Korra slammed her empty shot glass on the counter, wiping the excess drops from her lips. Her mind hazy and skin buzzing as she attempted to drown herself in liquid comfort.
Her eyes were slightly swollen from crying the majority of this week and she needed to find a better, less pathetic alternative. Although to some, this substitution was probably even more of a poor choice but, she was already too many drinks in to quit now. Far too down this Rabbit hole to wake up and face her real life where her Wonderland had been shattered.
She rimmed the edge of the shot glass trying to persuade her mind to accept more of the alcohol and blur out everything else. She felt like years of her life were stollen from her. That they all added up to nothing. And to add another layer of remorse she couldn't deny that they were without a doubt some of the best years of her life. Her chest physically ached like her heart had been gouged out and she was forced to watch it shoved in a blender and set to puree. She'd gone through painful break ups before, but the pain of this one felt entirely different from the last. She wanted to numb her whole body until she couldn't feel anything ever again. When she left from this place she didn't even want to remember her own name.
Korra glanced around the bar for the man meant to bring her more drinks and yelled when she saw him approach her. "Another!"
He wiped his hands on the black apron around his waist and groaned.
". .please" She chimed innocently, batting her damp eyelashes. He grabbed the bottle with a glance that read she had reached the limit of his tolerance and poured her another shot of a substance that resembled the look of water but definitely not the taste, and she took it gratefully.
"Thank you." She slurred, slushing the liquid around as she poured it into her mouth. She hissed it down and slammed the glass on the counter again, smacking her lips against the pungent taste. She closed her eyes and titled her head back letting the liquid burn down her chest. She held in her breath as she felt something bubble in her stomach and released a gurgling belch. Korra sighed heavily leaning her arms against the counter and dropping her head, her shoulders hunched as she leaned against the granite feeling her stomach churn.
"Hey! If you're thinking of throwing that up! You better find a bathroom or take it outside!" The bartender warned.
Korra looked up at him annoyed with his tone of voice as if it was somehow louder than the deafening music the DJ was playing. "Relax.. .I'm not going anywhere." She sat up and wiped her mouth, breathing deeply to hopefully send more oxygen to her deteriorating brain.
"If only" He muttered under his breath.
"Please. .You've dealt with far worse that I." She replied, her head swaying as she spoke. He rolled his eyes wishing she was wrong, but Korra was definitely not the worst of his customers he's had to endure. Probably one of the few people that could handle her liquor.
Korra leaned her head against the palm of her left hand, "And! I'd like another one." She lifted the empty glass and wiggled it like a bell meant to summon a maid. The bartender shook his head as he wiped the inside of a glass to being making another drink for a customer.
"I'm cutting you off," He placed the glass on the counter and turned to grab the ingredients. Korra lifted herself up, dramatically appalled at him, "Y-you can't do that!" She teetered a little bit from jolting up too quickly for her body to handle. The room started to sway and she leaned forward planting her hands on the counter as if she just broke a potentially deadly fall.
He mixed the drink and scoffed, "You're a shot away from drinking half the whole damn bottle." He picked up the bottle of Vodka as proof. Calculating in his mind that she was asking for her 7th or 8th shot, which was a limit the huskiest of men tapped out at.
"You can't deny my drinks I've paid for!" He finished pouring a neon blue drink and handed it to another girl before turning back to Korra. "Actually I can, company policy," He pointed to a small poster behind the wall and Korra glared at it, squinting her eyes as if she was capable of reading it.
"And honestly it'd be a mark on my conscious to see you get even more shit-faced." She scrunched her face at him, in no mood for his "sympathy". She didn't want people feeling sorry for her or offering to make her feel better with comforting words that meant absolutely nothing. She was far past that stage of grief.
"Don't lecture me, I have parents for that." She snapped.
"Go home Korra."
She sat there in silence for a few seconds challenging him with a glare in her eyes that threatened havoc. When he stood his ground unbothered by her drunken gaze she huffed into submission. "Fine," She swiped her shot glass off the counter, enjoying the look of anger on his face when it shattered on the floor.
"Tell Tahno this place sucks anyway. ."
She hopped off the bar stool and stumbled towards the floor, thankfully bumping into another body who broke her fall. The ground beneath her seemed to move and she closed her eyes waiting for the world to stop shifting. His hands wrapped around her waist and pulled her against his chest. Her body stiffened under his invasive touch and she had half a mind to slap him across the face for touching her so closely. When she looked up and saw who it was, she definitely wanted to slap him.
"Korra?!" He yelled over the music. His hazel eyes, wide in disbelief. An expression of utter shock panned across his face as he realized it was truly her. Literally the last person he'd think to run into grabbing a quick drink after a long day at work. How long had it been? Years at this point and to find her here of all places and so intoxicated. Korra was never really a drinker, not even during her early college years and he was pretty sure he'd never seen her this marinated.
She struggled to focus on his face and he felt so uncomfortable watching her like this, she was so out of place, so. .out of character. He looked her up and down and tried to see past her smudged makeup and flustered cheeks. Other than her hair being shorter than when he last saw her she looked practically the same; smooth brown skin, soft heart shaped face, full lips and crystal blue eyes, still just as beautiful.
"Mako!" She yelled in his ear louder than warranted and he leaned away from her face as the powerful stench of alcohol invaded his lungs.
Her hands on his chest clenched into fists, "Oh this is perfect!" She smiled sarcastically, not only was she dealing with adding another ex to her list of failed relationships. She was now face to face with her first ex-lover and after years of being apart their reunion was a drunken disaster. As if she couldn't look any more pathetic. "The universe just loves to fuck with me!"
"What the Hell are you talking about?" He looked at her like she had gone delusional.
"N-nothing, it's nothing." She breathed deeply before looking into his eyes; her gaze slightly off and blood shot red. "You look nice. . smell nice," He raised a brow as she patted his cheek. "Don't let me ruin your evening."
"Are you okay?! Are you here alone?" Mako glanced around to see if anyone else was here with her. She was certainly dressed like she was on a date or going out to some place that warranted a skin tight black dress. She was definitely unfit to be stumbling around by herself and he couldn't fight his overprotective nature that settled in. Especially since he began to notice the audience she began to attract. The people who waited for women like Korra to get too drunk to drive home, offer to 'help' and end up taking advantage of them. He wasn't going to let her become one of the cases he was far too familiar with.
"I'm perfect! Can't you tell?!" She pushed out of his grasp and stumbled in her heeled boots. He grabbed onto her arm and hoisted her back on both feet before she twisted an ankle.
"What are you doing here?" Mako was genuinely concerned now knowing she was alone and anything but perfect.
"What does it look like I'm doing!" She snapped, shooting him a glance that ordered him to piss off. "Leaving!" The bartender added and Mako turned to him and nodded, realizing Korra had reached her limit and was now promptly being kicked out.
Korra ripped her arm from his grasp and fumbled through the mass of dancing bodies to the exist. "Nice chatting. .Let's not catch up anytime soon .." As she disappeared into the waves of people Mako's gaze followed her.
"Here you are officer." He turned, seeing his usual drink was ready for him and cursed under his breath. He could just sit down at the bar and have a nice drink before going home to rest for the weekend. He only had to make one finite decision to forget he ever saw her and continue living his life like he had been before running into his ex-girlfriend.
His crazy ex-girlfriend from the looks of it.
He watched Tahno's employee sweep up tiny shards of glass knowing that was probably Korra's doing and sighed. "Damnit." He gritted his teeth knowing he would probably regret this decision later. He pulled out money for the drink and left it on the counter in exchange for Korra's bag she left behind. He sprinted outside instantly shivering in the crisp October air and looked around for her. After a few seconds of frantic panicking that she had already left he found her standing by the curb.
Getting another look at her not under the flashing lights of color and dark atmosphere he noticed Korra had changed. She developed from a teenage girl to a fully grown woman. Her tight athletic build was now much more defined, filling out that black and slightly torn dress with dangerous muscular curves. Her calfs were firm and flexed from the point of her feet that were wedged into dark blue high heels and she finally got that tribal tattoo on her arm she used to always tell him about.
He walked up to her observing as she patted her dress like it had pockets on it. "Fuck. . .where's my keys?!"
"You're not driving home," Mako voiced.
She turned around rolling her eyes in annoyance that he was still there. Eyeing her clutch in his hand she reached for it and he moved it out her grasp. "Give it to me!" She ordered. He continued to evade her sloppy hands as she fought for her things. She put her hand on his shoulder and stood on the tips of her toes to retrieve her things but, even after a few years, he was still much taller than she was.
"Do you honestly think I'd let you drive like this?!"
"They're my house keys!" She tore her bag from his hand and turned toward the road. "I took a cab here. .I'll take one home. Just leave me alone." There was an underling hint of sadness in the tone of her voice as she walked away.
Mako watched her haphazardly stagger towards the side walk and gritted his teeth. Again he thought of his drink probably being given to someone else right now and played with the idea of leaving her here. She obviously wanted nothing to do with him and what ever happens to her really was never his business to begin with.
"Owe!" He watched her trip over something and land in a near by bush and took off after her. Watching her pick leaves out of her hair he huffed in annoyance as she was slowly becoming his business. He couldn't just leave her like this, and definitely not in the back seat of some random guys car, taxi or otherwise. He helped her out of the bush she split in half and wrapped his arm around her waist.
He began tugging her towards his car parked in front of the bar. "I'm taking you home."
"Mako get-" She paused and clamped her hand over her mouth as her stomach jumped. After a few seconds of confirmation that she wasn't going to heave all over the pavement she pushed away from him. "Get off of me!" She stumbled in her heels for a few seconds before finding her balance.
"Come on, don't do this!" Mako exclaimed, already exhausted with how defiant she was. A person's personality is usually the opposite when they get drunk right? A shy person becomes more outgoing type of thing, but Korra seemed ten times as head strong and stubborn.
"Do what?" She lifted the palms of her hands as if nothing was wrong, "I was perfectly enjoying my night before you showed up and started acting like Tenzin."
His stern tone of voice and father like demeanor was reminding her all too well of her guardian Tenzin. The man was like an uncle to her since she was a child, always watching over her, telling her what to do, who to be, the moment she moved to Republic City. And being a life long companion to her parents Tenzin was able to take their place as the authority in her life when the reason she moved away from home was to escape that never ending control over her life.
Korra began pacing around the parking lot like she'd loose her balance standing still.
"Maybe I should call Tenzin then!"
Korra laughed, "I'm a grown ass woman Mako, what's Tenzin gonna do? G-ground me?" She turned on her heel and her knees buckled underneath her, "fuck!" She yelled as her face hit the pavement. Oh yes, she was that girl right now.
Korra rolled over onto her back and groaned uncaring that she began to grow some unwanted attention as people walked to and from the bar. As she propped up her right leg Mako looked away from the clear shot of her ass and sheer underwear.
"Just leave me here. ." She whined cupping her hands over her face. He walked up to her with his hands on his hips and she poked a glare threw her fingers. "What part of fuck off do you not understand!"
Mako was at his last straw now, he bent down and hoisted her over his shoulder. "Mako! Put me down!" She screamed, punching him in his back. They gained the attention from the bar security standing out front and the two men walked toward them.
"Everything all right here?" One of them asked. Mako pulled out his wallet and filled open to his badge, "Republic City Police, everything is fine. Just escorting her home, she's had too much to drink"
"All right, have a good night." He replied, walking back to their post.
Mako walked over to the passenger seat of his car and opened the door. Setting her down he pointed to the black leather seat like she was a child being put in time out. "Get in the car."
Korra leaned against his vehicle mostly out of the fact that her ankle was radiating in pain from her fall. "What is your problem?!" She moved to close the door but he stopped her, "Look. You can just show up after four years of nothing but 'Happy Birthday' posts and shitty Christmas cards and act like you can tell me what to do!"
"Korra do you honestly think I wanted to spend my Friday night like this!?"
"Y-you don't have to!" She tried to move passed him but he blocked her only exit, being sandwiched between the passenger seat and open car door. "But I'm doing it because I care about you-"
"Right" She laughed,
Mako clicked his teeth, officially at the end of his fuse. "Where's Asami?! She's the one that should be baby sitting you, not me!"
Korra's expression darkened, "Obviously not here." She spat.
The energy between them grew stiff as Korra's combative demeanor completely melted. She looked away, her eyes shaking as she clenched her jaw forcing away memories that clouded her thoughts. She sucked in a harsh breath and looked down at her shoes, the alcohol numbed everything but the pain in her chest. As her bottom lip began to shake and she tilted her head up to stop the water in her eyes from pouring down her cheeks.
Damn, at just the mention of her name? Mako wanted to ask the specifics, but figured it'd only make it worse. He didn't know what to say, but he knew what had happened, they broke up. They had to of, which explained Korra's behavior. He suddenly felt some sympathy towards his drunken ex, but not enough to let her continue drinking her sorrows away. "Korra-"
"I'll let you take me home," She whispered, causing him to look at her in surprise. He let out a breath of disbelief and she rolled her eyes. "But only because I spent all my money. ." She slid into his seat and rested her head against the cushion. Mako leaned over her and buckled her seat belt before closing the passenger door.
Driving down the road they both fell silent, Korra because the second stage of drunkenness leading to fatigue began to set in and Mako only because he honestly didn't know what to say. He dreamed about connecting with Korra again. He wouldn't be able to count how many times he's started that test message, dialed her number, written an extra note in her birthday card about how much he missed her. There were many ways he wanted their reunion to play out, but this scenario was no where close to that.
"Do you still know where I live?" Korra asked breaking the tense silence between them.
Mako shifted, "Yeah,"
Korra laughed as she swayed her head back towards the window to watch the blur of passing buildings. "Of course you do."
Mako ignored the lingering question on his tongue as to why she thought it so funny he still knew where she lived. Like it was somehow amusing he should still know anything about her. After a few minutes of silence she leaned her head over to look at him steer down the mostly empty roads.
He tried to ignore her but her sharp blue eyes peering into his face made him feel slightly uncomfortable. He wasn't use to being around her anymore, this all felt like some weird dream, having Korra by his side again.
"What?" He glanced over at her waiting for her to say something witty or sarcastic.
"You really do look nice. ." She whispered. Their years apart caused her to look at him differently as well, in a good way at least. He looked more polished, like a man instead of her eighteen year old "mad at the world" angsty boyfriend she once knew. His shoulders had broadened and his chin more chiseled, his eyes still a fiery amber. She kept her tabs on him from time to time, just curious to see how his life was playing out. He joined the police force, top of his class and now there's word of him becoming a detective. Her eyes lingered on his face a few moments more before her lids fluttered close.
"Korra?" Mako voiced. His gaze bounced from her and the road several times as he began to panic. "Korra!" he yelled again to get no response.
"Shit!" He quickly pulled over and hopped out his car. He opened the passenger door and cupped her face, "Korra! Damnit!" He shuffled her face back and forth in his hands wishing he had some water or an air horn. He patted her cheek willing her to open her eyes. "Korra!"
Her eyes popped open as she gasped, oblivious to the moment she sent him into cardiac arrest. He lowered his head breathing a sigh of relieve she didn't drink herself half to death.
"Mako. ." She croaked. He looked up at her and instantly knew what was about to happen but was too late to react fast enough. Her eyebrows scrunched together as her lips pouted, she bent over the side of his car and threw up the mostly liquid contents in her stomach.
The mixture of alcohol and other substances splattered all over his pants soaking everything in its tracks. As she coughed out the last of it she lifted her head with an apology written on her face, "I'm sorry" Korra quivered.
He released her face and stood up in silence, his arms still outstretched and hands open like he was afraid to move. Oh yeah, the universe apparently hated them both right now. He scuttled around to his trunk where he opened it desperately searching for a pair of sweat pants he tossed in there after his last work out session. Finding them he slipped out of his soggy pants, ignoring the cars slowing down to watch a half naked man on the side of the freeway, and placed them in an empty bag so that they didn't contaminate anything else in his trunk.
He slipped on the sweats, grabbed a bottle of water from his gym bag and walked back to the passengers side of his car. He handed the water to Korra and she drunk some of it then used the rest to gargle her mouth and spit out the remnants.
"Thanks," She sighed, clutching her stomach. She sat back against the seat and sighed, trying her best to take deep breaths and soothe her stomach.
"Yeah," He replied.
Starting his car again Mako looked over to see Korra falling asleep. He watched her chest rise and fall for a few seconds to insure she was just sleeping and continued down the road.
About ten minutes later he pulled into her drive way and fished in her bag for her house keys. Swinging her over his shoulder again he walked up the pathway to her front door and opened it with ease as if he lived there. He stepped inside uncaring to turn the light on for he still remembered the layout of her house.
"Ohhh." She groaned against his back.
"Home sweet home." He whispered. Mako set her down and she whined, pressing her chest against his body, "Take me up stairs,"
He rolled his eyes looking down at her knowing very well she will just protest until he complied, and honestly the sooner she was upstairs in bed the sooner he could leave.
Groaning he picked her up 'bridal style' and carried her up the stairs. "Thank you" She sighed, and this time Mako noticed it sounded a bit more genuine.
She wrapped her arms around his neck and laid her head against her shoulder. Mako looked down at her face that for the first time that night, looked liked the Korra he remembered. She was calm, and at ease, like she was perfectly safe in his arms. As her fingers slipped over his red scarf and lightly took hold of it Mako was at his limit. He needed to leave, right now. A familiar and very unwanted feeling began to stir in his chest and the last thing he wanted was it to fester into feelings that'll lead to more heart break.
Kicking her door open with the side of his foot he stayed at the frame and set her down. "No!" She whined, gripping tighter around his neck, "Take me to my bed."
"No!" Mako snapped.
Korra looked up at him with a small pout, "I'm injured and it really does hurt," He glanced down at her swollen ankle then back up at her pouty face. The fact that he really couldn't say no to her was a curse he believed he had broken but was easily woven over him once again. He begrudgingly walked over to her bed and quickly set her down on the cushion. He pulled off the heels she was wearing, careful not to upset her ankle and stood back up to leave. "Night,"
"Wait" She took hold of his wrist and he groaned again, not even turning around to face her. "What?"
"Stay with me." She whispered.
"No," He pulled his arm from her grasp shaking his head in disbelief. He was too familiar with these types of scenarios and he was not going to be one of those people who had sloppy one night stands or drunken sex with their ex. Especially because Korra deserved much more than that.
"Wait!" Korra jumped out of her bed and instantly regretted it. "Owe! Owe! Ah!" She gripped her right leg, hopping in place from the pain shooting up her calf. She hissed through her teeth as Mako turned around.
"Get back into bed! Putting pressure on it is gonna make it worse," His tone of voice read how completely annoyed he was by this whole situation and all because Korra still had the ability to get whatever she wanted from him. She lunged forward gripping his shoulders with her right leg bent so that she wasn't putting any pressure on it.
"Stay with me Mako," She whispered again,"Please" Her voice slightly broken, like she couldn't stand to be alone right now. That had to be the case if Mako was the one she was calling on. Again, he thought of what she must be going through, whatever drama happening with Asami and he felt a stab of sympathy.
He looked down at her, teeth grazing his bottom lip, "N-No," His voice barley breaking over a whisper.
Korra's grip on his shoulder tighten and her eyes lowered. "I'm pretty sure I- don't have to tell you what happened..." She tensed in arms at the mention of her most recent break up. "I just don't want to be alone right now." Her voice barely forming a murmur sent shivers up his spine. She looked deeply into his eyes leaned forward, placing a soft kiss to his lips.
Mako froze under her embrace, savoring it only for a second before pulling away, "Please," She begged.
"You're drunk Korra, You and I both know I'm the last person you want to be with." He whispered, his eyes going back and forth from her eyes to her lips. A lesser version of himself wanted to kiss her again but he decided to ignore that part.
"That's not true" She replied, looking almost hurt by his reply.
"Yes it is," He pulled her hands away, but she held onto his palms. "No it's not!"
"Like you said, I'm only here for Happy Birthday's and shitty Christmas cards." He turned to leave with a heavy chest and half a mind to go back to the bar and get that drink he now desperately needed.
"Mako!" Korra called out to him as she plopped down on her bed, looking slightly defeated. He paused, but only briefly. "Talk to me when you're sober," He muttered, walking out of her room with her door closing behind him.