The light of morning sun fluttered through Mako's loosely drawn blinds, hitting him directly in the eyes, causing him to groan and turn over. He didn't *want* to get up yet. Curling into a ball and throwing his pillow over his head, he mumbled his annoyance into it. It was just one of those days for the Firebender he had come home rather late the night before from his job at the factory, sore as could be. It had been a gruelling day of work and it was still affecting him into the early morning hours he hadn't gotten more than three or four hours asleep from the never ending ache in his back. Though Mako was usually one to work his way through the pain, he just couldn't find it in himself to jump up and go like normal that morning. He was sore and tired, and all he wanted to do was sleep. And besides it was his day off... but even then, he usually got up early. But not today.
Bolin had other ideas, however this was his first day of his new job, and he was going to let Mako know how cheery he was because of this.
Ever since his older brother had gotten his factory job to help support them, the Earthbender felt like even more a burden. He didn't enjoy seeing his brother so utterly exhausted, arriving home at twelve in the morning only to wake up at five to relive the laborious process. And so he decided he wasn't going to sit around uselessly anymore he was going to get a job, too! Thankfully, it wasn't too difficult. What with his status as an established Earthbender, he easily got a job as a guard for Republic City Park. The hours were reasonable and the pay was decent but most importantly, he would finally be pulling his weight around the place! He would finally start contributing to their small family! All of this built up excitement showed itself that morning, when Bolin woke up even before his brother, a humorously large grin on his features.
"C'mon, Mako! Get up and at 'er it's a new day!" Bolin shoved at his brother's shoulder good-naturedly, but Mako only grumbled in response. The Earthbender blinked down at his brother's prone form and when he poked him again and he didn't move, instead of incessantly annoying him until he woke up, he smiled softly and wandered away, shaking his head. Mako needed a day to just sleep in and relax he deserved it, that was for sure. And Bolin was going to allow him to just nod off in peace.
The Earthbender went about his tasks quickly and efficiently he went downstairs to the change room and took a shower and cleaned up before arriving back upstairs and changing into his crisp, new uniform. Slipping into it, he smiled at his reflection in the mirror before setting Pabu down on his bed and patting him on the head. "You be a good little Fire Ferret to Mako, now," he spoke in a baby voice to his pet, who purred in reply.
Bolin continued to finish a few more things before leaving he packed up his bag for the day, wrote Mako a note about how excited he was, and then scooted off out of the door with nothing more than a squeak from his pet, who wondered where he had gone. In his overzealous haste, Bolin, the notoriously hungry Earthbender, had even managed to forget to eat breakfast. But that was okay... he always had his lunch for later, he figured, patting his work pack happily as he clopped down a ladder and a set of stairs, walking out of the Pro-Bending arena.
Mako had packed him a lunch the night before, and Bolin smiled at this thought his brother was such a mama platypus bear. He would do anything to keep the Earthbender happy and safe it was utterly endearing, sometimes so much that Korra would tease him about it.
And so with enthusiasm pumping in his veins and happy thoughts of his brother's over protectiveness, Bolin carried off to his new job, never once thinking to actually check his bag to see if the lunch was in it.
As Mako heard the attic door shut, signalling his brother had left, he groaned before sitting up stiffly it was no use, he couldn't sleep. His body and mind were wired to getting up at a specific time, and that time was *right now*. And so stretching out sorely, that was exactly what he did. Standing up slowly, he reached around for his bathrobe and when he found it, he wrapped it around his lanky frame before climbing down the ladder next to his bed.
Walking across the short expanse that was their split kitchen and living room, Mako bent down and opened their small fridge, the first coherent thought crossing through his mind being whether or not his brother had grabbed his lunch for the day. The Firebender had blatantly told his younger brother that it was in the refrigerator the night before, and while he trusted his brother to have taken the time to look, he couldn't help but double check himself. It was a motherly instinct he had picked up over the years double checking things for Bolin's sake, knowing the absentminded Earthbender skimmed over important factors upon becoming ecstatic over something. Just like he had that morning.
And now was no different, because when he peered inside the small electric box, he saw the bag sitting on the shelf, forgotten in what he guessed was his brother's excitement and need to arrive at work a few minutes early.
Mako felt an irrational panic grow up in his chest if Bolin didn't have his lunch, then he obviously wasn't going to have anything to eat, and if he got hungry who knows what stupid things he would do just to find some food and thenThe Firebender bit his tongue, shaking his head to clear his foggy mind. He was just tired, that was all. But at the same time, the motherly side of Mako that had raised Bolin couldn't help but worry feverishly about his brother. Mako figured Bolin could always purchase himself a lunch, but when he looked over at the table where he had laid out a few spare yuans for his brother's use if he needed to buy something you know, just in case he saw that they were still there, and he sighed heavily.
Reaching forward for the lunch bag, he clutched at it and held it in his hands as he shut the refrigerator door. Staring down at it, he debated with himself what course of action he could take. If he ran right then, he might just be able to catch up to Bolin and deliver it to him, but then again, was it worth it? Mako frowned it served him right if he came home hungry, for being so careless as to not check like his brother had told him to.
And even though this was partly true, Mako couldn't bring himself to follow through with letting him brother go hungry today was a milestone in his brother's life, his first real job, and he wanted to make it as memorable and pleasant as possible for the Earthbender. And if Bolin was left miserably famished for the day, then his recollection of it would be less than enjoyable. Sighing again, he walked over to the ladder and slid on a pair of ratty, old flip flops and then made his way down the rungs.
As he exited the arena, he narrowed his eyes and peered out across Yue Bay at Avatar Aang Memorial Island's grand clock. It told him that it was just about eight and then it hit him that the train his brother was going to be taking into the inner city would be leaving the station in exactly ten minutes, and it was a twenty minute walk away. Cursing, he began to run in the direction of the smaller, less-centralized train station maybe he could make it there before his brother boarded.
The Firebender carried on and on, and finally rounded the corner and caught sight of the train station. He heard a train toot in the distance, and ran up the stairs as quickly as his legs would carry him he could make it, he could make it, he could and would make it before his brother's train left! He almost tripped on his flip flops as he climbed the stairs two at a time, but managed to catch himself. Turning another corner sharply, he saw through the crowd of people in front of him who were all staring at the scruffy, bathrobed Firebender strangely his brother's train, loading people on.
Stepping forward and looking for a familiar pair of bright green eyes, he caught them after a few minutes of searching there was his brother, a few yards ahead of him, smiling and handing his boarding ticket to a man before stepping up and onto the train.
It took a few seconds for Mako's sleep-deprived mind to process what was happening, but when he finally did and began running wildly in the now moving train's direction, it was too late. The train was chugging off, his brother sitting in it, none the wiser to the situation.
"Bolin!" Mako shouted at the train, as if he could hear him. "Bolin!"
Mako ran beside the train, waving the arm holding the lunch bag at it. However, it carried on without him. Sighing as he watched it chug away, he finally became aware of the commotion he made and the attention it had gained him.
His embarrassment intensified tenfold, however, when he heard a little girl's offhanded comment from somewhere in the crowd that was gathering around him.
"Mommy, why is that weirdo wearing a bathrobe?"
Mako, his cheeks bright red, peered down at his body then, and much to his mortification, realized he did not change before leaving the house. He had been in rush upon leaving, and had figured it would only take a few minutes, easily. But no instead, there he was, standing with nothing but his boxers and a bathrobe on, looking like an absolute madman.
Swallowing, he debated his options running back to the apartment and changing would prevent him from looking crazy, but there would be little point to it. He was already a good distance from the arena, and despite his embarrassment, saw no use in going home and changing by the time he got there and did his business, he could have delivered Bolin's lunch to him and gotten back to doing his own things for the day.
Setting his shoulders, Mako walked out of the station slowly, feigning forced confidence, his cheeks glowing the entire time. As soon as he exited the building, he bolted in the direction of the park, determined to somehow get there before his brother, trying to ignore the bewildered looks he was earning at every turn and bend.
It was a beautiful but scorching day. Mako felt the brunt of it as he ran, because by the time he arrived at the park's large entrance and was panting for a breath, he was covered in a screen of sweat. Grumbling, he wiped a trickle of it from his forehead Bolin better appreciate him doing this, because it wouldn't be happening again!
After catching his breath, he wandered into the park, ignoring the stares he was receiving. After some searching around, he found the person he was looking for standing on the bridge of the park, smiling and peering out over the large pond in its centre. He never noticed the bright eyes of the Avatar that had caught him walking about or how she continued to follow him discreetly.
Sighing and blushing furiously, Mako walked up to his brother and said his name. "Bolin."
The Earthbender seemed to be in a daze, because it took a few seconds for him to realize he was being talked to and to turn and acknowledge his brother. "Oh, hey, Mako!" he greeted him, grin simply growing at the sight of his brother. "Whatcha doin' here for? And" he pointed to his brother's attire and suppressed a chuckle. "dressed in that?" The Firebender's grip tightened on the bag in his hands, irritation flowing through his veins.
Mako observed the happiness flashing in his brother's pupils, and despite his annoyance at him for all the trouble he had caused him that morning, he couldn't bring himself to lecture Bolin, to put a damper on his spirit. Sighing, he slowly pushed the bag into his brother's hands. "Here, Bo," he started, "you forgot your lunch. I, uh, just wanted to make sure it got to you."
Bolin's eyes brightened at this, and he blinked at the bag, confused, before reaching forward and taking it from Mako. "I..." He turned quickly and opened his work pack and searched around inside it, and much to his embarrassment, noticed that the lunch in his hands that was supposed to be inside his pack, was not. "O-oh." He rubbed the back of his head sheepishly. "I guess I forgot."
Mako nodded at his brother, but said nothing. No words were exchanged between the brothers, though a plethora of other noises could be heard around them. After a few seconds, the Firebender shook his head and turned around, deciding that now that his duty had been fulfilled it was high time he returned home and changed into a proper set of clothes.
Just as he took a step, though, he felt his brother's hand on his shoulder, and he craned his neck to look at him. Raising an eyebrow in question, he waited for his brother to do something or say something. "Thank you, Mako," Bolin smiled genuinely at his older brother, and Mako felt his last bit of annoyance at the situation fade away.
"It's nothing, bro," he waved his hand passively, smiling a bit. "Well," he turned again, "if that's all, I really need to get back to the arena and, er, you know, change."
Bolin laughed and was about to drop his hand from Mako's shoulder when he remembered something suddenly, and if possible, his eyes brightened even more into a stunning shade of emerald. "Mako," he called his brother's name softly, and the Firebender blinked at him, awaiting his next words patiently. Stepping closer to his older brother, Bolin smiled and said, "Happy Mother's Day." The Earthbender embraced Mako then, whose arms raised slowly to return the hug.
His eyes widened at his brother's words he had completely forgotten about the occasion! When their mother had still been alive, it had been a day of innocent celebration. When they lived on the streets, it had been a day of bitter remembrance. But in the coming years, they had begun to associate the holiday with happiness again, even if they had no mother to celebrate it with. And so just like the year before, Mako hugged his brother and smiled, relishing in the rare moment.
A few more seconds passed before Mako heard a familiar voice from behind him.
Mako pulled away from hugging his brother then and turned to see Korra standing there, a smile on her face. He was surprised to see it was not smug, either it was a true smile adorning her features. But in a few brief moments, it transformed into an amused grin, and she was back to her old self.
"Nice robe, Mister Hat Trick," she commented, walking closer to the brothers, and he heard Bolin laugh from behind him and his face flushed furiously he realized in that moment that he was more humiliated by just Korra seeing him in his robe than if it were half of Republic City. The only difference at this point, though, was it was both of those parties staring at him.
When he made no comment, instead turning his face away to evade eye contact, she snorted and walked forward, reaching out and taking his hand. "Hey, Mako," she said then, and he reluctantly looked back at her. "I was just about to go get some tea and dumplings. Do you want to... I don't know... join me or something?" She had that same genuine smile on as before, but she was blushing, too, now and he felt the heat rise regrettably in his face again.
"U-uh," he started unsuccessfully, rubbing the back of his neck sheepishly. "S-sure, Korra." She beamed then, and began to drag him away from his brother. Turning back quickly, Mako shouted, "Uh, see you, Bo!" Bolin simply waved back at his brother, shaking his head, a goofy grin on his features.
He felt Korra's fingers intertwine with his as they walked. "That was really sweet, you know," she said to him after a few minutes of walking, and he recognized that she was referencing the moment he had had with his brother.
Thinking it over, he decided not to pick a petty argument with her in favour of protecting his pride and instead just nodded. "Yeah. It was." They walked a little further in silence before Mako realized he was still wearing his robe. Stopping abruptly, he whispered, "Hey, uh, Korra... do you think we could, er, go back to the apartment first so I could change?"
Korra turned and held back a laugh as she nodded at him, her hand muffling her words as she spoke, "Oh uh, sure, Mako." The two then started off, still hand in hand, in the direction of his attic apartment. As they walked, he squeezed her hand, once again not caring for those staring at them, and he noticed that she wasn't bothered being seen with the embarrassing sight that was himself.
Smiling, Mako decided that despite his internal soreness, that so far, he was having a pretty good day off, and an even better Mother's Day.