Part 1 – The Jerk Enters
“Well, well, well. If it isn’t the Fire Ferrets, probending’s saddest excuse for a team. Tell me, how do a couple of amateurs, like you, luck your way into the tournament. Especially you, Ah-vatar.”
“Welcome to Republic City, this city was founded by Fire Lord Zuko and Avatar Aang after the Hundred Year War. This now serves as a safe haven and refuge for immigrants all across the United Republic of Nations. Our city has had significant high-rise development as well as the widespread use of automobiles, motorcycles, and airships,” someone announced on the docks. A fond smile crossed your face and you couldn’t help but shake your head as people of the city boasted about what a wonderful place it was. Carefully you slipped through the crowd and maneuvered around small fish vendors. “It’s great to be home,” you said quietly and glanced up at the bright blue sky while you inhaled deeply.
The smile on your face became a grin as you considered the fact that you could go see your childhood friends Mako and Bolin. You had to admit it, you missed the two brothers and you needed to catch up. The pace of your walking increased as you rushed through the crowd until you bumped into a teenager pushing a cart. “Sorry!” you said with wide eyes as some cabbages toppled out of the cart. You hurried to scoop them up while the teenager looked close to tears. “First my grandfather, then my father and now me… why?! My cabbages,” he sobbed and buried his face in his vegetables. You blinked at this. ‘Alright then..’ you thought to yourself and carefully placed the cabbages back in the cart, all but one that is. “Here, to make it up to you I will buy one,” you said hoping to pacify the upset vendor. He looked up at you with tearful but hopeful eyes.
A small laugh escaped from your lips, there was nothing like home. You handed over the money and even bought a second one just for good measure before shoving it into your messenger bag. “Have a good day,” you told him and gave a small nod before turning on your heels and walking away.
Downtown was bustling with people as always and it remained as you had remembered it for the most part; it’s hard to believe you had been gone for a whole two months. Your feet lightly pounded against the cobblestone street and tall buildings stood towering over you, and created a nice amount of shade. Even with all the activity that seemed to be taking place, people seemed a lot more twitch and glanced about nervously. With a shake of your head you buy, with what little Yuan you had on you, a newspaper and flip through it carefully to see what had been happening in Republic City since you left. A group of strong benders by the name of ‘Triple Threat Triad’ cause many problems in the Downtown area.
“The Avatar Korra recently caught all members of the Triad using elemental bending. She displayed potential and power but a lack of control and precision. Chief BeiFong had this to say…” you read quietly to yourself with wide ___ colored eyes. The Avatar was in your home city? You continued to skim through the article as it talked about all the destruction the new Avatar had caused. You groaned when you saw the very last sentence on the first page. “The ‘Triple Threat Triad’ has escaped from custody and the police force has asked everyone to report any sightings of the wanted criminals.” ‘Great’ you thought sarcastically and folded the news paper. You would read the rest later.
At last you made your way to a Narook’s Seaweed Noodlery where Bolin had decided to meet you. He said something about Mako working but you were perfectly happy to see at least one familiar face. You stepped into the Cuisine and inhaled deeply with a content smile. It almost smelled heavenly and your stomach growled. Honestly you hadn’t noticed just how hungry you were until this moment. “___!” a voice shouted and you looked up from your daydreams about all the food. Before you could open your mouth to reply the black haired boy had scooped you up into a tight hug that made it hard to breath. “B-Bolin,” you sputter and wrap your arms just as tightly around the earth bender.
Very reluctantly Bolin let you go and gave you a large smile. His green eyes met your own ___ colored eyes as he rubbed the back of his head. “How are you?” you asked excitedly and allowed him to lead you over to a table where he had already ordered noodles for the two of you. “Great, great really! We have the Avatar on our probending team! How cool is that?” He answered excitedly and broke his chopsticks. You raised your eye brows and slowly broke your own chopsticks apart. “What happened to Hasook?” you asked suspiciously. Bolin slurped up his noodles loudly and gave a little pout. “He didn’t show up to our match against the Platypus Bears and Korra offered to take his place as the water bender on the team.”
You nodded in understanding and slurped some of your own noodles. By now Bolin had devoured about half his bowl of noodles. “Alright then, any teams you are worried about?” you asked. Bolin coughed as if choking on his noodles and you gave him several hard pats on the back. Finally he gave you an appreciative smile and pointed at the newspaper that was sticking out of your bag. Carefully you pulled it out and spread it across the table between the two of you. Your friend flipped the paper over to the back and pointed at an image of a pale looking boy with black hair and unfriendly looking eyes.
“His name is Tahno and he is a nasty dude, you don’t want anything to do with him ___. He is the captain of the White Falls Wolfbats and he is the waterbender for their probending team. I’ve heard they are really tough to beat and they don’t like us at all. Korra stood up to Tahno the other day and scared the crap out of him – it was actually pretty funny but I think they dislike us even more now. They will not be going easy on us.”
“He’s pretty pale, it is typical of people from the water tribe to be quite tan,” you observed and narrowed your eyes at the picture of the confident, arrogant looking bender. Now you looked up as Bolin ordered another bowl of noodles with a smile, he never changed and you liked that about him. “You wouldn’t want him to go easy on you anyway. How is Mako doing?” you added as a second thought as you continued on your first bowl of noodles. Bolin’s already slightly deflated attitude seemed to droop even more and you began to worry. “He has been working many hours at the power plant lately,” he said and twiddled his thumbs a bit as he waited for his second bowl.
Once again you find yourself nodding and you give him a reassuring smile. Quickly Bolin finished his second bowl as if he would never eat again. “Don’t worry about it Bolin, I’ll be able to help out now that I’m back and I won’t take no for an answer. Besides, I’m sure your bending is getting rusty and you could use some help,” you told him and added a joke on the end. Your plan worked because Bolin automatically laughed and gave you a soft nudge before flexing his arms. “Rusty? My bending is great and I have plenty of techniques to use in probending tournaments!”
He then ordered a third bowl of noodles.
Carefully you made your way up the steps to the elevated railroad tracks with Bolin who happily chatted on about Korra and more recent events. On the way over on the boat you had told a couple tourists that the railway would offer the best opportunity to explore the city and see everything from overhead. You walked onto the station and scanned all the boards that listed times and destinations while Bolin was too busy talking and having too much fun to focus. You opened your mouth to reply to something your fellow Earth Bender had said when there was a large booming sound.
Quickly you spun around to try and figure out just what was going on but it was hard to see over all people running from whatever chaos had occurred. “Bolin..” you started but when you turned he was being swept away by the crowd. “___!” he called back but couldn’t seem to force his way back to you. You gave him one last look then shoved your ___ colored hair out of your face. Next you turn to face the large amount of smoke that had emerged around the station. You had only a couple of seconds to make a decision and Mako would surely say it was the wrong one.
You shoved your way through the crowd of people screaming and running in the opposite direction. “Call the police, alert the metal benders,” you told someone who remained stationary and was just staring at everything taking place in total shock. He surprisingly nodded his head and took off to find a phone. You continued forward and into the smoke before catching your breath. Now you focused your mind and listened carefully. Someone was getting close; you slammed your foot down so that a rock formed out of the ground around you and tossed it with careful precision towards the man. The man groaned so you guess that he hadn’t expected a bender to be here.
‘How many are there?’ you thought and slid you feet across the ground carefully since you couldn’t see through the smoke. You counted three but you weren’t sure, there were so many people struggling to get out of the way of whoever was attacking the railway station. When you sensed an older man you rushed over and carefully grabbed his arm while you coughed. “You need to get out of here,” you told him quietly but loud enough to assure that he would hear. Once you steered the man out of the smoke you went back in one last time. Carefully you bent your knees and placed your hands on the ground before forcing it forward towards the fire to put it out. You could hear three men talking and you glanced towards the direction.
After training with Bolin you had no worries no matter how many or how big the foe. You forced several round disks out of the ground and punched them with all your might. Quickly you ducked and rolled on the ground when fire was sent in your direction. After standing up you quickly stumbled backwards over a bag someone had dropped and your back hit something firm. “___?!” someone asked and you had to narrow your eyes to figure out that it was Bolin. He was putting out the fire with earth bending and the men were approaching. “Bolin?”
Coughs escaped from your lips and you rushed out of the smoke while sending disks of earth towards the men. Once out of the smoke you recognized them quickly as the members of the Triple Threat Triad, you wanted to keep them away from Bolin. The only problem was now that you could see the threat clearly but now they could also see you. You stomped your feet hard to put up a wall between you and the more experienced benders before taking off in a hard sprint. Now you scanned the crowds quickly for the nearest person with a jacket. You grabbed the taller boy by the shoulder and yanked hard on his jacket. “What the-?!” he started with an enraged tone in his voice but you didn’t even bother to look up at his face.
You yanked the jacket off of the boy and tugged it on. “Shut up and help me,” you snapped and grabbed the front of his shirt as you tugged him over to a nearby wall. Before you could change your mind you stood up on your tippy toes and pressed your lips to his. You couldn’t even move, your lips remained motionless against his and you kept him close by your tight grip on his shirt. The Triple Threat Triad ran past the two of you and you slowly removed your lips from the boy’s before slowly peering around him at their retreating figures. “Where did that girl go?!” one of them shouted. The firebender cursed loudly. You made a fist with one of your hands and their feet were grabbed by the earth beneath them and they were yanked down to so that only their necks were above the ground.
Just minutes after you did this the police force arrived along with Chief BeiFong to capture the criminals. You let out a small whoop of excitement. The boy you had grabbed on now shoved you off of him so that you nearly fell down; at the last minute you caught your balance. “Get off of me,” he snapped and narrowed his eyes at you. You looked up at the boy and glared right back before shrugging off his jacket. “You jerk, you don’t go pushing people unless you want to get hurt,” you snapped back before thrusting his jacket into his chest with enough force to make him stumble back a few steps. “Do you know who I am?!” he asked with narrow eyes and gave his hair a little flip.
He did look familiar now that you thought about it. The wavy black hair, pale skin, and even the arrogant disgusted look on his face now looked exactly like the image you had seen in the newspaper. ‘So this is Tahno,’ you thought agitatedly. He held out his jacket between his thumb and finger as if you wearing it for a couple of minutes had just contaminated the whole thing. “I’m not afraid of getting hurt, I am Tahno from the probending team the Wolfbats. Now my jacket smells of loser, you might as well keep it because it doesn’t look like you could afford nice clothes anyway,” he said smoothly in a dark, rich tone with a smirk on his face. He dropped the jacket onto your head when your mouth dropped.
You reached up and yanked the jacket off your head. Now you shoved the probender so that his back was once again against the wall and held up a fist close to his face so that a rock hovered just above his head. “Want to say that again pretty boy?” you asked threateningly. Tahno smirked and flicked his wrist, water from a nearby bucket hovered behind your head and became sharp icicles. He keeps his eyes trained on you while he raises his hand so that you could see what he was doing. It didn’t take a genius to know that he was threatening you back and just as easily.
“You aren’t even worth my time,” you hissed and tossed your rock so that it broke his icicle to pieces. You threw his jacket down on the ground at his feet and took a step back just as a hand grabs your arm. “___, where have you been?” Bolin asked breathlessly and he looked between you and Tahno. You shoot one last glare at the water bender and then turn your full attention to Bolin. “Sorry, I’ve made you worry haven’t I? Look, I think we can go now. I believe that they have started up the trains again and are dealing with the delays. We’ll leave this guy to his jerk bending.”
Lightly you hook your arm through Bolin’s and give him a tug to get him walking. “First the Ah-vatar and now you. When will you dim witted girls ever learn they are lousy, poor, dirty people?” he called after you and you could just hear the smirk in his voice. Bolin clenched his fists and you gave him another tug. “Come on Bolin, we can’t risk hurting your probending status or having you kicked out,” you whispered.
On the train Bolin sat beside you with his arms crossed and a pout on his face. “Where is Pabu?” you asked quietly in order to cheer up your friend. Bolin smiled and looked up at you with bright green eyes. Lightly he reached over and tugged affectionately on a strand of your ___ colored hair. “He ate too much water tribe cuisine yesterday and didn’t feel good so I left him home. Mako said that he would bring Pabu to the station when he came to get us,” the earth bender explained. Next Bolin poked your cheek. “You really don’t like seeing me frown do you? You always try to cheer me up, thank you.”
You nod and give a small laugh. “You’re very welcome,” you told him and glanced out the window as you your thoughts wander. Would the police force be able to keep the Triple Threat Triad behind bars? Can you really help Bolin and Mako as much as you want to? What was the Avatar like and would she even like you? Why was that Tahno guy acting like such a jerk? Secretly you hoped that the Fire Ferrets would beat the Wolfbats by a landslide.
Finally you blink your ___ colored eyes as the train began to slow at the station the two of you needed. Since you had snapped out of your thoughts you could really focus and it warmed your soul to see Mako with a red scarf wrapped around his neck with Pabu on his shoulder and a tanned girl beside him.
“This is truly home,” you whisper and place your hand against the window.