“Are you asleep?”
Asami sighed at Korra’s softly spoken question. She had been trying to sleep, but her girlfriend’s tossing, turning, and huffing had kept her from drifting off. She had given up on cuddling over an hour ago, because every time she would get snuggled in and close to falling asleep herself, Korra would shift again and wake her back up. Now, Asami was on her back with her hands folded across her middle, staring at the ceiling. Refraining from responding in a manner that betrayed her growing agitation, she chose a whispered monotone instead. “I’m not.”
The moon was shining brightly through the windows, almost light enough to look like dawn. While the lace curtains in their bedroom provided a nice aesthetic, they did little to no good in blocking out light. With the two sets of double windows in their bedroom, escaping from the moonlight was impossible, even with the blinds closed.
Korra’s agitation with herself, however, was obvious as she threw a pillow from over her face towards the foot of the bed. “Ughhh. I’m so tired, but it’s so bright. I can’t sleep.”
Without saying a word, Asami raised one hand and placed it over Korra’s eyes. After a few moments, she whispered, “How about now?”
She felt Korra’s cheeks rise in a smile before she turned her head to blow a raspberry onto Asami’s wrist. “Good try, but no.” Korra huffed and rolled over on her side to face her. She was so close, Asami could feel her breath on her cheek. “You know, when you try to sleep like that, you look like a corpse.”
“How flattering of you to say. If that’s your way of coming onto me, I think it’s best you try again.” Asami knew that Korra meant no offense by that statement, but she wasn’t about to let Korra know that she knew that.
“No! Not like that,” she heard a slight panic in Korra’s voice as she began to backpedal. “I just meant you look so… I dunno, solemn lying like that on your back with your hands folded, like you’re in a casket.”
“I see,” Asami said as she desperately tried to cover the amusement in her voice. “Seems to me like you’re the one who’s digging her own grave.”
“Okay, that was a bad analogy. I admit that, and I’m sorry.” Korra placed one of her hands onto Asami’s own. “I was… dead wrong to insinuate in any way that you look anything less than ethereal in this moonlight.” Snickering at her own joke as she nosed Asami’s cheek, she felt Korra’s hand gently glide its way up her body until it settled on her neck. Asami could feel her whisper in her ear, letting her lips linger. “You do look beautiful, ‘Sami. I don’t think I’ve ever seen you bathed in moonlight before.”
The pleasant shiver that ran down Asami’s spine at her love’s close proximity suddenly had her wide awake. She allowed her mind to wander and entertain all the things that they could do - or rather, do to each other - in this bit of extra time they found themselves in.
In a seductive maneuver, Asami flipped her body towards Korra’s, seeking her lips with her lips - right as Korra jumped off of the bed with an ill-timed exclamation. “I know what we can do! Let’s go outside and take a moonlit stroll. It’ll be romantic! Come on, it’s not like we’re going to get anything accomplished just lying here, and I’m nowhere even close to being able to fall asleep.”
Finding both her arms and her lips Korra-less, she let out a sigh of exasperation. About 30 seconds ago, she had decided that she had quite a lot to accomplish, in fact. “Korra, if you’re dragging me outside just so you can drop your pants to moon me in some funny little joke of yours, I’d much rather see your butt back in this bed.” She was half-flirting and half-chastising - even she wasn’t sure which tone was communicated more.
Korra chuckled as she tossed Asami a pair of her leggings. “I’m a little disappointed with myself that I didn’t think to do that, but no, I’m not.”
A few minutes later, they stepped hand in hand onto the back porch and into the night. It was warm enough that Korra felt comfortable enough in just her tank top, but since they had just come from a warmer bed, Asami grabbed one of Korra’s flannels on their way out for good measure. A slight breeze rustled its way through the leaves, and all around them they could hear the crickets, cicadas, and frogs singing their songs. “Are they always this loud? Nights are noisy in San Francisco, but… not usually like this,” Asami commented with a small laugh. “How can it be so loud, but so peaceful at the same time?”
Silently, Korra sidled up beside her and wrapped her arm snugly around Asami’s waist. Korra reached up to bring Asami’s cheek down to her lips, grinning after planting a sweet kiss. “It’s so cute when you go all city girl on me,” she murmured against Asami’s skin. “But no, they aren’t always this loud. I imagine it has something to do with the full moon.”
Asami was entranced by a flickering of lights at the edge of the yard. It was a soft blinking glow that she soon recognized. “Ooh, and fireflies!”
Leaning back to check them out herself, Korra teased. “Well, we call them lightning bugs here, but yeah.” She dropped her hand to Asami’s ribs and tickled a little to let her know she was just picking at her. “Want to go catch a few?”
Asami turned to look down into Korra’s eyes, then glanced suggestively down at her lips. Once she had Korra leaning in, thinking that she was about to kiss her, she stopped when she was only a breath away. “A few more than you, sure!” Before Korra could catch on, Asami darted away playfully and ran towards the woods to get a head start.
“Hey now, not fair!” Korra laughed as she easily caught up with her. “Okay, first one to catch three of them wins.”
Unfortunately for Asami, Korra had years of experience catching fireflies under her belt and won easily. When Korra opened her hand to show the three she caught, Asami looked down at her own hand and was disappointed to see that the one she’d been able to catch had somehow escaped.
“Don’t worry,” Korra told her as she gently put one back into Asami’s hand with a soft laugh. “because I love you, that makes you entitled to all my secrets - even how to be a lightning bug catching pro. The trick is to not chase them down, but to anticipate their path and let them fly into your hand on their own.”
“That’s actually pretty smart,” Asami said as she watched the little bug crawl across her hand before flying away. “I’m surprised I didn’t think of that myself.” As Korra grabbed her hand to lead her farther into the woods, Asami had a thought. “What other kind of secrets are you keeping from me?”
“Ooh, lots of them,” Korra joked in a conspiratorial tone. She kept a steady pace about one step ahead of Asami, but never let go over hand. “But right now, the main secret I’m keeping from you is where we’re headed.”
Before she even considered what she was saying, Asami replied a lot more sincerely than she intended. “I’ll follow you anywhere, Korra.”
Korra glanced back at her with a wink and squeezed her hand. “I’m kinda counting on that.”
They continued on without saying anything else as Korra weaved their path amongst the trees. As considerate as ever, Korra held back every branch so it wouldn’t hit Asami as she passed and signaled when Asami might need to duck her head. It was bright enough outside that Asami could see well enough on her own, but Korra still knew the woods much better than her.
Every once in a while, she would catch Korra glancing up through the trees at the stars. As Korra smiled at how beautiful the sky was, Asami couldn’t help but smile at how beautiful Korra was herself. She looked so natural, so graceful in her element as she ambled through the woods.
Asami wasn’t sure how far they had walked, but Korra stopped them when they reached the edge of the creek. Over the years, it appeared that the running water had eroded the earth until there was about an eight foot drop in this particular spot. A fallen tree served as a makeshift bridge to the other side about 20 feet away, and Korra confidently hopped up onto it to walk across it as if the ground beneath her feet hadn’t even changed at all.
Korra was halfway across the tree before she noticed that Asami wasn’t following. Once she realized Asami’s hesitation, she retraced her steps back to her girlfriend. “Oops,” she said with a sheepish smile. “it didn’t even cross my mind that you might not be comfortable walking across a fallen tree like this.”
“No, no! I can do it. I just needed a second.” If Korra could do it so easily, so could she, right? It looked easy enough. She put a foot up on the tree and immediately wobbled, throwing her hands out to steady herself. Faster than she could blink, Korra’s hands shot to her waist to keep her upright.
“Whoa, I got you. Don’t worry,” Korra said. “I’d never let you fall.”
Asami looked into Korra’s eyes, just a few inches away from her own. Something about the moonlight made them look even brighter than usual, as its reflection pooled there in a way the sun never could.
Peering down towards the creek, Asami tried to hide her fear of falling. She placed her hands on Korra’s shoulders to steady herself. “I trust you.”
Korra smiled warmly at her. “Okay, so here’s the trick. It’s all about confidence,” she said as she took a step backwards, drawing Asami with her. “Don’t think too hard about it. Be a little more conscious about putting one foot directly in front of the other, but try not to look down.”
Letting go of her waist, Korra took a few more steps backwards, leaving Asami to try on her own. Confident. I can be confident. I’m Asami. I got this, Asami thought to herself.
She took one step forward and lost her footing all over again. Korra must have noticed the fire that flashed in Asami’s eyes that showed when she was starting to get angry with herself, because she stepped back in quickly.
“How about we do it together?” Korra asked as she put her hands firmly back onto Asami’s waist. “Just look at me and follow my lead.”
When Korra stepped backwards with her right foot, Asami stepped forward with her left. She placed her hands back onto Korra’s shoulders, borrowing her confidence to make it across.
“Okay, in two steps, we’re going to stop.” Asami was thankful for the heads up before Korra stopped them about halfway across the tree. Otherwise, she’d found such a groove with her girlfriend that she would have plowed her over and sent them both over into the water.
Korra moved her hands from her waist to around her back, drawing her in. “Doesn’t this moment feel a bit too perfect to you?” Trusting Korra again to keep them upright, she wrapped her arms around Korra’s neck and pulled her closer, too.
“Maybe a little,” Asami said as she ran one hand up into Korra’s hair, cradling the back of her head. “But I could think of one thing we could do to make it a little more perfect.”
Just as Asami spoke that last word, Korra’s mouth met her own. Polite as ever, Korra had let her get out her statement, but her lips betrayed her impatience. Savoring the moment, they kissed each other slowly and sweetly. Asami wasn’t sure how much time had passed, but all too soon, Korra pulled away and let her go. “If you want more of that, you’ll have to come and get it.”
Nowhere near finished kissing her, Asami pursued her across the tree with no thought in her mind other than reclaiming their embrace. By the time she caught up with Korra on the other side, Asami caught Korra looking at her fondly and giggling.
“Looks like confidence was never your issue,” she said as snuck a kiss to Asami’s cheek before grabbing her hand to lead them on. “Just needed to find the right motivation.”
If Korra thought she was getting away from her without kissing her again, she had another thing coming. Tightening her grip on her hand, she spun Korra back around into her arms and kissed the look of surprise right off of her face. She tangled up her hands in Korra’s hair and refused to hold back even an ounce of her affection. Before Korra could even properly respond, Asami pulled back just enough for Korra to catch her seductive expression. “You’re right,” she said as she smooth Korra’s hair back down and kissed her nose. “And I’m not even mad about it.”
Korra looked dazed for a moment, then gave her head a slight shake as if she were trying to regain control of her thoughts. “I am never getting used to that,” she said as a slow, incredulous smile spread across her face.
“I hope you don’t. You’re too cute when I catch you off guard,” Asami replied as she tucked a loose strand of Korra’s hair back behind her ear.
With a final shake of her head and a few blinks, Korra grabbed her hand again. “Right, then. Onward.”
After about a hundred more yards, Korra led them into a small clearing in the woods. The shape of the small field was somewhat rectangular, and the trees that surrounded it left plenty of room for the stars to shine above them. The grass was tall enough to tickle Asami’s exposed ankles, and it looked softer than any grass she’d ever seen.
Korra led them towards the middle of the small field and sat down. As Asami sat down next to her, she found that the grass was even softer than it looked.
“This place is really special to me,” Korra said as she scooted closer to Asami and wrapped an arm around her. “I’ve always wondered who would become special enough to me to share it with, but there’s no doubt in my mind now that it was always meant to be you.”
Asami smiled. “Then why haven’t you brought me out here sooner?” She quirked a brow to let Korra know that she was teasing.
“Well, if someone could keep her hands off of me for more than 5 minutes, there’s a lot of places I’d love to show you.” As she spoke, she shot an accusing glance down at Asami’s hand which had involuntarily managed to start sneaking its way up Korra’s thigh. “But somehow, we always manage to get a little sidetracked.”
Asami bit her lower lip and winked. “I’m not sorry.”
“Oh, I never said I was either,” Korra replied as she placed a hand on Asami’s chest and pushed her down onto her back. Laying down next to her and anchoring one of her legs over Asami’s, Korra pushed back her girlfriend’s hair from her neck. She ran her nose lightly over all the places that she knew Asami liked best before kissing the soft spot right below her ear, earning a contented hum from Asami in response.
Korra sighed right along with her as she moved to lay on her back next to her. Asami glanced over at her as Korra looked up at the moon. “Have you ever been able to see the man in the moon?”
“What, you mean like the face? Of course.” Asami remembered the time long, long ago when she couldn’t, when her mother had been patient enough to show her.
“Oh good, because I’d have no idea how to explain it if you couldn’t.” Korra laughed softly and took her hand. “Have you ever thought about how many songs are written about the moon?”
Asami thought for a moment. “You know, I’ve never thought about it, but you’re right.” She thought of the song “Blue Moon” by Glen Gray that she’d shared with Korra right after they’d first met. Before she could bring it up, Korra spoke again.
“I know you really like 1930s/1940s era music, so I’ve been listening to it a lot lately,” Korra said as she glanced quickly in Asami’s direction before returning her gaze to the sky. At this point, Asami wasn’t even surprised at her thoughtfulness. “I heard one the other day, and I think it might be the most romantic sounding song I’ve ever heard.”
“Do you remember which one it was?” Asami filed through her mental catalogue of songs from that era she knew well, and just as one in particular came to mind, Korra spoke that very one.
“It’s called ‘Moonlight Serenade’ by Glenn Miller, but I found a version with lyrics by Frank Sinatra,” Korra answered as her thumb stroked across Asami’s palm. Even with the lightest of Korra’s touches, it still sent butterflies through Asami’s stomach. “I don’t know what it was about it, but all I could think about was you. So I listened to it on repeat for a while when you were on your last trip back to San Francisco.”
Asami turned her head and looked at her longingly. “I don’t know how you manage to outsweet yourself so often, Korra. But somehow you do.”
“You just make it too easy to.”
They both got caught up in looking at each other, and the world around them seemed to fade away. Korra’s expression appeared pained on the surface as she leaned in slowly, with her eyebrows knit tightly together as she clenched her jaw - but Asami understood it to simply be an asservation of the depth of her emotions, desperately demanding to be expressed.
So they kissed, and kissed, and kissed. What words failed to communicate, they told each other seamlessly in their own private language, one that was reserved for just the two of them. They clung to each other in every possible way, their hands claiming each other in more adoration than possession.
Pulling back just enough to catch her breath, Asami whispered a breathless but ardent, “I love you.”
Korra didn’t return her sentiment reflexively, but instead took a few moments to stare deeply into Asami’s eyes. Somehow, that made her next words mean even more. “I love you too, Asami. So, so much.”
Asami happy sighed and rolled back over to look up at the stars - at least, the few that were still visible around the brightness of the moon. Without the light pollution that would typically surround a city, she could still see a good many. Korra, however, was apparently content to gaze at her girlfriend instead.
They laid there on the grass in silence for a few minutes, just soaking in the sweet feeling of being in love. Every once in a while, Asami would sneak a glance back at Korra and try not to blush, and Korra would snicker when she blushed anyway. The last time Asami returned her gaze to the sky, she saw a shooting star. Korra must have been used to seeing them, because she read the wonder on Asami’s face without ever having looked at the sky herself. “Now, you have to make a wish.”
Squinting her eyes up at the sky, Asami hummed as if she were deep in thought. “Whatever will I wish for?” Then, she turned her eyes fully on Korra. Asami couldn’t help but copy Korra’s goofy, hopelessly in love grin. “I already have the world.”
Korra slapped a hand over her face and wiggled around, as if doing a happy dance. “Asami! You can’t just hit me with lines like that. Give a poor woman a warning before you stop her heart! Geez.”
Asami propped up on her elbow and ran a finger along Korra’s jaw while smiling serenely down at her. “Then I wish to keep this feeling forever.”
“That’s a good wish, I must say.” Korra closed her eyes at Asami’s touch.
“Not getting sleepy, are you?” Asami teased.
“Maybe just a little,” Korra replied quietly. “Ready to head back?”
In lieu of a spoken response, Asami got up and offered Korra a hand. As they began walking back the way they came, Korra hesitated briefly beside a huge, magnificent oak tree. She opened her mouth as if to say something, then seemingly changed her mind and tried to keep walking.
“Oh no, I know that look,” Asami insisted as she pulled Korra back. “What kind of deep thought are you thinking?”
Korra gave her a sheepish grin and rubbed the back of her neck. “Um… just a nice tree, that’s all.”
Asami rolled her eyes and said nothing, but simply waited for Korra to say what she was really thinking.
“Asami, if we’re any sweeter to each other tonight, we’re going to rot each other’s teeth. What I have to say can wait.” She shuffled her feet, not wanting to meet Asami’s eyes.
Unable to resist Korra when she was bashful, Asami stepped towards her and pulled both her hands up to her chest. “Good thing I have a good dentist,” she said with a wink and a slight nudge. “Really, Korra. You can tell me, but I won’t pry if you’d really rather keep it to yourself.”
Korra looked up through the branches, then back at Asami, somehow steeling her resolve in the process. “Promise you won’t get all weird, no matter what I say?”
Asami wrapped her pinky around Korra’s and kissed it. “Pinky promise.”
“Gah, stop being so cute,” Korra said as she took a steadying breath. “Okay, don’t laugh, but ever since I was a little girl, I’ve always wanted to get married under this tree.” Her expression changed as if she were bracing herself for Asami’s bewildered reaction concerning the brazen assumption of their future together.
Instead, Asami drew her in and placed her forehead against Korra’s. “Marrying you under this tree sounds lovely, dear.”
At this, Korra pulled back in her own act of bewilderment. “Wait a second. You’ve thought about marrying me, too? I mean, we haven’t talked about it in so many words, but I -“
Asami stopped her with a kiss before she could get too far into her anxious ramble. “Korra, how could I not think about marrying you? I’ve already planned it in my head a million times.”
Blushing furiously and stammering a few incomprehensible syllables, Korra finally broke into an enamored smile as Asami’s words settled in her mind. “Well, I’m glad we feel the same way.” She gave Asami another quick kiss before leading them back towards home. “So you’ve already planned it, huh? Bold of you to assume I’d say yes,” she said as she playfully bumped her hip into Asami’s, letting her know she was clearly teasing.
“Bold of you to assume I’d ever take no for an answer,” Asami laughed as she pushed Korra back.
Korra took her arm and planted one more kiss on her cheek before peppering her girlfriend with questions about all of their potential weddings all the way back home.