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It Had To Be You

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They haven’t known each other long or anything.

 

Korra’s only just just been invited over to Asami’s for the first time. And it’s, you know, like, not at all what she imagined. Asami’s dad has this huge house filled with antiques and rugs and things Korra’s parents would never think was practical or useful in any way. Heck, even her father’s swords like, once had a use. As Asami leads her through the front room Korra spots this old plate with odd symbols on it and stares until Asami has to turn around and prompt her to continue down the hall.

 

“So, uh, this is the place.” She says, and Korra nods and looks around like she’s appreciating the architecture and interior design.

 

It’s kind of hard to appreciate much at 14. Like, you hardly even know what someone with good taste looks like, let alone have it yourself. 

 

Still, Asami seems like the kind of girl with class, and Korra would do pretty much anything to be a part of her inner circle.

 

She tugs her duffle bag close to her side and tries not to knock anything over, following Asami blindly down the hall until she sort of half crashes into her just as Asami’s turning around to face her. They end up shoulder-to-boob and Asami makes kind of an ‘uhhhhh’ sound and Korra jumps a full yard back in complete astonishment.

 

Asami seems to shake it off like nothing, but Korra’s body is momentarily stunned into some sort of heart-spasm? Starting from her gut?

 

She tries not to think about it too much.

 

“You can put your stuff here.” Asami gestures to the den couch and Korra drops her bag delicately beside the couch on the floor.

 

“Thanks.” She says. It’s the first thing she’s had the guts to say since they’ve walked through the door. She feels wrong just being here, let alone being invited to sleep over here. She never imagined she’d be in this house. Asami was so… different from what she had imagined she’d be. Korra has never even contemplated a friendship with her, let alone imagined spending enough with her to be invited to sleep over. Alone. Just the two of them.

 

“So uh—“ Asami starts, and she pulls her hair behind her ear the way Korra’s watched one of the other rich girls, Ming, do.

 

Asami’s friends are the kind, well-dressed rich girls that all do reasonably well in school and attempt to make conversation about the local country club or what’s on sale at J Crew. Korra’s friends… well, I mean, Bolin, Opal, and Mako aren’t really a categorizable group, are they—she can’t really name one thing they all have in common but that’s sort of what she likes about it, you know?

 

Korra and Asami officially interacted for the first time in P.E., of all things, where Korra was surprised to learn that not only was Asami reasonably athletic, but she was also incredibly competitive. After a couple of rough lacrosse games and an almost never-ending tennis match, Asami just waltzed up to Korra and suggested they, ‘like, hang out after school or something—maybe at the local diner?’

 

So they went to the diner. For months. Wednesday, when the block schedule put P.E. last and Korra made some excuse to Opal and Asami didn’t have piano or church or whatever else she usually had to do. Korra walked her bike beside Asami and they both ordered shakes and talked for hours until the sun went down and they had to go their separate ways.

 

Until this weekend. Asami’s dad was out of town and Korra’s parents weren’t the type to make sure other parents were present and so rather than throw some huge party or do what every other girl in her group might do, Asami invited Korra to sleep over.

 

And like, it wasn’t a huge deal, so why was it that Korra kept having to fight down a desire to suddenly flee?

 

Oh. Asami was talking. Right.

 

“Do you want to make poptarts and watch a movie or something?”

 

“Sure.” Korra replies and follows Asami into the kitchen.

 

Asami’s kitchen is massive. Like the type of massive you watch on home improvement shows massive.  Korra sort of backs up in awe while Asami casually jumps onto one of the granite countertops to retrieve poptarts from the cabinet.

 

“Dude—I mean, it doesn’t really look like you’re at a loss for space in this like hella big walk-in pantry, so why the hell do you keep the poptarts up in the middle of nowhere?” It’s amazing how not-shy you can seem when you just let yourself ramble, Korra decides.

 

“Gotta keep the goods away from my papa,” She says it all french-like, the sort of thing that would ordinarily disgust Korra, if she didn’t think it really suited Asami like it did, “or else we’d have nothing to consume this fine evening.”

 

It’s sort of a game they play sometimes, where they mix their usual banter with upper-class snotty vernacular. She tried explaining it to Mako but it turns out this is the sort of thing that only she and Asami can pull off together. (Mako is occasionally embarrassingly slow… but she loves him regardless.)

 

“Aaaaand now the box is empty.” Asami says, taking the last two plastic wrapped poptarts out of it. She tosses the box to the floor, and Korra picks it up, shifting idly on the balls of her feet.

 

“I will procure a trash receptacle.” Except that Korra doesn’t know the house at all. She frowns. “Where might I find such an object?”

 

“Here.” Asami says with a chuckle, using her toe to open the drawer ever so slightly. Korra puts it in, and Asami jumps down from the counter, smiling.

 

Asami looks her up and down. “You’re not really dressed for the pop-tart eating occasion.”

 

“You’re right. What a travesty! I will return.”

 

And with that, Korra returns to the living room and opens her overnight bag, shedding her shirt because we’re all girls here and like, whatever and like not thinking twice about nudity at all until Asami comes out with two plates and clears her throat.

 

“Hey, sexy.” She says, her voice all low and sultry and just like… smooth the way Korra wishes hers could be. Korra forces herself to laugh but there’s this weird synergy to the room and some part of Asami must’ve meant that, right?

 

“… Hey.  Yourself…” It sounds stupid as she says it but Korra’s got her shirt over her head anyway, so it’s muffled and probably permissible. Maybe.

 

Korra finishes pulling her shirt over her head and dumps her old clothes into the bag again, kicking it to the side. She accepts the plate quickly, not meeting Asami’s eyes.

 

“Thanks.”

 

They both take bites and stand awkwardly.

 

“So. Fort.” Korra says.

 

“Fort indeed.” Asami replies. “I knew you’d be a fort girl! This is so exciting!”

 

Asami tears the cushions off the couch eagerly and Korra hesitantly begins to help, watching Asami really go at it.

 

“Sorry,” Asami says distractedly, “I just… I really like you because you’re nothing like the rest of my friends.”

 

She starts to structure the pillows around the inside of the frame of this glass table, but then motions for Korra to help her pick up the glass plane, and they slowly walk it over to the side of the room.

 

“How so?” Korra asks. Dissatisfaction with the way the people in her life see her is a common theme in Asami’s life, and Korra thinks maybe their friendship is one of the first times Asami herself has been allowed to shape what someone else might think about her. It’s interesting, because it makes Korra wonder how much of what she’s seeing is the real Asami and how much of what she’s seeing is what Asami wants Korra to see. You’d think it’d make Korra feel like their friendship was in some way compromised, but she felt this resounding closeness to Asami, like no matter what they understood each other.

 

“You’re just so… open minded. And like, casually cool.” Asami says with a laugh, and she sort of looks at Korra but stops meeting her eyes as she realizes the intensity of what she’s saying. Korra watches her look down, confused.

 

“I dunno Korra. I just feel like you get me.”

 

“I feel the same way—“ Korra starts.

 

Asami pulls a blanket from behind the couch and hands it to Korra. “Make it cozy under there. I’ll be right back but keep talking.”

 

She rushes out of the room and Korra climbs into the table frame and folds the blanket over, smoothing it out to make a nice padded lair for them.

 

“But I disagree entirely, actually, because I mean, if anyone is gonna be causally cool, it’s you.” Korra awkwardly calls down the hall. It takes Asami a second to reply, and it sort of makes Korra re-think her words. “I mean—“

 

Asami returns with more pillows and some sheets, shaking her head, embarrassed.

 

“You have no idea what you’re talking about.”

 

“Asami—no joke, my friends would die if I told them we were as close as we are. Mako has been dying to talk to you since—“

 

“Oh, so we’re close, huh?” She says it with a certain flair to her words and it catches Korra off guard.

 

“I mean, I think so.”

 

She takes a sheet but Asami takes it back, shaking her head.

 

“I think we’re close too.” She smiles, pausing for a moment, then looks down at the sheet in her hands, “Let me wow you with my fort-design skills. Sit back, relax, and watch the master.”

 

Korra stands back with her hands on her hips and watches as Asami scales the side of the couch and ties the sheet to different sections of the fragile chandelier.

 

“That’s—“

 

“I know it looks unsafe, but the weight drops here in the middle, see? It’s made to be pulled down, and adding a few more pounds of weight for the sheet over our heads won’t affect it at all. Just as long as it’s an even weight.”

 

Korra smiles.

 

“So… definitely feeling your engineer tendencies.”

 

“Right? Having trouble understanding why everyone wants me to go into fashion or thinks I’m some sort of insufferable ditz.”

 

“Insufferable ditz… Oh god I think you could say that to an insufferable ditz’s face and she’d have no idea what you meant.”

 

Asami laughs, jumping from the couch and pulling the sheet into place.

 

“Ready to step in, princess?” She says. Korra grins.

 

“You’re the princess. I mean, look at those nails…”

 

“Shut up and get in the freaking fort.”

 

They both climb into the fort, leaning against pillows placed inside the table frame, and they settle nice and cozy right next to each other. Korra shifts so they won’t touch shoulders but then Asami shifts so they will.

 

They stay like that for a while, staring at the sheet.

 

“Soooo… this is fun.” Korra says. Asami sinks further down, laying down on the pillow and attempting to pull Korra with her.

 

“Come on, loosen up. Lay down.”

 

Korra lets herself sink down too, until they’re both laying down staring up at the ceiling.

 

And they talk for a while. A long while. Asami’s got her fingers threaded through Korra’s short bob and Korra sort of turns to face her and…

 

…that’s the first time Korra ever has the urge to kiss her.

 

She swallows the burning sensation, moving from intense desire to staring straight up at the ceiling and pretending like her heart’s not racing even though seconds ago she was sure she was about to fall asleep.

 

And suddenly the knowledge of that desire to kiss colors all Korra’s actions from the day she met Asami—the way they’d brushed hands when handing each other tennis balls during P.E., the way she ordered a chocolate shake because she knew Asami only wanted to take a sip if it was chocolate, the way she was able to say things to Asami she wasn’t even sure she really thought and she could still rest assured that Asami would never turn to her and look at her like she was completely insane, at least not without hearing her out first.

 

When Korra finally had the guts to face her again, Asami was dead asleep, pop tarts long forgotten.

 

So Korra turns over, staring at the sheet and trying to go back to when this wasn’t complicated. She takes a deep breath and shuts her eyes, eventually finding sleep.

 

********************

 

Months pass.

 

And like, you’d think the sudden realization that she has feelings for the girl would like, end in her either sharing them or like, backing the hell off, but neither happens.

 

Spring comes, and Korra and Asami are closer than ever.

 

They meet each other in the park late one night in the rain and have a blast swinging back and forth on the baby-swings, screaming to each other about stupid societal expectations and the way the world is stupid and wrong about them in every way.

 

Asami comes over one Sunday evening and somehow the garbage disposal has a leak and before Tonraq can even think to call a plumber Asami’s down on her knees solving the issue with a just a wrench and all that knowledge Korra’s always been jealous of and just like that Korra’s parents adore her.

 

Asami starts coming to Korra’s for dinner every Wednesday night and when they have sleepovers she stays in Korra’s twin bed and sleeps soundly, like Korra’s not even there. Finally at school Asami ditches her lame friends to hang with Korra’s crowd and Mako finally has the chance to ask Asami out but decides against it because it might tarnish their friendship. Geez, of all the friendships, right?

She’s not sure she’s crazy about Asami until they’ve basically started her junior year, almost a year later, and Asami has spent the whole summer getting Korra out of her comfort zone, helping her see how their little home town could be something amazing in its own right. She keeps hoping one day she’ll wake up and the desire to kiss Asami will be gone. And even though it never happens, she still keeps hanging around. Korra justifies how close they are by comparing it to how she used to feel about Mako: she thought she might’ve wanted to kiss him once but now doesn’t feel that way at all, and like, surely that’s what her relationship with Asami will become eventually, right?

Right?

 

***************

 

One night they’re lying side by side in the twin bed and Asami says:

 

“I think we’re gonna be friends forever. I can feel it.”

 

“I hope so.”

 

“I just—I trust you. So much. And I never get sick of spending time with you. Never. It’s crazy.”

 

And Korra’s 15-year-old brain struggles to draw the line between friendship and lovers already but with Asami defining friendship that way all Korra can do is nod feebly and agree, because after all they really are the best of friends.

 

And later that night, when she’s sure Asami’s asleep, she can’t help herself. She pushes her face forward into Asami’s hair and lets her nose touch the nape of her neck, inhaling deeply so as to capture the smell for later.

 

***********

 

They’re at a theme park some months later over the summer, and Opal, Bolin, and Mako have joined them. Opal and Bolin are together now, and so they take turns paring off and leaving someone to ride rollercoasters alone. Except, they don’t really, because Bolin and Opal always ride together, and Asami keeps rushing ahead and calling the seat next to Korra, and so Mako ends up riding alone most of the time.

 

Korra has so many pictures of Loner!Mako on her phone she considers starting a meme.

 

As she snaps another photo, the rollercoaster starts, and she shoves the phone back into her pocket. She’s about to put her arms up for the first big drop, but just as she does, Asami takes her hand.

 

It’s not intimate. In fact, if it’s special to Asami, she doesn’t show it at all. Korra assumes it’s another thing friends do, and they do it on every ride there after.

 

They all ride the lightrail home, and Korra’s stop’s the farthest, meaning eventually it’s just Korra and Asami alone on the train. As they walk home, Korra takes Asami’s hand and they pretend like it’s normal, but Korra knows something’s fishy when they both know to drop their hands in front of her parents.

 

**************

 

Later that night, with Asami asleep in her bed, Korra wakes up and tries to meditate.

 

It’s something her Judo coach Tenzin told her to try whenever something is causing her great unease—something about keeping all your concentration on nothing… and then somehow finding answers?

 

There’s a reason this never worked for her.

 

She gets up and goes out into the kitchen to grab some string cheese, sitting at the counter and thinking about Asami.

 

She decided not to tell Asami about her feelings a long time ago mostly because she was concerned they were not… strong enough? Maybe? She cared a little too much to be considered strictly friends, but not enough to come out and say it.

 

But more and more, as the weeks passed, she wasn’t sure that was the case anymore. She cared a lot.

 

So she did what any self-respecting millennial would do:

 

She pulled out her phone and Googled it.

 

“Okay Google: How do you know if you like someone?” She said into the microphone.

 

As it searched, she felt a presence beside her.

 

“Doing some hardcore thinking about our love lives, are we?” Asami says, taking a seat beside her, “Who is it this time?”

 

Korra may have mentioned a few boys in the past—the type that were so gorgeous even a girl with bisexual tendencies knows they’re a heartthrob. But mostly she mentioned them so Asami would stop asking.

 

“Haha… yeah. Not sure that’s any of your business.” Korra says, contently scrolling through her device’s results. It takes more than a little flirty bait to catch Korra off guard now, she’s so used to constantly feeling overwhelmed by her attraction to Asami. That’s what masochism gets you, she thinks.

 

“But we’re best friends.” Asami says like it’s her god-given right to know all the things about Korra’s love life, but it’s not, and Korra reminds herself to stay calm.

 

Korra doesn’t dignify her whiny tone with an answer.

 

“What’s it say?” She asks.

 

“Nothing particularly useful, I guess. Just thought I’d try.”

 

“Must be a particularly good guy if he’s got you up this late thinking about him.”

 

“Must be.”

 

They just sort of look at each other, and Korra can feel Asami’s gaze intensifying.

 

“You know I only want to help you, right?”

 

“I do. But… I dunno. I never ask you about these things. Why do you always harp on who I like?”

 

Asami takes a second to swallow and stare at the ground.

 

“It’s… complicated.”

 

“It’s complicated for me, too.”

 

Asami smiles, and sort of leans close and looks genuinely empathetic. And then, suddenly: “Well… that’s rough, buddy.”

 

They both laugh, and Korra gets up from her stool, reaching out to take Asami’s hand. “Back to bed?”

 

“Back to bed.”

 

 

Korra can’t get over how great it is holding Asami’s hand.

 

That’s weird to say, right? 15? Obsessing over hand-holding? But hand-holding is the bomb.

 

And as soon as they reach the bedroom, Asami lets her hand fall and Korra automatically misses the feeling, but revels in the fact that they’ve normalized this behavior and she can seemingly partake whenever she likes—like it doesn’t hurt her heart to know that Asami thinks of it totally platonically. Wooo masochism!

 

She climbs into bed beside Asami and turns off the light, scooting so there’s just enough space between them that she can deem it socially acceptable.

 

Asami shifts, pulling her back into an odd embrace.

 

 

“Is this alright?” She asks.

 

Korra tries to stay cool.

 

“Totally. Only. Why do you get to be the big spoon?”

 

Effortlessly cool.

 

“I just… I thought you could use some comforting. Whatever’s bothering you. You know?”

 

She squeezes tighter.

 

“Yeah. Yeah, you’re right. Thanks.”

 

They stay stiff like that for an embarrassing amount of time.

 

Korra’s left shoulder finally hurts enough that she must turn over and when she does she turns all the way around in Asami’s arms, tucking herself under Asami’s chin.

 

“Comfortable?”

 

“Very much so.”

 

“G’night.”

 

“Night.”

 

She shifts slightly a few minutes later, and Asami giggles.

 

“What?”

 

“It’s just, it’s hard to sleep when there’s something shifting between my legs.”

 

Korra, embarrassed, lifts herself up and tries to re-position, but Asami’s looking up at her with this grin and suddenly she’s totally enamored and, for the life of her, cannot seem to look away.

 

They stay like that for a while before Asami finally pushes up on her elbows and brings them nose to nose.

 

Korra breathes in sharply, closing her eyes and biting her lip.

 

“Korra.”

 

Her eyes snap open, and she can barely see Asami from this angle, but she can feel her all over.

 

“I’m sorry, I—“ She starts, “I don’t know what’s happening right now…”

 

She feels a hand on her cheek, and finally sees some reflection of Asami’s green eyes in all this darkness.

 

“I think I’m gonna kiss you. If that’s what you want.”

 

Korra can hardly hear her over her heartbeat.

 

“If that’s what you want?” Korra asks.

 

“So you only want it if I want it?”

 

“I don’t want you to not want it.” Asami’s eyes search hers.

 

“Forget it.”

 

Asami pulls back, falling back onto the bed.

 

“Asami?” Korra lingers over her, trying to see her face. But Asami has turned over entirely.

 

“Go to sleep Korra.”

 

And Korra’s entire body flushes with dread. She doesn’t say anything, but she doesn’t sleep. She can’t. She can’t imagine how Asami would sleep, either, but eventually the breathing beside her evens out.

 

Korra doesn’t toss or turn. She stays completely still until her side hurts, contemplating every turn the next morning could bring.

 

 

In the morning, Asami acts as if nothing’s changed, and part of Korra is relieved.

 

The other part of her breaks when she realizes this means that one of the best things that ever happened to her…

 

“Morning.”

 

…is something they’re now going to pretend never happened.

 

They sit side by side at the counter, Asami letting her legs dangle happily, Korra staring sadly at her cereal.

 

Asami talks to Senna as though nothing has transpired, but at some point Senna asks Korra what’s wrong.

 

“Nothing.” She says.

 

And ‘nothing’ it became.

 

*****************

 

A year passes, and now, at 16, Korra, Asami, and Opal prepare for their junior prom. The hard feelings between Korra and Asami have faded and a real friendship was born from their ashes—something that Korra feels good about even when she does let herself admit that some of the affection she has for Asami still may not be entirely platonic.

 

The best part is, though, that she knows that it’s not entirely platonic on Asami’s end either. Has it ever been?

 

Still, Korra’s too chicken-shit to come clean about her feelings, and that’s how she ended up preparing to match Huan, of all people. She shuddered at the thought of having to look like she wanted to dance with him.

 

Opal, of course, had Bolin—a year and half and still going strong, those two had exactly what Korra wanted for herself. And late at night, alone in bed, Korra had to admit she really thought Asami would be the bees knees. In a relationship, that is.

 

“Korra?”

 

Asami leans down from doing her hair and brushes a strand out of her eyes.

 

“What do you think?”

 

Korra tries to see her hair but really she can’t stop being drawn to Asami’s red dress. She’s never looked so incredible. Really.

 

It makes Korra want to build her a fort full of poptarts. And then kiss her in it. Probably.

 

People kissed in forts.

 

That was a thing. Right?

 

Enclosed spaces were perfect for kissing.

 

“Korra?”

Right. People need her to respond. Right.

 

“It looks great.” She says, smile not reaching her eyes. Asami frowns slightly and Korra kicks herself mentally because damn, if she’d just shut up and kissed the girl where would they be now? Not here, exchanging pleasantries and pretending to not care for each other.

 

16-year-olds weren’t supposed to have regrets.

 

…still, she could do something about this. She could change it somehow.

 

Opal goes downstairs to grab the boutonnieres, and that’s when Korra decides she has her chance.

 

Asami’s leaning over her now, applying eye make up, and it’s the lightest feather of a feeling that leaves Korra all flustered: Asami’s breath on her face.

 

But every time her eyes flicker open, Asami’s eyes go elsewhere.  Asami picks up the mascara and finally, Korra reaches out and grabs her wrist, stopping her.

 

“Wait.”

 

“Korra, I know you hate mascara but—“

 

“No, Asami, wait.” And Asami waits.

 

Asami’s full undivided attention causes something to shift in Korra’s gut. She thinks about puking and decides maybe now’s not the time.

 

“I, just wanted to say… you look beautiful tonight.”

 

Usually the type to brush that comment off, Asami’s eyes flicker down and it’s the shyest Korra’s ever seen her.

 

“Thanks.”

 

Unable to really say more, Korra takes Asami’s hand in hers and smiles and for a moment it’s almost like they’re going to the prom together.

 

Only in reality, Asami’s date is…

 

“Guys, Bolin and Iroh are here.”

 

…the most popular guy in school.

 

Iroh. Korra used to think he was dreamy. Dreamier than Mako, even.

 

Now she wants to see him hung.

 

Asami pulls her hand from Korra’s quickly, seeing the boys, and rushes over to great them. Korra slumps in her seat.

 

*******

 

At the dance, Korra and Huan sway to the slow song, watching as Asami and Iroh do the same. Korra meets Asami’s eyes over Huan’s back and watches as they flicker toward the bathroom. They both excuse themselves (at different intervals as to not be so obvious) and head for the bathroom. Just as Korra’s approaching the door, Asami pulls her aside, taking her out the emergency exit and landing them just under an overhang that is the only thing shielding them from the torrential downpour.

 

“Asami, I—“

 

“Korra, you have to stop looking at me like that—“

 

“What?”

 

Asami sighs, taking a step back from Korra and looking anywhere else.

 

“I just… I need to… escape you.”

 

Korra has no idea what to say. How does one respond to that?

 

“I’m trying to move on with my life.”

 

“Move on?”

 

“With Iroh.” Asami says his name like it’s an insult to Korra and Korra clutches her chest like it hurts.

 

“Move on from…”

 

“You. Do I have to say it out loud? Come on—“

 

“Me?”

 

Korra takes another step back and suddenly she’s being rained on but she doesn’t even care.

 

“I…” Asami lowers her voice, looking around, “when I tried to kiss you… I just. I wasn’t thinking clearly…I know this is just a friendship to you, Korra… but it’s more than that to me. And if I’m ever gonna get to a place where I can move on… I need you to stop saying things—“

 

“Asami, stop.”

 

“I need you to stop giving me hope, okay?” She’s crying. They’re both crying. Korra’s soaked.

 

Korra doesn’t answer, and Asami steps out into the rain, pulling Korra back under.

 

“Don’t stand in the rain. You’ll get—“ Korra moves in close, forehead to forehead with Asami, who takes in a sharp breath.

 

“Cold?” Korra says, smiling. “I can’t get cold when I’m next to you.”

 

Suddenly, spurred by the knowledge that Asami really does like her, Korra’s not afraid to act.

 

She puts her hand on Asami’s cheek.

 

“Let’s try this again.” She takes a breath, “I think I’m gonna kiss you. If that’s what you want.”

 

“If that’s what you want?” Asami can barley meet her eyes. She keeps threatening to dip down entirely to look at the floor, but Korra steadies her jaw with a hand.

 

“So you only want it if I want it?” Korra repeats.

 

“I don’t want you to not want it.”

 

“Forget it.” She cuts Asami off with a kiss, pinning her to the wall. Asami shifts under her touch, trying to speak, but eventually just settles against her, relaxing into the kiss. Korra, initially passionate, slows down to match Asami’s pace.  When Korra pulls away, finally out of breath, Asami’s hand, which rests on Korra’s right forearm, instinctively tightens its grip.

 

“Korra…” Asami processes slowly. Korra moves in to wrap her arms around Asami again; gently angling Asami’s face to they can be forehead-to-forehead again.

 

“I… I need you to say something. Tell me what this means.”

 

“Asami—“

 

“No. I’m tired of being vague. I’m tired of not knowing if it means more. Tell me if it does.”

 

Korra’s look of confusion seems surprising to Asami.

 

“It’s just—I feel like you made all the moves—I was always confused--“

 

“Korra, just—is this real? Do you… want this? Or is this something you think I want, because I promise you, I’ll live. I don’t want you to feel like...”

 

“Asami, I’ve cared about you way too long to say anything other than yes. This is what I want. Maybe even from day one.”

 

Korra leans in, pressing her lips to Asami’s. Asami closes her eyes, but Korra’s stay open. She watches Asami really take in the kiss, and feels her savor the taste. She finally closes her eyes too.

 

When she pulls back, Asami’s gaze softens, and Korra thinks she wants to see that expression there forever.

 

Asami leans in to kiss her again and Korra can’t even feel the rain on her back anymore, she’s just trying to get closer and closer to Asami, to revel in the feeling of finally having her.

 

Asami pulls back, a pained expression on her face.

 

“We should really get back.”

 

Korra leans in for another kiss, not done yet.

 

“Korra…”

 

“You’re probably right.”

 

Still, she kisses her again, but Asami pulls back, examining Korra’s face.

 

“Here. Hold still.” She starts to wipe at Korra’s mouth. “You’ve got a little lipstick—“

 

Korra leans in for another kiss, making Asami giggle.

 

“I can’t get it off if you keep putting more on.”

 

Muffled between kisses: “—can’t help it.”

 

Finally, though, she lets Asami clean it off, and they go back inside, dropping their hands and finding their partners all over again. It’s super lame, being this far away from Asami, watching her dance with someone else.

 

On the plus side, Korra’s now decided on her favorite of Asami’s expressions—she really likes the way Asami’s eyes glisten when she’s got a secret. Their secret.

 

************

 

Later, they try to back out of post-prom plans. All parties are disappointed. Asami fakes sick because that’s probably the only way she could get out of going home with Iroh while still maintaining some sort of dignity (high schoolers are cruel, yo). Korra offers to drive her home and nobody is the wiser.

 

Instead, though, Korra drives them up a cliff where they talk and make out and hold hands until they’re finally sleepy enough to make their way back to Korra’s, where Korra’s parents wait up for them.

 

And they’re such experts at pretending that they’re not into each other that they fake their way through a whole discussion of prom with Korra’s parents and get changed and ready for bed the same way they’ve done for almost a year.

 

But now as Korra watches Asami climb into her twin bed, she’s overwhelmed.

 

With what is not entirely clear, but she knows that she won’t be sleeping for a little while yet, which is funny, because it’s almost 4.

 

“Asami?” Asami’s all settled in bed, the covers up to her chin, waiting for Korra to join her.

 

“Hmm?” Asami’s usually an early sleeper, but she brightens up for Korra.

 

“I need you to do something for me.”

 

Asami sits up, smiling. “Anything.” After a second, she adds, “I think you could literally tell me to do just about anything right now and I would try my darnedest.”

 

Korra laughs because Asami’s a dork. Then she remembers her request is even dorkier.

 

“Can you build me a fort?”

 

Watching Asami’s face break into an all-consuming smile is so worth it.

 

“Anything for you, my princess.” Asami gets up and immediately gets to work. Korra sits at the foot of her bed and watches Asami work, sleepily delighted at seeing Asami build them what looks to be a semi-lack-luster fort.

 

“It’s uh… not the best. There’s no chandelier, but, I mean… pillows?”

 

Korra pushes her back onto the bed and kisses her under the safety of the fort.

 

“It’s perfect.”

 

***********************

 

Later, when they’re all curled up together, Korra feels Asami shift beneath her.

 

The fort has fallen apart. The sun’s almost up. Korra’s been awake for all of it.

 

“I can’t believe this is happening.” Korra says, knowing Asami’s awake beside her.

 

Asami shifts up on one elbow to look at her.

 

“Okay, wait, go with me here… I just need to know: do you remember the first time we went to that diner?”

 

“Oh, yeah, you really wanted to pay for me—“

 

“I wanted to pay for you. I wanted a sip of your drink. I wanted… to hug you after. I didn’t even really understand the impulses myself.” Korra finally rolls to look at Asami, pushing her hair out of her eyes.

 

“I wanted to date you, Korra… that’s what I realized later. I figured if I couldn’t, we’d be the best of friends…”

 

Korra smiles, almost to herself. “I wanted to kiss you at our first sleepover, when you pulled me down into the fort.”

 

Asami pushes forward, nuzzling into the side of Korra’s face.

 

“It took everything I had not to kiss you, Korra. That first sleepover. And the… the one a while ago.”

“I thought about that everyday for months.” Korra says.

 

“I’m glad I’m not the only one.” Asami laces her fingers through Korra’s, her breath still tickling the side of Korra’s face. Korra’s eyes flutter closed, and she leans in to give Asami a soft kiss on the neck.

 

“We really need to sleep.” Asami says.

 

“Eh.” Korra shrugs, smiling as she leans in for a kiss.

 

 ************

 

The next morning (afternoon? Nearly evening?), Korra and Asami are zombies. Asami sits at the table, pushing around her cereal. Korra sits beside her, scarfing down her eggs. Senna busies herself at the sink, cleaning off a pan. 

 

Asami catches Korra’s eye and Korra shoots her the hugest grin between bites. She smiles, but that’s when she sees it—Korra has lipstick smudged on her bottom lip.

 

Asami’s expression changes to panic and Korra tilts her head, confused. Asami mimes the action of cleaning off her lip, but before Korra can even comprehend what she’s trying to get her to do, Senna steps over.

 

“Oh, let me get it!” Senna steps in and wipes Korra’s lip. Asami swallows a whole bite without chewing, almost sputtering from embarrassment. Korra drops her fork.

 

But Senna just winks. “Oh come on, we’re not stupid, Korra.”

 

Korra groans and lays her head down on the counter.

 

Mom—“