It had been another rough practice for the Fire Ferrets.

Bolin didn't seem to mind, nor even be completely aware of the poor performance. The earth bender simply laughed off his ineptitude, and the groups' inability to function fluidly. Hasook had proven completely incapable of master a new maneuver. Mako gave up an hour before they had previously agreed from practice to end.

Hasook left in a rush, barely even fully dressed in his regular clothes before storming from the gym. Mako lingered overlong at his locker, hoping Bolin would take the hint and go upstairs without him. But his younger brother loitered, too, awkwardly shifting weight from one foot the the other. He knew the quiet fire bender was upset- probably over their practice- but he was hoping Mako would forget about it, come up to their rooms, and they'd eat Water Tribe noodles like nothing had happened.

But Mako slammed the locker closed to glare at his brother. "Bolin, must go, all right?"

Hurt flashed through the younger boy's eyes. He wished Mako would go easier on them. Mayne it was just an off day. They'd get better. Bolin almost argued, almost insisted that Mako come along, but the older boy's steady, angry look changed his mind. "I'll try to have some food ready, okay?" Mako didn't answer and Bolin didn't push any further. He just grabbed a chirping Pay off the ground and set off to their apartment upstairs.

Mako stood a bit longer at his locker, staring at the space Bolin had until recently occupied. Slowly, scattered sounds broke into Mako's brooding thoughts. It sounded like... a pro-bending match? Who was using the arena in the middle of the day like this? Confused, he approached the platform, still only wearing his sweaty practice clothes, not even having bothered with his signature red scarf.

Of course, he thought bitterly. The Wolfbats would get the chance to practice in the actual arena instead of a gym.

It didn't help Mako's foul mood to see the reigning champion team was having a superb practice. Their movements were coordinated and flawless; they were a well-oiled machine. Mako watched them in awe. He quickly lost track of time, forgetting his own team's failure, and lonely Bolin awaiting his return.

The benders were fatiguing, Mako could read it in their stance. In finale, the team's leader and water bender threw himself into the maneuver that had baffled Hasook. The young man's body flowed like the water he controlled, his arms and legs moving in a shockingly expressive dance. Even his team members watched in awe. At the completion of his routine the tall water bender extended his arms lazily, and drawled something to his companions that Mako couldn't make out from the balcony. He just stood there, astounded at the competitor's skill.

He went back to his locker and began to change into regular clothes mechanically. "If Hasook could the see way their water bender did that..."

"The way I did what?" The voice was low and drawn out, as if the speaker was almost too lazy to bother with speaking at all.

Mako wheeled around to see that the water bender had joined him on the balcony. His gray eyes were Mako's face. One of his eyebrows cocked inquisitively. "Your final routine." Mako said simply. "Our water bender couldn't get it." He turned to leave. He might admire Tahno, but the boys were rivals nonetheless.

He stopped when the gray-eyed boy spoke again. "Another victory for the Wolfbats, yeah?" Tahno grinned crookedly and Mako gritted his teeth.

"I think we have a chance." Even Mako didn't believe this statement.

"Not even your baby brother's that stupid," Tahno chuckled slowly. "Since you're so helpless, however..." Mako made a disgusted noise and tried to leave again but the other boys hadn't finished. "...What if I gave you some pointers to pass along to Hasook?"

Mako frowned. "I don't think that's going to help, but thank you for the offer."His voice got faster and more rushed as the spoike, He was getting imaptient with this unhurried character and knew Bolin must miss him. But Tahno grabbed the reatreating fire bender's arm with surprising speed and strength.

"Maybe I didn't mean it like a question," he almost growled.

Confident that his skills at bending would get him out if things went really south, Mako relaxed then. "Show me then."

Tahno took up a pose, and Mako unquestioningly comped it, knowing his team's success might ride on this private lesson. He copied each consecutive pose as best he could, silently accepting Tahno's minor corrections.

"Palm up."

"Your toes need to point out for balance."

"Raise your arm higher, you want some power in this."

Once he learned the stances, Mako laughed almost nervously. "It feels weird. It isn't fire bending."

"No, it isn't, and your still have to learn how to put it together." Tahno's fluidity frustrated Mako. His own motions seemed choppy and irregular in comparison. "You're doing it wrong." Tahno suddenly stepped to Mako and forcibly grasped his arms and began to wave through the pattern. "Think water."

Mako turned his head to tell Tahno that he could just fuck off and be champion again, but he found he couldn't speak. Quite to Mako's shock, Tahno had pressed their lips together. He didn't really know how to respond to this advance. Tahno pulled away, smirking. "You even kiss lazy," Mako nearly spat before grabbing Tahno and kissing him back. The next time they parted they were both running a little short of breath.

"Who said I'm lazy, hotshot?"

"You did," Mako gasped. "When you kissed me like-" He was interrupted by Tahno's lips but tried continued after a moment. "-like..."

"So what I like to go slow?" Tahno grinned. "That's only kissing." He slipped his hand to the front of Mako's pants.

The fire bender groaned as he was palmed through his clothes. "Tahno." He forced through clenched teeth.

The water bender grinned at him through the black waves that dangled in front of his face. "What, is there a problem?" He only applied more pressure.

Involuntarily Mako moaned and pushed his hips against the other boy's hand. "Please." He roughly managed.

Tahno's smile widened, misunderstanding. He started to undo Mako's pants. "I like to hear you beg-"
"No!" Mako desperately tried to push away the invasive fingertips, but his hands shook violently.

Tahno carelessly lifted an eyebrow as he calmly continued his rhythmic strokes. "What's the matter, hotshot, don't think you can handle me?" He felt a strange burst of pleasure at Mako's blatant discomfort.

"N-no..."

"Then what's wrong?" Tahno whispered hotly in Mako's ear. The fire bender gulped notably. "Don't tell me you 'root for the other team' because you're already hard." His hand grasped the boy's erection, causing Mako to gasp, shut his eyes, and visibly struggle against his natural reaction. Tahno was clearly pleased by his response. He continued to move his hand against Mako, but tortuously slow, relishing the golden-eyed boy's attempts to keep from making any sound or moving his hips. "What's wrong?" He repeated, proceeding to to press his lips into Mako's neck, causing the already tense boy to tremble, choking on a whimper.

"I'm.. I've never..." His attempt at speech ended in a desperate moan. "Oh, God..." Tension was building in every inch of him now. Any moment he'd lose it and come in his pants.

Tahno smiled into Mako's neck., then pulled away from the bruise he'd been sucking there. "Never been with a guy before? You're missing out."

Mako whimpered desperately when Tahno removed his hand. It hurt. And not just to lose the friction, to realize he so badly needed it, and he needed it from Tahno. He'd be lying if he said he had never noticed the boy before. How could anyone miss him? But it didn't change the fact that Tahno stood between Mako and real success, or his grating drawl, or his detestable wealth. "No Tahno..." He gritted his teeth and made himself speak as the water bender started undressing. "I mean I've never been with anyone."

Tahno laughed dryly. "Really, hotshot? I-" But then he saw Mako's face. It was tense, pale. Frightened. Tahno was shocked. Mako acted cool and distant around fangirls, but the water bender had always assumed Mako had so many girls at his beck and call he didn't need the others. Or maybe the girls like a boy that seemed mysterious. In any case, Tahno would never have guessed the young man with the tousled black hair would be so inexperienced. All the better, he thought delighted, as he approached Mako again. It would be even better to be the innocent you man's first experience. Just the thought of it drove him wild. Tahno's mouth attacked Mako's, as if to drive the anxiety from him. It didn't help.

Mako had been too busy taking care of Bolin during his pre-teen and teen years to see any girls. When he reached the age when guys like him experimented, he started working another job on top of pro-bending. He'd made out with a few girls before, but that was it. Nothing... like... this...

Now Tahno was undressing Mako. The fire bender almost wished the boy would say something comforting, like "It'll be all right." But Mako also knew that life was cruel and bleak and to expect such niceties from a person like Tahno would be naive, and the words would be empty, invalid. He wanted to say no, he wanted to wait for it to be special-

Somehow Mako had been unaware that he was totally nude, and he had also missed Tahno dropping to his knees before him. So when the water bender's lips wrapped around his member, he shouted loudly, the sound tearing from his throat. Reflexively, he grabbed Tahno's hair as the boy smirked up at him. Mako moaned again as Tahno's toungue swirled over him. He'd already been so worked up, and now... "T-T-Tahno, I'm... g-gonna..."

Understanding, Tahno pulled away so quickly his lips popped. Without Tahno's mouth around him, and without his fingers sunk into Tahno's hair, Mako weakly fell to the floor. Desperate for completion, he reached his own hands down to his throbbing cock.

"Ah ah ah," Tahno scolded, grasping Mako's wrists and pulling away. "I'm not finished yet!"

Mako numbly allowed himself to be flipped over, and limply took on a hands-and-knees postition. He moaned deeply and loudly when Tahno's spit-dampened fingers penetrated him. "Relax," Tahno drawled. Another finger slipped in, and they began scissoring slowly. Finally Tahno stretch Mako with three fingers.

"Please." Now Mako was begging.

Tahno's smirk was growing stiff as his own need was swelling achingly. He carefully positioned himself behind the quaking fire bender. "Ready?" Somehow, even with his arousal growing ever moment, the word was still lazily uttered.

"Yes, yes, please, Tahno..." He was mumbling almost incoherently. It was so uncharacteristic.

Tahno began to slip in, centimeter by centimeter. When he was all the way in, he paused for a moment, allowing both of them time to adjust. Mako, to the size of him. Tahno. to the tightness. It was squeezing him beyond sanity.

"Tahno, dammit, move." Mako commanded. The first few thrusts hurt, and Mako squinted his eyes against the stabbing pain. But then one well-angled motion from Tahno hit him in just the right place, and Mako forgot about the pain.

Mako started shaking hard, and he desperately clutched his penis, working it with his fingers. Tahno didn't even notice. He shoved himself repeatedly into Mako's blinding tightness. He one-slow pace was rapidly increasing. Mako came first, spurting into his hand across the floor. He wearily rode out his orgasm, barely feeling Tahno release into him. Mako rolled onto his back as Tahno slid out, leaving him oddly empty. Like he'd been vacated.

They were both exhausted. Tahno was going to get up, but the boy with golden eyes clutched his upper arms, bringing the thin water bender on top of him, where Tahno lay calmly. After a moment Mako raised his head to cautiously kiss the other boy. Tahno returned the affectionate gesture gently.

Mako looked so sweet and innocent, his eyes transforming from thrust wide with wonder to heavy with spent passion. Tahno rolled off, but Mako still silently clung to him, holding the boys' naked, clammy bodies together. Minutes passed like hours as they lay on the floor, their minds gradually clearing.

Mako felt himself being struck by his actions. He stood weakly, reaching for his clothes and avoiding Tahno's gaze. He shrunk into his customary silence.

"Mako." Tahno was much too familiar with that guilty look. He'd seen it in the faces of girls and boys alike. In morning light and evening dimness. It had looked at him from the opposite pillow, and from the other side of the bathroom stall. Sometimes the look was hazy with drink, sometimes sober, like right now. They guilty feeling settled in Tahno's stomach and ate at him while he watched Mako dress. "Mako." No response. "Mako, look at me." At least now he'd stopped moving. "Look at me," he let his impatience creep into his voice, while keeping his words unhurried.

Mako fixed his golden eyes on Tahno's gray strong young men, prone to cockiness, they held each other's gaze. "Bolin is waiting for me." Mako said shortly.

Tahno stood. He felt better now that the attention was back on him. "Don't hate me, hotshot. You wanted it."

Mako looked so solemn now. "I don't have to like you, Tahno."

The water bender grinned. "You can't help it, though."

Mako's seriousness did not wane. "No, I can't." Tahno stepped forward and they kissed again. "I need to go." Mako finally pressed.

"You got practice tomorrow?" Tahno murmured, tracing Mako's collar bone with his fingers.

Mako grinned. "I'll be here."