Korra held back a sigh of impatience as the car jolted to another halt at another streetlight.
"Can't we get moving any faster?" she asked. On any other night, she would be gazing at the city streets, taking in the sights and wonders, but tonight was different.
"Nope," Asami said, changing gear and nudging the car forward. "It's a Saturday night in the city. Traffic is ridiculous." Bolin sighed, not even bothering to hide his exasperation.
"It's just kind of killing the let's-go-bag-some-equalists vibe we had going on," he said, slouching down in the seat. Mako rolled his eyes.
"Sorry that city driving isn't exciting enough for you," Mako said, and smiled at Asami. "Ignore him." The car jerked to a halt, this time behind a line of cars that stretched down the entire block. Korra moaned.
"It'll take forever for us to get through the stoplight," she grumbled, then hung over the edge of the topless car and glanced around. Buildings lined the side of the street, lit up and bustling, almost as brightly as if it was daytime. Music lingered in the air from a nearby club, jazzy and upbeat. Strands of fairy lights were strung from shop to shop, twinkling in the wind. Most of the street was occupied by restaurants and clubs, though Korra noticed one small café halfway up the block. She squinted at it; she could swear she recognized one of the figures slouched at the outdoor table.
"Guys," she said, pointing towards the café. "I think that's Tahno." Mako leaned out the side of the car, the nodded as he settled back into his seat.
"Yeah, it is. So?"
"So, we should say something to him," Korra replied. Bolin raised an eyebrow as the car pushed forward a few more feet.
"Like what?" Bolin said, taking his turn to lean out the side of the car. He had situated himself practically in Korra's lap, and after a few seconds she rolled her eyes and shoved him off. He grinned at her, and Korra shrugged.
"I dunno. Something. He deserves it. We could invite him to come with us."
"He doesn't deserve anything," Mako said. "He cheated in the championship and wasn't ever exactly kind to us. We can't trust him."
"He got his bending taken away," Korra said. "And what does one more addition to Team Avatar hurt, anyway?" The three of them frowned.
"I dunno, Korra," Asami said, and Bolin nodded his agreement. "It's kind of risky. I like the idea, but we really can't trust him."
"Trust me. I've got a good feeling about this. Avatar stuff," Korra said. Asami sighed, then nodded.
"Alright. I'm cool with it," Asami said, and Korra grinned. She looked at Bolin, and he scratched the back of his neck awkwardly.
"If you're that sure about this, I guess so. I trust the Avatar," he said. Korra's grin widened. Mako let out a sigh of disapproval, but nodded his agreement. Korra nearly felt like cheering.
"Not permanently, though," Mako said. "We'll see what happens." The car finally was able to move forward more than a few feet. The engine purred as it cleared a huge section of pavement, but came to a stop in front of the café.
"HEY! TAHNO!" Korra called, leaning over the car door and waving her arms. He looked up and stared at Korra. She frowned; his movements seemed strange. It was almost as if he was moving in mud; everything was slowed and forceful, as if it took him an intense effort to complete the action. Korra winced as she took in the state of his hair. He pushed out his chair, then meandered over to the edge of the sidewalk. His walk had none of the usual attitude, and Korra almost winced again. Tahno looked at her expectantly.
"Get in, loser. We're going Equalist hunting." Korra grinned at him, but Tahno shook his head. His hair hung on the side of his face, limp.
"No, Korra," he said, his voice sounding grim and rusty. "I can't have anything to do with… this anymore." Korra's smile fell, and she climbed over the door of the car.
"Look, Tahno," Korra replied, "I want you to get back at those bastards for what they did. I want to help you. I want to fix this." Tahno's pale eyes stared at her face, but Korra wasn't entirely sure that he was looking at her. He shook his head, then looked down and dug his toe into the concrete.
"I can't," he said. Korra forced herself to nod, then turned and climbed back into the car. Tahno turned to walk to his table, but paused. Traffic began to move, and Asami gunned the engine.
"Wait," he called, and Korra's grin emerged again. She reached a hand out. The cars behind them began to honk, and a gap was forming in the line. Tahno hesitated, then reached out and grasped Korra's hand.
"You're joining Team Avatar. Jump in, pretty boy."
Credit for this belongs to artfuldodgerst. She came up with the plot and convinced me to write it. Thank you!