“So, I’ve been thinking, bro,” Bolin says, sitting down beside his brother, piece of crumpled paper in his hand.
“Another scheme?” Mako says, leaning back on the wall and almost rolling his eyes.
“What, you don’t want to get out of the triad?” He gestures wildly, boldly, trying to catch his brother’s eye.
“Hey, I just want to eat,” he replies quietly, eyes not wavering from the passing of the Republic City traffic. “And it was your turn to get food today.”
“I know, Mako, and I’m sorry, but I had this great idea and,” he stops, gathers himself. “Hear me out – we could be pro-benders! They’re having try-outs tomorrow night, and I think we’d be brilliant.”
“Uh huh,” Mako takes the piece of paper from his companion’s larger hands, examining it, then scrutinising it. “Looks pretty shifty – I’ll think about it.”
“No, Mako, I checked it out today, and it’s legit, I promise.” Even his voice started to plead.
“You didn’t sign us up, did you?” The firebender looks over at his sibling, and then frowns and scoffs in annoyance at a perfectly readable, open expression. “…Bo! What’ve I told you about doing stuff like this without asking me first?”
Bolin sighs, aware of the uphill battle ahead of him. “That I shouldn’t go scheming crazy schemes because don’t I remember what happened last time I know, I know – but this time it’s different. This is a career, Mako.”
“But we’ll need gear, and a waterbender,” the young man protests, ever the pragmatist. “And a name.”
“You don’t need gear to try out, and I’ve already covered us on the waterbender front – aaaand I thought of a name,” Bolin replies, ever the optimist, who, against his brother’s pessimism, tries to think of everything.
“Oh yeah? What’s your best one?”
“The Bending Brothers,” Bolin says, stretching out the invisible words with his hands.
“We can’t use that one, The Bending Brothers’ name is already taken, and they’re one of the most famous pro-bending duos ever.”
“The Fire Breathers,” Bolin offers.
“… uh, that’d be a misnomer if we couldn’t actually breathe fire.”
“Boko,” the young man goes on, still undeterred by the lack of his brother’s enthusiasm. At least he was listening.
“… okay. Earth and Fire!”
“What are we, a boy band?”
“The Match and the Mud.”
“… better,” Mako concedes, with some difficulty.
“How about,” Bolin takes a deep breath. “The Fire Ferrets?”
“The Fire Ferrets,” Mako echoes, testing the name in his mouth. “Alright. Not bad, little bro.”
“You just like it ’cause it has Fire in it,” the broad-shouldered boy nudges him deliberately.
“Something like that,” the dark-haired firebender answers. “Are you buying dinner since you’re a pro-bender now?”
They stand together and move off into the street, blending in with the crowd, and matching each other’s pace.
“If by buying you mean stealing, then, uh, yeah, I am,” Bolin grins, wrapping an arm around Mako’s shoulders.
They fall into a companionable silence before Mako allows himself the luxury of a moment’s hope.