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And my second shippy episode tag. Pressure's off until next month!

The Rules

Much like her first official day of airbending, the first official day of Fire Ferret practice wasn’t going quite as Korra had pictured. Instead of testing her technique or planning scenarios or scouting their opponents, Mako was explaining the rules.

“You can’t use water from the pool when you attack. Only from the zone lines.”

Korra made a face. “Obviously.”

“Well, hey, you didn’t know about three other fouls yesterday. What was I supposed to think?”

Although she’d only known him a couple of days, Korra noticed that Mako had rational responses to everything. It was quickly becoming tiresome.

“Fair enough, Captain, but don’t you think I didn’t go home and research after that?”

Bolin laughed. Mako shifted his weight and crossed his arms. “All right, then. By all means.” He lifted an expectant hand.

Korra cleared her throat. “No jets, no steam, no ice,” she began, lifting her three middle fingers one by one. “Don’t provoke the referee or attack the audience. Does that happen often, by the way?”

“Not with us, but more often than you think. The only time I’m ever tempted is when Bolin’s fanclub won’t shut up.”

“They do love me,” Bolin agreed, nodding with mock longsuffering. He shot Korra a quick grin.

“Very good. What else?” Mako asked.

“Um, don’t step on or over the lines, forward or backward— don’t hit the ceiling with bending?” she finished dubiously, glancing up at the vaulted glass dome several dozen feet above their heads. “Seriously? I can hit that easily, but why would I want to?”

Mako waved her off. “It’s a start. Today I want to get you conditioned to the boundaries, and also on making sure your water bursts are short enough. You got lucky there yesterday, but it’s harder than you think to stick to it.”

With that, they finally started drilling. Mako pitted Korra against Bolin, each in Zone 1 of the two opposing sides of the ring. First, she focused on trying to avoid Bolin’s earth blasts while staying conscious of the zone’s bounds. It was incredibly difficult. Confinement was not usually part of Korra’s thought process when she was fighting. She wondered if this wasn’t some elaborate scheme on the a part of her instructors, to finally get their revenge for the chronic lack of restraint they were always insisting she address.

By the end of half an hour, she’d taken more than one earth disk blast to the stomach, and even with the armor, it hurt. The only good thing was that she was still able to recall the airbending techniques that Tenzin had taught her, but she couldn’t rely on them fully. That trick had only been effective for evasion, on its own.

All of this was before Mako started zapping her with fire every time she broke the one-second rule on her water blasts.

“Okay, okay, stop stop stop!” she finally shouted. Angrily, she shot some fire right back at him, blatantly disregarding any time limitation.

Mako waved away the fire and lifted a hand to halt the drill. He crossed his arms.

“Special rule for you,” he said. “Figure out how to not use your other elements when you get mad.”

“I do not—”

“Yes, you do,” he said, pointing. “And it’s going to be a problem. Take a break. We’ll start again after lunch.” He walked off. Korra stuck her tongue out at his retreating back.

“Ignore him. You really are doing a great job, you know,” Bolin told her. He began retrieving the practice earth disks with bending.

“The bruises on my stomach and the singes on my armor do not agree,” Korra said gloomily. She began helping him collect the earth disks. “There are rules for Pro-bending. Are there rules for Mako?”

Bolin burst out laughing. “I wish! I’d be the first person to check that book out of the library!” He caught sight of her expression and took pity. “Or, the second, after you, it would seem. Why do you care so much, anyway? You don’t seem the type to worry what other people think of you.”

Korra had been asking herself much the same for two long nights in a row, mostly thinking of that moment when Mako had pulled of his helmet, the lone victor and commander of the stage. She flushed and turned away, looking for more earth disks on the other side of the ring. The flushing was new. And confusing.

But not that confusing.

“I’m not sure,” she lied.

Many thanks to the Official Pro Bending rules.

I really must update my sache8 icon choices to six that are a little more broadly useful. ;-)


( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 28th, 2012 06:25 pm (UTC)
EEE! SUPER SUPER CUTE! I loved the interactions between all three characters--and the special rule for Korra, LOL. I kind of love that her go-to element when she's frustrated is fire, because I would have thought before starting the show that it would be the one that might give her trouble. But no, she's a firebender at heart. ;)

My shippy heart is happy. ^_^
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Mar. 29th, 2012 11:59 pm (UTC)
It's true! He's so grounded! How very un-Zuko. ;-)
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( 5 comments — Leave a comment )

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