Chapter 1: Prologue
"Are you okay?" He leaned into the young woman standing next to him with her arms crossed around her waist. "I mean are you really okay."
Asami stared out into the water. "Yeah I'm great. Just great." Her lips remained in the firm thin line. Unshed tears hinting behind her iris's. "Why shouldn't I be fine?" She whispered.
Iroh eyes never leaving the side profile of the young woman whom had entered his life. "I have known Korra ever since she was a little girl." He felt the woman tighten up in his side. "She really has no idea on what she's doing. On how she's truly feeling. She has no idea that these feelings she has for Mako may not lead to a happy ending."
"I'm not going to destroy her relationship." Asami swallowed. "I don't blame her for Mako breaking up with me. For Mako just realizing that he has deep feelings for her while he was still with me." Her lip quirked up at the side. "What Mako and I had was nice. It was what I needed at the time in my life. As my life was destroyed once more. I need a firm body to hold me as I realized that I could no longer be in my father's safe arms." She laughed. "Expect it really wasn't Mako whom I was with. He never did freely and willing comfort me when I truly needed him. He never thought of honesty seeing with his soul that I needed the comfort. Korra always had to tell him." Her lips thinned once more.
Iroh's right eye brow rose a little.
"Put that brow back where it belongs." Asami sighed deeply.
"Do you realize that I must now not only run my father's company … but it may be too late." Asami's arms tightened around her waist. "Over 80 percent of our board members have quite. They refuse to work two weeks. They simply quite and walked out. I'm honesty shocked that they told me face to face. They could have just left. I would have understood and not sue them for breaking their contacts with us."
"What can I do to help?" Iroh offered.
Asami sighed deeply. "Nothing."
Iroh moved so he was facing the younger woman. "Asami you can't do this all on your own."
"I'm not going to take up your time General Iroh. I know you need to get back to the Fire Nation." Asami remained impassive.
"My mother orderd me that if I felt Avatar Korra needed my assistance … that I remain." Iroh answered.
Asami's eyes turned dark.
"Before you try to deny that you aren't really part of the team surrounding Korra; Asami … then I am here to tell you that you are seriously wrong." Iroh kept speaking before she could reply. "Now what can I do to help?"
"Stay by Avatar Korra's side." Asami's eyes lowered.
Iroh moved passed her.
Asami's eyes lifted to stare out at the ocean once more. Drawing withing herself even more.
"Asami." Korra's voice started her out of her deep thoughts. "Asami." Her voice spoke more stronger than before.
Asami nodded her head.
"I may not be able to help you as you need me to right now. So I'm ordering Iroh to remain with you." She folded her arms across her chest. She felt horrible for taking Mako from Asami.
"You don't have to do that Avatar Korra. My company isn't put of your Avatar duty." Asami spoke in a stiff voice.
"You are my friend. You are someone who is very close to me. Someone I trust to have my back at all times." Korra softly spoke. "I'm sorry that I stole Mako from you."
Asami lips quirked. "You didn't steal Mako from me. He wasn't mine to begin with. I just borrowed him for a bit. I was selfish." She spoke honesty. "Thank you for the times that you told him that I needed to be held."
"If I thought that you wanted it … then I would have held you." Korra kept her eyes firmly on the slightly older woman's. "But it felt like it would hurt you too much … so I thought that Mako was that person for you."
A few tears rolled down Asami's cheek. "Thank you Korra." She husked out. She smiled a watery smile. "Any time that you feel like I need you to hold me … then please hold me." She swallowed around the lump in her throat.
Korra stepped closer. Gently wrapping her arms around the other woman's waist. Pulling Asami into her as she felt the other woman's arms wrap around her jacket. She wished that it wasn't freezing and that they didn't have to have heavy coats separating them, She felt Asami rest her head on the back of her left shoulder blade.
Asami closed her eyes as she felt Korra's warmth, and comfort enter her soul. Being in Korra's arms; even thought they both wore heavy coats … felt like her mother's arms. She knew that her mother's spirit had truly sent Korra to her in this time knowing that she needed her. Thanks Mama. Her soul sent the gratitude up to Heaven.
Korra pulled away once Asami was standing straight; and tall once more. "You are going to be staying with my parents and I." Her lips quirked. "Hope you don't mind sharing my room with me."
"I'll be delighted too." Asami softly smiled. "Thank you for lending General Iroh to me."
Korra looked meaningfully into Asami's eyes; "He's the only one I trust fully to help you. Oh and always count on the help of Lin." Her right eyebrow rose. "Lin told me personally that her force will be on hand if you need it."
Asami swallowed. "Noted."
Korra nodded firmly. "Good. Also if you need to call on Tenzin then do so."
Asami smiled. "Thanks. If you and Mako want to go and be alone … then don't let me keep you."
"I'm not leaving you." Korra replied. "Come on it's time to spend time with everyone." She held out her hand letting the older girl to pass her.
Asami nodded. She passed Korra and felt the other girl at her right side. They walked towards Naga where Bolin, Iroh and Mako were waiting.
“Is there something I can help you with?” Iroh glanced up from the file that he had been reading.
“What is your interest in Asami?” Mako demanded in a low tense voice.
Iroh's right eyebrow rose. “Are you asking as the ex whom broke up with her; and feeling very guilty for how you broke up with her? Or are you asking as a true friend whom doesn't want to see his friend get hurt?” He set the file down on the table. He folded his arms across his chest as he looked up into the younger man's brown eyes.
“Asami has been hurt by too many people.” Mako sat in the chair across from the forty year old man. “Myself included. I just don't want yet another person to hurt her.” His dark eyes looked hard at the man whom just entered their lives. A man whom Korra trusted above anyone else. A man over twenty years older then him; and whom had Korra's full attention. He felt hot jealous boil inside his blood. He fought to keep his fire bending under wraps.
Iroh's lips quirked up.
“Whenever you want a fire fight Mako; then let me know.” Iroh simply said as he stood to his feet. “But you need to ask if your jealously is over my closeness with Korra or my upcoming closeness with Asami.” He frowned down at the younger man. “You seriously need to grow up Mako.” He held up his hand. “I'm not talking about you basically raising Bolin all on your own on the streets … I'm talking about you maturing on the matter of your friendships and your romantic life.” He sighed. “I like you Mako. If I didn't … then I wouldn't give you this advice.”
Mako's chest eased up. “Thanks.” He nodded.
Iroh nodded. He walked from the room leaving the younger man lost in his thoughts.
“You shouldn't have Iroh tied up with me; Korra.” Asami sighed as she looked sideways at Korra whom was sitting crossed legged in the middle of the room. Her eyes was closed and her breathing was even.
“There is no discussion here Asami.” Korra spoke in a calm voice her eyes still closed. She felt the air swelling inside her; and she allowed it to overcome every single breathing bit about herself. She no longer fought it control in her body. She welcomed it.
“There is too a discussion here Avatar Korra.” Asami's tense voice spoke volume. “I may have literally lost everything. My family's good name to say the least. But I still have controlling interest in my family's business. I still have control over how I run that business.”
Korra's eyes opened. She looked up where the tensed and lost woman stood before her. “I'm sorry Asami. You are quite right.” She nodded as she stood to her feet. Walking over to lean against the wall near the open window. “The reason why Iroh should be with you right now instead of anyone else … is because I know that Iroh is honest. I know that he knows the business world just as much as you do. I know that he wouldn't allow anyone to take advantage of you as you try to rebuild what your family name should always have been known for.” Shaking her head. “Everyone else that I trust whom I know business are all tied up with trying to repair everything that Amon/Notak, and Tarrlok have done to Republic City to have any free time to help you.
Holding up her right hand; “Not that they won't still help you whenever the need rises. But you need to get your company up and running now/ You need to get your family name back to where it has a good solid standing right now.”
Asami's spine stiffened. “Thank you for your concern Avatar Korra … but I know that I have to handle this on my own.”
Korra frowned in concern. “You are just one person Asami.” She held up her hand. “I'm the Avatar and even I know that I can't handle being the bridge of both the human world; and the Spirit world alone. I know that I need people whom I trust and closets to help me. I count you as one of them.” She paused. “I know that you took a very hard and devastating hit when the truth of whom your father truly is has hit you.”
Asami straightened. She couldn't keep the primal growl from her throat.
“You father isn't pure evil Asami. He can still come back.” Korra finished. She knew that the older girl in front of her was on the razor edge.
Asami searched Korra's eyes for any insincerity. For any trap. For any weapon that the Avatar would use to keep coming after her. Finding none. Asami searched deeper and farther. She weighed the Avatar's words against before. Weighing the Avatar's starting bright blue eyes against before. Weighing …. weighing …. weighing …. always weighing.
Korra waited for Asami to decide if she can truly trust her. If she can finally know Korra truly doesn't want to go after her; or the Sato family.
Asami reached out and felt the other girl's soul. Her breath was stolen from her chest at the loving feeling as the Avatar … no as Korra loving wrapped her spirit up; and placed it right next to her very own. Tears licked at the edges of her lashes as Asami felt like she had landed in her safe haven … one that she never knew she was without before. It felt like her mother's safe haven. Asami relaxed as she just gave herself over to this need to be loved; to be protected. “Thanks Korra. I needed that.” She finally spoke as she relaxed her right shoulder against the wall. Her eyes never leaving the blue of the Korra's just in front of her. She took a few calming breaths as she felt her center returning.
“You don't get to hurt Asami.” Bolin frowned as he found Iroh sitting on the bench looking out at the water.
Iroh looked over to where Bolin was standing with his arms folded tightly across his chest. “I would never dream of hurting Asami. I just wish to protect her.” He answered truthfully.
Bolin stared deeply into Iroh's eyes, and found that the older man had spoken the truth. He relaxed and took a seat next to him. “I knew Mako wasn't right for Asami. I knew that Mako had feelings for Korra …. even before I found them kissing … well when I found Korra surprising Mako with the kiss … but I knew that Korra had more romantic feelings for Mako than I from the very beginning. But I had to try. I just had to make sure that I wouldn't have missed out on something if I didn't try.”
Iroh listened to the young man unburden himself.
Bolin sighed deeply. “I knew that Asami fell hard for my brother from the very beginning. I knew that Mako would end up hurting her when he finally chose Korra.” His eyes turned to look out at the water. “There was nothing that I could say or do to prevent it.” His lips tightened. “Asami feel hard and fast.” He spoke more to himself. “But she learned a very harsh lesson concerning my brother; that Mako is good at protecting me. On knowing when I need to him to comfort him. But he's not good with other people. Not to the person whom he said he had romantic interest in.”
Iroh's chest tightened in anger against the younger man. But then his Uncle's words of wisdom came to his mind. He breathed out his anger against a young man whom still had a lot to grow from. One whom is fully aware of his own short comings. One whom is fully willing to work towards maturing and expanding his care outside of himself; and his brother.
Bolin turned his eyes to meet those of the older man. “I'm glad that you are going to be working closely with Asami right now General Iroh. I know that Korra fully wants to be there for Asami right now; partly due to feeling guilty for exposing Hiorshi Sato.” His lips tightened at the mere thought of the father whom was very willing to kill his own daughter because his daughter wouldn't follow in his path of self destruction.
“Partly due to the fact that she feels guilty for stealing Mako from Asami.” Bolin picked up his line of thought once his temper allowed him too. “Korra truly does feel like Asami is part of her team. That Asami truly is her friend. That Asami belongs with her on her full journey of being this times Avatar.” He shakes his head. “Korra just feels like she has taken too much from Asami in the short time of meeting her … that right now she truly feels that Asami doesn't always need her in her face full time.”
Iroh nodded his agreement.
Bolin leaned forward. “Just don't fall for Asami; Iroh. She wouldn't handle yet if yet another person decides that they really don't have any romantic feelings for her.” His eyes darken with deep concerned. “If I find that you have hurt her …. even unintentional then not even Korra can stop me from hurting you.”
“I understand.” Iroh spoke in a calm firm voice. “I promise that my feelings for Asami won't turn in the romantic factor.” He held up his hand. “Not that Asami isn't worth the thought. But I fully know deep within my soul that Asami isn't meant for me. I wouldn't put her through hoping for something that I all ready know won't take place.”
Bolin searched the older man's eyes deeper. He relaxed as he read the truth. “Okay.” He backed down.
“I have a feeling that soon we'll need your help also Bolin.” Iroh returned to business. It was best to prepare the teenager about up coming events.
Bolin stiffened as his head lifted. “Whom is trying to go after Asami?” He growled.
“In the business world whom isn't?” Iroh sighed.
Bolin thought about that. He nodded. “Whenever you need me; then give me a call. I'll be there.”
“But if either Korra or Mako needs you more … I want you to help them. Don't put them at risk just to come to Asami's aid.” Iroh spoke in a firm tone. “I'm not the only one working with Asami here. I have trusted people whom I trust to help. Whenever I call you for Asami's aid; and Korra, and Mako are fine then yes please get to us as soon as you can. But if Korra or Mako needs you in that moment … then stay with them.”
Bolin nodded. “You have my word.”
“Good.” Iroh nodded. Standing he nodded back towards the path. “I need to get some work done. I'll see you around Bolin.”
Bolin nodded; and silently watched the older man walk up the path. A thoughtful frown on his lips as he thought of what life was in store.
“Mako.” Lin's rough voice brought him out of his deep thoughts. He looked up into the harsh but wise eyes of the Police Chief. “Chief Beifong” He stood to his feet.
“What are you planning on doing now that the Pro Bending arena is being rebuilt?” Lin folded her arms across her chest.
Mako sighed deeply. “Find work. I need to find place for Bo and I to live. We can't live at Air Temple Island.”
“Tenzin wouldn't mind. Avatar Aang built Air Temple Island for people … anyone to live on when they find they need too.” Lin spoke. She eyed the young man. “But I can till that you aren't the sort of person to want to live on the Island full time.”
“It's just not home is all.” Mako replied honesty. “I don't feel that Pro Bending is for me any longer to be honest.” His right hand rose to rub the back of his neck. “It's time to find a more permanent career.”
Lin nodded her head. “What do you think of going into law enforcement.”
Excitement lite up Mako's eyes. But then hope died down.
“Before you think that you aren't going to be able to be accepted due to your criminal past; young man. I am here to tell you that seeing how you were still a minor while you ran with the Triple Triad … and that you have gotten out when you did. That you willing went on the straight and arrow road; without turning your back won't have a affect to you joining the voice.”
“It's not that Chief Beifong.” Mako sighed. “It's just I don't have the money that taking the classes that are necessary ….”
Lin's lips quirked. “I have been watching you through the years Mako. Even while you were running with the Triad; you managed to ...”
“I'm afraid that I'm not interested.” Mako interrupted firmly.
Lin sighed deeply. “You are young still. I'll leave it at this. Whenever you are interested then come see me. Then I will help you get on the force.” She nodded to the young man, and turned and walked from the room. Her lips in a firm line; but a very knowing look in her eyes.
Mako silently watched as the older woman left him. Something new and firm was swimming in his soul. But he knew that he was right in what he had just said. After all he and Bolin were still homeless … although Tenzin said they could live on Air Temple Island … but that wasn't home for the brother's. He knew that the Iron Works was willing to hire him full time … but he knew that Korra would need him by her side as she was going to restore all the bending to the benders that Amon had stolen from. Plus he knew that as Avatar; Korra would need to main leader in getting Republic City back onto an even ground now that the Equalist movement has died.
But has the Equalist movement really have died with Amon being exposed? Mako shook his head. No the movement isn't dead yet. Long from it. But he had a feeling that Korra could make the movement more into a positive light then what Amon had intended it to be. He sighed deeply as he shook his head.
He was still young. There was still time. But he had to make sure that Bolin was taken care of first. There would be no way that he would make a career at the Police station … pretty much living there (he knew himself fully …. being a police officer … perhaps a detective was his dream. He would want to consume it …. have it consume him. But he knew this was his very youth speaking for him. That in reality that wasn't a very healthy way to live his life).
There was still time. He was still young. He would spend time with his brother, Korra his girlfriend (He couldn't keep the soft smile to come to his lips with this thought), with his friends. He would remind himself that yes it would be all right to love his career … but he needed a social life to still be human.
“I'm going back to the mansion.” Asami spoke after staring out of the window silently for the past hour.
“There is no rush. Tenzin said that you are quite welcomed on Air Temple Island as long as you need.” Korra's eyes had never left the straight as arrow back of the raven haired woman whom had remained at the window; when she went to sit in the chair.
“I don't need to remain on the island any longer.” Asami's voice was void of all emotion. “I need to make sure that no looters had decided to break into the mansion now that everyone in Republic City knows whom my father truly stood behind.” Her arms folded around her waist. “I need to see what damage they did.”
Korra stood to her feet, and walked up behind the older woman. She silently slipped her arms around Asami's waist; and met the pale hands on either side. Resting her forehead against Asami's left shoulder blade.
Green eyes slipped closed as Asami simply accepted the comfort that Korra was giving her. The comfort that Korra knew that she needed without being vocally told. She relaxed in the slightly younger woman's arms. Resting her head against Korra's head.
“Don't stay alone for too long. Even through Iroh will move in with you. You still need; and deserve to have people whom you feel at home with surround you.” Korra breathed in Asami's ear. She gently squeezed the raven haired young woman in her arms. “Promise me that.”
Asami heard her mother's voice; with tears at the end of her lashes. “I promise.” Asami breathed out.
Author's Note: No Mako isn't going to be joining the police force right now. After all we didn't see Cop Mako until the first chapter of book 3. I just wanted Mako to have that idea in the back of his mind for the events of book 2. I want Mako to know that he has Lin Beifong paying attention to him …. on the good that he is doing … not just the bad. I want Mako to strive to making a career in the police force.
Edited 3/31/19 - Thanks to a guest reviewer that reminded me that Mako actually was a beat cop in b2 ... okay so I went back to watch a few episodes of b2 ... and Mako's beat cop didn't come to our knowledge until "The Sting" (S2 E5) it was after they came back to Republic City after their extended visit to Korra's family.
Now seeing how I stated that this story is taking place right after b1 that means this literally is taken place right after Korra got ALL her bending back after Avatar Aang visited her ... right after the Makorra kiss. So as of this precious moment Mako hasn't joined the force yet. I made it very clear in this chapter that Lin offered Mako ... and right now Mako isn't in the place to accept the offer to join the Republic City police force. After all Mako very well knows himself ... he knows that he would willing bury himself fully into the job ... sleeping at that station even ... he can not and will not willing abandon Bolin. Plus he wants to see where his relationship with Korra can go.
I'm not rushing to start b2 anytime soon. I want to explore those weeks that Makorra are in a new relationship; Mako and Bolin aren't going to live on Air Temple Island full time ... they will return to the city. Neither Asami or Bolin have even heard of Varrick yet.