Dr. Minghua took in a deep, satisfied sigh. His office was now organized. After months of putting it off, of clutter and chaos, it was clean. His notes were alphabetized. His books were on their shelves. His desk looked unused, save for the handful of coffee and burn stains. He has way too much to do, but he was very glad he'd taken the time to do this much.
Mako walked into Dr. Mingua's office and slammed the door behind him. With a righteous growl, Mako punched the wall, leaving a fist-sized hole in it.
"You got a minute, Doc?" Mako asked. Dr. Minghua's cup of pens had fallen over with Mako's entrance, ruining the otherwise perfectly aligned desk. Dr. Minghua fixed the pen cup and repeated his sigh, with different, more expletive-filled (but unsaid) emotions.
"Oh, hello, there, Mako. I'm glad to see you again. Why don't you come in? Of course you can have a seat. Oh, dear, you seem to be very upset today, Mako. Why don't you tell me what's wrong. Would you like some water?"
"Thanks, Doc, I'd love some right about now. I just can't-"
"No, Mako, see, I just got myself caught up to where we should be in this conversation, but you're still behind a few steps."
"You didn't even say 'Hello.'"
"Oh, I'm sorry. Hello, Dr. Minghua. I could-"
"And?" Dr. Minghua prompted, and Mako sighed, annoyed.
"Hello, Dr. Minghua. Thank you for seeing me. May I have a seat? Now, you would not believe-"
Dr. Minghua looked to the hole in his wall, and then to Mako, who stared at him, bewildered as to what the psychologist could possibly be interrupting him for this time. Dr. Minghua looked to the hole again, and again, Mako didn't get the hint. Dr. Minghua stared at it for a good twenty seconds before Mako slowly followed the doctor's gaze, and winced.
"Oh…Doc, I'm sorry, I…Wasn't even thinking, I was just…Mad, I'll, uh…I'll get it fixed, somehow, I promise. That was totally uncalled for, please, accept my apologies…"
"Have a seat, and let me see your hand. A punch that hard must have damaged something."
"I thought you were a shrink?" Mako asked, sitting in the uncomfortable chair Dr. Minghua had sitting in front of his desk. Dr. Minghua produced a medical kit from his desk and started observing Mako's knuckles. He tsk'd, produced a pair of scissors from the pack, and brought them to the leather to start cutting. Mako withdrew his hand.
"Hey, these are my gloves! You can't just cut them like that!"
"Mako, if I have them removed I could cause more damage. Now give me your hand. Your gloves aren't gonna do you much good if I don't look at this right now, you'll just have to deal with it."
"Come on, Doc, it doesn't even hur-" Mako protested. Dr. Minghua simply laid his finger on the knuckle and Mako let out a yell that was indubitably heard down the hall, around the corner, down that hall, around that corner, and then down that hall, into the lobby, and through the front door.
"Don't be such a baby," Dr. Minghua grumbled, and he started cutting off the glove. He started studying and poking at the knuckles.
"You dislocated your knuckles. You're probably in shock, which is why you didn't feel the pain. These are going to need to be wrapped for a month, or at least see a water bending healer. We need to put them back into place," Dr. Minghua said, and he looked at Mako in the eyes, "This is gonna hurt."
"Wha-" Mako started, and then he let out a second scream. The third was still loud, but not as much as the first two. The fourth was a cry, and the fifth was a loud whimper. Mako was panting loudly and breathing heavily as Dr. Minghua started to wrap it heavily in bandages and tape. He let out an audible shudder as he finished. Chief Bei Fong opened the door.
"What the hell is going on in here?" she demanded. Mako started, but Dr. Minghua cut him off.
"Mako's fist had a fight with my wall. It was a draw. I don't believe they will be having a rematch, right Officer?" Dr. Minghua looked at Mako, who nodded, "Sorry about the disturbance. I was just taking care of Mako's hand. My apologies, Chief."
"Mako, you and your friends are rough on department property. Please avoid tearing up my headquarters before the end of the year. Sort out yourself out, or I'll put you on leave, understand?"
"Yes, Chief Bei Fong," he said, and she left. A minute later, there was a message over the PA,
"Please do not be alarmed. We have had an injury. Everything is under control," she announced, "Please return to your duties. Everything is fine."
Dr. Minghua poked and prodded the fist some more, causing some grunts to emit from Mako.
"Got to the hospital, get an X-Ray, and then see a healer. You should be fine. Don't firebend with this hand, or punch anything with it until then. Now, it seems to me that Chief Bei Fong is going to want my go-ahead if you're going to stay on the Department. The way I see it, if you get put on leave, you're just going to keep at whatever investigation you're on but without a badge. The only way that you'd not do that is if I put you on psychiatric leave, which means you would not be left alone. You would be staying with either me, or a colleague, conducting a full psychological evaluation until you are cleared, or other action is recommended."
"What about last week, wasn't that a full psychological evaluation?"
"That was paperwork and one session, Mako. A full psychological evaluation is intrusive, but sometimes necessary if you're believed to be a threat to yourself and others. What Lin said, that was not an empty threat, not if she's saying it to me," he leaned forward, "It means that she's concerned about you, Mako. And if she's concerned about you, then I'm concerned about you."
"I'm not crazy, Doc! I'm angry!"
"Are you sure? You dislocated four of your fingers. You might have fractured one or more of them, if not some bone splits at least. You've been irritable-more than usual anyway-snapping at everyone and you're obsessed with a case that you're not even on. Cops go through a lot, Mako, and you're in a high stress position of both your given duties and your actions as part of Team Avatar. If I believe that you would hurt yourself-like you already have-or someone else-as would not be a stretch for you-then it is in my duties and my responsibilities to do everything in my power to protect you and the people that are around you. And if that means I lock you in my house for a week while we have intensive psychiatric sessions, then that's what I'm going to do. You have your ways of dealing with threats to the people you care about, and I have mine. Understand me?"
Mako straightened up in his seat, and nodded.
"Now, I understand you ran an off-the-books sting operation with Asami, using Triad members. Before you ask, you weren't as subtle about it as you thought you were. When the entire Triple Threat Triad goes to one place, the cops are going to notice."
"So you know. Then you also know that if I'd had the police helping me, it wouldn't have turned out that way! If someone would just trust me for once!"
"Trust you? Mako, how is anyone supposed to trust you if you're going to go off the books like that? Turn to known criminals, your own acquaintances? You won't even follow orders. Mako, you used to be captain of a professional Bending team. If one of your team members started doing whatever he or she wanted, regardless of whether or not it was within or without the rules of the game, how can you trust them to protect you? Just as much, how can you protect them? That's what's on everyone's mind, Mako. If you won't follow instructions, how can I help you? How can you be trusted to respect warrants, if you'd just bust down their door and take evidence whether or not you'd got it?" Dr. Minghua shook his head, "It's bad ethics to browbeat my patients. Maybe I should refer you to a colleague. You've got me scared, Mako, for you and for whoever you drag into your schemes."
Mako stared at the floor, and Dr. Minghua sighed, putting his face in his hands and then looked at Mako in the eye, "I'm sorry, Mako. This isn't about me. I'm going to put you on three days' suspension, with pay, not because of anything you did, but because it would be inappropriate for me to treat you. In the meantime, Mako, promise me you won't do anything stupid, or you will lose your badge."
Mako took his turn to put his face in his hands, and then he looked at Dr. Minghua.
"If you won't talk to me as my psychologist, would you talk to me as a colleague?"
"What do you mean?"
"I mean, I want you to look at what I've discovered so far. You do your head stuff with criminals, too, right? That's why you got funding in the first place. You get into their head, figure them out, and learn what they're going to do before they even do it."
"I don't know, Mako, this is-"
"Doctor Minghua, promise me that you'll look into what I've found. If you do that, then…Then I'll cooperate, in full."
Dr. Minghua leaned back, and nodded, "Fine. Do you have a file or a notebook?"
"Yeah, I've got a notebook and a folder. I've got it with me," Mako produced it from his sleeve, "You'd be surprised what I can fit in these."
"I went to university," Dr. Minghua took the file, and started reading it over. The war in the Southern Water Tribe, the attacks on Varrick Shipping, Unalaq, the Triad bombing the Cultural center, the raids on Future Industries, and Varrick's takeover of the-"
"Varrick!" Dr. Minghua snarled, picking up that page.
"What about him?"
"I knew that slimeball was up to something the moment I met him!" Dr. Minghua started digging through a file cabinet, pulling an overstuffed file with 'Varrick' scribbled on the tab.
"You knew Varrick?"
"He was a student of mine," he said, "One of three of my best. The other two turned out fantastic, but Varrick, oh hohoho, Varrick, he's a slippery one. I knew he was up to something, and I've got him now. I've got your every moved recorded, and soon, I'll be able to prove everything!"
"You knew he was rotten?"
"Ever since he bought out Bei Fong Caravans from the Chief, I knew he was up to something. See, the Chief, she didn't want the company to be handed over to people she didn't trust, people that weren't personally invested in the company. Then, the company starts having a bunch of sudden personnel changes, and the Chief has to either take it over, or sell it off to keep it afloat. Then I started digging. And digging more. If this leads me to one bad deal, then we'll find the rest of them. I can't get him for twisting my science and my art, but I'll get him for something, mark my words."
"Does…This mean I'm not on paid leave?"
"No, it just means I have work to do as a cop. I'm sending you to Dr. Muun, at the university. I'll call ahead, and then he'll call you. I want you to take it easy. Relax. I'll call you if there's any changes."
Mako hung his head, but left anyway. He almost punched the wall on his way out.