It was uttermost chaos outside.
The Fire Ferrets were unaware of the amount of destruction going on while tucked away in their little tower. The entire arena was going up in flames; the red-hot dancers tickling up the sides and breaking open windows. There were people scattered in the streets, running. People were running out of the arena and Mako didn't even know there had been anyone else there. He assumes from the suffocating silence and the eerie stillness that everyone had either fled or died. But there were cries and screams challenging the roar of the fire and if he closes his eyes tight enough he can almost pretend history wasn't repeating itself.
Fire had put him out on the streets when he was 8, and fire was putting him right back out there again.
He feels a rough tug to his sleeve—it almost sent him sprawling to his knees. Korra leans in, her sharp, chapped lips brushing jaggedly against his cheek. He spots ash sprinkled on the edges of her eyelashes before she opens her mouth and whispers harshly, "Keep moving, City Boy!"
He blinks slowly and when he looks back, his brother is charging through the streets, Korra close behind. Out of habit, Mako fiddles with the scarf wrapped around his neck and starts moving, ignoring the desperate cries and putrid smells. He jogs awkwardly and with his better arm reaches and grabs Korra's hand. She squeezes each finger, acknowledging his touch, savoring it. But she doesn't look back and keeps following Bolin.
Bolin was moving faster than before. He's in his element now, surrounded by miles of Earth, ready to bend at his manipulation. He glances back and sees his brother, one arm clinging to Korra, the other one tugging at his scarf and frowns. Mako was used to leading the pack, always with a determined expression on his face and a flame in the palm of his hand. Bolin wasn't there when their parents died—but his brother was. Back then, Mako couldn't firebend, or at least didn't know enough to amount to any use. He stood there, helpless, while his own element tore their parents apart.
Here he was, back in the same situation. Nothing but his father's scarf and a fraction of an Avatar to help him.
And him. Mako had him.
It was Bolin's turn to be there for Mako.
A loud crack booms across the sky. The mess of people all look up, expecting a flash of lightning or downpour of rain to smear ash and despair on all their faces But the screams grow louder as The Fire Ferrets watch with the rest of the city as the center of the building explodes.
The arena begins tumbling down.
"No!" All three stand in shock as clouds of smoke collect in cylinders. Metal bends unnaturally and the center gives. The towers go first, leaning dangerously to the side before breaking off in dangerously large chunks and hurling to the ground.
The smaller debris reaches the ground first. Korra uses Mako for support and hops in the air over his shoulders, turning and twisting until she creates a dome of spinning air, sending the debris that would crash into them into opposite directions. She continues with her efforts, confused and unfamiliar with airbending techniques. She had practiced moving like an airbender for months—she understood the concepts of freedom and change and movement but it was different to actually bend air. Her awkwardness was apparent and in seconds she begins to tire.
"Bolin!" She cries. Bolin grabs his shocked brother and the weary Avatar and throws them to the ground before creating a shelter of earth to protect them from the flaming chunks of metal that hit. The sound was horrifying as they collide with the walls, sending small pebbles and dust to collect in all their hair. Korra looks up and saw a steady, calm look of focus on Bolin as he maintained the integrity of the defense. But when she sees Mako she feels her heart pulse and her wounds grow more painful.
He looks terrified.
"Mako?" she whispered. "Mako, what's the matter."
He stares at her, his copper eyes dulled with smoke. "Korra, I—we—"
She crawls towards him. She finds his hand, covered in dirt. "Hey, what happened to the guy that told me not to worry, that is was only temporary?"
Mako sighs. "He never got his bending back."
She wipes the grime from his cheeks with the back of her hand. "But it will. If I still have mine, then I'm sure yours is still there too—somewhere, deep inside."
His features relax considerably, although he remains troubled. He glances to his brother and sees the pained expression on his face as he replaces wall after wall as they were destroyed. He couldn't sit by and let Bolin bear the burden just because he couldn't get his own shit together. His eyes drift back to Korra, who wore a faint, sad smile on his behalf.
"Come on, cool guy. You are not your bending." Bolin replaces another wall.
"How much longer?" Bolin asks hurriedly. Korra listens as another chuck of the arena pounded against the rock.
"It's a pretty big arena, Bo." She ran her arm along his bicep. "Keep it up. We would be in deep shit without you."
Sweat drips down his brow, but he flashes her a cheeky grin nonetheless. "I always knew I carried this team."
"You know, you are not your bending either, Korra." Mako whispers. She turns an ear. "You are so much more."
Her sad smile returns. "I wish that were true."
Bolin grunts as the biggest piece of debris hits the wall, breaking it in several pieces. Korra uses some of her remaining strength to airbend the metal away, taking the fiery dust with it as well. They're all on their feet, looking around into the heart of the disaster.
Korra brushes off the floating scraps of papery—like debris from her shoulder and shakes the rest from her hair. She doesn't spot anyone—they have all fled. She thinks she sees someone not moving hundreds of feet away but she whips her head around and swallows the bile that rises in her throat.
The quiet aftermath is disturbed by the roar of a motorcycle.
It appears out of nowhere. The driver whips it to the side and the tires skid, but stop. A little girl in the front jumps off and starts running toward Korra, arms out.
She squints her eyes and recognizes the bright stitches of her clothing, the way her hair frames her face. "Jinora!"
She's slow to the realization as Jinora runs full speed, using her airbending to help her along. Korra takes limping steps and finally falls to her knees, letting the small girl tackle her and push her on her back. Korra squeezes the girl to tightly, she thinks she can probably align Jinora's ribs with her own. There are tears running down both their face and Korra is kissing the top of Jinora's head and the little airbender keeps mumbling "gone."
Mako and Bolin turn their attention to the woman on the motorcycle. They watch as she struggles to take her helmet off, grunting with each unsuccessful tug. Mako squints and notices the emblem on arm—the same one that's on each of their uniforms.
She forgets the helmet and runs to them, embracing both brothers into a lively hug. Mako is the first to push them back. He reaches for Asami's chin, turning it left and right.
"Are you okay? Are you hurt?" he rambles, inspecting her face for any lacerations. She kindly pushes him away.
"I crashed my motorcycle. I stole this one from an equalist." She looks to the fallen arena. "Not as fast as mine, I suppose…" her voice trails off before she looks to Jinora and Korra, a small smile gracing her lips. Her hands reach up to her helmet and she sighs. "It won't come off," she whines. She isn't one to whine, but the damn thing is tight and her head is pulsing and it just plain hurts.
Mako tugs Bolin to her other side. "On the count of three. One, Two—" He looks to this brother and nods. They tug on the helmet, not waiting for three. Asami gives a loud cry of pain as the helmet is ripped from her head, dry flakes of blood piecing on her shoulders and sticking to her hair. They look inside –the helmet is stained maroon. Mako prods at her head, parting her hair and looking for the wound.
Her skull is cracked open.
"Shit, Asami," he breathes. He takes a step back from the mere shock.
Bolin takes a peak, but quickly turns away, nauseated at the sight. "How are you alive, woman?" he exclaims.
She groans, rubbing her temples—her fingers trace blood around her ear. "Divine Intervention, I suppose," she grumbles. She looks to Korra. "Please tell me she can heal?"
Mako and Bolin shuffle their postures. "Not at the moment."
Asami's eyes widen. "What, why not? He—he didn't take her bending did he?" She bit her lip.
Mako grinds his teeth, slow to answer. "Yes and no."
She raises a delicately sculpted brow. "Meaning?"
Bolin lays a hand on his brother's shoulder. "Means we'll have to bandage you up the old fashioned way, Miss Sato."
The three wander slowly to Korra and Jinora who still lay scrambled in the streets, lost in each other's embraces. Finally, Korra pulls away and holds Jinora's face in the palms of her hands, caressing her cheeks. "Where are the others?" Korra asks.
Jinora's bottom lips quivers. "I don't know."
Korra wipes away another tear before she brings the girl to her chest. She feels shirt stain with hot tears. "We'll find them, don't you worry." She strokes the top of her head, playing with her bangs that are messy and falling in her eyes. She pushes them back and gasps.
Her fingers trace the faint blue outlines. "When did this happen?" she breathes.
Jinora pulls away, quick to fix her hair, tug her sleeves down to cover her unfinished markers. "Daddy was going to finish them in the next few days," she stares at the ground unable to look Korra in the eye. "He—he's never done them before and he wanted to make sure I wasn't in too much pain and he was going to finish them but then—"
Korra pulls her chin up, forcing her to look at her. "They'll get finished. I promise."
"But what if—"
"Don't," Korra whispers, shutting her eyes tight. She doesn't want to dream of the possibility. "Don't say it." She breathes in, out, regaining her composure. It's strange how easy is, despite her situation. She blames it on the airbending. "If it means I have to finish it, then dammit, I will. "
Jinora wipes at her own eyes. "No offense, but only an airbender can gave another airbender tattoos."
Korra smiles, the most honest one she's smiled all day. "Not a problem. I'm an airbender, too."
Jinora's eyes widen. "Really?" Immediately they shrink, believing it to be a sham. "Prove it."
She looks up to see Bolin and Mako with Asami in toe. Asami smiles gently at her, offering a small wave. Korra looks to Bolin and Mako and gives a small wink before reaching into the crumbled earth and collecting a few small pebbles.
"Check this out." She takes the pebbles and twirls them in her hand, making them go round in an ellipse. She finishes her little trick by blowing an obnoxious blast of breath in Jinora's face, making her stumble backwards and revealing her unfinished markings of a young master.
"I'll be damned," Asami mumbles. She leans down to Korra. Asami watches as a fresh sliver of blood drops down her cheek and splashes to the ground. Her jade eyes waver with concern. "But Bolin and Mako say you can't heal. Korra—what's going on?"
Bolin pinches the bridge of his nose. "Lemme take a stab at it. You can't firebend." Mako visibly cringes from the corner of his eye.
"No," she answers.
"You can't earthbend."
"You can't waterbend"
"Nope," she smacks her lips together, elongating the syllable.
"…But you suddenly know how to airbend?"
"That is correct." Asami and Jinora share disturbed looks.
Bolin scratches his chin. "…I'm very confused right now." All three Fire Ferrets are hit with a wave of nostalgia. Months ago, they had met the young Avatar, master of three elements. Now she was before them, beaten and broken and with little ability to remain the only element she was never comfortable with.
Mako rearranges the scarf around his neck. He turns his back and tries quickly to produce a flame, an ember, but he gets nothing, not even a puff of smoke.
"You and I both, Bro. You and I both."
This is going to be a long authors note (If any of you actually read these things and care)
1) I've gotten past the first major plot...event. That was the hardest part. Now it'll be full speed ahead. (Well maybe in like a week or so because I actually have to teach myself microecon. for the AP exam next thursday. and I mean, I have to relearn everything. Yep. It's gonna suck.)
2) I hope this chapter wasn't too boring. It was the wrapper-upper and I used it to kinda define one part of the situation so no one has to rely on assumptions and hints anymore. (Well until the next part mwahahah)
3) Also, LOVING THE FEED BACK I HEART YOU ALL. It's what makes my heart go pitter patter and all that glittery mush. Thanks bunches!
4) last note. I want a tumblr but I can't figure it out and I'm technologically challenged heellllppp meee.
I'll be your best friend? Maybe? No? Okay.