Tenzin sighed as he gazed at the picture of him and Korra when she was just a child. She was such a happy and joyful little one, always wanting to spend time with her father.
"Taking a stroll down memory lane?"
He was startled when his wife appeared behind him, "Pema! Oh, no I was just um…doing a little cleaning." he said while dusting the picture with his sleeve, but his wife knew him better.
"Don't play dumb with me."
Tenzin sighed and placed the picture back on the wall. "They just grow up so fast."
"I know. Seventeen years. You should be proud."
"I am proud. But I can't help but worry."
"Honey, she'll be fine. Korra's strong, smart and very independent. You taught her well."
"But, what if it wasn't enough? What if she leaves home and she gets involved with a street gang or starts dating some bad boy, next thing you know she'll be dying her hair purple, getting piercings in places she shouldn't get pierced and she gets addicted to--"
"Tenzin! You're over reacting. I know it's hard letting your child grow up, but it's time. She's not gonna be your little girl forever."
"I just want her to be secure."
"She will be. Whatever she decides, she will do it in her own time." she kissed her husband on the cheek, "She'll be fine." she walked away, leaving her husband alone to think about what she said.
"Yes…she will be. I'll make sure of that."
The bell sounded, signaling the workers it was time to go to lunch. Korra wiped her forehead, her face covered in oil as were her cloths. "Phew! I had my work cut out for me today."
"You are dad's favorite employe." said Asami as she removed the ribbon from her hair. "I'm starving! What do you say we go to Narrok's for lunch. On me."
"Sounds good. I'm gonna go get the oil out of my face. BRB."
Korra waked into the girl's bathroom and cleaned the oil out of her face. She opened the sink to clean her hands then shook her palms to remove the water but, what happened next really took her by surprise.
Once the drops of water were off, they spontaneously…returned to her hand like magnets to a fridge. Korra arched an eyebrow and tried shaking the water off again, but the same thing happened once more. It was like the water was attached to her or something. But that was not the strangest part. The more she shook her hands, the more powerful the faucet sink became. Water came shooting out like a waterfall and Korra quickly shut it off before she caused a flood. She sighed in relief until she noticed the water still on her hands, then merging together to engulf her entire palms with water.
This was getting freaky bizarre. She took the towel and dried her hands. Much to her relief, the water was gone. A knock on the door was heard, causing her to slightly jump up.
"Korra, you done yet?"
"Uh, yeah. Be out in a second." Korra looked back at her hands, making sure there was no more water. Whatever this was, it certainly was strange.
Korra eventually decided to figure it out latter for her and Asami to have lunch. Narook's was her favorite place in the entire city. Asami drove them there on her convertible car. Being the daughter of a wealthy business man had its benefits. As they drove, they girls sang to a song on the radio.
The phone rings in the middle of the night
My father yells; 'what you gonna do with your life?"
Oh, daddy dear, you know you're still number one
But girls just wanna have fun
Oh, girls just wanna have fun!
The two friends laughed along together. Whenever they were together, it was always a treat. Even the seven birds enjoyed the rhythm. Pinkie Pie was dancing on top of the radio, making the girls laugh even more.
Not too far ahead, a young man was exiting the power plant where he worked to go to lunch. He fixed his red scarf and awaited for the cars to stop. However, he was not prepared for the incoming car, who didn't seem him at first.
"Asami, look out!"
Korra's scream was enough for Asami to react and push on the breaks. The young man screamed in terror but, thankfully, the car came to a halt just in time. Korra unbuckled her seatbelt and stood up, checking if the boy was alright.
"Oh my gosh, we're so sorry! Are you okay?"
"What is the matter with you?!" he shouted in anger, "You nearly killed me!"
"Sorry, It was my fault." said Asami, "I did't see you."
"How could you not see me? I was right in front of you!"
"We said we were sorry!" Korra responded, also shouting, slowly growing annoyed with his attitude. "Look, is there anything we can do to make it up to you?"
"Forget it. I think the near heart attack you have me is enough." he adjusted his scarf and walk on by, not giving the girls a second glance.
Korra growled in anger as she sat down and put her seatbelt back on and Asami drove off. "Some people just can't take an apology."
"Still, if you hadn't said anything who knows what could have happened. In a way, you kind of saved his life. And, you gotta admit, he was kind of cute."
"Are you serious?!"
"What? It's just an observation. Admit it, you thought he was cute too."
"Well yeah, he is but---"
"I knew it!"
"But it doesn't matter." Asami arched an eyebrow at her friend who simply crossed her arms, looking at the road in front of her, "What can I say, I'm substance over style."
Asami parked the car once they reached the restaurant with the seven birds behind them. Once inside the girls sat on their usual table, waiting for the waiter to take their order. From where they sat, Korra spotted from her window a man standing on a stool, shouting something from his megaphone.
"Are you tired of living under the tyranny of benders? Then join the Equalists." he shouted to the gathering crowd around him.
Korra groaned, "Not this again."
"For too long, the bending elite of this city have forced non-benders to live of lower class citizens! Join Amon, and together we will tear down the bending establishment!"
"Can you believe that guy?" Korra asked in disbelief. "Just because a few benders cause trouble doesn't mean they all do."
"Well, he does make some good points." said Asami, "Even if this whole Equalists propaganda is stupid, they are trying to speak up. All be it, the wrong way, but still."
Korra crossed her arms, "Okay, I get your point, but the more they talk about this Amon person the more I want to pull my hair out! If only other non-benders could see through this charade like we do. I mean, I'm a non-bender and I was raised by airbenders. Heck, wasn't your great-grandfather a firebender on your mother's side?"
"Korra, this is just the world we live in. People would rather see things in the black and white."
Korra slouched in her chair, "That's stupid."
"Sit up straight, you're in public."
"What are you, my wife?"
The waiter finally arrived with a notebook and pen. He was a tall pale skinned man with green eyes and a long mustache. He carried a notepad and a pencil. "Good afternoon, ladies." he said in a polite voice. However, they both couldn't help but sense an air of sleaziness to his tone.
"Um, are you new here?" Asami asked.
"Yeah, we've never seen you around here before."
"I just started yesterday. What can I get you?"
"We'll each have a salad, please." Asami said politely.
"And a shake, extra sprinkles! Oh, and one of those blueberry muffins." Korra added, earning an arched eyebrow look from Asami. "What? I'm hungry."
"I'll take one muffin too."
"Coming right up." but before he would leave, the waiter took notice of the streak on Korra's hair. It was peculiar thing to see, a sterling silver strand of hair among her long brown locks. "That is a peculiar hairstyle you have."
Korra realized he was referring to her streak, "Oh, um…thanks?"
"How did you get it like that?"
"Shouldn't you be getting our order instead of asking these questions?"
"Sorry, I just find it fascinating. Anyway, your meal will be up soon." as he walked away, Korra and Asami shared the same skeptical looks.
"That was weird." said the blue eyed young woman.
"So, you never told me, what are you going to do for your birthday?"
"I haven't really thought about it. But, knowing my dad, he's going to arrange a party at city hall. Even though he's not a councilmen anymore, he's still on good terms with President Raiko."
"Not to mention, you babysat his nephew that one time."
"We swore never to speak of that!"
Asami giggled, "Well, there's actually another reason why I suggested we'd come here."
"Oh boy, what did you do?"
Asami smiled as she pulled something from her purse and placed them on the table, making Korra's eyes widened in awe. They appeared to be tickets to an event. But not just any event.
"We're going to a pro-bending match. Tonight!"
Korra was speechless for a moment, "Are you serious?!"
"But, I thought it was sold out for months!"
"I have my ways."
"I can't believe you did this!"
The two girls jumped up and quelled with delight, catching the attention of everyone in the room. Fluttershy hid underneath Korra's bag due to the loud screams. Once they realized they were causing a scene, the girls calmed themselves down.
Pro-bending was the city's most famous, if not the most famous, game there was. It mainly consisted of two rival bending groups if three, each depicting the four elements; water, earth and fire, since Tenzin and his family were the only airbenders in existence. Korra had always wanted to see one with her own eyes, since her father wouldn't allow her to go to an actual match. And now, her best friend scored them both tickets!
"So, anyway." Asami began, "Since your dad's throwing a party tomorrow night, I figured we could watch the match tonight."
"Wait, tonight? As in, tonight, tonight?"
Korra cringed and her shoulders rose up in uncertainty, "Ehhhhhhhhh, I don't know."
Asami shook her head in disbelief, "Okay, let's see if I get this straight; not telling your dad about your job gets a free pass. Dressing up like a water tribe bicker chick, non issue. But sneaking off to see one pro-bending match, the first one you will probably ever get to see with our favorite team about to make it into the championship tournament…that's a big 'no-no'?"
"Believe me, I want to go, but I have a limit to how many secrets I can keep from my dad. You know I'm not good at big time lying!"
"Korra, this is huge! Weren't you the one who always wanted to go to a match?"
"Well yeah, but you know I never went to one because my dad thinks it's a "Mockery of the noble tradition of bending"!" she said in a deep voice. She looked down at the tickets, their shimmering golden edges sparkling in the sunlight with the names printed beautifully in plain sight, when a smile grew on her face, "Although, it would be rude not to take such a generous gift from my best friend in the whole world." Before long, the two were sharing the same evil, mischievous smirks while the other birds lowered their heads in worry. "I'm in!"
At long last, the waiter placed their order before them. "Thank you."
"Of course, miss. Anytime."
Korra immediately felt a shiver go up her spin as the waiter kept his eyes before walking away. Asami leaned forward and whispered, "Next time, we'll eat lunch at my place."
While the two girls ate their lunch, the waiter made his way into the back of the restaurant to take out the trash. Once outside, he took out a walkie talkie and spoke into it.
"You'll never believe what I found."
The young man from before had purchased his lunch from a nearby cart that was selling hot fresh kebabs. His was picky but he liked it that way. He still couldn't get over the fact that two crazy girls nearly ran him over. "Crazy drivers." he muttered under his breath, "As if I didn't have enough problems." as he ate, he was completely unaware that a pair of green olive eyes was watching him from afar. The short person took a stone form the ground and threw it.
Before he had time to blink, the man felt something hit him on the shoulder. He turned his head to look around and the green-eyed person leaped forward and stole his lunch, making a mad dash for it.
"Hey! Kid, stop!" The young man ran after the boy, who has the kabob in his hand, all the way across the street, bypassing people, mailboxes and so forth.
Asami and Korra finished their meal and readied to head back to work. Asami went to get the car when Korra spotted the kid running towards her. Her instincts kicked in and she grabbed the child by the shirt.
"Whoa, whoa, whoa, there kid! What's the rush?"
"He's after me!" he shouted in fear.
"There you are!" Korra turned around and her eyes winded when she saw who was running after the poor boy. "You?!"
The boy hid behind Korra and the young man tried to reach him. "Give back my lunch!"
"Hold up!" Korra placed her hands on his chest, keeping him away from the child. She looked down at the boy, studying his eyes. He looked so hungry and scared. All he wanted was food, and it was clear by the look of his cloths he didn't have any to buy his own. Feeling compassion, Korra allowed the boy to leave.
"Run along, kid." when he didn't move, she gestured with her head, smiling kindly "Go on."
The boy complied and ran away, leaving the owner of the meal very upset. "What was that about? You just let him get away with stealing?!"
"He doesn't have any money."
"The poor kid was starving. Let him have a meal for once."
For a moment, the young man was silent. Korra slowly removed her hand from his chest and she took a moment to study his appearance. He was much taller than she was with pale skin, golden amber eyes and spiky black hair wearing a red crimson scarf around his neck and a long dark colored jacket with black fingerless gloves. By the color of his eyes, she could tell he was a firebender.
Asami watched the scene from afar along with the birds, who were all silently waiting for something to happen next. The young man was even more amazed at what the woman did next. She reached into her bag and pulled out some cash and placed it on the palm of his hand.
"What's this for?" he asked.
"So you can buy lunch. It's only fair."
"But, you're just giving me money?"
"I can always make more. Let's just call it even."
"But, that's not how it works." he stated.
"What do you mean?"
"I mean, you can't just give money away all willy nilly like this."
"It's not 'willy nilly', it's just a simple nice gesture. Why is it so hard for you to take it?"
For a moment he couldn't find the words to say, "Because it's not what people do. That's how life is."
"Just because it's how it is doesn't mean it's what should be!"
Realizing he no longer had anything else to say Korra turned around and headed towards the car. Asami was still rather amazed as she took the driver seat and drove off, leaving a very amazed young firebender behind. He had never seen anyone do something so…generous before.
"What was that?" Asami asked as they drove along.
"All I did was give him money for lunch. It was the least I could do after I let that poor kid run off with his."
Asami only scoff and shook her head in disbelief. "You never cease to amaze me, you know that?"
"I was just being fair. No big deal."
"Wrong. Very big deal. Not everybody would have the guts to do what you just did."
"It's not about guts, it's about being a human being." she sighed as she leaned against the side of the car, looking at her reflection in the review mirror. "And you were right….he is kinda cute."
"Ha! I knew it!"
While the two girls drove off, the young man gazed down at the money he was given before stuffing it in his pocket. At least he wasn't going home empty handed.
The elderly woman loved nothing more than the smell of fresh ocean breeze. Her white hair bellowed in the wind when somebody approached her.
"Mom, you okay?" the man asked.
"Yes, Bumi. I'm just anxious to see her again."
"Yeah, me too. To think, tomorrow my niece is turning seventeen! It seems like it was only yesterday I was giving her piggy back rides and now she's turning into a young woman." Bumi wiped a tear from his eyes, "How times flies."
His mother only chuckled, "Oh, Bumi." but what her son didn't know, was that the elderly woman had other plans for her adopted granddaughter. Something she needed her to know before it was too late.
She only hoped she would understand.
He punched and kicked his brother with all of his might, but the youngest could tell that he was still out of it. He unleashed another blow, for which the youngest managed to dodge, grab his arm and flip him over him.
The oldest brother laid on the ground, grunting in pain. "Wake up, big bro. You're in a daze."
His younger brother helped him stand up and the two removed their training head gears and gloves. The oldest took a sip of his water bottle while the youngest wiped his face with a towel.
"You've been out of it since you came home. Everything okay?"
"I think so." the oldest sat down.
"Come on Mako, tell me!"
In all honesty, Mako himself still couldn't believe what had happened to him today. "It's just that girl."
His brother's eyes widened, "Oooooohhhh! A girl?! She hot?"
"What? Just a question."
"I don't know."
"How can you not know if a girl is hot or not?"
"I mean, I still can't believe what she did."
"What did she do?" he asked. His older brother now had his undivided attention.
"I went on my lunch break and these two crazy girls almost ran me over with their car."
"Wait, now there's too of them? Why didn't you say so before? One for each of us!" he slapped his brother's back enthusiastically.
"You want me to finish or not?"
"Anyway, I got my lunch but then some kid stole it and she let him get away with it. Then she….she gave me money to make up for it."
The youngest brother blinked his bright green eyes, "Wow. That's…that's actually really nice. I mean, really, really nice."
"I know! I've never known anyone who was capable of such…such…"
"Yeah. And now I can't get her out of my mind. I just can't believe it."
"Well, maybe your mystery girl will come to the match tonight. And if she does, can you introduce me to her friend?"
Mako only shook his head and wiped his brow with the towel, "It doesn't matter. We've got more important things to worry about. One act of charity isn't gonna be enough to pay for what we owe."
"Come on Mako, so one girl was nice to you, what's the big deal? Believe it or not, there are still nice people in this world."
Mako sighed with his back turned as he flung the tower over his shoulder.
"Not from what we've seen."
Mako walked out of the room and headed up to the attic, where he and his brother lived. It wasn't much for them and it certainly wasn't the life of luxury as Mako wished it was. But it was all they had for now. He hoped this tournament would help them in some way to get out of this life and into a better one.
I don't buy that
If only they'd look closer
Would they see two poor boys?
But one day, they'll find out
There's so much more
He sat on the windowsill, gazing out at the bay and at Air Temple Island. "Someday, things will change. For the better."
That was a promise.