Title: Korra & the Wolfbats
Fandom: Legend of Korra
Characters: Tahno, Korra, Ming, Shaozu, Wolfbat Fangirls, Mako, Bolin, Hasook, Ensemble
Pairings: Tahno/fangirls, Ming/fangirls
Word Count: 6,025
Summary: AU. What if Korra had met the Wolfbats that night at the arena? WIP
Disclaimer: I do not own Legend of Korra. This is only for fun & no profit is being made from it.
Chapter 5: The Competition Begins
Korra dodged an earth disc and sent a fireblast at Tahno. He blocked it and followed up with a water whip at Ming. A fireball slammed into him immediately after, knocking him down just as he hit Tahno with an earth disc. Tahno’s last waterblast connected with Korra’s chest.
They got to their feet quickly. Ming put the discs back into a neat pile. Tahno pulled the water from the floor and sent it back to the cooler. “That was really good, guys,” he said. “You’ve come a long way since that first match, Korra. I think we’ll be looking at our fourth championship soon!”
“I think you’re right, Tahno!” said Ming. “The other teams won’t have a chance.” He smiled at Korra. “We’ve got the Avatar.”
Korra blushed. Tahno wasn’t the quickest to praise her, so his words meant a lot. Getting his approval was a very big deal. He’d driven them hard the last week, especially her. He hadn’t taken kindly to her missing that practice after the gala. “Thanks.”
“I wouldn’t say it if I didn’t mean it. We’ll have one more practice tomorrow afternoon before the match,” said Tahno. “That’ll be it for today.”
“Well, you guys look like you’re ready for the tournament.” The Wolfbats turned to see a pair of women standing in the doorway. Korra had met Lian before at Narook’s, but she didn’t know the woman standing beside her.
Tahno gave a sly grin. “Nice of you to stop by, Rei, Lian.” He walked over to them. Korra remained beside Ming, trying and failing to hide her annoyance. Lian hadn’t been rude to her in their first encounter, but Korra wasn’t all that keen to see more of Tahno’s fangirls. “Let me get myself cleaned up and we’ll head out for dinner. How does that sound?”
“It sounds perfect,” purred the woman who had to be Rei. She was dressed in a deep burgundy dress, the same color as her hair. Her brown skin indicated Water Tribe ancestry, but her eyes were a vibrant green. She was beautiful, and Korra felt quite plain by comparison. She wasn’t exactly looking her best after a long practice.
“And what about after?” Lian chimed in, taking one of Tahno’s arms.
“My place.” His grin widened. “I’ll see you guys tomorrow. Don’t be late!” With that, Tahno put his arms around his fangirls and left the gym.
Korra crossed her arms. “I guess he’s busy,” she muttered.
“Does it really bother you that much?” Ming wanted to know. “He’s always like that. Tahno makes it clear from the start that he’s not interested in any kind of serious monogamous relationship. He doesn’t lead anyone on.” Seeing Korra’s pout, he continued, “Look, Korra, would you like to get some dinner? We can talk about Tahno there.”
Korra narrowed her eyes, not quite believing what she’d just heard. “Do you mean… on a date?” Admittedly Ming was good-looking, but he was nine years older than her. A large age gap might’ve worked for Tenzin and Pema, but Korra wasn’t sure she wanted to date a man nearly ten years older than her.
Ming laughed. “No, nothing like that! Just a friendly outing. I can take you to my parents’ restaurant, if you like. Ever had any Si Wong Desert food?”
She brightened up at that. “I haven’t, but I’d love to try some!”
After showering and changing, they hopped into Ming’s car and headed over to the Misty Palms Oasis. Snow was beginning to fall just as they parked in front of the restaurant. Korra watched the flakes fall with a wistful expression. “Homesick?” Ming asked.
“A little. It’s a bit weird living somewhere that isn’t covered in snow all the time,” she replied as they walked inside.
A woman who bore a clear resemblance to Ming greeted them. She had the same brown skin, pale green eyes, and high cheekbones. “Korra, this is my sister, Ah Lam.”
“It’s an honor to meet you, Korra,” said Ah Lam with a smile. “Let me show you to your seats.” They followed her over to a low table by the window. There were no chairs, only plush cushions. “I’d love to stay and chat with you, but I’m hostessing tonight. I’m looking forward to watching you in the tournament.” With that, she rushed off to seat some customers who’d just walked in.
Korra looked around the restaurant, taking in the sandbender décor. She’d never seen anything like it. Everything she knew about the sandbenders came from Katara’s stories. “Are you from the desert, Ming?”
“No. I was born here, but my dad came to Republic City from the desert,” Ming answered. “I’ve never been there, actually.”
“Can you sandbend at all?”
“Of course. I can give you a demonstration sometime if you’d like.”
When the time came to order drinks, Ming recommended a prickly pear soda to Korra and ordered a Cactus Cooler for himself. “It’s named that because it’s got a spoonful of cactus juice in it. That’s the secret ingredient,” he informed her when the waiter returned with their drinks. “Not something you wanna drink too much of if you’re not used to it.”
Korra laughed, remembering Katara’s story about her brother getting high on cactus juice during their time in the desert. “So I’ve heard.” She sipped her prickly pear soda. The flavor was quite unlike anything she’d ever had, but she liked it. “Your parents own this place? It’s very nice.”
Ming nodded. “They saved up for years- it was their dream to open a restaurant. They both love to cook.”
They ordered a plate of couscous to share. “What about you? Do you cook at all?” Korra asked.
“Tahno never mentioned this to you? When we shared an apartment, I did most of the cooking. I like it.” He gave her a small smile. “My parents taught me well.”
Her face went sour again at the mention of Tahno. Korra didn’t want to think about him being off with his fangirls. Much to her dismay, Ming noticed. “You shouldn’t get so worked-up over Rei and Lian, Korra.”
Korra turned her attention to the tapestries covering the walls. There were a few pictures hanging up here and there as well. Much like Narook’s had pictures of Tahno on the wall, the Misty Palms Oasis had pictures of Ming. It seemed his parents were proud of him. “You think I’m jealous of them?”
“Think you’re jealous? I can tell you are. It was obvious from that first dinner we had at Narook’s,” Ming replied with a chuckle.
Korra crossed her arms and glared at him. “Ok. You’re right. I’m jealous of them.”
Their conversation was interrupted by the waiter with their meal. The couscous was heaped in a large bowl and topped with vegetables and chunks of meat. No chopsticks were provided. Instead, Ming showed her how to scoop up the couscous with pieces of flatbread. It was very good, though Korra made a bit of a mess with the couscous in her first attempts to eat it. “If you’re interested in Tahno, why don’t you accept his advances? He’d love to get you in bed,” Ming asked.
“Well, I…” Korra looked down at the piece of flatbread in her hand, “… I’ve never done anything like that with anyone before. The Order of the White Lotus kept me shut up away from anyone my age at the South Pole. My only friend was Naga.” She sighed. “I’m not exactly ready to have sex with him.”
“Well, I guess that’s understandable,” said Ming. “If you’re looking for a romantic, monogamous relationship, you probably want to look elsewhere. Tahno’s not really into that sort of thing.”
Her face fell. The news really wasn’t a huge surprise; Korra knew that he liked to sleep around. She shouldn’t feel so disappointed, but she couldn’t help it. Somewhere deep down she’d been hoping he’d be interested in her as a girlfriend and not just a sex object. “I understand,” she replied, dejected.
Ming met her eyes, a sympathetic expression on his face. “Tahno isn’t cut out for monogamy. He’s been like this the entire time I’ve known him, and I’ve known him for years. You know about him, Shaozu, and I, right?”
“None of us were exactly faithful to each other, and none of us minded. We still cared about each other. I think it’s possible to have sex with different people while having deep feelings for someone.”
A confused expression came over her face. Korra hadn’t heard of such a thing before. She knew the Air Nomads of old never married, but had children resulting from casual sex. What Ming described wasn’t the same, but it was on a similar line. Well, it appeared to work out fine for him and Tahno.
Seeing her confusion, Ming reached over to place a reassuring hand on her arm. “Look, Korra, if you decide you want to have sex with Tahno, he’ll happily take you up on your offer. But you’ll have to be careful that it doesn’t disrupt the team and you’ll have to accept that he’s going to sleep with other people. That’s not to say that he wouldn’t care about you at all- he’s come to think of you as a true friend and not just a teammate.”
Korra’s face brightened a bit. She wasn’t exactly comfortable with the entire situation, but Ming had succeeded in making her feel better about it. As he drove her home after dinner, she thought on her relationship with Tahno. Would he be willing to date her if she said she was ok with him having sex with other people? It would be easier if she could just forget her attraction to him, but she couldn’t. His good looks and bending skills stirred up her feelings during every practice. Maybe she should get a second opinion on the whole thing…
“See you tomorrow for our first round match,” said Ming as he dropped her off.
“Thanks for dinner,” Korra replied. “And thanks for the advice on Tahno.”
“No problem.” Ming waved to her before driving away.
Korra did not have much time to ponder the situation, for she was accosted by Jinora and Ikki immediately after reaching Air Temple Island. “We’re feeding the lemurs!” Ikki exclaimed. “Wanna help us?”
“Sure,” Korra replied. Snow had continued to fall while she and Ming were out and now a blanket of white covered the ground. She followed the girls to one of the many lemur feeders on the island. A large basket of fruit was waiting for them. They began filling the feeder.
“So Korra,” said Jinora, “how are things going with that handsome waterbender of yours? You’ve been spending a lot of time together lately.”
“Um… well… he’s not really the type to have one girlfriend.” Korra struggled to find the words. How did she explain what she’d discussed with Ming to a couple of little girls? “He… kinda has a couple girlfriends already.”
They stared at her in disbelief, obviously never having heard about such a thing. I hope Tenzin never hears about this conversation. “You should tell him that you like him!” Ikki declared. “Then you can go live with him in a castle in the clouds for ever and ever and eat stars with moonbeams in your moonlight punch!” Korra had no idea what that was supposed to mean. Fortunately, Pema chose that moment to appear.
“Having some romantic troubles, Korra?” Behind her, Jinora and Ikki giggled.
“I… uh… Tahno’s not really interested in settling down romantically,” said Korra.
Pema gave her a knowing look. “You could just tell him how you feel. It worked on Tenzin.”
“What?” Korra exclaimed.
“Years ago, Tenzin was dating a woman who was completely wrong for him. Rather than watch the love of my life remain in a failing relationship, I told him how I felt. And the rest is history,” Pema explained.
Korra pursed her lips in thought. “Hm. I guess I could give it a try.” She recalled what Ming had said earlier. If Tahno did think of her as a real friend, maybe it would work.
I don’t think there’s anyone in Republic City luckier than me right now.
Tahno closed his eyes in contentment. He couldn’t be happier. Well, maybe that wasn’t entirely accurate- he hadn’t won the tournament for the fourth year in a row yet. Still, he was quite content.
Lian was between his legs with his cock in her mouth. He’d fucked a lot of people over the years, but he had to admit she gave one of the best blowjobs he’d ever had. It was getting difficult to focus on Rei. She straddled him, positioning herself so he could taste her. Tahno gripped her thigh with one hand as the other clutched at his bedsheets. He teased her clit with his tongue, feeling his own concentration slip away as Lian took him to the brink of pleasure. His head fell back on the pillows as he climaxed, a loud moan escaping his lips.
It took him a few moments to recover as the feeling of ecstasy faded from his body. “You do that so good, Lian,” he breathed. He didn’t have much time to savor it, for there was still Rei. He resumed his task. With long, slow strokes, he took his time pleasuring her. While hard and fast could certainly be fun, Tahno liked to make it last and get his lovers so aroused they begged for release. Rei was wet now, as wet as Yue Bay. It wouldn’t be long… He continued to move at a torturously slow pace, making Rei whimper with want. Finally, he allowed her sweet release. She shuddered with the force of it.
When it was done, Rei moved off of Tahno and lay beside him on the bed. Lian promptly took her position at Tahno’s other side. He loved the feeling of their bodies pressed against his. “Well Lian, seems like it’s your turn to be serviced,” he purred, sliding a hand down her back.
“Whatever you like, Tahno,” she replied. On his other side, Rei moved closer to him. Her green eyes were half-lidded in contentment.
Turning on his side, Tahno pushed Lian onto her back. She immediately spread her legs so he could move between them. He felt himself begin to harden as he gazed at her. She had great tits. They were round, full, and firm, just how Tahno liked them. He placed two kisses on her pert nipples before taking her tits in his hands. Meanwhile, Rei remained in position beside them. She watched intently, one hand drifting between her legs.
Tahno leaned down to kiss Lian. He didn’t stay at her mouth long; instead he ended the kiss and moved down to her neck. The smell of her panda lily perfume lingered on her skin. Tahno did not hesitate to bite- he knew Lian didn’t mind. She gave one small yelp, which only turned him on more. His mouth moved to her tits next, sucking on one nipple and then the other. This time Lian moaned loudly. Tahno smiled against her before moving a hand between her thighs. He slid one finger inside her, feeling how dripping wet she was. He removed the finger and licked it slowly. “Tasty, Lian.”
“I want you,” she moaned. “I want you now!”
“How bad do you want me?” He reinserted his finger.
“Bad!” she gasped. “Please, Tahno!”
Tahno’s smile widened. He liked to make his lovers beg. One hand reached for the tin of condoms he kept on his nightstand. Prolonged exposure to his many nieces and nephews convinced Tahno that he never, ever wanted children. He was always careful to prevent that from happening. He slid a condom on.
“Please,” Lian begged. Next to her, Rei moaned in pleasure as she rubbed herself.
He was so hard it nearly hurt. There was no point in waiting any longer. He entered Lian with a smooth thrust. She wrapped her firm legs around his waist, forcing him deeper inside her. Ah she feels good, so wet… He was fully sheathed inside her, which only made him thrust harder. Lian didn’t enjoy rough sex quite like Rei did, but she did like it when he got a little rough with her. Tahno leaned forward to nibble at her neck once again. She responded by tightening her legs around him.
Rei came with a shudder, her cry interrupting Tahno’s appreciation of Lian’s neck. Before Rei could wipe her fingers on his sheets, he grabbed her hand and sucked on her fingers, all the while continuing his hard thrusts. Always so tasty. The tide of pleasure was rising in him now, building to a wave. Lian was close to climax too. Tahno’s hand drifted down to give her clit a rub.
That did it. Lian climaxed with a shout, arching her back and thrusting her hips against him. Tahno’s climax followed immediately afterward. The release felt so good. He was reasonably confident they would win the tournament, but Tahno would be lying if he said he felt no stress or pressure at all. He had to blow off some steam, and Lian and Rei were perfect for his needs. They’d been with him ever since the Wolfbats’ first championship season and remained among Tahno’s favorite lovers.
He rolled off of Lian and propped himself up on the plush bed pillows. They could stop now, for all three of them had come at least once, but Tahno was not yet satiated. He looked over at Rei, reclining on Lian’s other side. “Rei,” he drawled, “I haven’t fucked you yet.”
She gave him a sultry look. “You want to?”
“I think you know the answer to that question. Come over here.” He patted the space between him and Lian. Rei complied, curling up next to him. Tahno took a moment to appreciate the feeling of her plump tits against his chest. Lian shifted beside him and moved up on the pillows. “Don’t worry, Lian. We won’t neglect you,” Tahno assured her. “I know you aren’t worn out yet.”
Lian made no response other than a smile. Rei took the opportunity to situate herself between Lian’s legs. Tahno moved behind Rei, guessing what she intended. He placed his hands on her waist, slowly sliding them up until he reached her tits. As Rei bent down to pleasure Lian, Tahno’s fingers were on her nipples. He was perfectly happy to take her any way she wanted, from the front, from the back, or whatever. He kissed her back as he squeezed her tits. One hand moved downward to part her. In front of them, Lian squirmed in response to Rei’s skilled lips and tongue.
It didn’t take long for him to get Rei wet. Might as well get to the best part now. He put on a fresh condom and positioned himself at her opening. He slid inside her easily, causing her to pause and cry out in pleasure. She felt just as good as Lian did. Tahno liked the different sensations he got from fucking her in this position. Rei liked it too, for it was getting more difficult for her to please Lian as her own pleasure mounted. It made Tahno thrust faster until he came hard. “Rei!” he gasped as he spent himself. She came at the same time he did, taking a moment to finish Lian off before collapsing on top of her. Tahno flopped down onto the bed. Rei and Lian curled up at his sides. He felt completely relaxed and sated.
Now all he needed to do was win the championship.
“As you know, we’ll be going up against the Badgermoles tonight,” Tahno began. They stood in a team huddle in the locker room. It would be time for them to enter the ring in a few minutes. “They might think they have the advantage on us because we have a new and inexperienced player. They might even say that wolfbats are afraid of badgermoles. They would be wrong. We are gonna kick their asses so hard they won’t know what hit ‘em!”
Korra and Ming cheered loudly. “We haven’t been a team for very long, but I’m confident that we’ll perform like we’ve been playing together for years,” Tahno continued, pausing to flash Korra a smile. “So let’s go out there and show them what we can do! The championship is ours to take!” The end of his speech was punctuated by more cheering. Ming was looking forward to the match quite a bit. He had a particular dislike for the Badgermoles’ earthbender and captain, Heng. Back during the Wolfbats’ rookie season, he’d taken it upon himself to insult Ming’s sandbender heritage. The arrogant bastard was from an old Ba Sing Se family and was convinced he was the spirits’ gift to earthbending. Kicking his ass was always a lot of fun.
They took the last few minutes to adjust their uniforms and padding. Tahno made sure his hair looked perfect before putting his helmet on. It wasn’t long before they heard the Badgermoles being announced. The Wolfbats stepped out onto the platform. “And now, your defending champions, the White Falls Wolfbats!”
The crowd erupted in cheers and screams. Women, and a few men as well, could be heard screaming “DO ME, TAHNO!” and “I LOVE YOU, MING!” Ming was certain he heard a few Wolfbat howls as well. That was something their official fanclub liked to do. They waved to the crowd as the platform brought them to the ring. They were quick to take their usual positions in the ring: Tahno in the center with Ming and Korra at his sides. “Remember what we’ve gone over in practice,” Tahno instructed Korra. “Coordinate your attacks with Ming and I. We’re a pack. You got that?” She replied with a determined nod.
As soon as the match began, the Wolfbats went on the attack. “And they’re off! The champs waste no time unleashing a barrage of bending.” Ming sent three earth discs at the Badgermoles, which Tahno followed with waterblasts. One of the discs connected with the firebender just as he aimed a fireblast at Korra. She dodged it and intercepted a waterblast heading for Ming. He concentrated his attacks on Heng, launching a cavalcade of discs in his direction. One made a very satisfactory collision with his chest, knocking him into Zone 2. He was soon followed by his teammates. “The Wolfbats take Round 1!”
“Round 2 begins and both teams hammer away at each other. The Wolfbats are hitting the Badgermoles and the Badgermoles are hitting back just as hard!” An earth disc caught Ming in the chest. As his feet slid across the zone barrier, he caught sight of Heng’s smug expression. You just wait. I’ll put you in the Drink before this match is over!
Tahno was busy sending a relentless stream of attacks at the Badgermoles. Korra covered him as he went on the offensive, incinerating a pair of discs before sending out some attacks of her own. However, they were both hit and joined Ming in Zone 2. Tahno immediately resumed attacking, cracking a water whip at the nearest Badgermole. It struck him squarely and pushed him into Zone 2. “The Badgermoles take Round 2!”
The Wolfbats formed a team huddle before the final round began. “Come on! We can’t go down to these pricks! Let’s make it a knockout!” Tahno encouraged them. “Let’s do this!” They took up their positions. Ming narrowed his eyes, focusing on Heng. As soon as the round began, he attacked. Numerous discs went flying at the Badgermoles. Some of them connected. A fireblast from Korra smashed into the waterbender, who fell back to Zone 2. He focused his attacks on her in retribution, but Tahno smacked them aside with a water whip as Korra slid out of the way. “It looks like the Avatar has learned to move with the champs. No wonder she’s been absent from the papers lately- she’s obviously had her nose to the grindstone in the gym!” Korra kept the pressure on the waterbender, determined to get him in the Drink.
Ming reflexively somersaulted over a fireball, wasting no time pulling up discs before landing. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw a disc hit Tahno and push him into Zone 2. Ming continued on the attack, feeling some satisfaction when he sent the firebender to join his teammate. Tahno took care to protect Ming while he continued on the offensive, taking out several retaliatory fireblasts.
A triumphant yell came from the other side of the ring- Korra had just sent the waterbender into the Drink. Two more to go. Korra turned to the firebender now. She sent a steady stream of fireblasts at him. Tahno was still on the defensive, protecting his teammates while they attacked.
Heng’s sneering face was pasted before Ming’s eyes. His voice echoed in his ears: you need to learn that sand hog-monkeys like you have no place in pro-bending. The memory filled him with anger. I’d like to show you some sandbending right now. There was another shout as Korra finished off the firebender. He might be able to sandbend if there was a cloud of dust…
Korra incinerated a pair of earth discs heading for Ming, filling the air with smoke and dust. That was it! He bent the dust enough to cover himself, so subtly that no one would notice what he was doing. Very few people in Republic City were familiar with sandbending. Using the cover, he lunged for Heng. Two discs smashed into his chest and wiped the sneer off his face. He went sailing off the back of the ring to land in the Drink.
“Yes!” Ming shouted in triumph, raising a fist in the air. Tahno was quick to pull him into a hug, joined right away by Korra. “And the Wolfbats win with a knockout! The champions advance to the second round of the tournament!”
When they separated, Tahno met Korra’s eyes. “Big improvement from your first match. Good job, Korra.”
She blushed faintly at his praise. “Thanks, Tahno.” They continued to strut around the ring for several more minutes, waving to the crowd and soaking up their applause. This was what they lived for, the rush of adoration that came after each victory. Ming and Tahno were addicted to it.
When they went back to the locker room, Hana, Rei, and Lian were waiting for them, along with a crowd of fans asking for autographs. They signed a few, with Tahno showing Korra what to do, before security came to disperse the crowd. The ladies remained, along with someone else Ming was quite happy to see.
“You guys were awesome out there!” Shaozu exclaimed. “You really kicked their asses!”
Ming put a hand on his shoulder. “I wish you could’ve been out there with us, Zu.” He glanced back at Korra, hoping she didn’t feel left out by his comment. He’d never deny that she’d become a real friend and a valuable addition to the team, but Shaozu was one of the people he loved most in the world. Luckily, Korra seemed more occupied with Tahno than what they were doing.
Shaozu, evidently not wanting her to feel left out, turned his attention to Korra. “You were really amazing, Korra! I enjoyed watching you bend. Not just anyone can take my place, but you did a great job!” He gave her a wide smile.
Korra’s blush deepened. “Thanks. I’m sorry that you aren’t able to compete.”
“Don’t worry about it,” Shaozu replied.
“Will you be joining us at Narook’s, Zu?” Ming asked.
“Of course! I wouldn’t miss it for anything! I’ll need a ride with one of you, though- Mom dropped me off here. I can’t exactly drive like this.” He gestured to the cast on his right leg.
“We’ll be heading over there as soon as we’re done here,” Tahno replied. Rei and Lian were removing his padding. Ming didn’t miss Korra glaring at them out of the corner of her eye as she removed her own padding. It might not’ve been as blatant as it was yesterday, but it was obvious she wasn’t over her jealousy yet.
After everyone had showered and changed, they headed out to Narook’s. Narook had clearly been expecting them, and led them to their usual table. Tahno took his seat as if he were the Earth King on his throne, Rei and Lian immediately taking their customary positions at his sides. Ming and Hana sat on one side of the table; Korra and Shaozu on the other. It was good to see Zu back at Narook’s with them. The last few visits hadn’t been the same.
A few fans approached their table shortly after they sat down. Ming didn’t mind signing autographs while out in public, and Tahno positively soaked up the attention. Korra seemed a bit uncomfortable with it all, which was understandable given her previous experiences with Tarrlok and publicity, but she handled it well. The fans dispersed when the waiter came to take their orders. Ming was amused when Korra ordered an Icefall without hesitation. He could’ve gone for a Cactus Cooler himself, but he contented himself with a tall glass of firewhiskey. It heated his blood, and made him all too aware of the closeness of Hana’s body to his. Waiting until later for victory sex was becoming more and more difficult.
The food was delicious as always. Everyone ate quite a bit, and no one was ashamed of it. Once they were done eating, Rei and Lian all but draped themselves over Tahno, who responded by putting his arms around them. Ming slid an arm around Hana’s waist. Across the table, Shaozu was keeping Korra too occupied with conversation for her to glare at Rei and Lian. That was probably for the best.
The mood changed when Lian brought some of the restaurant’s other patrons to Tahno’s attention. “Hey Tahno, aren’t those the Fire Rats or something?” she pointed to three people sitting at a table by the door. Ming picked out Mako and Bolin easily; the other person had to be their waterbender, whose name Ming could never remember. He’d spent a whole twenty-four hours as a prisoner of the Equalists with Bolin, which blurred the lines between pro-bending rivals. The boy’s boundless optimism and enthusiasm reminded him of Shaozu.
Tahno’s face broke into a lazy grin. “I do believe you’re right, Lian. Why don’t we go over there and pay them a little visit?” He rose from his seat and gestured for everyone to follow him. Ming stood automatically, along with the ladies. Shaozu needed a bit of assistance from Korra, who was looking extremely uncomfortable with this development.
“Tahno, I don’t…” she began, but Tahno either didn’t hear her or decided to ignore her. He sauntered up to the Fire Ferrets’ table and positioned himself right next to the waterbender. He took one look at Tahno and scowled.
“Well, well, well, if it isn’t the Fire Ferrets, pro-bending’s saddest excuse for a team. Tell me- how did a bunch of amateurs like you luck your way into the tournament?” Bolin was cowering before Tahno, looking like he wanted to disappear into his bowl of noodles. Unfortunately for him, this didn’t escape Tahno’s notice. “Oh wait, now I remember. You got in by cozying up to big money.” He gave Bolin a lascivious grin, making very clear what he meant by “cozying.” Ming frowned a bit; he didn’t expect Tahno to make a comment like that, considering some of the things he did when they were just starting out.
“Tahno, stop it,” said Korra. “Leave them alone.”
He continued to ignore her, turning his attention to the waterbender. “You’ve got to be the most pathetic waterbender I’ve ever seen. You should watch our matches, little boy. That way you might learn some real waterbending.”
The waterbender tensed and started to rise from his seat, but Mako stopped him. “Don’t, Hasook.” He punctuated his statement by glaring sharply at Tahno. Ming thought he saw those amber eyes drift over to glare at Korra once as well.
Tahno smirked, completely unimpressed. “You wanna go up against me? Go for it. I’ll give you the first shot.”
“I’ll just have to hope we get a match against you,” Hasook growled.
“I’ll look forward to it.” Tahno turned on his heel and left Narook’s. Everyone followed close behind him. Korra looked like she was on the verge of losing her temper, but held it in until they got to the car.
“Why did you have to do that, Tahno? You didn’t have to be a jerk to them! Mako helped us rescue Ming, and I told you he was grateful to you for helping him rescue Bolin!”
Tahno waved a hand dismissively. “Oh lighten up, Korra. They’re not our friends; they’re our rivals. Nothing wrong with a bit of trash-talking. It’s as much about what goes on outside the ring as what goes on in it.”
“But you still didn’t have to be so mean to them!” Korra retorted, raising her voice. “They didn’t do anything to us! They were just eating and minding their own business!”
“Just because I worked with Mako for our mutual benefit doesn’t mean we’re best friends now! It was a temporary alliance!” Tahno yelled back. “I’m just having some fun messing with them.”
At that moment, Ming was grateful that he was driving and Hana was in the passenger seat next to him. He disliked arguments and liked being stuck in the middle of them even less. Fortunately, neither of them tried to drag him into the fight. Though, he reluctantly admitted to himself, Korra did have a point. After what they’d gone through together with the Equalists, he couldn’t quite see Bolin as just another pro-bending rival.
Korra and Tahno were silent the entire drive to Air Temple Island. When they finally got there, she muttered a brief goodbye before quickly making for the water. “Don’t forget that we have practice tomorrow!” Ming called after her. She gave him a short nod before disappearing beneath the waves.
Tahno continued to sulk until they reached his apartment. Lian and Rei will have to work hard to cheer him up tonight. After dropping him off, Ming and Hana headed to her apartment. It was time for the private portion of their victory celebration. Ming needed a distraction. Right now he preferred not to think about how a rift between Tahno and Korra would affect the team.
Korra trudged up the steps to the pro-bending arena. She wasn’t exactly looking forward to practice today. The argument with Tahno was still fresh in her mind, and she was willing to bet the same was true for him. She wished the entire thing hadn’t happened, starting with the taunting in Narook’s. So much for asking him if he’d consider dating me. She hadn’t seen this side of Tahno before, and she didn’t like it much.
Why did he have to be so attractive?
“You almost had me fooled.” The voice cut through her thoughts. Korra turned to see Mako standing on the steps, looking not at all pleased to see her. “You helped me save my brother, and I’ll always be grateful for that. But you didn’t do anything to stop Tahno last night. I was almost thinking of you as a friend!”
That stung. Korra was beginning to think of him as a friend too. She found him quite good-looking as well. “I tried to stop him, but he didn’t listen to me!”
Mako crossed his arms and looked away from her. “You don’t think I agree with what Tahno said… do you?” Korra stammered.
He sighed heavily, but did not face her. “We’re competing against each other in the tournament. Things are different now.” He walked into the arena, giving Korra only a single backward glance.