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“Alright, I’ve got them!” Korra exclaimed happily as she jogged towards Asami and Naga who were patiently waiting for her by the airships loading doors.

At some point during the months that they had been dating, Korra had mentioned to Asami that her mother loved those round, cream filled chocolates that came from the Fire Nation, and because Asami was an exemplary human being, she had not only remembered the comment, but also made a stop on the way home from work the day before they left Republic City to pick up a couple of boxes as a gift for Senna.  

The gesture was thoughtful and lovely, just like Asami, and when Asami had shown the boxes of chocolates to Korra, Korra had tackled her onto the couch and started raining appreciative little kisses all over Asami’s face while simultaneously showering her with compliments.  However, when the airship touched down on Southern lands and Korra looked out of one of the large windows and saw two figures clad in blue making their way towards the landing site, the chocolates (and the bags sitting in their room that they were packed in) were forgotten as the excitement of seeing her parents washed over her.  Instead of going to their room and collecting the bags while Asami shut down the airship, Korra had checked her clothes, checked her hair, checked Naga’s fur, unsuccessfully tried to slick down some of Naga’s fur, and then rushed over to the loading doors where she’d waited restlessly for Asami to join her.

When Asami did arrive, she had scanned the area around Korra wordlessly, and then tilted her head to the side and smiled as she drawled, “Aren’t you forgetting something?”  Korra’s eyebrows had creased in confusion, and she had looked down as if to confirm that she was indeed wearing her jacket, and then she had looked back over at Asami, bewildered.  “I don’t know about you, but I’d like to change clothes tomorrow,” Asami had murmured, and Korra’s eyes had widened in realization.  Korra had then smiled at Asami sheepishly, pressed an apologetic little kiss to her cheek, and then breathed, “I’ll be right back,” before she rushed off to grab their bags.

“All set?” Korra asked as she flung her backpack over her shoulder.

“Absolutely,” Asami replied, a smile tugging up the corners of her lips as she turned to face Korra.

Asami’s tone and smile were well-maintained, and if she had been talking to anyone besides Korra they probably would have been fooled by her act.  She was talking to Korra however, and Korra knew her too well to be deceived. Korra noted the way the question had made Asami’s back stiffen slightly, and she knew the significance of the faint furrow in Asami’s brow.  

“Hey,” Korra said softly, reaching out for Asami’s hand.  “Everything’s going to be fine.  This is really more of a formality than anything else,” she continued as her fingers tightened around Asami’s reassuringly.  “There’s no need to be nervous.”

“I know,” Asami sighed, offering Korra a small smile before her brows creased with worry again.  “Honestly,” she breathed out, knowing that her anxiousness was still showing on her face, “I don’t think you’re trying to trick me.  I just … I believe you, but I don’t think I’m going to be able to relax until we’ve told them and neither one of them wants to challenge me to a duel.”

Korra laughed at that, and then murmured, “If that happens and they give you a choice, choose Dad.  Mom’s a wily one.”

Asami turned to look at Korra, and after a moment of consideration a dark eyebrow arched up at the avatar and Asami drawled, “So am I.”

Korra grinned at her, unable and utterly unmotivated to disagree with Asami about that.

“Just one more reason the two of you will continue to get along,” Korra said, holding Asami’s gaze gently but firmly.

Asami nodded her head, but her body was still tense.

“Alright,” Korra began decisively, settling her pack on her back.  “Let’s just rip off the water patch,” she continued, reaching out to finish buttoning up Asami’s heavy winter jacket, “and get this done,” she stated, running her eyes over Asami to make sure she was suitably bundled up before she took Asami’s hand into hers again.

“Okay,” Asami replied, her back straightening as she stared forward with determination, looking very much like she did before going into battle.

Korra bit down on her bottom lip to stop herself from openly smiling at the precious display, and then she reached to the right and pressed the red button that would open the airship doors.

xxx

The moment the doors were open, Naga rushed out of the ship and headed straight towards Tonraq and Senna, whining and wagging her tail as she shoved her snout into their stomachs begging to be rubbed.  Senna and Tonraq appeased Naga with face and body scratches, but their attention soon shifted from the polar bear dog over their daughter who they were anxious to hold after being separated for so long.

Asami tried to slip her hand out of Korra’s as they approached the avatar’s parents, but Korra held onto her, and Asami was glad for it.  Though Asami thought it might have been giving Senna and Tonraq somewhat of a preview of important announcements to come, everything always seemed a lot more manageable to her when Korra’s hand was in hers, and Asami was nervous enough about meeting Senna and Tonraq as Korra’s girlfriend that she wanted to hold onto that comforting touch for as long as possible.

When Korra and Asami finally reached Senna and Tonraq, Korra was finally forced to let go of Asami’s hand so that she could drop their bags and then throw her arms around her father, who lifted her off of the ground as he gathered her in his arms, hugging her happily and fiercely.  

Once Korra’s feet were on the ground once more, she then turned to her mother and hugged her tightly, holding the embrace for a long time.  

When mother and daughter finally separated, Senna lifted her hand and combed her fingers lightly through Korra’s short hair.

“Do you approve of the new do?” Korra asked, looking at Senna with eyes just as wide, just as blue, and just as impossible to resist as they had been when she was a toddler.

“I do,” Senna breathed out, smiling brightly at Korra.  “It’s lovely.  You’re lovely.  My little … woman,” she declared warmly, looking upon Korra and knowing that she could no longer call her a girl.

Senna’s fond gaze and equally fond tone earned her a bashful look from the avatar, however before Korra could respond, a flash of purple registered in the corner of her eye and she turned to face Asami, everything about her radiating peace and happiness as her eyes fell upon the engineer.  

Korra smiled at Asami when their eyes met, and then beckoned Asami to come closer with her hand.  Asami followed the silent request, and when she came to a stop beside Korra, Korra clapped a hand on her shoulder and turned to her parents with a great, big smile and said, “You guys remember Asami.”

“Of course,” Tonraq replied warmly in that soothingly deep voice of his.

“It’s lovely to see you again,” Senna added with a smile, moving over to Asami to give her a hug.

“It’s wonderful to see you too,” Asami breathed out as they hugged.  “Sir,” she continued a moment later, holding out her hand to Tonraq, only to have him smile at her in amusement and then pull her into a hug as well.

When Tonraq released Asami, her skin was slightly flushed with embarrassment but she was smiling, and unlike the last smile she had given Korra on the airship, this one reached her eyes.

“I know it’s not quite midday,” Senna began, noticing as Korra’s hand absently moved to rest on the small of Asami’s back.  “But I hope you two are hungry…”

“Always,” Korra piped up grinning winsomely, which earned her a doting smile from her mother.

“I can always count on you, honey,” Senna replied playfully, chuckling a moment later when Korra gave her thumbs up with the hand she didn’t still have resting on Asami’s back.  “Alright then,” Senna continued, “Let’s get you two inside, and…” she went on, placing her hand lightly on Asami’s shoulder, “get you warmed up.”

“Yes, please,” Asami murmured gratefully, definitely still feeling the cold despite her top of the line winter jacket.

Tonraq smiled good-naturedly at Asami’s shivered response, and then as his wife began to lead Asami towards the palace, he wrapped his arm around Korra’s shoulders and drew her in close as the two of them began to trail after Senna and Asami.

“Don’t worry, your mother won’t start telling embarrassing stories about your childhood until after refreshments are served,” Tonraq joked as he noted that Korra’s eyes had not left Asami’s back in minutes.

“We both know that’s not true,” Korra muttered.  Senna loved telling embarrassing stories about when she was a tiny avatar, drunk on her own power.  “I hope she doesn’t tell the elephant koi one,” Korra sighed.  “Do you think she might not tell the …” Korra began, looking up at her father hopefully, but when she saw the expression on his face, she sighed again in resignation.

“Damn,” Korra moaned a short while later when she noticed her mother wrap her arm around Asami and then give Asami’s arm a brisk, warming rub.  “I knew I should have tested out her jacket to see if it’d be warm enough.”  

The jacket Asami currently had on had a lot more insulation than the one she normally wore, but it was designed for Republic City winters, not the penetrating cold of the water tribe lands.

“We’ll get her fixed up with some furs once we get to the palace,” Tonraq replied comfortingly.  “But what you really need to do is bring her here more often. Familiarity is the only way to build up a true resistance to this type of cold,” he continued, looking over at Korra.

“Why does she need to build up a resistance to the cold?” Korra asked, looking at her father.  “Asami doesn’t live here.”

“No,” Tonraq agreed slowly, buying time to find the right words.  “But no matter how long you live Republic City, these lands will always be your home.”

“Of course,” Korra agreed immediately, “but why would Asami need to get used to the cold because this is my h…?” Korra’s eyes widened as she realized what Tonraq could have been implying, and her gaze became thoughtful as she studied her father’s expression.  “You know,” Korra murmured finally.

Tonraq nodded.

Korra eyed him for a second longer, and then a thought came to her and she shrewdly asked her father, “What do you know?”

“Asami’s a lovely woman,” Tonraq replied simply.  “Brilliant, compassionate, brave … beautiful,” he added, winking at Korra which made her blush.  “We’re very happy for you.”

“Ugh,” Korra groaned morosely, earning a curious look from her father.  “I wanted to be the one to tell you,” she grumbled, coming to a stop as she kicked at the snow in front of her peevishly.  “Who told? Was it Tenzin? Did he tell Katara? Did Katara tell you? Tenzin’s got a big mouth,” Korra declared darkly.

Tonraq laughed at that and tugged Korra closer to him, hugging her tightly.

“It wasn’t Tenzin.  It was you,” Tonraq replied as they began to walk again.  

“Me?” Korra asked incredulously.  “I know I get hit in the head a lot, but I’m pretty sure I would remember that conversation,” she continued, making her father chuckle.

“You told us without telling us,” Tonraq breathed out.

“How?” Korra asked, sounding and looking at little skeptical like she still was holding onto the idea that Tenzin had told and her father was just trying to cover for him.

“You told us with that keepsake you kept in your pocket that you thought we didn’t know about,” Tonraq began, smiling a little when Korra looked up at him in surprise.  “Your mother did your laundry, honey,” he added, and a look of understanding came over Korra’s face as she realized she must have forgotten it in her pocket a time or two.  “You told us with how nervous you were about going on vacation alone with her,” he continued, and Korra blushed a little at that as she remembered that call and all of worries she had rambled on about during it.  “You told us with the way your voice changes when you talk about her during our calls, and with how much you talk about her. And you confirmed it when you walked out of that ship holding her hand, smiling at her like she’s Yue reborn,” he continued before pressing a comforting kiss to the top of Korra’s head.  “Also, we have radios,” he said, pausing for dramatic effect before adding, “It sounds like you two had fun on Air Temple Island last weekend.”

“Ugh,” Korra groaned again.  “I hate the press.”

xxx

Ever helpful, Asami volunteered to help Senna gather the food from the kitchen and set the table once they arrived at the palace, and while they worked, Korra and Tonraq took a whining Naga out to the courtyard adjacent to the kitchen and shot snowballs up into the air for her to chase, and jump at, and eat.  Then when Senna came to the door and announced that things were ready, Korra and Tonraq made their way inside, while Naga flounced down in the snow and rolled onto her back contently, not quite ready to leave the snow yet after being away from it for so long.

The moment Korra saw what was laid out on the table, her right arm shot up into the air and she exclaimed, “Whoo!”  Asami looked over at her when she did, and then smiled at her amusedly.  Korra’s skin flushed upon seeing the look, and she immediately dropped her arm and cleared her throat.

“I mean, it all looks wonderful mother.  I appreciate your efforts,” Korra said in a more dignified tone, which only made Asami smile wider.

Over the next hour, they feasted on a meal of arctic hen and seaweed noodles with kale cookies for dessert as Korra and Asami caught Senna and Tonraq up on what had been going on in Republic City since Korra had last called.  

Korra started out leading the conversation, but her avatar duties had been pretty mundane of late, so after a short while she started gently trying to encourage Asami to talk more.  She hadn’t told her parents too much about Asami’s projects, because honestly there were so many details and it was all so complicated that it made her head spin, but Tonraq was quite interested in the expansion details, and soon he and Asami were carrying on like old friends as Asami excitedly talked about Future Industries plans.

“When the expansion is completed, I think Asami should get a park named after her too,” Korra piped up as Senna refilled their tea cups.  “After all, every time I end up destroying the city, she’s the one that has to fix it,” Korra continued, smiling up at her mother gratefully when Senna placed a hand on her shoulder and squeezed it to let her know that she knew Korra didn’t want to destroy cities.

Asami gasped suddenly, and everyone turned to look at her.

“Sorry,” she murmured sheepishly, as a blush spread across her cheeks.  “It’s just …” she reached into one of the large pockets on the side of her pants and pulled out a small notebook.  “At the last council meeting for the expansion we were discussing what to do with the land by Akazi Harbour and I’ve just had the most wonderful idea.”

“What is it?” Korra asked curiously, watching with a tender smile as Asami scribbled quickly onto the notepad before her, her eyebrows scrunched together in concentration.

“Hmm?” Asami asked distractedly.

“What’s your wonderful idea?” Korra inquired, used to having to repeat herself when Asami’s mind was half focused on work.

“Oh,” Asami breathed out, blushing again a little as she finished up with her notes.  “Well, since your park was destroyed I wanted to use the land by Azaki Harbour to replace it, especially since there’s an unhindered view of the spirit portal from there which just makes it the perfect location.  I was thinking that sprawling gardens might be better than a park this time however.  It would provide a large area of greenery for people to walk through near the new downtown core, and having such an expanse of plant life around would attract a lot of spirits to the area.  I think that such a melding of two worlds would be a fitting tribute to the Avatar that brought our world and the spirit world together again for the first time in millennia.  And,” Asami added, sounding especially happy about this, “since your statue wasn’t too badly damaged during Kuvira’s rampage, we’ll still have a magnificent center piece.”

Korra opened her mouth to protest that she didn’t need a garden, just like she hadn’t needed a park, but her mother spoke before she could get a word out.

“That sounds lovely, Asami,” Senna said softly, smiling warmly at the young engineer.  “I regretted not being able to see the park before it was destroyed.  It was … that the citizens of Republic City petitioned to have something built in Korra’s honour … it really touched us,” she continued, placing her hand over Tonraq’s where it rested on the table top.

“We saw pictures of the statue,” Tonraq said, adding to Senna’s words.  “It was very beautiful.  I’m happy I’ll get a chance to see it.  You don’t happen to know who designed it, do you?”

“Well yes, I mean, that is to say … I did,” Asami replied dipping her head shyly, the movement making her miss the way Korra gaped at her in surprise.  “None of the artists that were commissioned got it right.  The stance, the expression on her face, in her eyes … none of them knew Korra well enough to…” Asami paused, aware of the increasing emotion in her voice, and the fact that the way she talking was rapidly exceeding what could be considered platonic. “We got a world renowned metal-bender to actually sculpt it, but I sketched it and had oversight over the final product.  I thought that it was important the statue reflect who Korra is.  I didn’t want it to be some grand, generic slab of stone.”

She had been zealous about the project to say the very least.  It was hard to explain, hard to understand even, but working on the project had made her feel close to Korra even though they were a world away from each other.  When the people’s petition was approved by Raiko’s office, Korra had already been in the South for months, and Asami had been desperate to find some kind of connection to Korra again.  

It had been a difficult undertaking though.  Thinking about Korra so much, remembering her face, her smiles, her frowns, the fierce light that came into her eyes when she was fighting, and so many other things about Korra, had filled Asami with so much longing – and regret – over things that she hadn’t said to Korra when she’d had the chance.  

Working on the statue had reminded Asami of how close she and Korra had grown over the previous year.  It had made her think about how she had started to dream about them growing even closer, and how excited and alive the possibility of “her and Korra” had made her feel.  But it also brought home just how far away from each other they were, and Asami’s heart had ached anew.

Korra’s warm, solid hand settling on her thigh snapped Asami out of her memories, and instinctively Asami turned her head towards her girlfriend.

“Thank you,” Korra breathed out sincerely, smiling tenderly as she met Asami’s eyes.

The truth was that she had sort of hated the statue when she first saw it. It was so big and grand looking, but after months of getting her ass kicked in the amateur bending ring, and on the heels of her humiliating defeat by Kuvira in Zaofu, Korra hadn’t felt larger than life and powerful, she’d felt small and inadequate.  The statue had seemed like an embodiment of everything she wasn’t, and she had been resentful of it.  She’d been almost happy actually, when she’d learned that Kuvira’s spirit ray had cut the thing neatly in half, and she’d had to stop herself from groaning weeks later when Asami had told her that Su and Huan had managed to repair it.  However, now that Korra knew that it had been Asami who designed the statue, her whole outlook on it changed.  

When she had first been confined to a wheelchair, Asami had been there at her side, helping to take care of her.  Asami had combed out her hair, and made up her bed, pulled on her boots, and wheeled her around.  Asami had seen just how weak, and helpless, and unimpressive she really was.  Or at least that’s how Korra had always thought Asami must have felt.  But after she had gone back to the South still broken and small, Asami had designed something magnificent in her honor.  She had created a statue that looked out onto the world; that was taking a step towards the future.  Asami had made a statue for an avatar that was not yet done leaving her mark, and it spoke powerfully to the faith Asami had always had in her recovery, and in her, and that knowledge, that faith that Asami had in her, filled Korra with so much love and appreciation that she didn’t know what to do with it all.

Asami’s eyes closed automatically as Korra’s lips pressed against hers, and for a moment all that she was aware of in the world was Korra’s hand on her leg and Korra’s lips pressed against hers … but then Korra drew back, and suddenly Asami became horrifically aware of the fact that Korra had just kissed her, on the lips, in front of her unsuspecting parents.

With a trepidation that Asami had only felt a few times in her life, she turned her head towards Senna and Tonraq’s side of the table.  

“Sir, ma’am,” Asami began formally, straightening her back properly like her mother had taught her to when she was addressing adults.  “I’d like to begin by saying that…” Asami paused however, when the expressions on Senna and Tonraq’s faces actually registered with her.  

As she looked at them, she could see that they weren’t upset about what they had just witnessed, just as Korra had assured her they wouldn’t be.  But what really caught her attention is that they didn’t seem the least bit surprised.  In fact, not only did Senna and Tonraq not seem even slightly fazed by Korra kissing her on the mouth, they actually seemed almost … charmed by it.  

“You already know,” Asami breathed out in surprise, “About us,” she added softly, and Senna and Tonraq nodded.

Asami was still and quiet for a few seconds as she tried to wrap her mind around this sudden and unexpected turn of events, then her eyes narrowed and she turned to look at Korra, whose eyes widened in surprise at the stormy look in Asami’s.

“I’m sorry,” Korra squeaked immediately, realizing that she really should have taken Asami aside at some point during lunch and told her about the conversation she’d had with her father on the way to the palace. “I didn’t know that they knew before we got here, I swear,” Korra continued when the murderous look did not fade from Asami’s face.  “I only … they just … I talk about you a lot and they have radios.  It’s not my fault.”  Asami tilted her head to the side challengingly, her expression clearly conveying that she begged to differ.  “Well, a little bit,” Korra acknowledged.  “I guess I should have … um, I mean I definitely should have told you that they knew as soon as we got to the palace, but…”

“Naga needed some exercise and you got distracted,” Asami interjected in an unsettlingly reasonable tone.

“Yes,” Korra breathed out, relieved that Asami understood until she glanced to the side and saw both her father and her mother shaking their heads at her.  “Is what I would say, if I was an insensitive girlfriend, which I was, and I’m sorry,” Korra continued, slowly, not quite certain that she was on the right track until her parents started nodding their heads encouragingly.  “I know that I should have told you earlier, and I shouldn’t have put you on the spot like that by kissing you.  I just…” Korra leaned towards Asami and lowered her voice so that her next words would only be heard by her girlfriend.  “Sometimes it’s so hard not to kiss you.  Everything you were saying made me feel so … loved, and I just … I couldn’t stop myself, I just had to,” Korra whispered, her tone both pleading and apologetic.  “Please forgive me,” Korra she continued softly, “I have a good heart.”

“Okay,” Asami sighed a moment later, resigned to partially forgiving the adorable moron she had given her heart to. “You’re mostly forgiven,” she continued, placing a reassuring hand on Korra’s strong thigh.

“Can I be entirely forgiven if I take you to the portal tomorrow and we have a picnic in the Spirit World?” Korra asked hopefully, smiling winsomely at Asami.

“Were you going to do that even if I wasn’t mad at you?” Asami asked knowingly, a smile already creeping its way onto her face.

“Yeah,” Korra sighed, shoulders slumping.  “Mom and I worked out the menu when you and Dad were bonding over rail systems.”

“Then yes,” Asami breathed out, earning a confused look from Korra.  “I’ll entirely forgive you if you take me to the Spirit World tomorrow,” she continued, finally letting a smile touch her lips when Korra beamed at her happily.

“Aww,” Senna cooed, clutching at Tonraq’s hand and squeezing it tightly.  “They’re so cu…” she began to whisper to him in a voice that was slightly too loud, which earned her a mighty glare from Korra.  “Mature and adult,” Senna continued, adjusting her speech after seeing Korra’s expression.  “Nothing that you said or did was in any way adorable, cute, precious or…”

“Mom!” Korra exclaimed, turning beet red.  “Stop,” she whined.

“Oh, well,” Senna breathed out, turning to lock eyes with Tonraq who looked like he was just managing to hold in a burst of laughter.  “The avatar has spoken,” she continued, her voice teasingly haughty which made Korra blush even more.

“I am the avatar though,” Korra muttered under her breath before peevishly shoving part of a kale cookie into her mouth.  “I’m gonna have a Gardens,” she continued, looking over at her mother importantly.

The room was silent for a moment after that, and then Senna, Tonraq and Asami all started to laugh, causing Korra to sigh deeply and finish eating her cookie in a peevish manner while studiously avoiding everyone’s eyes.

xxx

Night

Asami continued all of the way into Korra’s room and headed straight for the bed, while Korra turned after closing the door, and then extended her arm towards the handle, moving it in a slow pattern until ice formed over it.  As a lock it wouldn’t hold forever, but Korra thought that it would last long enough.

“Cold?” Korra asked when her eyes found Asami, laying on the bed still in her jacket.

“Yeah,” Asami drawled sheepishly.

“I can warm you up,” Korra breathed out, smiling wickedly at her girlfriend before sauntering towards the bed.

“I know you can,” Asami said, matching Korra’s smile.  “But a fire, would also be great,” she continued, holding Korra’s eyes a little pleadingly.

“Anything you want,” Korra replied, always eager to please.  “We’ll lose our lock pretty quick though,” she continued, glancing back at the work she had done a minute before.

“Forget the lock, just light the fire, push the dresser in front of the door, and hurry back over here,” Asami said as she slipped off of the bed and onto her feet.  “I’ll be waiting for you under the blanket,” she continued before she quickly began to strip off her clothes.

Korra stared at her longingly for a moment, wishing that she was the one stripping those clothes from Asami’s magnificent body, but she had orders to follow and a woman to warm up, so Korra got going on her tasks.

When Korra finished and started back towards the bed, Asami propped herself up on her elbow and, wrapped up snug as a bug, she openly and appreciatively watched Korra disrobe, even going so far as to request that Korra go slower since ‘some people’ were enjoying the show.

Korra obliged, much to Asami’s delight, and when she was finally as naked as Asami, she stepped towards the bed and Asami extended her arm, unfurling the blanket from around her, revealing her body to Korra and inviting her in.

Korra smiled because, how could she not?  And then she quickly slipped onto the bed and into Asami’s arms, a soft sigh escaping from her when Asami’s arm closed around them, securing the blanket and cocooning them in warmth.

Korra kissed Asami’s shoulder, and then her neck.  She was pleasantly surprised that Asami was being so playful.  She had thought that Asami would still be peeved at her for not mentioning that her parents knew about their relationship sooner.  She’d put the lock on the door because Asami rarely completely turned down her advances, but sometimes she made Korra work for it, and Korra had thought that it was going to be one of those nights.  However, when Asami tilted her head back, giving Korra more access to her neck, Korra began to think that this might just be her lucky night.

“It was nice seeing Katara at dinner,” Asami observed before shifting slightly away from Korra.  “Don’t you think?” she asked, placing a restraining hand on Korra’s shoulder as she looked into her eyes.

“Yeah, amazing.  Katara.  What a bender.  Good hair loopies,” Korra replied, barely aware of what she was saying as she stared at Asami’s lips and … longed for them.

The pressure of Asami’s hand against her shoulder lessened, and Korra flowed forward, pressing their lips together, in a sweet, slow kiss that gradually grew hungry.

“Your mother’s a wonderful cook,” Asami noted thoughtfully when Korra’s lips momentarily parted from hers.  “You seemed so excited when you saw what she had prepared.  Is it your favourite meal?” Asami inquired curiously, gazing at Korra, who stared at her blankly for a few seconds, deeply, deeply confused by what was happening.

“I was thinking about asking her advice, and Katara’s too of course, about which local plants best represent life in the South Pole,” Asami continued, seemingly unaware that she was breaking Korra’s brain by continuing to talk when they should have been using their mouths for other things.  “For the Gardens,” Asami explained when Korra blinked at her blankly.  “I think there ought to be some water tribe plants in a garden established in your honour,” and so Asami continued until…

“Hey, Asami?” Korra began a minute later when Asami asked her what Senna’s favourite flower was.  “Uh, remember, when I asked you not to talk about Tenzin when we’re naked?” she continued, softly but with determination.  “I’d uh, kinda like to expand that to like, everyone. Tenzin, Bolin, Katara, my mom … definitely my mom,” Korra emphasized, “just, people we know generally.  No talking about them while naked.”

“Why?” Asami asked guilelessly, looking up at Korra like an innocent little cherub.

“Why?” Korra sputtered, making an incredulous face as she stared at Asami.  “Because I don’t want to be thinking about my mom when my hand is on your boob,” Korra began, answering Asami’s question with more than a touch of indignance. “It’s not helpful.”

“Really?  Did it make you uncomfortable?” Asami inquired in that same indecipherable tone.

“Uh yeah,” Korra replied.

“Did it make you feel anxious?” Asami asked.  “Maybe even a little fearful about what the next moment might hold?”

“Yes, both of those,” Korra responded, and then after a brief pause, she added, “Which is how I made you feel when I kissed you before telling you that my parents knew about us, isn’t it?” Korra sighed, shifting back from Asami to give her a little more space while they talked.

Asami lowered her eyes and dipped her head down before whispering, “Yes.”

“Asami,” Korra began, gently tilting Asami’s chin up so that she could see her eyes. “I’m really sorry that I didn’t tell you.  I was planning to, I swear. I was going to tell you as soon as I saw you, but then you were talking with my mom and I didn’t want to interrupt, and then we were all sitting down to eat and everything was going so well that I didn’t want to mess with it.  You’d relaxed so much when you were talking to my dad, and I just … I thought you know, that it could wait.  We’d planned to tell them over dinner, so I thought I’d just let lunch play out, and tell you after.  As for the kiss … it was happening before I even knew what I was doing.  The way you were talking about the statue, it just really made me need to kiss you and … well, I’ve gotten better but I’m still working on my impulsive control,” Korra continued, releasing a relieved little breath when Asami smiled at that.

“Normally, I like you lack of impulse control,” Asami sighed, eyeing what she could of Korra appreciatively.  “But this time,” Asami breathed, giving her head a little shake.

“I know,” Korra breathed out.  “I know.  I really am sorry, Asami,” Korra swore, eyes wide and pleading.

“I believe you,” Asami said softly after letting Korra sweat for a few seconds.  “I wouldn’t be naked under here if I didn’t,” she continued, smiling at Korra gently before closing the distance between them and pressing her lips against Korra’s.

She hadn’t been trying to punish Korra with her diversion tactics earlier, she’d just wanted Korra to stop and think about her actions.  Genuine as Korra’s apology at lunch had been, it had also been an instinctual apology, one born from panic, not a true understanding of how she’d made Asami feel.  Asami knew that Korra understood now however, and she was more than willing to get on with making up.

“You’re not going to start talking about my Dad, or Lin or something are you?” Korra asked with a little trepidation as Asami’s hands began to trail over her body, warming her up in ways that no fire ever could.

“No,” Asami whispered into Korra’s ear, before taking the tanned lobe into her mouth and sucking on it lightly.  “Now no more talking,” Asami purred, and Korra released a sound that would have embarrassed her for the rest of her life if she’d made it in front of anyone other than Asami.

“How are you going to stop me?” Korra managed to rasp, even though her body was already bending to Asami, eager to follow her commands.

Asami smiled slowly, her blood red lips turning up almost predatorily, and the sight of it was so seductive that Korra had to bite down on her bottom lip to stop herself from moaning.

“I’m going to put your mouth to work doing something … productive,” Asami replied, practically purring the last word.

Korra breathed in deeply and her skin flushed with arousal.  Asami’s wolfish smile grew wider and wickeder in response, and then she leaned in and brought their lips together in a searing kiss before finally lifting her hand to Korra’s face so that she could begin to guide the avatar’s head down to where she wanted it.

xxx

Day Two

While Asami took the airship up in the morning to check in at Future Industries, Korra and Senna worked to get a lunch packed for the picnic Korra had promised to take Asami on the day before.  Then, when Asami returned to the ground – thankfully pleased with the report she had gotten – Korra had loaded their supplies onto Naga and then jumped on top of the polar bear dog, holding out her hand to Asami chivalrously a moment later.

Situated on Naga, Korra and Asami had then posed patiently as Senna took a picture of them with the new camera Tonraq had gotten for her, and then Korra and Asami waved goodbye to Korra’s parents and Korra spurred Naga into motion.

It was grey and cold when they entered the Spirit World through the southern portal, and Asami moved closer to Korra, gratefully accepting her girlfriend’s arm around her waist as she looked around.

“It’s different here,” Asami said, shivering a little, only to end up gasping and then smiling a moment later when Korra created a ball of fire in her hand and held it out for Asami to warm her hands over.  “Smooth,” Asami complimented, grinning over at Korra as she lifted her hands.

“Occasionally,” Korra murmured, giving Asami a sheepish little smile.

When Asami lowered her hands from the flame, Korra extinguished it and took Asami’s now warm hand into her own.

“The landscape of the physical world bleeds over a bit.  It’s cold on the other side, so it’s cold here.  It’s grey and outcast on the other side, so it’s dark here too.  If more people came … but after UnaVatuu, everyone’s still too afraid to venture this far,” Korra said as she lifted Asami’s hand up to her lips and kissed it.  “Luckily we’re here now and we can brighten things up a bit,” Korra related with a smile.

“How does that work?” Asami asked curiously.

“As the avatar, when I’m in the Spirit World my mood can influence the physical conditions of the world around me.  This is a good thing when I’m here with the love of my life,” Korra replied, smiling at Asami, “but a very bad thing when I show up here scared and confused, which was usually my mood when in the Spirit World in the past,” Korra breathed out.  “But, that was then, and this is now.  And now, all we have to do to get some sunshine is … warm me up.  Got any ideas how to do that?” Korra asked playfully.

Asami lips curved up into that delicious grin that made Korra’s insides turn to mush, and at the first touch of their lips, the darkness around them began brighten.

Asami only stopped kissing Korra when she felt the heat of the sun on her face, and when she pulled back from Korra and looked around her, she could not stop herself from laughing in delight at how much the scenery had changed.  Where things had been barren and grey when they entered, the sky was now light and blue, and the land around them was a vibrant, lush green.

“Guess I warmed you up, huh?” Asami breathed out, grinning at Korra teasingly.

“Always,” Korra sighed, before tilting her head up to press a kiss against Asami’s lips.  “Ready to go?”

Asami took Korra’s hand firmly into her own, and then she turned to Korra and smiled widely before murmuring, “Lead the way.”

xxx

It had been a long time since they had the freedom to while away lazy hours together, just walking, holding hands and talking.  On their first vacation to the Spirit World, they hadn’t truly realized how hectic the expansion project would make Asami’s life, but they knew now, and so they made sure to savour every second together.

When they stopped for lunch, it was in a field of multi-coloured flowers that towered above them and swayed gently in the breeze.  When they found a big enough space between the flowers, Asami took out a sketch pad, sank to her knees and began to draw, while Korra took out a large quilt and spread it on the ground, laying out the food before she called Asami over.  As they ate, Korra asked Asami questions about the creation of Avatar Korra Park and the statue of her, and Asami answered, sometimes shyly, but always honestly, speaking to Korra of how much she had missed her, and of how working on the statue and afterwards going to visit it had made her close to Korra.

When they finished with their meal, Korra lay back on the quilt and Asami followed her, nestling herself against Korra’s side, and Korra told Asami about how she’d had an image of Asami to look while they were apart too.

Hands linked together as they stared up at the clouds, Korra told Asami how Katara had found a magazine from the United Republic when she was in the market one day, and of how Asami had been on the cover.  Katara knew that they were close so she had bought the magazine and brought it over to the palace for Korra the next day. Seeing Asami’s smiling face on the cover had lanced Korra through the heart, but she had forced a smile onto her face and thanked Katara for gift.  However, once Katara had left, Korra had shoved the magazine into one of her drawers and piled clothes on top of it, determined not to look at it again because it made her heart ache for a life that could not be hers as long as she was in that chair.

Korra’s vow to herself had lasted for two days, and then, caught up in a particularly strong fit of melancholy, Korra had wheeled over to her drawer and retrieved the magazine.  She’d gazed at the pictures of Asami and read the article about Asami’s revolutionary rail system, and for the first time in over a month, a genuine smile had touched Korra’s lips.  

The first page of the article had been a picture of Asami in garage gear, looking directly at the camera with an intense expression on her face and cute little smudge of grease on her cheek.  The picture made her happy, and after staring at it for a few minutes, Korra had cautiously torn the page out of the magazine, carefully folded it so that Asami’s face didn’t get a crease in it, and then shoved it into her pocket.

From that day on Korra kept that picture on her or near her until it had been stolen a few weeks before her visit to Toph.  She’d left it with her water tribe clothes, tattered but holding on, in the locker room of the small venue she’d been fighting at.  Then, after getting her ass handed to her by her opponent, she’d returned to the locker room to find her clothes gone and the picture with them.  It had been a big blow to Korra after months of little blows, and weeks after the picture had been lost, Korra still found herself reaching into her pocket for it when she felt the darkness closing in on her and she needed a little light.

“I thought about you a lot,” Korra said softly as she finished up her story.  “I needed to get better because the world needs its avatar, but I wanted to get better to get back to you.”

Although she hadn’t been able to understand it at the time, returning to her avatar duties had been a deeply frightening prospect to her, and unconsciously she had fought against just as hard as she consciously fought to get better.  Seeing Asami again however, that had been something she had been able to dream of without fear. That had been something that had always kept her moving in the right direction, even if she was moving slowly.

“I’d think about this one moment a lot,” Korra continued as Asami’s hand absently stroked her stomach.  “It was when we were on the glider you’d built, when we were stranded in the desert.  There was this moment when I was air bending into the sail and you were steering, and I turned my head to look at you and our eyes met.  A second later, you just … you smiled at me,” Korra exhaled dreamily, “and … I don’t even know how to describe how it made me feel, but it was like time had stopped and we were all that existed in all of the world.  Even after I looked away, you and that smile were all I could think about until… “

“The sandshark tried to eat us?” Asami guessed.

“Yeah,” Korra smiled.  “Then that kind of took precedence,” she continued, making Asami laugh.  “If I’d been confused about how I felt about you before, I wasn’t after that.  I knew that I liked you, and how I liked you, but I was too scared to tell you.  But when I saw you again, after being separated from you for so long, I promised myself that I wouldn’t be a chicken-hawk again, I promised myself that I’d tell you how I felt.”

“And you did,” Asami breathed out happily, tilting her head up to place a kiss on the underside of Korra’s chin.

“Yeah,” Korra agreed with a smile, “though Kuvira kept me from doing it for far longer than I had anticipated.”

It had taken her until Varrick and Zhu Li’s wedding in fact.  After Korra had agreed to take Asami to the Spirit World on vacation, they had sat around on the steps for a while, watching the portal as they talked about what to pack, and came up with gentle strategies to let Mako and Bolin down when they inevitably asked to come along.

Eventually however, Korra had started to get restless sitting around for so long, so they had decided to go for a walk around the grounds.  

As they strolled, Korra told Asami about some of her more pleasant memories of the Spirit World, and when they reached a particularly poorly lit part of the grounds, Korra had taken Asami’s hand to help her navigate in the darkness.  When they emerged into a brighter area again, Asami hadn’t removed her hand from Korra’s, and Korra hadn’t wanted to remove hers from Asami’s, so they had continued on hand-in-hand.

As they made their way down the forest path that ran through the woods at the back the building the reception was being held in, music filtered out to them through the open terrace doors, and Asami had started humming along with the tune.  

“Are you really all danced out?” Korra had asked, turning to look at Asami.

“I could probably handle another twirl, but not if it means going back in there,” Asami had sighed a little wistfully.  “I’m not up to facing the crowd again.”

“You don’t have to,” Korra had replied, smiling gently.  “The music’s loud enough.  You can dance right here, with me … if you want,” she finished a little shyly.

It had only taken Asami a moment to respond, but to Korra it had seemed like an eternity until Asami had whispered, “I think that’s a great idea.  I’d love to.”

And so, under the pale light of the moon, they had stayed on that forest path and danced, and when the music faded and their swaying slowed, Korra had screwed up every bit of courage she possessed, and she had leaned in and tilted her head up until her lips were pressed against Asami’s.

“Oh,” Asami had breathed out, blinking more rapidly than normal for a moment as she gazed at Korra with an inscrutable expression.

Korra had not been sure what response she had been expecting, but ‘oh’ and dazed blinking had not been it.  However, before she could truly start to panic, Asami had smiled at her brightly and Korra had been able to breathe again.  

A few moments later, Asami had sighed Korra’s name, and before Korra knew it they were kissing again, and they continued to kiss for quite some time.

There were words, when they finally managed to tear their lips away from each other.  They spoke, confirming feelings and desires that their touches and kisses had already made clear.  And when they parted that night, Korra heading back to Air Temple Island while Asami went home to the manor, they parted with a feeling of peace in their hearts that neither had felt in some time – and never in quite that way.

“All that matters is that you did,” Asami said, drawing Korra out of memories of the past and back into their lovely present.  “And that we’re together now.”

After she spoke, Asami shifted, propping herself up on her arm, and then she leaned down and kissed Korra until Korra was moaning into her mouth, and Korra’s hands were slipping under her shirt.

When they finally relaxed back against the quilt much later in the afternoon, their naked bosoms heaving as sweat cooled on soft skin, they realized that a spirit audience had formed around them when they were otherwise occupied.  Korra started to shoo them away, but Asami was not as embarrassed as Korra thought she would have been, and she whispered to Korra to leave the spirits be.  Asami did, however, ask the spirits to turn around while she and Korra got dressed, and the spirits readily complied with the polite request.  

Once Korra and Asami were presentable again, they spent the next hour playing with the dragonfly bunnies – and other assorted spirit world inhabitants – until finally the time came to bid the spirits goodbye.

“I’m sorry we couldn’t stay longer,” Korra said as they approached the portal, packed up and ready to return to the physical world.  “It’s just, we’ve only got a few days here, and I would sort of have to bend myself into the afterlife if I didn’t spend some of it actually interacting with my folks.”

“You don’t need to apologize.  I understand,” Asami replied supportively.  “I wasn’t expecting a visit to the Spirit World at all, so this was a wonderful surprise.  And honestly, I’d like to spend time with your parents too.  Despite our little hiccup yesterday, I had a lot of fun.  I was actually thinking of asking your dad if he wanted to go for a ride on the airship,” Asami continued as the light from the portal lit up their faces.

“He’d love that,” Korra hooted excitedly.  “We should all go,” she continued as they stepped into the beam.  “We could make a morning of it.  It’d be amazing for both of them see our lands from the air.  The view coming in is so beautiful, they’ll totally love i…” Korra went on, her words fading away as the light enveloped them and began to carry them home.

xxx

Day Three

They took the airship up for an aerial tour of the Southern Tribe the next morning, and as Korra expected, her parents were awed by the beauty they viewed out of the windows, utterly captivated to be flying through the sky.

At one point as they gazed out at the frigid but beautiful landscape below, Tonraq had turned to Asami, and sputtered, “Okay, you’ve got to tell me.  How does this thing stay in the air?”

Asami had grinned at him in response, and said, “Why don’t we take a trip down to the engine room and I’ll show you?”  Tonraq had immediately agreed, and Korra and her mother had watched their partners go with fond smiles on their faces.  Senna had joked afterwards that they’d have a few hours to kill while their metal heads played with gears and levers in the engine room, and Korra had groaned a little, because while her mother was joking, she knew that it would probably honestly be at least an hour before they saw Asami or her father again.

Korra and her mother then ended up attempting to snap some pictures of land below with Senna’s camera, and after that they had hung out on the plush couches in the airships lounge and talked – Senna being particularly interested in what Korra had to say about how she had bumped into Kya a few times at the station while looking for Lin, and how Meelo had told her that his Lady Hero had been visiting the island a lot more since Aunt Kya had come back – until Asami and Tonraq finally reappeared.

After two days of freedom, Korra had almost managed to convince herself that she would be able to make it through the trip without some kind of festival, or party being thrown in her honor … but that night the town was alive with music and lights, and Korra found that she really didn’t mind a party in her name as long as people were allowed to be noisy and have fun.

A one point during the party, Korra had been lured into a game of Ice Ball where she ended up facing off against a group of twenty adolescent water benders.  The game was spirited and drew a lot of spectators, but nobody enjoyed it more than Asami.  It made her heart sing to get to see Korra bending for sheer fun, laughing as she shifted from element to element, fighting fiercely, but only for honor, not for her life or anyone else’s. 

As much fun as Asami had watching however, when some non-bender teens wanted a shot at facing off against the avatar and Korra asked her to be on her team, Asami quickly accepted and joined Korra on the battlefield.  Fifteen minutes later, Korra started knocking her father on the arm, and when he looked over at her, she jabbed her finger repeatedly in Asami’s direction and grinned as Tonraq stood there and gaped at Asami, watching with something close to awe as Asami dodged three snow balls in row, then slid under another one, kicked a fifth one into oblivion, and then stood up and fired off six snowballs from the pile beside her, taking out four opponents in a matter of seconds.

“Whoa,” Tonraq said, looking back over at Korra.

“I know,” Korra said smiling widely, basking in her girlfriend’s awesomeness until her inattention cost her and she got hit in the side of the face with a snow ball.

Tonraq’s eyes widened in surprise as Korra went down, and he turned to see who had managed to hit his daughter.  However, before he could avenge her, Asami leapt into motion and made quick work the poor fool who had dared to hurt their baby.

When the party started to wind down, and every single child in attendance under the age of ten had gotten to ride on Naga, Korra whispered to her mother that she and Asami were going for a ride, and then the two of them had slipped away into the darkness and mounted Naga, heading for Asami knew not where. She simply wrapped her arms around Korra’s waist, buried her face in Korra’s neck, and trusted Korra to carry her to their destination.

When they stopped, it was on the edge of an ice cliff overlooking a vast bay.  They dismounted, Korra laid out a fur blanket for them to rest on, and then they snuggled together against Naga’s warm side and talked as they gazed at the stunning luminescent blue icebergs scattered throughout the bay.

xxx

Epilogue

Day Four

“So,” Korra breathed out, plopping herself into the co-pilots seat and then propping her feet up on the console in front of her as Asami began to engage the airships autopilot.  “How are you going to entertain yourself now that you no longer have fear and anxiety to occupy your mind?” she asked as Asami finished up and relaxed back in her seat.  

“You wanted to check out the gym on the way here,” Asami murmured, smiling that dangerously sweet smile of hers as she angled her head to the side to face Korra.  “I thought I might spend some time kicking your tight little butt.”

“That tight little butt you’re talking about belongs to the avatar,” Korra drawled as a smug smile tugged its way onto her lips.  “It’s not so easy to kick.”

“This isn’t a bending match, baby,” Asami purred.  “This is a wrestling match. And we both know that when it comes to hand-to-hand combat, I’m the tops.”

“Don’t underestimate me, sweetie,” Korra replied gamely.  “I’m more than my bending, and you of all people should know how good I am with my hands.”

Asami breathed in sharply at that, and then grinned at Korra, before exhaling roughly as she closed her eyes and tilted her head back, luxuriating in memories of Korra and her talented hands.  

Asami breathed in and out deeply a couple of times, and then with her eyes still closed, her turned towards Korra and murmured, “We better go now, or we’re going to break that seat in a way my structural engineers never thought to test,” she continued lowly, her eyes fluttering open to gaze at Korra hotly.

“That doesn’t sound so bad to me,” Korra murmured, really enjoying the lazy hunger with which Asami was looking at her.

“Mm, that’s no surprise,” Asami drawled, “But let’s spare,” she decided as she smoothly slid out of her seat and onto her feet.  “I like the idea of taking you down before taking you,” she continued, smiling down at Korra wickedly before she started to saunter towards the door.

Korra watched her sashay in a lust induced fog for a few seconds, and then her brain kicked back into gear and she hopped to her feet, making her way towards Asami.

“I hope you like the taste of defeat, Asami,” Korra called down the passageway as she closed the gap between them.  “They say it’s a lot like possum chicken.”

A soft peel of airy laughter floated down the passageway, and the sound was more beautiful that spirit music to Korra’s ears.

“I wouldn’t know, little avatar,” Asami called out, just before rounding a corner.  “I’ve never tasted defeat,” she continued haughtily, her voice carrying to Korra clearly though her body was out of sight.

Korra paused for a moment, staring down the empty passageway with narrowed eyes, and then a wide smile spread across her lips.

Raava, I love that woman! Korra thought to herself as she stood there grinning at nothing.

“Don’t think I’m going to go easy on you, just because I love you,” Korra called out as she broke out into a light jog, chasing after Asami in earnest now.  “I’ll meet you with all of me.”

“You won’t be able to go easy on me because I’ll be winning,” Asami replied, smiling as she looked over her shoulder at Korra.  “And remember, there’s more of me to meet than there is of you,” she continued, winking at Korra.

And so they bantered on all the way to the gym, and then once they were in the gym, and as they changed clothes, and still as they fought, until finally, covered in sweat and panting, they fell to the floor and found something even more fun to do with their mouths.

 

The End