It was times like this that Mako sincerely wished he had a Satomobile, or at least enough money for a cab. He could lift his brother fairly easily, but carrying a drunk, struggling, semi-hysterical Bolin the entire way home was no easy task.
Bolin had thankfully stopped fighting him after the first block, aside from giving Mako an occasion kick to make it clear that he was still angry, but now he had just gone limp and heavy against Mako's straining shoulder. The full-out bawling had died down to clusters of gulping sobs and damp sniffles, and the sound did nothing to settle the heavy guilt in Mako's gut.
To make matters worse, Pabu had clearly decided that Bolin's shaking shoulders were too unstable to ride on and had taken up residence, of all places, on top of Mako's head. His tail kept swishing in front of Mako's face, and Mako was starting to suspect that the little fire ferret was passive-aggressively punishing him for playing a role in Bolin's complete meltdown.
"I don' wanna be your brother any-hic-anymore!" Bolin slurred at him, trying to kick at Mako's stomach and thankfully missing. "I'm gonna dis…diso…do that thing where I make you not my brother!"
"You're not going to disown me, Bolin."
"Yeah, I am! Just you wait!"
Mako huffed in exasperation. "Just let me know if you start feeling sick to your stomach."
"I should…I should upchuck on you, you big…big jerkface."
"I'd really rather you didn't, Bo."
"You'd deserve it! 'Cause you…you…" Bolin broke off into another round of hiccupping sobs, and Mako nearly dropped him when Pabu decided to give his ear a particularly hard nip. Well, this was wonderful. Everyone was upset with him, even the ferret. Asami was apparently the only one who didn't hate him at the moment, but with his luck she'd probably find out about what had happened with Korra and then everyone he cared about would be angry.
The spirits must have taken pity on Mako and granted him a tiny bit of luck, because he managed to get them all home without Bolin throwing up, on Mako or anywhere else for that matter. He was still miserable, but at least he seemed to be wearing himself out. With any luck he'd just fall asleep soon. Mako's muscles were screaming by the time he staggered into their loft; it was a struggle to make it the last few steps and finally plop Bolin down in his bed.
"'m not tired," Bolin grumbled as he rolled over onto his side, scrubbing at his dribbling nose with the back of his hand. He was obviously just being disagreeable, because everything else about his body language spoke of exhaustion.
"I don't care," Mako groaned, rubbing his forehead to try to stave off the building headache. "Just close your eyes and try to sleep for a while, alright?"
"I can't, I'm too…too betrayed to sleep!"
It might have been funny if Bolin hadn't been so upset, and any comedy in the situation was lost on Mako when his brother's eyes welled up again for the hundredth time and spilled over onto his pillow. Pabu finally lept down from Mako's head and padded softly over across the bed. He gave Bolin's head a thoughtful sniff and then curled up against his neck, licking at his damp cheek comfortingly.
"Come on, Bo," Mako said, trying to sound gentle. "Your face is going to be all puffy for the big match if you don't stop crying. You don't want your fans to see you like that, do you?"
"I don't care!" Sniff, hiccup, sniffle. "I don'…I don't care about the match or an-ythi-thing!"
"Yes, you do. Get a grip. I know you're bummed, but you've got to pull yourself together."
Bolin finally fell silent for a moment. Mako was almost sure that he had finally dozed off, but then he spoke again in a terribly small, sad voice.
"Why doesn't an-anybody like me?"
Mako sighed heavily and sat down on the edge of the bed, resting a hand against his brother's shaking back. "Tons of people like you, Bo. Stop being stupid."
"Bu-but no-nobody li-likes me best!"
Mako bit his lip as the guilt roared back to life in his stomach.
Bolin always had his flings, but it would be hard to call any of them actual relationships. There was a date here and there, but very few lasted beyond a few nights. Bolin's hoards of fans didn't seem interested in sticking around long once they got to see him up close and got over the novelty of being around a probender mini-star. On top of that, Bolin had never dumped anyone in his life; it was always the girl who broke it off and broke his heart. Most of them were kind enough to let him down gently, but a few had been downright brutal in the end. The worst were the ones who had only been using him to get closer to Mako. He could count on his fingers the number of times a girl had actually managed to make Bolin cry, and they had almost all been of that variety. But even then, none had come anywhere close to upsetting him this much…
It hurt to think that Bolin really loved Korra. Bolin always got attached to people easily, but when he truly loved someone, he loved them with his whole being. He would never have been such a mess if Korra wasn't dear to him.
"I love you, Bo," Mako said quietly, brushing Bolin's hair away from his forehead. "And Korra cares about you a lot too. You ran away too fast; you didn't see how worried she was about you."
Bolin glanced over his shoulder, bloodshot eyes widening. "R-really?"
"Of course, stupid. She'd be heartbroken if she saw how sad you are now."
There was a moment of quiet. "She's wonderful," Bolin mumbled sadly. There was nothing Mako could say to that except to agree, and somehow he felt that wouldn't help things one bit. Luckily, there was no need to answer; Bolin had finally drifted off and started to snore quietly.
Carefully, quietly, Mako pulled a blanket up over Bolin's shoulders and reached over to dab his face dry with his sleeve. Bolin was going to be feeling awful enough when he woke up without having his face all sticky with dried snot and tears. Mako shook his head sadly and headed to the kitchen. He needed to make sure they had enough ingredients for a proper hangover cure. Bolin was going to need it later.