Chapter 1: Three Lines
On Tumblr I asked people to give me a ship and a plot word/theme/situation for me to write a three-sentence fic with. Here are the gathered results!
A/N: On Tumblr I asked people to give me a ship and a plot word/theme/situation for me to write a three-sentence fic with. Here are the gathered results!
001. queenrodgeriii requested, "Mai and Zuko: moose-lion"
"Explain to me why we're out in some middle-of-nowhere desert and a group of small moose-lions are watching us make out."
"Look, Sokka said it could be a nice getaway vacation place for us, but he didn't mention the wildlife…"
"I decide where we honeymoon."
002. googleberry requested, "Zukaang"
((During "The Firebending Masters"))
"Zuko, get over here! I want you to dance with me!"
003. Anonymous requested, "Katara/Aang: Katara seeing Aang in Korra and missing him"
It doesn't even take five minutes into Korra's first waterbending lesson for her to feel it.
"Like this?" Korra asks, testing the water whip's flow in her hands, bringing her back to another time, another Avatar, another waterbending training session on the beach with her brother floating in the river and Momo flying around overhead —
"Exactly like that," Katara responds quietly, torn between fierce pride and an overwhelming sense of loss when the young girl smiles at her with blue eyes instead of gray.
004. Anonymous requested, "Mulan's grandma/Iroh: because yes"
In her opinion, a former General being invited to her granddaughter's wedding reception (one of her fiance's father's old war buddies, apparently), taking three steps into their estate to smell the steam rising from her teacup, and asking, "Jasmine?" is about the best the ancestors could ever give her.
"I take it you're a fan?" she asks.
"Only of the finest quality," he replies, smiling, and so she invites him to take a seat at her Pai Sho table with a wave of her hand.
005. Anonymous requested, "Mako/Korra or Bolin/Korra: Korra keeps almost getting herself killed"
Their fifth run-in with the equalists ends in an chase on the rooftops before the three of them finally manage to dive through a fifth-story window of a large department store — only for Korra to collapse, clutching the back of her skull, and Bolin discovers that one of the bastards had damn near cracked her skull open when he had roundhouse kicked her head into a brick wall.
So Mako waits in the doctor's lounge twiddling his thumbs, and it takes all it has in him not to set the place ablaze and storm out of there to ignite that man's eyeball fluid, to torch Amon's bone marrow to a crisp —
But Bolin's hand is suddenly steady on his shoulder, a reminder that they need him here — she needs him here, in the now, not off in his heroic fantasies — so he calms, for her, and waits it out.
006. Anonymous requested, "Mai/Zuko: Zuko tries to be romantic"
Mai can't remember the last time she had been truly at a loss for words when she freely had the opportunity to share them, but being handed a scroll filled with scratched-out lines and scribbled poetry in shaky handwriting crafted by the Fire Lord himself has seemed to do the trick.
"I tried to get Aang to help," Zuko says quickly, "but his poems were too sappy, and Sokka just writes in weird haikus, and Katara's made no sense, and Toph — well, you know — plus there's no way I'd ever ask my uncle, so I figured — "
Mai shuts him up by pressing her lips to his.
007. Anonymous whispered, "Makorra: Korra is hot, Mako is frustrated. use your headcanon! :D"
It's kind of ridiculous that it takes him until it's warm enough to wear a swimsuit to notice — nearly six months, Bolin loves to remind him with a laugh, gosh Mako you must be blind — and since Korra grew up in climate with less-than-average temperatures, it's no surprise she'd start shedding layers before anybody else.
Because of course he isn't the only one who's noticed the Avatar is a girl — a really hot girl, and though he doesn't like to simplify Korra's appearance like that, there's no denying she's attractive. And he should've predicted the guys that flocked like flies to honey when you had a strong, mature… physically appealing young woman in a swimsuit enjoying her time at the beach with her friends: and it's not like he had any claim on her whatsoever, he reminds himself, so the only thing he's left to do is cross his legs and grit his teeth, because really, he only has himself to blame.
008. Anonymous requested, "Smellerbee/Longshot: different"
She's always appreciated the silence.
It's not as if she always understands it, but it works; when even the most polite folk will mistake her gender or opponents tease at her unnatural size or his quiet persona, just his hand or a look, a silent confirmation that it's okay, we can be unnatural together, could calm her temper and ease her into the mindset she needs for battle.
It isn't until she's left with Longshot and their fallen leader alone in a cavernous underground base (it feels too much like a tomb, a crypt, Jet's final stance shouldn't be here) and he looks at her with no words, as usual, that she knows what he's been trying to say all along.
009. Anonymous requested, "Katara and Zuko remembering the one time when Sokka and Mai did the Fire Nation tango"
"Apparently the dance was an ages-old art passed down for generations from before the War, or so says Aang…"
"I don't care how you decide to explain it, you could not have enjoyed watching your brother perform what very well could've been a hog-monkey mating ritual as much as it could've been an ancient dance with my girlfriend."
"Well, I admit the elaborate dip-under-the-legs was a bit unnecessary, but it did have its own sense of… style…"
010. nansays requested, "Korra and Mako: lost at sea"
Korra's pretty sure this is her fault for not checking whether or not the tidal island would be causing problems when they were five miles out to sea at high tide, but it's not like she's about to admit that.
"Here," Mako says as they sit on the beach waiting it out, taking off his jacket and draping it over her head and shoulders, "Republic's heat can get pretty unbearable sometimes if you're not used to the weather here."
She pauses, for a moment unsure of what to say, before quietly thanking him and taking the shelter from the scorching heat as she leans back in the sand, waiting for the moon to rise and the sea waves to reveal their way home.
Chapter 2: Drabbles
Various scenes with various characters. A compilation of my Avatar: The Last Airbender/Legend of Korra responses to a Tumblr meme, "Send me a prompt and I'll write a (roughly) 100-word drabble." The only problem is that these all ended up much longer than 100 words...
001. lilacblossoms requested, "Bolin (and Mako if you like, but especially Bolin) meets Tenzin's kids"
"Meelo," Bolin tries for the eighth time, "I know it's soft and I know it's cute — believe me, there are plenty of ladies that agree with you — but my hair's not a turtle duck, okay? You see, it's not really all that tasty, either, so — "
He lets out a strangled cry when the three-year-old's teeth accidentally nip the tip of his right ear. He grapples with the boy's hands to dislodge them from his hair and winces as he feels cold saliva start to settle on his scalp. "Kid — look, you're great and all, but I really think you can have a lot more fun with your sisters over there — Mako, right? Don't you guys need another player?"
Mako looks up at his brother from his position on the floor where Jinora and Ikki have demanded they play two-on-one Pai Sho, which mostly consists of Ikki babbling in his ear as he nods distractedly and concentrates on undermining Jinora's various moves. Bolin sends a silent plea to his brother through a desperate look, an offer to switch siblings so he might escape early baldness and Mako might avoid dealing with the sisters' obvious crushes on him. (They'd become apparent the moment they'd walked in the door and the girls immediately latched onto his arms, much to Bolin and Korra's amusement and Mako's flustered embarrassment.) Considering how much easier his position looks at the moment, he's really starting to regret mocking his brother.
In fact, he's mostly starting to regret agreeing to help Korra with babysitting three airbending kids in the first place.
"Sorry, bro," Mako says, and it looks very much like he's trying to fight down a grin as Jinora and Ikki begin arguing about who the better airbender is so as to impress this new tall handsome stranger in their home, "you're on your own with this one."
002. afigureofspeech requested, "LoK Katara, the last one left (she's a survivor, even when she doesn't want to be)"
And then there was one.
Katara has spent the past seventeen years torn between looking at Korra with fierce pride and an overwhelming sense of loss. Her stance, her bending, it's all new but it's all Aang —
No, no, not Aang. Different times, different Avatars. Different people.
She can't help but feel bitter sometimes, knowing that Toph is gone, Sokka is gone, Zuko and Suki and Mai and Appa — death could even take Appa — and she's left here, alone, forced to watch Avatars grow up and leave her time and time again.
So she's not really surprised when Korra sneaks off in the middle of the night; part of her may have even predicted it. Everyone else has left her, after all.
003. rachelthelastminbender requested, "Korra going on a date with someone of your choice"
"No, really," Korra laughs, "No matter how many times you tell me it's easy, it won't change the fact that I stilldon't know how to dance."
"Then perhaps a demonstration?" Bolin lifts an eyebrow and takes her hands, walking backwards into the crowd. "I'll have you know that aside from my many achievements in the pro-bending ring I'm also two-time winner of Republic's Bachelor Dancing Competition."
I'll bet, she thinks, smirking. "Sounds like there's a story behind that."
"There always is," he says, shrugging, then spins her into a dip she isn't prepared for — and woah, the floor, she almost hit the floor there — but he pulls her back up and grins, then kisses the side of her jaw. "Really, you can run away with a polar bear dog to the city that never sleeps but you can't try swing dancing?"
004. iridelis requested, "Tenzin teaching Jinora how to airbend for the first time"
Tenzin's always been told he's a rather serene person, but even he can't help letting out an exclamation of joy when Jinora lets loose a large gust of wind for the first time, even if it is over the middle of the dinner table. He'd prepared himself to be disappointed, but he's also had all of the instruments ready and waiting outside prepared for use, just in case, as his father had. But there had been no need to worry. Jinora was an airbender. Their culture would live on.
They're heading up to temple for her first meditation session, just the two of them on a bright fall day, the only airbenders in the world, when she speaks up for the first time about their situation since her bending abilities were discovered sixteen hours previous.
"Dad," she says, so quiet he barely hears her as her tiny fist grips the sleeve of his robe, "I'm kind of worried. I don't know… what if it's not what I thought it would be?"
His siblings and mother have always teased him for his calm, patient attitude in near everything he does; but it was his father, Aang, that always understood that there was something impatient within Tenzin, something ready and waiting to leap at the most subtle sign of airbending that came from his blood. He wishes, not for the first time, that his father were still alive; he's been too impatient, now, pushing Jinora when perhaps she hasn't been ready, manifesting his eagarness to share the Air Nomads' culture with a child who barely understands what being an airbender means.
"Jinora," Tenzin says, stopping, "may I show you something?"
She nods, and he changes direction, leading her around the temple to the edge of the island, where his old glider rests against the base of the stone wall, unused in years. He picks it up and hands it to his daughter, who immediately discovers the pressure points that flick open the gliding fans and spread out in the air, bright orange against the blue sky.
Jinora's eyes are wide, bright with untamed curiosity. "Dad?"
"Airbending," he begins, "is the element of freedom, Jinora. It can be everything and anything you like."
005. Anonymous requested, "Toph and the gaang when they find out she's pregnant (with Lin)"
Five years later, Toph returns from her travels half a foot taller, a master metalbender, and very noticeably pregnant.
Sokka is the first one who dares ask who the father is, because he is her best friend, and really, she was always going to hit him in greeting, anyway.
"It's none of your concern," she replies with a smirk as he rubs his arm, "though I would like some help arranging plans in preparation, and considering the fact that I can't read or write a birth certificate or hospital papers…"
"Of course," Katara says, shaken but pleased, "I'll get right on it. But first, do you mind if I have you lay down for a few minutes? I just want to make sure you're in good health."
"Er," Aang begins cautiously, "have you really been traveling for the past few months? I mean it's not exactly the best idea…"
"No worries, Twinkle Toes," Toph says as she heads into the bedroom with Katara, "I know what I'm doing." And it looks like she does: Toph is no longer twelve years old, no longer the girl that refused to think a man could ever be worth her time; but neither has she lost that same sort of independence she's always prided herself on. She's still blind, still small, but still never helpless, even when planning for two.
"Toph," Katara says quietly when they've reached the bedroom and she sits down against the soft pillows, "you don't have to tell me, but I'd just like to know. The father… even if he's not around, I just… want to know that he loved you. Can you tell me that?"
In her pocket, Toph's thumb rubs over the tiny metal token in her palm, feeling the etched marks grooved into the surface of what had once been her gift from Sokka. She had melded it into a coin for him, a token of her appreciation for him to carry when they parted ways, but he had only scratched something into it and handed it back. It was his name, she knew, characters she could feel but not understand, words she had never heard aloud and never asked for. She could ask Katara to read it for her, to know the mystery and find him again, but…
But she has a life to live. And just because they love each other doesn't mean that they're meant to be together.
"Yeah," she says. "He does."
006. Anonymous reuqested, "Borra's first kiss"
They're celebrating their victory in the tournament after-party when he leans over, delicate, and presses his warm lips to her flushed cheek.
"I just — had to do that," he grins, cocky as ever, though despite his cheerful attitude she can tell there's something nervous there, something scared that she won't reciprocate. "You know, in thanks. Just once."
Korra swallows, fighting the swirling emotions within her, and for a moment, she can only stare. Finally, she manages: "Only once?"
And he blinks back, a bit flustered. "Well — "
"Besides," she says, grinning as she leans in to kiss him proper, "you missed."
007. Anonymous requested, "Katara's first impressions of Korra after discovering she is the new Avatar"
She moves back to the Southern Water Tribe as soon as she hears the news. Living in Republic is difficult enough as it is, seeing Aang's statue being built right outside her bedroom window.
Katara arrives at the igloo two days after the Order does, knocking pleasantly on their door and remaining patient as she hears the fumbling sounds of broken home decorations, the crackling of firebending, and "No, Korra, what'd we tell you about earthbending the furniture?"
A tall, broad-chested, disheveled-looking man opens the doorway with a lantern. "My apologies for taking so long." He smiles despite the heavy bags under his eyes. "I'm afraid we're still a little disorganized from the Order's visit. How may I help you, ma'am?"
"Very well, thank you," she replies. "My name is Katara. I apologize for intruding, if this is a bad time…"
"Kata — Avatar Aang's wife, the master waterbender?" His eyes grow wide. "Madame, it's my pleasure, your visit is an absolute honor. My name is Tonraq. Would you like to come in?"
"Very much, thank you," she smiles, and he leads her inside, where the damage of a four-year-old's experiments with water, earth, and firebending have destroyed what looks to have once been a very modest home. And in the middle of the room, chubby-faced and pouting as her mother tries to wipe her face and hands, is Avatar Korra.
Of course, no child can look like the spiritual force of the universe as just a toddler. Korra is the Avatar, but she is not a real bender — not yet.
Katara wasn't sure why she had even wanted to see the child until this moment, but now, she's starting to understand.
"Tonraq," she begins, "if I may, I'd like to discuss Korra's waterbending training with you…"
008. gimedaglia requested, "Tenzin making the airbender master tattoos on his kids"
Jinora is quiet as he gathers the ink.
"Dear," he asks, noticing her expression when he readies the needle, "is something the matter?"
"Dad…" The thirteen-year-old bites her lip, grips her seat, and stares at the floor. "I don't know, what if I'm not ready? It's happening so fast…"
Tenzin lets out a breath he hadn't known he'd been holding, then sets the needle aside and places his palms against her cheeks, raising her eyes to meet his. "Jinora," he says, "you are the first female airbending master in a hundred and seventy years."
"I know it must seem very sudden to you. If you like, you may put it off until you feel ready." Tenzin brushes her bangs back from her forehead. "The tattoos mean the world to the Air Nomadic culture, but I would not wish for you to think of them as a burden. I'd like you to be proud of our heritage and what you have done."
Jinora looks at her father, brown eyes wide. "I'm honored, Dad. I am. I just… want to know if Grandfather…"
"He would have been as proud of you as I am, Jinora," he replies softly. "…Would you like to do this now?"
His eldest daughter nods, slowly at first, then surely, confident and willing. "I'm ready, Dad."
Tenzin lifts the needle, dips it into the ink, and presses the first dot in the center of her brow.
009. theonlyoneilune requested, "Mako rebuffing Korra's romantic advances right after the first time she kisses him. Whether or not Mako personally returns Korra's affections is up to you."
Mako backs away before he even gives himself time to think about it. He turns his head to the side to avoid looking at her, eyes wide, swallowing, trying to keep his emotions under control.
In a distant corner of his mind he asks himself why he's just turned her down… He's just spent the past three months longing for her, after all. But — but really, what had she expected? He gets it, she's scared, she's terrified and she's about to head off to face Amon and needs confirmation that he's there. And he is, he's always there for her, and he's scared too, but…
Their feelings for each other are making this more difficult than they need to be. He has a checklist, and making sure that Bolin and Korra are safe is at the top of it. He doesn't even have that completely secure, because Korra is shaken and his brother is unconscious — in the hospital with safe care, but still unconscious — and that all needs to be taken care of before the next thing on the list, defeating Amon and the equalists, which is going to take a lot more time that they have. Number three is now winning the tournament, four is the necessities of food and water and shelter for his own health…
Kissing Korra comes later. Way, way later. Given his social ineptitude and cowardice, he's been banking on sometime after never. He's not ready, he's not ready, no matter how much he wants her and no matter how much she wants him — spirits, she could never want him, she's ruined his plans, the Avatar kissed him first—
Mako opens his mouth to explain, but the words die in his throat when he sees the look on her face.
Korra eyes are soft with disappointment, quiet rejection, an embarrassed understanding. He backed away. He must not have wanted her.
"Don't wait up," she says, a soft apology, and before he can say a word, she turns, leaps off the roof of the arena, and airbends away.
010. beinghipsteristoomainstream requested, "Tenzin and Pema moment"
"I want you to know," she says quietly, "that I'm very sorry for the position you've been handed."
It's their wedding day. Pema looks absolutely radiant in Air Nomad robes, beautiful and glowing with marital pride, and sitting next to her at the banquet, Tenzin is shocked, for a moment, into silence. I married this woman. She's picked me.
"Your father," she says quietly, "Avatar Aang. You must be under so much pressure, of course… and I…"
Pressure, of course. He knows all about pressure. He's the only airbender in the world now. His father, at least, had had memories of their people, but he has…
Tenzin has ghosts.
"I do wish," he says quietly, "that he had only lived long enough to perhaps one day see a grandchild, one that might…"
Pema nods, then pauses. "That's what I'm sorry for, Tenzin," she says finally. "I wish your father could have been here, at least, so I could say… We're about five years too late for him to meet a grandchild, but I don't think you'll be alone much longer."
011. Anonymous requested, "Mako feeling awkward because he had a sexy dream about Korra, but is forced to talk to her the next day because they have to practice probending."
Mako wakes up hating himself.
He swears through his morning run, sulks in the shower, and by the time he's convinced himself okay, he can get through this, just ignore the two of them and concentrate on training, he turns the corner into the gym and runs straight into —
She blinks and takes in his flushed skin, then mimicks his surprised tone. "What!"
"Noth — just — " He takes a breath. Swallows. "Why are you here so early?"
"Tenzin ended airbending practice early so I figured I could stop by." She jerks her head behind her to indicate the gymnasium, where Bolin's already at work practicing against the nets. The motion lifts her head, exposing the hollow of her neck and flashes him back to the previous night — an imaginary Korra's sweating skin as he presses his lips to her throat and she releases a perfect, guttural moan —
"You all right there?"
"Fine," he snaps, praying she doesn't look down below his waist, then moves to head past her. "Just — get to work."
"Well all right, but I've got to go change, first. Toza wants me to train in my new pro-bending uniform since Hasook's doesn't fit and I've got to get used to moving in it."
"You're fine, just get going."
Korra frowns and crosses her arms, nodding down at her traditional Water Tribe clothing. "You're going to have me train for pro-bending in this?"
You can take it off, if you like, his mouth wants to say, but he clamps down on his jaw, gives his head a jerk that could pass as a shake for no. Ignoring the pulse between his legs and his brother's stiffed laughter from across the room, he wipes his forehead, stomps inside, and tries his best to get to work.
Chapter 3: Minifics
Two to ten sentences of various scenes with various characters. Responses to Tumblr prompts.
001. Anonymous requested, "Mako and Bolin go to visit Korra at Air Temple Island and run into the 3 little kiddies before they can reach her"
"Well you're not that good-looking," Meelo informs Mako as Ikki and Jinora pester Bolin with questions about earthbending, the Fire Ferrets, what's it like living in the arena and can you please help us play pranks on our father?
"Lucky for the both of us," Mako responds dryly, "it's not you I'm out to impress."
002. beinghipsteristoomainstream requested, "flying"
"I — I don't think your air bison likes me very much," Korra shrieks when Oogi dips through the clouds and douses them in wet mist.
"You've just been spending too much time around your polar bear dog, so he's jealous," Jinora smartly informs her, "but don't worry – we'll train you in no time."
003. soooexotic requested, "parental Lin and Toph"
"Welcome to the club," Toph says, raising her drink to a fifteen-year-old Lin and knocking it back in celebration. "You won't get much in the history books since your mum was the first to master metalbending and all, but being the second ain't so bad."
004. Anonymous requested, "a mix of fangirls, Korra, and merchandise"
"Well you won't let me auction off replicas of your scarf, so this is the next best thing," Korra insists, pointing to the booth where Bolin is selling Fire Ferret shirts to the crowds of pro-bending fangirls. "Really, it's extra publicity and you've got girls wearing your face all over their chests, so why are you complaining?"
005. Anonymous requested, "Makorra, UST"
He doesn't mean to, he swears, but he glimpses her bare back while passing by the showers: a strong and steady dark expanse of skin, shining water droplets racing down her spine — and a towel around her neck covers the front but it doesn't stop his creative mind from leaping to the task of imagining the rest.
Mako drags his eyes away immediately and stalks as fast as he can back to the gym, thinking of Toza working out, of cold baths with arctic glacier settings, and ignoring the uncomfortable tent in his trousers as best he can.
006. jay-kateel requested, "Mulan x Korra crossover"
When Korra finally reaches the top, weights tied around her waist as she snatches at the arrow with her teeth, she shouts a muffled "I got it!" and gives herself a mental congratulatory pat on the back.
"Great job," Mako says dryly from below her, "but you still aren't as mysterious as the dark side of the moon."
007. jayitaintso requested, "superheroes"
"Never heard of him," Korra says, frowning at the comic books Bolin's shoved his nose into the moment they stepped into the bookstore.
"You've never heard of the Wang Fire superhero comics?" Mako asks. "I know you're new to the city and all, but that's just pathetic."
008. Anonymous requested, "Lin Bei Fong: mommy issues"
It's Bei Fong tradition to disappoint your parents.
"Sorry, Mother," Lin tells Toph when she takes up her badge, "but not all of us are willing to dedicate our lives to gambling and drunken taunts at passerby from their front porches. Some of us want to change this city for the better."
009. Anonymous requested, "Pema's parents reaction to her dating Tenzin"
"You're…" Her mother swallows. "You're in love with your Air Nomad mentor."
"I'm in love with a man," Pema says, head high, "who just has the good and bad luck to be the last airbender in the world."
"The last airbender with the duty to pass on his lineage." Her father sighs heavily and reaches for the liquor cabinet. "I hope you know what you're getting into, Pema."
010. Anonymous requested, "Naga meets Pabu. Mako, Bolin, and Korra have to deal with the aftermath."
"Naga — I said HEEL," Korra demands with a firmly stomped foot, and the polar bear dog stops in her tracks as the fire ferret scampers out of sight beneath the cabinets.
"You've got to put that thing on a leash," Mako mutters, looking around at the destruction of Tenzin's living room, and neither Bolin nor Korra can bring themselves to ask who he's talking to.
011. Anonymous requested, "fluffy Makorra"
Mako frowns when she starts laughing; he's still holding the Water Tribe necklace and immediately gets on the defensive. "What? Your mom said you'd like it and I guess it looks nice, I mean, I don't understand what's so funny about this — "
"My mother is playing matchmaker, Mako," Korra says, still chuckling, and then reaches forward to take the gift. "Shall I put it on before or after I explain what it means?"
012. Anonymous requested, "Amon wears a mask because Koh stole his face"
There's a figure beneath the mask, but not a man.
When he lets himself think back, he can barely recall thousands of distant voices laughing, a tightening of his skin, the pinch of the monster's claws —
And then waking up without sight, without smell or taste or identity, as his body slams back into the mortal realm, and he can't even call for help.
013. soooexotic requested, "Korra/Mako, Korra being adorkable about her crush"
She's never really been close to any good-looking, readily available guys her age, so honestly, this is expected, right?
"You're not protecting your center," Mako barks, stomping to her side to demonstrate the proper technique. Korra swallows when his muscled arm brushes hers and tells herself that it'll pass, that it's natural, that she'll get over it as soon as he stops being so damn handsome…
014. Anonymous requested, "Mako talking to Bolin about Korra"
"Come on, admit it, she's really pretty good!"
"I stand what I've said before," Mako grumbles, turning away to stuff his uniform away and swallow his pride so his brother couldn't see. "She's not bad, and you're still a lunatic."
015. ironinkpen requested, "nightmare"
Not every bender survives the process. The bodies are piling up on the stage, equalists are yelling for blood in the crowd, and the tips of Amon's fingers are dripping crimson — he's going to rip her bending right out of her and it's going to hurt four times worse than it was for the others — Mako and Bolin, spirits, they're lying behind her on the stage, wide-eyed and unseeing —
Amon extends a bloody hand, murmurs "You're next," and reaches forward —
Korra jerks awake, sweating and shaking. Her heart's pounding, Naga is whinnying softly, and the full moon outside should be comforting and familiar; but she cries anyway, quiet and shuddering and soft, and doesn't try going back to sleep.
016. Anonymous requested, "Mako and Korra; bonding time in the gym"
"Your waterbending needs work."
"Your firebending needs it more."
"You heard me. I've had steaks tougher than you."
"I think your arguments are juvenile."
"I think your scarf is ugly."
017. Anonymous requested, "Korra getting special treatment for being the Avatar; Mako and Bolin are unimpressed"
They've only been at Sato's party for an hour, but by the time the eleventh hoity-toity businessman introduces himself to Korra and asks her to dance, stating how honored he'd be to have the Avatar's time and how she must be dying for the company of some real gentlemen, Mako's starting to feel more than a little put out.
Bolin grimaces at his brother and gives a weak chuckle. "Kind of wears you down after a while, eh?"
"I don't want to talk about it."
018. nightwingly requested, "Mako meets Korra's parents"
To Mako, it doesn't matter how friendly or welcoming or nice Korra says her folks are; he's not good with parents, not since he lost his own, and he's too busy worrying if he may accidentally insult them in his inexperience with Water Tribe customs to realize that they've reached Korra's place and there they are, there they are —
"So you're Mako, then?" Tonraq says, eyeing him up and down before reaching out to clasp his hand in greeting. "Don't be such a stiff, boy, you can say hello."
"You're not in Republic, Mako," Senna says with amusement and reaches forward to pull him into a welcoming hug. "The only thing that stings down here is the cold."
019. notkorra requested, "Korra realizes that Mako is in a relationship with his own scarf"
Korra once asked Bolin what the deal was between his brother and that ratty thing, but he had only stuttered and changed the topic
It finally hits her when she notices that Mako's scarf is curiously missing from the pile of clothing he leaves lying on the floor as he takes showers in the locker rooms. She doesn't bring it up again.
020. magpieinthesky requested, "Paradise By the Dashboard Light"
Bolin grunts and grins when she presses him back into the leather seats, straddling his waist. "I hope your father doesn't sit back here too often. This could leave a mess."
"He has seven different cars," Asami says wryly with a smirk. "I don't think he'll mind."
021. Anonymous requested, "grocery shopping with the Fire Ferrets"
"Papaya stall coming up on your right, doge it! Ooh, go down that aisle, that aisle, I see fresh cabbages — !"
"No — NO CABBAGES, we don't need ANY MORE CABBAGES!"
022. Anonymous requested, "Cloudbaby shenanigans"
"Need some polishing oil?," Bumi laughs when Tenzin walks in for dinner. "Nothing attracts girls more than shiny bald scalps, you know, but yours is looking a little dirty."
"Don't listen to him, Tenzin," Kya says from over her book. "I think it looks just fine."
Tenzin rubs his head absently, mildly uncomfortable with the odd smoothness. "Really?"
"Yeah. It's so clean that now I don't need to bother getting up from the table if I need to check my makeup; I can just see my reflection on your head."
023. Anonymous requested, "Korra gets distracted by a shirtless Mako"
"Girls showers are over there," Bolin says, gesturing, but as they walk past the mens' rooms, Korra finds her attention captured by a sudden, broad flash of near-naked teenage boy: Mako's stepping into the shower, discarding his towel, and spirits above, she knew he was well-built but she never knew exactly how his form looked beneath the uniform, the roundness of his muscles and the smooth expanse of pale skin —
"C — " Korra swallows. "Coming…"
024. Anonymous requested, "Bolin and Korra take of a sick Mako"
"Your brother," Korra snarls, "is the worst patient ever."
"It's not his fault he hates lying still and the only remedy for the common cold is bed rest," Bolin says, grinning. They both look up at the sound of a muffled thump and loud curse from the next room. "All right, I just went in. It's your shift to keep him in bed for the next two hours."
025. bunny-wan-kenobi requested, "Mako and Bolin teach Korra how to drive"
"Well, you're better than Bolin when he first started," Mako says grimly when the car shudders to a stop in a skewed, but acceptable, parallel park on the side of the street.
"Don't take a piss on my driving skills," Bolin says from the back seat. "I can do a better parking job than this in my sleep."
"Whatever," Mako says. "All right, before you merge into the lane again, put on your turn signal."
"On the left-hand lever."
"…And where's that?"
026. Anonymous requested, "Korra, Mako, Bolin: one umbrella"
When they head out, Mako reaches the only umbrella first, and HAH, damn it, he isn't going to share this time, not after they'd left him soaking wet when it rained last week and he turns around to gloat with a smirk to see —
Korra's bending the rain above her and Bolin's heads, already headed off in direction of the pub, and before he can think to remark on the unfairness of the universe, his brother gives him the biggest shit-eating grin that it's all he can do not to set the umbrella on fire.
027. Anonymous requested, "Bolin giving Korra advice on how to approach her crush on Mako"
"And if those tricks don't work, then there's always blackmail," Bolin says, digging out a large envelope stuffed full of papers and what looks like old, hand-written love letters. "Did I ever tell you about that thing he had with the girl from Makapu Village?"
028. theonlyoneilune requested, "Tenzin and Pema announce Pema's first pregnancy before they are married. The lack of marriage and their age difference is commented on."
"I'm your father," he yells, and Pema resists the urge to roll her eyes. "How do you think I feel about this?"
"I was hoping," Pema says quietly in a tone that silences the room, "that you'd stand by the word you gave me when I graduated that you'd love me no matter what I do with my life. I realize now that I shouldn't have taken that to heart."
029. vanillaorange requested, "Meelorra"
She's twenty-nine and he's seventeen, and dammit, he may still be a kid in her eyes but he likes who he likes; so he gathers some panda lilies, wipes his face and cleans behind the ears, and prepares himself to confess over her birthday dinner —
Only to be shocked into silence when the firebender she's been dating off-and-on since they first met stands up and makes a very elegant, very public proposal in front of their friends and family — and she says yes.
As the two are bombarded with well wishes and congratulations, Meelo grips the flowers under the table, nails digging harshly into his palm, and doesn't say a word.
030. theonlyoneilune requested, "Mako's scarf: light bondage, either within a sexy or humorous context"
"This isn't funny anymore," Mako says loudly to the empty arena; his voice rings and echoes in the silence from where he stands, hands tied behind his back to the announcer's podium. "I'm not gonna burn my scarf just so I can free myself, so if you're waiting for that to happen, you're out of luck. Korra, I'm serious, are you still here? Would you please untie me? I won't insult your stupid dog anymore, I promise…"
031. Anonymous requested, "Mako being overprotective of Bolin"
His voice cracks in the presence of the two jeering teenagers but he lifts his head as high as he can.
"I said," a twelve-year-old Mako replies, "that if you mess with him, then you're messing with me."
032. Anonymous requested, "Bolin meeting Korra's parents"
"I think," Senna says, holding back laughter, "that we should start charging for your five-flavor soup."
"I'll… go make more, then," Tonraq says, stunned, and he rises from the dinner table as Bolin finishes his third helping. "If you would, please keep the boy away from my arctic hen."
033. Anonymous requested, "Korra seduces Mako"
The Avatar smirks. "Both are true."
034. notkorra requested, "Bolin in captivity"
They visit every hour, every hour to jeer and taunt and jab their fingers and hands and keep him constrained, keep him docile, keep him weak and useless and this is not where he's meant to be, this can't be what happens to him, it can't be all he's good for…
They'll come for me, he tells himself when it's his turn, when he's dragged up onto the stage where Amon is waiting and the crowd is laughing and cheering and crying for blood. They'll come.
035. madlyy requested, "Bolin practicing pickup lines on Pabu"
"So you wanna — go do an activity togeth — stop laughing!" Bolin tosses a cushion at the ferret, and Pabu immediately scampers under the bed. "I know you can't talk, but I can tell you're laughing! What, you think Asami won't go for it…?"
036. Anonymous requested, "Mako and Bolin hanging out with Naga while Korra is training"
The damn dog is looking at them weird again and he doesn't understand how Korra can stand hanging around something that's so big and intimidating with such sharp teeth and — did it just growl at him?
"So," Bolin starts awkwardly, "what's it like living in the Southern Water Tribe?"
Mako thumps his head against the pavilion pole.
037. pants-are-an-illusion requested, "Team Avatar: drinking contest"
Mako doesn't know what happened last night, but he knows how he wakes up: sticky, sweaty, light-headed, and grumpy, with his mouth still resting in his last mug and a headache the size of Ba Sing Se.
"Don't ask me what happened last night," his brother says from his position on the floor — bare-chested and missing one shoe, gunk in his hair and a filthy Avatar passed out on his left arm. "You don't want to know."
038. minuiko requested, "it's Mako's birthday but he insists on training. Bolin and Korra try to get him to loosen up."
"What the hell is this?"
Mako's caught between wide-eyed gawking and a vicious glare; the result is a rather amusing combination of the two as he observes the brightly decorated locker room.
"We're celebrating," Bolin says, stepping closer and tossing confetti into his brother's face, "for your birthday, bro!"
"You're officially old," Korra congratulates from above the storage cabinets, where she's hanging Fire Ferret trinkets from the ceiling. "So we decided that we'd save you the effort of calling off practice today and did it ourselves. Happy birthday, jerkbender."
039. Anonymous requested, "Korra airbends for the first time by accident in the gym with only Bolin and Mako present"
In her frustration and distraction, it takes a moment to realize what's happened: really, she just wanted Mako to shut up about how her form wasn't right or she wasn't following Plan Alpha Number Whatever doing this or that or yada yada — so she shoots him back twenty feet into the side of the ring, bouncing against the ropes, where he is finally, finally quiet.
But now there's a tense, ringing silence that she hadn't counted on.
"That — was definitely not waterbending," Bolin croaks from his corner.
"And definitely not earthbending, since I wasn't even touching the ground," Mako concludes, frowning as he picks himself up. "A warning would've been nice. Some weird Avatar power you've neglected to mention?"
Korra's looking at her hands, flexing and and observing. Nothing looks different, but somehow, everything's changed.
"Yeah," she says quietly, "something like that."