She’s gone off half-cocked again, thinking she can take on the entire world all by herself. When she finally returns home, cursing and making an ungodly racket, he sees that she has more broken bones and bruises on her than he’d like to count.
Bolin tries to help as best he can, but she just dismisses him with a wave of her hand and tends to her own wounds. But she can barely heal herself for crap (some great master Waterbender she is), and she’ll never ask for help. Never. At least his brother can get close to her, though, not that he wants to. No, this Firebender would rather not. Let Bolin play the nurse; let Bolin take the abuse. Mako is just too damn sick of it all.
Besides, if he were to make a move to come near her, she would just bend him through a wall or tell him to fuck off with such ferocity that she might as well have crushed him into the earth or slit his throat with her stupid ice dagger. He’ll never know why he puts up with her to begin with. Maybe it’s because of Bolin or maybe it’s because she is the Avatar: a Waterbending Avatar ruled by her emotions in the time of a revolution. Just peachy. Bolin would call it dramatic irony or some shit, but he’d be wrong. Korra is just a pain in the ass.
And when she comes back from fights like these, bruised and bloodied, he wants to grab her by the shoulders and shake some goddamn sense into her. Avatar or not, she is too reckless, too head-strong, too Korra. She’s the last one to ask for help but she’s the one who needs it the most. She shouldn’t be risking so much; she shouldn’t doing this all alone.
“What?” she snaps, looking up to see him frowning at her.
She’s trying to heal a fractured wrist, but she’s too emotionally spun and can’t concentrate. For all her amazing power and sheer force, she can’t manipulate that energy into something positive like healing. She can only bend destruction, like fire, and he often wonders if she was born in the wrong nation, the wrong era.
“You’re doing it all wrong,” he growls, knowing that he has risen to her baiting. She just wants another fight with someone she can win against this time, since she obviously lost the last battle.
Her blue eyes narrow dangerously. “Oh, I’m sorry, Mako. Are you, a Firebender, now an expert on healing and Waterbending?”
His hackles rise, and he takes a step forward while Korra stands defiantly to meet him. Shattered wrist or not, she can trounce him like a child’s rag doll. He would never stand a chance. But Mako isn’t the type to back down from a challenge. Sure, he might seem patient and level-headed to some, but his threshold for Korra’s bullshit is only so high and right now his tolerance is beyond tested; he’s reached his boiling point.
Already Bolin, the peacemaker, is stepping in between them, but Mako gently shoves his brother to side and faces Korra directly. Her eyes are still narrowed on the Firebender, her chest heaving rapidly with each breath she takes. Reaching out with two fingers, Mako touches her shoulder and pushes, forcing her to sit back down on the floor. She’s caught off-guard when he kneels beside her, gently taking her swollen wrist in one hand while his other cups water from the bowl next to her feet.
His actions are slow and deliberate, like a man trying to placate a skittish animal. He lets the water drain from his palm and through his fingers onto her wrist and trains his golden eyes on hers when she hisses in a short intake of breath.
“There are a lot of things you don’t know about me,” he informs her darkly, his voice thick as his fingers trace the purple-black bruise circling her wrist. “Concentrate on the movement of my fingers and imagine them as currents mending your bones.”
Her eyes are suddenly wide now, like liquid pools of sapphire, and he feels himself getting lost in them, if only for a moment. So often does she blur the line between what is real and what is imagined that he forgets why they argue so much, why they clash so brightly. She’s so stubborn yet so incredibly fierce, unwavering and steadfast like a tattoo on his heart, that he cannot picture anything or anyone else in the room but her.
She’s looking down at his fingers still drawing invisible lines on her skin, and she brings her dark fingers down to his, tracing over top. She closes her eyes in deep concentration and the water begins to glow as blue as her eyes. He’s aware that his fingers are now numbly cold and he looks down to see that her skin is already healing, the bruises disappearing and her bones beginning to mend.
Her voice is barely above an audible whisper and her face is turned, her hand already snatched away from his. Like every connection they have ever made, it is fleeting and cold when it ends.
He rises to his feet, feeling the cool water trickle down his hand and drip onto the floor. Maybe this hasn’t changed anything. She will still take off and fight without them; she will still claim to be able to do this all on her own; she will still get hurt and bruised and broken. But now, maybe, she’ll understand that she has people to come home to; someone who cares.
Author notes: Sadly, this was the first Makorra fic posted on ff.net or anywhere, 24 July 2011. I did manage to have some awesome art drawn because of it, as you can see from above. It’s titled Makorra Bruises by suiseiusagi.