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Asami: I have to swing by work and check in with the lab about the fabrication. Might be late.

Opal: You said that last time, and didn’t show up. It’s drinks on a Friday night. Nothing wild.

Asami: It’s also midterms and I have papers to grade.

Asami pushed open the door of the building as she put her phone in her jacket pocket and attempted to stuff a stack of papers in her purse. She didn’t make it ten steps before a body slammed into her that sent her to the ground. Instead of landing on the concrete, she found herself half on whoever this jogger was. A few escaped papers fluttered around them as a large white fluffball came over and sniffed at them before licking the owner’s face.

“I’m so sorry! I wasn’t watching where I was…” the voice trailed and Asami looked up. She saw eyes so blue she thought of the crystal clear waters surrounding Ember Island.

“Are you okay? You’re the one that broke my fall.” Asami took in the girl’s appearance, noting the Republic City University tee and joggers.

They started to get up, the white dog looking up at them as it took a seat.

“I’ve had worse.” The other woman smiled, her lips a crooked line so that it wouldn’t pull at a large scar on her right cheek. “I should’ve been paying attention. Sorry about that.”

She waved off the apology. Asami’s focus remained on the woman’s eyes, transfixed by them and also trying to figure out where that color fell on the light spectrum. “Do you often run without looking?” The woman laughed and Asami thought her heart stopped for a moment.

“I was going to race Naga through the rest of campus before taking her back home.” She knelt down and picked up the stray papers and held them out to Asami. Her eyes must have caught the different names across the pages because a look of panic crossed her face. “Spirits, you’re a professor. I’m so sorry. Shit. If I’m ever your student, I wouldn’t blame you for flunking me.”

Asami chuckled as she accepted the papers. “Not a professor, but thank you.” She slid them into her bag. “I’m a Ph.D. candidate, and I get to teach a few entry classes a semester.” Her eyes found this strange girl

“How do your students concentrate with how beautiful you look?” The woman blinked at the words that came out of her mouth. “I-I mean. Man, I’m really messing this up.” She ran a hand through her short brown hair, her eyes focused on the ground. “I’m just gonna run away now.”

“I think you need to get cleaned up before you get back to it.” Asami pointed at the woman’s raised left arm where blood slipped down her dark skin from a large scrape. She made a mental note to return to the compliment later.

“Well, look at that.” She checked both arms to find a matching gash on her right.

“My apartment isn’t too far away if you can walk a few blocks.” Asami nodded in the direction of her place.

The woman glanced down at her dog before she looked back up. Her bright blues met Asami’s greens. “I don’t usually go home with strangers on the first meeting without at least dinner.” She stuck out her hand as Asami sputtered for a beat and her cheeks colored. “I’m Korra.”

Asami shook her hand, her cheeks a faint pink. “Asami. And you said your friend here is Naga?” She reached over and pat the dog, who seemed to brighten at the sudden attention. Asami turned to lead the way, Korra and Naga falling into step with her.

“Yup!” Korra ruffled the dog’s head. She took the bottom of her shirt to wipe at some of the blood and hissed at the sting.

Glancing over, Asami took in Korra’s toned arms and what she assumed were abs based on the slight amount of skin she saw when Korra raised her shirt. Heat rose to her cheeks. They walked in silence for half a block before Asami cleared her throat.

“What’s your major?” Asami glanced at Korra. It wasn’t the most riveting topic, but she needed to start somewhere. “You know, so I can flunk you if you’ll ever be one of my students.”

Korra let out a nervous laugh. “Marine Biology with minors in sustainability, environmental policy, and social media.”

“Interesting combo.” Asami mused as she started to cross the street.

“I’ve got a thing for the ocean, and I want to promote it as much as I can. We’re not gonna have penguins or polar bears around forever at this rate.” Korra seemed determined if Asami was reading her right.

“Is it polar bears you like, or penguins? And is that why your dog is white?” Asami pat Naga on the head, feeling the dog’s cold nose against her palm after a moment.

“Penguins. And Naga reminds me of polar bears, and that I want to save them for the future.” Korra turned to Asami.

Their eyes met, and Asami stared at the blue pools. Her mind went into overdrive, coming up with the first thing about that color she could think of. Blue fireworks are created by copper chloride. She turned her gaze away, embarrassed at holding it for so long that she stepped into the street. A firm hand pulled her back by her arm as a car whizzed through the turn. Asami stumbled backward into Korra’s body, aware of their proximity. She looked at the dark-skinned woman.

“You sure you didn’t get hurt when I hit you?” Korra held Asami for a moment before helping her stand up straight.

Asami blinked and let out a light laugh. “Yeah. I’m sure.” She noticed they still stood in close proximity and stepped back, her cheeks reddening. “It’s this way.”

They crossed the street and went another half a block before Asami led Korra to a building with a doorman.

“Afternoon, ma’am.” The man opened the door for her and the two walked in with Naga in tow.

Korra whistled a low, long tone. “I don’t think I’ve ever been in a place where someone opens the door for you. Are you sure Naga can be here?”

Asami walked backward to the elevator, looking between Korra and the dog. “I wouldn’t have invited you up if I didn’t want you two here.” She backed into the elevator doors as she realized how forward that came out. Her hand found the button and the doors dinged open the instant she pushed it. “Shall we?”

Korra and Naga followed her in and they headed up to one of the high floors with only the chipper elevator music filling the silence.

They made it to Asami’s apartment, a space covered in takeout containers, dirty dishes, and coffee mugs strewn between the schematics and textbooks.

“Sorry about the mess, I don’t have people here too often.” Asami dropped her bag on a short table by the door. “Take a seat at the counter I’ll get the first aid kit.” She rushed through her apartment and found the large white metal box in her bathroom that she hauled with ease to where Korra sat on a stool with Naga at her feet.

Korra held up her left arm first, Asami cleaning it with a damp paper towel. She did the same to the right arm, taking in the large straight incision scar across the top of Korra’s forearm. Asami’s gaze flicked up to take in the damaged skin that created that crooked grin. Her mind mulled over all the causes, wondering what could have done that woman before her. She wanted to ask but bit back the question seeing as Korra was still a stranger to her.

“You like cars.” Korra’s voice startled Asami from her thoughts and she jumped back to putting antiseptic on the wounds before applying some large bandaids.

“They’re my passion.” Asami sat back and looked around at the collection of car models and designs, along with the other schematics. “And also the family business.” Out of the corner of her eye, Asami saw Korra nodded and her right index finger started to scratch at the side of her thumb.

“Thank you for this. You really didn’t have to.” Korra started to get up and Naga followed suit.

“Want me to drive you home? Or back to campus?” Asami closed up the first aid kit and looked to Korra.

“No, that’s okay. I don’t mind the run.” Korra held up her hands.

Asami raised her eyebrows at how fast that answer came out. “Alright, well, if you’re sure.”

“Yeah, Naga could use the exercise anyway. Can’t have her getting spoiled.” Korra turned her attention to the dog who yawned at her owner.

Asami’s phone vibrated in her pocket, signaling a text message. She checked it, seeing the text from Opal asking if she was coming.

“I should let you go, I’ve taken up a lot of your afternoon.” Korra started for the door.

“My friends and I are going out tonight if you’re interested in joining.” Asami took a few steps in Korra’s direction.

“I can’t. I have a lot of homework, plus I’m in season, so I can’t drink anyway.” Korra shrugged. “I’m not exactly the life of the party.”

Asami nodded, noticing that Korra was picking at the side of her thumb again.

“Maybe I’ll see you around campus?” Korra stopped at the door, her left hand on the knob.

“I’m sure we’ll run into each other again.” Asami smirked.

Korra chuckled. “Hopefully, but without the body contact.” Korra’s eyes widened. “Not that there’s anything wrong with your body. It’s great. I just mean me ending up under you, and bleeding elbows.”

Asami watched as Korra closed her eyes and took a deep breath. She smiled at the girl, seeing how flustered she was.

Korra opened her eyes, her blues with a look of determination behind them. “Thank you for cleaning me up, and being so kind. I’m sorry again for knocking you over. Have a good rest of your night.”

“Have a good night, Korra. See you on campus.” Asami watched Korra leave her apartment, Naga in tow. She walked out on her balcony, seeing Korra and Naga jog down the street toward campus. Her phone buzzed again, at which point Asami tapped out a response to Opal’s sixth text asking where she was.

Asami: Be there in twenty.Strange afternoon.

Chapter Text

Music blared through the lecture hall sound system with a playlist that could rattle walls if it were turned up any louder. Asami frowned at the whiteboard, pen in hand as she took in the numbers. She clenched her jaw and doodled a motorcycle in the open space where she could put her answer. Turning back to her laptop, Asami skimmed the notes from a colleague at Future Industries. Her eyes returned to the board.

“Wouldn’t have pegged you for the rap type.” A voice cut through a lull in the music, causing Asami to whip around. She relaxed seeing Korra wave from the stairs to the back of the lecture hall. Asami went to her laptop and turned down the music.

“Do you always sneak into closed halls?” She capped her pen and stared at the woman. Asami was glad to see Korra, as changing her schedule over the last week to try and run into Korra again hadn’t provided her with results.

“Not usually. I wanted to know which professor was entertaining their class with quite the playlist.” Korra moved next to Asami, her eyes on the board.

Asami took in Korra’s sleeveless t-shirt, shorts, and sports bag over her shoulder. “Sorry if you were studying. The beat helps me focus.”

“Loud music and numbers really do it for you, huh?” Korra blinked and her eyes went wide as she turned to face Asami. “I-I mean, for your concentration. Not for, not for turning you on. Unless that’s your thing, then power to you.” The woman ran her left hand down her face, her cheeks darker.

Asami chuckled. “I like this hall for the acoustics and the whiteboards.”

“Motorcycles?” Korra gestured to the doodle, changing the subject with the subtlety of a brick to the face.

“I want to start a motorcycle division, and I’m working out some aspects of the engine refinement to differentiate ourselves from our competition.” Asami crossed her arms as her eyes roamed the numbers. From the corner of her eye, she noticed Korra picking at the side of her left thumb. She turned to better look at the athlete before her, taking in her bare, toned arms. “How are your elbows?”

Korra held up her left arm and turned. “Itchy, so I put new bandages on.”

Asami’s cheeks got hot as Korra caught her staring. Their eyes met, making Asami’s mind race. Lapis lazuli is the earliest natural pigment when ground up.

“I wanted to thank you for last week. Wondered if you want to get coffee?” Korra scratched the back of her neck with her right hand. “You can say no, cause you’re really smart and I’m sure you have better things to do than—“

“Sure.” Asami smiled as her answer seemed to shut Korra up.

“Really?” Korra dropped the hand at her neck.

“Yeah. Why not?” Asami closed up her laptop and started to pack it up.

“Are you sure? There’s probably a thousand other things you could be doing besides hanging out with me.”

“I want to.” Asami shrugged and picked up her phone. She snapped pictures of the whiteboard and then started to erase the numbers. “I can drive us.” Korra’s silence made Asami turn and look at her.

“There’s a place right off campus if you don’t mind a quick walk. Five minutes tops.” Korra’s hands were busy, her right thumb digging into the soft skin of her left thumb.

Asami made a mental note at the tic, adding it to a long string of questions she wanted to ask but knew would still be entirely inappropriate because they were barely acquaintances. “Sure. Let me drop my stuff off at my car.”

“Of course.”

They reset the room together, took Asami’s stuff to her car and walked to Be the Leaf.

“I’m so glad this place serves better coffee than the school dining hall.” Asami held open the door for her and Korra so that they could join the line of college students.

“Anything is better than the dining hall.” Korra gestured to the pastries in the glass case. “Those are all healthier than the dining hall slop.”

Asami laughed. “I’m glad I live off campus.”

“Based on the takeout containers from your apartment, I don’t think you can cook.” Korra bumped her shoulder against Asami.

“Excuse you, I can cook, I’m too busy to grocery shop.” Asami looked at Korra with mock anger in her voice.

Korra snickered and held up her hands in defense. “I’m just saying you don’t seem the type to have homecooked meals.” She grinned at Asami, again her lips a tilted line to not stretch that scar. “You might be perfect, but it’s reassuring that you can’t do everything.” Korra looked away at what she said, and Asami thought she saw the woman’s skin get darker.

“What’s this about homecooked?” A woman standing behind the counter looked at the two. “Are you grumbling about the campus food?” The woman pointed at Korra.

The athlete shrugged. “Always, Pema.”

“Bring your friend to dinner if you don’t want to eat the dining hall food.” Pema smiled, looking at them.

Asami glanced at Pema and Korra, trying to figure out the connection.

“Thanks. Could I have my usual, and I’m covering whatever she’s having?” Korra gestured to Asami.

Asami placed her order and moved down the counter with Korra. “You’re a regular here.” Her statement made Korra nod. “So much so that you have dinner with the owner?”

Korra snagged their drinks, dropping a few dollars in the tip jar, and leading Asami to a table. “I’m memorable, I guess.” A light laugh escaped Korra’s lips as she passed Asami her drink.

Asami noticed the dodged question. She sipped her drink and held the cup between her hands. Her eyes found Korra’s fingers, seeing that her right thumb was wrapped in a band-aid. A faint splotch of blood pressed against the latex where the gauze pad soaked it up. The athlete was making quick work of the skin on her left thumb. Asami reached over and put a hand on Korra’s to stop her.

“Everything okay?” Those blue eyes met hers, and Asami wished she could snap a picture for how breathtaking that color was. She saw the dark bags under Korra’s eyes, berating herself for missing those the first time she got lost staring.

“Yeah.” Korra pulled her hands away, hiding them under the table. “Its been a long day.”

“We didn’t have to grab coffee today if you’re tired.” Asami pulled her hand back and fiddled with her to-go cup.

“I really wanted to do this, I promise. Practice took a lot more out of me than I thought.” Korra sat up in her seat. “How about I make it up to you?”

“Of course. But let’s make this easier for ourselves.” Asami took her phone from her jacket and held it out to Korra.

Korra entered her number and passed the device back.

Asami tapped out a quick text. “There.” She smiled and nodded in the direction of Pema. “Tell her I’ll take a rain check on dinner.” Her phone buzzed and she saw a text from Opal on the screen. “You should go relax.” Asami started to get up and Korra followed suit. They stepped outside together.

“I’m sorry for the lame coffee date.” Korra left her mouth open as the last word tumbled from her lips. She sputtered and Asami shook her head.

“It wasn’t lame. We’ll do this again real soon.” Asami reached over and squeezed Korra’s shoulder. “Text me?”

“Yeah, of course. Let me know you make it home safe.”

Asami winked and headed toward her car. She glanced at the text from Opal.

Opal: Tell me all about her.The Nomad @ 9. First round on you.

Asami rolled her eyes. She didn’t know where Opal saw them from, and debated how long she could ignore the request.

Asami: Another night, Op.

Opal: I’m outside your apartment with a bottle of wine. Talk to me.

Asami sighed. There was no getting away from Opal Beifong when she set her mind to it, and Asami knew that. She reached her car and drove the short distance home to find her best friend leaning against her apartment door cradling the wine like a baby.

“She’s the one from last week?” Opal shifted so Asami could unlock the door.

Asami led Opal inside. “Yeah. She found me running numbers.” She dumped her purse by the door and slipped off her heels. Her phone vibrated in her hand. Asami checked it to see a message from Korra.

Korra: Home?

Asami: Just walked in. Have a good rest of your night! Get some rest.

Korra: Glad you made it back. You rest too. Night.

Asami smiled and felt Opal leaning on her shoulder. “Hello to you too, Op.”

“Spill! You never grab random coffee.” Opal moved into the kitchen, taking down two wine glasses as Asami came over to open the bottle.

“I get coffee all the time.” Asami set to opening the bottle and passed it to Opal once the task at hand was done. She started to order their usual hang out dinner.

“Random coffee with someone. A hot one too if you ignore the scar on her cheek.” Opal handed a glass to Asami and headed for the couch.

Asami followed her, frowning at Opal’s shallow words. “Is that such a big deal?”

Opal settled into her corner of the couch. “Where’s it from?”

“I don’t know. This is only the second time we’ve talked. It’s not exactly polite to ask about something like that.” Asami sipped her wine and pinched the bridge of her nose.

“It’s killing you not knowing.” Opal leaned in Asami’s direction.

“Drop it, Op. She’ll tell me if she wants me to know.” Asami waved off her best friend.

Opal pulled out her phone. “What’s her name again?”

“Korra. I told you this last week.” Asami sighed knowing Opal was about to social media stalk.

“You told drunk me.” Opal seemed to be scrolling through something on her phone. “She’s good.”

“What do you mean?” Asami’s brow furrowed.

Opal scooted over to Asami, leaning into her friend and held out her phone. “The school tagged her in some videos of her goal scoring and assists. And her personal account is there.” They watched a few videos on a loop of Korra scoring some incredible goals before skimming through the images on her account. Most were of her dog or soccer related things. Asami recognized some photos taken around campus, and at Be the Leaf.

The doorbell rang and Asami collected their pizzas from the deliveryman. She sat on the couch and poured herself more wine.

“Learn anything new?” Opal took a piece from the box and bit into it.

“No, and I wouldn’t expect to without her telling me.” Asami grabbed a piece for herself and took a bite. “Besides, I respect that she wants privacy. It’s not like she’s prying into mine given who I am. I’ve got questions and some concerns, but we’re not close so it’s none of my business.”

“Maybe she’s not interested in you.” Opal drank down some wine and stopped when she saw Asami stare at her.

“Who says I’m interested?” Asami shrugged and sipped her wine, ignoring the look she felt coming from Opal. “I think she could use a friend.”

“If you are interested, then I’m happy for you.” Opal smiled as she chewed a bite from her second slice.

Asami rolled her eyes and followed Korra’s social media accounts on her phone. She made a mental note to check them out more in depth later when Opal wasn’t hovering.

Chapter Text

Asami set her bag next to her chair, waiting for her coffee at Be the Leaf. She became a fast regular in the six weeks since colliding with Korra, finding it an easy location to meet up with her. They texted constantly in between, a steady stream of random conversations about music, classes, and movies. At some point, they decided that the café would serve as a proper study spot, which is how Asami found herself there. Pema dropped off Asami’s coffee and a slice of biscotti when it was slow.

“Korra running late?” Pema leaned against the back of the chair Korra would occupy when she arrived.

“She mentioned an appointment with a professor.” Asami glanced up from her sketchbook where she scribbled some notes on a recent car design.

Pema shook her head. “That girl has the busiest schedule, I think she puts politicians to shame.”

Asami nodded, remembering when Korra showed the blocked off hours of her day devoted to classes, studying and practice. She recalled being busy during her undergrad, but she didn’t think her schedule contained as many back to back commitments as Korra’s. Despite how hectic Korra’s life seemed, Asami appreciated that Korra made time to see her. It revolved around them working in a companionable silence at the coffee shop, but Asami would take what she could get.

“All her hard work will pay off, though. Her passion will take her far if this carries through to the end.” Asami smiled at Pema.

“Korra will run herself ragged, but she’s too stubborn to admit it.” The woman sighed and turned away from the table to talk to another customer.

Asami watched Pema, still trying to figure out the connection between her and Korra. She nearly asked Pema a thousand times what her relation to Korra was. Every time she opened her mouth to do so, Korra entered the café in a whirlwind and Asami lost her voice as those blue eyes found hers.

Out of the corner of her eye, Asami saw Korra jog by the window. She rushed inside and to their table, not even out of breath.

“Sorry, my professor wanted to talk about my research paper.” Korra dropped her backpack next to her and pushed up the sleeves of her navy blue hoodie so that they were past her elbows. “Waiting long?”

Asami stared at Korra’s blues – by far her favorite feature – her mind immediately calculating how deep a pool of water would need to be in order to produce that shade of blue to match. “I’ve barely gotten started on anything.” She could see the dark bags under Korra’s eyes, a staple to the athlete’s appearance that Asami added to a long list of concerns she wanted to inquire about when they were better friends. If that’s what they were. Asami didn’t want to assume something they were not. But she couldn’t recall seeing Korra with anyone when she wasn’t with Asami. And she didn’t count Naga, no matter how many photos she received of the dog over text.

“And here I thought you were going to stand Asami up.” Pema walked over with a cup and a plate of cookies. She set the cup in front of Korra and the cookies in the center.

Korra looked up at Pema wide-eyed. “No way would I let that happen.”

Asami smiled at the two. “Well, I appreciate that.”

The athlete grinned, and Asami thought she saw a faint blush. “You’re welcome.” She broke off a piece of cookie and popped it in her mouth with a quick glance at her cup. “Tea, really?”

Pema rolled her eyes. “You’ll thank me when you sleep later.” She strolled off through the café, wiping down tables as she went.

“She’s right you know. You should sleep.” Asami sipped her coffee.

Korra pointed at Asami. “Says the one who texts back at all hours.” She leaned forward against the table. “Makes me wonder if you’re a woman of the night.” Korra wiggled her eyebrows.

Asami smirked. “Wouldn’t you like to know.” She took a bite of a cookie, seeing Korra falter for a moment. Unable to hold a straight face, Asami chuckled. “You know I’m at work.”

“Let a girl fantasize.” Korra looked away, hiding her blush as she rummaged through her bag.

Asami blinked, her cheeks getting hot at the disclosure, even if it was a joke. Although she didn’t mind the admission if it wasn’t.

They worked on their projects, Asami with her design and Korra with notes from a marine biology textbook.

With Korra focused, Asami took the opportunity to examine the athlete. Her eyes always went to Korra’s hands, wondering what state her thumbs were in. Since they started studying on a regular basis, Korra’s fidgeting seemed to lessen. Asami noticed the band-aid on the left thumb, with the recently healed right thumb already getting peeled again.

“What are you doing Friday night?” Asami looked away from Korra, hoping the athlete didn’t catch her staring.

“I have an away game during the day, but I should be back in the early evening, why?” Korra paused in her notes, and Asami felt the woman’s eyes on her. She was right, the moment she turned her gaze to Korra she was met with those blues that reminded her of robin’s eggs.  

“I know you don’t drink, but some friends and I were going to a party if you wanted to join us.” Asami glanced back to her sketchbook and then peeked at Korra.

“I might not make it back in time, so I’d feel bad committing and then not showing up.” Korra kept her gaze on her tea as she ran a finger over the rim of the cup.

Asami watched Korra’s finger for a moment, more relieved that Korra fiddled with the tea instead of her thumbs. She looked up, her eyes wandering to the scar that she wanted to run her thumb over. The skin looked bumpy, and she wondered if it felt the same.

“How about I text you if I’ll make it?” Korra’s voice drew Asami’s attention back to her eyes.

“Of course. I’ll give you the address now.” Asami tapped out a quick text. “Excited for your game?” Korra taught her a few things about soccer, and she managed to catch a few home games. While she found the long sections between the actual scoring boring, the overall physics of the game fascinated her.

Korra’s face split from the lopsided grin she gave Asami. “Should be a good one. They’re our biggest rival. Last time we played it was in the preseason so lineups weren’t finalized.”

“I wish I could be there. There’s a mandatory meeting and I can already feel it’s not going to be enjoyable.” Asami dipped her biscotti in her coffee, letting the chocolate on it get melty before she took a bite.

“That sounds terrible.” Korra shook her head, her eyes lingering on Asami before she seemed to return to her textbook.

“Trust me, it is. Never get a job if you don’t have to.” Asami sighed and double checked some calculations and then added a few lines to her sketch.

“It’s not so bad, though, right? I mean, if you enjoy what you do, then is it really work?”

“Depends who you work for. Sometimes you can like what you do, but hate who you work for.” Asami thought about engineering and her father. She hated the idea of this meeting the instant she saw it on her calendar. But she had to go. This board meeting dictated her presence even if the last thing she wanted to do on a Friday was being surrounded by the uptight suits. Asami looked up and saw the concern on Korra’s face. “What?”

“The family business is really draining, huh?”

Asami bit the inside of her cheek. She mentioned a handful of times that she worked for her father on the family business. While she hadn’t dropped the Future Industries name or her link to it, Asami figured Korra connected the dots already. And perhaps that Korra was being respectful about her privacy by not gawking about the multi-billion yuan company.

“Only when I let it get to me.” Asami let silence fall between them, resuming her work.

“I hope it gets better.” Korra’s soft voice broke the silence after a few minutes.

Asami snuck a glance at Korra, seeing that the athlete’s attention was back at the textbook. “Yeah. Me too.”

Chapter Text

The burn of the whiskey felt good on her throat. Asami knew she would be the only person to think that, but it was better than whatever came from the keg in the tub of ice in the basement. STEM students worked hard, but they partied harder. If there was one thing Asami learned during undergrad, it was to attend the engineering student house party. And after the board meeting she had, followed by standing in her father’s office for his yelling, Asami wanted nothing more than to be around a bunch of loud, drunk twenty-somethings and forget her Friday.

“She here yet?” Opal’s voice cut through the thumping bass of the music.

Asami checked her phone for the sixty-fifth time, seeing the screen devoid of notifications. She downed the rest of her glass of whiskey and shook her head at Opal. Korra would brighten her day. Thinking about the athlete’s eyes and that smile warmed her. Or perhaps that was the alcohol. Asami honestly wasn’t sure.

“You said her name’s Korra?” Bolin leaned on Opal, one arm around her waist and his other hand holding a cup of what Asami could see was the jungle juice from the fishbowl on the counter.

“Yeah. Soccer player with eyes so blue you’d swear they were fake.” Asami hated shouting, but it was the only way she knew she could be heard by her friends through the music. She found the handle she kept nearby – taken from her father’s liquor cabinet at his house because she knew he wouldn’t miss it – and poured herself another glass.

“Dark skin, nasty scar on her cheek? Super loner?” Bolin added.

Asami frowned at the words Bolin used. “Is all of that really important?”

“I mean it as no offense. Just wanted to make sure.” Bolin put his chin on Opal’s shoulder. “We went to high school together. Sounds like she hasn’t changed much.”

“You went to school with her?” Asami straightened up, interested in anything Bolin could tell her.

“Yeah. She was as busy then as Opal told me you told her she is now.” Bolin frowned at how confusing that sentence came out but waved it off. “I tried to talk to her a few times. No dice. She kept her head down other than her soccer abilities.”

Asami sighed. She felt her phone buzz in her hand and saw the text from Korra. She squinted at the screen and then tapped out a quick answer. “She’s coming.”

Opal blinked. “We get to meet her?”

“Oh! What does she like to drink, I’ll get it for her?” Bolin perked up, a huge smile on his face.

Asami waved her hand. “Soccer player, she can’t drink. But she’s coming. Here.” Her eyes roamed the party, taking in the classmates who were dancing, or making out, or talking in boisterous groups. Asami’s face felt hot and she grabbed the handle and added more to her glass. She wandered the house a time or two to check in with some friends before she settled into a corner of the kitchen with Bolin and Opal and a bag of chips snagged from some cabinet. The three of them could see the front door, giving them ample ability to spot Korra when she walked in. Asami kept calculating the velocity of a soccer ball coming off of Korra’s foot, making assumptions about the ball’s weight and the different strengths Korra could kick it. It calmed her to run through these numbers, but giddy because it was math that revolved around the athlete.

“Relax! She’s here to see you, or else she wouldn’t have come.” Opal put a hand on Asami’s shoulder, which pulled her from the numbers spinning in her head.

“She’s going to get here and I’m going to get lost in those eyes. You’ve seen them.” Asami looked at her best friend. “They’re so blue. Nature does that color and her justice.”

Opal snickered at her friend. “Save the sweet talking for her, Asami.” She pointed toward the front door.

Asami whipped her head around, her eyes landing on Korra. The world felt like it slowed down as Korra sidled through the crowded hallway and into the kitchen. Compared to her usual athletic attire, Asami found the dark wash jeans and black leather jacket with a grey hoodie rather enticing. Her cheeks grew hot as she briefly thought about that jacket ending up on her bedroom floor. She shut her eyes and thought about the process of how to perform an oil change on her car to try and focus her mind.

“Hey.”

That voice made Asami open her eyes to take in her favorite shade of blue. “Hey, you made it.” Asami gestured to her friends. “This is Opal and her boyfriend Bolin.”

“Nice to meet you.” Opal shook Korra’s hand with a smile. “Great jacket.”

“Hi! I’m Bolin, I was a theater kid at our high school.” Bolin grinned, shaking Korra’s hand with as much enthusiasm as a golden retriever puppy.

Korra glanced between the two. “Thank you, and I think I remember you.”

“There are drinks on the counter and downstairs, but since you can’t have any, we stole chips if you want some.” Bolin held out the bag.

“Did you win?” Asami inclined in Korra’s direction and took a sip of whiskey as she watched the other woman.

“Yeah. A tough one, but we pulled it off.” Korra smiled which made Asami’s heart flip. She reached into the bag of chips and pulled out a small handful.

“You scored.” Asami stared at Korra and caught the lopsided grin that spread on the athlete’s face.

“Scoring is my specialty after all.” Korra smirked, giving Asami a wink.

Asami balked at the gesture and her cheeks heated up even more than merely from the whiskey.

The four of them talked, Bolin disappearing a few times to get more alcohol for himself and Opal, or to steal another bag of chips. Asami found herself keeping close to Korra as they stood in the kitchen. A few classmates to Asami and Opal would come by and talk before disappearing into the throng of people with drinks sloshing over their hands.

“You okay?” Asami leaned into Korra’s side, her lips close to the athlete’s ear. She noticed how little Korra seemed to talk to the newcomers of the circle, her eyes wandering the people as she sipped a cup of water.

“I should get going. It’s getting late.” Korra turned to Asami. “Are you going to be okay getting home?”

“Should be fine. Opal, Bo and I got dropped off by Bo’s brother. He’s a cop.” Asami smiled at Korra, her arm looped through Korra’s. “What about you?”

“I can jog to campus. It’s not far—“

“Who invited a Southie?” A voice cut through the kitchen and all eyes turned to the source of a guy walking through carrying a red solo cup in one hand with a babe at his side.

“I should go.” Korra’s voice came out quiet to Asami. A hand on Korra’s shoulder turned her to him.

“Who the fuck invited you, Southie?” The guy stepped into Korra’s face.

“I’m leaving, I don’t want any trouble.” Korra held up her hands and made to step around him but the guy’s bulk and his arm shot out and stopped her.

“I invited her.” Asami moved forward and put herself next to Korra. “Is there a problem here?” She glanced at this wannabe frat boy.

“Asami, it’s okay I’ll head out—“ Korra started.

“STEM students only. Not some poor dumbass Southie trying to score some free booze.” He shoved his finger into Korra’s chest. “Go back to your snowy wasteland and genocide since apparently, they failed the first time.” The guy pointed at the scar.

Asami’s jaw dropped. Her hand tightened around the neck of the handle in her hand and she took a large drink from it. She passed off the empty glass of whiskey to Opal without looking. “Who made you the party police? She’s a marine biology student, which if you needed a dictionary to help you, is part of the STEM department.” Asami leveled her glare at him.

“Hey, it’s fine. I’ll just g—“ Korra said again, but Asami cut her off when she raised her hand.

“Being an asshole is a choice, just as much as being a racist. Society taught you everything you need, like how you learned to plagiarise someone’s research to cover up your poor excuse of career options for being a mediocre student.” Asami kept her focus on him, ignoring the people in the small circle around them that murmured. “I suggest you walk away before a dean finds out.”

“Couldn’t fight your own fucking battles?” His eyes turned to Korra as if he tried to pretend what Asami said didn’t happen and cause the whispers around him.

“I—“

“Korra is my friend and I’ll defend her every instance I can.” Asami took a step forward, pushing a firm finger into his chest.

“I didn’t realize you were a tribe fucking cun—“ The guy started to say.

Asami didn’t hear him finish. She didn’t see Korra’s fist fly and slam into his face. The realization that something happened was the collective gasp as he hit the ground and blood blossoming on his face. She glanced between Korra and the guy, whose girlfriend knelt over him as he started swearing.

“Time to go.” Korra started a hasty retreat through the party, Asami quick on her heels without so much as a wave to Bolin or Opal.

“Korra!” Asami rushed to keep up with her, the bottle of whiskey still in her hand. She managed to snag the sleeve of Korra’s jacket when they made it a block from the house toward campus. “Korra, stop.” Her head swam and she slowed them to a street corner. “Hey. Talk to me.”

Korra shook her head. “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have come.” She ran her hand through her short hair. “Fuck this place.”

Asami steadied herself on a light post. Her eyes followed Korra as she paced, trying to focus on her. “He’s an asshole. Forget him.” She reached out to pull Korra to her but the athlete stepped out of her grasp in her constant movement.

“I don’t get to forget him. This is my life, Asami.” Korra rounded on the woman her jaw clenched. “People are always going to see my skin for what history and society dictated. You don’t get hated like that when  you’re beautiful and pale.”

Asami never thought she’d see those eyes filled with so much anger, a dark blue like when a storm rolled into Yue Bay from the deep sea. She chuckled at Korra’s last statement. Oh, how wrong this woman was. Her laughter must have caught Korra off-guard because the next time she looked at the athlete, all Asami saw was her frown.

“What’s so funny?”

“I might not understand what it’s like to experience racism, but trust me I know hate.” Asami shut her eyes and shook her head as a few tears slid down her cheeks at the thought, and wanted the murky feeling in her head to go away. Her mouth felt weird, and then her stomach rolled. She dropped the whiskey and took two steps to the nearest bushes where everything came back up. Someone was at her side, holding her hair back and rubbing her back in a slow line.

“Let me get you home.” Korra waited for Asami to straighten up before she held out a crumpled napkin.

Wiping her mouth, Asami laughed a bitter forced sound. “This is not how I imagined tonight to go.”

“You and me both.” Korra put an arm around Asami’s shoulders.

Asami looped her arm around Korra, letting the athlete lead her to her apartment. She felt more steady against Korra, but she still felt her head swim and her feet would catch on the slightest crack in the sidewalk. Korra didn’t seem to mind the closeness, which Asami relished because the chill in the air made her shiver and leaning into Korra for support and warmth was an experience she hoped to remember when she was sober.

They made it up to Asami’s apartment where Korra started to get Asami a glass of water. Asami went to her liquor shelf and poured herself a glass of whiskey.

“Oh no, you’re done for tonight.” Korra walked over and snatched the cup from Asami and held out the water.

Asami shook her head and grabbed the bottle instead. “I’ll pass, thanks.” She took a large swig from the handle and carried it with her to the couch.

“What happened today?” Korra followed and sat next to Asami, water glass still in her hand, the whiskey glass abandoned on the shelf.

Running her hand through her dark locks, Asami leaned into the cushion and stared at the ceiling. “My fucking father happened.” Alcohol made her walls drop in a way Asami knew Korra never experienced. She didn’t catch the slight flinch at the dropped swear.

“Whatever it was, I’m sorry.” Asami could feel Korra’s eyes on her as she spoke in a voice soft with concern.

“You and me both.” She drank down another mouthful of whiskey and set the bottle down hard on the coffee table. Asami dumped her phone next to the handle and dropped her jacket on the floor.

“At least drink this glass of water.” Korra held it out.

Asami swallowed back some more whiskey before she accepted the glass and drank it. “Do you jog everywhere?” Her eyes focused on Korra’s scar, the first time the woman ever sat where it faced Asami.

Korra took the empty glass back. “Yeah. Or the bus if it’s too far.”

“Don’t you ever want to jump in a car and go somewhere?” Asami squinted at Korra, trying to figure this woman out.

“Not really. It’s all about the journey, so why expedite the process?” Korra shrugged off her jacket and hung it over the back of the couch.

Asami shut her eyes, her head swimming again and the alcohol making her feel warm. She yawned and slouched down.

“Let’s get you to bed before you sleep here.”

Asami could hear the athlete get up and move around, pouring more water. From the creak of the floor, Asami knew Korra stopped by the couch waiting for her. She opened her eyes and pushed herself up. Her arm automatically went around Korra’s shoulders, appreciating how solid the woman felt as they went to her bedroom. Asami sat on the bed and pulled off her shoes before she slid under the duvet. Korra set the glass on the nightstand and puttered around the room.

“You’re a good person, you know.” Asami settled into her pillows, her eyes attempting to focus on Korra. “Those people are assholes, so don’t listen to them. But you’re so good. Like, so good, Korra. If they just looked into your eyes, they’d see it.” Her mouth felt like it was full of cotton balls and Asami wondered if you could taste clouds if this is what it would be like. She also knew clouds were frozen water in the sky, so realistically she wouldn’t taste anything except disappointment.

Korra chuckled, a deep sound that made Asami smile. “Thank you, Asami.”

Asami didn’t hear the door shut after the lights were shut off. Her eyes closed and she sunk into sleep.

Chapter Text

Her mouth felt dry like she swallowed sand and cotton balls. She pushed herself out of bed and stumbled to the bathroom, blurry-eyed. Asami stuck her head under the tap the instant she turned the water on. She drank down as much as she could before splashing some on her face. The banging of metal from the kitchen made her perk up. Asami attempted to recall the events of the night, her mind hazy on the details other than the blue eyes she could get lost in.

Judging by her attire – clothes she remembered putting on for the party – nothing happened between her and the athlete. Then again, she supposed with how well she could remember the previous night, it was for the best.

Taking a moment to change into some sweats and an RCU hoodie, she shuffled out to the kitchen. Asami skimmed the apartment, noticing it was tidy. The dishes and takeout containers weren’t on every flat surface. All of her schematics were collected on the dining room table. A blanket sat folded on the back of the couch. Her eyes paused on Korra, watching the athlete sway and hum to music Asami assumed she played from her phone as she stood at the stove.

“Morning.” Asami picked up one of the coffee cups by the machine and poured herself some.

Korra turned at Asami’s voice, her eyes bright and a smile on her face. “Look who finally joined the land of the living.” She stirred something in a skillet and shook some pepper into it. “Breakfast?”

Asami squinted at Korra. “Where’d you get this food?” Her fridge was notoriously empty except for the leftovers from restaurants and takeout orders.

“The store. Turns out your fridge is a petri dish I could use to find the cure for cancer.” Korra smirked and flipped some pancakes. “I went shopping.”

“If this is what you do to take care of drunk me, how will you top this after we sleep together?” Asami muttered, her eyes looking back at her living space.

Korra’s cheeks went pink, and she let out a quiet chuckle. “You’ll just have to wait and find out.” Her voice was quiet, but not low enough that Asami didn’t hear her.

“How long have you been up?” Asami settled at the counter, the same stool she occupied when she cleaned Korra’s arms the first day they met.

“Four hours? It’s almost noon.” Korra served them both plates after turning off the stove and put the breakfast in front of Asami. She poured herself some coffee and sat on the stool next to her.

Asami stared at the food. She couldn’t remember the last time she had a breakfast like this – pancakes, scrambled eggs, bacon. It certainly wasn’t ever in her apartment. Maybe it was a diner she frequented with Opal, Bolin, and Mako that first year they met when they were freshman and she was a senior. Or maybe when she still lived at home? Did her mom make her breakfast like this? Asami couldn’t recall a moment like this that a memory either didn’t exist or it had been so long she had forgotten.

“Something wrong?”

Asami shook her head. “I can’t remember the last time I ate breakfast.”

“What?” Korra turned to her. “Breakfast is the greatest meal ever with some of the best foods. How could you not eat breakfast?”

“Some of us are too busy to make food every morning.” Asami picked up her fork and started to eat.

“Well, you’re missing out.” Korra resumed eating, devouring her plate in the time it took Asami to consume half of hers.

“Thank you for last night.” Asami set her fork aside and shifted to face Korra.

The athlete shrugged. “Don’t worry about it.”

“I don’t remember much, but I appreciate you bringing me home.” Asami’s eyes noticed the slight bruising on Korra’s right knuckles. “You really did a number on that guy, huh?” She skimmed Korra’s hands, noticing the bandaids on her thumbs.

Korra stopped chewing on her last slice of bacon and looked at her knuckles. “I wasn’t going to let him call you that.” Their eyes met and Asami felt her heart speed up at the sight of Korra’s blues. “Not at my expense.”

“Does this happen a lot?” Asami took Korra’s hand in her own, inspecting the bruising.

“I avoid it when I can.” Korra took another bite. “You get used to it.”

Asami frowned, enjoying the warmth of Korra’s hand in her own, as she kept her focus on the athlete. “You shouldn’t be used to it, Korra. This is serious, and it’s wrong for people to do that to you.”

“It’s why I avoid it, Asami. That wasn’t my first rodeo.” Korra sipped her coffee, her gaze anywhere but Asami, her shoulders tense.

Her eyes roamed Korra’s face, lingering on the scar. She followed the deep line from under Korra’s lip as it dipped to her chin and disappeared toward her ear. Asami reached up and put her hand on Korra’s cheek, her thumb and index finger tracing the line. Korra jerked away, on her feet in an instant.

“I need to go.” The athlete crossed to the couch and swung her jacket on.

“Fuck. Korra, I’m sorry I didn’t—“ Asami followed Korra’s movements. Without another word, she was gone and the apartment felt cold. Her phone buzzed, which drew Asami’s attention to where it sat charging on a side table. She scooped it up seeing all the texts from Opal since last night. Asami ignored those and sent out a message to Korra.

Asami: I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to offend you. I shouldn’t have done that, I don’t even know why I did it.

She didn’t get an immediate response, which Asami couldn’t blame Korra for.

Asami: Text me when you make it home? I’ll see you this week.

Asami ran her hand through her hair, brushing the mess out of her face. She left the dishes and went to her room where she burrowed under her blankets. Her mind mulled over why she did that, why she crossed such a boundary. They were barely friends, and yet here she was invading Korra’s personal space. She’d never witnessed someone react so detached.

Opal: You alive? Where’d you go? Are you in a ditch somewhere with your organs missing?

Her eyes skimmed the text. Asami sighed and figured she should respond before Opal came over. She started to tap out an answer when she heard the front door.

“Hey egghead, you in here?” Opal’s voice carried through the apartment.

“Here.” Asami locked her phone and held it. She waited as she listened to Opal’s footsteps carry across the hardwood. Based on the sounds she heard Opal take her shoes off and then she climbed into the king size bed.

“Well, I’m glad she didn’t steal your organs and sell them on the black market.” Opal reached over and pat Asami’s shoulder through the blanket.

“No, she was perfect.” Asami rolled over as she felt Opal slip under the duvet with her. She stared at her best friend as they lay in their cocoon. “I’m the one that messed up.”

Opal opened her mouth to say something and then shut it again. She seemed to be in thought for a moment before she reached over and pulled Asami into a hug. “What happened? Tell Mama Opal.”

Asami relayed everything that happened, putting her hands over her face as she finished telling her best friend about touching Korra’s scar and the negative response.

“Wow. You stepped in it.” Opal shook her head. “And here I thought your big brain would stop you from embarrassing yourself, egghead.”

“She might never talk to me again.” Asami dropped her hands from her face. “What if she transfers schools? Korra could disappear forever.”

Opal leaned back as Asami spoke. “Whoa, slow down. You’ve jumped like eight steps in this whole process. Chill.” Opal rubbed Asami’s back as she took a deep breath and Asami followed her. “Give her some space. She’ll talk when she wants.”

“What if she doesn’t?” Asami stared at Opal as if her friend hadn’t considered that an option.

“You are such a diva. Spirits, Asami.” Opal sighed and shifted under the blankets. “She wouldn’t have stayed if she didn’t like you. And she wouldn’t have obliterated that guy last night after you verbally assaulted him. Give Korra time, and she’ll respond when she feels ready.”

Asami nodded, checking her phone for a notification from Korra. The screen was blank other than the time and Asami dropped it on the mattress next to her.

“For someone who nearly has her doctorate, you sure are dense.” Opal wrapped her arms around Asami. “But I love you, egghead.”

Korra: Home.

Chapter Text

Korra was definitely avoiding her, Asami was sure of it. A week passed without a text, and another week followed. The only way Asami knew Korra hadn’t died, or been kidnapped, or transferred was the athlete’s Instagram. Photos of Naga appeared, followed by videos of Korra making trick shots. Skimming more of Korra’s account, Asami noticed how the athlete never took selfies. She always posted pictures from the nose up, or of everything else but herself. Besides the white dog, the photos that stuck out were the ones of snow without a caption.

Asami hurried out of the academic building, midterms to grade clutched in one hand, her phone in the other. She turned to head for the parking lot, dreading going to Future Industries to pick up a report she needed to skim before the board meeting on Monday. As she made the corner she slammed into two people, the midterms going everywhere.

“Really?” Asami didn’t look up as she started to pick up the ones around her without a glance at the culprits.

“Sorry about that.”

Asami looked up at the voice. Korra stood before her with a stack of papers in one hand. “Thank you.” She gave the athlete a once over, noting the jersey with blood down the front and Korra’s disheveled appearance. “What happened?”

Korra opened her mouth to speak around what Asami could see was a swollen, split lip.

“Korra who is this?” A woman with a deep voice and a beauty mark under her right eye glanced between the two.

Clearing her throat, Korra gestured to Asami. “Kuvira, this is Asami. Asami, this is my teammate, Kuvira.”

“You a friend of Korra’s?” Kuvira looked at Asami.

“Yeah.” Asami smiled at the soccer players.

“Excellent. She needs to go home, and I really can’t take her.” Kuvira patted Korra’s shoulder.

Korra blinked and turned to her teammate. “I don’t need a babysitter.”

Kuvira glanced at Asami and her teammate. “Yeah, you do. After your last concussion, Coach swore that if someone didn’t walk you back to your room he’d make us all run the beep test.” She turned on Korra. “All of us, Korra.”

Korra sighed and adjusted the duffle bag on her shoulder. “Fall asleep in a canoe in the school’s pool, and suddenly you get a babysitter. That was one time.”

“I don’t mind.” Asami smiled. Kuvira rushed off before either of them could say more. “Where’s your dorm?” She turned to face Korra, noticing how defeated she was by the slump in her shoulders.

Korra rubbed her eyes. “I’m not going there, I’ll just go home. You don’t need to walk me. It’s not far.”

“Let me drop you off, you shouldn’t be active with a concussion.” Asami noticed Korra dropped her hands and picked at her right thumb. “Where do you live?”

“Asami, it’s fine. I’m probably the last person you want to see. And I’m sweaty and bloody and shouldn’t be anywhere near your car.” Korra moved to step past Asami and the woman caught the athlete’s hand.

“Korra. I’m your friend, I don’t mind.” Asami held firm to Korra, seeing how tired she looked up close. “Where do you live?” Her voice softened, hoping that this would get the athlete to relent.

Korra mumbled an address which Asami recognized as being on the other side of the city.

“I’m definitely driving you.” Asami kept Korra’s hand in her own as she led her to the parking lot. She felt a slight tremor in Korra’s hand and took in her appearance as they stood outside the vehicle. The athlete looked pale for her dark complexion, and her free hand was in a tight fist. “Korra?”

“Yup. Getting in.” Korra seemed to be in some form of autopilot as she pulled from Asami and climbed into the vehicle. Her body was rigid and Asami wasn’t sure what was going on. She started her car and glanced over at Korra. The athlete’s eyes were closed, her right thumb digging into the skin of her left.

“Is everything okay?” Asami waited a moment, hoping for some kind of explanation.

“About as okay as it’s gonna be.”

Asami could see how tense Korra’s body was. She started to head where Korra told her, keeping an eye on the road and the athlete next to her.

“I’m sorry for not texting. And blowing you off.” Korra’s voice sounded strained like she was speaking while holding her breath.

Asami watched Korra out of her peripherals. “I don’t blame you, I shouldn’t have invaded your space.” She let the sound of her blinker fill the silence for a moment. “I hope this doesn’t change things.” Pulling the car to a stop, Asami shifted in her seat and took in how stiff Korra sat. “We’re here.” Asami watched as Korra’s eyes opened and those blues turned to her, reminding her of distant dark clouds over the ocean.

Korra took a few breaths as her body seemed to relax. “Thank you.” She looked down at her hands, the skin on the side of her thumbnail bright and raw. “Want to come in?”

Asami stared at the large house with the white picket fence. Naga stood at the gate and three kids stood next to her peering at them. “Am I allowed?” She pointed and Korra followed her gesture.

“Yeah. Don’t mind them.” Korra started to get out of the car, Asami following suit after she shut it off.

“Wow! This car is fancy, Korra. I thought you didn’t like cars? Or is it you don’t like the minivan? Who’s your friend?” The taller of the three children spouted out some fast questions that Asami blinked at how rapid fire they were. She recognized the three faces peering at her, but she couldn’t place from where.

“Later, Ikki.” Korra waved off the girl and started to open the gate. Naga licked Korra’s hand and then Asami’s as they stepped into the yard.

“Hey, pretty lady.” A young boy smirked up at Asami, trying to lean casually on a fence post.

“Uh, hi?” Asami glanced at the boy and Korra, who she noticed picked up the smallest of the three. Past her friend, Asami saw a teenager sitting on the front steps with a book in her hand as she observed the scene. This one she recognized as someone who came into Be the Leaf and talked to Pema.

Korra led the kids and Asami to where the eldest of the four sat. “Guys, this is Asami, she’s a friend from school. Asami, this is Jinora and Ikki. That weirdo,” Korra pointed at the older of the two boys, “is Meelo. And this is Rohan.” Korra hugged the boy in her arms as he settled his head on her shoulder.

“Nice to meet you all.” Asami smiled at them.

Jinora stood up from her spot, having taken in Korra’s split lip and blood. “I’ll go get you an ice pack.” She disappeared into the house, leaving the door open so Korra and Asami could follow. Korra started to lead but Meelo and Ikki rushed in with Naga hot on their heels.

Asami followed Korra into the house, more questions swirling in her head. These kids looked nothing like Korra with their fair skin. The house smelled of a mix of aromas, and the house felt warm compared to the slight fall chill of the evening. They approached the kitchen where Asami was met with the voices of the children, the sounds of cooking, and two voices of adults. One she recognized and one she didn’t.

“Home for dinner?” Pema looked over from where she stood at the stove stirring a large pot. “Oh! And you brought Asami.”

Korra gestured over her shoulder as she set Rohan down. “She brought me home.” The boy hugged his mom around the waist and then hurried off to go find his siblings.

Asami saw Jinora hold out an ice pack to Korra, who took it with a grateful smile and held it to her face.

“Oh no, if someone brought you home, there’s a concussion involved.” A woman with skin that matched Korra’s sat at a table peeling potatoes. She got up and approached the athlete. “Let me see.”

“It’s fine, really.” Korra lowered the ice pack and let the woman check her over.

Asami observed the woman produce a penlight from somewhere and shine it in Korra’s eyes before tilting the athlete’s head back slightly to check her lip. Pema’s familiarity with Korra started to make sense, and Korra’s privacy about her life even more so. She smiled at the maternal affection being shown, her heart clenched at the thought of her own mother doing the same when she was a child.

“Are you staying for dinner?” Pema drew Asami’s attention away from the moment.

“Oh, I—“ Asami started.

Korra turned to Asami. “Stay. If you don’t, you’re going back to whatever experiment is growing in your fridge.” She smirked, careful of the split lip she hid behind the ice pack. “Or you’re ordering takeout.”

“Of course she’s staying. How else could we thank you for bringing Korra home?” The woman that had been tending to Korra smiled. “You’ll be alright, and the lip doesn’t need stitches. Please take it easy, okay?” She and Korra seemed to share a silent conversation before the athlete nodded. The woman kissed Korra’s forehead. “Go change, you stink and your uniform is bloody.”

“Thanks, Kya. We’ll be in my room.” Korra reached over and took Asami’s hand.

Asami waved to the family and let Korra’s warm hand pull her to a small staircase tucked off the kitchen. She found herself led up and into a large room with a sloped ceiling. A glance out the window confirmed that she was above the garage. Asami looked around, taking in the posters of galaxies, polar bears, and soccer teams. Naga curled up on a bed in a corner, already snoring away. Her eyes finally stopped on Korra.

“Your parents are lovely.” Asami hesitated in the middle of the room, not sure if she should sit at the desk or Korra’s bed. Korra’s chuckle made her frown.

“Not my parents, but I’m glad you like them.” She gestured to her bed for Asami to sit and tossed the ice pack up to her pillows. “Make yourself at home.”

Asami sat on the edge of Korra’s bed, her eyes roaming the bedroom to take in the finer details. She glanced at Korra seeing her friend move and her cheeks went red the instant Korra pulled off her jersey. “You’re not shy at all.” Asami took in Korra’s muscular back and sports bra, as the athlete took the navy hoodie off the back of her desk chair. She saw the outline of abs, confirming what she was certain of that first day.

“Locker rooms make you not body shy real fast.” Korra’s head poked out and she fixed the sweatshirt, covering the abs Asami wanted to run her fingers over. The athlete gestured toward the stairs with her thumb. “That’s my foster family.”

“Your what?” Asami stared, not sure she heard Korra as every gear in her brain ground to a halt.

“My foster family.” Korra sat on the bed next to Asami and scooted herself up to lean against the pillows.

Asami pieced together everything she learned and everything she kept finding out. It all still didn’t make sense. “Those aren’t your moms downstairs? And your siblings?”

Korra laughed, throwing her head back.

The sound made Asami feel warm in embarrassment but also because she enjoyed hearing Korra sound so happy compared to the detached way Korra left her apartment two weeks ago.

“You thought they were lesbians?” Korra smirked at Asami.

“It would have made sense! You don’t talk about your family and your closeness with Pema at the café. All signs point to two moms who you don’t want to get bullied for.” Asami put her hands over her face and lay down on Korra’s bed burrowing into the blue comforter. “I’m just going to suffocate myself here.” The bed shifted, and Asami felt a hand run through her hair.

“You’re only kind of wrong. But it’s cute. They’ll get a kick out of it.”

Asami could hear the smile in Korra’s voice. She rolled over and looked up at the athlete. “Be merciful and spare me further embarrassment.”

Korra’s fingers continued to pass through her hair, and Asami felt some of her mortification ebb. The athlete seemed to be faking her consideration of Asami. “I guess I’ll let this go. I think you’ve done enough to earn my mercy.”

“Spirits, Korra, that’s not how you drop that kind of information on someone.” Asami sighed as her eyes lingered on Korra’s face. She examined the scar, seeing how it created a valley in Korra’s skin. The thought to touch it ran through her again, but instead of following it she clasped her hands together over her stomach.

“I don’t broadcast my life, and people don’t ask. It’s a win-win.” Korra shrugged and lay back.

Asami smiled at feeling Korra’s fingers through her hair. She remembered her mom doing something similar, and it made her feel bittersweet. Her mind mulled over the details of Korra’s life, still so many unanswered questions. But what Korra did tell her, Asami wanted to hold on to for herself. All the things Bolin, Opal, and others told Asami about Korra felt wrong. They all knew rumors or stories, but nothing that felt as solid as lying on Korra’s bed.

Maybe someday she would ask her questions, or perhaps Korra would feel comfortable enough to share what made her so anxious, or why she walked everywhere. Those were at the top of her list, and seemed much deeper and probably not as easy to answer.

“I wish I could do that.” Asami felt Korra’s fingers slow through her hair before they stopped. “It must be nice to be a face in the crowd.”

Korra hummed in affirmation.

Asami enjoyed hearing noises filter up the stairs from the kitchen. She wondered if her mom still lived if this is what it would feel like going home on the weekends. Would all three of them sit down to dinner? Did they discuss their week at the table or save it for post-dinner and drinks? A voice from the bottom of the stairs called up to them that food was ready. She pushed herself to sit up and glanced over at Korra who had her eyes closed.

“Aren’t you supposed to stay awake after a concussion?” Asami eyed Korra, poking her in the arm and then the side, which made the athlete snicker.

“Depends on how bad.” Korra sat up, the ice pack falling onto the bed with a quiet slap. “Time for that homecooked meal.”

Asami felt Korra grab her hand, and she followed the athlete down the stairs. She liked how confident Korra seemed in holding her hand. It helped Asami feel more like she and Korra were heading towards more comfortable territory than the first few times they met. They settled around the table with the rest of the family, Asami taking in all four children, Kya, Pema, and then she stared at the man that now sat at the head. The last person Asami expected to see was the esteemed Professor of Religions, Tenzin. He welcomed her and the family seemed to take little notice of Asami’s surprise. Dinner went by fast as the children were ushered off by Pema to prepare for bed or do homework, Kya excused herself to head to work, and Tenzin to his study.

“Professor Tenzin is your foster father.” Asami followed Korra up the stairs to the room, noticing as the athlete tapped a powerstrip with her toe and string lights bathed the room in a warm yellow.

“Yeah. He’s Kya’s brother.” Korra plopped on her bed, still not sure why this was a surprise.

“You could have warned me. He’s a colleague.” Asami sat next to Korra. She stared at the athlete, wanting to ask so many questions about this strange family and the circumstances of this living arrangement.

Korra waved Asami off. “Whatever. He doesn’t care. Probably too busy reading some ancient text, or preserving a dying culture.”

Asami shook her head and lay back on Korra’s bed. Her eyes followed the string lights around the ceiling. “So are you allowed to sleep or should you stay up?” She turned on her side so she could look at Korra, slipping her arm under a pillow.

Korra hummed and followed Asami’s movement so they could face each other. “I’ll stay up for a while, but it’ll be fine to sleep in a few hours.” She gave a half shrug. “If it were serious, I would have shown more serious symptoms.”

“Sounds like it happens to you a lot.” Asami watched Korra as she looked up and her fingers twitched as if she were counting.

“Enough times I know what’s good and what’s bad. Plus Kya being a doctor helps.” Korra smiled her usual lopsided line that Asami loved to see. It brightened Korra’s face, no matter how tired she appeared. “She got pretty good at treating me.”

“I can only guess you were accident prone.” Asami snickered. She noticed that Korra didn’t laugh, but took interest in the comforter. A quiet beat passed. “I’m sorry if that crossed a line.” Her hand was light on Korra’s forearm before she gave it a gentle squeeze to get her attention.

Korra looked up, her blues finally meeting Asami’s greens. “Another day. Not tonight.” She nodded with a small smile.

“Okay, you have got to tell me about how you ended up in that canoe.” Asami felt comfortable to change the subject, holding the promise from Korra close to her heart.

Chapter Text

Asami didn’t remember dozing off at whatever late hour she and Korra talked until. She laughed about the canoe story, and several other ridiculous antics Korra managed to get herself into. Hearing Korra laugh as she told a wild tale became Asami’s favorite sound. Sure, she liked revving engines from racecars and motorcycles. But Korra’s laugh made her feel warm and like there could be nothing wrong with the world.

She sat up, noticing that someone placed a blanket over her, and another over Korra. Her eyes roamed the space, seeing the sun coming in through the blinds. Noise came from the kitchen, sizzling and clanking of plates, and she smelled bacon. Asami glanced at Korra, seeing her curled in the knitted blue blanket that matched everything in Korra’s room. The athlete looked peaceful, her face relaxed with drool escaping her lips. Taking a few steps from the bed, Asami pulled at the sweats she wore. She couldn’t recall getting a pair from Korra, but her dress pants, button down, and blazer were draped with care over the desk chair, so clearly she got comfortable last night.

Naga yawned from her dog bed and stretched. Asami stooped to give the dog a pat, feeling the cold nose press into the inside of her wrist. Going downstairs with Naga in tow, Asami expected to find Pema but found Kya flipping pancakes. The older woman grinned at her. “Good morning.”

Asami tucked some hair behind her ear. “Morning.” She watched Kya pause in her breakfast making and pour a cup of coffee. It was placed across the counter at a stool. “Thank you.” Asami took her seat and sipped at the mug. Naga curled up by the sliding glass door in a sunspot.

“You seem like a coffee person.” Kya smirked and put some finished pancakes on a large plate. “And Pema mentioned you’d get coffee at the café.”

Drinking down more of her liquid caffeine, Asami watched Kya for a moment. She felt more alert, and being alone with Kya made her want to ask so many questions. But that felt like going behind Korra’s back. The last thing Asami wanted to do was ruin Korra’s trust in her by starting her inquisition. She was invited into the house, enjoyed dinner, and slept in Korra’s bed after talking all night. Asami wanted to treasure everything about how the last twelve hours went.

“Did she talk your ear off?” Kya’s voice interrupted Asami’s thoughts.

“Korra?” Asami blinked at the woman in surprise as she tried to process the question. “Yes. She told me about the canoe incident.”

Kya chuckled a deep sound that made Asami smile.

“I got that phone call after getting off my shift at work. She honestly had no idea she did anything wrong.” Kya seemed to smile at the memory, interrupting her current task with drinking her own coffee.

Asami opened her mouth to say something when she heard someone stumble down the stairs. She turned to see Korra leaning against the wall on the last step to her room, the blanket around her shoulders.

“Good, you’re alive. Started to think my assessment of your concussion was wrong last night.” Kya poured another cup and put it next to Asami’s. Korra shuffled over and drank down a third of it.

“Gonna take a lot more to kill me than that.” Korra’s voice came out low as she set her mug down.

Asami blinked at the joke, staring wide-eyed at Kya and Korra. Kya threw her head back and laughed.

“Yup, you’re fine.” Kya set up two plates for them and passed them over.

Korra bumped her shoulder against Asami’s. “You okay over there?” She grabbed a fork and started eating her eggs, careful around her split lip.

“Yeah. How are you feeling?” Asami cut her pancakes with the side of her fork and added some syrup to the mix.

Korra shrugged and chomped into a piece of bacon. “Like I’m still asleep. Or I have jetlag.” She ate a mouthful of eggs and then turned to Asami. “Where were you going yesterday when I ran into you?”

“You were running?” Kya glanced over and Korra waved her off.

“Metaphorically.”

“The office. Board meeting on Monday and I need to get some stuff for it.” Asami’s nostrils flared as she thought about going to Future Industries after a great night.

“Want some company?” Korra rolled her pancake bacon and eggs together, forgoing her fork and taking a bite of the concoction. “Unless you’re sick of me?”

Asami frowned, seeing the matching band-aids on Korra’s thumbs. “It’s across the city, so we’d have to drive.” She ate a few bites of her pancakes and eggs. “And I’m not sick of you.”

Korra seemed to contemplate the fact of getting in the car again. “Let me get dressed then we can go.” She jumped up and ascended the stairs with Naga hot on her heels.

Kya hummed, a slight smile on her face. “Well, that’s an interesting development.” She whispered that as she started to sip her coffee.

“What’s interesting, Aunt Kya?” Ikki walked in and grabbed a plate. She started to serve herself food. “Oh! Hi Asami. Did you and Korra have a sleepover?”

“Nothing Ikki.” Kya winked at Asami and turned back to pouring more batter for pancakes.

Asami watched Kya for a moment and then smiled at Ikki. “Yeah, we did. I haven’t done one of those in forever.” She couldn’t remember ever having a sleepover. The concept was clear from books she read and the television shows she caught as a kid. All the theoretical knowledge paled in comparison to the experience with Korra. Although she supposed now the adult version of sleepovers could be implied if she ever mentioned she and Korra slept together or had a sleepover. She mulled over the ramifications of either phrase and was only pulled from her thoughts when Korra appeared at her side.

“My room’s free if you want to change.” Korra buttoned up the blue flannel over a tank top and rolled up the sleeves to her elbows.

“Oh. Thanks.” Asami disappeared up the stairs, finding Naga sprawled out on Korra’s bed. She changed out of the loaned clothes and into the more professional attire from yesterday. Buttoning her blouse, Asami took a moment to examine the framed photos on the low bookcase. These were different than the ones on Instagram. They showed Korra grinning with Naga, or the children, or holding her high school diploma, or some kind of soccer trophy with a ball under one arm.

The dresser held the older photos. Asami saw a small Korra with her arms thrown around Kya’s neck, her chin on the older woman’s head. They appeared to be in the South still based on the white glaciers in the background. Korra’s grin was lopsided, the scar evident and looking recent on her skin. Kya could be mistaken for Korra’s mother if one didn’t pay close attention to their face shapes. Her eyes stopped on the last photo. An even younger Korra smiled up at the camera as she was held between a broad-shouldered man and a short woman. Asami could see the resemblance between the three. She ran a finger over Korra’s image, noting the absent scar.

“You get lost in your pants up there?” Korra’s voice carried up from the bottom of the stairs along with the rest of the family in conversation.

“Haha. I’ll be right down.” Asami took one final look at the image before she grabbed her phone and blazer. She took in the roused family, wishing them a good morning and appreciation for their hospitality before leaving with Korra. “You sure you want to do this?” Her eyes found Korra’s, the blues that she could compare to deep, aged glacier ice.

Korra opened her mouth and shut it a few times as if searching for the right words. Her thumbs were still covered and it seemed her other fingers were spared. “Yeah. Let’s go.” She swallowed and climbed into the car. Asami followed suit and drove them towards Future Industries.

The drive went by quick, the Saturday morning traffic paled in comparison to the weekday. Asami was thankful she could race through the city in no time. Her eyes lingered on Korra, watching how she seemed to distance herself from the time in the car.

“A quick trip to my office and we’ll be good to go.” Asami reached over and put a hand on Korra’s in her lap. At the touch Korra seemed to come back, blinking several times and her blue eyes turning to Asami.

“You can finally show me what all your numbers are for.” Korra disembarked and stared up at the skyscraper. She turned with big eyes to Asami.

“What?” Asami stood a few steps in front of Korra and faced her friend.

“This is the family business?” Korra glanced up at the Future Industries logo gleaming on the front of the building.

Asami stepped over to stand next to Korra and looked up at the building. “Where did you think I worked?”

“A car dealership? I dunno. This wasn’t it though.” Korra gestured up at the building.

Asami started to laugh, her head thrown back. She looked to Korra seeing her frown. Clearing her throat, she attempted to steal her expression. “Korra. Do you know who I am?”

“I do now.” Korra was quiet as she turned her eyes back to the logo.

“Let’s get upstairs. Then we can get lunch and play 21 questions.” Asami smirked and started for the lobby. She made it several steps away and then heard Korra move to catch up.

They walked through the spacious marble lobby where Asami greeted the security guard and got into an elevator. Korra stood bewildered next to Asami as they ascended the building. Asami glanced at the athlete, taking in her expression of awe. The elevator dinged and they stepped out onto a floor with even more marble. Slipping her hand into Korra’s, Asami pulled her to where her office was. In an instant, Korra went to the windows that overlooked Republic City.

Asami snagged the binder off her desk and went to Korra’s side. “Best view of the whole building.” She stared at the statue of Aang, the founder of the city that united the world after a devastating war. Pushing Korra with her elbow, Asami walked to the door of her office. “Let’s grab lunch and maybe you can get to know me.”

Korra rolled her eyes and followed. “Yes, Ms. Sato.” She smirked and stepped out of the door, bumping into Asami’s back.

“Asami.” The older man stared at her, and Asami straightened at the sight of her father.

“Hiroshi.” She gave him a curt nod and went to step around him.

He seemed to catch sight of Korra behind her because his face hardened. “We discussed that you wouldn’t go parading your lifestyle around.”

Asami’s eyes narrowed. “I am running errands. Nothing about my lifestyle has hurt the company and if the press makes assumptions, they’ll make assumptions.”

“I can revoke your right to being the heir to everything if you don’t change your ways.” Hiroshi crossed his arms, his eyes locked on Asami.

“Mom left her shares to me, and we both know there is no one at this company that understands it the way I do.” Asami’s jaw clenched. “I will be with who I want to be with and live how I want. You’re going to have to deal with it, or so help me I’ll sell it all to Varrick Global.”  

“She would be disgusted in your choices Asami. Coming here with your girlfriend.” Hiroshi glared between Korra and Asami.

Korra stepped next to Asami and grabbed her hand.

“Fuck you, using her like that.” Asami held back her tears and pulled Korra behind her to the elevator.

They descended in silence and sat in Asami’s car.

Asami curled in on herself, her tears falling. She felt a warm hand around her shoulders and found herself being pulled into a hug across the car seat. The hand on her back rubbed a gentle circle. Her face was pressed into Korra’s shoulder, the soft fabric of her flannel a small comfort. Asami wasn’t sure how long she cried, but once she calmed she sat back.

“That’s, that’s Hiroshi for you.” Asami wiped at the tears under her eyes and shook her head. “I hate him.”

“I’m sorry.” Korra kept one arm around Asami.

Asami shook her head and checked her make up in the mirror. She didn’t touch it up when she was at Korra’s so it looked much worse now. “I need a drink.” Without another word, Asami started the car and sped through the city to her apartment, weaving around cars with ease and speeds the police could have pulled them over for. She slid into her parking spot and climbed out. Her mind didn’t register Korra calling her, or the athlete’s footsteps. A hand in hers got her to turn at the strong tug.

“Tell me about her.” Korra stood before Asami, her dark skin pale. “Tell me about your mom.”

Asami focused on the blue eyes that she once compared to a raging sea, now reminded her of a calm lake in the middle of the wilderness. She stared for a moment, feeling some of the rage recede. All she wanted to do in this moment was grab Korra’s face and kiss her. Asami wanted to taste Korra’s lips and the secrets behind them. She wanted to forget everything about her father’s words and live. But instead of all the things she thought about doing, she stared at the woman before her.

Grabbing Korra’s hand Asami pulled her up to her apartment.  

Chapter Text

Asami went straight for her liquor the instant she opened her apartment door. She released Korra’s hand at some point, she wasn’t sure when. Two shots in she heard Korra clear her throat and turned. “What?” She watched Korra hesitate in what she was about to say.

“I’m going to order some food.” Korra dug out her phone and gestured to Asami. “You get yourself… situated.” She held the phone up to her ear and stepped into the hallway.

Three more shots of whiskey before she poured herself a proper glass. She sniffled and settled into the couch. Hiroshi’s words replayed in her mind, making her shake her head. Sometimes she couldn’t believe her father and the way he acted. It hurt no matter how much she didn’t believe him because part of her did subscribe to the idea that her mother would be disappointed in being bisexual, in preferring women.

Korra reentered the apartment and got herself a glass of water before she sat on the couch with Asami. “Chinese food is on the way,” she sipped her water and then set the glass aside, “Tell me about your mom, Asami.”

“What’s there to tell?” Asami shrugged, the gesture stopped by the couch cushions. “My dad’s an asshole who uses her death over me like it’s going to convert me to not be bisexual.” She sipped some of her whiskey, her mind a storm of memories about her mother mixed with the yelling of her father.

“So talk to me about her, Asami. She means a lot to you.” Korra smiled at Asami, and despite the anger in her brain, Asami still blushed. People didn’t ask about her mom, they offered their sympathies and condolences, all things she didn’t want because those wouldn’t bring her back.

“She was full of light. My mom could walk into a room and warm it up because she was sunlight if it could walk on earth.” Asami stared at the distant wall, her eyes focused on the things her mom did, and how she remembered her mother even after nearly 17 years. “I owe so much to her.” She looked to Korra, her eyes watery as she stared into the blues that made her heart clench.

Without any interruption from Korra, Asami inhaled and continued, keeping her tears at bay. “My mom wanted me to study science like her. She knew the instant I accidentally set fire to a nearby tree outside our apartment in the Dragon Flats.” Asami chuckled, a deep slow sound that trailed off. “I wired together a few of my toys, trying to fix the remote control Cabbage Corp car my dad gave me, back before Future Industries got huge. She showed me the dead animals that couldn’t escape the tree, and wanted me to realize the loss of life I caused.” She exhaled, her breathing coming out shaky. Asami glanced over and saw Korra nodded to continue. “My mom sat me down at the tree and said being smart wouldn’t count for anything if I didn’t try to make the world better. That I should serve life, not death.” Asami shook her head, at her mom’s words.

“And here I am, designing motorcycles and cars.” Asami felt some tears slip down her cheeks, which she wiped away and drank what was left of her glass. She poured herself more and looked to Korra. “I’m letting her down and my dad knows.”

Korra shook her head. “You aren’t letting her down, Asami. You still studied science, and continue to do so. It’s okay that you’re pursuing your own interests.” She placed her hand on Asami’s shoulder and gave it a gentle squeeze. “Don’t be so hard on yourself.”

Asami shook her head. “She inspired me Korra, and I lost her. I’ve done nothing to honor her memory in my work.”  Silence hung between them, as Asami sipped more of her whiskey and wiped at more tears that fell.

“What happened to her?” The athlete’s voice was barely above a whisper.

Asami closed her eyes, remembering the exact night as it unfolded. “We were at home when someone broke in. My dad made some bad deals with some shady people. The gang war in Republic City was terrible back then. He shot at us because my mom f-fought back.” She cleared her throat and lifted up the side of her shirt revealing a long scar on her side. “I got grazed by a bullet that missed her. She took three to the chest and died in our living room holding my hand to keep me calm.”

“Asami.” Korra’s hand took hers, and Asami opened her eyes to see those blue eyes that she appreciated for how calming they were. “That’s terrible, I’m so sorry.”

“She was too good for this world that the universe decided they needed to take her back.” Asami swallowed another glass of whiskey. Her mind felt hazy and her chest warm. “Hiroshi is ruining everything. Fuck him. I wish he had died instead of her.”

Korra frowned. “Asami, you don’t really mean that.”

“I do. She deserved so much better. He’s the one that did all these bad things, and fucking got her killed.” Asami poured herself more whiskey before Korra snatched the bottle away.

“Changing the past would change who you are, Asami.” Korra capped the handle and set it out of Asami’s reach.

Asami sat up and glared at Korra. “You don’t have any parents, so why do you care? You turned out fine.” She tossed back whatever was left in her glass and set it down on the table. “Where’s the food?” Getting up, she swayed and stumbled to the other liquor bottles in the apartment.

Korra appeared beside her. “Come on. You need to go lay down. I’ll wake you up when the food gets here.” Her hands gripped Asami’s biceps and started to lead her toward the bedroom. She held Asami at arm's length, pushing her down the hallway.

“He’s so aware that bringing her up gets me. That’s how he wins everytime we argue.” Asami stumbled with Korra into her bedroom. “He thought we were dating Korra. I’m not even with anyone. And he thought I was parading you around, shoving my ‘lifestyle’ in his face.” Asami didn’t notice how quiet Korra was, she made it to her bed and burrowed into the pillows. “He didn’t deserve her, fuck him,” Asami grumbled into her blankets.

“I’m going to get you a glass of water.” Korra got Asami tucked in and walked from the room.

Asami fell asleep before Korra came back.

Chapter Text

Asami’s phone buzzed on her nightstand, the annoying hum cut through her sleep. She licked her lips, her mouth dry like she ate too much peanut butter. It took her a moment to grab her phone and squint at the screen. Her alarm went off, for what reason she couldn’t remember. She dropped the device on her bed, feeling the headache pound against her eyes. All she wanted to do was roll over and go back to sleep. But if her alarm was going off there were things to do.

Sitting up, Asami found the water glass and drank that down. She didn’t remember putting it there, much of the previous day a hazy memory. As she recalled the argument with her father and waking up at Korra’s, she got up from her bed. Korra was with her yesterday.

She stubbed her toe on a small wastebasket and then made it a few steps before she found Korra asleep on the floor at the foot of her bed under the couch blanket. Asami stared at her trying to figure out why she was curled up on the carpet and not a couch or chair.

“Kor?” Her voice came out as a whisper as if her throat were still dry, or like she didn’t even try to wake up her friend. Swallowing, Asami knelt down and put a hand on the athlete’s shoulder. “Korra. Wake up.”

Asami squeezed Korra’s shoulder. She felt the body underneath her hand jolt, those blue eyes open and looking around until they stopped on her. “Hey, it’s okay. Just me.”

“You okay?” Korra sat up and shrugged off Asami’s hand.

“Why are you asleep on my floor?” Asami sat on the carpet next to her.

“I wouldn’t have heard you stumble to the bathroom if you needed to throw up last night if I were on the couch.” Korra glanced at her phone and started to get up.

Asami watched Korra collect the blanket and fold it. She got up more shaky than she liked and feeling the hangover throb. “Breakfast?”

Korra shook her head. “Can’t. I have practice. There’s Chinese food in the fridge from lunch.” She left the bedroom and Asami followed.

Something felt off. Asami tried to piece together the previous day and only came up with waking up at Korra’s and seeing her father. “How long have I been out?”

Korra paused as she slipped on her shoes. “Fifteen hours. You were out before the takeout got here.” She checked her phone and finished with her sneakers.

Asami noticed Korra’s focus strayed to everything but her. “Hey,” she reached out and caught Korra’s forearm, “You okay?” The muscles tensed under her hand as the athlete turned and finally faced her. She looked like she wanted to say something based on the brief moment her mouth opened and then shut. Something about her eyes reminded Asami of a stormy day when the grey was so dark it appeared blue.

“I get it, you were drunk and angry yesterday because your dad treats you horribly, but that doesn’t mean you get to take it out on other people.” Korra pulled her arm from Asami’s grasp and left.

Asami stared at the door. She ran her hand through her dark locks trying to piece together everything. Getting the takeout from the fridge, Asami grabbed some chopsticks and returned to her room with a large bottle of water tucked under her arm. Leaning against her headboard she rebuilt her Saturday. She stabbed the chopsticks in the container of rice and set it aside. Her head still throbbed and attempting to recall the previous day didn’t help. Asami curled up under her duvet to try and sleep off the hangover.

The next time she woke up the early afternoon sun came in diagonally through her curtains. Asami felt a slight thrum in her head, but otherwise decided she could function. She showered, hoping that would clear the remnants of the hangover away. Standing in the steam with hot water pulsing into her back, she stopped shampooing her hair.

“Fuck.” Asami hung her head, remembering everything with Korra that it made her eyes well. She couldn’t believe how fast those words came out of her mouth. Of course, Korra would be mad at her. Without thinking she put her hands to her face, ashamed at how she treated someone she felt comfortable to call a friend. “Ow! Shit.” Asami stepped under the spray, washing out the soap from her eyes and hair, and the tears from her face. Satisfied that she could see again, Asami finished her shower and padded into her room wrapped in a towel.

Asami: Korra. Can we talk?

Asami: Not over text, and obviously when you want to.

She wouldn’t expect Korra to give her a response right away, or even that day. Asami didn’t feel like she deserved one. At least she hoped Korra would give her one eventually.

Hours later after Asami dozed off against the report from Future Industries for reports, her phone chirped.

Korra: See you for our usual coffee.

 

Coffee with Korra was always them sitting in companionable silence, working diligently on their own projects. They’d stop for a break and catch up or laugh about something from their day. Sometimes they would brainstorm together trying to free the other from a block and suddenly have a solution. Asami arrived to Korra already typing away on a laptop with a stack of notes next to her. She sat down and started to get her own items out.

Pema brought over Asami’s coffee, biscotti and the plate of cookies. The woman always had something for them, and every other college student that used the café to study, to snack on. She hurried away seeing customers arrive.

Asami glanced at Korra, who seemed deep into whatever paper she must be writing. She got out the Future Industries reports and double checked her notes on them. The board meeting got canceled, which gave her more time to examine the discrepancies she found.

“How was your hangover?” Korra didn’t look up as she searched for something in her notes.

“I slept for a few more hours and tried to figure out these numbers. They looked like hieroglyphics at one point.” Asami gestured to the bound stack of papers. She tensed, not sure what else to say, but wanting to say more. If this was an invitation for conversation, she wanted to take it in hopes she could make amends. “Korra, I’m so sorry. I had no right to say that to you.”

Korra kept skimming the notebook pages, but it looked like she bit the inside of her cheek from Asami’s perspective.

“Honestly, drunk angry me is a terrible person. And you witnessed me at a point where no one should ever have to.” Asami shook her head and stared at the numbers in the report. Her eyes welled and everything became a bit blurry. “Six-drink Asami is a huge bitch to everyone.”

Korra snorted a laugh and finally looked up. “That was way more than six drinks.”

Asami stared at those blue eyes for a moment, so relieved to finally see them. Her face grew warm as she continued to stare and she turned away. “Yeah, it definitely was.” She wiped at her eyes before the tears could fall.

The athlete snagged a cookie off the plate and took a bite. She munched as she went back to her notes, her eyes darting between the screen and the papers.

Asami wasn’t sure if this was Korra’s way of forgiving her, but she would take it. She wanted to talk more about it, more about Korra’s past and get answers to all of her questions. But she tarnished what they had and Asami vowed to do anything to make it up to the athlete before her.

“When’s your next game?”

“Bringing six-drink Asami to the tailgate party?”

Asami smirked at the dig. She’d let Korra have that one, she deserved it after all. “She’s going to stay home. I figured since you came to Future Industries, it’s only fair I watch you play.”

“Oh, so you want to see how I score.” Korra turned her eyes up to Asami.

“That, and I like the physics of the game.” Asami picked up her red pen and went about making marks in the report.

“We have two away games this week, and one at home next Thursday if you can wait that long.” Korra sipped her drink and ate another bite of the cookie. “And one of my lesbian moms will be there.”

“Spirits.” Asami put her face in one of her hands. “You’re not going to let that go are you?”

Korra grinned that lopsided look that made Asami’s heart race. “Never.”

Chapter Text

 “Asami!”

She turned hearing her name and saw Kya waving to her from the upper rows of the stadium. Asami headed up and sidled past a few people to take a seat.

“Korra mentioned you’d be here, figured you could sit with one of her lesbian moms.” Kya smirked and sat back.

“Spirits, she told you?” Asami hung her head, which made Kya laugh.

“I think it’s sweet actually.” Kya gave Asami a side hug and glanced at the teams warming up. “She’s never talked so much about another person before.”

Asami looked to Kya, hiding the surprise on her face with a smile. “Oh?”

Kya nodded. “I worried, you know? Worried after she first became mine what would happen to her being raised by me.” Her gaze lingered on the field, Asami assumed following Korra. “I was young and busy with being at the hospital or with my girlfriend. Suddenly I lost my best friends and gained this tiny human.”

Asami waited a moment, her eyes focused on Kya. “She seems to have turned out fine.

Kya’s laugh was a deep sound that made Asami feel warm but also alerted her to some unresolved sadness.

“We did alright for a while in the South. My parents helped when I couldn’t be there, handling nightmares and tears. It was a matter of finding a new normal for a kid whose whole world got turned around.” Kya sat back, her eyes looking off into the distance as if reliving the experience. “She didn’t really make friends, and I asked her about it one day when she was eight. Korra said she didn’t want temporary people in her life. And then she ran off to go build a snow fort.”

Asami mirrored Kya’s movement. She turned her eyes to the field but kept alert to her peripherals to watch Kya.

“Korra got older, and I realized I wanted her to have something more stable than my aging parents and me constantly at the hospital.” Kya smiled small. “So I moved us to Republic City after getting a job here. We moved in with my brother and his family because it’s probably the closest to a real family Korra will ever get.”

“Families aren’t always about what society dictates. Sometimes it’s what you make of it.” Asami kept her eyes on Korra as the athlete jogged around the warm-up area making passes and doing stretches.

Kya chuckled, her gaze now on Asami. “I’m glad Korra has you.”

Asami turned to look at Kya. “What?”

“You’re the first friend she’s brought over to meet the family. I thought it was too good to be true at first, but you’re a keeper.” Kya grinned and patted Asami’s back. “She’s stubborn, but you’ll break through.”

Asami felt heat rise into her cheeks. “Oh, thank you.” She cleared her throat and shifted as she heard the announcer say the game would start soon. Her eyes found Korra on the sidelines. The athlete stripped off her long-sleeve shirt, her back facing the crowd. Asami noticed the lines of a tattoo gracing Korra’s skin of her upper back, but couldn’t figure out the shape.

“It’s Raava.” Kya’s voice cut through Asami’s thoughts.

“W-What?” Asami blinked, pink rising in her cheeks again, right when she thought she returned to normal. She’d been caught staring by her friend’s guardian and called out for it.

Kya snickered. “Korra got a tattoo of Raava when she turned eighteen. Not sure why, but Tenzin was elated in his own way.”

“Oh.” Asami nodded and wished she wouldn’t find herself embarrassed by this family anymore. She appreciated the ribbing, it made her feel welcomed that they felt comfortable to joke with her.

The game started with little fanfare. Asami perused the soccer rules to refresh her memory since the last time Korra and her talked extensively about the sport. She did like the physics of the game and the overall strategy. What she liked more though was watching Korra. Her friend moved with grace and confidence around the pitch.  Asami followed Korra’s movements, noticing how the athlete directed the gameplay in seconds with ease. Each pass made it to their intended target, even with how close the other team guarded Korra.

A player from the opposing team kept within steps of Korra. Asami frowned seeing the physicality of the two. Korra constantly running or forcing the other woman away to make a pass or give herself some distance. Twenty-seven minutes in and Korra took a long ball from Kuvira. She rushed off only to find herself on the ground from a tackle. The athlete popped up in an attempt to get the ball to someone. Her feet got tripped up by someone else coming in for a steal, the ball bouncing off in the direction of the opponent’s teammate.

Asami glared at someone that she realized booed every time Korra got passed the ball. She opened her mouth to say something when she felt a hand on her knee. Her eyes found it belonged to Kya, the older woman shaking her head at her.

“It’s not worth it.”

“She’s a good player, it’s not like she’s doing anything wrong.” Asami huffed, unable to believe the person that kept booing and that silence was how Kya wanted her to respond.

“People get heated over a game. No sense starting an argument about it.” Kya returned her hand to her lap.

Asami returned her focus to the game as it went into halftime. They watched the halftime show of little league soccer kids running around chasing a ball. She wondered if Korra started out that way, or if she always played the game with the same determination she did as an adult.

The second half started with both teams becoming more aggressive. Asami tensed every instance Korra got passed the ball. Grass stains covered parts of her uniform where she made tackles or ended up on the ground. Compared to her teammates, Asami could tell Korra seemed to be taking a lot of physical shots that the referee either didn’t see or ignored.

“Get the Southie off the field!” The person booing earlier shouted at the field.

Asami’s fist clenched. “Are you kidding me?”

“Let’s not start a brawl, Asami.” Kya rubbed Asami’s back.

“How do you put up with it?” Asami turned to Kya.

“That’s been the only caveat of moving here from the South. A lot more racism.” Kya sighed, looking at Asami. “It’s hard to hear, don’t get me wrong. I’d rather these overt names compared to the microaggressions.”

A referee whistle made them both turn their heads to the field. The players set up for a corner kick with Kuvira placing the ball. Her hand went up and suddenly the ball was aloft.

Players surged forward as the ball curved. The stadium seemed to hold it’s breath. Korra jumped and so did the same player that paced her all game. Her head connected with the ball and the woman next to her. Asami thought she heard the impact the two women made against each other as the ball skimmed the goalie’s fingers while the two players landed and the stadium erupted.

Korra got to her feet to celebrate with her team when she faltered in her steps. Kuvira and another teammate steadied her.

Asami could see the bright red on Korra’s face and the other player who sat on the ground.

“And that’s my cue.” Kya gathered her purse and glanced at Asami. “Come on. We should go collect her before she claims she can still play.”

“She wouldn’t.” Asami stood and followed Kya.

“I think you know my ward well enough to know she would.” Kya led the way as they went down to the field. The trainer stood with Korra on the sidelines as play resumed, applying gauze and wrapping her head.

Kya stayed by the railing as the final minutes ticked down, eyeing the trainer as they went through an examination protocol despite how Korra’s focus remained on her teammates and the game. A shrill whistle went out and the match ended with the RCU victory. The teams shook hands and then dispersed.

Asami watched Korra approach them, blood already soaking through the gauze. “You sure put your blood, sweat, and tears out there.”

Korra’s lopsided grin greeted them both. “If I intend on scoring, I’ll do whatever it takes.” She blinked up at them both as if trying to focus on them.

“We need to get you sewn up.” Kya nodded in the direction of the exit. “You can get your things later. I want your head checked out and I imagine so does your coach.”

“Yes, ma’am.” Korra pouted and walked with them to leave the field. She met them outside the walls where she turned to Asami. “Thanks for coming. I hope it wasn’t too boring.”

Asami took in Korra’s jersey with blood stains dotting the grass marks and the soft, crooked smile. She returned the expression with a grin. “Always. Though I didn’t expect it to turn violent and bloody.”

They walked to Kya’s car in the large parking lot where other people were lingering among the trash from the earlier tailgate.

“Alright everyone in.” Kya turned to the two women. “Asami you too.”

Asami blinked, not realizing she was included in this hospital trip. She bit her lip, calculating the lumens in the stadium lights and the headlights from the cars. “What?”

“You’re coming with. I need someone else to keep her awake other than me.” Kya climbed into the car and started it up.

“She’s voluntelling you to come with.” Korra opened the door for Asami.

“I don’t think I’ve ever been voluntold to do anything.” She climbed into the car with Korra sliding in next to her.

Chapter Text

Asami settled into the chair by Korra’s bed, noticing how fast the athlete started to pick at her thumbs. She ignored the repetitive hospital noises from machines and pages to doctors, reminding her of when she woke up in the hospital after the break-in. Kya disappeared for coffee and Asami wondered if that was intentional, or if she wanted to give them alone time on purpose. Her mind started estimating the number of stairs in the whole building, letting herself get lost in the calculations to ease the tightness in her chest.

“You don’t have to stay.” Korra’s voice broke through Asami’s numbers.

“What?” Asami looked at Korra.

“You should go home.”

“And leave you here with all this excitement?” Asami gestured to the small plain room of white on top of off-white.

The corner of Korra’s lips quirked in a slight smile, her left fingers picking at the skin of her right thumb. “Yup. Me and my exciting life.”

Asami saw the smile falter as a nurse paged a doctor and Korra’s eyes shut. She reached over and took Korra’s right hand, interrupting the picking. “Come on, don’t fall asleep on me.”

“I’m not sleeping. I just really don’t like it here.” Asami felt Korra squeeze her fingers. “I shouldn’t have gone for that header.”

“You played a great game. So that girl was all up in your business, at least you scored .” Asami ran her thumb over the back of Korra’s hand. She found the movement calming for herself, and hoped it did the same for her friend.

Korra shook her head slow as another page rang out, and voices from the hallway carried into the room. She clenched Asami’s hand.

“Hey, it’s okay. The doctor said this is temporary, it’s just for observation. And your stitches come out in a few weeks.” Asami held Korra’s right hand in both of hers, much like how she did in the car ride to the hospital the instant the athlete started to pick at her thumbs.

“I don’t want to lay here or be awake. It’s loud, Asami. So loud.”

Asami nodded, looking at her friend and feeling the athlete tense at another page. “There are at least six thousand stair steps in this building, assuming their staircases are a standard distance. That’s also basing some rough estimates on the design, number of wings, and floor count.” She saw Korra open her eyes, seeing the blues looking at her through a squint.

“How?”

Asami waved a hand around them. “Math.”

Korra rolled her eyes. “Obviously. But why do you know that?”

Asami licked her lips, her cheeks felt warm. “I run numbers in my head. Things like the speed of the nurses walking in the hallway around this floor, or the trajectory of a soccer ball off your foot into a goal.” She paused and looked down for a moment thinking about how often she did this. “Every time I feel like things are out of control, I pick something and do some math.”

“Spirits, Asami. You are a huge nerd .”

“Guilty.” Asami shrugged and watched her friend with a smile “I don’t like it here either if that helps.”

Korra sniffled, wiping at her eyes with her free hand. “Hospitals are still the same no matter where you are.”

Asami noticed Korra’s small lopsided smile, the scar what she never found herself focusing on compared to everyone else. Sure, she wanted to know, but she also wanted to know the woman behind the blue eyes she got lost in.

“They died when I was four.”

Asami opened her mouth to object. She didn’t want to rush Korra into talking.

“We were going, going somewhere. Grocery shopping, or maybe so my dad could grab something he forgot in his office.” Korra stopped and closed her eyes. “My mom figured we could all go.”

Asami stayed quiet as Korra paused as if to collect herself.

“I don’t remember it happening. The paramedics and the ambulance ride are fuzzy. Kya was there when I woke up. I guess she was working that night.” Korra wiped at the tears on her cheeks. “This is so stupid, you don’t want to hear this. And I’m crying because of the pain meds and my concussion, and I don’t want to be here.”

Asami watched Korra before she got up and climbed onto the hospital bed. She settled next to the athlete and pulled her into a hug. “We can be uncomfortable together. And I do want to hear whatever you have to say, Korra.”

Korra rested her head on Asami’s shoulder. “It shouldn’t bother me so much. I don’t even have vivid memories of the accident. I only know what happened from the police report, and Kya telling me.” The athlete fell quiet, her breathing calmer it seemed. “I shouldn’t be afraid of cars because I don’t remember . But I can’t help it.”

“It’s okay to be afraid, Korra.” Asami squeezed Korra lightly with one arm. “I don’t think anyone would blame you for not liking car rides.”

Asami traced the scar on the back of Korra’s forearm with her index finger, following the old surgical incision. Feeling the athlete against her was the single greatest experience in recent memory that Asami could recall and she didn’t want it to end. She felt Korra lift up her head, and Asami looked at her. Her eyes found the long scar across her cheek. The lasting effects of the accident more than skin deep. And then she saw Korra’s lips. Asami turned away, trying to not think about how close those lips were. She felt the athlete chuckle in her arms.

“What?” Heat rose into Asami’s cheeks and she hated how for the second time in a few hours she got caught staring.

Korra smirked and shut her eyes as she reclined her head into the pillows. “You.”

Asami huffed. She kept her gaze away from Korra but knew her blush was a telltale sign. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“You wanna kiss me.” Korra smiled at her. “You wanna kiss me, date me and love me.” The athlete singsonged and continued to hum.

Spirits, this girl was going to end her . “You’re concussed and not in your right mind. So none of that will be happening,” Asami paused as she licked her lips, “yet.”

Korra fist pumped. “Best concussion ever.”

Asami rolled her eyes.

“You two look comfortable.” Kya walked into the room, coffee in one hand and some dark blue scrubs under her arm. The older woman smirked at them, and Asami felt her face get hot.

“We’re dating when I’m not concussed.” Korra grinned at Kya.

Kya hummed, a smile on her face as she glanced at Asami then back to Korra. “How are you feeling?”

Great . Can I go home?” Korra sat up with help from Asami and Kya.

“Not quite. But I grabbed some scrubs so you can at least change.” Kya put the folded items on Korra’s lap.

Asami got up first and helped Korra steady herself as she stood. She tried not to think about their close proximity as Korra stripped off her stained jersey and shorts. This wasn’t how she anticipated spending her Thursday, but Asami couldn’t complain. If anything, this would go down as one of her Top Ten Most Eventful Days. She glanced at Korra as the athlete tugged on the scrub pants and noticed Kya smiling at her. Asami averted her gaze, hoping this family would stop making her so conscious of her place in Korra’s life.

Kya glanced at her phone. “Will you two be okay if I drop you off at the university?”

“Got a hot date tonight with Lin?” Korra leaned against the bed with one hand on Asami’s shoulder.

“I do. And since your scans came back clean, you can go rest, and I trust Asami to keep an eye on you.” Kya turned her attention to Asami from Korra. “If anything seems off, bring her here and they’ll call me.”

Asami nodded. “Yes, ma’am.”

They left the hospital and collected Korra’s stuff before going to Asami’s apartment.

“Your aunt trusts me too much.” Asami helped Korra settle on the couch before she went to get a glass of water.

“Cause you won’t take advantage of me?” Korra snickered.

Asami rolled her eyes. “You need to heal, Korra.”

Korra held up her hands. “I’m just saying I wouldn’t say no if we started making out.”

Asami hung her head, keeping her focus on the kitchen counter. It took everything in her to not go over there and kiss Korra until they were both breathless. Today was not the day for it. “Dinner. You have to be hungry.” She opened a drawer, pulled out a handful of menus and returned to the couch to sit with Korra.

The athlete giggled, not even paying the pile of menus any mind. “Pizza. I don’t care what else it has on it but pineapple must be involved.”

Asami placed a quick order to her usual place, getting her usual pie and making a haphazard guess on the toppings Korra would want besides pineapple. She observed Korra wrap herself in the couch blanket and peruse Netflix.

“What’re we watching, champ?” Asami scooted closer to Korra, her arm automatically going around the athlete’s shoulders.

“Planet Earth and all the snow episodes.” Korra leaned against Asami as she started the show.

The only interruption to their marathon came when the pizza delivery arrived.

Asami jumped up and handled the transaction before she returned to Korra. The athlete consumed half her pizza before Asami finished two slices as Netflix rolled into the next episode.

Korra curled into Asami’s side and yawned.

Early in the third episode Asami felt Korra’s head on her shoulder, her eyes closed and her breathing slow. Asami smiled and squeezed Korra against her. “Hey, let’s get you to bed.”

“--fine here.” Korra mumbled and hummed low.

Asami chuckled as she got up and pulled Korra with her. The solid body of the athlete leaned into her, making Asami nearly lose her balance. She steadied herself and Korra, then made a mental note that Korra weighed more than she looked because of all her toned muscle.  Asami got them to the bedroom and tucked Korra into her bed. It took her a few minutes to go through her own nighttime routine before Asami settled in next to Korra.

“Sami?” Korra’s voice came out low, heavy with sleep.

“Yeah?” Asami turned on her side to look at Korra. She watched Korra’s hand search around for a moment before it found her own. The athlete threaded their fingers together.

“Thanks.”

Asami listened to Korra’s breathing even out, the warmth of the athlete’s hand in her own. She smiled to herself and let sleep take her.



Asami pushed at the blankets on her, feeling too warm. She went to roll over but instead found herself pushed against the heat source. Blinking a few times she licked her lips and saw the bluest eyes staring back.

“Good morning.” Korra smiled at her.

Pushing the hair out of her face, Asami squinted at Korra. “Morning.” Her throat felt dry which made her voice deep.

Korra snickered. “Good to know you don’t wake up looking like a princess in the morning.”

Asami flipped Korra off and shifted to her stomach. “Go back to sleep. You’re supposed to be resting.”

“And miss the view? I’ll pass thanks.”

Asami could hear the grin in Korra’s voice. She reached over and snaked her arm around Korra’s midsection. “Then let me sleep.”

“Don’t you teach a class today?”

The words registered after a moment, making Asami sit up. “Shit!” She started to stumble out of bed, ignoring Korra’s laughter. What stopped her from making it far was the strong arm around her middle that pulled her back down.

“Cancel. They’ll be elated.”

Asami groaned. “I’m not sick.”

“Your potential girlfriend is, so why not?”

Asami felt Korra’s smile against her shoulder. “Oh is that what this might be?” She turned over and kept Korra’s arm around her. “How are you feeling?”

Korra shrugged. “Still got stitches and a slight headache. So, better.”

“Good.” Asami leaned forward and pressed her lips to Korra’s. She felt Korra’s hand at her waist tighten. Her left hand slid up and caressed Korra’s cheek as she pulled away. Asami’s thumb ghosted over the scar, feeling the ridges of the small valley of her skin. She took in the blue eyes that reminded her of a perfect summer’s day and what seemed to be a smug grin on Korra’s face.

“I thought you were against kissing the recent brain rattled.”

Asami kept her hand on Korra’s cheek. “I decided to reward you for being a good patient, you shaken baby.” She loved everything about this moment. Korra in her bed next to her was everything Asami wanted and it was happening .

Korra smiled and Asami felt the skin move under her palm.

“Thank you for last night.”

“Korra, you don’t have to thank me—“

“I do, Asami. You didn’t run away. I’ve never told anyone how—“ Korra stopped and seemed to be searching for the right words. “How I got my scars because I know that’s what people focus on. They think I’m some poor damaged Southie with a tragic backstory that will make them feel better about how good their life is.”

Asami opened her mouth to speak but Korra kept going.

“But you’ve never done that. You don’t focus on the superficial. All you’ve done is treat me like a person. Like your friend. And I am so thankful for that.” Korra pressed her lips to Asami’s.

Asami pulled back, feeling dizzy and needing air. “You’re welcome.”

Korra smiled, her arm still around Asami as she settled back into the bed. She nuzzled her cheek into Asami’s hand. “Glad that’s settled.”

Asami watched Korra before she scooched closer and snaked her arm around Korra’s middle. She’d send out the cancellation email to her class later, for now, she wanted to enjoy the morning.

Chapter Text

Asami checked her lipstick one last time before she stepped out of the limo. She wanted to impress, but the only opinion that mattered was Korra’s. Her heels clicked on the sidewalk, and each step reminded her why she enjoyed dressing up. Sure she looked professional for board meetings, and when she taught classes, but galas were different. She’d known that since she was a child. Seeing her mom command a room cemented the poise and swagger Asami embodied when it came to Future Industries.

She knocked on the door, hearing Naga bark and the children shouting from within. Despite how regular of a visitor she became, she could have walked in like she always did, but tonight was special.

“Well don’t you look stunning.” Pema beamed at Asami after she opened the door and pulled her into a hug. “Korra is finishing up.”

Asami relaxed into the hug. “Thank you. And sorry, I’m a bit early.”

Meelo skidded around the corner on socked feet and gaped at Asami. “Isn’t this a fancy party?”

Asami looked down at him and shrugged. “Yeah, and?”

The boy narrowed his eyes at Asami. “And you’re taking Korra?”

“Meelo, go back to playing with Rohan. Leave Asami alone.” Pema shooed him away, watching as the boy rushed back off through the house.

Pema and Asami stopped in the kitchen, hearing noise coming from the back stairs up to Korra’s room.

“Korra, Asami’s here!” Pema stirred a pot on the stove. “There’s food at this thing right? I don’t want you two going hungry.”

Asami chuckled. “Yeah. I double checked with our inhouse event coordinator. Plenty of food tonight.”

The stairs creaked and Asami glanced in hope to see Korra, only for Ikki and Jinora to come around the corner.

“She’s almost ready.” Jinora grinned. “Aunt Kya is just finishing up.”

“Ooooooh, Asami. You look so beautiful. I can’t believe you two are going to this fancy party. I’m so jealous. Do you always have to look like this at Future Industries? How often do you hold these parties? Are kids allowed?” Ikki’s questions came out as they always did, rapid fire. Asami grew used to them, and managed to keep up with everything Ikki said.

“Not this fancy, but business professional. Once a quarter, depending on the season. Sometimes kids are allowed.” Asami went back over the questions in her head to make sure she answered everything and nodded when she was satisfied with her own answers.

“Well, aren’t you dapper.” Korra’s voice cut through Asami’s thoughts. She looked at her girlfriend and felt her mind go blank.

Asami didn’t exactly coordinate her outfit with Korra’s. The thought crossed her mind weeks ago when she asked Korra to attend, but between their hectic schedules they didn’t have time to discuss what they were wearing. Any extra time spent with Korra since making their relationship official was spent making out.

The night they slept together, when Asami finally got to feel Korra’s skin against hers, and appreciate everything her girlfriend had to offer, happened after the most rewarding heart to heart. Asami wasn’t sure how long she could maintain the slow pace Korra set for their relationship. She wanted so much more physically that only making out wasn’t enough. Asami pulled back, afraid she’d push Korra too fast. That was the last thing she wanted. It took them long enough to date. Korra calling her out about her odd behavior made Asami confess how she felt. Her girlfriend’s laughter dragged her from her embarrassed pout. And then Korra pulled her into a kiss so deep Asami didn’t remember taking off her clothes.

“Korra, you look beautiful.” Her heart raced, taking in Korra in a dress and the slightest bit of makeup. Asami wished they didn’t have this gala to go to so that she could take Korra out to dinner before going back to her apartment. She wanted that dress on her floor and Korra’s weight on her.

But that would have to wait far more hours than Asami liked.

“I should say the same to you.” Korra, reached over and ran her fingers over the silky lapels of Asami’s tuxedo, tracing the edge down until she came to stop at a button.

Kya cleared her throat. “Let’s get a picture before you two are late.”

Asami glanced at Pema and Kya, her cheeks pink. She didn’t want to admit she forgot they were there, but the lack of awareness must have been obvious to the two older women.

“Kya, seriously. This isn’t prom.” Korra stuck out her tongue.

“Which you didn’t go to, so let me have this.” Kya waved at them to lead the way to the front door.

Asami slid her arm around Korra’s waist as they walked. “You didn’t go to prom?”

“It seemed overrated.” Korra leaned into the embrace. “Did you go to yours?”

Asami hummed in affirmation. “A guy from private school, his family is big in the Fire Nation.”

“Sounds like a real stiff.”

“Iroh’s not so bad. Just not my type.” Asami smirked and stopped at the front door.

Kya and Pema stood like proud moms behind the camera. “Say turtleduck.”

“Turtleduck.” “--What?”

Asami laughed, hearing Korra’s confusion as more pictures were taken. She looked at her girlfriend who pouted. “Loosen up, you tiny baby.” Asami pressed a kiss to Korra’s cheek, always on her scar, hearing the fake shutter sound from Kya’s phone.

Korra blushed and half pouted at everyone. “Okay, we should get going so we’re not late.”

Asami snickered, wrinkling her nose. “We should get going, but this is fun.”

Meelo appeared on the stairs, arms crossed. “Have her back by ten, young lady.” He stood so he could be eye level with Asami and Korra.

“Meelo, are you serious?” Korra rolled her eyes at the boy.

“How will you know she comes home? Isn’t your bedtime at nine?” Asami smirked.

“I’ll make Jinora tell me you brought her home on time.” Meelo put his hands on his hips.

“I can’t make any promises, Meelo. But I’ll try.” Asami winked at Korra.

Meelo let out a heavy sigh. “ Fine .” He raced back upstairs without another thought.

Pema chuckled and pulled Korra into a hug. “Have fun and relax.”

Kya hugged Asami. “You two enjoy yourselves. And do everything you know I’d probably do.”

Korra opened her mouth to say something but Asami clapped her hand over it. Asami sensed the next sentence would be inappropriate and there were children in the house.

“Let’s save the unsavory language for when we’re alone, shall we?” Asami eyed Korra and dropped her hand.

“Yes, ma’am.” Korra stuck out her tongue and slid her hand into Asami’s to tug her to the door. “Night!”

Asami waved them a farewell and stepped outside with Korra, running into the athlete on the front porch.

“A limo, really?” Korra looked at Asami.

“So?” Asami shrugged and stepped around Korra with a smirk. “I wanted to keep my hands free.” She started walking towards the limo where the driver stood by the back passenger door. Asami made it a few steps past Korra where she felt the pull on her hand and turned to see Korra stopped on the bottom stair.

Korra chuckled. “Remind me again why we have to go to this?” She stepped to catch up with Asami and kissed her on the cheek before sliding into the limo.

The drive wasn’t long, although if Asami didn’t have to be presentable tonight, she would have told the driver to take the long route so she could spend some time with Korra. They pulled up to The Four Elements Hotel where Future Industries booked the ballroom. Asami stepped out and held out a hand to help Korra.

“Awfully chivalrous of you. Trying to impress me?” Korra accepted the help and threaded their fingers together when she stood next to Asami.

“Is it working?” Asami waved to someone and glanced at Korra.

“You’ll have to find out.” Korra smirked and started walking.

Asami watched Korra, the swagger and confidence she saw from the athlete on the soccer field and more recently since they started dating, made her mouth water. She shut her eyes for a moment to collect her thoughts and focus on the employees and board members. Opening them she watched Korra take a few more steps, her hips swaying.

“Hey! Egghead.” Opal’s voice cut through Asami’s hyperfocus on Korra.

Asami blinked and saw her girlfriend standing with their friends. She walked over to them, and hoped they wouldn’t say anything about the slight pink in her cheeks. “I’m glad you two could make it.”

“And miss this ?” Opal gestured to Korra and Asami.

“Seriously, wouldn’t miss this and all the food at this party, ever. That’s really why we’re here.” Bolin nodded his head at the people showing their invites to get into the hotel.

Asami felt Korra take her hand, the warmth from the athlete’s skin a comfort but also a thrill. “Well, thank you both for coming. It’ll be good to have some friendly faces.”

“I’m sure there’s only one face you really want.” Opal smirked at the two and chuckled when she saw them both blush.

Korra cleared her throat. “Bo, let’s ditch these weirdos and go get food.”

Bolin clasped his hands together over his chest. “A woman after my own heart.” He clapped Korra on the back and two walked off leaving behind the girlfriends.

Asami watched them walk away, her eyes straying from Korra’s hips to the Raava tattoo that peeked over the back of Korra’s dress. She appreciated the athlete’s bare shoulders and the slit that went up the side of her left leg.

“Spirits, Asami. Stare any harder and you’re going to get her pregnant.”

Asami turned to Opal, her arms now crossed. “That’s just a lot of skin, okay?”

Opal smirked, bumping her shoulder against Asami’s as they started walking into the gala. “How long has it been?”

Asami exhaled. “Two weeks.”

“How do you control yourself?”

“Hectic schedules, some cold showers.” Asami sighed and ran a hand through her hair. “If I didn’t have to make an appearance here, I can guarantee we would be in my apartment.”

Opal cracked up. “Now I’m really glad you invited me. This is some solid entertainment for tonight.”

They caught up to their significant others and entered the party. Asami found herself falling into easy conversation with everyone she and Korra came across. Sometimes she would be listening to an employee or someone from the board talking and eavesdrop into whatever conversation Korra got involved in. She felt relaxed at how at ease Korra was around everyone, how she somehow managed to talk to anyone no matter the topic.

Asami finally stepped away from mingling, her arm slipping around Korra’s waist. She smiled feeling Korra copy the gesture. “I should probably talk to my father before he does the big welcome.”

Korra smirked. “How long after that until we can leave?”

Asami felt Korra trace circles on her back under her suit jacket. A quiet groan escaped Asami’s lips at the contact, and the thought that there was still far too much time until they could excuse themselves. “You don’t want to know.”

“Asami.”

The two women turned and found Hiroshi standing before them.

“Dad. We were about to come find you.” Asami felt Korra’s fingers still and her hand move so that they were held together. She found the gesture incredibly grounding.

Hiroshi seemed to scrutinize them for a moment. “You are not obligated to join me on stage for the welcome.”

Asami nodded, not sure if he meant just her or them as a couple, but decided to ignore the possible dig and ratchet up her charm. “I’d love to join you, actually.” She smiled to him and pulled away from Korra.

“I’ll go find Opal and Bolin.” Korra gave Asami that lopsided grin that still made her weak in the knees. “Come find us.” Without another word Korra winked and walked away.

Asami stared after Korra, seeing her disappear into the crowd.

“I expected your plus one to be someone else.” Hiroshi glared at Asami. “Iroh or your cop friend. Or no one.”

“My plus one is always going to be Korra, dad. I can guarantee that right now.” Asami set her jaw and nodded at the stage. “Shall we?”

Hiroshi grumbled as they went up the steps. “My office, first thing Monday. We’re going to talk about your guest privileges and how you represent this company.”

Asami ignored his comment because she didn’t want him to ruin her night. They reached center stage and she stood at his side as he greeted everyone with the jovial tone he used only when he needed to impress. She smiled, her eyes searching the crowd for those blues that became her center. A waiter brought two glasses of champagne up, Asami accepted hers. Her eyes found Korra’s as her father made a toast. She sipped her glass, watching Korra do the same. The champagne was no comparison to her girlfriend.

“Excuse me dad, I need to return to Korra.” Asami bowed her head in a slight nod and headed for where she last spotted her girlfriend standing with Bolin and Opal near the food tables. She found the other couple, Bolin standing with a plate of food in one hand as he snatched appetizers off passing waiters. “Where’s Korra?”

Opal nodded toward a few board members that stood with the athlete. “They said something to her that I didn’t understand. I’m not sure if she saw a ghost, or if she was happy to see them.”

“Huh.” Asami observed them talking, although Korra seemed to spend more time listening and sipping at her glass of water. She patted Opal on the shoulder and walked over. “Hey, babe.”

Korra’s face brightened and she opened her mouth to speak.

“Asami, why didn’t you tell us your girlfriend was from the Southern Water Tribe, and an Atka no less.” One of the board members beamed at Asami and looked between them.

“We’re pretty private about our relationship. But given her soccer skills and me being a Sato, I can’t imagine that will last.” Asami smiled back, and noticed something in Korra’s eyes that seemed to be an apology. She took Korra’s hand and gave it a gentle squeeze. Her mind tried to figure out why Korra’s last name, which she didn’t remember ever knowing before, sounded so familiar.

The man patted Korra on the shoulder. “Your father was an incredible businessman. I know Hiroshi can be tough, but nothing got past Tonraq. He challenged me to a sled dog race to pass a deal, and believe me I never beat him. Everything always went his way.”

Korra nodded with a tight-lipped smile. “I’ve heard he wasn’t someone to mess with.”

Asami kept attuned to her girlfriend, noticing the slightest twitch at the corner of Korra’s mouth, or how her hand felt warmer and sweaty.

The man laughed. “We should do lunch sometime. I want to hear all about your studies. Soccer player, right?”

“Yes, sir. We’ll figure out a time.” Korra shook his hand and accepted the business card he handed her with a slight smile. The other board members bid them both farewell and went back to mingling.

Asami waited a beat for him to walk away before she turned to Korra.

“I was going to tell you.”

“Kor, hold on.”

“I don’t usually meet people that knew my parents. And he knew them. I don’t even know how he recognized me.” Korra pinched the bridge of her nose.

Asami chuckled. “You’re pretty memorable. Have you looked in the mirror?” Asami put her hands on Korra’s shoulders. “Everyone remembers your eyes because they are the bluest that I don’t think there’s even a proper name for their color.”

Korra blushed at that and Asami slid one hand up to cup Korra’s cheek, her thumb grazing over the scar.

“I wanted to tell you. But I wasn’t sure how to bring up the whole, I’m unofficially royal, and honestly had no idea until I was ten.” Korra sighed, leaned forward and put her head under Asami’s chin.

“Makes sense why we never discussed our families.” Asami kept holding Korra, enjoying their proximity. She wished there were fewer layers involved, but this would do for now. “We don’t have to tell each other everything yet.”

Korra shifted backward and looked up at Asami. “You’re sure?”

“We have all the time in the world.” Asami smiled and then snickered. “Plus, now I can call you princess .”

Korra groaned. “Please don’t. I wasn’t raised with all the pomp and circumstance, and I’d like to keep my life that way.”

“Remember who you’re dating.” Asami paused and licked her lips before pressing them to Korra’s. She pulled away and put her lips by Korra’s ear. “I’ll keep the title for the bedroom, my lady.”

Korra rolled her eyes but continued to smile. “This is how you end up sleeping on the couch.”

“Is that with our clothes on or off?” Asami watched Korra bite her lip. She wanted that mouth elsewhere and everywhere all at once.

“How much longer do we have to be here?”

“I think it’s been an acceptable amount of time for the heir of Future Industries to disappear with her hot girlfriend.”

“Then good night to us.” Korra grabbed Asami’s hand and headed for the ballroom exit.

Chapter Text

The high pitched noise drowned out everything. Asami turned her left wrist and felt white hot pain shoot up her arm. She kept the limb in her lap. The persistent ringing continued to fill her ears. Opening her eyes she only saw the ceiling of her car lit up from somewhere she couldn’t figure out. It felt brighter than normal, like stepping out of the movie theater for the first time on a summer day bright. The burning in her eyes and the ringing were the only things she knew. But she didn’t know . She didn’t know where they came from, or why the ringing blocked everything.

Asami raised her head, blinking more now that she could see the lights but not necessarily their source. The last time she recalled her ears ringing this much was when she forgot earplugs while testing the latest Future Industries jet engine.

Her day started out normal, that much she knew.

“Mr. Sato is on a phone call at the moment, Miss Sato. If you don’t mind waiting until he’s finished, I’m sure he’ll be happy to see you.” The secretary looked at Asami with a smile on her face that seemed too chipper for this early.

Asami put on her usual ‘Asami Sato Charm’ and smiled back at the woman. “Of course I’ll wait.” She moved away from the desk and leaned against the wall in the small waiting area. Asami crossed her arms, thinking about how the conversation could go. Her father would inevitably say what he always did, about Korra, about money and Future Industries. All arguments her father used before that she knew how to counter.

There was little he could say that would change her mind. Asami gave so much of herself to Future Industries. Her ideas, her time, her education. Everything about who she was, was dedicated to the family business. If her father wanted to cut her out of it, Asami knew she could turn around and ruin him. Asami would hate undoing everything her mother worked for, but she would do it.

Asami glanced at the office door and then the secretary answering phones and emails, probably scheduling meetings for her father. She circled back to everything they would talk about, and her brain bounced in a variety of directions. The conversation could go well, or it could go as she expected it to, yelling. And she’d answer him back with matched vigor and anger.

Her mind spiraled and Asami took a breath. She closed her eyes, starting to calculate the number of bricks to make each ring in Ba Sing Se. The numbers flowed through her mind, taking into account brick size, the circumference of each ring, and width of each wall.

Asami exhaled after she came to an estimate she was satisfied with and thought about Korra. Those surreal blue eyes came to her mind. She imagined looking at them and felt calm. Her racing heart slowed and she wished Korra were with her holding her hand. But Asami wanted to face her father alone. She wanted to lay it all on the table, and let him decide if he would accept her and Korra or not.

“Miss Sato, your father will see you now.”

Asami opened her eyes and nodded at the secretary. She pushed away from the wall and entered her father’s office, making sure the door shut behind her. The walls were soundproof, sure, but Asami wanted assurance that their argument wouldn’t leak out to the waiting room. She’d barely made it in the office and to the chairs in front of his desk.

“You cannot parade around your relationship. This is a multi-billion yuan company that you represent. And being with her reflects badly on the company.” Hiroshi glared at Asami from across his desk. He wasn’t sitting, because he no longer intimidated her from his large leather chair. That ship sailed long ago.

Asami stood across from him, glaring in equal measure at her father. “Korra is my girlfriend, and she’s going to be my plus one whether you like it or not.”

“I don’t like it because I think you’re throwing away your life and everything I’ve built for some ugly girl who is after you for the money and nothing else.” Hiroshi crossed his arms.

Asami clenched her fists. She hated everything about this morning. Not enough coffee in the world prepared her for this. “You didn’t build this company alone, and you know it. Mom did more than enough to make sure Future Industries would be successful. Or did you forget that she wasn’t the one that made some bad deals?”

“How dare you bring up your mo--” Hiroshi’s tone started to elevate.

“How dare I? You have no place to talk. Mom did everything right for this company, compared to you. She’d be disappointed with where you’ve taken it and how you’re acting.” Asami kept her tone even, knowing raising her voice would get her nowhere. She didn’t wait for her father to respond before continuing. “And Korra makes me happy, dad. It’s not about the money because she doesn’t need it.”

“You cannot prove that. Therefore your guest privileges are revoked for any and all Future Industries events where you are expected to be in attendance or represent the company and the Sato family.” Hiroshi nodded in finality.

Asami stared down her father and took a breath. The rage coursed through her, her heart beating so loud she heard it in her ears. But she wouldn’t let that rage seep out into her voice. No, she’d keep it in and use it for fuel. She knew how chilling it was because she’d utilized this tactic in the boardroom. “She’s staying, dad. You better get used to seeing Korra at everything I attend.”

The ringing persisted and Asami winced as she moved her head, she felt the world tilt for a moment as if she were spun around on an amusement park ride. Her eyes focused on the blurry shapes through her windshield in waves. Fuzzy, clear, fuzzy again. She looked down, taking in the glass in her lap from a window? Asami tried to remember what she was doing. And why everything hurt.

She remembered driving. The car ride from Future Industries was short given her usual speeding habit. Asami didn’t want to be late, something made her not want to be late. Punctuality was the most important lesson her father taught her. But something about today made her really not want to be late. She was a fantastic driver, being behind the wheel since before she could properly reach the pedals. Asami could race better than the drivers her father paid to represent Future Industries. If there was someone testing a new vehicle, it was her.

Asami turned her head to check the rest of the car. Korra .

Asami stood with Pema, Tenzin, Kya and the kids. They were all shouting at the field, shouting at Korra. The athlete had her arm raised, sprinting to lose her defender. She stopped a beautiful pass with her calf, took a few steps, and kicked.

The whole stadium seemed to be holding its breath until the ball skimmed the goalie’s fingers and sailed into the corner of the goal. Everyone went wild in all forms of celebration.

Asami felt arms around her as Kya pulled her into a hug. The final minutes ticked down after the kickoff and the RCU crowd cheered as the referee blew his whistle. All the players from the team rushed the field.

It took another half an hour for Korra to come from the locker room with damp hair and clean clothes. Asami grinned at her girlfriend as she watched the athlete hug her foster family and the kids. She hugged Korra and pressed their lips together. They separated after a few moments, Tenzin clearing his throat and Meelo inhaling loud to make a comment reminding them that there was an audience.

“Kya had to rush to work, but she’s so proud of you, Korra.” Pema stood holding Rohan as she beamed at the young couple.

Asami kept her arm around Korra and felt the athlete do the same.

“Thank you all for coming. I can’t believe we’re going to the championship. Tonight is amazing.” Korra’s lopsided grin lit up her face.

“Game-winning goal in the semifinals. Great job, babe.” Asami leaned over and kissed Korra, her favorite spot always on the scar. “Dinner?”

Korra nodded. “Please. I am starving.”

“Go celebrate. We’re proud of you, Korra.” Tenzin smiled and gave Korra a hug that reminded Asami of a gesture one would give their grandfather. Then again, over the last few months, she learned Tenzin was a man who kept his emotions well guarded.

Asami walked with Korra to her car, letting her girlfriend rave about the game. She sent off a quick text to Opal.

Asami: On our way.

Opal: Great! Just snagged a table. Bolin warned them of Korra’s appetite.

Asami: You’d think by now they would recognize us and not need the warning.

Korra talked avidly about the game, unable to contain her excitement for how everything panned out.

Asami held Korra’s hand, which used to be a habit to stop Korra from picking at her thumbs. Now the athlete seemed to not even realize how little her anxiety seeped out every time they were in the car.

“Korra.” Asami’s eyes focused on her girlfriend next to her. The athlete seemed to be slumped against the door, but as the ringing lessened in Asami’s ears she could hear the distinct sound of sobbing. “Kor, babe. Hey.” Asami twisted in her seat and pain flared up her side that stopped her because she felt bile at the back of her throat. She turned her head, finding that easier.

The athlete seemed to right herself as if coming out of a stupor. All the lights from outside the vehicle illuminated Korra’s face.

Asami felt her heart stop. Her throat tightened and she found it hard to swallow. Red covered half of Korra’s face. The blood only more apparent with Korra’s eyes, that beautiful supernatural blue Asami found now locked on her and full of fear. She went to reach out and felt all nausea return. Asami waited a beat for the world to still, for the bile to disappear before she groped for Korra’s hand.

“Kor. I’ve got you, okay?” Asami felt Korra’s hand with the tip of her pinky and slid her hand forward to thread their fingers together.

“S-Sami. Fuck, I-I thought you were--” Korra shut her eyes and leaned her head back against the headrest.

Asami could feel the tremor in Korra’s hand, and from what she could see, her shoulders shook. “I’m okay. We’re okay.” She squeezed Korra’s hand. Asami took in the blood down Korra’s shirt, the fast rise and fall of her chest.

“Not, not again, A-Asami. I-I can’t.” Korra’s head fell forward and a sob escaped her lips. “Fuck.” Her breathing came in labored gasps.

Asami kept her focus on Korra, ignoring the firefighters prying open the doors. “Breathe, babe. With me, okay?” She felt Korra clench her fingers, but didn’t see her attempt to steady her breathing. “Hey. Korra. Look at me.”

Korra’s eyes opened and met Asami’s gaze after their focus seemed to dart around at everything but her.

“Okay. Inhale.” Asami inhaled until she felt the sharp twinge up her side. “Exhale.” She released her breath, relieved at seeing Korra following along.



Asami hated the rhythmic beeping. Its insistence pushed through her hazy thoughts. She couldn’t figure out why it sounded so close. Or why it was so annoying . Asami inhaled, feeling a sharp painful press against her ribs, and a tickle in her nose. She squinted, finding the room bright like those lights from outside her car. But this was a different bright. That artificial bright like in department stores and classrooms.

Her nose itched, which made Asami reach up with her right hand to take care of it. With the tip of her fingers, she found a small tube there and a small trickle of oxygen coming from the tiny nubs at her nostrils. Asami raised her other arm but felt dulled pain at the gesture, and noticed the red cast covering her wrist. She licked her lips in a vain attempt to wet them despite how dry her mouth felt.

“Good morning.” A voice came from somewhere in the room.

Asami’s eyes darted around until she managed to focus on Kya sitting next to her. She frowned at the fact she hadn’t noticed the woman before.

“Kya?” Asami’s voice came out hoarse.

The woman got up and held a cup with a straw to Asami’s lips. “This first.”

Asami sucked down the water, grateful to wet her throat. She finished the cup and watched as Kya set it down.

“Did you miss me that much you decided to come visit?” Kya looked at Asami, automatically checking her eyes with a penlight.

“It was…” Asami stopped as she tried to remember what it was. “An accident.” The inciting incident wasn’t clear to her, it all felt like a muddy dream.

Kya nodded. “Yeah, it was--”

“Korra, is she okay?” Asami turned to look and saw the bed on Kya’s other side. She felt her head swim and shut her eyes.

“Whoa. Easy.” Kya’s hand rested on her shoulder and held Asami still. “You’ve got some busted ribs and a concussion I wouldn’t mess with. Not to mention that broken wrist of yours and some bruising that is going to linger.”

Asami opened her eyes when she felt the nausea pass. “Is she okay?” She looked over, more careful this time, and took in the gauze on her girlfriend’s forehead. Her eyes found the scar on Korra’s cheek, seeing it marred with some light scrapes, but nothing that would add to the old damage. Korra’s right arm sat secure in a sling and the tube of an IV snaked from her free hand.

Kya glanced over at Korra for a moment. “Stitches in a head laceration, a broken collarbone and some scrapes, some bruises.” She returned her attention to Asami. “She was just awake. But the pain meds are keeping her pretty sedate. Not to mention I think the panic attack exhausted her.”

“I’m so sorry, Kya.” Asami sighed, ignoring the tightness in her side. “I should have been more careful.”

“Asami. You can’t predict or prevent accidents. Honestly, Korra’s probably the safest with you driving than anyone else.” Kya adjusted Asami’s blankets and squeezed Asami’s good hand. “She’s okay. You both are.”

“Sami?”

They turned and looked at the other occupant in the room.

Korra’s eyes opened in slits, a small sliver of heartwarming blue that relieved Asami to see. “Hey, beautiful.”

“What a date this is.”

Asami smiled, glad to hear Korra’s humor still intact despite the pain medication. “You know me, always one to surprise.” Korra chuckled, and it was the best sound Asami heard over all the machine beeps and hospital noise.

“Well, I’d prefer if you kept your surprises out of my emergency room, particularly when I’m on shift.” Kya glanced at them both. She stepped over to Korra seeing the athlete attempt to sit up and get out of bed. “Nope, I don’t think so.”

Korra huffed and resigned herself to being propped against her pillows. “I wanna cuddle.” The athlete pouted and Asami met Korra’s gaze.

“You both need rest and being on top of each other isn’t going to help.” Kya glanced at them before she sighed and lowered the railings. It took her a moment to push the beds together and adjust the equipment. “Better?”

Korra grinned at Asami in her lopsided way. Asami reached across the space between them to caress Korra’s cheek and feel the scar under her fingertips, a reassurance that indeed they were alive. She grabbed Korra’s good hand with her uninjured one and gave it a squeeze.

“Yeah, better.” Korra closed her eyes and settled into her pillows.

Asami watched Korra for a moment, mouthed a thank you at Kya before she closed her eyes and let the pain medication take her.

 

Chapter Text

Asami pulled her hair into a low ponytail and started to pull on her leather gloves. She flexed her fingers in the soft material before she snapped the buttons down. One of the other drivers held out her helmet, which she slid on. With the visor flipped up she smiled at her girlfriend, even if Korra couldn’t see it fully, she’d hopefully see it in her eyes. Asami took a breath and started the engine.

The motorcycle roared to life below her. She marveled at the machine, this dream finally a reality. At least, for now. This prototype needed a road test, and she didn’t want anyone else to experience the first ride but her.

Asami gave Korra a thumbs up and saw her girlfriend return the gesture. She flipped the visor down and took a deep breath. With steady hands she started her ride, easing into the acceleration.

It felt good to cruise down the racetrack. She kept going through her routine tests keeping her pace more casual than she preferred. Two and a half proper oval laps and Asami reached the straightaway section before she could move to the other routes of the track. She lowered herself closer to the body of the bike and let loose on the throttle. The bike handled the change with ease, hurtling down the track. Asami leaned into the first turn, deciding to finally see what all her research and hard work accomplished.

Each turn Asami leaned into, she found herself more and more satisfied with her work, and those of the others on the project. She grinned, increasing her speed in a long stretch before the final turn. Asami leaned again and she felt it before it happened. The bike slipped away and she found herself sliding on the racetrack. She braced herself and slid to a stop a short distance from her bike.

Asami waited a moment, taking stock of how she felt. She sat up and looked at the bike, scraped up with some of its pieces littering the track. The pace car that followed her brought her back to the start of the race track while the technicians picked up the bike and cleaned the road of debris.

“Have you lost your mind?”

Two strong arms pulled Asami into a hug only a moment after she stepped from the pace car. Asami winced into the contact, already feeling sore and knowing how much worse it would be the following day. She looked to Korra who seemed to be checking her racing leathers for tears or damage that would indicate injury. “All things considered, that went pretty well.”

“Well? Asami. You crashed. What were you thinking?” Korra held Asami at arm’s length.

Asami stared at Korra, noticing how tense the athlete’s shoulders were. “I was thinking how this happened. Which might be the design or user error. I’ll have to analyze the footage.” She waited a moment, still studying Korra before she continued. “I also thought how worried you’d be, but I’m fine, I promise. This kind of stuff happens sometimes in testing a new prototype.”

“It’s reckless. You’re the CEO and can pay someone to do this, Asami. You can’t run the company and be splattered on the road.”

“Kor. I won’t have someone else do something I’m unwilling to do just ‘cause I’m the CEO.” Asami moved her hands to Korra’s biceps. “This is my project, and the division I fought for. I need to see this through.”

“You can see it through from the sidelines, Asami. You don’t need to be an adrenaline junkie chasing some high.” Korra pulled away and started walking to the exit.

Asami watched Korra before she headed to the locker room to change. Her chest felt tight as she hung up the racing leathers and tugged on her business attire. She double checked that the footage got uploaded to the Sato servers before she headed out to the parking lot. Korra leaned against the car, arms crossed as her eyes seemed to be looking out across the landscape. Asami slowed her pace, taking in her girlfriend with the serene backdrop before them. She worried that Korra wouldn’t be out here, that her girlfriend fled the track and returned home without her.

Seeing the athlete like that reminded Asami of the last six months since the accident. They recuperated together, falling into a sense of normalcy that felt unbelievably right. Things improved, even more, when Asami suggested that Korra move in. She reasoned to the athlete over dinner that they were always together, and Korra spent most of her time at the apartment anyway. It all made sense. Asami looked to Korra, ready to counter any of her girlfriend’s points. Korra’s bright eyes were focused on Asami, as it seemed the athlete was biting her lip to hide a grin.

“What?” Asami blinked at Korra.

Korra shook her head, a small smile slipped across her features. “You look like you’re ready for a debate.”

Asami’s felt her face grow warm. “I want this, and I have all the evidence to prove this is good for us.”

The smile on Korra’s face grew that proper lopsided grin that still made Asami’s knees weak even sitting in a chair. “You don’t have to convince me, Asami. I want it too.” She reached over and ran her hand over Asami’s arm, feeling the skin that used to be hidden under a cast. Korra stood and pressed her lips to Asami’s before she walked across the apartment. “But if you want to share your evidence, I’ll be in our room.”

Asami remembered that night, and every one after that once they moved Korra’s things in. She recalled the nightmares when Korra would wake up in a cold sweat next to her. Those nights when she’d stir from Korra attempting to stifle her sobs into her hands, Asami would sit up and hold Korra for as long as she needed. She knew Korra would take the accident harder than her. Asami stayed up with her girlfriend through the bad nights and played hooky during the day to sleep with Korra in her arms.

“I can drop you off at the field on the way back if you want.” Asami reached the car and stopped by Korra to lean against the hood too. She kept her focus on the athlete.

“That would be best. Gotta start the pre-game rituals.” Korra pushed herself off from the car and climbed in.

Asami followed suit and got them headed back to the city. She glanced at Korra, noting her girlfriend’s fingers were making quick work of the skin on the inside of her right thumb. Without a second thought, Asami reached over and took Korra’s left hand. She squeezed it and kept her focus on the road.

They reached campus and Korra hesitated before getting out of the car.

“Have a good day at work.” Korra disembarked and headed toward the stadium without looking back.

Asami watched the athlete walk away, wishing to feel Korra’s lips on hers in a goodbye kiss, or at least to see those beautiful blues. Releasing a deep sigh, Asami sped off to Future Industries. She made it there in record time and up to her office.

“Miss Sato, your messages from this morning are on your desk. The track techs called and said that they’ll have the bike delivered to the workshop by this afternoon. And the meeting rooms are set up for the necessary appointments.” The secretary, formerly her father’s and now hers, smiled at Asami from behind her desk.

“Thank you, Tenni.” Asami headed for her office, her eyes pausing on the door to her father’s former space. For as long as she could remember, they shared this floor with only the foyer and waiting area between them with the secretary. She pushed open the wood door and left it ajar as she walked to her desk. Asami skimmed the messages and sat in her chair.

Her mind wandered to the racetrack, the crash, the accident six months ago, and the worry in Korra’s blue eyes. Asami slouched in her seat. Korra’s words rang through her head, her girlfriend’s behavior justified given her experiences, even if Asami felt the overall anger and concern was irrational. She looked at the picture of them on her desk. The image of the two of them dressed for the gala with Asami pressing a kiss to Korra’s cheek. Kya gave her the photo in a beautiful engraved wood frame that represented the Southern Water Tribe. Asami kept it as the only personal effect in her office of significant importance.

“Miss Sato?”

Asami looked up at the voice, seeing her secretary stand in the doorway. “Sorry, Tenni. What is it?”

The woman cleared her throat. “The contractors are here to talk about the remodel of this floor.”

“Right. Send them in.” Asami sat up, straightening her blouse and blazer. The men entered and laid out their plans, letting her keep a roll of the schematics to examine and return with her changes and notes. As present, as she was physically at the meeting, her mind was elsewhere. She moved between her different appointments and engaged when she felt like it. Her eyes kept returning to the planner on her desk when she wasn’t talking. The handwriting wasn’t hers, but she recognized the shape of the letters. Korra’s note and accompanying stick figure doodle brought a smile to Asami’s face.

Someone cleared their throat, which made Asami look up.

“Gentlemen. As much as I would like to continue this conversation, I, unfortunately, need to cut our appointment short.” Asami got up as she looked at the clock on the corner of her computer screen. She calculated how long it would take for her to drive to the field, estimating traffic and routes to take. “You can reschedule with Tenni. I promise you’ll have my undivided attention.”

“Miss Sato, we need your approval on this project if we’re going to--”

“You can do a proper presentation to me on a different day. My girlfriend has a big match today, and I don’t intend on missing it.” Asami nodded to them both and walked from her office. She collected her purse and keys from Tenni, who dutifully stood with them at the ready.

Asami made it to the university in no time with how skillful she weaved her car around slow drivers and down streets. She didn’t want to think about the tickets she should have collected given her driving habits. Finding a parking spot, she showed her season pass and headed for the seats she occupied with Korra’s family. Asami stopped at the railing, taking a look down at the field as the athletes warmed up. Her eyes found Korra jogging with her teammates as they completed passes and stretched.

Korra must have felt Asami’s gaze on her because suddenly their eyes met. They stared and the athlete grinned and waved.

Asami smiled back and blew a kiss. She watched as Korra pretended to catch it and finally succeeded. The gesture made Asami giggle before she turned and headed for Korra’s family.

“There she is. Korra said you might not make it.” Kya smiled at Asami, giving her a hug, as they all settled into the stadium seats.

“Sorry. I overbooked my schedule.” Asami sat next to the older woman, her usual place to cheer for her girlfriend. She felt like the oddball out in her business clothes and not in some form of RCU attire.

“Hey, egghead! Forget something?”

Asami turned at the nickname only to catch a shirt to her face. She pulled the item down to see it was Korra’s away game jersey.

Opal slid in next to Asami with Bolin hot on her heels. “Korra figured since you were coming from the office you wouldn’t have time.”

“Thanks, Op.” Asami pulled off her blazer and tugged the jersey on over her blouse. She sat back into her seat as the players started the usual opening proceedings.

Everyone stood during the kickoff. The whole game was the RCU crowd screaming. Asami knew her voice would be hoarse, and she didn’t care. Each time Korra got a pass, Asami got louder with Korra’s family. She cheered as the RCU Rebels scored a goal in the second half, joining the stadium in celebration. Korra and the team kept up their momentum, managing to defend their goal and keep the Black Quarry University Boars at bay. The final minutes of stoppage time ticked down and everyone on and off the field celebrated.

Asami stood with Korra’s family, watching the team celebrate together by their bench. She could see Korra hugging her teammates and giving high-fives. And then the athlete turned, and their eyes locked through the crowd. Asami smiled at Korra, and she watched her girlfriend grin, lopsided and full at her. Korra started to pull away from the team and ran over to where Asami stood at the railing.

It took the athlete no time to climb up and hop over so that she stood in front of Asami.

“You made it.” Korra grinned at her.

“Wouldn’t miss it for the world.” Asami smiled and pulled Korra into a kiss and then a hug. She held Korra at arm’s length and Korra mirrored her.

“Asami, listen. I’m sorry.”

Asami blinked, not expecting the apology.

Korra took a breath as she kept her focus on her girlfriend. “I’m sorry for this morning, and freaking out. You know what you’re doing better than anyone. And I trust you. I trust you to be safe to see this through, and be the amazing CEO that I know you are.” The athlete reached over and put a hand on Asami’s cheek. “I might not like that you drive fast, and like all these adrenaline heavy things. But it’s who you are, and I wouldn’t ask for you to change.” She leaned in and Asami felt Korra’s lips on her own in a gentle kiss.

Asami smiled at Korra when they separated. “I want to apologize too. I should have--”

“Keep it in the bedroom you Southie fucking fa-” A man passed by them, grumbling.

Asami and Korra both stared after him for a moment. She recognized him as the same one that always shouted racist comments whenever Korra got the ball, despite her being on the team he rooted for.

“Excuse you!” Asami started to walk after him. “Hey! I’m talking to you.” She grabbed his shoulder to turn him around, which he did at her aggressive tug. “Do you have a problem with me?”

The man glared at Asami. “Just ‘cause you like Southie doesn’t mean the rest of us have to. And no one wants to see you being a slut out here.”

Asami’s eyes narrowed. She took a step forward when two strong arms wrapped around her and put her over a shoulder.

“Thank you for watching the game, sir. Have a good rest of your night.” Korra started walking with Asami being carried like a sack of potatoes.

“Korra. Put me down!” Asami struggled to get free, but only got a light smack on the back of her thigh.

“Not yet, babe.” Korra reached the lockers and set Asami down.

Asami glared at Korra. “What’re you doing? I need to go beat that guy’s face in.” She moved to step past her girlfriend but got blocked by Korra’s arm.

“Babe. It’s okay.” Korra grabbed Asami’s shoulders. “You don’t need to go defend my honor.” Her thumbs rubbed in slow circles as the two stared at each other. “Actually, you shouldn’t. ‘Cause the CEO of Future Industries throwing punches will be bad no matter your intentions.”

“Korra. He’s been awful all season calling you every name imaginable. And now he has the audacity to say it to your face.” Asami pouted and crossed her arms. “Plus my lawyer could probably bury him if I did throw a punch.”

Korra chuckled. “That’s not the point, babe.” The athlete moved her hands down to Asami’s elbows. “I appreciate that you want to defend me against racist assholes like that guy. I’d love to see you do it. But we both know that’s not going to solve the problem.”

Asami shrugged, pout still on her face. “I think it would solve things.”

“I’ve dealt with racists for most of my life here. And you know what I realized?” Korra paused as if waiting for Asami’s response.

Asami nodded for Korra to continue.

“That they’re miserable, terrible people. And they don’t deserve an ounce of my time or a thought in my mind.” Korra shifted her hands to Asami’s shoulders. “They will live a miserable life and blame me and anyone different from them for their own life’s shortcomings.” Korra shrugged and put her hands on Asami’s cheeks. “I could spend my whole life fighting these assholes, but it won’t change their bigoted thoughts. So I’m going to live my life the way I want because they don’t matter to me.” She squeezed Asami’s cheeks, making her have a fishy face. Korra pecked Asami’s lips and the two laughed as they separated.

“We should do something to make it better for everyone.” Asami smiled at her girlfriend.

“We’ll figure it out.” Korra took Asami’s hand and squeezed. “Can we go home now?”

Asami frowned. “No offense, babe. But you need to shower before I’ll let you in my car.”

Korra gasped and put a hand on her chest. “Excuse you! You won’t let sweaty me in your car, but you’ll let me with a bloody uniform in there. After all, we’ve been through, too.”

Asami rolled her eyes. She grabbed the front of Korra’s jersey and dragged her into a deep kiss. The athlete groaned against her and Asami released Korra’s lips to chuckle. “That sure shut you up.”

“That’s cheating.” Korra pecked Asami’s nose and then stepped back. “Fine. I’ll go shower and meet you outside.” The athlete put her hand on the locker room door behind her. “Try not to punch anyone while I’m gone.”

“No promises.” Asami grinned and watched Korra disappear into the locker room.

 

Asami lay back and felt the bed dip as Korra settled next to her. Her legs still felt shaky and her breathing came out ragged. She took a few deep breaths to calm her racing heart.

“Better?” Korra covered them both with the duvet and put an arm over Asami.

“That’s one way to distract me.” Asami sighed and felt Korra trace circles over her stomach.

Korra propped herself up with her other arm. “Do I need to keep going?”

Asami laughed. “No. It’s a bit too soon for round four or whatever we’re on.”

“We’re only on round three, but thank you for the extra credit.” Korra chuckled as she settled her hand next to Asami’s navel.

Asami could feel Korra’s eyes on her as she continued to stare at the ceiling of their bedroom. She kept dissecting every piece of conversation with her father from dinner. He wasn’t trying hard enough to accept her or Korra, the subtle comments proof of that.

“Hey, nerd. What’s going on up here?” Korra nodded in the direction of Asami’s head. “Talk to me, babe.”

Asami sighed and turned on her side to face Korra. “I can’t believe he’d come in here after the last six months, and continue to dismiss us. He kept acting like you were a college roommate, not my girlfriend.”

Korra snickered. “College roommates would not do what we just did.”

Asami smiled and looked at her girlfriend. “You’re right.”

“So then why are you letting him get to you, babe?”

“He lost everything , Korra. And he’s going to act like the board didn’t vote him out and make me CEO. Make me, his twenty-two-year-old daughter, CEO of a multi-billion yuan company and its employees.” Asami shifted and put her face into the pillow and muffled her groan into it.

“‘Sami. Listen.” Korra ran her fingers through Asami’s hair.

Asami extended her groaning.

“Okay, miss drama queen. Listen.” Korra laughed and pressed her lips against Asami’s neck as she started to move her fingers to all the spots that made Asami squirm.

“Don’t you dare, Kor.” Asami caught Korra’s hands in her own as she turned to keep her girlfriend at bay.

“Then listen to me, you goober.” Korra smiled as Asami settled down and propped herself up on one elbow. “Four months ago you became CEO. Your dad was disgraced. You don’t hear from him because you’re too busy running a company, graduating, and being a badass.”

Asami smiled at the list of accomplishments. A lot happened since the accident, and she knew she should count her good fortune.

“And then a month ago he comes groveling to you from whatever rock he crawled out from to apologize.”

“He doesn’t deserve my forgiveness, my time, our hospitality, nothing.” Asami jumped in before Korra could continue, and saw her girlfriend sigh. “Sorry.”

“Babe. Your dad might be an asshole, and he might always be that. But he’s still your dad .”

Asami looked at Korra, studying the athlete’s face. “He’s been horrible to us, Korra. I don’t want to give him the time of day.”

Korra kept her gaze on Asami. “He’s all the family you have left. And I know you miss him. Even if you hate him right now, you miss tinkering with him, or pouring over an engineering problem.” The athlete fell silent for a moment as if letting her words sink in.

Asami sighed, reached over and put a hand on Korra’s cheek, tracing the scar with her thumb. “Why do you have to be right?”

Korra chuckled, giving Asami a small lopsided grin. “Because I’m looking at all this from the outside.”

Asami stared at Korra, thinking about how far they came since they first collided on campus. How those eyes that were bluer than blue and the person they belonged to became her everything. “Marry me.”

The athlete blinked, her eyes wide. “What?”

“Marry me, Korra.” Asami turned on her side so she was facing her girlfriend.

“Are you serious?”

Asami laughed. “Yes.”

Korra’s grin spread across her face. She closed the space between them and kissed Asami. “Of course.”

“Good.”