AN: Sorry for the wait! Enjoy.
Lin Beifong watched through hazed vision as Korra and an equalist tumbled off the roof completely. There was nothing she could do—she only hoped the Avatar could save herself.
She fought the electrocution that taunted her body and mind into unconsciousness. She was already rendered helpless by it once; she didn't want it to happen again. She stood slowly, the glass cracking underneath her heavy footing, before she snapped her cables forward, ready to fight, ready to win.
Lin ripped her arm back, her shoulders cracking with protest, with age, and flung her cables as far up as she could—they wrapped snuggly around one of the equalist lifts and felt the wires tense, tighten. Lin had the slightest hesitation as her toes balanced on cracked glass and she looked behind her once more, past the flaming police airships and boats on fire in the bay.
She watched as Korra landed in Yue Bay, her waterbending breaking her fall.
Lin let out a sigh of relief she didn't know she was harboring. Her toes left the roof and she skyrocketed towards the enemy.
"Amon, here I come," she whispered.
The room was dark.
Korra closed her eyes before lying back along the couch until she felt her head bump against Bolin's knee. She felt his strong pair of hands grip her and lift her head to his lap before he started running his fingers through her hair. The two heard the door of his apartment creak open and shut with a rather loud slam. A small light cast long shadows across the room before Tahno came by and set the oil lamp on the coffee table. He leaned down and peered into Korra's face, his scowl half hidden in the dark. His fingers went up to tap the bruises on her shoulder. "What a mess," he murmured. He then tapped her knee. "Up."
Korra groaned, snuggling closer to Bolin and burying her face into his pant leg. "Why?" she whined.
"You're all broken and torn up—and it's not a very pretty look. You need a healing session."
Korra revealed one eye. "I'm a healer; I can heal myself." She argued.
Tahno had to fight to roll his eyes at his teammate. "This is not time to be difficult, uh-vatar. Just sit up."
With a sigh, Korra obeyed. Tahno immediately went to work on the wound in her side that alarmed them earlier. She said she had done a quick patch job—something good enough to keep the infection out. But as he unwrapped the bandages, her wound sparkled in the low light in an unhealthy way. He ignored her wince and cries of pain as his fingers picked at the area.
"Korra," he hissed. "There's still glass in here!"
Bolin sat up suddenly, taking a look for himself. "Spirits, Korra, why didn't you say anything?"
She huffed, blowing her oily hair out of her face. "There were more important matters."
The candlelight got caught in his eyes, the ever so fine lines in his skin. Korra stared as the fire made him glow; but it did not warm him. It only served to bring out the shadows carved beneath his lashes and the faint tremble of his jaw. She wanted to reach out to him, to give it all back, but there was nothing she could do.
Bolin opened his mouth to protest; Korra saw that despite his lost, he still worried for her. But Tahno beat him to the punch. "Don't bother." He groaned. While he always enjoyed egging on the hot-headed firebender of their team, he knew if one of them started, it wouldn't end—and he simply wasn't in the mood.
The quiet returned and Korra concentrated on the quiet sounds of the water that dove into her wounds and cooled her burns and aches. The glow of healing technique made Tahno's face a cloud, the grey of his eyes blurring into the whites. She blindly waved her hand around behind her, waiting for Bolin's hand; eventually, his fingers tugged at hers and he leaned forward, resting his chin on the top of her head, placing a soft kiss into her hairline. Tahno raised an annoyed eyebrow, sparing only a glance before he moved on to his next wound.
"I know you guys are attached at the hip, but please," he teased. "I'm trying to heal here."
"Shut up," the two of the spat at the same time. Bolin let out a weak chuckle as he leaned back and allowed Korra to turn, giving Tahno the chance to heal the last of her serious wounds.
Korra's eyes slid to side, studying Bolin. His posture was all wrong—he was slumped over, shoulders sagged and chest hallow. The strong, confident, silly young man she once knew had taken a serious blow. Her friend, a rock, a mountain, had experienced an earthquake that shattered him into pebbles.
"Bolin," she whispered.
He turned, offering a weak smile. His hair was a mess, his button nose covered in dirt, and the green of his eyes were dull.
"I'll get it back. I promise." The moment she felt Tahno stop healing, she scooted up to Bolin, grabbing him by the shoulders. "I won't let them get away with it."
Bolin shrugged, that same sad damn smile on his face. "I'll be alright."
Korra felt an uncomfortable knot in her stomach. "No—this is not okay. You can't just accept it. It's a part of who you are! They took that from you! And I'm going to get it back."
Bolin's shell of a smile finally dropped, his lips tight in a frown that simply didn't fit. "I'm not an earthbender anymore, Korra. If I don't accept it now—then when?"
She pulled him in to a fierce hug. She felt his arms wrap tightly around her as he buried his face into her chest. She ignored the hot tears that soaked her shirt. Her eyes hunted in the dark, finally settling on the unnatural green that glowed in the corner of the room."
The goggles, round and tinted green, taunted her.
"I'll do whatever it takes, Bo."
When she left the apartment the next morning, the sun low in the sky and the boys still asleep, she made sure to close the door quietly so not to wake them.
She hoped they wouldn't notice the tinted green goggles missing from the side table.
The next morning was all bad news.
Korra stumbled onto Air Temple Island, bruised and tired. She heard the worried shouts of White Lotus Guards before she was bombarded by several children on gliders. Masking her pain, she hugged them back with the same veracity before Tenzin came rushing over, pushing his children gently aside. The back of his palm flew to her forehead and he looked her over with worried eyes. "Are you hurt? Korra, where have you been? I've been so worried—"
Korra leaned forward, her head knocking into Tenzin's chest. "They took it," she whispered, ending in a weary sigh. She was too drained, too tired to be sad at this point. Hesitantly, she felt Tenzin wrap his arms around her.
"Korra," he paused and looked to his children, nodding for them to scram. Meelo and Ikki pouted but Jinora obeyed, dragging her siblings back to their mother. Tenzin let out a sigh before he gently pushed her away, tilting her chin up so she'd look at him. "Korra, Lin is gone."
Her eyes widened and Tenzin could see her memories rip through her eyes; he saw them shaking in her fingertips and glistening in the beads of sweat that smeared her hair to her forehead. Korra ran her tongue over her chapped lips, mouth parted, the words, she can't be I saw her I was right there, begging to roll off her tongue.
"She went after them," Korra finally concluded, and she wished she could yell at Lin right now. It wasn't Lin's job to save the city; it was hers, the Avatar! First Bolin and now Lin; Korra didn't want any more sacrifices.
She reached into her pocket and gripped the equalist goggles tight.
There would not be any more sacrifices.
Saying that Asami Sato's mansion was huge was an understatement.
Korra almost turned back—and it wasn't just because the hike up there was insanely steep. The gates of her mansion were silver steel. She noticed the faint patterns of gears and wires and other signs of the future, of industry, embedded in the decorations that branded her home. The Sato estate in itself was step into the future, with its new and original design aspects and its top of the line quality materials.
But Korra took a deep breath and grabbed the silver knock and gave a few good poundings anyway.
She waited for what felt like an eternity before the doors swung open, silent and without a noise, and revealed a small man in a black suit and glasses. He looked down at her, condescending, and opened his mouth as if to spew some regular speech when he stopped and checked again. He coughed uncertainly before he bowed politely.
"Avatar Korra, a pleasure."
She laughed nervously, returning a quick and hasty bow. "Yeah, I'm just here to check if Asami's home?"
The butler stepped aside and gestured for her to walk inside. "Wait here—I'll be back in a moment."
It wasn't a long wait. Minutes later, Asami Sato bolted down the stairs quickly and graceful. Korra smiled slightly when she watched Asami jump on the banister and slide all the way down the spiral staircase, landing gracefully at the bottom. "Hey, Lee, my father wanted to—" her voice trailed off when she noticed Korra standing by her door. "Avatar Korra?
Korra threw a thumb behind her. "Oh, your um…butler dude just went to get you. I think." She scratched the back of her neck nervously. "Sorry, I probably should have called or something…"
Asami shook her head. "No, no, it's fine!" She ran her fingers through her fine black hair before she asked, "So, would you like some tea, or something?"
Korra chuckled. "Tea or something would be great."
They sat in Asami's room, at a small table she had set off in the corner. Korra was extra careful with her tea, seeing as she was pretty sure the china was worth more than her parent's igloo. She would watch as Asami would pick the cup up with grace, pinky out, and try to mimic her actions.
The whole ordeal resulted in tea getting on her shirt.
Asami noticed and reached over, tapping Korra's wrist. "Please. Lap it up with your tongue if that's what you do. I don't care one bit," she laughed. Korra smiled, embarrassed, and settled for clasping the cup in her palm and taking long chugs.
"I'm a little better than my polar-bear dog, Naga," she promised and Asami giggled. The two shared light conversation before Asami picked up on Korra's nervous ticks and darting eyes.
"Korra?" Asami's voice was light and feathery, gentle and calm.
"Yeah?" Korra couldn't say the same for hers.
"…I'm sorry about what happened to your friend at the tournament."
Korra's shoulder sagged and she downed the rest of her tea—lukewarm and flavorless. "You see," she sighed. "That's kind of why I stopped by?"
Asami quirked an eyebrow. "Really?" She reached over and refilled both their cups.
"Yeah, you see…" She stopped short, staring at the steam that rose from the cup. She tipped her head forward, letting the smells drift through her nostrils and the spices tickle the back of her throat. It smelled like jasmine, known for its calming properties, but Korra felt anything but calm.
It didn't feel right what she was doing anymore. Ever since the fiasco at the pro-bending arena a few days back, that left not only Bolin bending-less, but homeless as well, she saw his spirit fade. For the first time in awhile, he was homeless again. Sure, Tahno had offered up his apartment and Bolin has moved in with him, but he saw it his green eyes, in the way he walked and talked. It wasn't the same. He was back to being the homeless, job-less boy he once was. She was sure by the way Bolin's laughs would be slightly strained, how the circles under his eyes blared from no sleep, that memories of his life on the streets—of his brother- kept creeping back, keeping him awake.
Was Hiroshi aware of Mako's ties with Amon? Was Asami? Her thoughts drifted back to the night in the restaurant. Mako was dressed up, talking closely with Hiroshi. Hood designs was it? Was he a top designer? Did he steal money from under Hiroshi's nose? Or…was it given to him willingly?
No, stop Korra. Don't think like that.
But then again…wasn't it one of the reasons she was here?
She blinked suddenly, trying to chase the name out of head. Focus on Bolin, she told herself. Korra became aware of Asami's gentle features, looking at her with concern. "You see," Korra continued, "My teammates were telling me that long ago, they actually…uh, knew you? Kind of?"
Asami looked genuinely surprised. "Really? I think I'd remember faces as cute as those," she snickered, taking a sip of tea. But then she considered it seriously, shaking her head no. "Sorry, I don't remember."
Korra tipped back in her chair. "Well, Bolin used to…work a lot of odd jobs. Including this mechanic job."
Asami's eyes lit up. "Oh, did he work for my father?"
No exactly she thought. "No, he—um worked for some guys who did some," she struggled with the words, the accusation. "Illegal street racing."
"Oh goodness! You know about that?" She peeked out her open door, as if checking for her father, before she said, "Well, you got to test the cars somehow, you know? And that track outback does little to...what's the phrase…have fun?" she paused. "Don't tell my dad, alright?"
Korra laughed. "Your secret is safe with me. So…you remember now?"
Asami frowned. "Can't say that I do—I've raced a lot of people, seen a lot of makeshift mechanics," she took another sip. "He wasn't one of my mechanics was he?" she whispered. "I always took some kids who were willing to help with pit stops in between races and what not."
Avatar Korra quirked a brow. "You'd hire any old kid off the street to work on your father's brand new cars?
The Sato shrugged. "Sure, why not? I like to give people chances—my father, no doubt rubbing off on me. He is all about giving people chances." Another shrug. "Humble beginnings and such," she mused. She perked up again. "Actually, he did hire a boy right off the streets! Became one of his finest designers. You met him the other day, at the restaurant? Mako!"
Korra squeezed the cup in her hand so hard, it shattered.
Face red with embarrassment, Korra struggled to pick up the pieces that lay in a puddle of warm tea. "Shit, I'm sorry, Asami…." She mumbled.
Asami chuckled. "Didn't like the tea?" Asami joked weakly.
Korra snorted softly, picking up the pieces and dropping them in Asami's open palms. She threw them away before grabbing a towel from her bathroom and patting down over the spilled tea. "Don't worry about it," Asami assured, noticing Korra's still red face. "But yeah, he hired Mako right off the streets." She threw Korra a dazzling wink. "You saw him-pretty cute, isn't he?"
Despite herself, Korra blushed because yes, the asshole was pretty cute.
Asami picked up on her deepening blush. Her mouth opened in shock. "Ooh, you do think he's cute! Can't say I blame you."
Korra bowed her head low, anything to avoid showing off her flaming cheeks. "I-I guess," she stuttered. She chewed on the inside of her cheek before rolling her eyes. What in spirits name was she getting flustered for?
Asami leaned forward. "I could set you two up, if you want?"
Korra snapped up, shocked. "What?"
"Maybe you'll have better luck than I did," The Sato shrugged. "A bit of a recluse, but my father saw something in him so he can't be all bad." She waggled her eyebrows suggestively. "So what do you say?"
Korra sat up abruptly almost knocking off the vase that sat on the table. "Oh, no, I'm fine you don't have to—" she trailed off quickly, her hands wringing together nervously. Asami laughed her songbird laugh before she jumped up and grabbed Korra's wrist and began dragging her out of the room and down the staircase.
"Where are we going?"
"Don't worry, you'll thank me!"
It was several minutes before they had walked far enough behind the mansion to reach the Sato test track. Korra stared in awe at the dips and curves of the track that set nestled on the foothills of the mountains behind the city. The asphalt sparkled in mid-afternoon sun and Korra smiled when a car ripped by, tires squealing, rubber burning. Asami walked by, ignoring the loud roars of engines and headed right over to the covered garage.
Korra was greeted by two mechanics, each working on a vehicle that was lifted and torn apart. She saw scraps of hoods, boxes of tools, and something that looked like paint in the corner. They greeted Asami first, extending the manners to Korra, especially upon learning she was the Avatar. Korra walked over and stared at her reflection in the shiny new navy coat that was applied to the hood while she listened to the mechanics babble about gadgets that made the car go faster.
Asami twirled a wrench in her hand, looking around. "Mako here?"
One of them nodded behind her. "Right on cue."
Asami whipped around, a bright smile on her face as she looked up at him. "Hey there!"
Korra turned around suddenly as he wiped his brow with the back of his hands before reaching into his pocket and grabbing a rag to wipe the grease from his fingers. He didn't appear to notice her. "What can I do for you, Miss Sato?" He asked politely.
His voice made Korra's heart speed and she turned back around, looking to maybe hide herself. But she tripped over a tool box, sending its contents sprawling to the ground with loud clanks and clatters.
All eyes were on her.
"You should really think about leaving your tools somewhere else," Korra offered nervously, wiping her hands on her pelt as she tried to play it cool.
Asami laughed the whole thing off before she looked up at Mako, all smiles. "Is that new model ready for me to drive?"
Mako stared at Korra a few moments longer before he looked down at the heiress and gave a half smile. "Almost."
She turned around and waved Korra over. "You added those extra cylinders I wanted, right?"
Mako sighed, suddenly tired. "Not all of them. But we added two, yes."
"You'd be surprised how much faster that already makes it."
Asami put her hands up in defense as Korra slumped over to her side. "Fair enough." She put her hands on the Avatar's shoulders. "You remember Korra, right?"
Mako watched as Avatar Korra scrutinized her with her sky blue eyes, her lips puckered in a pout. Her whole stance was defensive, on the tips of her toes, no doubt ready to back flip and knock him upside the jaw (again.) But as he studied her, observed her, his eyes kept drifting to her lips, soft and thin, and how they were warm when his lungs were full of cold water.
So yeah. He remembered.
"Of course," he said, but offered nothing else. Korra's eyes narrowed.
"Of course," she parroted, barely audible.
Asami kept looking between the two, deciding the tension between them was completely sexual. "So, Mako, I was thinking. I haven't been out racing in awhile."
Korra was a bit surprised. Mako knew about her racing?
But they both took note of his suspicious expression. "Right…" he drawled, daring her to go on.
She did. "So when the new model comes out, we should go out and…test it, if you know what I mean. All three of us!" She nudged Korra's shoulders. "Hey! You should bring Bolin and Tahno! I'm sure they could use a little fun right about now."
Mako made a choking sound. Korra would be lying if she said she didn't revel in his discomfort. "Do you think it's wise to bring her…" he struggled for the words and decided on, "teammates." He picked the rag back up and absentmindedly wiped grease from his palms that wasn't even there. "What if they got in trouble?"
Asami huffed. "They'll be fine—long as I'm driving. Besides, the police haven't been out much these past few days."
Korra frowned. ""Chief Beifong…" she whispered.
"What was that?"
Korra looked up at Mako, guilt obviously written across her face. "Nothing," she mumbled before turning to Asami, a faint smile spread across her cheeks. "You know what? That does sound like fun? We'll be there."
"Great!" She pointed to Mako. "You'd better be there as well."
He looked over at the mechanics, thankful for the distraction as they called him over. "…maybe," he said, but Korra could hear the opposition. But the funny part was she couldn't decide if she wanted him to stay away, like he should, or turn up so she could kick his ass.
She felt Asami tug her out of the garage. "He'll be there. Don't worry."
Korra didn't say anything in response.
Korra grunted as she continued to push Bolin down the streets. "Bo, cut it out! It'll be fun." She turned to Tahno. "Little help here?"
Tahno walked with one hand in his pocket, the other in front of his face, inspecting his nails. "Sorry, I'm a little busy right now."
She blew her bangs out of her face. "You ass."
"Hmm," he hummed.
The same routine went on for a few minutes: Bolin would dig his heels into the ground, trying to keep Korra from dragging him down the streets and Korra would bark at him to suck it up. She threatened to pick him up and carry him if he didn't shut up.
He squeaked. "You would never!"
She lifted him a few inched off the ground to prove her point.
"Okay, okay, I get it! Just save a guy some embarrassment and put me down!" he said quickly. With a laugh, she set him down. Bolin sighed, but his lips twitched in a small smile as he slung a lazy arm around Korra's shoulders. "Alright, so what's the big fun you have planned?"
Korra looked up, trying to find a street sign. "Are we three blocks from Dragon Flats?"
Tahno threw her a peculiar glance. "Four." He corrected. "Dragon Flats. Why."
Korra smirked. "You'll see."
As if on cue, a loud hot rod rounded the corner, complete with dark red, sparking paint and black detailing. It was a convertible with white seats and matching white wall tires.
It stopped right in front of them.
Tahno let out a low whistle. "Would you look at this pretty thing."
Asami removed her goggles and helmet before offering the trio a polite wave and smile. "Hey, Korra."
Korra nodded in acknowledgement. "Hey, Asami." She tugged on Bolin's sleeve. "Alright, hop in!" Korra didn't hesitate as she jumped right in the back, leaving shotgun for one of the boys. But they did not follow as readily as she had anticipated. She frowned at their slack jaws and wide eyes. "What's wrong?"
Bolin pointed at the driver. "That's…that's Asami Sato!" he squeaked. "Her dad makes these cars," he whispered loudly, as if it were a secret.
Asami laughed. "Yeah, including this one—which isn't even on the market yet. Thought we'd go for a test run…" she and Korra shared knowing smiles. "What do you say, Bolin?"
His hands flew to his mouth before he peeled them away just enough to whisper, "She knows my name?"
This time, Korra laughed. "Yeah, I told her about you. Now come on, we don't have all night!"
Bolin and Tahno looked to each other before the both shrugged, faces breaking out into smiles. "Shot-gun!" the both shouted, but Tahno managed to snag the seat first. Korra patted the seat next to her. "Hey! What's wrong with sitting next to me, The Avatar?"
Bolin's eyes lit up to match his smile as he hopped in beside her. "Nothing—in fact, I think I got the better end of the deal, Miss Avatar." He ruffled her hair and she sat back in her seat, pouting.
"Why didn't you guys freak out when you learned I was the Avatar? I'm a big deal too!"
Bolin opened his mouth to protest when Tahno turned around slightly in his chair. "I'm sorry, were we supposed to?"
The car engine rolled to life, masking Asami's laugh.
"Asshole." Korra murmured.
Tahno just smirked.
The pulled up to a poorly lit part of town; it was a bit noisy, shadowy figures lurking here and there. The only light came from headlights as other cars arrived. When Asami turned off the loud engine, Korra could hear the snide remarks.
"Aw shit, the princess is here."
"Look at those wheels."
"The wheels? How about looking at her—"
Asami rolled her eyes. "Just ignore them—they're sore losers." She jumped out of the car and removed her helmet, shaking her hair free. "I've got to talk to a few people. Just stay here." A sly smile twisted on her lips. "Maybe you can look out for Ma—"
"Okay cool I will!" Korra blurted before she could finish. Asami laughed lightly before she tucked her helmet under her arm and walked over to a guy in an expensive suit.
Korra felt the gazes before she heard the whispers. Some of them were low, dirty, remarks on her appearances. Korra and her friends were newbies, outsiders, in territory they'd never been in. She felt Bolin's arms wrap around her protectively, and all thought she couldn't see it, she was sure he was throwing them dirty looks back.
But most of them came from recognition. Her face was plastered all over the newspapers, so it wasn't much surprise that people knew who she was. They weren't in complete non-bender territory—she saw a few firebenders and waterbenders lurking about. But she saw a million different expressions among them all: fear, wonder, anger, disgust.
She didn't like it.
One man in particular came up to her, all sleazy smiles and oddly cut clothing. He had a cigarette in his mouth and she watched as he lit the tip with his finger. "Avatar Korra is it?"
Korra jumped out of the car, standing on the edge of her toes, chest puffed out, refusing to look small. "Yeah, what of it?"
He circled her like one stalks his prey. "What's a pretty thing like you doing in this part of town?"
She snarled a bit, baring her teeth. Bolin stepped forward, but Korra held up a hand to stop him before she took a step toward the man, her finger poking his chest. "Listen here, chump," she hissed. "We're just here to beat some of your scrawny little friends asses—that's it. So stop staring before I make you."
He didn't back away from her touch; instead he looked down, his smug smirk growing. "So you came to play is it? Well, I'm sure I've got something that'll make you race—OW!"
He cried out as Korra suddenly reached out and grabbed his arm, twisting it behind his back. He cringed in pain while she huffed, bored. "You were saying?"
"Hey now, I need Hiro."
Korra looked back up to see Asami and the man she was speaking with in front of her; Asami had her gloved hand to her mouth, trying not to laugh—but Korra saw the amusement twinkling in her eyes.
Unceremoniously, she dropped "Hiro's" arm and watched with mild amusement as he hit the pavement face first. He jumped to his feet, wiping it his clothes and sending Korra dirty glares. The bigger, heftier man just laughed.
"Now, The Avatar is one of our guests, Hiro. She's going to be participating in the races—you should be thanking her. The bets are large." Hiro grumbled while the pudgy man stepped forward, hand open. "I'm Goro."
Tahno stepped forward. "So someone's stepped up and created a ring of this thing, huh?"
Goro laughed a big, loud laugh. "Been awhile since you've raced, huh? Well, what the government doesn't know won't hurt them." He winked. "So, how are we going to do this? The usual?"
The conversation went back to Goro and Asami, leaving Hiro to throw her more dirty looks. He spat on he ground, right at her feet. "Pathetic. Do you even know how to drive? All you can do is bend—and I bet I'm even a better firebender, at that. What on earth are you doing here, little girl? Go home."
Korra seethed. She was tired of having people pressure her and try to scare her away. There was Amon, who captured her and attacked the arena and left Bolin without his bending. He was enough—haunting her dreams and making her confused as she saw Bolin's brother gone equalist all around town, lurking under her nose. He was trying to scare her. Tarrlok tried to manipulate her into joining the task force—and it worked! And what did it do? It got her captured, and she had to rely on Mako to free her. Korra knew this couldn't continue.
"You're the Avatar," Bolin said, smiling. "Start acting like it."
"Hey." She barked, and she was proud of the steadiness, the confidence that oozed from that one word. Goro and Asami turned. "I've got an idea—if you're up for a little…show?"
Goro smiled, all teeth. "Go on."
Korra stepped forward, attracting her friends and those around listening. "Six drivers, six benders—six teams. Each driver gets a bender to sit in the back. While they drive, the benders try to create roadblocks." She paused, thinking of pro-bending. "No rules. Lightning, ice whatever you want. Anything to slow the other guys down. So." She looked around, a playful smile on her face. "Who's game?"
The crowd erupted into cheers. Bolin though, grabbed Korra fiercely by the shoulder and whipped her around. "What are you doing?" he cried, worried. "You just made this…a lot more dangerous. And it was already bad enough—trust me. Right Tahno?"
Tahno was leaning against the car, face unreadable. But slowly he nodded, sighing. "I hope you know what you're doing, Korra."
Korra scoffed. "It'll be fine. Hey, Bolin, you know how to drive right?"
Bolin didn't think what her question truly inquired. "Well, yeah, I used to drive the delivery truck when I worked at Narooks, but," he paused, eyes going wide like saucers. "Me! You want me to drive?" He sputtered. "Ask Tahno! He's way better at it than I am—I've never actually raced."
Korra nodded to Asami. "He's going to be the waterbender with Asami. Besides, there's a first time for everything, right?"
"Oh come on!"
The Avatar was suddenly yanked from her argument and pulled into the crowd. "What's the rush, Asami?"
"I found Mako for you! Told you he'd come."
She shoved the Avatar in front of her, placing her beside him. "This helmet looks familiar—glad to see you came to the races, Mako." She suddenly darted off
Korra waited for Mako to take the helmet off. She saw the concern in his eyes as he looked left and right, checking to make sure the coast was clear. His scar looked a dull red in the dark of night before he looked down, a frown on his face.
"What on earth are you doing here?"
He sighed. "Making sure no one gets hurt," he murmured, before his cold expression returned. "Don't tell me you're driving—then there's no hope for any of us."
Korra narrowed her eyes. "I'm not. But my friend, Bolin is."
Mako tensed. She was certain she saw old flames, bright fire, flare behind his gold eyes before he quickly put the helmet back on. As he passed her, he bumped her shoulder. "Try not to get anyone killed," he snarled.
"Likewise!" she snapped.
"I still don't know about this, Kor." Bolin nervously drummed his fingers on the wheel of the satomobile. "This thing looks expensive."
Korra hopped on the back, settling in carefully. She cracked her knuckles, readying herself for the race. "Not really. Asami said it was abandoned—a couple of adjustments here and here and it's good enough to race!" she grinned. "So, you don't have to play nice to keep this thing in tact—all or nothing!"
Bolin swallowed. "Awesome."
Korra sighed and crawled over to the front, her lips ticking Bolin's ear as she whispered. "Come on, it'll be fun! Team Earth! We're the best duo Republic City has ever seen! We'll beat everyone—including Asami and Tahno."
Bolin sighed, and she heard him shake in his breath. "I hope you're right."
Goro announced the "rules" (There weren't any) People placed their bets as the six cars were assigned colors, seeing as each car was at least slightly different in shade. There were two firebenders, two waterbenders, and two earthbenders—Korra was acting as an earthbender, agreeing to only earthbending.
As long as her life, or any of her friends', wasn't in danger. Tahno and Bolin made her promise that.
Though, she wasn't too worried.
Korra looked down the row of cars and spotted Mako, compete with dark helmet that covered his hair and made it hard to see his face. Someone was worried about being found by Bolin. But as Korra picked up on mad thumping of her heart, she figured she was just as worried as Mako.
The worried feeling melted into pure competitive spirit and as the countdown began, Korra was looking to make sure Mako's car was the first to go down.
Korra was surprised at how the engine roared, how the tires squealed. She watched as Bolin threw the gear stick to the right and was off, taking off immediately. For a second she caught the side of his face; he was determined, strong, and steady.
Like an earthbender.
She was pulled from her thoughts when a flame licked at her side, singing some of her hair. She looked over and saw Hiro staring at her, smirking.
The driver, dark helmet and all, kept forward.
Bolin steered a bit to the left and Korra got an easier shot at Mako's car. She clenched her fists and earthbent several, sharp pellets of earth from the ground, releasing them at rapid fire at Mako's car. She nicked the side and put in a few dents, But Mako managed to dodge to keep them from blowing out the tire.
Korra looked straight ahead—Asami and Tahno had a strong lead, battling the other earthbender and his driver. Behind her, she felt the other firebender snap whips of fire her way.
Bolin suddenly yanked the wheel; there was a turn. "Hold on!" he yelped, and not-so-gracefully, the car ripped to the right as they went left; Korra held on to the side, almost falling out. She turned her attention back to the firebender and sent two large disks to the car—one of them popped the back left tire.
"Aww yeah!" Korra cheered, right before Bolin took another sharp turn. He swerved again when they avoided the earthbender that Tahno and Asami had taken out. She noticed the large daggers of ice that had popped two tires.
Not as far ahead as Asami, but still ahead, the other waterbender began throwing water and ice at her. Korra broke the ice but tossing rocks in the air to prevent them from hitting the car, but eventually the waterbender caught on, a devilish smirk on her face. Korra watched as the driver stepped on the gas and the waterbender used the extra space to lay down a sheet of ice on the pavement.
"Bo! Step on it!"
"But the ice-!"
"Just do it!" she screamed.
He did as she said and the car roared as he yanked the stick into higher gear. Korra took a quick breath before she made a ramp of earth.
The car flew up the ramp and in the air, past the waterbender, and right behind Tahno and Asami.
"Nice one!" Korra cheered. "Now we just have to—" she stopped when a flash of lightning crackled in her vision.
She narrowly dodged the attack and looked behind her—Mako had overtaken the other waterbender. Korra frowned, readying her rocks when another bolt of lightning from Hiro came her way, but this time, he aimed it at the metal mechanisms of the interior.
When the electricity faded, she watched as horror as Bolin's face hit the wheel, sounding the horn. He had been touching the metal and he was knocked out. "Bolin!" she screamed. She reached down, trying to wake him up.
Up ahead, a sheet of ice, laid down by Tahno, still remained.
"No, no!" she cried. She tried to move the wheel, but it was no use—Bolin's foot was still pressed to the gas.
The turn and the ice came up and with what she had left, Korra yanked the wheel to the left. The back left tire grazed the ice and sent them spinning into the intersection. The car fell on its side before it skidded, sparks flying as metal scratched the earth, and stopped suddenly as it hit a lamppost.
Korra had ducked in between the seats, bending what she could to protect herself—she was left with a large gash on her arm, but she was better off than Bolin. She crawled through the twisted metal of the car toward Bolin, who still unconscious, a gash on his forehead bleeding onto the wheel. She gripped his face and shook it slightly. "Bolin? Bolin, you got to wake up." She didn't wait as she looped her arms around him and tugged him free, dragging him out into the road.
There were few people out—but she did notice the lights that turned on in the surrounding buildings. "Bolin?" She spotted a nearby puddle and bent the water over, trying to search for some wound on his head. "Bolin, please, wake up!"
Tires screeched, and she looked up, expecting Tahno and Asami.
But it wasn't.
He ran toward her, throwing his helmet to the ground—the tinted covering cracked. "What have you done!" He growled, kneeling beside them.
Korra smacked him away—she wouldn't dare let him touch Bolin, brother or not. "ME? Your firebender electrocuted him!"
"You were supposed to take care of him!"
"Would have been easier without the electrocution!" Korra looked around. "Where is that little punk I should—"
"He's knocked out in the back seat." Mako said quietly. He kept his eyes trained on his unconscious brother. He nudged Korra. "Go on—heal him."
Korra growled, cradling Bolin closer to her, but she didn't yell back. The water hovered over his head, trying to find an injury—nothing she could heal was present. "He'll wake up—eventually." An I hope lingered in the back of her throat. One was never too sure with these injuries.
Korra watched as Mako reached out, his hand hovering over Bolin. It was then Korra noticed the fine lines, long, wiry scars that smeared his palms and fingers. She saw him swallow before he whispered, "Bo?"
He stirred, eyes still closed.
From behind, Mako and Korra heard the screeching of more tires. Mako ran to fetch his helmet. "I got to go," he barked, putting it back on. He pointed a finger. "Do a better job of taking care of him…" he said quietly, before he jumped into his car and drove away.
This time, the car that pulled up was Tahno and Asami. Asami jogged forward, Tahno right behind her. Korra was certain she has never seen her fellow teammate look so…guilty before.
"Was it…?" he asked, voice quiet.
There was no need for him to finish the sentence. "The ice made us swerve but—It was Hiro who knocked him out in the first place."
Asami bit her lip. "Spirits I had no idea it would get this bad." She looked at both Tahno and Korra. "I am so sorry."
Korra snorted softly, running her fingers through Bolin's hair. "Don't be. I shouldn't have turned it into what I did."
"Korra?" Bolin groaned, slowly opening his eyes. His hand flew to his head. "Ow…"
Korra laughed, thankful. "You okay?"
He slowly sat up, looking around. "I was unconscious, right?"
Korra nodded slowly. "Yeah," she drawled, noticing his puzzled face. "Why, what's wrong? Do you need something healed or—" her hands started darting all over him, looking for injury.
He knocked her away gently, a breathy laugh caught in his throat. "No, it's just…" his mouth fell into a frown. "I mean, I know its been years, but I thought I heard," he sighed. "It sounded like… him," he whispered, so soft, that only Korra heard.
Her stomach tied in knots.
She helped him stand up, and the four of them headed to Asami's new hot-rod, ready to go to the hospital. Tahno kept Bolin awake in the back, chattering about something Korra paid no attention to. Asami turned on the radio and soft jazz echoed through the streets as they entered better lighting, clubs and restaurants lining the streets.
"Hey, Korra?" Bolin eventually asked. She turned from her seat in the front and offered a tired smile. "Yeah, Bo?"
"Did that asshole firebender and his little driver get what he deserved?" he asked, all smiles, all jokes.
He has no idea, Korra thought.
But she laughed with him anyway.