Admitting your fears is the first and most difficult step in overcoming them.
Title: The Free Fall
Fandom: The Legend of Korra
Pairing(s)/Characters: Mako/Korra; Bolin, Tenzin, Lin Beifong, Katara, Tenzin’s kids.
Summary: He should have recognized her immediately, but even after the acknowledgment hits, it’s still some time before the true appreciation of it lands home.The journey of their first year in Republic City together, as seen through Mako’s eyes.
Author’s Note: Prompted by sache8: He should have recognized her name. Spoilers for 1.01 and 1.02.
He should have recognized her name.
The epiphany washes over him in an instant while Bolin is still trying to figure it out - water and earth and fire, and huh, you can really do all three? – and the urge to slap his palm across his own forehead is slight, but there. She is the talk of the city, after all. High-spirited, young, rash, (pretty, a few had gone out of their way to mention) and altogether earnest. The new Avatar. He should have recognized her immediately, but even after the acknowledgment hits, it’s still some time before the true appreciation of it lands home.
After she joins their pro-bending team, he doesn’t know what to do with her at first. They’re opposites in so many ways and it’s always clashing; where he’s methodical and calculating, she likes to shake things up and do everything off the cuff. Bolin gets along with her like two peas-in-a-pod, and Mako contains a sigh because he had enough trouble keeping his brother’s free-spirited nature in line; now there’s two of ‘em. Honestly, he doesn’t even get Korra, though he supposes she’s always upfront about what she’s thinking or planning to do. He grew up hard, the responsibility of his little brother’s welfare weighted heavy on his shoulders since the age of seven. So how can she be so guileless when the measures of her responsibility are a hundred-fold? It isn’t a lack of understanding; he’s positive that Korra takes her duties seriously.
He supposes his main problem is that he always imagined the Avatar as old, stately, and poised, thinking of Avatar Aang’s statute presiding over the gates of the Republic City. The girl in front of him is not any of those things. She takes things labeled non-flammable as a personal challenge. As a firebender, he can appreciate that. As a person with a healthy sense of sanity, sometimes he’s just plain disconcerted by the smile the stretches across her lips just before she destroys something.
Still, she makes a good member for the team. Even if the pro-bending rulebook that he brought her after that first match remains unopened, much to his frustration. Still, they’ve made it to the finals because of her help.
That’s all that matters, for now.
He’s glad that Korra doesn’t tease him when he works around to asking about her firebending defenses. It stings the pride a little, but he’s man enough to admit he can always improve in some way and he might learn a thing or two. Instead of just offering a tidbit or two, she circles around him and positions his hands in the exact placement needed.
“You’re too tense, Mako. Loosen up a little bit.” He takes a breath, and tries to lessen the stiffness in his shoulders. Unsuccessfully, if Korra’s rolling eyes are anything to judge by. “Just ease back a little. I swear the world won’t end if you learn to relax.”
“I am relaxed!”
She sighs. “Look, it’s like when you taught me how to cook Sweat Sour Crab last week. I generally read recipes the same way I read science fiction. I get to the end and think, Well, that’s not going to happen. But you took the time to point out the small stuff along the way, and we worked it out. It’s gonna have to be like that again. Start small, and work towards the bigger stuff. But you gotta trust me. And the first rule of at The School of Korra is: relax a little.”
He takes a breath, deeper this time, and lets it go slowly.
She smiles in approval. “Good, now, first we gotta differentiate between what moves you already know, and which ones work best for you. If Tenzin were here, he’d say something like, Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad, or something like that, and we’d spend the entire hour trying to figure out what any of that had to do with defensive training. But me? I go by a different philosophy on figuring out what moves work best for you. Basically…” her eyes darken with mischief. “Think fast!”
The firebolt comes out of nowhere, and he should have known Korra’s idea of starting slow was trial by fire – literally.
— Continue here…