Disclaimer: I do not own Avatar: The Legend of Korra or anything pertaining to it.

A/N: Just a little oneshot I thought of circa 1:30AM.

The Caregiver

"Makoooooo," Korra slurred out from her hunched over position on the tile floor.

"What are you doing in the bathroom?" he asked his roommate. "More specifically, what are you doing in my bathroom?"

She threw her hands out to the side. "Thinking about my place in the universe."

"Are you high?" Mako frowned, cupping her chin and making her look in his eyes.

"Nope! I told Tahno I wasn't doing that weird herb smelly stuff anymore."

"You mean pot," he corrected, still scanning her eyes. She gave a smile and laughed and he caught a whiff of the offender. "Are you drunk?"

She reached up and pinched his cheeks between her fingers, giggling. "You're so smart. And so cute, and I love you, Mako. I love you like a cat loves a bath."

"That makes no sense," he replied, going to put an arm around her and lift her up. "Let's get you some water."

"Let's - oh," she made a face and put her fist to her mouth.

He relaxed his grip and eased her back to the ground, reaching over to flip open the toilet seat. "You're okay, just let it out," he said soothingly, rubbing her back and holding her hair back with his hand.

"That's what she said," Korra joked, then looked down. Her shoulders jerked forward a few times but she neglected to expel anything from her stomach. After a few moments, she leaned her head back up and shook her head. "I'm fine."

"Stay here, I don't want you getting sick," he warned, returning to the kitchen. He pulled out the water pitcher and filled a glass, then collected a slice of cold pizza and brought it back to the bathroom, taking a seat beside her and leaning against the wall. "Drink this."

The inebriated woman took the water glass, drinking it quickly and coughing at one point. Some water dribbled down her chin and fell into her lap.

"So who took you drinking?" Mako asked, taking a bite of the pizza.

Korra took another sip after wiping her mouth on the back of her arm. "Bolin."

Of course he did. Bolin was the fun brother; Mako was the straight-laced one. He doubted Bolin intentionally got Korra belligerent, but the young woman from Alaska had very little exposure to drinking when she lived with her tribe. After she moved and began university, she wasted absolutely no time in catching up with her peers in experiences, and he found himself and his ex-girlfriend-turned-friend playing surrogate parents though Asami leaned more towards the 'fun' parent.

"Who brought you home?" he asked.

"I walked," she said. "I thought it would be a bad idea to drive."

He snorted. "No shit it would be a bad idea. But you can't just walk around by yourself like this. It's not your tribe back in Alaska. Something could happen to you, Korra. Something awful."

"I don't need the lecture; you're not my father, you know," she snapped hotly, putting the glass on the floor and moving away from him. "Every time I do something I get a lecture. 'Hey Korra, don't walk around by yourself. Hey Korra, don't drink. Hey Korra, be like me and just eat, shower, shit, study, sleep, repeat.'"

Was that supposed to be an impression of him? Mako frowned at the young woman. "You really think I want you to be like that?"

"Well, I don't know!" she said. "But it feels like that."

"Korra, I don't want you to be some robot who doesn't enjoy herself. It's college, have fun. Just be careful. You're a pretty girl, and I'd hate for something to happen to you."

Korra looked down at her lap for a minute, then looked back at him. "You think I'm pretty?"

"That's all you heard in what I said just now?" he laughed a bit, holding out the slice of pizza for her.

The young woman leaned in and took a bite as he held it, then chomped on it. Korra was completely different from Asami in every sense; she was more about brute strength, aggressive, outspoken, and captain of the club volleyball team. Asami was assertive, intelligent, and very capable, but she wasn't nearly as arrogant and hotheaded about it was Korra was. A lot of people, Bolin included, said Asami was a good match for him. They were compatible.

Compatibility was a load of bullshit. There was something about this young woman sitting on his bathroom floor with her legs stretched out; something about him that made him feel passionate about life. Asami pushed him to do his best, and while he cared about her, she always made for a better best friend of sister. Korra made him passionate about doing his best.

"Mako, I think I'm going to throw up now," she said, leaning back over the toilet.

He shifted to his knees and put the slice of pizza on the counter before returning to rubbing circles on her back and holding her hair back. She heaved a few times, then he finally heard the sound of an upset stomach relieving its contents. Finally.

"Yuck," she grumbled. "Tastes like ass and death mixed together."

"I don't even want to know," he said, going to hand her a towel to blow her nose and flushing the toilet. "I'll be back with some ginger ale." He went to the fridge and pulled a can of soda from the top shelf, popping the top and handing it to her. "Slow sips. I'll be back."

Mako went into Korra's room and flicked on the light. It looked like a warzone, as per usual, and he had a hard time figuring out what was dirty and what was clean. Truthfully, he was fairly certain Korra didn't know either. He changed his mind on getting her some fresh clothes and grabbed her toothbrush from the questionably clean sink.

"Brush your teeth," he said, handing it to her after helping her stand and putting toothpaste on it.

"Aye, aye," she made a mock salute.

The young woman turned on the sink and began obeying his instructions as Mako opened a top drawer and pulled out a pair of basketball shorts and a big T-shirt.

Korra was teeter-tottering in her wedge heels and he came up to put the clothes on the counter.

"Put these clothes on, then you can go to sleep."

She struggled to take off her heel, hopping around before knocking the soda can over. Mako groaned a bit and replaced the can of soda. "Sit down," he said, putting the seat of the toilet down and helping her there. He loosened the straps on both sides and pulled them off. "Get dressed now."

The amber eyed man returned to the kitchen and collected some paper towels and spray. He walked into the room, presuming Korra had already changed when he caught himself looking at her half-naked torso. She had a lacy white bra on that didn't leave much to the imagination and he quickly spun around when her eyes met his.

"Pervert," she teased. "If you wanted a show, all you had to do was ask."

Korra was never this flirty except when she was drunk and it pained Mako because he wondered if she was this way with everyone. She was beautiful and alluring and funny and sweet, but he could never tell if she meant it because it was him, or if she was naturally flirtier when she had a little liquid courage.

"I'm decent," she said finally, tapping him on the shoulder.

"Sorry about that," he fumbled over his words, blushing some when she pressed a finger to his lips.

"You talk too much, Mako," she said, a smile tugging at her lips. "So listen."

"Yes?" his breath hitched.

"Can I sleep in your bed tonight?"

His blinked in surprise. "Wh-wha-why?"

"It's softer."

He wanted to say, 'It's the same bed,' but he couldn't say no to her. He rarely found himself able to.

"Okay." Damn it, curse him for being weak.

She stumbled over to the bed and collapsed on it, snuggling into the pillow. What did she like so much about his bed? Maybe because she was already here and walking to hers (though it was just down the hall) seemed to inconvenient.

"You gonna be okay?" he asked after cleaning up the mess and rubbing her hair from her face.

The blue eyed girl grabbed his hand. "Stay here with me for a bit."

"Okay," he knelt beside the bed and rubbed her hair.

"You can sit on the bed, I don't have cooties," she sneered.

Mako chuckled a bit, and climbed over her. "You may not, but I do."

"You're so full of shit," she grumbled. "Always have been."

"Am not," he frowned at her.

Korra snorted this time. "You are. You lie when you say you're fine. You sound like a girl. 'I'm fine.'"

"Do not."

"Do too, bro," she retorted.

Bro. Bro. Just like he was to Bolin. That's all he would ever be to Korra - her 'bro.' He started to move off the bed.

"I'm not asleep yet," she protested. "So sit your ass back down."

There was sassy Korra. Apparently a bit of sobriety was starting to kick in. He wondered how sassy she would be when she found herself in his bed.

He rubbed her hair gently, trying to stay awake as his eyelids grew heavy.

"Thanks, Mako," she whispered into the pillow. "I like you taking care of me. If it was Bolin, he would have given me a concussion."

"You're welcome, Korra," he replied, finally closing his eyes after he thought she had fallen asleep. "I like me taking care of you, too."

The cerulean eyed girl had a faint smile on her lips.

Posted: 07/10/2012