Mako enveloped her in his warmth. For the briefest of moments, she let herself crumble against him, soaking up the warmth that his embrace offered. Too soon, he moved away to look over his shoulder. Bolin sped towards them, throwing his arms around both of their necks. She fell into them, welcoming the safety they both offered. She'd never admit it aloud, but she was still terrified of Amon, and knowing he'd been so close to those she loved and being able to slip in undetected
well, that just made it all the worse.
When they finally pulled apart it was not on her part.
"I think you should all head home for the night and get a well-deserved rest," Chief Beifong said, standing beside the ragtag group of teens and adults with her hands on her hips. She overlooked the arena, deciding what orders to give next. Her squad, though battered and shaky, stood at attention around her waiting for them.
Mako and Bolin exchanged a worried look. "Uh, ma'am, this was our home," Mako said cautiously, slowly moving his eyes to meet hers.
She blinked at him with a bored, unconcerned expression. "That's not my problem," she told them, "You're both grown boys, I'm sure you'll manage." She threw Korra a glance that none of the men caught. With that, she turned and began barking orders. Her squad scattered in all directions as she marched away leaving Mako and Bolin looking a worse for wear.
"Don't worry you guys. You can stay at the Air Temple," Korra said enthusiastically, understanding the look she'd received and realizing it was a good way to keep them close to her. She looked over her shoulder at Tenzin, batting her eyelashes and showing an abnormally innocent smile full of teeth. "Can't they Tenzin? Two extra hands to help wouldn't be a bad thing, especially with Pema so close to her due date." Her tone was coaxing, offering all the good things, but not lighting on any of the bad.
Tenzin sighed, grabbing the bridge of his nose. He looked to Chief Beifong across the room. As if sensing what their conversation was pertaining to, she gave him a slight nod. "Fine. Let's go before something else happens," he muttered, sweeping away with a flourish of his robes.
"Is it really alright?" Mako asked Korra, watching Tenzin march away in a huff, "We wouldn't want to be an inconvenience and what about his wife? Will she be alright with it?" He looked down at Korra. He felt the sudden urge to wrap his arms around her and tell her everything was going to be fine, course through his bones. Shoving the urge into a little box, he crossed his arms hard over his chest to keep it locked away.
Her usual smile lit her face as she looked at him. "Oh, I'm sure she'll love both of you," she told his confidently. Her smile turned contemplative and she looked towards the destroyed dome. "It's going to be Meelo, Jinora, and Ikki that you'll have to watch out for, especially Ikki and Meelo." She groaned just thinking of the things those two might do.
"What do you mean?" Bolin asked curiously. He'd heard stories of the problems they'd caused, but never met them before. How bad could they really be?
Korra grimaced. If only he knew. She sighed in defeat, saying, "You'll see," and trudged after Tenzin.
Pema was at the door even before it had fully opened. Her eyes blazed with fury and worry. "What happened?" she shouted angrily, getting in both Korra's and Tenzin's faces, "I heard that Amon still got in and destroyed the arena. You two better tell me what happened right now or so help me, I swear I'll-" Her words cut off when she suddenly realized they had company.
She studied the two teens for a moment before a bright smile split her face, highlighting the light blush that had ran across her face. "Oh! You're Mako and Bolin aren't you? Korra's told me a lot about you," she said, throwing a knowing smile at Korra who seemed blush ten shades of red in under a second.
"Can they stay here? Please Pema. Their home was destroyed," Korra asked, trying to get her blush under control by changing the subject.
Pema laughed, all her early anger forgotten. "Why are you even asking? Of course they can, I'd be happy to house them," she said, turning to the brothers with a bright smile, "You two can stay as long as you need. I know it's not much, and you'll probably be sharing a bedroom with Korra, but I hope you'll like it here."
Korra, Mako, Bolin and Tenzin all stopped it whatever musings they'd been having. They stared wide-eyed at her, mouths dropping open. "D-did she just say what I think she said?" Bolin asked, looking to Korra for answers.
She didn't get the chance to answer because two blurs flew past them accompanied by twin gusts of wind. Laughter filled the small space, maniacal laughter. Korra let out a groan. It had already begun. Her suspicions about the disturbance were confirmed when Jinora padded out of the kitchen, her nose characteristically shoved in a book.
"Daddy!" one of the yellow and red blurs screamed, pouncing on Tenzin's shoulders like a cat pouncing on a mouse. Tenzin stumbled forward, his hands instinctively reaching up to steady his son who had taken to gnawing on his head.
Ikki came to a screeching stop in front of Korra and the brothers. "Ooooooo, it's Mako and Bolin! Hi! Why are you guys here? Are you spending the night? Like a sleepover? Are you having a sleepover with Korra?" she asked, spouting off questions so fast that it was a wonder she hadn't suffocated yet, "That's so cool! It's a big kids' sleepover! Can I join? Can I braid your hair Korra? You'd look so pretty! Where are you guys going to sleep? Are you going to sleep in Korra's bedroom with her like a real sleepover? That's awesome!" She gave them no time to answer, running circles around them.
Korra's face went even redder than before followed closely by Mako and Bolin. They looked helpless. They looked to Korra with pleading gazes. Korra grinned teasingly. "You guys can take grown men and women, but you can't take one little girl?" she asked. Her smile froze in place as she heard Ikki's next question.
"Do you like Korra, Mako? Do you think she's pretty? Are you two dating?" Ikki shouted, speeding overhead on a ball of air.
right back," Korra said casually before whipping around, fury burning in her blue eyes and shouted, "Ikki! Get back here!" She shot off in the direction the little girl had disappeared. She chased her in one giant circle before slapping her foot into the floor. A wall appeared in front of Ikki and she instantly slammed into it.
"Point for Korra," Jinora said from her perch by the window, marking a tally mark on a page in a small notebook. Both sides of the page were filled to capacity.
Ignoring Jinora, Korra grabbed the back of Ikki's poncho and slapped a hand over her still blabbering mouth. "For the love of all that is holy, stop talking!" Korra cried her face a bright hot strawberry red.
Ikki wriggled in Korra's strong grasp. Realizing she couldn't escape through conventional means, she narrowed her eyes up at Korra. It was only a moment before Korra felt the wet sliminess of a tongue slide across her palm. She grimaced in disgust, but didn't remove her hand.
Mako and Bolin watched the whole exchange with curious eyes.
Ikki lathered up her tongue as much as she could and smeared it across Korra's palm. It was too much for her to handle. "Ew!" Korra screeched, releasing the guilty air bender from her hold. Ikki sped away, giggling like a crazy woman, and of course Korra gave chase.
"And that's another point for Ikki," Jinora murmured, putting another tally mark on the page labeled with Ikki's name.
"I'll show you to Korra's room and the bathroom. I'm sure you guys will want to change and to take a shower and some sleep," Pema said good-naturedly, easily tuning out the mayhem being caused around her by her family. Even Tenzin hand joined in, attempting to pull Meelo off of his head only to have beard hair ripped out.
"Ugh!" Korra growled as she flung herself face first into a pillow, "Why do kids have to be such a handful?"
"Says the woman who was teasing us about the same exact thing only moments before," Mako quipped from her perch on the edge of Korra's bed. He had a boot in hand and a rag in the other. Face it shining shoes was better than dealing with Ikki and Meelo any day.
"Shut it," she grumbled from the pillow, looking up at him. She stuck out her tongue and then wrapped her arms around the pillow to watch him.
She looked very inviting at that moment, and it took Mako a second to get his hormones in check. "Whore + moans = hormones," he thought to himself. He froze in the shining of his boots. That fact that he'd even thought that spoke volumes about what the night had done to him. He needed sleep, now, even though he knew he'd probably never sleep with Korra just sleeping inches away from him.
To reverse his mind of its thought course, he looked down at the young woman in question with a raised eyebrow. "Do you realize that you're getting water all over Bolin's and my beds?" he asked. She'd come in right after her shower without drying off all the way. Maybe it was a water bender thing, but it was not helping with his hormone crisis. And it also didn't help that she hadn't bothered to put on any other clothes besides her undergarments leaving a lot of skin exposed. Nope, didn't help in the least, though he wasn't complaining and wouldn't complain. The water dripping from her bangs and running down her exposed skin and the way she was curled around his pillow made her look vulnerable, cute, maybe even a little sexy.
Once again, Mako attempted, and mostly failed, to bring his teen mind to a screeching halt.
"And your point is?" she asked, raising her own eyebrow at him. A teasing smile twisted her lips. She tried to hide it behind a frown, but failed miserably. "If you're so worried about it, come down here and throw me off them yourself."
"Maybe I will," he said, rolling his eyes at the ceiling. This girl had no shame in any sense of the word.
"Maybe you won't," she challenged, curling around his pillow even more and then burrowing into the blankets. When she stopped, only her lean, tanned, very exposed legs and her bright blue eyes were visible. Even without seeing her mouth he could tell that she was smiling by the way her eyes lit up and crinkled at the corners.
"Oh, you think so?" he asked, setting down the shoe and cloth he held to emphasize his point. He stared down at her, his lips pressed into a line that looked as if he was trying not to smile.
"Yeah! You're just a scaredy-cat," she taunted. The words were barely out of her mouth when he launched himself at her. She let out a laugh as she tried to get away from him, throwing the blankets and pillow in her face.
"Oh really now?" he asked, snaking his hands under the covers and grabbing onto her ankles. He pulled her toward him even with her flailing legs before latching onto her sides.
"No!" she cried out, more laughter spilling from her mouth as he proceeded to mercilessly tickle her. "No more! No more!" Her laughter turned into gasps for air. Tears glistened in her eyes.
"Are you sure?" He paused his hands, giving her time to answer before attacking her again. His hands rested on her sides. Her warmth soaked into his palms, spreading up his arms. He tried to ignore it.
"Yes!" she gasped out.
He smiled in triumph. He removed his hands from her sides, but instead of moving away, he found himself grabbing her wrists and pinning them above her head. She looked as surprised as he felt, but he neither of them attempted to even pull away.
They stared at each other, memorizing features they hadn't noticed until now and rememorizing features they'd already memorized hundreds of times. They were so very close. So close that it would only take a slight lowering of his head from their lips to connect and sparks to fly.
She looked up at him with wondering eyes that almost begged him to close the distance. And he so very wanted to give in. His mind reeled with the reasons for why he should and shouldn't, why it would be wrong and right. He really didn't care at the moment in time. Shutting down his brain, he let his instincts guide him.
He leaned forward and brushed his lips against hers. Electricity jumped between them. It sparked a fire low in his body. That simple brush left him wanting more. He gave in and pressed his lips more forcefully to hers. It wasn't a moment before she was kissing him back. This time, he was the one to deepen the kiss and begin the war for dominance. When they were forced to pull away for air, it was to both of their disappointment.
"This time, it's your fault," Korra gasped, staring up at him with hazy eyes.
A corner of his mouth curled up. "You're blaming me?" he asked. Déjà vu struck him. He thought it was funny how their roles were suddenly reversed.
"You kissed me," she said in a slightly arrogant voice. Her own grin curled up her lips.
"You kissed me back," he countered. Yes, it was his fault this time and he knew it full well. Did he care? No and he was going to enjoy every second that he could get out of it. With that thought flowing through his mind, he silenced her before she could even give a semi-coherent retort.
Hours later, after Bolin had stumbled in, Tenzin peeked in the room. Moonlight streamed through the bedrooms open window, illuminating the scene before him. Almost instantly, dark red began to creep up his neck. He was going to blow his top if someone didn't stop him right then and there.
Good thing Pema was standing by for such an occasion. She peeked around her husband into the room, comprehending the seen before her much sooner than her husband had. She smiled at the three teens curled around each other on the floor. How they'd ended up like they had, she didn't know.
Korra, Mako and Bolin all lay on the futons in the middle of the room. Korra lay on her back, her mouth slightly open with soft snores echoing from her throat. She had her arms stretched above her head, one bent underneath her head while the other rested above Mako's head. Her snores were nearly drowned out by Bolin who lay on her left side, his arm thrown haphazardly across her flat, exposed stomach. Mako, the quietest of the three, lay on Korra's right facing her, his arms thrown across her chest pulling her closer to him. Naga and Pabu had claimed the bed for their own.
"Those little-" Tenzin began, but was cut off by Pema.
She placed a gentle hand on his shoulder, smiling kindly up at him. "Leave them be Tenzin," she said in a motherly voice, "Allow them this little piece of heaven. Who knows when they'll next get a glimpse of it? The road will only get harder for them from here on out." She tiptoed past him into the room, carrying a folded blanket over her arm.
She opened it, placing it gently over the three teens. Crouching down, she somehow managed to softly kiss Korra on the forehead. She brushed the hair from Mako's and Bolin's faces before struggling to her feet and heading back towards the door.
With one last look behind her, she saw Korra shift and turn in her sleep, wrapping a possessive arm around Mako's waist. Pema smiled, shutting the door softly behind her.