Heavy feet hit the snow-covered grounds of a place Korra came to with the intention of being secluded, but for how long she did not know. Her eyes were wide open, yet heavy with depression, as her sorrowful gaze turned towards the cliff Naga, her loyal companion, had brought her to. With short and steady steps she had moved towards the cliff’s edge in thought about what had occurred in Republic City, and what had brought her to this fragile and pathetic state. Just a day ago, she was capable of so much with so little struggle with the only exception being the mastering of air bending. Never could anyone have expected that she would be at such a point - that the Avatar could lose what made them what they were. It was all amounting to something that Korra didn’t want to accept as a possibility, but when she sat in that room when method after method of healing failed on her, acceptance was unavoidable.
Avatar Korra was truly a failure.
The approach towards the cliff stopped just a few feet from the dangerous drop, but her concern for her own safety was becoming very minimal when it came to her own emotional and mental well-being. The winds which were once refreshing and welcome only felt bitter and cruel against her exposed skin. Her heart pounded for reasons she could only believe to be the overwhelming of such negativity building in her chest. Korra was in pain far greater than anything she had ever experienced, and it was showing very quickly. Tenzin, the kids, Lin, Mako, Asami, Bolin, Katara, even her own parents were all there for her, and it was bad to admit it, but it wasn’t enough for her. They could support her, but what good would that do when weighing their presences to the world’s needs? Or did she mean ..her needs? Satisfaction was impossible to find given the situation, and she was certain that if Aang - the previous Avatar - could hear the thought’s in her head, he’d be ashamed of his successor to the Avatar name.
Amon was defeated. The more Korra thought about those three words, the more it didn’t make sense whatsoever given the position she was now placed in. And the more she thought about the position she was in, the more she didn’t want to think about anything at all. That was the problem - the thoughts in her head was all Korra had right now. Bringing her arms around her chest, her lower lip quivered as the tear ducts had begun to fill and leak. The surface of her blue eyes had begun to sting painfully the longer they remained open, vision becoming more blurry and indistinct by the second. To the point Korra could no longer keep them open, they had at last shut, and when they had finally shut, her voice was open instead. Nothing escaped her throat that was pleasant. Low moans were all that came from a voice that was once cheerful and strong. Weakness was felt in her legs, and there was no fight present in Korra to remain standing. Dropping hard to her knees and wallowing in her own pain, she saw no light to be found that could make up for these feelings inside of her.
Eventually, and after a great deal of emotional release, her tears subsided in favor of a deep silence. Her cheeks were stained with tears, nose runny, and body shivering. Truth had come at the worst time, and it was only at this point, at her lowest, that she was realizing what kind of person she really was. Selfish, reckless, and above all else ..weak. Korra believed she could have remained strong through this hardship, held hope that Master Katara, the greatest healer in the world, could have restored her to her original state - perhaps even offer her some sort of solution, an exercise on how to gain the connections that were broken as a result of Amon’s touch. Yet none of that was possible. There was no other force on this earth that would allow her to wield the power she once did, and though she was fortunate to retain her air bending it didn’t feel for her. Her bending was everything to her, and there were those, like Lin, who sacrificed everything and didn’t complain. Was this a test of sorrow for her to overcome? If it were, she saw nothing but the obstacle, never past it.
Inhaling a shaky breath, the crunching of snow under foot was heard drawing closer to where she rested on her knees. Weak in voice and body, Korra couldn’t even find it in herself to take a look at who it was, but could take a guess at who it might have been.
No, she couldn’t even find the energy to guess anymore. With so much hopelessness now plaguing her mind and body, even a guessing game brought nothing to her but further tension. Instead, she made one thing blatantly obvious to whomever may have tried coming to her at such a time.
“..I want to be ..alone!”
The last stretch of this statement was stronger than it’s beginning, but the message itself would be clear by the fact she kept her back to whomever it might have been. Naga had remained silent and attentive, and likely recognized them as a friend.
A friend who would need to tread carefully, as she wasn’t who she used to be right now.
It was over.
Bolin would be the first one to cheer and raise a banner in honor of Amon's defeat but since his friend had lost most of her bending in the process, he refrained from doing so. So instead he had agreed to go with her and the others up to her home where Katara could try to restore her bending. His green eyes looked over at Mako and Asami who seemed to be avoiding one another. While it wasn't his place to interfere, he couldn't help but feel like he didn't have a choice anymore. He already was in the middle of some civil war amongst friends. It was crazy. How could they all fight, cause drama when Amon and his weird Equalist movement were what needed everyone's attention. Even so, he never approached Korra about his discomfort or his pain, he knew she had too much to deal with. Over the past few weeks, he had seen her grow in ways he couldn't begin to imagine. The earth bender held her in such high regard yet at the same time refused to treat her differently. She was someone who he could easily talk to, laugh with, train with, to him...she was amazing but without being overly extraordinary. There was so much about the girl yet at the same time, there was nothing. His awe of her was tough to explain, at first glance, she knew she was special. She was Korra.
And with the revolution over, they all had to decide which path to walk down. It appeared that Mako finally broke it off with Asami and when Korra finally emerged from the back with Katara, she just hurried outside. Bolin was about to go when Mako headed outside. He quickly came back in though, to which Bolin could assume Korra didn't want to deal with anything right now. While some may say Bolin had every damn right to hate his brother, Bolin couldn't. He just couldn't. His brother had done so much for him that he wouldn't let even someone as wonderful as Korra, dampen his relationship with his brother. Mako was all Bolin had at the end of the day. The girl he cared for didn't want him and Asami, bless her, wasn't someone Bolin trusted enough yet. Of course at the big show down, he came to her rescue and got even closer but part of him blamed her for Korra's pain. He knew it wasn't fair, that it wasn't like him and that if anyone had to be blamed it was his brother and eye object of his affection, Korra. Even so, Bolin didn't have a negative bone in his body so he tried to let his feelings go and move on. The positive side was that no one was hurt or dead. And in his mind, he'd rather have no bending than be dead. As Mako took a seat, Bolin grew worried about Korra.
It seemed Tenzin, her teacher, would go after her so Bolin decided he could try.
He would always try to help Korra, in any way he could.
The more he thought about it, the more he missed her smile, her laugh. Amon wouldn't take that away too, not if he could help it. He followed Naga's tracks to where he saw Korra alone. He heard a few sobs and his very core echoed pain. How could someone like Korra be ripped raw? It felt like she had nothing left when she just had to looked around her, as well as deep inside of herself. Before he could try to say something kind, she said she wanted to be alone. As much as he wanted to deny her want, he turned back around. He patted Naga's head and headed back for the warm home. He got back and Pabu was the first to greet him with a concerned look. "I think we should give her some space." Bolin said as Pabu scurried up his body and curled around Bolin's neck to warm him up. Tenzin and her parents seemed to nod in agreement. They allowed Korra the space she needed and soon they all headed back for Republic City. He looked over at everyone as they got off their bison. They took Oogi among two others for transport. The bison were clearly ready for a long rest. Bolin looked to Korra who had remained awfully silent, and assumed she would be taking a rest soon herself. He backed up as they stood at the pier of Republic City. Lin mentioned she would be off dealing with any stray Equalists and took her leave. Even though she lost her bending, she still seemed hellbent on returning the city to its former glory before Amon tore it up senselessly. Tenzin said that he would send help soon as well, likely the Air Nomads. While they couldn't bend, they could still help like Lin.
Part of Bolin wanted to offer his help too since he could still earth bend. But since Korra had offered her a place at the air temple until he found housing, he wanted to stick close to Korra in case he could be of some help to her. He found Mako who was looking a bit out of place. While flying home, Asami had offered her home to Mako and Bolin. It was then that Korra had said Bolin could stay with her if he wanted. And while he thought Asami's place was super cool, he didn't need to think twice before declining Asami's offer and thanking Korra for her's. To be honest, Bolin was really surprised to hear Asami had decided to help out him and Mako. Mostly his surprise was with Mako though. He wondered if Asami still had feelings for his brother who seemed to trample over two great girls' hearts in only a short amount of time. He pulled his brother into a tight embrace and then released him. "You be good okay, Mako?" Bolin smiled and Pabu made a noise which was his way of saying goodbye to Mako as well. In a sense, it wasn't really a goodbye. Bolin knew he would visit his brother often but he also knew Mako and Asami needed to sort of some things, as they should. He turned back to Korra and then looked back toward Asami who had a bit of icy expression but considering how she must be feeling, Bolin didn't take offense and pulled her into a hug as well. "Take care of each other." He found himself asking Asami and Mako. "I'll see you guys real soon okay." He wanted to add that he didn't want them killing each other as a joke but at the moment, his usual charm was failing him. So he just waved and turned back to the pier where he everyone else boarded the boat to ride over to air temple island.
- - -
During the ride over, Asami, Bolin, Korra, Tenzin, and Mako all had Oogi. The other two bison carried Lin, Tenzin's family and the others they brought with them. Asami had much to think about, she had been through so much ever since she ran into Mako. She grew close to him only to later find out he cheated and then ended up watching him fawn over someone who was just a friend. Asami had lost her father, her home, everything she thought to be true turned out to be horrible lies. The only one who seemed innocent in everything was Mako's younger brother, Bolin who she didn't get a chance to bond with. In her mind, Mako had used her. There may have been a short wonderful point in time where Mako really did care for her and not the Avatar. She couldn't see when that might have been though. Asami had tried to help Mako and his team and only found out about her father's real intentions. It seemed like all the men she thought she knew, were keeping her at arms length. And even Korra, who Asami had tried to befriend, turned out to be content with stealing Mako from her. Asami felt like she couldn't trust anyone anymore so when she extended her home to the brothers, she found herself quickly regretting it. She knew the arena where the boys lived, was gone. And while she hated Mako at the moment, she couldn't just let him live on the street or with Korra. Asami had no real clue as to how Korra felt at the moment but Asami didn't trust those two together, even when she and Mako were broken up.
It was hard to explain.
Mako somehow took her up on her offer, which she wouldn't insist he do but he seemed smart enough to spot when he was being tossed a bone like the bad dog that he was. Asami still cared about him but after all she had been through, after the mess she had been dragged through, she couldn't just turn him away as if they had never met. She was better than that. So she would house the person who broke her heart several times. Maybe it would offer them a better place to talk but Asami was tired of his lies and his words. If she had to endure his company in silence, so be it. She just wasn't about to let him become homeless or mess with Korra anymore. While Asami greatly disliked the Avatar, she was empathetic in Korra's loss of bending. Did Asami see this as poetic justice? Maybe. But again. Asami was better than that and knew what Korra was and how much she must be hurting. Of course Asami wouldn't suggest they share pain as Asami was sure Korra would lose that battle. So she stepped off the bison and thanked Tenzin for his kindness. She moved so Bolin could say his goodbyes. She was surprised by his words to her but returned the embrace all the same. She looked to her car which was where she had left it before they embarked on their journey to restore Korra and Lin Beifong's bending. Before she got into the car, she turned to Korra.
"Thank you for defending our city." Was all she said before she got into her car and waited to her ex to do the same. Asami put the key in the ignition and started it up. It was music to her ears. Asami didn't look back again as she just drove off. The streets were less messy than when they left. It seemed the clean up crews had been hard at work. She parked her car outside her large home and got out. Without thinking she slammed her door shut and realized she was angrier than she first thought. Was it a wise idea to put Mako in her house, she wondered. She just walked up her steps and entered her home. It felt so empty, unfilled with love. She hated it, she wanted to be somewhere else where she didn't see faded memories of her and her father happy together. Even with Mako, she knew she'd be quite alone. One of the few servants who stuck around approached her and greeted her. "Good afternoon." She bowed her head back to the older woman. "Mako will be staying with us for a while, we don't have anything to unpack but we may need to do some shopping tomorrow afternoon to remedy that." She instructed. With that out of the way, she headed off to the kitchen, ready to get something inside of her stomach and perhaps she would try to look around the house some more to make sure everything was safe.
What had been longer - the ride, or the night?
Korra had gotten little rest, even after her turning in early for the night. She must have been at that cliff for at least a couple more hours after requesting her solitude, and upon returning had a warm home to enter, with her parents, her friends, everyone welcoming her back in a very comfortable way in order to help ease her suffering. A seat had been reserved for her between her parents, but it was too difficult, much too difficult, to stomach being there after everything. Silently taking a plate, she dismissed herself and moved to her room to eat what she could stomach and then went to bed for the evening. The following morning, a long heartfelt goodbye with her mother and father. There was a great desire to stay and be with them, but Korra knew that she couldn't remain there as she was. The Southern Water Tribe was too isolated from what the world was really like, and it wasn't the place to fully master the only bending she had left. It was a long goodbye, but she was glad she had gotten through it. As much as she wanted to pretend that she was okay, and that she could overcome this trial ..her faith was failing. Never before had an Avatar lost what made them that, and the effects of this were draining. At night Korra tossed and turned, adjusting her body in an effort to find a position she could rest in. Subconsciously she knew that it wasn't her body, but her mind. There was too much on it, so much to think about, to accept ..but accepting her loss was just impossible. Something had to have been able to be done to regain what was lost to her, and it couldn't have been forever, it couldn't be accepted. After a struggle to gain any rest and waking up early to prepare, Korra was once again silent for much of the preparation. Talking to her parents was the most talking she had done that day so far. That and coaxing a bison to somehow carry Naga on its back, that was ...difficult, for both parties.
Descending at the pier, Korra was the first of her group to get off, bringing her focus to the air temple in the middle of the large body of water before her. Remembering Asami's offer to the brothers to stay at her home, she had jumped at allowing Bolin to stay with her if he chose. Bolin, and not Mako. While she cared for Mako, he had become overbearing, and while she used to not mind how much focus he gave her she was beginning to realize she needed space for a while. There weren't hard feelings for Asami, but Korra needed someone with her too. Realization that everyone was preparing to go might not have been noticed until Asami approached, thanking her for doing her duty as the Avatar. No voice could be found immediately, but nodding would be enough to show Asami that her words were accepted. Mako himself looked a little down on himself, and a moment of eye-contact between the two was shared. Mako raised a hand to her in silent goodbye with a neutral expression, and Korra managed the same. From there, he had walked off to Asami's car, but Korra had a feeling that perhaps he didn't want it to be that way at all. They all could've used a little space. Naga, shaky and thankful to be on land again, huddled next to Korra, much to the relief of the poor bison that carried her over. A warm tongue licked at her cheek, and she was able to smile briefly at Naga before patting her side. "Go on, you.." Naga jumped into the water, nearly splashing Korra in the process, and began to paddle towards the air temple. Watching briefly, she moved towards the boat where everyone else had boarded already. The ride was brief, and silent, with minimal talking. Tenzin must've understood her need to have some space and time to think, and would resume her training when she was prepared. Docking to the island, Tenzin and his family were the first to depart and seemed excited to be back. Following the tracks of Naga, who had managed to beat the boat there, Meelo and the children hustled up the steps wondering if their mother would make a treat for them to dine on. Tenzin smiled, glad that things weren't entirely different, but would give one look to Korra, and Korra a look back, followed by an understanding nod. He moved up the steps, leaving Korra standing beside the boat, and Bolin beside her. She hadn't known it instantly, but she held onto his shoulder to intentionally keep him from joining the others. His presence was welcome.
Her soft blue eyes looked to him, and her grip on him faltered. There was so much she could say to him, and a lot of apologizing she could do, but for now she was content at looking at him. Bolin had always been her friend, always been there to help her when things got bad. It wasn't fair to him to see all of her misery, not when he was deserving of so much more in general. Awkwardly, eye-contact was broken from her end, and she looked back towards Republic City. It was free again, and people could walk the streets without fear of arrest for triviality. Iroh's ships were still patrolling the harbor as added protection in case another battle had broken out. Korra made a note, mentally, to see him later on ...when she was ready for it. "Bolin.." she began, but wasn't sure where to end. So much to say, but to make him worry more than he already was would be cruel. As far as she was concerned, he owed her nothing, and she owed him more than she knew how to replay. "I ..you ..you don't need to stay with me. I just ..needed someone here, someone other than Tenzin and the kids. I thought that maybe it'd help, but I know now that I'd only bring you down with me."
Her right hand moved to clutch her left arm, head lowering towards the water. It wasn't right to be selfish and keep him from his brother, or a better home. Bolin was a good person, and he didn't need to be here if he didn't want to be.
"I'm ..not who I used to be, in many ways. It wasn't right for me to split you from your brother, so you can go back now if you want. I'm sure being with the other two in a fancy mansion is a lot better than sticking around here ..with me. All I do is make everyone else upset now."
I love you.
Repeating that in his mind didn't sound right, and Mako couldn't believe that he had almost considered telling Korra that, especially at such a bad time for her. It wasn't like it was going to make everything magically better - that she'd just regain her bending in the next ten minutes and suddenly love him back. It wasn't sensible to think like that, and so he only told her how much she meant to him, to everyone else. He failed in making anything better, and taking Naga she had departed. After everything they've been through in the past week, perhaps that was all that everyone needed. Time alone, time to think about the state of the world and those they care about. The ride over was unbearable silence. Korra was looking off, her back to everyone, and not even Bolin could cut the tension, though he may have tried. His time was dedicated to looking between Korra, and Asami, and there was a realization that formed between the two. Korra deserved far better than a guy like him, someone who had boldly claimed her as 'not girlfriend material' and who was a moron to kiss her back when she leaped to him. Bolin was the one who introduced them. Bolin was the one who got hurt the most by them. Bolin was the one who, despite all the wrongs, still smiled at him and called him brother. Mako had never been more disgusted at who he was, and how he had failed to change after so long. The ride over was a blessing. No talking, only thoughts and worries. With what Asami did for Bolin and himself, there were hardly words he had on hand to express the amount of selflessness she gave the two, even after what he did to her. If he could go back, perhaps he'd have rather stayed out in the trash. Actually, that might've been more than what he really deserved. Taking the invitation, Bolin may have done it as well had Korra not suddenly found her voice and asked Bolin to accompany her to the temple, splitting the brothers up between the two girls and leaving Mako with the girl he hurt the most. Fate was as cruel as they said.
Bolin seemed to be the only enthusiastic one out of Team Avatar, but that was no surprise. After being pulled into an embrace so sudden and tight that Mako was a little embarrassed about it, his own emotions felt a little renewed by his enthusiasm. Smiling at his brother, Mako jokingly punched him in the shoulder before responding. "That goes double for you. Don't get mixed up in any triad business this time, got it?" Bolin was a good guy, but it could get him into trouble. Without his eye on him now, that meant he'd need to take care of himself for a while. As he targeted Asami, his gaze moved to Korra, and Korra's met his. A moment between them was shared, far apart yet still somewhat close. It was all he could manage to give her a small wave, and to his surprise Korra had returned the gesture. Giving one last nod to her in goodbye as Bolin wrapped thing's up with Asami, Asami had moved past him, and Mako had moved past her, catching Bolin just before he had gotten onto the boat. Coming in close to his ear, Mako would whisper with a mix of seriousness and pleading. "Take care of her Bolin ..she needs you." and before a response could have been made, if any, Mako had pulled away just as Asami had given Korra the word she wanted. Looking to Asami as she passed by him yet again, there hardly appeared to be an ounce of notice for his presence. Mako knew, even before that, that his job would be very difficult. Redemption was not easy, for anyone, especially after so much wrong. And from what he read in books, Firelord Zuko had that same trouble once. He moved to the Satomobile and got inside, and was tempted to say something, anything, to Asami. Shamefully, nothing came, and he knew it was up to him to break the silence between them. Using time from the ride to plot what he'd start with, it was unfortunate that the ride had ended so soon, and they had returned home before he had anything good enough to say. But, taking a chance, as Asami opened the door, Mako looked to her. "Asami, I--"
The door slammed, hard. Mako flinched in response, and wasn't sure if Asami had even heard him attempt to speak to her. It was a sign that perhaps he wasn't the brother she wanted to be here, and with how embarrassing this was he was thankful that Bolin hadn't come along after all. Pausing and watching her back before taking the handle of the door and opening it, quickly getting out himself. Entering the door that was left open for him, he caught Asami's words and wondered just what she meant when she said that they'd need to get things to remedy the fact they had nothing to unpack. Was it that she didn't plan on letting him of all people stay with her for long? Well, it seemed like it, and sounded like it as well. Shutting the door quietly, Asami had moved to the kitchen, and Mako was hesitant before he had followed her in. Taking in deep breaths before entering after her, he stood beside the door frame and gave it a few moments before at last taking the first step.
"...This mean's a lot, Asami ...you didn't have to do this, but I'm thankful." Mako wanted to follow up, but wasn't sure if she was giving him the time of day yet.
Was she listening to him?
Once his brother was gone, Bolin couldn't help but let his smile fade slightly.
Instead of an air of fearlessness, Korra was now wrapped in one of doubt and dismay. Bolin understand her turmoil but he also understood that he would never be able to feel the kind of loss she was feeling. His bending meant a lot to him, if he lost is like Lin had, he would be torn up inside but someday he would learn to adjust. This was different for Korra as she was the Avatar and bending all four basic elements was pretty much her duty. And now she saw herself as a failure even when Republic City had been saved. Sure, she had some help but everyone needed help. Even the past Avatars needed help. And just because she couldn't access her bending, didn't make Bolin think any less of her. He was sure she was strong enough to weather this particular rough storm. And should he be needed, he would be right beside her. After Korra sent Naga off to go into the water, they headed onto the boat and Bolin noticed his excitement had dwindled, compared to the first time he went to air temple island. In a short amount of time, a lot had changed. Instead of feeling raw excitement and giddiness, he felt more determination from within himself. Yes, he was determined to help Korra and the others. He was an earth bender, he was strong. "Thanks again." Bolin said to Tenzin and his family who headed off once docked at their home. He looked toward Korra, his smile still petite and kind. He would make sure to pull his weight around the temple, do his best to help out wherever he could.
Before he could follow the girls up to check out the damage, he felt Korra take hold of his shoulder. Her grip wasn't tight nor demanding, he relaxed his body slightly and eased into a comfortable stance. Her hand loosened and she looked from his green gaze back to the city which had once been such a happy place. To Bolin, it still was. Republic City had been saved, for all he knew, it was probably celebrating within some of its ruins. When she began to speak, his body shifted slightly, taking on a more defensive tense as he wanted to ensure nothing or no one bothered whatever it was she had to say. Korra told him what he had thought she would, that he didn't need to stay with her, that she just needed some company. He wanted to interject, assure her that even if it wasn't his exact company she needed, he would do her best to be whatever she needed. A shoulder, a punching bag, whatever. Korra soon ended her little speech by saying he could leave, go be with Mako in a nicer place, as she seemed to be bringing down those around her. Bolin's small smile grew a little. Part of him couldn't help but admire her beauty even when she was so hard on herself. He had been around women long enough to know they were more hard on themselves than anyone else.
He would do his best to take the strain off of her, as she didn't need it. "Mako and Asami have their own issues to work out I think." Bolin first told Korra. "And to be honest, it's a little hard to be around them. But that's not why I'm really here." He told her. "I know you're not the same, you're gonna be even stronger than you were before all of this happened!" He gestured to her. "You're not just the Avatar, you're a strong amazing woman, Korra. I'd be happy to keep you company no matter where we were. The air temple island is a pretty cool place though." He laughed a little. He wanted to make her happy, or to smile at least. He wished he should her how she looked through his eyes. Then maybe she'd realize how good things were, how much worse they could have been. "You saved this city, no one here thinks any less of you." He told her. "You're someone who I've only known for a short time but it was a great time." He paused. "And you're not someone who gives up easily, you're someone who keeps going, who keeps trying, who doesn't let anyone or anything stand in her way, even herself." He told her and put his hands on her shoulders and looked at her closely. "Times have been hard for everyone, but if you need me for anything, you shouldn't hesitate to ask." He told her. "I care about you a lot, and no matter you do, I'll support you." He removed his hands and slipped an arm around her back and gestured to the steps leading up into the island.
"I think we need to get something amazing inside of our bellies and start feeling better! What do you say?" Bolin smiled. He knew it would take time to help her, so for now he would stick being as optimistic and as supportive as possible. He also knew she would want some space, some time to grieve and be alone but in his mind, she was Korra, she could overcome anything if she put her mind to it. What Korra needed was a good friend and that's what he'd be for her. He led them up to the main part of the island and released her, just in case she didn't feel up to eating. Bolin was pretty hungry himself and would help himself to lunch if it was made yet, otherwise he could probably try and help cook or something.
- - -
As she made her way over to the counter with some slices of bread and some meat and cabbage, she began to cut, trying not to let her anger sidetrack her into getting a minor injury. Asami's blood was still boiling but at the same time, she felt like giving up. Having gotten roped into the Avatar's issues and then helping, Asami felt like nothing. She was mad at Korra just as she was Mako but she knew Mako had been worried about his friend. At the same time, his behavior pretty much became twisted towards her and Korra. Asami knew boys could be confused about women but this was ridiculous. She felt used, even if it was intentional or not. The only person who hadn't upset her was Bolin and perhaps Tenzin. She had done a lot for Korra and the Fire Ferrets and yet it all blew up in her face. Korra accused her father of being an Equalist, while it was later proved true, it was still rude. And while Mako had seeming defended her, she later felt like the tides had turned when he insisted he fawn over Korra after she proved her worth to him. It was big confusing mess and she was glad it was all over. Now she could move on with her life and try to rebuild a home. Perhaps even rebuild her father's name and inventions. Winning over the city's trust would take some hard effort but it wasn't as if she had much else to do at the moment.
When Mako entered the kitchen, she carefully put the knife aside and finishing making her sandwich. Should Mako want to eat, he could do it himself. She was providing shelter for him, not a hotel service. He thanked her, and she could tell by the distance that he had stayed near the doorway, at least he knew what was safest for him. Asami kept her back turned to him as she grabbed a napkin and wrapped her food up, not bothering to walk over to the plates which were closer to Mako. She felt her chest tighten as she remained quiet for a long time, almost waiting for Mako to just leave her alone, as it was his habit lately. "I know I don't." She finally told him. "I'm not doing this for you exactly...though you did help save the city and your brother saved my life." In short, this was her repaying her debt. "I don't really care how long you need to stay, as long you do find a place and stay out of my way." Asami huffed, she took her meal and turned around to him. One might have avoided eye contact in this situation but that wasn't her style. Asami Sato didn't back down from anyone, especially those who broke her heart. Mako hadn't been the first but he was someone who she though she could have trusted, and she did. "I was intending to give you some money to buy yourself new clothes tomorrow, you can pay me back whenever." She said and crossed the large kitchen and brushed passed him. Asami headed up the long flight of stairs and headed off to her room to see if it had sustained any damage.
Along the way, she asked a stray maid to make sure Mako slept somewhere far away from her, preferably on some coach or on the floor but if the maid gave him a room, she wouldn't care much. Asami entered her room and realized how long it had been since she had, as there was a photo of her and Mako sitting on her desk. She hurried over to her and picked it up, not even able to remember when or where it had been taken. She glared and simply walked over to the window overlooking the yard and threw it out. It hit the ground with a loud breaking sound. She didn't bother to look at the broken remains as she just sat at her desk and began to eat her lunch. It was hard to believe that she would invite such a low life into her home but at this point, she didn't know what else to do. Mako, underneath it all, wasn't a bad person. She remembered that much. Even so, he was an idiot, someone who she would be happy with if she never saw him again. He didn't need to die per say, but just get out of her life for good. Her chest still felt heavy even after she ate her lunch. She moved over to her bed and laid on it, bringing her hands up to her face. The strangest thing was, she never cried over Mako. Maybe because she had seen his betrayal coming a mile away, that she was mourning before they officially gave up. She pushed herself up and looked around. Breaking that picture had felt pretty damn good.
Maybe she could head off with one of her cars and take to the track.
That wasn't a bad idea. She decided to run with it and hurried to get her suit on and helmet. She headed out of her room and closed the door firmly. Then she headed down and told a passing servant where she would be until nightfall. Once she headed out to the track, she hopped in her car and felt more at peace with everything, even with her heart pumping. "There's no one around but you. That's all you need." She told herself with a soft sigh. "Just let everything go." She said as the lights turned and finally landed on green. Her feet hit the gas and she sped out of the gate, reaching a top speed rather quickly. She pulled herself back as she went into her first turn and continued along, her eyes focused on the track ahead of her.
Heh, a little hard to be around them he said. Korra didn't say it because it had been obvious, but it was clear there was a certain rift among the majority of the team. Bolin was the only one who wasn't taking the brunt of it all, and he was still trying to be optimistic regardless of the sorry state everyone was in. Her thoughts had drifted to Mako at least twice on the trip over, but they didn't last long. It was obvious that Mako showed deep care for her, evident up to the final confrontation with Amon and the event that crippled her ability to bend forever. Mako was dear to her, and though they had been through so much and had their share of disagreements, Korra was glad to have him as a comrade. She thought of Asami too, who had been a big help and had gone the distance for them to stop the conflict in Republic City. She knew what Bolin was implying when he said what he said, but she also had to give careful consideration of her own feelings. She liked being held by Mako, liked being cared for, but ..there needed to be a limit to what was acceptable, given that a lot of what happened between them shouldn't have occurred. The heartbreak of the man standing beside her, for one. To this day, she did feel a sense of disgust for herself having fallen into a lustful kiss with Mako. Perhaps soon they could talk ..about everything.
Calling her a strong woman brought a small but prominent blush to Korra's cheeks, carefully separating the Avatar Korra from the feminine Korra and implying that this experience could do nothing but make her a stronger person. Korra wasn't certain that she actually could grow stronger from such an event, but if she had the support of her friends, perhaps she really could gradually move on from such a desperate time. Urges to dismiss his words as childish hopes were bubbling in her throat, but unlike Korra, Bolin truly believed in her strength, the strength of Korra herself, not just the Avatar. But what he saw as the city being saved, Korra saw it as the city finally being unable to ignore a growing problem with a city, a problem Amon has nearly amended. So many people must have lost their ability to bend because of him, but with the gangs running rampant could she discredit him entirely? He did what he believed was the right thing to do, even if it was hypocritical of him, and even if it was wrong to take away the beautiful powers everyone else were born being able to complete. Bolin did succeed in raising her spirits slightly, but her sense of responsibility hadn't changed. The city wasn't as saved as he might have thought. Stepping in front of her, Korra met his eyes and took notice of his desire to be there for her. She wouldn't forget this. Bringing an arm around her and gesturing towards the stairway, she almost rolled her eyes jokingly about his mention of food. It was nice to see that Bolin hadn't changed at all from this.
"Yeah, yeah ..sounds like a plan." Heh, there was still difficulty in her situation, but it seemed that asking Bolin to come stay with her wouldn't be a regret after all. He gave her hope she thought she'd never have. Walking alongside him up the stairway, it gave her a moment without him speaking to think about what was to come for her, and finally reaching the top she gave him a pat on the shoulder and gestured towards the home of Tenzin and the others. And, understanding, he moved off to get himself something to eat. Watching him get distance from her got her to thinking, thinking about the state of her friendship with Mako and Asami, about the state of Republic City, and the state of her own mind.
How would she handle this now?
For the next six to seven hours Korra had not rejoined Bolin and the others. Instead she frequently wandered the island in thought, passing by various residents of the island and trying to clear her mind. She had found herself inhaling and exhaling frequently to try and keep herself feeling refreshed in body, while her mind was heavy with thought. Passing lunch had made her yearn for dinner, but she wasn't intending on making another dinner filled with disappointment and sadness. Bolin, while not exactly sharing her position right now, had at least given her enough encouragement to deeply desire a return to the old days. Her bending was crippled, but it didn't mean her happiness had to be. She was ..still the Avatar, wasn't she? That's what everyone would say anyway, and though she doubted this, her belief was that she still had duties to the world even without three of her four strengths at her side. It was time to try and find it within her to restore herself to her original form, the cheerful, daring, and hardworking Korra. The Korra who didn't quit. In the middle of dinner getting settled, the Avatar stepped inside just in time. Tenzin appeared prepared to go and look for her, but appeared relieved that she had returned and was still safe. Korra looked to his face, and Tenzin looked back to hers. Tenzin might've understood from this exchange alone that Korra had something that she had to do, and welcoming her silently, moved to sit back down beside his wife Pema who was holding Rohan closely in her arms. Out of the three children, Meelo was the only one who was eating from his bowl and had only now just paused with a mouth full of seaweed noodles. He stared at Korra and Korra stared right back.
"...You can swallow, Meelo." Korra quickly commented, and Meelo quickly replied by consuming the noodles jammed in his mouth. Pema shot him a look of disapproval and Meelo only smiled, multiple strands of it still stuck in his teeth. Clearing her throat and stepping forward, Korra parted her lips to speak, but had only just realized a crucial part of the group was gone. "Wait, where's Bolin?"
Ikki was the first to respond. This was nothing new. "Oh! Oh! Probably washing his hands for dinner, or picking his nose, or washing his hands because we're eating dinner and he forgot so THEN he picked his nose--"
Pema cleared her throat, prompting Ikki to silence herself in the face of her mother's hard look. "Ikki.."
Ikki wasn't certain about what she did wrong, and raised an eyebrow at her mother. "What? Meelo does it!"
In the middle of hearing his name, Meelo's left forefinger that hovered over his nose paused as the eyes of Korra and his family came to him. Slowly lowering that finger from his nose, he grinned widely, his teeth gleaming in the face of such embarrassment.
Well, her back was still directly pointed at him, but Mako felt he might have to deal with that a lot lately. At least her back wasn't too bad to look at ....ugh. Attempting to find some humor in a situation this pathetic and this broken was just pointless, especially when he knew he was the root cause for all this tension between them. Preparing sandwiches, Asami took her sweet time, but had eventually found it in her heart to offer him a response. As expected, there was venom in her words, expressing her bitter discontent with him and the state of things. The heat of his body built, as did the rate of his heart. Knowing she didn't have to do this, only had him question why exactly she would offer both Bolin and himself if she desperately wished he was gone. It had to have been more than just the fact he helped save Republic City, because at the current rate things were going it didn't sound like Asami thought this through. Korra might've been willing to take both him and Bolin had Asami not offered first, but her mind was obviously on other more pressing matters. Being in a household unwelcome by the master, and neutral to the servants, only sought to have Mako leave and find shelter elsewhere. That seemed ideal, but that was the cowards way out. If he didn't try something, anything with Asami, then she'd only be proven right about him. As she brushed past him, Mako's eyes lowered and eventually closed. Borrowing money for clothes ..and he had no job to pay her back. The older Asami wouldn't have charged him; she was growing increasingly bitter about everything.
He wasn't sure how long he had leaned against that doorway before he had decided to move, proceeding towards the fridge and trying to find something to settle his stomach. Spotting a bushel of apples in the lower portion of it, he reached inside and pulled out the plumpest and freshest of the lot, taking a bite out of it and shutting the fridge door. Chewing slowly, he leaned on the counter and had begun trying to consider what could have been done about Asami. Going over her hatred continually in his head wasn't his idea of strategy, but that was all that was on his mind. How did he show good thing's about himself without directly getting in her way? With nothing coming to mind, his eyes wandered around the kitchen. To the stove, and the various cabinets surrounding it, to the sink and the counter he rested on.
Maybe that was a solution.
By nightfall's arrival, Mako stepped out of his room which the servants made sure was at least five rooms apart from Asami's, and clutched the towel that was around his neck. After plotting and being in talks with some of the servants for most of the day, he wanted to shower, eat, and be well rested for the next morning. Stopping himself at the doorway to the bathroom, he began hearing footsteps travel upstairs and paused, wondering if it was Asami turning in for the day. While he shouldn't be waiting, and while he should just go ahead and shower, he kept in mind that since she was out today on the track, he should probably have allowed her to shower first. It was a matter of respect and logic, and should Asami need it before him she was more than free to take it. It didn't help that the bathroom was between the two rooms they shared either.
He heard it in her voice, she was unconvinced but she would get there in time. On her own time. Bolin departed from her side and headed off to get lunch. He sat with the others and didn't feel like an outsider at all as he and the children joked around. In his mind, he wanted to ensure that everyone was just as happy as before the war began between non-benders and benders. Pema didn't seem as happy have Meela and Ikki fooling around but soon the earth bender calmed down and resuming being the polite guest he was meant to be. Near the end of the meal, he told the kids they could play after everything was cleaned up. And while he did offer to help, the servants seemed fine with doing the work which left Bolin with plenty of time on his hands. Surely he could train but he didn't feel up to it, not without his brother. So he headed off to explore with Meelo who seemed happy to have another male around aside from his father. Rohan was of course too young to play around with so for now, Bolin would act as older brother, which was indeed a new role for him to fit into. After about two hours of making up their own game which involved earth and air bending, Meelo headed off to train with his siblings and father.
Bolin headed back toward the male dorms and relaxed with Pabu who seemed content to be back on the island. Their room didn't have a view of the old arena but he knew it was already being rebuilt thanks to the damage it had taken recently. Bolin knew if he was back on the mainland of Republic City, that he would be able to help but he found his place was comfortably around Korra. He couldn't help but have his mind wander to Asami and his brother. Bolin really hoped Mako didn't screw things up again but he also wanted Mako to be happy, and Korra. And should they be most happy together, he would understand, despite the pain it would cause. Part of him wondered if he had been more aggressive like Mako, then maybe Korra would like him as more than a friend but Bolin knew if he acted like Mako then he wouldn't be himself. And someday he would find someone who liked him just as he was. After he had relaxed and found himself growing restless, he headed back outside and saw he had some daylight left. He began to train his earth bending, wondering how to bend metal like the special forces that Lin Beifong had trained herself. Maybe in the past, he could have asked but since she was without bending like Korra mostly was, he didn't think it was right to ask her. So for now he would try to do it himself but it never worked. He supposed it would take a lot to time and effort so he made a mental note to set aside time each day just for metal bending.
Since pro bending was over for the season, he would have a lot more time to himself. All of it shouldn't be filled with bending so for the rest of the time he sat back with Pabu wrapped around his neck. Bolin began mulling over his life and how things would change now. The conflict they had come out of had made him start to realize how useful he was and wasn't. His life had always been a struggle with his brother. Bolin had only been shown real luxury when they were with Asami. But that didn't matter to him, it was nice but it wasn't meaningful to him. Bolin was still upset with Mako for hurting not just Korra but Asami as well. But in the end, Bolin would still be loyal to his brother. Bolin just wasn't sure where they would go now, not sure which direction they would take. It seemed as though he was suspended in air, with so many options ahead of him but without view, he had no idea which way he should go. He fell back onto the concrete but it didn't feel hard, it cushioned his fall and he just stared up at the blue sky, green eyes half open in a daze. He wasn't normally so pensive but the question had to be asked, what would he do now? Would he continue to be with Korra when yet she had not direction either? Or should he change something, do something different, take some kind of new responsibility? It was then that he considered joining the police, he could learn metal bending and protect people, as well as get paid. Before he knew it, his stomach growled and jerked him from his musings.
Sitting up, he motioned for Pabu to follow him. He hurried off toward the main part of the island and let himself into the dining area. "Sorry I'm late." He quickly said and took his seat near Korra. "I was just training and then it got me thinking about stuff." He smiled and rubbed his head a little sheepishly, as it wasn't something he often did. Nor did he often show up late to eat. He put his hands together and gave thanks for the meal before he also began eating. Part of him wanted to ask Korra what she had been up to but he held back and instead talked about his own turn of events. "So I was thinking that it would be cool to metal bend." He spoke up and then paused, unsure if he should talk about bending in front of Korra but then decided she probably didn't want him to censor herself because of past events so he continued, "And then I thought about what I would do now that everything is kind of over...and I thought hey why not join the police force? I mean they probably need a lot of help rebuilding the city and rounding up any stray Equalists..." He trailed off, though his voice still held plenty of excitement. "It's about time Mako doesn't do all the work to support us so I'll definitely be looking into it." Bolin concluded with a nod of his own as he went back to eating.
- - -
After a while, she had to stop to fill up her tank. She hopped out and leaned against the car as it was filling up. She thought back to when she took the others to the very same track. It almost seemed like she and Korra were friends back then. She then thought back even further to when she accidentally hit Mako with her moped and insisted she take him out to dinner to make up for everything. She had been a big fan of his pro bending, heck, she had been to every match he played in. Asami had cheered for him before they even met. Yet she wasn't a crazy fan, she had a head on her shoulders and just knew hot to appreciate good talent when she saw it. Then she remembered spoiling Mako just because she wanted to, she remembered giving him things and they would drive around the city. Then they would walk and have talks about both of them losing parents at a young age. And he would talk of Bolin and Korra and Asami had been sincerely interested. Then when they finally met, it see Mako hadn't mentioned her to Korra at all. Part of Asami found this strange but brushed it off. Maybe that had been the first real red flag, that Mako didn't mention his boyfriend status to his teammates until it was out in the open at Tarrlok's party. Still, she trusted Mako and Korra and had no idea of their deep feelings for one another. Asami ended up sponsoring the Fire Ferrets with her father, who later became her own enemy.
But for the most part, Asami's memories of her and Mako were nice until the drama increased. Soon Asami found herself in the middle of a war which she wanted no part of. Even though her mother had been killed, she had no malice toward benders as a whole because she saw little use to blame people for a death which happened so long ago. In the end, she sided with the benders and ended up cutting ties with her father. She sighed and removed the hose from the car and set it in its place and ran her hand along the car's smooth surface. If only she could go back to the days when Mako made her feel safe and loved, rather than bitter and unwanted. She got back into her car and found her uneasiness lift from her shoulders as she started the engine back up. Did she want Mako out of her life for good? She was on the fence about it. Did she regret meeting him and falling for him? No. Did she regret helping Avatar Korra? No. Asami contemplated leaving Republic City and going on some kind of vacation around the world. The funds would be no trouble but then again she had to rebuild the Sato empire that her father soiled. He had worked so hard for his vision to be brought to life and in the end it only brought destruction. Somehow she would find a way to give it a true rebirth, one that would hopefully make up for all the loss that the city had suffered.
Driving along, she picked up speed and thoughts soon left her. The woman ended up spending the entire day on the track, cleaning and fixing cars, racing and fueling them. During said events, she manged to beat her old personal record time. Asami looked up at the colored sky and knew it was time to eat but she doubted that she'd be able to keep much down. As she entered her home and set her helmet down, she reminded herself she had a guest, though the term guest was a polite one. She didn't want much to do with Mako as seeing him just caused so much pain. She would still do her best to make sure he didn't end up on the street somehow, even a jerk like him didn't deserve to be homeless. She headed for the kitchen and grabbed another sandwich and headed up to her room. She undressed, now out of her tight outfit and grabbed a change of clothes and her robe. Slipping into her silk ivory robe which contrasted with her tan but unblemished skin, she walked out of her room, intending to take a hot shower and try not to think about anyone else but herself. She really did deserve some R&R, after all. Asami headed down toward the large bathroom and saw Mako up ahead and considered just turning around to find another one to use.
Since their eyes had meet, there was no point in her turning around now. Thankfully, Asami felt pretty covered. Her robe was snug around her body, reaching the middle of her calves. She had long sleeves but they were rolled back as her hands held her nightwear: a simple red sheer low cut nightgown and under it she would have a black tank top and panties. Of course had she considered the possibility of running into her ex, she would have picked out something less revealing. Again, it was tough to remind herself of Mako's presence when she wanted to pretend he wasn't even around. The woman looked off for a moment, her anger flooding back to her. On one hand she could push him out of the way and say it was hers, therefore she would use it first. Instead, she decided being nicer would hit Mako a bit harder so she put on a sweet smile. "Oh, sorry, I didn't know you'd be here..." She forced herself to say. "I'll just use the one on the first floor near the pool. Good night." Asami couldn't help but give him a bit of a look as she turned and then paused, "Tomorrow, be ready at nine to head out to go shopping. I won't wait if you're late." She added and headed downstairs to said bathroom. Her insides were still itching to do something about Mako but she wasn't about to get into a fight over a bathroom so she resigned herself to picking her battles carefully. The water turned on as she slipped out of her robe and into the shower, the door locked tight.
It would appear that her concerns would be put to rest moments later. Bolin, the late arrival, had slipped inside and explained his absence, taking a seat near another vacant spot at the table. Explaining the reason for his absence and feeling a story might be coming along with it, Korra had temporarily abandoned the desire to make her announcement, especially since she wasn't exactly feeling as confident as she was before she entered. Perhaps it was too early to make promises she couldn't keep, especially if she only broke down later and made a fool of herself. It would be far easier if she took just a little more time to think about what exactly she wanted to do, and how she wanted to do it. Joining beside Bolin, Korra had given Tenzin a quick and friendly grasp on the shoulder, managing a weak but visible smile. Gladly, he returned it without any questions asked. For him, any improvement was better than none at all, which meant any kind of smile was a godsend after the event Korra had gone through. Having her own seat, Korra had not taken a good look at the contents until now. Peering down at her bowl, Korra smiled warmly and looked up at Pema. "Pema, you didn't have to." Of course by then Korra could've deduced that it wasn't intentional and that they just picked up much of the Southern Water Tribe cousin while they rested there, but her original feelings proved true and Pema had smiled right back.
"It's nothing Korra ..you know we're here for you. I thought that maybe a little Water Tribe food might help you, at least a little bit. I'm sorry if it hasn't."
"No, no!" Korra shook her head at the thought. Pema's thoughtfulness, as well as Tenzin's agreement, brought Korra's heart much warmth. It was good to know she had these people around for her, not just Bolin. She was surprised the kids didn't complain about the fact the food was resembling what they ate last night, but perhaps they too understood that Korra may feel better if she ate food from her home. "I'm grateful you thought of me when you made dinner tonight. It makes me happy, it really does." Pema seemed to have been glad to hear that, as did Tenzin and the other kids, though Meelo was still eating like an animal much to Pema's annoyance. As she handed him the chopsticks he had neglected in favor of his hands, Korra had recalled that Bolin had been speaking of his thoughts. Looking to him, she appeared apologetic. "Sorry ..you were saying?" she asked. He had no issue continuing and even expressed serious interest in joining the police force, originally with the idea that metal bending would be 'cool' to accomplish. Korra agreed, finding metal bending to be a pretty interesting concept in itself. Perhaps she'd have considered learning to, if not for ..well, her disability. But determined to show her happiness for Bolin and ignore her own internal pain for tonight, she brought a hand of comfort to his shoulder as he ate, giving him her clear support. "That's a good idea, and maybe if I find something around town to do, I could help you two get some money to make your place even better than before." a job was a good way to get her mind off of the recent struggles. Republic City was free ..at least that's what they say. The sooner she could find it in herself to let go of this crippled state, the better. Korra didn't even wish to think about it, because when she did her throat tightened and her heart ached. For everyone else, maybe she could ..move on. "Do you have any idea what I could do around town? There's got to be something - something that won't involve doing dishes.. or knitting.. or folding.. or anything else gender-biased." Korra, like Master Katara, held a deep burning dislike of all things sexist and gender-biased.
The mention of Mako had Korra's thought's move to him almost immediately, and hoping he was adjusting after all that had happened in the last couple weeks. He was the one that had gone with her to confront Amon for one last time, and it seemed ever since that time they hadn't gotten the chance to really talk. She was much too upset at the Southern Water Tribe to talk to, well, anyone. And it was hard enough saying goodbye to her parents and trying to apologize for her behavior without breaking down. They understood - they were her parents and knew what kind of a blow this was to her deep down. Surely Mako realized it as well, and now he had gone off with Asami. All they could manage was a small, silent wave of goodbye together. Even after everything, after all that felt right, after all she knew was wrong, she couldn't help but hope that he was okay at Asami's. Then the thoughts ended up at Asami and how she might have been feeling. Korra held guilt in her heart for her too, knowing how wrong it was for her to feel the way she did for Mako, and cursing herself for it. It wasn't right, but he was ..gorgeous, handsome, masculine and reliable. They didn't have many boys like him at the Southern Water Tribe. The way they met was sad, given his obnoxious attitude, but over time they developed into a good team together. The bumps down the road were plentiful as they had to come together, but all in all Mako, Bolin, and herself were a great team. Asami, even without her bending, was a good friend and even without bending had proved her loyalty and care for them all time and time again, even refusing to join her father's side in favor of them.
Slurping on her noodles and enjoying the familiar taste, Korra would compliment Pema more were it not for Meelo playing with his chopsticks instead of using them. Chuckling silently, her thoughts were returned to the four of them and the state of things. For herself, the loss of her bending had cut deep and it'd be some time before she could ever accept that as reality. Bolin had remained entirely innocent in all of this and never hurt a single one of them. Though she betrayed his kindness and kissed Mako to result in his hurt, he was still here for her, never complained about the cruelty of how thing's had happened. Asami, Korra felt she owed her an apology. And Mako - Korra sighed, because it had come down to him twice now. They couldn't deny that while they had something, it was weak, a small flame that was built when Mako had a strong flame already. Deep down, there was still a part of her that loved him deeply, but not for strong reasons. But could she let that flame go out, or should it linger? Part of her knew letting go was right, but letting Mako go felt wrong too. It was just complicated, one big complicated mess was all it was. Still, she couldn't help but wonder ...
What was Mako thinking about now?
Their eyes meet, and for Mako it lasted for what felt like hours at a time. In the face of those eyes he felt the shame hit him once more, not with her words but with her vision on him alone. It wasn't easy standing here like this, taking advantages she had given him. Good food, a warm bed, things he didn't need to pay for. Things she didn't need to give him. Seeing her at the end of this hall reminded him of the tunnel vision he experienced when they first met. That collision with her in the moped had changed his life for the better, and due to jealousy and a building attraction for another strong woman, Mako had ended up throwing that woman away for someone else. Asami's feelings weren't unwarranted; loathing him was the natural thing to do, and Mako knew that. His only opportunity to fix what he destroyed was now, but before his lips could part and a voice could leave it, Asami had spoken first. Leaving him the bathroom here, she would descend downstairs and take a bath downstairs beside the pool area. In response his right hand had come up immediately in order to stop her or at the very least catch her attention, but like he expected he was ignored after that. Dismissed with words, dismissed physically, Mako stood there for a long time before he banged his head against the bathroom door. A shower might help him think better, perhaps make it so he could confront her when she returned upstairs. It wasn't possible, he thought, as she was definitely not going to give him the honor of her beautiful face as he dropped down to the ground and begged for her forgiveness. It couldn't work like that, and it wouldn't have. Instead he was clutching the doorknob to the bathroom, debating it internally. The conclusion was reached within seconds, and he released it, instead going downstairs to the bathroom Asami had moved in question.
Thankfully no servants had caught him heading to the same vicinity as Asami, and as he approached he heard the water collide with the tub unevenly. There she was, inside that bathroom washing her gorgeous and toned body. Sliding his back beside the doorway, Mako would wait here and listen for her to step out, and it was then that he would speak. Until that time, he would imagine the warm water washing away any impurity she had gathered today and wash down that drain. The aroma of a clean and renewed Asami would be fresh and delicious as a scent, as well as the idea of such moisture having the honor of gliding itself down her skin before she carefully and casually wiped herself clean with a towel Mako only wish he could be right now. Hygienic and beautiful, that was his ex in there getting clean. Perhaps in another time, another reality, she'd be in there getting ready for a night of cuddling on the couch, perhaps a fire lit before them. And they'd talk, and they'd talk, and talk some more. A few sessions of short kissing here and there, and his hands would travel down her back. He'd be laying down flat, and Asami would climb on top of him, tugging gently at his scarf to raise his head and bring him closer to her. Their lips would come together, and perhaps the tongues would as well. His hands would rest respectfully at her back, but eventually he'd push his luck. Slowly they'd run down her back, and lower, until they came at rest around her waist. With time, the waters would seem clear, and Asami would gently move her waist back and forth,he'd take the hint to bring them lower until both hands would come to grasp her soft and round--
The water had come to a sudden stop, and the curtains would part. Hearing the sound of feet hitting the floor, Mako would have to snap out of his fantasy and prepare to say what had to be said for tonight. When this time came, the lump in his throat had grown again, but he couldn't let fear of dismissal stop him. The worst she could do is not say anything to him, but she couldn't actually go anywhere else but by him, and he doubted she'd let him see her warm and mouthwatering body.
Well he was hoping the exact opposite of what he expected would occur, but it turns out he was on his own tonight. Clearing his throat silently, he took two deep breaths and would need to take advantage now. He may not find another opportunity as ripe as this, and if they were alone for shopping tomorrow then maybe they could talk about it. He'd hold his breath though, it was as unlikely as Asami stepping out of that door and forgiving him for his stupidity...
...No, no, he was still alone on this one.
"Asami." Making his presence known, Mako had alerted her, and that meant that he could no longer walk away from this. A stand had to be taken, here and now, to show her he was serious about what would be said. "I've ...been terrible to you. I know I have, and you know I have ..and even if I hadn't, you'd never let me forget what I've done. I took a good woman's heart, and I tossed it aside in favor of another who didn't mean as much to me as you did. I'm telling you here and now, though I regret it can't be face-to-face yet, that I'm sorry. I'm sorry I gave another woman the attention you deserved. I'm sorry ..for never even having the guts to meet you face to face and explain my growing attraction to another woman. And I'm sorry I just wasn't man enough to realize that compared to what we had, my attraction to Korra ..paled in comparison to what love we shared for one another." For winging it and not exactly preparing this little speech, Mako felt he was doing pretty well so far, but he had a long and painful road ahead to sell this. Words were one thing, but this had to all be proven and expressed with actions. Actions Asami would definitely see from him over the next few weeks. "When that Satomobile door slammed, I felt your hurt. When you walked away from me in the kitchen, it dawned on me that it would take a lot more than I could give you in a day to express how truly, and utterly sorry I am for what I threw away in favor of something that just didn't ..just didn't match up to you. You're stronger than me, you're smarter than me, you're a better person than me. I owe you more than I can ever repay for even extending this invitation to my brother and myself ..and .." well, he was dragging on, and had to wrap this up eventually. She couldn't be in there all night, and eventually her patience might have worn out. Picking himself up, Mako gently pressed his hand to the door and hoped that one day her hand could join his without a barrier between them.
"In a few weeks time, if I can't gain your forgiveness, and if I can't get a selfless girl like you to fall back in love with a self-centered idiot like me ..then I'll let you go, and you'll never have to look at me ever again, I promise you." Inhaling hard, Mako's breath was beginning to grow shaky. It wasn't the time to be getting so emotional, especially since Asami was the one who was truly stricken by his actions. "I still love you, and if you remember those days we spent together, and the nights we shared, then maybe ..hopefully ..you'll hold a little love in your heart for me somewhere too, despite what a fool I've been." He laughed a little, just in realization of how stupid that might've sounded. If there wasn't at least an ounce of love for him, then he wouldn't be here without his brother. Maybe that was just what he chose to tell himself. It was a long moment, and he hadn't moved, something she'd easily here. He wasn't expecting a response, only the time to think about what was left. So much of it, in fact, but time was shorter. "A servant approached me earlier, said she found something outside. A photo of us among some broken glass and a frame ..I guess that kind of resembles what we have left." Just pieces of things that are broken. "I'll hold on to it, and burn it when I know, and when I accept, that you'll never love me again." This all hurt to say, and the lump in his throat grew more and more. Without even wiping them again, two tears dropped from his eyes, but he didn't let his voice break implying anything else. If anything, she was the one who deserved to cry.
"Anyway ..that's it. This ..pathetic excuse of a man hurt the only girl he ever really loved, and now he's paying the price for it. I know.. if I ever saw you in love with another, I'd ...die inside." Mako had always been the fighter, the strong one, the one to protect his little brother and be the figure he needed. Well, this figure was sitting outside his ex's bathroom with tears falling in silence, even when he knew he was undeserving to let them fall. They say that a broken heart is the most painful thing in the world, but they never spoke of the heart that breaks at the thought of breaking another heart important to them. No matter how many times he reminded himself that he earned this loathing, this hatred, it didn't make him feel better. But he didn't deserve to feel better, did he? No, Mako didn't think anyone deserved this kind of pain, yet he was part of the reason Bolin shed tears just like this a long time ago. He not only betrayed Asami, but he betrayed his own blood and the brother he swore he'd protect with his life. All the mistakes he made with Korra all came back to him in this one moment, and while it may not directly measure to Asami, Mako too suffered now. His eyes were growing blurry staring at the floor, and he knew no matter how sweet he sounded Asami wouldn't just forgive him in a night. There was no use being here any longer. He could imply the same messages he had given her over and over, but it was clear to Asami, at least he had hoped by now, that he was suffering with her for the mistakes he made to hurt the both of them. Asami's ex was a fool, but a fool who was still in love with her.
"...I'm sorry I took your time, I have no right. Goodnight ..Asami." Pulling his weight from the door, Mako turned himself around the way he had come and headed back upstairs to shower, and get some sleep, but as he ascended that staircase and wiped his moist eyes he couldn't help but wonder ...
What was Korra thinking about now?
With a hand from Korra resting on his shoulder, he perked up a little. The cuisine was wonderful and it didn't just appease Korra but also their guest. "Thanks Korra." He said to her once she offered her support. He wasn't sure if she should be throwing herself into something too risky but he was sure that she needed a distraction and he wouldn't ever decline an invitation to spend more time with her. He was sure he caught a glance from Tenzin toward Korra when she mentioned doing something and ended with hoping to do something around town which had actual use. "Don't worry, there's gotta be something to do." He assured her as best he could. He could see already, the look in her eyes that she was elsewhere. He assumed it had to do with his stray comment about Mako. Should he not have said anything? No, he couldn't tiptoe around bending and Mako in day to day conversation, he couldn't treat Korra like a child when she wasn't. The rest of the meal went by without any other snags and when it was over, Bolin gave his thanks and headed off to get some sleep. The small nap he had taken was making it hard to rest. His mind wandered back to what he could do to help Korra felt like she was contributing. Her presence alone would contribute a lot to the morale of the city. It would be a start but she clearly wanted something concrete to do that wasn't something for a powerless women to attend to.
With a small sigh, he looked to see Pabu had already nestled down at the foot of his bed, fast asleep. Bolin pouted a little and put a hand behind his head and craned his neck to get a look outside his window. The night's sky was simple but brilliant. To many people, he supposed it was hope, hope that nothing wild would fall out of it and try to tear down their city again. Bolin fell asleep, dreaming of pro bending and exploring the city that held such a tender place inside of his heart. In the morning he was greeted by Meelo's wild yelling, urging him to get up. He laughed and rose, rubbing his eyes. "I'm up, I'm up." He assured as he heard the air bender run off laughing. Bolin got dressed and headed out down the hallway to where he saw Meelo airbending. "What's up? Is it breakfast time?" He asked Meelo who said it was. Bolin grinned and decided to race the kid to the main part of the island, Bolin used his earth bending while Meelo of course used air. Meelo ended up winning and Bolin said he let the kid win. The two were laughing like brothers when they entered and sat down for their morning meal. This time there wasn't anything related to the old food Korra had once eaten so often back home. Instead it was the simple, usual food of Republic City. Bolin would gladly take Korra someplace for lunch in the city if she wanted to go, and if he could come up with some funds between now and then.
After the meal had concluded, Bolin rose and looked to Korra. The two were ready to go and said their goodbyes. Tenzin told them to stick together and to stay safe. Bolin nodded, intending to protect Korra but not feeling the need to voice his intentions. Korra didn't really need his protection but he would be there if she needed him. She was after all, without bending and had yet to tap into air bending, her only possible means of attack or defense. He walked outside with Korra, the day a nice one, just that. They headed over to the boat and he asked if Naga would be coming and Korra thought about it and said Naga wouldn't be needed. Bolin trusted her judgement and they took the boat back over to the mainland. If Korra had her water bending, they would have likely just taken Naga and gone over to the city underwater with Korra bending the water around them. Instead they had to rely on other modes of transportation and Bolin wouldn't make a fuss about it, it wasn't necessary. "It's such a nice day, it's gotta mean something good." He told Korra as they neared Republic City. When they arrived, they headed off and finally had a chance to explore the war torn city. Many people were outside, doing their own personal rennovations and clean up. He wondered what Lin Beifong was up to, he owed her thanks for helping them out of jail.
"I guess we'll check out the city hall first." He suggested as they walked along. Bolin tried hard not to stare at Korra as they walked along. He wanted to gauge her reaction to everything, knowing she must be blaming herself for the state of the city she protected. "It could be worse." He tried to offer with a small smile. "We can help rebuilding this place, it'll be fine in no time at all!" He happily said as they neared the large city hall which was in close proximity to the police headquarters. When the entered, they were met with people hurrying around, doing their jobs. Bolin began to inquire about applying to the police force but no one seemed to listen even with the Avatar by his side. He couldn't wait for her to speak up, something she used to do so well, so he did instead. "Hey listen! I'm an earth bender and I'm ready to help out now! Let me prove I'm dedicated and help out, then can I apply for the police force?" He spoke louder this time. One of them stopped and mulled over it with Saikhan. When Bolin was given the "ok" to help out, he looked to Korra. He wanted to add something about her as well but felt it wasn't his place to put words into her mouth. He stepped back and looked around, there was a lot to be done in every direction but Bolin still held onto his optimistic outlook that things would get better, how could they not?
- - -
Would she be lying if she said she didn't share the occasional fantasies like her ex? Asami Sato was an attractive woman, everyone knew it. Yet no one knew how her mind works, what gears turned in which way. As the water cascaded over her naked body, her fingers raked through her long dark hair. Her eyes closed as she released a sigh, masked by the loudness of the falling water she was trapped under. She washed herself slowly, using extra pressure around her back and shoulders, trying to release the new knots that had formed over the past few days. Stress was bad for one's health and mental state and it seemed she would be drowning in stress for a while. Having just broken up with Mako and now having him around, Asami was conflicted. Very conflicted. She cared but she didn't wish to. She was smart, she knew better than to trust Mako again. He had become such a different person as he put their relationship on hold and brushed her aside right along with it. It stung, she understood his duty to his friend, the Avatar, but the kiss had been the thing to break the camel's back. As Asami rinsed the soap off of her body, she tried to think of anything else but recent events. Her mother momentarily came to her mind but she refused to go there as well. Instead she exited she shower, water off, she put a towel around her body and began to bend down to spin a towel around her hair. She stood up and that's when she heard Mako speak.
Her heart stopped for a moment as her guard was raised. 'Why is he here?' She thought, she was naked and already in an awkward situation. There was nowhere else for her to go. All she could do for now was listen. 'What a nasty trick.' She thought. She took a deep breath and listened as he admitted his faults. Could she blame him for liking Korra? Not entirely but the fact remained, he had kissed her and never confessed to it. He then favored Korra and became obsessed with her. Korra may have been somewhat attractive and like Mako, but he was taken and should he have not wanted to be, he should have broken up with her far earlier than he had, then maybe she wouldn't have hated him as much as did in that moment. Her arms tightened around the piece of towel she was grasping onto around her chest. Mako began to ramble a little, complimenting her and talking about the past. It stung, her heart ached but he needed to continue, he had to. They both knew it. She only hoped this was as painful for him to say as it was to hear from him, finally hear from his own mouth. Her heart was pounding as he said he would leave her alone, should he not make progress within a few weeks. He wasn't going to give up yet? That alone made Asami take notice, start to take his words a bit more seriously. Still, she was cautious. The fire bender then said he still loved her which she couldn't really believe. Her feelings weren't as easy to muddle through.
Though if he hadn't loved her, she had a feeling he would have thrown his hands up in surrender already. She put a hand against the door and looked off. Mako then mentioned the photo she had thrown out in hate. She hadn't meant for him to find out about it. Why? She wasn't sure but it did matter that he knew about it. Asami trailed her fingertips along the door and let it fall back to her side as his words started to grow more silent. He then said he was done and ended it by saying if he saw her loving someone else, he would die. That almost made her laugh considering how her eyes had seen him love someone and yet she hadn't been killed, she had endured the pain and betrayal and lies he slung at her. He was weaker than her in some regard but stronger than she could give him credit for at the moment, as he was confronting her. Despite the door between them. He finally left and said goodnight. Asami noticed her hand which had been on the door before was now shaking. She shut her eyes tightly and sank to the floor, unsure of what to even think about his confession. Tears formed in her eyes as she silently cried, feeling utterly lost and torn. He loved her, she cared for him but felt burned by his fire, it was wild and untamed and she had no idea if she could trust him so soon but she also didn't know if she wanted him out of her life. Yes, it was the best thing for her if she really really did hate him but she wasn't a machine like the ones her father made, the memories couldn't be forgotten, no matter how many photos she destroyed.
The next morning, Asami woke up, her mind still clouded with Mako's words from the night before. She dressed in her usual black tight pants and a black top. She put on her usual coat and headed downstairs. It was close to the time when she had asked Mako to meet her. She skipped breakfast, not feeling up to eating. And her servants would be grocery shopping while she was away so there would be more to eat upon their return later. When Mako finally showed up, she couldn't help but feel a bit radioactive, close to a meltdown but still quite wild. In the back of her mind, she thought to the time Mako had given them before they would finally part ways. "Last night..." She began to say and sighed, clearly conflicted. Not as sure as she had been yesterday morning. "Last night you asked if I still held on the memories we had together, the happier ones, I do." She told him and headed out the door to her car and they headed off into the city to find a shop which was open. They found a nice shop, one she visited a lot before the revolution. It was pricy but had quality clothes from all over the world. "You don't have to pay me back." She told him. "Think of them as a parting gift." She smiled sadly and headed inside. "Please find whatever you like." She told Mako. She wasn't sure where they would in a few weeks time, would they be talking more or would they shut one another out once and for good? Asami wasn't a fortuneteller and hadn't a clue. She thought back to when she arranged their first dinner date together, he was very handsome, she had picked out nice clothes for him yet she knew appearance didn't really matter to him. Maybe the warning signs should have been a little louder back then.
Bolin was proving to be very supporting of her idea to do more for Republic City, but for whatever reason by the time his voice died down, she wished he would've continued speaking, not just to her, but with everyone. It was serving as a distraction for her own troubles and thoughts, providing her comfort and letting her think about everyone other than herself. Hearing about what others had planned and what they intended to do, it all made her much more pleasant in mind and body. At least the optimism of Meelo and his family had kept a smile on her face. Dinner had concluded with no further fuss, and when Bolin moved to retire Korra had done the same. Proceeding to her room, she entered quietly and kept her back to the door for a while without really understanding why her silence was necessary. Wanting to invigorate herself to prepare for tomorrow, she inhaled quietly and held the air in her lungs for just a few moments. She had kept it together through dinner and had pushed it to the back of her mind. All she was now was a fragment of her original self, and even with that thought pushed to the back of her mind she couldn't ignore such feelings. A fragment of what the Avatar was, what it represented for so many generations before her. Korra wished, desperately, that she could just move on with a snap of her fingers yet knew it was impossible to recover from such a loss. No matter who understood, who sympathized, they'd never really understand unless they too had lost what made them who they were. Lin, Tarrlok, even that jerk Tahno had all been changed forever. And it was with the thought of others who suffered as she did that she finally exhaled.
She approached her bed and lazily fell on it, eyes out towards the nearby window in thought. It was repetitive to think about already, but she had to beat this fate somehow. By the time she blinked once, her eyes didn't reopen, and instead she turned her back to the window and hugged herself. The situation was depressing, but there was still good surrounding her, people that were thankful, that knew she did all she could do. Bouncing between how terrible things were for her and others, and then bouncing back to the good in everyone and the support she had received, was placing a lot of stress on her mind. How she had managed to fall asleep with so much in her head she didn't know, but by the time she reopened her eyes the light of dawn was already creeping into her room. Sitting up and feeling energized as though she had not actually slept, she climbed out of bed and quickly went to wash up for the day. Physically refreshed, by the time Korra had removed herself from the bathroom and dressed herself she was stepping to the kitchen, already hearing the sounds of shifting pots. Stepping inside, Korra had found Pema, and Pema in turn had found Korra. Exchanging greetings, as well as Pema showing surprise that Korra was up so early, Korra herself offered to help her prepare breakfast. Pema hadn't minded this and took Korra's offer. To her surprise the breakfast preparation was actually relaxing, and Pema's cheerful demeanor despite the early morning had helped. In no time, and with high spirits, the ladies had managed to prepare breakfast just in time for Meelo and Bolin to have returned inside. With the rest of the family joining them, Korra had picked herself up and looked to Bolin. They had thing's they needed to do today, and unfortunately for Meelo it didn't include playing. Bidding farewell to each of them, Korra's last goodbye for the day was to her companion Naga before they reached the mainland. She had run to her in hopes that they'd have the day together, but Korra felt she needed to survey the damage with Bolin on her own. Patting Naga comfortingly, she told her to go play with the kids before joining Bolin for the boat.
As Bolin said, the day was beautiful, the sky was clear with the sun shining down over the ruined city. The conflict had touched so many parts of it as they moved to headquarters. Everywhere she looked people were picking up, some even offering help to people they didn't know. Shops were being fixed up, goods were being ordered again, and it seemed everyone was doing their part to mend the city to its original glory. This had brought her warmth, and a genuine smile was plastered on her face. "Yeah, it does." she said in response to him. The city's state was bad, but even with this depression it was good to see the people coming together to repair and begin again. Some were more pleasant about being safe than others, but even if the smile had faltered slightly it was still a smile. Korra genuinely felt 'good' seeing that no one was in pause. Everyone had lost something in this conflict, but to see at least one person offering another a helping hand in picking up had, to Korra, almost made her struggles seem worth it. Her guilt was still present, and she knew it might not have made up for not beating Amon sooner, but she wanted to embrace this moment without fear of being 'wrong' for it. Bolin had guided them to the city hall, and she had given him a proper response to his optimism. "It will ..it has to be, right? We can only go forward." she said with optimism of her own. Unlikely as it was, Korra was somehow feeling a little better than before, and the surroundings she was in didn't dampen, but were instead raising her spirits. Benders and non-Benders alike were a part of this city, and it was theirs. If Amon had really beaten Republic City, then ..maybe no one would be rebuilding. Yeah, she'd need to look at it that way, it was as logical as she could make it. Amon didn't win, not entirely.
Finally reaching City Hall, both Korra and Bolin stepped inside to see men and women fluttering past in a hurry. The place was in an uproar of business and all Korra had done was stand idle, taking it in as Bolin struggled to gain attention. She might have aided him, but the scene was comforting. There was no depression, no slow pacing. Everything and everyone had returned to where they were needed, and with this amount of traffic the city would be restored in no time, just as Bolin had said. By the time Bolin did get attention from one of the men, he had approached Saikhan who Korra had only noticed until now. In silent talks, Saikhan had given Bolin his approval to assist the people in rebuilding. Stepping back, Bolin had given Korra the floor, and she had automatically stepped forward much to her own surprise. "I'm here to help too. I won't be joining the force, but ..you can count on me to help this city get back to its former glory." Saikhan had, in a rare showing, cracked a smile of approval at Korra's strong words and gave his silent approval to go out and do what she could for the city. This being said, Korra nodded and turned towards the exit. Returning outside, Korra had begun making her own decisions on where they should go. The city and its people needed all the help they could get, and she wouldn't be standing idle. "Hey, I was thinking.." Korra turned towards Bolin and had begun walking off already towards a destination Bolin had yet to be informed of. Still, her demeanor had steadily become different as time went on, and it was positive. She wasn't just thinking of her own troubles now, but the troubles of others within the city. Everyone had struggled as she did through the conflict, and if they could rebuild, so could she. This wasn't the end for her after all!
"The Pro-Bending Stadium was one of the Equalist's first public moves, and even knowing the risks the game continued, right? Well, I think it's better if we get that place cleaned up first. It was one of the first real stands the city took against Amon, and it's only fitting that a couple of the Fire Ferret's be there to help speed up its reconstruction. What do you think of that?" Korra actually had no intention of listening to him, not when they had a whole day to get to work and the most they had done so far was walk. There was so much they could do for this city, and all they were doing was walking at a cabbage-slug's pace. Korra could be happy with her mind focused on things that didn't involve wallowing in her self-pity, and this could be the escape. Helping others instead of fretting over herself. "Come on Bolin, you're slow! We've got to earn our lunch!" breaking into a fast paced sprint, Korra had made a break towards the stadium and, given anywhere between eight to twelve minutes, they had arrived. From the appearance, the once golden stadium looked worn and ruined from the Equalist occupation, and judging from the broken glass and crushed parts of the structure, it seemed as though more fighting had taken place here before the complete surrender of the equalists. Crews were already at the scene, getting inside to get a full assessment of the damage. And there they were, Korra and Bolin, standing in front of it all.
"Okay, let's see how much we can do in a few hours. You ready to put work in?" Korra smirked at him, almost expecting a reply that requested they not forget about lunch drawing close. Korra was determined to make this act of kindness as competitive and quick as possible.
Mako's night had not been kind of him. Immediately after parting from Asami and retreating to his bedroom he had washed himself up quickly in the bathroom upstairs, refreshing himself and giving him plenty of time to think about what he had just said. Jumbled and poorly put together, it was a representation of how much he wanted to change thing's. Convincing himself of that didn't make it sound better in his head, but his attempt couldn't be ignored, not when he was desperate enough to sit outside that door knowing full well she may not have listened to him anyway. Cutting the water and drying himself off, his sleep was short with most of his time sitting in bed staring up at the ceiling. In thought, Mako hadn't actually shut his eyes for a while and by the time he had, he was already waking up to the morning sun passing through the curtains. Getting himself up, he looked to his bedside clock and noticed he had at least another hour and a half before he had to go. Dressing himself in his usual attire and wrapping his scarf securely around him, he had moved downstairs to get a small breakfast the servants had already prepared. Asami had never come down, as he might have expected, and so he ate alone ..and he was okay with that. He understood why Asami was acting the way she was, because he had accepted the consequences of what he had done. It was disappointing not waking up to her face immediately, but it would just be something he'd have to get used to. Finishing and washing his own plate as it seemed most of the servants were out for today, he had done little until the time came to meet with Asami. Returning from his bedroom, she was herself, but what was different was that she could find it in her to meet his eye now. Actually speaking to him, what Mako heard next would brighten the day that had already been beautiful.
Asami still thought about what they were together when they were at their peak.
The bliss he felt knowing that deep down her memories of him weren't all in ruin had overtaken his fears of her never being able to accept him in her life again. This meant that he had a chance to make everything right once again, and Asami still held him inside her heart. It'd be a lie if he said he wasn't holding back an obvious smile as they moved to the Satomobile and departed, but the trip was considerably more hopeful than it was yesterday. Having located a shop suitable for both, and when you were Asami Sato almost any shop was suitable fundwise, Mako stepped out and entered inside with her, holding the door open. This was the opportunity he needed, to show her he was still that same man she fell in love with. Coming alongside her and allowing the door to automatically shut, Mako looked around and was content with finding some clothes until Asami had spoken yet again. At first he was pleased, greatly, with her initial words. Not needing to pay her back meant that she had to be releasing her spite, to slowly but surely drop the walls that had been erected and to slowly let him inside again. Sadly, that changed when she said that the clothes would be a parting gift. Finding whatever he liked? It was hard finding that optimism again, but he had already given her his challenge. It hadn't even been a week yet, which meant he had no reason to lose hope. She was being hasty with those words, and there was time to show her that this gift would need no parting of any kind.
"Well ..I could use some help with that." Rubbing the back of his neck, Mako had blushed slightly when admitting his own desire for aid when shopping for clothing. Mako grew up struggling with funds and often just making the ends meet, taking care of your baby brother often made things harder. It wasn't a question of his masculinity to ask her for help, but instead to get her involved like she used to be. They did things together once upon a time, and they could do it again, but only if Asami attempted to work with him. "I didn't plan on getting much but ..think you could tell me what looks best if I go try some things on?"
It was a bit odd to think about Korra's status from the eyes of the citizens. Were they aware of her lack of ability or did they still believe she was a real Avatar with all parts of herself in tact?
Bolin didn't want to ask the public's personal opinion on Korra, since they probably saw the whole event as a victory and not that of a loss. He knew Korra was still hurting from the events and there wasn't a need to draw attention to their fallen hero. In Bolin's mind of course, she wasn't fallen, but just flying a little lower than usual. As it seemed like Korra's help, along with his own would be accepted, now was the time to prove their worth. He looked to see Korra coming a bit out of her shell to which he just followed after her, eyes incapable of leaving her form. Korra move outside into the daylight and expressed interest in checking out the pro bending stadium. He could only nod in agreement. It had been a home for him and Mako and he knew Korra had similar feelings regarding the arena so it seemed the best choice for them to first focus their energy. "Sounds great." He told her but she already took off running toward their new found location. Bolin was quick to follow after her. "Aw wait up!" He called out to Korra and hurried after her. When the duo reached the stadium, they saw it being attended to by earth benders and many non benders who could wield a hammer and plaster. It needed a lot of work to return to its former glory but Bolin would make sure it would get there, no matter what.
The Avatar asked about being ready to work. "Oh yeah, you bet!" He said and flexed his arm, showing off his muscles playfully. Before they could tackle a part of the project by themselves, someone approached them and explained they were overseeing the rebuilding process and that more hands to help would be welcome. Bolin looked to Korra for a moment and then back at the structure which had been heavily damaged. All Bolin could see was what it could be, what it once was, not what it looked like presently. He couldn't dwell on the ruins in front of him because it wouldn't do anyone any good. He learned to grow up fast after his parents died. Maybe that was why he had a more clear mature depth of thought than most his age. While he enjoyed making jokes and befriending everyone, he still knew the value of love and other golden opportunities. Bolin knew struggle and hardship and so he tried to be positive whenever he could. Making others happy brought him happiness, it helped him forget those cold nights with his brother on the street so long ago. His life was always improving and as long as he had connections with great people, he would feel as blessed as any billionaire like Asami Sato. "I guess I'll head over here then." Bolin said to Korra, gesturing to the area where earth benders were putting up slabs of earth for walls and foundation.
For someone such as Bolin, he didn't hone his bending for battle outside of pro bending matches. He didn't prepare himself for battle or even to defend those close to him. In some ways, he almost acted like he was a non bender. He didn't use his bending to get ahead in life by taking extra jobs nor did he use it to show off. Well sometimes when the female fans wanted to see a trick, he'd gladly put on a small show but Pabu was the one who usually caught everyone's eye. For Bolin, his bending wasn't taken too seriously but as he had been exposed to such dangerous events, he realized that it was time to be more serious with his bending, which was what partly prompted his mind to wander toward metal bending. He was a good earth bender with a kind soul, even so he knew he needed to be ready for anything. Traveling around with Korra made him see that the world was still as harsh as he once remembered so long ago. He wanted to smile and make others smile, yet to do that he needed to be stronger, like his brother. As Bolin pushed up the earth and gently helped the others attach it to the foundation and keep it in place, he wondered how Korra was doing. She wanted to help and he wanted her to be apart of the long road to fixing Republic City, he just hoped the people around her gave her hope and didn't remind her of her loss. He went back to helping the others and headed inside the stadium and began to do some work on the floor but the progress seemed to be coming along smoothly.
As he stepped back outside after spending a few hours working, he decided to find Korra. His stomach was quickly reminding him how late it was and how lunch needed to be obtained soon or he wouldn't be very useful to anyone. "Hey Korra..." He called out and pouted a little. As he went along, someone pulled at his back shyly and he turned and saw a young woman standing there. "Oh hey there." Bolin smiled. The female said she was a fan of the Fire Ferrets and that she thought it was cool that he and Korra had come to help out. "Well thank you, miss." Bolin bowed his head, thanking her for her time and effort to help the arena too. "Are you a bender or...?" He couldn't help but ask but the woman laughed and raised her hands and propelled herself up to the sky thanks to a hefty pillar of stone. "Woah!" Bolin clapped as he copied her move so they were face to face again. "You know I was thinking of joining the police force soon." He blurted out. She said she would then think about joining if it meant working with a pro bender such as Bolin. He rubbed his neck and the two descended back down to the ground. "Well, I'll see you around..." "My name is Misuzu." She said softly. "Okay great." Bolin laughed and headed off to resume looking for Korra. Part of him had bee tempted to invite Misuzu along for lunch so she could meet Korra too but Bolin ultimately decided it wouldn't be right to just invite someone along. He wanted to spend time with Korra, fans could wait. He finally spotted Korra and jogged over to her. "Korra, are you ready for lunch? Cause I sure am!" He happily said. "It'll be my treat of course." He said to her. Part of him was hoping wherever they went, they'd see Korra and have the meal be on the house but he wasn't exactly holding his breathe there.
- - -
Asami soon supposed her word choice had been poor and a bit thoughtless but she didn't want to give Mako too much hope when she didn't even know how much there really was to begin with.
Even so, it was best to move on and see where things went. She turned to Mako when he said he'd need some help getting some clothes, it didn't surprise her since most males faltered in the fashion department. Asami walked over to Mako and ran her fingers from his shoulder to his neck and then back to the other side, mentally trying to remember his measurements. It took a few moments but her brain finally unloaded some of the old information she had locked up so tightly. "Alright...I think I remember your size." Asami said stepped back, removing her hand from his shoulder and laughed a little at her own comment which may have been taken the wrong way if some pervert had been listening in. "Sorry." She quickly said and turned around to go take a look at what the store had to offer. Asami knew Mako's history, she knew he was out of his comfort zone when it came to being handed the finer things in life but she felt he deserved something good after so much bad had happened to him and Bolin. Mako was a good big brother and Asami knew he put family above pretty much anything else, she admired that about him. She wasn't about to punish him by withholding funds if they could help Mako, even if he just dressed a little. What was important was that he was comfortable. Walking over to a simple pair of black pants and a matching blazer, she took them and kept moving. Her eyes knew what colors would work with Mako and which wouldn't.
While most would assume red would look good on Mako, she decided a more deep brown or lightly colored orange would also be good on him. Perhaps even a forest green. She finally picked out a few shirts of various colors and walked back over to Mako and handed him the stack of clothes. "I think if you try these on, we'll know where to go...what works and doesn't. And if you don't like how something looks, please tell me. I don't want you to have something you don't absolutely love." Asami told Mako and realized that her comments could have also been about their own history which had been muddled with Korra and the other conflicts. She flashed a momentary frown and one of the tailors gestured for Mako to go into one of the large dressing rooms in the back. Now Asami was given some time to shop for herself. Without her father to drag her to parties and events for the city, she didn't have many places to go. The fancier district of Republic City hadn't been too harmed in the attacks but now it felt a bit meaningless if she didn't have company to go out with. And on top of that, she had to now run the family's bustling automobile business. She moved over to some of the suits she could wear but nothing stood out. Asami was a woman of taste and didn't find something so boring as suit, suited her. Part of her considered asking Mako for advice on what he would enjoy seeing her in but she decided it wouldn't be such a wise idea.
Making her way back along the racks of finely made clothes, she decided something with leather paired with something lacy might work. She picked out some leather black pants and then picked out a deep red halter top. It wasn't see through or anything, it had a solid block of silk but over it, was a thin sheet of lace which matched the deep blood color. In the back, it made a bow to accent the softness of the top. The black leather pants would have some hardness to them and then she would wear her usual jacket over the top and she would be fine. Asami decided to change and when she came out, Mako was already done with most of his clothes she had picked out. She walked over to him and adjusted his collar a little. "If they're a bit uncomfortable, it'll just take some time to adjust and soon they'll feel better after they've been worn once or twice." Asami told Mako. She stepped back so he could look at himself in the mirror as she stood next to him. Asami looked to Mako once and then moved out of the way so he could see just him rather than her. Asami ended up grabbing a few more items for Mako to try, some various pants and even some shoes. By the end of the shopping extravaganza, she had gotten Mako a good sized collection of clothes and even had two or three new outfits for herself. As she loaded the clothes in the trunk and closed it, she turned back to Mako. "So how about getting some lunch?" She asked him.
Despite a few of the hiccups, Asami felt she was beginning to warm up to Mako again, though there were still times when talking to him would overwhelm her with sadness. The woman couldn't help but wonder if it was possible that someday he would cause her more happiness than pain and she would forget about the hurt caused. She wasn't optimistic as she got in the car and waited for Mako to join her. He brought up good memories but lately it was more bad than good. Even so, she couldn't deny that they had spent some nice time together and maybe by the end of the day, she wouldn't feel so sad. She started the car and drove along but slowed down and looked to Mako. There wasn't anyone else in the street so it didn't really matter. "You know...this is where we first met." She told Mako and pointed to where he had come out of nowhere. She smiled a little. "I guess you look both ways before running out into traffic huh?" She joked softly. She just drove on and found a small place they could eat and parked. "All that shopping really makes you hungry." Asami commented and got out, stretching her arms above her head as she leaned back a little. If she tried hard, she might be able to mistake this day for one from a month ago. "Come on." She gestured and headed inside to find a place to sit, which likely wasn't hard.