which earned him a smack at the back of the head.
Halfway through waiting for dinner, Tenzin called Korra out to talk privately. When she came back to the table, there was a slight change in her demeanor. She had gone from joking with the table to quiet and only having an input to the conversation if she was asked.
It was well past dinner now, and everyone had gone to bed except for Asami and Mako, who offered to stay and clean up the mess that was left behind.
"So, I saw you went to go help Korra today at the beach," Asami said, handing Mako the plate to dry, a proud smile spread across her face.
"Yeah, well, I didn't exactly like how guys were looking at her. I thought I should go with her just in case."
"How sweet of you." She leaned over and kissed his cheek.
Mako set his plate on the counter and wrapped his arms around Asami's waist, nuzzling into her neck. "Let's say we take this upstairs, my room?"
Asami giggled and let her dirty dish drop back into the sink. "We can't. There are kids here, and we'd have to kick Bolin out. Where is he suppose to sleep?"
"He won't mind. Come on, this is our romantic vacation. Although our romantic walk on the beach was slightly ruined today, who says we can't make the night time romantic?"
Asami contemplated her options then let out a laugh. "All right, but if we get caught, I'm blaming it all on you."
"Wouldn't have it any other way."
Korra woke up with the sun in her eyes again. This time, not dying at the sight. It felt nice to wake up and not have to go to work - or have a hangover. Although, she did have this weird dream where everything was drowned out from snoring. She looked over to Asami's bed, only to find it empty. Must have already gotten up. Tenzin had asked her the night before if she could go to the beach again but this time with Pema and the kids, just to...help out. She had agreed, of course, but that meant she only had a few minutes to get showered, put on her bathing suit, and rush down to the beach.
"Hey, is anyone gonna use the bathroom because-" Korra stopped mid sentence when she walked out of her room. Across from her was Asami, hair a mess, giggling and only wearing one of Mako's long shirts. The two made eye contact, Asami's giggling stopping and Korra's face turning red. As if to make matters more awkward, out the door came Mako, whose hair was also a mess, only wearing a pair of pajama pants. The three held an awkward staring match, waiting to see who was going to break the silence first. "Um, well, uh, I would stay but I have to go air-sit! I mean sit air baby! I mean, I gotta go babysit the air kids, yes, that's what I meant, so I'm just gonna, um, go back inside my room and go get on clothes to go do that." Korra's eyes darted down as she slid silently back into the room. Even behind close doors, Korra was still flustered by the couple's evidence from last night.
Deciding to skip the shower, Korra was out the door and on her way to meet Pema and the air kids down at the beach for some, as Tenzin put it, "fun in the sun." On her way there, she kept going over the scene in her head. She had come to the conclusion that it was like a car wreck - she wanted to stop thinking about it, but she couldn't.
Finally reaching her destination, she easily spotted the family. "I'm so sorry I'm late. I woke up late then I ran into something, but I'm here now, so what do you need me to do."
"Well, why don't you sit down? You look tired." Pema scooted over, giving Korra some room to lie down and rest. "Your friends seemed nice last night, especially that tall one with the shark-like eyebrows. He offered to help me with cooking."
"That's Mako. He's like the mom of the group. Bolin, the one with the button nose, that's his little brother. Normally, Mako's brooding and distant; he also acts like other things but I respect you too much to use such language in front of you." She also didn't want to give any more money to the swear jar.
"Well, he's a cutie. I think the two of you would be so cute and with the height difference you two have, just adorable." The hope in Pema's voice almost made Korra not tell her the truth.
"As lovely as that sounds," the sarcasm dripping from Korra's voice, "I'm going to pass. He's dating that long black-haired girl, Asami. He doesn't even like me. The other day, I went to their apartment and he goes 'Why is our co-worker here?' like that was all I was. I thought we were at least friends."
"Well, what would make you think that?"
"He helped me when I caught food poising. Bolin told me he had rushed from work to see if I was okay, and when we were in the hospital room, he calmed me down when I was freaking out about the bill, but apparently I'm just a co-worker."
"Well, you sound like you care that you're not anything more than a co-worker, am I right?" Korra could hear the mothering tone in Pema's voice. She was doing what she was good at, being a mom. Korra stayed silent. She wasn't sure if she wanted to answer that question or if she even knew the answer to that question. Pema decided against pushing any further with questions regarding Mako and switched to a more important question. "So, I saw that Tenzin talked to you yesterday. Have you given it any thought?"
Korra turned over, burying herself in the sand. "Yeah, and I still don't have an answer."
The ceiling was quite interesting, Korra had been tracing the patterns of the ceiling with her fingers, unable to sleep. She didn't know why, but sleeping just wasn't an option. Every so often, she would look over to Asami's bed, just to see if the raven-haired beauty was still there. Korra tossed onto her side and fluffed up her pillow. Okay, all I have to do is just count sheep, right? That's always what they do on TV. One sheep, two sheep, three sheep... Okay, this isn't working. I think it's actually doing the opposite. I wonder what space is like? No! This is not the time to think about everything in the universe or your place in the universe, Korra! She tossed and turned, talking to herself over and over again until finally she realized this wasn't going to work. Korra ripped the covers off in anger and tried her hardest to be silent as she creaked down the stairs to the kitchen.
Mako had taken Asami on a nice date around the town. He even got his romantic walk on the beach after dinner, so why wasn't he tired? He should have been exhausted, but instead, he was wide awake, tracing the patterns on the ceiling with his eyes. He envied Bolin, who was sprawled out on the bed, dead to the world. He tried to count sheep. It didn't work; it actually made it worse for him. I'll try that glass of warm milk. Trying to be cautious to the rest of the people on his floor, Mako tiptoed his way down the stairs to the kitchen. When he finally reached the kitchen, he found Korra, wide awake, pouring herself a glass of milk.
"Couldn't sleep either?"
"Nope, I envy Bolin, he's knocked out. " Mako pulled the chair out next to Korra, grabbing the milk when she was done. "I guess great minds think alike huh?" The silence between them was more than just awkward, it was almost deafening. They couldn't tell if the awkwardness came from the incident that morning, or from them just being in the same room together. "So, about this morning, I wanted to say sorry that you had to see that."
Korra choked on her milk, a light blush slightly creeping into her face. "Oh, that, you don't need to apologize. You two are adults and in a happy relationship. There's nothing to apologize for." The silence came back, but Korra was determined to finally get rid of the awkwardness between her and Mako. "Did you try the whole counting sheep thing? It didn't really work for me. Instead of making me sleepy, it actually made me think about my place in the universe." She laughed into her mug.
The atmosphere started to feel lighter and more relaxing. Mako chuckled. "Yeah, I actually did, before that, I was counting the pattern on my ceiling."
"Me too!" Korra's excitement almost made her drop her mug. "You know, you never held up your end of the deal we made in the car."
Mako sighed and set down his mug. "You're not gonna let me get away with it, are you?" Korra shook her head. "Well, it's a long story, so I won't go into details. When I was eight, my parents were cut down right in front of me. After that, Bolin and I were on our own and we lived on the streets. We joined a triad-"
"What? Wha- Are you some kind of criminal?" Shock was apparent in Korra's voice.
"No! You don't know what you're talking about. I just ran numbers for them and stuff. We were orphans out on the street; I did what I had to do to survive and protect my little brother," Mako said, defensive and angry.
"I'm sorry. It must have been really hard," Korra said apologetically; she didn't mean to offend him.
"It's all right. You didn't mean any malice from it. When I was maybe fifteen, Toza found us. He and my dad were really good friends. Toza used to be a boxer and my dad worked at the gym he trained at. Toza left Republic City to travel, and when he came back and found out what had happened to my dad, he started to look for Bolin and me. He finally found us and told us he owed our dad some debt. Since Dad wasn't around, he thought the least he could do was take care of us. He adopted us and the rest is history."
"That's... so anti-climatic." Korra couldn't catch the words before they fell out of her mouth. Here was Mako telling his life story and her reaction was 'that's so anti-climatic' and she had just gotten on a good foot with him. "Oh! I didn't mean it to come out like that!"
Then Mako laughed, like an actual laugh, and Korra started to laugh along but more out of confusion then actual amusement. It must have been the spirit world because Mako just laughed twice in one day. "It's fine. I guess I did kind of skip out on some details." Mako twisted his face in thought. Again, he heard Asami's voice echo in his head. Try and connect with Korra please.
"When Toza adopted us legally, he put us in school, but while on the streets, we didn't get the best education." Mako thought about what he was going to say next. Not even Bolin knew, so why he was telling Korra, a girl he just met, he didn't know, but it felt right. "We quit the triads a month or so before Toza adopted us, but Bolin was behind all the other kids at school and I couldn't let that happen, so I went back to the triads." Mako didn't need to look up to see what kind of expression Korra was making. "Bolin doesn't know. He thinks that I worked in some kind of plant that mysteriously let a fifteen-year-old do labour for them." Korra's eyes stayed on Mako the whole time. She felt, well, bad for him, but who wouldn't? He went through so much. She did feel a bit glad that he was sharing this with her of all people. "I paid for Bolin to have a tutor and I worked for the triads until Bolin was caught up in his work, then I quit for good."
"Wow, and Bolin doesn't know about this?" Mako shook his head. Even though she had already told her story, and the deal had been complete, she had the urge to share herself. "Tenzin asked me to move to Air Temple Island." Korra's face dropped just like at the dinner when Tenzin took her aside.
It started to make sense to Mako. "That's why he pulled you aside yesterday." She nodded, staring into her mug instead of at him. "You seemed sad about it, any reason why?" Somehow not being able to go to sleep turned into a full-on feelings session.
"It makes me feel like I let him down. I have been able to take care of myself for years and then that whole food poisoning thing happens and all the trust and respect that I earned from him went down the toilet. I just feel like I let him down." To Korra, Tenzin was a second father, and after the blow-up with her parents, he was kind of like her only parental support, so for her to disappoint him was heartbreaking for her.
"Well in my point of view, he's doing this because he's worried about you, not disappointed. I don't think Tenzin could ever be disappointed in you. Did he talk about what it would be like if you did move to Air Temple Island?"
"He said that if I moved to the island, I would have my own room. I wouldn't have a curfew but I would have to have a better diet. He also wanted me to try meditating, said it would clear up my head." She had tried the whole meditation thing; it wasn't her cup of tea.
"So, you would be fed, have a roof over your head, and not have to pay any bills? What if - just hear me out - what if you do move in? You can make up your money that you lost before the move, then you can quit your job at that horrible place. You would save so much money on food because Pema will cook for you. Financially, it's a good idea."
Korra listened to the good points Mako had made. She could quit Fire Palace, which would leave her more time to enjoy herself and her friends. She really didn't enjoy her home being quiet and lonely; hearing the arguments and noise of the kids made her happy. "I think you're right."
The feelings session lasted an hour before one of them yawned, letting them know it was time to turn in. Korra felt better after talking to Mako. She was able to get the Tenzin situation off her chest. When she told Tenzin about her decision the next day, he smiled at her, making all those feelings of disappointing him go away. They had spent the last day at the beach, all of them. Bolin built sandcastles with the kids, while Mako and Pema exchanged recipes. On the drive back, all Korra could do was smile, even with Tahno whining about not being able to ride in the front seat.
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