Breathe in. Breathe out. Breathe in. Breathe out. Kuvira counted her breaths, measuring each one carefully. She hiked up a leg, laying it perfectly straight against the metal bar of the dance room. Kuvira bent down, stretching the muscles of her legs. She ignored the strain on her back. It was nothing, she repeated to herself. Her eyes refused to look at the wall-length mirrors. If she so much as glanced at her reflection, Kuvira knew her eyes would be drawn to the many bruises now littering across her skin. The healers had tried to convince her to let them take away the pain and markings but Kuvira declined the offer as politely as her already hurt pride could manage.
She was weak. Kuvira growled low under her breath as she bent her body too fast and her body protested painfully. She was the captain of Zaofu’s guards, she rose above the ranks in a record-breaking speed. But that night the bald fuck and his group of freaks would always mar her near-perfect record. Kuvira should have known they’ve broken into the compound. It was only pure luck that the earthbender was able to stun the explosive firebender. If he hadn’t, it was quite possible that Su would have been killed.
Kuvira shook her head in denial, but forgot to not to look into the mirror. At once her eyes were drawn to a dark purple bruise peeking out from her white tank top. “That fight was almost laughable,” she muttered to herself. They were practically toying with her, throwing her back with an ease that reminded Kuvira of how she was truly and utterly mortal.
The sound of a door opening made Kuvira jump. She tore her eyes away from her sorry state to see who had entered the dancing room through the mirror.
Suyin looked as if she hadn’t slept at all that night, and Kuvira wouldn’t be surprised if that were indeed the case. She offered the younger woman a small smile and let her workout bag slip off her shoulder to fall to the floor. Kuvira heard the clang of the metal of her usual attire hitting the floor.
“Hello, Su,” Kuvira greeted her mentor informally. They were alone, they didn’t have to dance around each other. But still, anyone could walk in at any time. Kuvira looked once more at the dullness in Suyin’s eyes and decided that the risk was worth it. She walked to Suyin and cupped her cheek. Suyin must have reached the same conclusion as Kuvira as she nuzzled her cheek against the palm, her eyes softening. “Are you okay?” Kuvira whispered, like speaking too loud would shatter the delicate atmosphere around them.
“No,” Suyin answered truthfully. She should be tired of being asked that question. First her husband, then Lin, next Korra, and now Kuvira. When Kuvira said the three words however, it warmed Suyin at how much Kuvira cared for her. “Someone I considered to be family has betrayed me and because of the trust I put into him, the Avatar was almost kidnapped under my own roof.” Suyin wrapped her arms around Kuvira’s waist, careful of the amount of pressure she was using. She had seen the bruises on her protoge’s body. She had spent hours kissing them.
The caution Suyin was using with her stoke the anger in Kuvira. This was all Aiwei’s fault. The fucking traitor. She should leave Zaofu and drag him back to face justice for all the damage he has caused. Kuvira would have made him pay for hurting Suyin. Kuvira didn’t allow the rage she felt to show in her eyes as she rubbed gentle circles into the older woman’s back. She felt Suyin slowly relax into the embrace and press a kiss to the side of her neck. Kuvira shuddered despite the warmth of the room.
“What were you doing?” Suyin asked.
The question might as well have been rhetorical but Kuvira answered nonetheless. “I was practicing.” The words were heavy and almost clumsy when they left her mouth. The dance recital was canceled soon after everything settled down. “It helps me think.”
Suyin nodded against Kuvira’s chest, understanding completely. It was the same reason she had come to the practice room. She stepped out of the hug, missing the warmth and strength of the other woman’s arms at once. Suyin crossed her own to keep them from pulling Kuvira back. “Show me.”
The two words might have been commanding in a different tone of voice, but Kuvira could hear the subtle desperation in them. Suyin needed a distraction desperately, and this was not the place to go their usual route of distractions. Kuvira nodded her head and began the routine. It was never meant to be done by one dancer but she had practiced it for so long that she could close her eyes and see the other dancers with her. Her body ached in several places with each step and Kuvira tried to ignore it but the pain seemed to rise and her movements became the teeniest bit slow.
Of course Suyin noticed it. Adopting the persona of a life-long mentor and not of a secret lover, she stepped forward and grabbed Kuvira’s waist gently. “You’re becoming timid,” she whispered, lifting one hand to guide Kuvira’s arm out straight. One of Suyin’s fingers pressed a little too hard on a bruise and Kuvira winced. “I know it hurts but you must work through the pain.” Suyin allowed some softness into her voice. “I would never push you past your limits.”
“I know.” The conviction in Kuvira’s words came as easy as drawing breath. Suyin had agonized on the boundaries of their relationship, in all aspects of their relationship. At first it was a bit of a nuisance to the younger and eager Kuvira but as time went on, she came to relish in the care that Suyin put into each calculated touch in open and closed doors. Surprising Suyin, Kuvira turned around and pulled her close, kissing the matriarch's neck before whispering into her ear. “I trust you.”
Suyin’s breath hitched at the three words. She glanced at the closed door. She shouldn’t. Kuvira kissed down her jaw and one of Suyin’s hands grabbed Kuvira’s braid. Anyone could walk in at any moment. Suyin tilted her head down to capture Kuvira’s lips, breathing harshly as the younger woman’s hands roamed over her body, never touching the skin underneath the clothing. Suyin pulled back and stared into Kuvira’s eyes, reading the question in them. With one last glance to the door, she gave a nod.
The question in Kuvira’s eyes was burned away by desire. There was some hesitance in Suyin’s kisses and there was a guarded look to her eyes but with each kiss and wandering hand, the older woman’s resistance melted away. Kuvira couldn’t blame Suyin for not responding to the touches as she usually did. They were in a precarious situation. Suyin was very strict with never touching in places that anyone could be privy to. But she needed this, Kuvira knew. She needed to be shown that even if that scumbag left, Kuvira would be here. She would always be here. Kuvira pulled at one of the drawstrings of Suyin’s sweatpants, watching the waistband sag so slightly again Suyin’s waist. She didn’t waste a moment before slipping her hand underneath, gasping softly as she felt how needy Suyin was. Kuvira kissed away the little noises Suyin was trying so hard to fight down.
They had to be quick. Kuvira backed Suyin to the mirrors and hiked one of her legs around her waist. The space for her hand was a bit more tight in this position but it did allow her to plunge two fingers into Suyin.
“Kuvira, right there,” Suyin murmured, letting her head fall into Kuvira’s shoulder in an attempt to muffle her sounds of pleasure. Her hips rocked into Kuvira’s thrusting hand, feeling herself rise higher and higher without shame. She moved her lips up to Kuvira’s ear and nibbled on the earlobe.
“Su, I’m going out to fin-”
Suyin froze at the sound of her name and felt Kuvira do the same. She looked over Kuvira’s shoulder to see her sister holding open the door, her eyes almost comically wide and her mouth opened in shock. Soon however, the expression of surprised turned into embarrassment and anger. Kuvira and Suyin jumped away from each other like the other was suddenly made of fire. Lin marched into the room and slammed the door shut.
When Lin reached the two, she crossed her arms and she looked at the two like she was about to interrogate them for some heinous crime. “Su, what the fuck are you doing?” Her voice strained to be quiet but her eyes showed how furious she was at her little sister.
“Lin, wait,” Suyin said, raising her hands as if she could physically halt her sister’s anger. “I can explain. Kuv-”
“Explain?!” Lin interrupted, her foot now tapping in its impatience. “Explain what? The captain of your guard is fucking you?” It was only then that Lin spared a glance at Kuvira, and the younger woman never saw so much venom in a simple look before. Lin turned her attention back to Suyin. “How could you do this to Baatar? He might not have a spine in his back but he deserves better than this.”
“Hey!” Now Suyin was starting to get angry. She poked Lin’s chest hard. “Don’t say my husband is a coward. He’s much more of a man than that fool Tenzin!”
“Chief Beifong,” Kuvira spoke up before the two women could get at each other's throats. Both sets of eyes pierced at her and Kuvira realized how ridiculous she must look at the moment with her bruises and disheveled hair. “You truly don’t know everything that is going on.”
Lin scoffed at the words. “And what is going on, hussy?”
“Don’t call Kuvira a hussy,” Suyin growled at Lin. Kuvira laid a comforting hand on Suyin’s shoulder to show she wasn’t bothered by Lin’s wording. Suyin calmed slightly at the touch. “Baatar knows.”
“What?” Lin couldn’t keep the disbelief from her voice. “And he’s okay with you sneaking behind his back with this girl?”
Suyin raised an eyebrow at the last word. “That’s rather hypocritical of you, don’t you think?” For the first time since this interaction begun, Lin looked unsure of herself. Her eyes darted away from her younger sister’s for a split second. “Kuvira is a part of my relationship with Baatar. It’s not traditional or maybe even sane, but we care for her and she makes us happy.” Suyin gave Kuvira one of her personal smiles that she reserved only for her and her husband.
“Sh-she’s too young!”
“You’re one to talk,” Suyin said. She gestured to Lin’s neck. “Your collar is a bit higher than usual, Lin.”
Lin glanced away once more, the lightest of flushes spreading across her cheeks. “Big whoop. It’s nippy in here.”
Suyin crossed her arms over her chest, almost a perfect imitation of her older sister, Kuvira noted. A light smirk spread across the matriarch's face, she knew she had the upper hand. Normally she would have let everything slide, like she had been doing since Lin showed up with the Avatar and her friends. But today Lin went too far. “Really?” She rolled the word to make sure Lin knew exactly where this conversation was going. “Did Asami also feel that nip? Her scarf must have certainly helped yesterday.”
‘What are you saying?” Lin put as much venom as she could into the question but Suyin didn’t flinch. She was cornered.
Suyin gave the final blow. “I’m saying that if you three want to try to hide your relationship better, you might want to give Korra a scarf as well.” She touched to several spots on her neck. “She was practically flaunting those love bites you two left on her neck.”
Despite all the evidence thrown at her, Lin still tried to play dumb. “I have no idea what you’re talking about.”
“Oh please,” Suyin said with an exaggerated roll of her eyes. “Even a badgermole can see that you three are together. Don’t think I didn’t noticed how much slack you gave those two, especially that Avatar girl. ” Lin had the decency to look as if she regretted her choice of words earlier. “Not everyone can tell you that you’re being a bitch without a scratch.” She took a step forward and felt satisfaction when Lin retreated a step. “Now if you don’t want me to tell dear Tenzin how you’ve been protecting Korra and Asami, I suggest that you forget what you saw and butt out of my relationship.”
Lin glared down at Suyin for a few moments before her shoulders deflated. “Fine,” she growled, defeated. She turned and marched to the door. Lin tugged it open and glanced over her shoulder. “I’m bringing them and that fucker Aiwei back.” With that, she exited and slammed the door shut.
Suyin sighed in relief as everything settled down. She pulled Kuvira into a loose hug, kissing her forehead. “That could have gone worse.”
Kuvira stared at her lover and mentor. “Korra and Asami?”
“Lin is much too predictable,” Suyin said with a nod. She tilted Kuvira’s chin up so she could pull the younger woman into a deep kiss. At once she felt the familiar hunger roar as Kuvira opened her mouth under hers. Suyin pulled back with a mischievous grin. “Now that that’s over, perhaps we should find my husband?” Kuvira nodded and Suyin gave her a hard kiss that left the two flushed and breathing heavily. The two exited the dance training room a respectable distance apart, however a hand belonging to either woman would slide down to linger on the other’s back and give the other a playful squeeze.