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Please Let Me Stay

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The next morning I woke up to rays of sunshine peeking into the room. I went to sit up, but a weight across my body kept me from doing so. Korra was sprawled on top of me, her messy brown hair all over my chest and her arms spread out on either side of her. I tried my best not to laugh at the fact she was using me like a mattress. She was still in a deep slumber, her back rising slowly and her breathing calm. Korra looked so peaceful, so lovely I didn’t really want to wake her, but my stomach growled loudly. I hadn’t exactly eaten much the last couple days on my way to the Southern Water Tribe. Right. The goal: untangle myself from the adorable sleepy Avatar to get up. Obstacle: an adorable sleepy Avatar. I laid my head back down and stared at the ceiling, coming up with a plan. My hands gently traveled up and down Korra’s back as I did so, which made her snuggle closer to my chest and wrap her arms and legs around me. Ok - challenge level increased. 

I looked down at her. She had me pretty trapped. Alright, so I had to slip out of her grip without waking her up. Korra sighed sleeping and nuzzled into my neck. My heart lurched in my chest, overwhelmed with love… but my tummy was very very empty. Ok - tuck and roll it was. I gently rolled to my left, holding Korra against me in the process. It was tricky - a task of delicacy, agility, and strength, but I managed to flip us around while not waking her up. Still one problem though: Korra was latched on to me like the most precious Avatar Koala. How was she this strong while asleep?! Ok. Phase Two. Slip out of her grip. There was one thing that made her delirious with sleep and usually turned her into an adorable puddle of laziness - running my hands through her hair. I leaned onto my elbows, delicately tangling my fingers in her hair. Korra hummed subconsciously, her hold around me already loosening. I warmed my hands up a bit and kept running my fingers through her soft brown hair, massaging her temples and scratching lightly behind her ear. Aha! Success. Korra’s arms and legs flopped onto the bed, leaving me free. Not that I minded being her cuddle prisoner. 

I slowly and quietly pushed myself up and off the bed. Korra grumbled in her sleep and curled back into herself, reaching for a pillow to hold against her chest. I smiled at her, bringing the blankets up to tuck her in. There was a piece of paper and a pen on her desk. I scribbled a quick note on it and put it next to her. 

Went to make breakfast. I can bring it up if you’d like. Love you sleepyhead ❤️ I kissed Korra’s cheek and snuck out the door, quietly closing it when I was out. Good thing I made it out too, because my stomach growled so loudly I think it would have woken her up. I heard someone laugh behind me and slapped my hand against my mouth to muffle the yelp. 

“Sounds like someone’s hungry. I was just about to head down to the kitchen and make breakfast. Would you like to accompany me?” a woman with kind eyes and a lovely smile asked. She looked a lot like Korra. 

“Oh, uh, you must be uh - Mrs. Avatar?” I scratched the back of my neck awkwardly. I was barely awake and starving, cut me some slack. She laughed quietly and hooked her arm around my elbow. 

“Senna is fine dear. Korra has told us much about you, N,” she said, leading me to what I assumed was the kitchen. I felt myself blush fiercely and smiled. 

“Heh, gosh, well it's an honor to finally meet her parents. I - I meant to introduce myself before, but, well… things didn’t really go as planned,” I lowered my gaze, but felt Senna squeeze my arm reassuringly.  

“No they did not. But you are here now, and I think Korra appreciates that. Why don’t you come with me and we can talk more?” I beamed at her, though I was still disappointed it took me this long to come to the Southern Water Tribe… and the circumstances under which I came. 

“Sure, I’d love to help with breakfast,” Senna and I walked into the kitchen and she started setting out ingredients. I helped with setting the table, and fetching things around the kitchen, before starting to make eggs and cook some puffin-seal sausages. I’d never seen a puffin-seal before, but it smelled delicious. 

“How did you meet Korra dear?” she asked while chopping up some vegetables and throwing them into the pan with the eggs. Oh so Korra did eat vegetables? Liar. I chuckled, recalling how the Avatar had literally plowed into my life. 

I scrambled the eggs and looked up at Senna, who was smiling warmly at me. “Well actually, she almost trampled over me with Naga. Had I not jumped out of the way and crashed into a cabbage cart, it may well have been the first and last time I ever met Korra,” I recounted and Senna laughed, her eyes crinkling at the corners. 

“Sounds like Korra. Tell me more. She says you’re not from around here? You’re from a place with - magic was it?” and that’s how we launched into my telling her of where I was from - a tiny little magical island of the coast of the Fire Nation mainland. 

“Yeah, it’s not really magic per se. You see, while most firebenders receive their bending from the sun, our energy is actually tied to the spiritual world. The island - it’s sort of a place in between our world and the spirit world. Our magic, or bending, is really just energy flowing through us that comes from there. It’s like bending, just comes from a different place,” I said, and Senna nodded along. 

“So, you’re kind of a firebender?” I nodded. My “magic” was technically a form of firebending. “That’s funny. Fire was the first element Korra bended.” 

I smirked and raised an eyebrow at Senna, “why am I not surprised?” We both broke out in laughter, putting the food on different plates. 

A few moments later the quiet shuffle of socked feet echoed in the room. “Are you two talking about me?” Korra’s sleepy voice came from the entryway. I finished placing the plate of sausages on the table and walked over to her, interlocking my fingers with hers and kissing her head. 

“Good morning, Love. Well, we were, but all good things,” I said, and Korra pouted something fierce. Senna chuckled and motioned her daughter over to give her a hug. Tonraq walked in soon after, wrapping the three of us in a giant bear hug. I’m not sure how he managed. We all sat together at the table and ate, Senna and Tonraq telling me stories of Korra growing up while she pouted and blushed next to me, but I could see her fighting her own smile. It was nice - seeing Korra again, hearing her laugh and banter with her dad. I fought back a stray tear, not wanting to draw attention. I’d just missed her so much it was unbearable. 

Once breakfast was finished and I helped Senna clean up, Tonraq brought out a photo album. My eyes lit up, but Korra paled. Despite her blushing and pleading, Senna sat down with me and started flipping through old pictures of Korra from when she was a baby. I couldn’t help but smile and reach out for Korra’s hand, placing a kiss on her knuckles. 

“Awww, look at the baby Avatar. Sweetie, you were so incredibly cute! ” I said, looking at a picture of toddler Korra with her three ponytails and chubby little cheeks. Puppy Naga was playing with her and I didn’t know how much of this my heart could handle. 

Korra huffed, “what do you mean I was cute…” she mumbled and I snickered, throwing my arm around her and pulling her into a hug. 

“Still cute and brilliant and beautiful… but look at those cheeks! Oh you’re so precious,” I gushed, and Senna chuckled, a knowing smile on her face. I didn’t even attempt to hide the fact I was, what do they call it these days? “Whipped”. 

“I suppose I won’t show you the first bubble bath,” Senna drawled, and Korra started sputtering, shooting up from her chair and dragging me out of the kitchen. Tonraq and Senna were laughing themselves to tears as we made our quick exit. 

“Alright that’s enough, I’m going to show him around, thanks guys!” she hollered over her shoulder and I couldn’t stop my own laughter as she led me away. “So embarrassing…” she mumbled and I tugged her back by the hand she held, wrapping my arms around her waist and smiling down at her. 

“Aww, don’t be embarrassed. I, for one, think you’re the cutest,” I kissed her forehead, “most adorable,” I kissed her nose, “precious person in the whole world,” I whispered against her lips before softly kissing them too. Korra giggled against my lips, and returned the gesture, her hand delicately cradling my face. 

“You’re a sweet talker,” she mumbled as she pulled away. I shrugged and leaned back, still holding her. 

“Only for you though,” I said and Korra rolled her eyes, sneaking under my arm. 

“Come on, I’ll show you around before my session with Katara,” and she did. We walked around the Royal Palace of the Southern Water Tribe. It was absolutely beautiful, with paintings and artifacts about the tribe’s history, ice sculptures in every hallway. There was one painting of Sokka with his boomerang, a goofy expression on his face. Korra looked endearingly at that one for a moment before walking into the next room. It took a good while, but Korra had shown me around the Royal Palace, pointing out her favorite things and telling me about the tribe, their culture, and their history. Her eyes were gleaming with pride and love, and I couldn’t help but look dreamily at her. She was glowing again - that playful, cheery, goofy aura that I’d missed so dearly. I missed her smile. I interlocked our fingers and tugged her towards me again, throwing my other arm over her shoulder and playing with her hair. 

“So… you have a royal palace,” she kissed my nose. 

“Mhmm.” 

“And Tonraq, your dad, is the Chief.” 

“Right” 

“I mean - doesn’t that technically make you a princess?” I said and Korra groaned, tugging me behind her as she led us, to what I assume, was the Healer’s Room. 

“Don’t start.” 

“Avatar Princess Korra! Princess Avatar Korra! Avatar to the World, and Princess of the Water Tribe!” I semi-shouted. Korra laughed and playfully punched my shoulder. 

“Shush you dork!” 

“So I can’t call you Princess?” she smirked. 

“I rather you not,” I pouted and sighed. 

“Mkay. I love you though,” I said, and Korra pecked my lips before continuing to drag me into the palace. 

“I love you too. Now let’s go. I have to convince Katara not to throw you out a window for interrupting her healing schedule,” I gasped. 

“I’d appreciate it if she didn’t, plus I can help! Maybe…”